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Monday, 23 May 2011

The Rebel Flesh

This series of Doctor Who really is delivering like no other since the show's return in 2005! Each and every episode - in my opinion - has had something special about it, even if it wasn't the very best we're used to. I can honestly say that there has not been a single minute of boredom or "wandering off" for me at all this year.

And the most recent offering, Matthew Graham's The Rebel Flesh, was no different. Well, no. It was different, that's what made it so enjoyable. It seemed we were taken back to the good old days of the "Base Under Siege" adventure that Classic Doctor Who did so well when Troughton was driving. Our team arrive at an ancient monastery on an island on near-future Earth where a team of miners are pumping acid to the mainland. But there's something different about this mining operation. The miners are in no danger at all, despite the acid's potency. Instead they use Gangers, duplicates of themselves, controlled from a safe distance, made out of the "world's worst kept secret" The Flesh - programmable organic matter that can become anything you want.

A solar tsunami forces not only the TARDIS crew to seek shelter at the monastery but also causes a power surge that gives the Gangers a life of their own, independent of their human controllers' grasp. And these duplicates - these Gangers - they want their freedom.

And so a different story takes place. A war between humans - with souls, feelings, memories, loves and hates - and their Gangers - with all the same memories and feelings... 

Just because they're not "actually human" does that mean these duplicates are disposable? Does it make them less human, just because they're exact copies? It's a difficult situation to chose sides over. And I'm sorry but I found myself siding with the Gangers most of the time. They just want to be left alone to live their "lives" after all!

Some awesome guest stars and a few lovely little plot bits made The Rebel Flesh a pleasure to sit through! Marshall Lancaster and Sarah Smart shone as the sympathetic ones here. The little story-beat about Sarah Smart's character's attraction to Rory (an attraction that is gently reciprocated, showing another side to both his character and his wife's) was beautifully played. And the Ganger makeup is genuinely disgusting. 

There's very little I can complain about really. It's very much a Part One, but since it IS Part One that's okay... The cast are mostly brilliant, Raquel Cassidy being the only weak link for me (something I never thought I'd ever say), the rest were brilliant. The story has enough in it to be interesting, even intriguing, but isn't so busy you lose your way - it's pretty confusing watching a story with two of each character after all! 

One niggle is the "Prisoner Zero-Head Ganger Jennifer" in the toilets. It wasn't needed and the "monster" would have seemed more threatening without it. And another, but far less annoying, niggle is this: After the Doctor spoke the line "'s as if The Flesh was scanning me!" it was clear to anyone with eyes and a brain to work them that the cliffhanger ending would be a Ganger Doctor revealing himself to the confused and frightened cast. And it happened. And it was awesome. I just hope the whole thing doesn't go "all snarly monsters and SFX" for part two - this story works as a two parter because it's small and the threat is creepy. Keep it that way? Cheers.

Oh, one last thing! Anyone else get the feeling they've been through all this before? "It's even learned how to replicate itself, at a molecular level..." - I think we're watching duplicates of our team!

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Getting Used To A Brand New Keyboard

This must be what a regeneration feels like. I've bought a new keyboard since the "keys" in the one belonging to my laptop are rapidly decreasing in number, leaving me with a jumble of small rubber nipples to caress each time I want to write something - which, recently, is quite often indeed.

And it's like trying to get used to wearing women's clothes (I'd imagine). It's not a comfortable experience at all. Okay, so I get to laze about on the sofa while I type rather than sit rigid at my desk, but that comfort comes at a price. On this new keyboard, every letter feels just a few millimeters too far away from its neighbour. The hot-keys aren't configured as I like them. There's an unusually hollow clicking noise as I write, making it sound as though Pinocchio is 'bashing one out' over some 1960s children's TV puppet show milf, to anyone who doesn't know about my new purchase. And worst of all, since I'm using a laptop, I still have to lean forward every now and then to use the bloody mouse-pad.

So, I'm sorry my loyal lot, you are the poor souls who must sit and read through a few hundred meaningless words about a new keyboard, just to see whether prolonged use will make the thing easier for your dear author to work with. But you know what? You don't have to read much more - because it's already over. Thanks for your patience. xx

Monday, 16 May 2011

Sherlock Series Two Titles Revealed!

Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss' baby, BBC's Sherlock, returns soon. Shooting on its second series began today. As well as the news about shooting beginning the BBC have confirmed the titles of the three 90 minute films. They are: 

A Scandal In Belgravia, The Hounds Of Baskerville and The Reichenbach Fall. Holmes fans among you will know what this means. Those who don't, well... A Scandal In Belgravia is clearly based on the story A Scandal In Bohemia, which features fan favourite Irene Adler. The Hounds Of Baskerville is a new one to me... I can't think what it could be based on. I've scoured the canon and there's nothing in there that sounds anything like this! So that'll be fun to see! And then there's that last one; The Reichenbach Fall. Clearly based around the happenings of The Final Problem, the story which sees the famous cliff-top confrontation between Holmes and Moriarty.

I cannot wait for this new series, it's going to be amazing <3

Read more in my article for next month's issue of Starburst Magazine. 
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Sunday, 15 May 2011

The Doctor's Wife

So, this was it. The Big One - the one most of us were waiting for, for one reason or another! The Doctor's Wife written by fantasy supremo Neil Gaiman. 

Very little was known about this one by the general public until the preview disks went out to the papers - and for good reason! This was a big one - in terms of the Doctor Who legend anyway. This was all about the TARDIS. It was partially set in the TARDIS, it featured the TARDIS in human form, it was about TARDISes! And although some have grumbled about it, even giving it a meagre 1/10 on Gallifrey Base's Rate and Review thread, it instantly became a favourite of mine - certainly the best of series six, up there as the best of Moffat's run (along-side Vincent and the Doctor as the only episodes I've given perfect 10's to) and probably the most meaningful and enjoyable "small personal story" since the show came back in 2005. 

The standard of acting throughout series six has reached new heights, far beyond the quality of series five, with both Karen and Arthur bouncing off the screen with an honesty and believability that was sometimes lacking in their earlier stories. They are simply wonderful in this, employing heart and meaning to what could have been "just another running down corridors bit". 

Matt, too, is on top form recently - Only the most cold-hearted, hard-hearted bastards could say they didn't share his tears in the Idris "Hello Doctor" scenes at the episode's close. There wasn't a poor performance in the entire 45+ minutes. But it was the TARDIS herself - Suranne Jones - who shone through as the most important and most loveable character this show has ever had! If you think about it, it's the TARDIS that the star of this show, as much as the Doctor is. And there was plenty of TARDIS in this! And plenty of TARDISes! For example, we finally got to see that Blue Peter winner's console design and what a beauty it was, too!

And then there was the old console room - 'Tennant's TARDIS' as everyone seems to be calling it, despite it belonging to Eccleston for a whole year before Tennant cockney-walked in and took over. - as seen in the trailers. 

It was nice seeing it again, but only as a means of expanding the TARDIS. I don't get the whole "wow, that makes me want to cry boo hoo" mentality over previous Doctors and console rooms. Surely it's the change that keeps the show purely what it is? Without change the show would have died 45 years ago! Instead of that, the show has lived, strong and full of energy, even at its worst!

Neil Gaiman's The Doctor's Wife was a love letter - not to the fans, but to the show itself. Almost 50 years of adventures with a sentient being and we've never had a chance to see how she feels about it all. Well, now we have - and it turns out she wanted just what the Doctor wanted. Adventures Through Time And Space. Seeing her interact with the Doctor, her thief, her 'stolen goods', was something special. 

The adventurousness of the whole piece was a wonder to sit through, a pleasure, but that "hello" scene at the end? Wow. That brought tears to my eyes and brought the whole Doctor/TARDIS partnership to the forefront. David Tennant's Tenth Doctor travelled alone for the specials, acquiring companions for individual adventures, but there was no indication that he was ever thinking about the TARDIS. 

Seeing Matt speak to the TARDIS, ask if she was still there, after House had been vanquished, was beautiful. From this point on, no matter who he has on-board, the Doctor will never be travelling truly alone. Not in my eyes. In 45 minutes Neil Gaiman, Suranne Jones, Matt Smith, Steven Moffat and everyone else who had a hand in crafting this masterpiece have changed the way we see this lonely travelling man. He's not going to be lonely anymore. He's more than aware that the TARDIS isn't unreliable, but taking care of him. She isn't broken, she's beautiful - a museum piece, on adventures with another museum piece, through time and space. And who wouldn't want to travel with them <3

Thursday, 12 May 2011

Altogether Now! 'DUH, Du-duh Du-duh Du-duh duh, DUH! Du-duh Du-duh Daaah!' The Apprentice Is BACK!!!

