Whilst we’re kind of on the subject, from yesterday: Doctor Who.
Who’s this Saxon chap, then? What’s he up to, and what’s he going to turn out to be? Some dirty politicking with an eye to mad-eyed global supremacy, is my guess to the first. The second: well, it could be anything really.
As to the episode itself: I’m sure Russell T Davies has a machine hidden in his basement somewhere which stamps out little, villainous old ladies. It’s not that he uses them a lot, just that when he does, they are instantly recognisable, always virtually the same as each other. The whole thing was: well, nothing special. What was going on with the Doctor temporarily dying from lack of blood, then being revived by CPR? How did that work? If people in the middle of the hospital were on the verge of death when it was returned to Earth, did any actually die? It would take a while, after all, for oxygen levels in the centre of the building to return to normal. What about people investigating the big crater the hospital left behind it – were they all squished when it returned? Answers on a postcard to Symbolic Towers, 4 Iambic Avenue… OK, maybe I’m being slightly too serious. It’s entertainment, after all. Doctor Who has always had plot holes, and it always will; I shouldn’t expect it to be harder-than-hard SF because it clearly never has been that. It did entertain me, and that’s all I should ask for.
The world’s largest supply of garlic butter is in the centre of the city of Kiev, Ukraine.
Around 8% of hazel trees are carnivorous.
Jacques de Molay, last known Grand Master of the Knights Templar, invented a method for softening butter by adding hydrogenated vegetable fats. The global dairy industry now channels large amounts of money to the Priory of Sion, the Templars’ underground successor organisation.
The phrase “This tape will self-destruct in five seconds” is never mentioned in the entire first series of TV show Mission: Impossible.
The modern standard housebrick’s size is derived from the length of the radius bone of Egyptian pharoah Tuthmoses IV, who had unusually short arms.
Doctor Who once featured a companion in the shape of a penguin.
The distances to destinations on British road signs are systematically under-estimated, in a (slightly futile) attempt to make the population in general more optimistic.
(but which of these factoids are indeed true?)
Not much has been happening to me this week. Which is possibly the wrong way of looking at things: just the same number of heartbeats have happened, but for some reason I haven’t thought them notable. Maybe I’m not paying enough attention to them.
The other night we settled down to watch a retro-Doctor Who series, from the Tom Baker era,* and reading the back of the box I realised that the first episode was originally broadcast on the day I was born. Strangely, it made me feel suddenly younger.
** The Invasion Of Time, if you were wondering
So … OK, the Doctor worked out that closing the breach into the Void would suck in all the alternate-universe Cybermen, not to mention the Cult of Skaro refugee Daleks. But did he know beforehand that the Void would somehow manage to suck them all in through one small window, instead of just acting like a big attractor and leaving thousands of Daleks and Cybermen stuck to the side of the Canary Wharf tower?
And am I the only person who thought that a couple of the plot points were lifted directly from The Amber Spyglass? Not just the general travelling-between-universes idea, but more specific things: the breaches between universes causing major climate change; and, of course, the whole ending.
(highlight the following space if you want to read the spoilers)
The ending to write Rose out of the series was, essentially, just like the ending of The Amber Spyglass – two characters with an intense but non-sexual love for each other, who are told they have to stay apart, in seperate universes, because if any of the gaps connecting the universes are kept open then everything will be undone and destroyed.
(end of spoiler space)
The episode did prove one thing beyond doubt, though. Out of Daleks and Cybermen, Daleks have by far the better sense of humour.
* apologies to anyone who didn’t watch the Doctor Who series finale this weekend, so has no idea what I’m on about.
I hate to say it, but I’m still not convinced.
I’ve been a David Tennant fan ever since Takin’ Over The Asylum, one of his very first telly jobs. I was, therefore, expecting to love Doctor Who with him in it. But, I have to say, I’m still not convinced.
His moods are all very good; but they flip very very quickly. In one second he’s his usual playful self; in the next he’s invoking divine retribution, or rather, Docterly retribution. The quick-change makes him feel rather too capricious, although there is the occasional reminder that when the Doctor is being playful he’s still alert, and paying attention.
I’m going to keep watching, of course. For one thing, I want to know if he’ll ever start using his natural Scottish accent.
This Christmas, I have received:
- Some of the CDs and DVDs that I couldn’t be bothered to buy during the year
- A new denim jacket, with a nice warm fleecy lining
- A cunning device to tell you when your parking meter is about to run out.
The parents have received, from me:
- One of those car navigation gadgets
- A fossilised fish.*
Well, at least neither of them was going to guess a present like that before they opened it. It is now sitting on top of the TV, in stony silence.
Naturally, we all gathered around the telly last night to watch Doctor Who. The episode could have been better, the plotline felt rather thin, but when the Doctor woke up and swung into action he was marvellous indeed. The main gripe I had with the plot was: the Doctor shouldn’t just be a deus ex machina, but in this story that’s effectively all he was. Still, at least Russell T Davies does know how to write a running joke.**
* Actually, there are two fish in the slab I gave, but one is faint and difficult to see. I didn’t spot it myself until after it was unwrapped and on display.
** and the Douglas Adams reference was a nice touch too.