Saturday, 31 January 2009


Eurovision: Your Country Needs You
Episode 5 (of 5)
In which the person who will inevitably lose this year's Eurovision for us was chosen, and it was... oh, darn it, I've forgotten. They all sang the song the same anyway, despite the judges insisting they all "made it their own". What a load of twaddle.
Despite our protestations, we've still won Eurovision more times than anyone else... or possibly exactly the same times as someone else... still, we're either first or joint first.
[Watch it (again) on iPlayer.]

Friday Night With Jonathan Ross
16x02 (30/1/09 edition)
[Watch it (again) on iPlayer.]

Friday, 30 January 2009


Broken Saints
Chapter 15 Tempest

Lark Rise to Candleford
2x05 Episode 5
[Watch it (again) on iPlayer.]

Not Going Out
3x01 Pregnant
I remember, when Not Going Out started, being worried it wouldn't even make it to a second series; but here's the third, and there was a Christmas special to boot! (Research reveals that was Christmas 2007, and there hasn't been a series since. God, time flies -- I didn't think it was this year, but it also doesn't feel like almost 13 months since it was last on. I must be getting old...)
Anyway, the quality seems to have stepped back up too (the second series wasn't half as good as the first). Incredibly traditional sitcom? Undoubtedly. Some jokes predictable? Yes. But it's still hilarious, so does that matter? Not a jot.
[Watch it (again) on iPlayer.]


Watchmen: Tales of the Black Freighter (R1/US BD) in March by Dave Foster
(from DVD Times)
So, this isn't the UK release, but oh, look, Watchmen is most surely on its way now! Also very nice to note is the stylistic similarity between the cover for this and the also-recently-announced DVD/BD of The Complete Motion Comic -- hopefully the eventual release of the film (and the already-promised extended re-release) will also follow this design.

Watchmen: The End is Nigh
(from Wikipedia)
In other Watchmen news, some info on the video game (and as it's from Wikipedia, it'll always be up-to-date -- hurrah!)

Poem of the Week: Lenore

by Edgar Allan Poe

Yep, it's Poe again. However, there's a good reason. You may've noticed Lenore mentioned in last week's poem. Well, here's an earlier poem by Poe that may or may not bear some relation...

Ah, broken is the golden bowl! the spirit flown forever!
Let the bell toll! — a saintly soul floats on the Stygian river,
And, Guy De Vere, hast thou no tear? — weep now or never more!
See! on yon drear and rigid bier low lies thy love, Lenore!
Come! let the burial rite be read — the funeral song be sung! —
An anthem for the queenliest dead that ever died so young —
A dirge for her the doubly dead in that she died so young.

"Wretches! ye loved her for her wealth and hated her for her pride,
"And when she fell in feeble health, ye blessed her — that she died!
"How shall the ritual, then, be read? — the requiem how be sung
"By you — by yours, the evil eye, — by yours, the slanderous tongue
"That did to death the innocence that died, and died so young?"

Peccavimus; but rave not thus! and let a Sabbath song
Go up to God so solemnly the dead may feel no wrong!
The sweet Lenore hath "gone before," with Hope, that flew beside,
Leaving thee wild for the dear child that should have been thy bride —
For her, the fair and debonair, that now so lowly lies,
The life upon her yellow hair but not within her eyes —
The life still there, upon her hair — the death upon her eyes.

"Avaunt! to-night my heart is light. No dirge will I upraise,
"But waft the angel on her flight with a Pæan of old days!
"Let no bell toll! — lest her sweet soul, amid its hallowed mirth,
"Should catch the note, as it doth float — up from the damnéd Earth.
"To friends above, from fiends below, the indignant ghost is riven —
"From Hell unto a high estate far up within the Heaven —
"From moan and groan, to a golden throne, beside the King of Heaven."

Lenore was revised many times throughout Poe's life, and consequently there an unbelievably large number of variations out there. This, to the best of my knowledge, is his final version, published in August 1845. For the first, published February 1843, look here.

In fact, the very first version was published in 1831, as A Pæan, and is considered so different from the finished product that they're both usually published in anthologies.

You can learn even more about Lenore over at the ever-reliable Wikipedia.

Thursday, 29 January 2009


Broken Saints
Chapter 14 Harbingers

A Short Stay in Switzerland
To be brutally honest, it wasn't always the best-written drama. But Julie Walters' performance was brilliant, of course, and that coupled with the well-handled later scenes -- plus the fact that it's all true -- made for a powerful piece nonetheless. An important addition to the debate if nothing else.
[Watch it (again) on iPlayer.]

Films / Websites

Ace Ventura Jr.: Pet Detective Official Site
Oh dear God no.
Surely this semi-ancient franchise doesn't need reviving at all, and certainly not in this horrendous form?! It's been fifteen years since the first film -- kids born after it was released are too old to watch this! Damn you for introducing younger impressionable youths to this, video and DVD! Damn you!


