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Simon Harries
London
Interests: Dr Who, vintage TV, antiques
Recent Activity
The Doc is evasive at the best of times, imagine how he felt about being interrogated by a teenager while crawling backwards at speed along a duct. He probably didn't want to say, "SHUT UP AND AND KEEP MOVING!" so he just said, "507!" Whatever may have been said in The Deadly Assassin, in The War Games the Doctor himself says that Time Lords can live forever barring accidents, ie. they're immortal.
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I sat in a London pub watching this episode, spellbound and in the company of at least thirty other "specialists". I empathise with Paul about experiencing flushes of giddy enthusiasm because I had several during this episode; they may have been the result of spending the whole afternoon beforehand sitting in the sun drinking, but I prefer to think that they were my genuine response to Moffat's astonishing, poignant, bonkers season finale. Quite frankly, I LOVED this episode. It was a delight to see so much frantic messing around with time and all the wonderful possibilities for hilarious mischief-making that it brought; the hilarity suddenly turning to horror and sadness; the Doctor's vigil by Amy's bedside; the thought that he'd be trapped on the wrong side of the crack and never have existed - that he would have saved all of time and space, yet again, and no-one in creation would ever have known; the wonderful wedding sequence as the Doctor turns up wearing "this old thing"; the dancing; the prospect of more adventures with River Song still to come and perhaps even their wedding... Terrific! There were one or two moments when I was puzzled of course - and it occurred to me on several occasions to wonder what The Not-We would have made of the twists and turns - but not once did the episode leave me feeling angry. That's a first for me, when I think of my reactions to the confusions and anomalies in previous big-league Nu-Who episodes and series finales. For once, this was a season which I enjoyed almost in its entirety; ok maybe three or four less interesting episodes in the mix, but that's so cool! Even the less interesting ones were streets ahead in terms of quality and - of course - having a brilliant Doctor in them in the persona of Matt Smith, than the less interesting ones in previous years... I wish they'd found a use in this episode for the beautiful and poignant piano music, used twice in The Eleventh Hour (when young Amy looks at the just-crashed TARDIS, and later when adult Amy steps inside it for the very first time) also in Flesh & Stone. That would have been very nice to hear again. Hopefully it will turn up on a forthcoming soundtrack CD, track-listed as "Amy's Theme". Still, Murray Gold's music was pretty damned exceptional in this episode and, better still, was mixed at just the right volume so I could hear all the dialogue properly :-) The only irritation came straight after transmission, when it was explained to me that there would be hundreds of fans who would have hated the episode simply because Omega didn't turn up at the end... FFS! This is the same irritation I felt in 2006 when two or three real specialists insisted to me that the giant demon chained up in The Satan Pit was obviously Sutekh because he spoke with the voice of Gabriel Woolfe. "You can't prove it wasn't Sutekh," they carped at me. "They must have cast Woolfe for a reason..." Better for me to sigh and roll my eyes skywards than pay serious attention to the conspiracy theories of specialists. I am quite happy to savour the anticipation of finding out whose sinister voice could be heard in the TARDIS and who was presumably the cause of its explosion. Hopefully that will happen at Christmas or at some point in the new series...
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Oh dear, that's what comes of writing directly into the web page rather than composing something useful elsewhere and pasting it in. Apologies for the grammatical errors there; proof that people who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones when commenting on the writing of others...
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All intriguing points. I thought it was more of a giant frightened blind alien space turkey, than a giant frightened blind alien space chicken. I've watched it once yesterday, in company possessed of very vocal displeasure. I have to say that I wasn't keen but I will watch it again, alone, before I make up my mind about it. My main issue yesterday was that we have spent nine weeks growing used to the new Doctor and his particular way of speaking - which is perhaps more to the credit of Matt Smith than the writers, but those writers did at least seem to be creating dialogue in a particular style for the Doctor and Matt delivered it in a particular way. Some of his phrases, some of the way he veils his true meanings. Somewhere or other, I've even seen this style labelled as 'Edwardian' (?) Yet this week, it didn't seem to me to be the same Doctor. He had become much more 'on the nose' in his choice of words, so much more literal and 'say what we're seeing'. The dialogue could have done with being more subtle. Curran and Nighy gave terrific performances, of course and I did enjoy Nighy's heartfelt assessment of Van Gogh's works. Other than that, I have very mixed feelings about the various trips to the gallery; the Doctor and Amy had altruistic hopes for boosting Van Gogh's self esteem but did they, in fact, worsen it and set his mind on course for suicide...? Anyway, I need to watch it again.
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I should think Stevie Moff was enjoying himself, writing a final scene like that, just to wind up some of the fans. I'm looking forward to finding out how this Smoochy Smoochy business resolves itself in episode 6 - if not others! I must also thank you very much for creating such literate reviews of the episodes. All this professorial analysis has lead me to experience some welcome eschatological visions of my own. Long may these mind-expanding articles continue!
