Mr. Lacer likes Doctor Who more than I do, which is therefore quite a lot (he once inflicted the entire back catalogue on me – this was pre-kids, these days he’d just inflict it on them – every weekend as it was being shown by one of the repeat channels – that was a fun way tostart the weekend – not (although I did watch Doctor Who as a kid, with very vague memories of Jon Pertwee, I have no idea why though, as just checking Wikipedia he stopped playing the Doctor before I was born – I remember Pertwee more as Worzel Gummage – something I enjoyed far more at the time – stronger memories of Tom Baker and complete fan loyalty to Peter Davison, as he happened to be the Doctor when I was just the right age to really get into it, I also liked Sylvestor McCoy (and I thought Ace was cool) but could not stand Colin Baker’s Doctor , but overall I’m more of a fan of the new Who). And as Mr. Lacer is an extremely hard person to buy for, I made him a Doctor Who cushion.
The cross stitch pattern is from Weelittlestitches on Etsy, I’d link to it but Etsy is down right now at the time of writing this. A TARDIS is included in this pattern but I have been literally stitching this since I ‘stopped’ work, a week and a half ago (I’m actually working tonight and I have an interesting proposition I need to sort out to, so I’m still working but it’s when my two clients finished and I got some more free time) and it has been pretty constant stitching, two 10 hour each audiobooks, the final episode of Case Histories (which was really good by the way – why couldn’t it have been like that at the beginning?), An Education (also really good) and two ballet lessons. I have learnt several things; I always underestimate how long it takes to do cross stitch because although I do cross stitch (evidentially), I am an embroiderer at heart and embroidery is a hell of a lot quicker, I have also learnt that although I can embroider happily in front of the TV and I can technically cross stitch in front of the TV, I slow right down and I feel slow enough as it is. Although actually I don’t think I’m that slow a cross stitcher, I know (now that I’ve reminded myself) that cross stitching takes time. This whole project has been useful though in reminding me of the time issue with cross stitching, as I have two large scale cross stitch projects I want to give as gifts in December (one a wedding present, the other a Christmas present) and if I want to do that, I am really going to have to start stitching soon, not straight away though, I’m all cross stitched out, although at least whilst doing this I got to rest my poorly knee.
(The fabric for the cushion itself (the design was inspired by Tom Baker’s scarf), is a mixture of Klona solids from Backstitch, bargain fabric which turned out to be lovely and crisp to work with, really good quality and a great range of colours!)
Christmas night TV is one of the highlights of my Christmas day, that and the food I eat to go alongside all that viewing. It was Mr. Lacer’s turn to put the kids into bed and I was already in the kitchen whizzing up a batch of Nigella’s Jumbo Chilli sauce, oven on for the hot bread roll, trying not to eat all the parma ham before it hit the plate. Anyway I got my food ready just in time and hit the sofa almost at a skid, as Mr. Lacer finished put the kids’ bedroom light out and it was time to put Doctor Who to play on the DVR.
This particular Christmas episode opened with a space ship hurtling towards a planet looking like it’s going to crash any minute and I have to admit for a moment my heart sank a little, not another ‘space ship hurtling towards planet, can we save everyone in the nick of time?’ episode, much as I loved Russell T Davies’ work, it all seemed a little too Russell T Davies, but of course Stephen Moffat now writes the Christmas episodes and I doubt you could get him to pen anything formulaic in his life. It turns out that Amy and Rory are honeymooning on the doomed ship, so of course the Doctor pops by to help and he soon realises that to allow the ship to land safely he has to convince a Scrooge like character, Kazran to do something with his cloud machine but of course Kazran doesn’t want to do that. So the Doctor tries a unique take on the Christmas Carol, travelling back to Kazran’s past to try and make him a better person. There is singing, some beautiful flying fish, a scary as anything shark and a great script with some very funny one liners. A brilliant refresher into exactly how great Doctor Who is with Stephen Moffat at the helm and Matt Smith’s geeky Doctor and of course the trailer for the next series, more River Song, the Doctor goes to America and I bet I wasn’t the only one trying to work out which clips were from the Neil Gaiman episode, my money is on the scariest looking clips in the dark ruined looking house with the character with writing on their face.
After Doctor Who and a slice of disgustingly disappointing Christmas cake (I really must make my own next year), it was time for Poirot doing Murder on the Orient Express and this really was Poirot in a very bad mood. Travelling back from a disastrous case, a friend does Poirot a ‘favour’ and manages to squeeze him, at the last minute onto the Orient Express travelling back home. It is a dark story from even before Poirot gets on the train, with not only the disastrous end to the previous case but Poirot observing from a distance a stoning in Istanbul and not getting involved. The music to this episode was very well done, adding to the discordant, dissatisfied air of the journey before blood has even been shed. I’m sure everyone knows this story, it was one of my favourite books as a child when I got to the age of being able to start raiding my parents’ bookcases but I’d swear this version, although very faithful to the book, was actually even darker. David Suchet did an absolutely brilliant job, you can feel his dislike of having to share a cabin on the first night, from his body language you can feel his revulsion when he is called to examine the body on the train and from the tone of his voice his displeasure at the murderers who have taken justice into their own hands. Really brilliant.
