Monday, 1 December 2008

BBC One Christmas 2008 Drama Preview

There's a helluva lot of good TV on this Christmas, and most of it's on the BBC. This one-minute trail features clips from all their big drama highlights, most notably Doctor Who, a new version of The 39 Steps, and a return for Jonathan Creek. Hurrah!

Watch it here.

Some of BBC One's other Christmas highlights, not in the trailer, include a Gavin & Stacey special, a documentary for Blackadder's 25th anniversary, Blackadder Rides Again (one can only hope a decent & complete DVD set is to follow), and a new Hitchcock-inspired Wallace & Gromit, A Matter of Loaf & Death.

Plus, on BBC Four, there's Crooked House, which sounds brilliant. Read a whole feature on it here.


1x06 (1/12/08 edition)

1x03 The Line
The problem with Clone is, it's a sitcom, but it's not terribly funny. It is terribly dated though. If it'd been made in the '70s it would probably be a classic. Or totally forgotten.

The Graham Norton Show
4x09 (27/11/08 edition, uncut repeat)

The Sarah Jane Adventures
2x08 The Mark of the Beserker Part Two
Only running two weeks behind...

Survivors [2008]
1x02 Episode 2
The problem with Survivors is, it's full of stock characters stuck in cliched stories. It does pretty much exactly what you'd expect it to do, usually exactly when you'd expect it to do it, and with the exact lines you'd imagine too. Oh dear oh dear. Hopefully things will improve or it'll be a waste of such a good first part.

DVD Extras

a variety of extras from Doctor Who: The Complete Fourth Series, including:

BBC Trailers (Disc 1)
Ooh, I love the Voyage of the Damned trailers, especially the long cinema one. I hope there's one to come this year...

David Tennant's Video Diaries (Part 1)
David Tennant and Julie Gardner -- with Phil Collinson and Russell T Davies on the phone! -- get a police escort into Blackpool to turn on the illuminations. Brilliant!

Deleted Scenes: Voyage of the Damned
It's funny watching the deleted scenes -- they're all pre-filmising, so the picture's all video-y, and with studio sound only... which means they really, really look and sound like classic Who. A very odd experience.

Deleted Scenes: Howard Attfield
Howard Attfield originally reprised his role fromThe Runaway Bride as Donna's dad, filling Wilf's part. However, the actor was too ill to continue filming and sadly passed away shortly after completing these scenes for episode one.

Deleted Scenes: Journey's End
Including an alternate ending that, frankly, belongs deleted. Though obviously it also belongs on DVD for everyone to see.

the start of The Journey (So Far)
Woah, it's surprisingly weird seeing Eccleston as the Doctor again. Not watched any of his eps for years. It's funny to remember how uncertain everyone was if Tennant could follow in his shoes, whereas now, for me, he's virtually wiped Eccleston from memory.

+ commentary snippets
The Doctor Who team are an engaging lot y'know -- I listened to the start of every commentary to hear who the participants were and, out of curiosity, to see how chatty they were, then wound up listening to several minutes of them! On Journey's End it was over 20 minutes before I finally turned it off again.

I really ought to go listen to all the commentaries, though I'm now obviously 55 episodes behind! And there's another 40 commentaries if you count the podcast ones.

Actually, there's a point to be made here: the VotD commentary on this set is a new one, the first time they've done that for the DVD (the other two Christmas specials duplicated the online commentaries, while the remaining episodes had different podcast and DVD commentaries). But the DVD has Russell Tovey (who played the relatively minor role of Midshipman Frame), Murray Gold (who does the music), and Peter Bennett (the first assistant director. Yes, really.) I'm sure they're all lovely people with interesting things to say, but that line-up just doesn't compare to the podcast's Dream Team of Russell T Davies, Phil Collinson and Julie Gardner. When the DVD is the one you pay for and the online ones a nice bonus, surely the better commentary should be on the disc?

At least the online ones are all still online, but, as I've thought since series two, surely there would be room on the discs to squeeze in an extra commentary track for each ep? I know we shouldn't complain -- as I said, they're all still available online for free, and most TV shows don't manage a single commentary for every episode never mind two! -- but... well, why not, hm?


Casino Royale by Ian Fleming
Chapters 17 - 18 [2nd read]
The first of these chapters, titled 'My Dear Boy', is probably the novel's most famous. Yep, it's the torture scene! For one of my MA modules we have to write a piece in the style of another writer.

No, I'm not doing Fleming; rather, a few years ago, a certain Hollywood writer-director expressed an interest in doing a version of Casino Royale. Personally, I'd've loved to have seen it -- though it would've been very different to the version we got and, perhaps, in the long-run, that was better -- so I've run with the idea and decided to do the novel's most infamous scene in his style. He wanted to set it in the '50s, and I believe he would've done a reasonably faithful job, but for the purposes of this exercise I'm taking his usual style and applying that.

I'll probably post the result at some point, hence why I've not mentioned the guy's name (though some will work it out) -- it's just more fun if you don't know.

Poem of the Day: Ode Written on the First of December

by Robert Southey

Welcome to a week of poems about December, seeing as it's December.

Today's first poem is by English Romantic poet Robert Southey, hence a preoccupation with nature. I must admit to not being entirely convinced by the content of this one, but the title was far too appropriate to resist (for obvious reasons) and there are definitely some good lines.

Tho' now no more the musing ear
Delights to listen to the breeze
That lingers o'er the green wood shade,
I love thee Winter! well.

Sweet are the harmonies of Spring,
Sweet is the summer's evening gale,
Pleasant the autumnal winds that shake
The many-colour'd grove.

And pleasant to the sober'd soul
The silence of the wintry scene,
When Nature shrouds her in her trance

Not undelightful now to roam
The wild heath sparkling on the sight;
Not undelightful now to pace
The forest's ample rounds;

And see the spangled branches shine,
And mark the moss of many a hue
That varies the old tree's brown bark,
Or o'er the grey stone spreads.

The cluster'd berries claim the eye
O'er the bright hollies gay green leaves,
The ivy round the leafless oak
Clasps its full foliage close.

So VIRTUE diffident of strength
Clings to RELIGION'S firmer aid,
And by RELIGION'S aid upheld
Endures calamity.

Nor void of beauties now the spring,
Whose waters hid from summer sun
Have sooth'd the thirsty pilgrim's ear
With more than melody.

The green moss shines with icey glare,
The long grass bends its spear-like form,
And lovely is the silvery scene
When faint the sunbeams smile.

Reflection too may love the hour
When Nature, hid in Winter's grave,
No more expands the bursting bud
Or bids the flowret bloom.

For Nature soon in Spring's best charms
Shall rise reviv'd from Winter's grave.
Again expand the bursting bud,
And bid the flowret bloom.

Personally, I don't like Spring.

Tomorrow, some Keats.