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River Song said to the Cleric-in-Chief, "Don't worry, I'm not going back to prison," which I only picked up on my third viewing this afternoon... (I never normally watch these more than twice, but fancied this one a lot, and I followed it with a viewing of Blink too!) An intriguing line, and it had me wondering about her being up to no good. Of course, I could be "doing a Shearman" here. He was once cited in Dr Who Monthly many years ago - not by name - as the foolish fanzine reviewer who slated The King's Demons after he misheard the Doctor's line, "You can't approve" as "You can't have proof." Perhaps my hearing's going and River Song actually said, "I'm not going back to Portsmouth.."
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Great review, although "Broadsword calling Danny Boy" is surely a reference to "Where Eagles Dare", rather than "The Dam Busters" or "633 Squadron"?
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I suppose it's understandable, if not necessarily forgivable, that Lalla should come across as hoity-toity. She is The Honourable Sarah Ward and so one might expect her to adopt an 'aloof toff' persona when dealing with the more plebeian classes. It's a shame they didn't bung on that 1980 edition of "Ask Aspel", which features Lalla as the studio guest and to whom Aspel makes frequent recourse with questions from enthusiastic child viewers. "Nine year-old Martin Horton from Poole asks just how scary it is for Tom Baker to work with you in real life?" The featured clip is of Lalla in action in "CFTP", the "Good Boy K9" wolf-weed scene in episode 1; a tenuous reason for inclusion but where else will it go now that Nimon and Eden are probably well on their way...?
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The title sequence itself is fairy tale-like, which seems appropriate considering the supposed ethos of this series; as one tumbles down this strange aperture one feels rather like a character in a Lewis Carroll story. One might have expected a revised title theme that owes something to Danny Elfman, but I'm afraid this new ditty is, to quote Prisoner Zero, "Such a disappointment". I won't bang on about my hatred of it because, other than this, I loved the episode. It was beautiful, charming, funny and quirky, magical, provoking feelings of wonderment in me; it all came as a mighty relief after the Christmas/New Year specials through which I sat for the most part tutting - except when Bernard was on... So I'm more excited than ever before about what is to come over the next twelve weeks. Matt and Karen rock! Plus they'll soon be sharing the screen with one of my favourite actors, Bill Nighy. Brilliant!!
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Neil's essay gathers together all my outstanding thoughts - the fall from the sky onto marble not being fatal, Rassilon's presence, the undeveloped "over-developed Ood" thread, who was Claire Bloom etc. Somewhere else online, I noticed someone make an amusing comment, that when Gallifrey was burning through the skies towards the Earth, and all the residents of Chiswick were running around in a panic, it would have been nice to see one of them tutting, "not again!" and going back indoors... In spite of all that, I was much less irritated by this half of the story than the first. It did kind of work for me. The only time I welled up was during the scene on the spaceship, when the Doctor and Wilf are having their moment. "I wish you had been my father..." etc. My eyes were moist indeed. If one forgets about all the irritants, perhaps by "Doing a Hadoke" and saying "they don't count," you can focus on the two most amazing aspects of this whole story: the performances of Tennant & Cribbins. Yet Bernard is so totally magnificent, he practically steals every scene he's in. How brilliant was he, at the controls of the laser canon? How poignant, in his shower cabinet? I nearly welled up again, watching his final moments in the wedding scene, blowing a little kiss to the departing doctor. I didn't like the 20minute epilogue. I was happy with the wedding part of it, because it tied up a thread explored in part one of End of Time - a happy ending for Donna and her new fiance and the resolution of their parlous financial state; that alone would have been a magnificent epilogue. Throwing in all the rest of the characters was unnecessary and, for me, unwelcome. Yes, even the best one involving Jessica Hynes. In Confidential, RTD explains why he did it, and as we went through all those moments, step by step, maybe it did seem justified - but that means it was all about RTD. As a fan, I'm hugely grateful to RTD for everything he and his magnificent team have done over the last five or six years, but for that to break in on screen...? Bah! "Time for my reward!" Did anyone see RTD popping up in The Story of Are You Being Served, on BBC2 at the same time as Who yesterday? He was The Token Homosexual Expert, there to contextualise Mr Humphries for noughties viewers. Some corking observations about TV production and writers running out of steam, which will really ought to be taken out of context and utilised by a satirical podcast... ;-) I am so excited by the Coming Soon trailer and I really am leaping up and down with glee, at the prospect of our new Who, Matt Smith and his doll-like hair! Roll on Spring!
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"Like being in a car crash with a celebrity - you imagine you might end up best of friends with them" Well you'd know all about that, wouldn't you?! ;-)
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Incidentally, I still find some episodes of Mind Your Language amusing. So nobody should be surprised by my finding Lee Evans' performance a highlight of the episode.
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It held my attention... I enjoyed the performances of Michelle Ryan, also Lee Evans and his cod Welsh accent... I liked the Giant Robot joke. Some lovely alien planet shots. Reasonably entertaining, yes. But nothing terribly new or exciting, more of a stop gap...
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This is all very exciting isn't it? Especially now I've actually read the thread properly and seen how to fix my avatar.
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This all seems quite sensible, although I have yet to work out where and how I can behave like a fuckin' skoolkid and create an avatar...
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