Oh I’m all weak at the knees, how good was that? Another episode which felt about two hours long, with every minute a complete ride. Brilliantly written, I found it interesting watching Doctor Who Confidential afterwards with Stephen Moffat explaining how he used the fez and the mop acquisition to signpost ahead of time the complicated plot bit with the Doctor leaping back in time, sort of by showing the Doctor pick up the mop and fez, which we remember seeing him with earlier on in the episode, we therefore guess ahead of time that the Doctor is then going to leap back, so making a complicated plot point seem easy (I would love Moffat to release a book about writing Doctor Who like Russell T Davies did, I learnt so much from the RTD book, I feel I’d learn even more from a Moffat book). And oh seeing young Amelia Pond again was unexpected and brilliant. And then the bit where the Doctor’s all wired up to the Pandorica and he and Amy are saying goodbye *sob* and then the bit at the wedding echoing to the earlier episodes where Amy is weeping over the Rory she can’t even remember, she’s crying because of the Doctor even though she can’t remember him. And how I love how Moffat is being ambitious enough to keep arcs going over series, he neatly wrapped up this series arc yet manages to keep it going by asking why did the TARDIS blow up, whose causing the cracks and of course who exactly is River Song? The next series can not come quick enough.
Ooh wow! The first of the series finale two parter lived up to expectations, that wasn’t a TV episode, that was a movie and a perfectly written one. I loved how the opening of the episode tied up some of the earlier episodes this series, I really did not expect to see Vincent again or Churchill and I loved the line from Elizabeth the whatever.
This is the Royal Collection and I’m the bloody Queen.
And then River Song leaves the Doctor another one of her messages and the Doctor and Amy end up in Roman Britain heading for Stonehenge.
There were some more brilliant lines as they discover the Pandorica, I particularly liked the line about River not liking stories about good wizards as
they always end up to be him
And then there’s the scene when the Doctor is frightening off the spaceships, with just pure grandstanding.
And the ending, oooh! Fantastic acting from Matt Smith as he pleaded with a whole coalition of all his enemies, can’t wait till next week!
I wrote last week that there are very few programmes on TV aimed principally at kids that tackle ‘issues’ in the way that Doctor Who does. Just writing the word ‘issues’ makes it sound to anyone who isn’t familiar with Doctor Who (does anyone like that exist?) that Doctor Who is some worthy, do-gooding, preachy sort of programme, which of course it isn’t, so the very fact that it isn’t and it can include topics such as whether it’s right to murder someone (Cold Blood) and depression (Vincent and the Doctor) mixed up with some good old monsters is just brilliant.
Vincent and the Doctor was just brilliant all round really, I am growing to love this Doctor’s character more and more, sort of if I were to chose one of the Doctors to get stuck in a room with (not that you’d be stuck in a room for long with the Doctor) I’d want to get stuck in a room with Matt Smith’s Doctor. He’s a lot more interesting, caring and what I think is really unique with this reincarnation, vulnerable. Getting caught so easily by the Silurians, that scene in the butchers in Amy’s Choice where the Doctor is having to run and hide moments before he falls asleep and in Vincent and the Doctor stuck in a church with a monster he can’t see and not being the one who does the saving, Vincent does. Vulnerable Doctor doesn’t mean Wimpy Doctor, it means Doctor where the peril is far more exciting.
And of course back to the topic of Vincent van Gogh’s depression, the Doctor’s attempts to talk to him were incredibly touching, these were one set of monsters the Doctor absolutely could not help with. The way as well how the Doctor has been spoiling Amy with trips to art galleries and the works after the death of Rory that she doesn’t know anything about. And of course those last few scenes in the art gallery when the Doctor lets Vincent van Gogh see what a world renowned painter he really was, incredibly touching, that and the scene holding hands looking up at the stars; classic Richard Curtis moments and now classic Doctor Who moments. Makes me wish that there really was a hero gallivanting through time trying to make things better.
I liked this episode, it had a certain old school charm that matched the reintroduction of an old school enemy, the Silurians. There was a nice small cast, in a nice small, almost claustrophobic setting (things I think are always more scary when there’s less people around, sort of there’s less people to hide behind sort of thing). I think though that the second episode of this two parter will be a lot more expansive.
Plus once more I loved Matt Smith and we saw lots of his geography teacher on speed Doctor here, with some great lines from him that I can now only half remember properly. I particularly loved him in the scene above, it really felt like what it (fictionally) was, a meeting between the remainders of two great races.
I loved this episode, I thought it was brilliant. As Stephen Moffat said in the Doctor Who Confidential , writer Simon Nye is more known for his writing looking at relationships, so Nye’s style bought a great look at the relationships between the Doctor and Amy, Amy and Rory and the Doctor and himself.
I loved the differing reactions of Amy and Rory to life in Upper Leadworth (personally I’d be bored to tears to) and then later Amy’s realisation about who she really wanted to be with. The way how Amy looked at the Doctor after Rory had died, it was suddenly like she was older than him, whereas the Doctor never really grows up. And the revelation who the Dream Lord was and the Doctor’s early realisation “I know who you are. Only one person hates me as much as you do”, it was the Doctor himself, awww the guy has some issues!
And finally I can not not mention the ‘zombie’ ‘very’ old people, a classic.