Yes. It's back! Everyone's favourite Schadenfreude-fix is on our screens once again. And as usual, Lord Sugar (I'll call him Alan) has a boardroom full of dicks. Well, not FULL, but almost full. There's no fun anymore in chirping about the idiots; there are far too many of them, they all blend into each other after a while, so I've decided to be as positive as possible in this post. I'm going to talk about my favourites.

First of all, my absolute favourite - an opinion based on nothing but the fact that he's a nerd - Thomas. Tom is, as far as anyone can tell, an inventor (though his idea for a mobile phone app that "is... traffic lights, just traffic lights" makes you wonder what on Earth he's invented that's any good! [A quick Google search reveals he invented the world's first curved nail file?! Whatever]). But he's funny and geeky and seems a really nice bloke. I can imagine going for a beer with him and coming up with some stupidly useless gadget for the home - something he has the skills to make a reality! I'm watching him closely, he could be our winner.

Then there's Susan Ma. She's young, she's cute, she's able but she's also clumsy and clunky with it. She's the most watchable of all the female candidates. Her explanation of a brilliant idea she had for an app was nothing short of astoundingly cringe-worthy. 

But she's nice! She's been shouted down by that horrible woman who thinks she's the best because she's (probably) the oldest. I feel a little protective over Susan. Which is silly, because she's more than capable of speaking up for herself! I think, like Tom, she's going to be here for a long while yet. I'm already picking out favourites and my approval usually acts as a mark of death. I hope I haven't put a jinx on these "favourites" of mine...

Although, even if I HAVE, it would hardly matter to Jim the Jedi. It would seem he has taken the title of Only Candidate Ever To Tell His Project Manager Not To Choose Him For The Bottom Three And Have The Project Manager Listen With No Argument Despite Him Already Having Chosen Him Before. It's a long title, sure. But it's an important one. Jim's mantra of "a box of green peppers, six onions" is one I'll try out the next time I'm bartering over fruit. I think Jim is, ultimately, the one most likely to win so far. He has charm and ability, he is able to take control when it's needed of him, as he did many times during this week's shows, and he is, again, a lovely bloke. I already like the candidates this year, even though I don't know most of them by name yet. I'm hooked though, so it's only a matter of time. 

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

"The Wrath Of Steven Moffat" - Spoilers And Their Worth.

Okay. Before you all start yelling "hypocrite" I admit, I love spoilers. I love Doctor Who spoilers, anyway. I couldn't give a shit about any other show, I just am not as interested to know what's happening in other shows. I have a real love for Doctor Who and there's an idea of this show belonging to the fans anyway, since it's been running for far longer than most of its production team have been alive. But it does not belong to the fans. It's a delusion we love to nurture as much as we, as fans, love to ignore the reality. This is 'Doctor Who © BBC'. It's not ours!

Doctor Who show-runner Steven Moffat recently 'launched' what some see as a 'vicious attack' on fandom, stating that those who leak plot-lines online, or to the press, should stop watching "his show". It has caused a bit of a stir on Twitter - on my timeline anyway - among the more active Doctor Who fans.

Let me tell you the story of 'Doctor Who Spoilers and Me'. During the lead-up to series three I became pretty interested in chasing the crew of Doctor Who around the streets of Cardiff to watch them film scenes for the show. Since the scenes were for future episodes, the information within them, if splashed about, would be seen as spoilers. I "spoiled" myself this way all through series three and four, knowing just what was coming - or almost, but loving the show anyway... There was never anything BIG enough to ruin the show for me, or for others, it would seem. I was addicted to spoilers; they were a companion to the show, for me.

Because most of what was 'out there' were just clues to what would happen. Nothing over-explicit. It was a means of teasing myself. I've never done 'the spoiler thing' because I want to know what's happening, but because it fires off conversations and debate about a show I know and love. Through Series Five the spoilers got heavier and I found myself knowing bigger things, like Rory's death(s) and the nature of the threat (the Alliance), things which I didn't really mind knowing, but, when I accidentally 'spoiled' the Rory Death Scene for my then-girlfriend, I saw just how destructive HUGE spoilers could be to the enjoyment of others.