Doctor Who filming disrupted as double decker bus wrecked by Ben Leach, from
Doctor's double decker wrecker by Colin Robertson, from The Sun
It's an interesting story 'n' all (and you can see two pics of the extent of the damage here), but even more interesting are these two stories about it. Two very different papers, with very different audiences, and completely different authors, but the articles are almost identical -- and, by the end, they're virtually word-for-word the same.

Film Review of 2008 by Roger Keen
(from Video Vista)
"Hellboy II: The Golden Army... was a bit simplistic and comic-bookish". A comic book adaptation having a comic-bookish plot? My God, what's the world coming to?! (Don't bother reading the rest of the article, it's almost all that bad.)

K9 Production Latest by John Bowman
(from The Doctor Who News Page)
All the latest on the forthcoming non-BBC Doctor Who spin-off, now known simply as K9. It actually sounds almost promising...

Narnia To Take Off With Fox
(from Studio Briefing)
"Following Disney's decision not to co-finance the next Chronicles of Narnia feature, 20th Century Fox plans to partner with Walden Media to make the movie. Variety reported that the film, Voyage of the Dawn Treader, will have a production budget of $140 million -- far less than the $215 million that last year's Prince Caspian cost. Nevertheless, the Los Angeles Times commented today that while the budget is much lower than Caspian, "it's still a big gamble.""

New pornography laws 'could make comic books illegal', say campaigners by Jon Swaine
Sounds kinda silly -- and it is, a bit -- but it also has a point. Damn Government.

Wednesday, 28 January 2009


Broken Saints
Chapter 13 Insertion
After another two week gap (thanks to work), it's on with the second half of the story... (Though, as mentioned previously, in length terms halfway is still a little way off.)
Still as pretentious as they come, but at least the story's moving now.

The Secret Life of Elephants
Part 3 (of 3)
[Watch it (again) on iPlayer.]


Broadband Won't Replace HD Discs Soon, Says Report
(from Studio Briefing)
"Although many experts are predicting that the ability to 'rent' or buy movies via the Internet will result in the demise of DVDs and Blu-ray discs, new research... indicates that Blu-ray sales alone are expected to increase... to $2.9 billion. At the same time, cable video-on-demand and broadband will generate only $1.5 billion in revenue... The problem, experts agreed, is inherent in broadband services -- the virtual impossibility of delivering 1080p high-definition content to customers given the limitations of the Internet."
Said so. Not necessarily for those reasons (or those reasons alone), but I did say so.

Tuesday, 27 January 2009


The Sandbaggers
2x06 Operation Kingmaker [season finale]
After last season's dramatic life-or-death finale this one might seem a little low-key and office-bound. But the political wrangling is in full force, and there's an awful lot at stake should Burnside lose (again).


The eight drivers behind Top Gear stunt driver The Stig's famous racing whites by Richard Simpson
(from Mail Online)
So last week one was (allegedly) revealed, then it was revealed there were actually four drivers, and now there are apparently eight -- and all named. And at no point has the journalist wondered if someone might be pulling his leg by this point -- especially as he writes for the Daily Mail?

The joke's on Ricky Gervais as he reveals his father 'may have been drunk' when he filled in his birth certificate
(from Mail Online)
And revealing even more than is comfortable, really.
And Christ, the Mail has overlong headlines, doesn't it?

Review of Tropic Thunder 3-disc Director's Cut DVD by James Gray
(from DVD Times)

This year's Best Picture Oscar nominees are: Frost/Nixon, Milk, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, The Reader, and Slumdog Millionaire. How many of these movies have you seen? (poll results)
(from IMDb)
While the poll hasn't closed as of this posting, the majority of likely votes are in. Rather unsurprisingly, over 46% haven't seen any, while under 20% have even managed to see three or more.

Also, see the Tintin film press release here.

Tintin announcement

Paramount Pictures and Sony Pictures Entertainment Announce the January 26 Start of Principal Photography on the 3D Motion Capture Feature The Adventures of Tintin: Secret of the Unicorn Directed by Steven Spielberg and Starring Jamie Bell and Daniel Craig
(press release, published at

Ah, press release titles! But oh so promising:

"The Adventures of Tintin: Secret of the Unicorn, directed by Steven Spielberg and starring Jamie Bell (Billy Elliot, Defiance) as Tintin, the intrepid young reporter whose relentless pursuit of a good story thrusts him into a world of high adventure, and Daniel Craig (Quantum of Solace, Defiance) as the nefarious Red Rackham."

Shame to lose young Thomas Sangster (Love Actually, Doctor Who: Human Nature/The Family of Blood) as Tintin, but there you go.

"Bell and Craig are joined by an international cast that includes Andy Serkis, Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Gad Elmaleh, Toby Jones and Mackenzie Crook... screenplay by Steven Moffat [hurray!], Edgar Wright [surprise!] and Joe Cornish [well, I never...], is produced by Spielberg, Peter Jackson and Kathleen Kennedy" -- all good also.

