Mr. Lacer’s Birthday Present

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!)


Four things I’m liking right now . . .

  1. Cross stitching a giant Andwabisabi design for a Christmas present whilst listening to another Downside Ghosts audiobook, I could happily do both all day.
  2. Watching Lost (I’m on series 4 or 5, I can’t remember which but please no spoilers) and rediscovering my love for Sawyer (Jack is just a wimp) and my admiration for the writers. I would love to be able to write something that complicated, that in-depth, and get away with it. I think the way how they explore character motivation is brilliant.
  3. David Tennant reading Book at Bedtime, ok so he actually read them last week but thank god for iPlayer because I did try and listen to them ‘live’ but I kept falling asleep. If you are in the UK and you fancy listening to David Tennant reading you spooky vampire stories, catch them whilst you can here . I particularly recommend the Tolstoy story, but as of typing I notice that particular story is only going to be on iPlayer for another 7 hours, so listen if you can because Tennant does some deliciously creepy voices in that one and the story itself (The Family of the Vourdalak) is as scary as anything as it is.
  4. Decent underwear.

Doctor Who – The Beast Below

Ah let me just gurgle in unconstructive delight for a moment, that was brilliant, again, I want to be Stephen Moffat when I grow up, blah, blah, blah. That was brilliant. Another Stephen Moffat episode, demonstrating what we already know, that as much as Russell T Davies was good, Moffat is far more ambitious with the depth and breadth of his episodes. The Doctor and Amy (who after only two episodes is now my all time favourite assistant) ‘go find a spaceship’, a great big one in fact, housing the entire United Kingdom (except Scotland, they wanted their own ship), as they fly from solar storms in the 29th century. Despite being eight centuries into the future, everything is deliciously retro, circa about the second world war, definitely more steam-punk influence. The Doctor lectures Amy that they’re there to observe, not get involved, definitely still seeing echoes of David Tennant’s Doctor, after his whole experience on Mars, but there’s a child crying and suspicions of a police state. The Doctor and Amy quickly split up, Amy showing considerable independence which later displeases the Doctor greatly. The Doctor continues to grow into his character, reminding me in part of a young but geeky, desperately trying to be cool geography teacher on a school trip and yet on the other hand, so, so alien. It’s not just the Doctor’s unwillingness to get involved that reminds me of the end of the previous regeneration, he is a different Doctor but I’ve never noticed so much before, comparing one Doctor with the next, that it is still the same man, in the way how he responds in a similar way to certain situations, kudos for both Matt Smith and Stephen Moffat’s writing for that one. There were some other great supporting characters to this episode to, whoever is responsible for casting the child actors so far this series is doing a great job and I just loved Liz 10! This was an episode on so many levels, like I said, ambitious but successful enough to include something for everyone (and after thefishfingers and custard in last week’s episode and the ‘coating’ the Doctor and Amy get this episode, is Moffat trying to include a gross out moment every story?). Can’t wait till next week!

Doctor Who: The End of Time Part 2 (major spoilers)

Awww, sob! That was one hell of a sad regeneration, he didn’t want to go, he regenerated on his own, awwwww!!!!

All in all, a good episode, better than last week’s but again a slow start with lots of standing around talking, although once again the scenes between David Tennant and Bernard Cribbins were absolutely excellent. The gone loco Time Lords didn’t particularly have that much menace, although Timothy Dalton’s glove was an impressive bit of kit. But I did like the almost camaraderie between the Doctor and the Master in the end.

Other random thoughts:

  • I liked the music in this one, it was quite old fashioned in an adventure epic sort of way.
  • There was a bit of Star Wars in this one, with the cactus people’s ship being chased by missiles and the shooting lasers. I thought the giant chamber of Time Lords was a bit Star Wars to. Has Russell T Davies changed his mind about George Lucas and is trying to show his wares?
  • So, the Doctor takes a gun, interesting that the new Doctor is also waving a gun around in the new trailer.

As for the end, gulp, Tennant’s Doctor survives the big battle between the Master and the Time Lords but then of course he has to save Wilf to, in a very interesting plot device that means the Doctor slowly dies instead of dying immediately (causing an immediate regeneration), allowing the Doctor to go back and briefly visit all his old companions. He saves Martha (now hitched to Mickey, way to go Mickey!) from a Sontaran, saves Luke from being run over because he’s too busy chatting on his mobile, gives Donna a winning lottery ticket after going back in time to cadge a pound off her dad (as of course he doesn’t carry money around) and visits Rose before she’s even met him, almost regenerating outside Rose’s block of flats, but he just makes it into the TARDIS and oh he doesn’t want to go, he doesn’t want to regenerate, so different from Christopher Eccleston’s regeneration where he goes out on a blaze of glory. David Tennant was just brilliant, playing the Doctor’s pain at going. And Matt Smith? You know I wasn’t sure when I first heard about him, but just from those last few minutes, I think he’ll be ok.

And of course there is that trailer, I think Russell T Davies has left the show in good hands, which of course, being Stephen Moffat’s hands, are brilliant and it looks like (from the trailer) that Moffat could not resist bringing back his weeping angels, which will be excellent, check out this added weeping angel bonus also on the Doctor Who website at the moment. Can’t wait and Spring, that could be just a few months!