So I decided to stay as spoiler-free as possible for the 2010 Christmas Special, A Christmas Carol. The most I knew was that it was a Scrooge-style story, there was a shark, there was singing... I knew literally nothing else. And do you know what? I enjoyed it far more - no, that's not fair... - I was more EXCITED about the story than I had been for the entire series before it. I had an epiphany! I would be spoiler-free for the whole of Series Six. I left Doctor Who forum Gallifrey Base, I stopped attending filming (though I sometimes relapsed, just like any addict) and I tried to limit my contact with sites such as the brilliant Doctor Who Spoilers. It was difficult, since my best friends are basically the source of all spoilers - although, they were not the source of the one that got Mr Moffat so worked up recently! But, I tried my best.

It didn't work of course! I know as much, almost, about this series as I did about the last! But I've tried to limit myself to teasers. I know things I dare not say on here for fear of a violent backlash! But the things I know only help to stir the excitement in me over the episodes to come. There is one BIG THING I know - or think I know - but again, it's not the End Of All Things. However, one quick trip to Gallifrey Base changed things slightly. The first two episodes were ruined for me. Not completely, I still loved them, but the risk had been taken away.

One fan lucky enough to bag a ticket to the press screening of The Impossible Astronaut/Day of the Moon later posted everything (almost) about the episodes on GB. Ordinarily this fella would have got a pat on the back from many! Even from me! But there was something uncomfortable about the release of SO MUCH information... It wasn't just the odd hint or teaser here and there; it wasn't even a list of things that happen! It was an entire, detailed break-down of the entire two episodes. It was also a disturbing betrayal of trust after being asked, nicely and politely, not to let the cat out of the bag before the episodes aired. Even the press kept quiet, for Christ's sake!

An enthusiastic reaction to being given Top Secret Information is something I'm all too aware of! But it seems that this incident caught the attention of the production staff and ruffled a few feathers. So how much information does it take to turn a 'spoiler' into a 'ruiner'? Well... It would seem the answer to that is 'all of it, almost'. As I've mentioned, the odd thing or two creates HYPE: "The Cybermen are back!!" means that scores of people will watch to see a) if they actually are and b) what they're up to this time. Want to know who River Song really is? Sure! Head over to Gallifrey Base! If you care that much about who she is that you'll seek the information out, it's not going to stop you watching, it is? Almost harmless! But those are all clues, hints and teasers. What you don't want is to be told the ins and outs of the whole bloody episode! 

I suppose what I'm saying is, in far too many words (sorry), is that there's no fun in being given an already completed crossword to solve. Sure, those one's where you're given "1=F and 2=T and 3=P" but have to fill the rest in yourself are great fun! And normal "2 Down: Green Fruit, five letters" are awesome! But a completed grid? Not much fun in looking at the clues when the answers are already filled in, even if you haven't filled them in yourself! I'm not sure this is the clearest analogy ever, but it's the best I can do.

So, in clumsy conclusion to a clumsy post: Spoilers = Good, Ruiners = Bad.

Monday, 9 May 2011

Eldrad Must Live - And So Must Classic Who!

In memory of Lis Sladen the BBC tonight showed classic Who story "The Hand Of Fear" and, if my Twitter Feed is anything to go by, the viewers at home loved it!

And what a lovely gesture! But think what a great opportunity this would be to kick-start another run of some favourite classic stories! I have most of them on DVD but imagine how much fun it would be to tune in to BBC Four of an evening and watch "The Claws Of Axos" Episode One, then have to WAIT for the next one!! Just being able to see classic opening titles running on the BBC again would be magical!

I hope the BBC show more stories. Since the Eleventh Doctor seems to be arguably the most successful since the show returned and since the young'uns are loving Doctor Who more and more these days, it would be wonderful for the 'Lost Generation' to see some classic Doctor Who. Wouldn't it? : )

Sunday, 8 May 2011

"Not Now, Silent Singer!"

Who has escaped the explosion at Ravenhill? That's the question on everyone's lips as we delve into the second series of Psychoville on BBC Two. And answers were given more or less immediately. The opening scene of the first new episode, showing the Funeral Of A Clown, was a great indicator of what we should expect from the coming weeks. Once again, the darkest, strangest and most enthralling comedy thriller in recent years has me hooked.

If you've not seen the first episode go here now, catch up, then come back and read the rest of this post. If you saw it then you'll know that all our old favourites are back - well, most of them... Well, some of them.

Mr Jelly is back, trying to come to terms with the events of at Ravenhall, as are Mr Lomax and Tealeaf - although it would seem that it's not only his eyes that Lomax is having trouble with now, after the blast left both his eardrums perforated ("No, it's just Mellow Birds!").

