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Posts tagged ‘Dr Who’

Sunny Sunday Supplement

A sunny Sunday morning. I woke up with a headache. Managed to get back to sleep a few times but then got up and got myself a couple of Nurofen. Got dressed and made an espresso and sat in the garden watching the blue tits coming and going to the bird box to feed the chicks. Also saw our friendly robin and what I think was a great tit. Looks like I’m in danger of turning into Bill Oddie, here. And he is a great tit.

Last night saw the first part of the latest Dr Who adventure. Gotta say, for me Matt Smith is the best Doctor ever. Even better than Tom Baker. Yes, I know. But that assistant of his – not for me, thanks. I’m not finding the stories as good these days, though. That could be due to familiarity, but I doubt it. I could watch Blink and Father’s Day over and over.

Speaking of which, the wonderful Father’s Day episode was written by Paul Cornell – a truly talented writer who also wrote The Family of Blood episodes, an episode of Primeval and a couple for Robin Hood, in addition to the Captain Britain comics (among others) and a couple of novels. Busy, busy guy. He’s also written a new pilot for the BBC called Pulse. Apparently “medical horror and sci-fi”, the first episode of Pulse will screen on BBC 3 at 9pm on Thursday June 3rd. Well worth a look, I’d say. If you’re on Facebook there’s a group for Pulse that’ll keep you up to date and give you an idea what it’s all about.

Musically I’ve not done much recently. Can’t really face it at the moment. I might do some composing at home at some point but that would mean spending even more time in front of the computer, which I don’t really want to do. I certainly don’t want to be in another band. The last couple of weeks I’ve been listening to The Maccabees’ Colour It In album a lot. Some great lyrics in there and guitar work. Check ‘em out.

I’m coming towards the end of reading Cormac McCarthy’s The Road (recently made into a movie with score by Nick Cave and Warren Ellis) for the second time. (McCarthy also wrote the novel of No Country for Old Men, also a recent successful movie.) McCarthy’s a master of understated characterisation and sparsity of language.

The first McCarthy book that I read was All the Pretty Horses. Part of The Border Trilogy, this is a beautiful book unlike anything else I’d ever read at the time. The Crossing is gripping and moving – 16-year old Billy Parham’s adventure with a wolf he captures. But for me the best work of his I’ve read so far is Blood Meridian. The story of ruthless mercenaries who collect scalps for cash in mid-19th century America, this is a truly dark book that’s not for the squeamish. When I’ve finished The Road this is the next one I’ll read again. Or maybe I’ll give Child of God a go.

If you haven’t read any McCarthy, you should.

Matt Smith as Dr Who

Initially a stunned silence on our settee but to me Mr Smith looks very, very promising. I suspect he will do both moody and comical particularly well. Good choice, I reckon.

David Tennant’s Doctor and the technobabble gabble

I just read an old post in which I said David Tennant’s Doctor “didn’t cut the mustard” for me. Well, I’d have to say I’ve changed my opinion. I do rather like his Doctor now. He does humorous character stuff particularly well, although he can really gabble the technobabble sometimes, leaving us all a bit fuzzy-headed.

Our weekend with a Jensen Interceptor

For my 40th birthday last December my wife bought me a voucher for a weekend’s use of a Jensen Interceptor from Great Escape. We redeemed the voucher this weekend, and spent 48 hours with a beautiful 1973 Interceptor Mk3.

Our Interceptor

Our Interceptor

Back in the day, the Interceptor was bought by the rich and famous, and generally considered a step above contemporary vehicles from manufacturers such as Aston Martin. Even Eric Morcambe had one. I’ve always loved this rare car, and have seen only a few in my life. I love the body shape, the understated styling. It’s like a combination of the best of British and Italian, with an immense 7.2-litre Chrysler V8 to haul it along.

In this eco-conscious world, and an environment of soaring fuel prices, the engine in this car is simultaneously fantastic and ludicrous. It’s often said that V8 engines “burble” – a sound that appeals to most red-blooded males and a few red-blooded females. The Chrysler in the Interceptor doesn’t burble; it doesn’t even gurgle – when pulling away at a junction it delivers a positively open-throated gargle that turns heads and frightens dogs at sixty yards. It’s supposed to do 12-14 miles to the gallon, but I guess that means around ten. I spent £70 on fuel over the weekend, which was actually less than I was expecting.

Occasionally, at low speeds the vehicle can sound almost agricultural, chugging along like a tractor as the eight pistons thump around in the lump at the front, as if barely awake. The Interceptor seems happiest at 30-40 miles an hour. With a 3-speed automatic gearbox, above around 50mph the car feels as though it needs another gear to drop into, which seems odd given the size of the engine. It’s great to tootle along at 20-25 then give it a slight burst: “garrrrggggllllle”. Overall, the Interceptor’s a very positive drive and easy to steer – it just goes where you point it, with no surprises.

The interior features wonderful vintage switchgear and instrumentation by Jaeger. Each switch has a single function: horn, wipers, de-mist, and so on. There’s just one delicate stalk off the steering column, and it’s for the indicators alone – no multiple, multi-function columns here.

The seats were soft and luxurious, and even though those in the rear look small, they were (I’m told by my kids and an adult friend who sat in the back) very comfortable.

We picked the car up on Friday, which was quite nerve-wracking to begin with as I was scared of damaging the car somehow, or being the victim of someone else’s carelessness. By Sunday, however, I was very comfortable with the car and thoroughly enjoying it.

We went to Ragley Hall, and saw the room in which the ball scenes from Dr Who’s The Girl in the Fireplace were shot. We got caught in the rain only once, and had a fantastic weekend, enjoying admiring stares, frightening dogs and turning heads.

Great Escape has several classic cars available for hire, so if you fancy a weekend as enjoyable as the one we had, forget about the price of petrol, give Graham a call, and hire the kind of car you’re never likely to own for 48 hours.

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Dr Who – The Lost Earth

This was a great episode overall. A nice balance of drama with a hint of comedy thrown in here and there. And a tear-jerking Rose-and-the-Doctor-meet-again scene. Ahhh.

The new Davros was stunning, I thought: true to the original(s), but very slightly enhanced. Nicely done. I also liked the invasion scenes. In fact there’s a scene in my first novel – The Affinity Trap – which is visually almost identical to the shot of the Dalek spaceship passing above the houses and zapping people in the streets. Only in Affinity it’s called a purifier gunship, and it’s “cleansing” the streets of those unfortunate enough to live outside the luxury of the gigantic habitat towers.

The doctor regenerating? I didn’t see that coming. I suspect it may only be a partial regeneration, rather than a full makeover. We’ll find out next week, I guess. Although I did see a rumour, I think it was something in an interview, implying that David Tennant wouldn’t confirm that he’d be in the next series. It could all be fluff and bluster. Who knows?

I wasn’t too sure about all the other characters – Sarah Jane, Torchwood, UNIT – coming back in, but it’s a perfectly reasonable thing to do and worked well. Oh, and if you’re wondering what kind of car Sarah Jane drives it’s a Nissan Figaro. They were made only in 1991, and any you see on UK roads are grey (ie unofficial) imports. My wife’s got a grey one; she loves it but I hate the stupid, poxy thing. I absolutely refuse to drive it unless there’s no other choice. I tell people that for me, driving that car feels like going to the shops in a dress. And I went to the shops in a dress, just to check.

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