Tennant’s Hamlet on the BBC

I was lucky enough to see David Tennant’s Hamlet when he was on stage in Stratford, it was an amazing experience, the majority of the cast were fantastic, the stage simple but incredibly effective, great costumes, definitely the best Shakespeare play I’ve seen. So I’ve been looking forward to the same cast reprising the play for the BBC and it did not disappoint and although it lacked some of the direct electricity of the actors onstage in front of you (I still remember that scene where Hamlet breaks down the first time, I literally felt like I were intruding, so raw I almost couldn’t watch). But the TV version managed to be almost as atmospheric, aided by some great sets that extended upon what we had already seen on stage and the same costumes. And the director managed to use the fact that it was now on TV to his advantage to, indulging in lots of grief ridden close ups of David Tennant acting his socks off and having scenes on stair cases and the graveyard scene actually outside what very well could have been an actual church. The scene between Hamlet and his mother where he can see the ghost and she can’t, the camera work cutting between her viewpoint and Hamlet’s, so at one point she’s sitting on the bed alone and the next Patrick Stewart is there with her, was deliciously spooky, specially the bit when the ghost touched the Queen’s hair and in the next shot the Queen is flicking at nothing. They also used a ‘device’ throughout the play that would have been impossible on stage, by changing through which camera we literally saw the action, whether it be a castle security camera or later on Hamlet’s own cine camera. The cine camera in particular brought the scene with the players in front of the King, alive with a depth only possible if you’d been up there on stage yourself.

I sadly don’t get to see much Shakespeare, so it would be nice if the RSC and the BBC were to repeat this experience for other plays.

But for now, if you haven’t seen it and you’re in the UK, it’ll be on iPlayer for a while, watch it (if you have 3 hours 5 minutes to spare).

Christmas TV

Today’s Christmas TV has been The Gruffalo, Doctor Who and ok it wasn’t actually on today but it was on my DVR, the last episode of Defying Gravity.

The Gruffalo

A half hour, pretty darn close adaptation of The Gruffalo on the BBC (so go watch it on the iPlayer now if you haven’t seen it) was absolutely excellent. The animation, although different was very faithful to the original artwork, set in the most beautiful yet incredibly dark and dangerous forest. The script was dark and dangerous to, as we followed the mouse on his walk through the wood, countless cute little bugs and beasties were getting eaten, this was no Disney version. My two were watching it transfixed, although by the time the Gruffalo appeared Boy Lacer hurriedly scrambled whimpering into the nearest adult’s lap for safety and then carried on being transfixed.

Doctor Who – The End of Time part I

Hmmm, I’m not sure I liked this one too much, it’s like everytime Russell T Davies gets to write the Master he goes too OTT (and yes I know Doctor Who is OTT sometimes but there can be too much). So the initial scenes with the Master and his cronies in the prison, it was like watching another TV show or possibly the Sarah Jane Adventures. But when Bernard Cribbons came back on the scene and him and the Doctor meet each other, then it was back to the old magic. David Tennant was just brilliant when him and Cribbins were in the cafe and he was asking Cribbins “Just who are you?” and the scene later between Tennant and the Master was good to, when the Doctor heard the beat in the Master’s head. But the scenes with Naismith (sp?) and his daughter was just too pantomime baddie. And the mysterious narrator was just annoying until that not that surprising when you think about it, big reveal. I have a feeling though (or is it a hope?) the Tennant’s final episode will still be amazing.

Defying Gravity

I was really sad to see the final ever episode of Defying Gravity, the cut too soon sci-fi show following a group of astronauts both in present day on board their space ship on a grand six year tour of the solar system and in flash back with their training. There was some really good character interactions, as you would get in such a claustrophobic situation and a good plot line involving some mysterious hallucination forming fractal objects that may be alien, may be God, who knows? I particularly liked this guy on the left, the brave heroic slightly screwed up pilot.

Shown on ABC in the US (where apparently they didn’t even get to see the last few episodes) and the BBC in the UK  where they pushed it to a later and later time slot, it didn’t get picked up for a second series, which is a shame, but I guess sci-fi isn’t the majority’s cup of tea.

The Waters of Mars

waters of mars

You know, I sort of like having just the Doctor Who specials instead of a series just because the level of excitement and anticipation before each special, it’s like having Christmas early. Plus they seem to put so much more extra welly into each episode and this episode, The Waters of Mars, had lots of extra welly. Great premise, an event that the Doctor just can’t change, water zombies, a great scary script with lots of typical Russell T Davies bits (and that ending with the Captain), which I will so miss and top class acting from David Tennant, playing the Doctor going slightly mad (as would you wouldn’t you, eventually, the last of your species, that much power over life and death?). It’s all working out towards an explosive Christmas special (and is that Donna I saw in the trailer!) and I have a feeling that Davies and Moffat have been talking to each other, using these last few episodes to set up possibly a tantalizingly much darker Doctor, now that would be good.

Now don’t forget Dreamland starting 21st November on the red button and online.