And Joy is back, as disturbing as ever. I never thought I'd have bad dreams about Dawn French, but I have done recently. Still, I'm not sure she deserves what she gets in the closing scenes of episode one! Likewise, David and his mother have returned - though, as murderous and twisted as they are, there's a touch of sadness to their tale this year too!

But it's one particular new character that has grasped me by the scruff and forced me to wonder if this whole thing is worth the hilarious nightmares (answer: yes it is!)... Jeremy Goode, the librarian - a man who will stop at nothing to assure a book is returned on time. 

That is, if the hauntingly disturbing Silent Singer leaves him alone to do his job! It's not really clear yet what the nature of the visions are, but something here is not right at all. Think of the most uncomfortable and unsettling thing ever, then imagine Reece Shearsmith playing said thing in a blonde wig while miming into the bottom of a walking stick... That's just how creepy Silent Singer is. All in all, old characters and new, the inhabitants of this weird little world are on top form once again!

But where will the story go? Letters are arriving again, deaths and confrontations are all around and there's a dwarf missing. But the first thirty minutes of Psychoville 2 offered little in terms of explanation. We are, like last time, on a Ghost Train travelling into the unknown...

...and what an odd assortment of fellow passengers we have! Psychoville 2 is brilliant, as I knew it would be. Thursdays, 10pm, BBC Two. Please don't miss it.

The Curse Of The Black Spot

Okay. Stop. Stop talking, stop criticising. Stop trying to compare the quality of this episode to that of the last two, in terms of drama, scale and storytelling. It won't do you any good. You're just going to convince yourself that this was rubbish and it really, really wasn't. In fact, The Curse Of The Black Spot is one of the episodes I've enjoyed most since 2005. Not because it's a big dramatic EPIC like The Pandorica Opens/The Big Bang or The Impossible Astronaut/Day Of The Moon, but because it was a nice and welcome breather - a bit of a break FROM all that EPICness.

Let me look at it for what it was: a typical Episode Three, stand-alone and 'meant to be a bit of fun'. It certainly lived up to that description for me. I love Pirates anyway and I love Doctor Who, so I was always going to carve out a place in my nerd-heart for this one.

It had a great "monster" in the beautiful Lily Cole as The Siren - both frightening and mesmerising in equal measure. Somehow, this age-old sea-legend was made to feel fresh and interesting. The mysteriousness of Cole's performance made her feel more like a character and less like a "monster of the week". And giving this legend a sci fi twist worked well, I think (although I did guess "the twist" before it happened). It worked on many levels, for me. It was funny, it was good-looking (costumes and locations/sets were mind-blowing) and it packed enough 'emotional punch' to make you care without losing the "Doctor Who Does Swashbuckling" that I so wanted from this episode.

I think it would have worked well as a two part story, but there has been a hot/cold reaction to the story so maybe it's better for most fans that it was stand-alone. But, "those fans", you need to remember that that is what it was! Just a middle of the road, stand alone, good old adventurous romp for the Doctor and his companions. Everyone is so wound up over next week's episode because it's written by Neil Gaiman, indeed so am I, but I fear that next week will be "just a nice romp" too - albeit a great one! 

Performance-wise, ...Black Spot was Spot On. There wasn't a single unbelievable performance (something even the series openers suffered from - the actress playing Joy was truly awful, in my opinion). Hugh Bonneville underplayed his Pirate Captain to perfection. There were no Aaaargh's or M'Matey's in sight. Karen Gillan's acting was on top form (I've always thought her good, but even the haters can't criticise her this series) and Arthur Darvill outshone even Matt Smith in terms of humour this week, cementing himself in my mind as my favourite New Who companion, without question. But that's not to say that Matt wasn't on top form too! You could see just how much fun he - and indeed the others - were having throughout. 

The Curse Of The Black Spot was never, ever going to please everyone. I know people who hate anything at all to do with pirates and I also know people who have said they would stop watching if Doctor Who ever "did pirates" again. I have a feeling that they'll be watching next week, the hypocrites.

I don't know what there was here to not enjoy! You don't have to love every episode, you don't have to be blown away and left in awe at every little story! This was a Nice Day Out for "Team TARDIS" (except for Rory dying, again). There was enough here to keep even the most critical fan happy, surely? Amy Pond as a pirate? Gawky Rory slobbering all over a sexy, green Lily Cole? Loads of awesome pirates and enough "pirate musts" to ensure a massively knowing smile on my chops, at least!

I gave it 6/10 on Gallifrey Base's rate and review thread after the first viewing. I have watched it twice since, enjoying more each time. If I were to re-score it now? I'd probably give it an 8/10. It suffered from a jumbled pacing, but it had so much to keep me happy. I can't speak for anyone else, but this is nowhere near as bad, in my eyes, as everyone seems to be making out. I'd even go as far as to say it's the sort of episode I could watch over and over again. Just a nice, enjoyable classic-feeling Doctor Who story for a rainy Sunday afternoon.

Bloody good fun, a definite favourite of mine.

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Stewart Lee's Comedy Vehicle Rolls Back In To Town!

There are some jokes in this series of Stewart Lee's Comedy Vehicle. Four of them. Or maybe three. But there are definitely jokes! Okay, they all happen in this first episode, which deals with charity (and crisps), but they're there! You might have to look for them, but they are definitely there! (And in case you miss them, he tells you when they happen, so it's okay)!

Yep. He's back. And, as ever, if you don't know Stew's style already, don't bother. This stand up comedy show airs at 11.20pm on Wednesday nights on BBC2. It's not for everyone. I'd go as far as to say it's not for most people. But there is definitely an audience out there. Stewart Lee, as you know already, is a hero of mine. Not only the funniest man I've ever seen, but as close as possible to the nicest fella I've ever met. Comedy Vehicle is... well, his comedy vehicle. Stew deconstructs each joke, signposts each callback and pushes every last laugh into your face, rather than tickling it out of you.

I can't explain what he does or why it's funny. I can't say 'watch it for this bit when...' because it doesn't work like that! You either get it or you don't. If you get it, welcome to the very exclusive club! If it's not for you, that's perfectly fine! But we all think you're missing out... Watch the first episode on iPlayer now!

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Exile (BBC)

Remember State Of Play? Paul Abbott's perfect "journalism conspiracy thriller", starring John Simm, James McAvoy, David Morrissey, Bill Nighy and a  host of other wonderful British actors, was simply incredible; my favourite ever tv series. Abbot's mind is full of "clever but believable" plots. I wish I could write like him... I can't. But it's okay! Because there is a man who can!

Daniel Brocklehurst has written for Shameless and countless other British tv favourites, but in my opinion has excelled himself in the Paul Abbott creation "Exile", a three part "father and son story with a thriller motor" recently aired on BBC One.

Tom Ronstadt (Simm) is a prick. A womanising, drug-taking, boozy schmoozy investigative journalist, kicked off his paper for basically being all of the above. He heads back to his childhood home - the only place he has any friends anymore - where his sister Nancy (Olivia Colman) is taking care of their father, Sam (beautifully played by Jim Broadbent) who is suffering from Alzheimer's.

Sam was once an investigative journalist too, but something in his work changed him - when Tom was a teenager, caught rummaging through his dad's work papers, he was beaten by Sam to within an inch of his life. This was the last day Tom spent with his father. Returning, Tom pledges to find out just what triggered the change in Sam's personality... And what a can of worms he opens!

Once again, I don't want to give away too much about the twists and turns of the story - it's still available on iPlayer and you should all have a look, if you have the time. It's a smaller tale than State Of Play, but it's get that same "desperate feel" about it. Even though he didn't write it himself, the script has Paul Abbott written all over it; it's just wonderful.

Once again - as is the norm - John Simm steals the show as the not-very-nice-but-still-good "hero" of the piece; coincidentally playing a journalist again. It feels as though, if it was tweaked, this could be the second instalment in a "Cal McCaffrey" series. It isn't, but it could be. And massive credit to both Jim Broadbent and Olivia Colman, too, who shine in every scene they appear in, which is "most scenes". In fact, there isn't a performance in the whole series that jars. Everything comes together, too, satisfyingly enough. When the story gets into gear (it takes a while, a little into episode two, but that's fine because the characters keep you watching) the reveals happen fast. It's not the kind of show you can wander away from to make tea.

Most of me wanted to watch this because Abbott had a hand in it - the man is truly a genius. But I ended up forgetting all about this being a piece of drama (despite the "State Of Play-esque" score running all over the piece) and got lost in the personal lives of these normal - but not quite so - characters. When the last episode finished, I wanted more. I loved it. I hope you do too.

Sunday, 1 May 2011

Doctor Who - The Curse Of The Black Spot (Prequel)

Grab an eyeful of this spooky old thing; the prequel to the next episode of Doctor Who...