It "is the first in the series of 3D motion capture films based on the iconic character... and is due for release in 2011... The second feature in the series is scheduled to be directed by Jackson, with a potential for a third film as well."

It will be most intriguing to see if, as it's 3D mo-cap, they keep anything of the actors' features, or just turn them all into 3D versions of their comic counterparts (the latter might be an especially good idea for Pegg and Frost's characters...)

Monday, 26 January 2009

Sunday, 25 January 2009


1x02 The Mad Woman in the Attic Part 2
Ah, proper intelligent drama. Despite what some people would have you believe, we do still get stuff this good on TV these days, it's just rare... as rare as it surely was back then, I'm certain.
[Watch it (again) on ITV Player.]

6x05 France (extended edition)
"We've invaded Britain. LOL." "O.M.G."
[Watch it (again) on iPlayer.]


ITV Stockwell drama draws just 1.4m by Neil Wilkes
(from Digital Spy)
"A one-off drama based on the shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes pulled in just 1.4 million viewers to ITV1... Stockwell, recreating the controversial chain of events leading to de Menezes' death at Stockwell tube station in July 2005, pulled in just 1.39m... ITV was beaten by all other terrestrial channels over the period, including Five, which enjoyed an audience of 2.1m for Wesley Snipes thriller movie The Contractor." Ha, how pitiful! Clearly they misjudged people's interest there then.

New Skins pulls in 833,000 by Neil Wilkes
(from Digital Spy)
"The third series of the teen drama, which introduced an almost entirely new cast, averaged 665k [with] an additional 169k on E4+1. The figures are down around a third on the premiere of series two, which managed 1.06m and 237k... The first series premiered to 1.48m." Oh dear oh dear. Or, alternatively, oh yes oh yes!

Ross sparks new row with 'OAP sex joke' by Daniel Kilkelly
(from Digital Spy)
Note how DS report this fuss over nothing (no, it really really is this time), but haven't bothered to mention that:

Ross TV return is watched by 5.1m
(from BBC News)
"Ross's last chat show in October before his suspension was watched by 3.74m."
Double ha!

Saturday, 24 January 2009


1x03 Saving Grace
"You can't smite your way into Luke's heart." Yep, dialogue doesn't get any better than this.
[Watch it (again) on ITV Player.]

Eurovision: Your Country Needs You
Episode 4 (of 5)
It's the semi-final! Already! Considering how most TV 'talent' contests sprawl out to the length of an American TV season these days, I suppose we should be thankful that this is so incredibly -- and, let's be honest, mercifully -- short.
[Watch it (again) on iPlayer.]

Friday Night With Jonathan Ross
16x01 (23/1/09 edition)
Hurrah, he's back! With a pleasantly long opening applause from the audience and, if you ask me, just the right degree of apologising and making light of things. Sachs' family can sod right off at this point. Asking Tom Cruise about breaking wind clearly shows he's not toned it back completely (even if, at times like that, I'd rather he had). All things considered, a fairly triumphant return, if you ask me.
[Watch it (again) on iPlayer.]

Gilmore Girls
5x18 To Live and Let Diorama
Woah, sudden-time-jump-catch-up-with-events-through-snatches-of-conversation-tastic! A technique that should not be done too often, I feel -- I seriously thought we'd accidentally skipped an episode.

Part 1 (of 2)
Part 2 (of 2)
The pair of detectives from Five Days are back -- there just part of a large ensemble cast, here the leads in a new mystery. Quite what inspired this I don't know, but inspired it is, because Hugh Bonneville and Janet McTeer are brilliant, and thankfully devoid of most cop show cliches (he shaves! he drives a proper modern car! and so on). The story itself is also suitably unusual. Pray a full series follows.
On an incredibly trivial note, the title credits were very swish -- especially the lovely bit where, after the lead's names, it said "Return"... which then 'unscrambled' itself into "Hunter". Cleverness!
[Watch it (again) on iPlayer.]


Sutherland: '24 movie may be set in UK' by Lara Martin
(from Digital Spy)
Says star Kiefer Sutherland, "we didn't have a really strong audience, it took us a long time to build in the States, whereas the show took off [in Britain] right away... It was the success of the show here in England that allowed us to continue working in the States, until we built up an audience... When we have talked about doing a film, which will take place after the series has finished, England has always been a part of that discussion." Whoo!
Also in this article: "The eighth and final season is scheduled to begin filming later this year." "Final"? Hadn't heard that before. I knew an eighth was commissioned, but that by no means it's "final" -- most US TV is commissioned year-by-year anyhow. As DS cites no sources, and they're hardly the world's (or even the country's) greatest journalists, I'll take this with a pinch of salt til I see confirmation.

Sachs's daughter blasts Jonathan Ross by Daniel Kilkelly
(from Digital Spy)
Sachs doesn't like Ross; but he's moved on. His family can't seem to let go. Please, your time in the limelight is over, so just sod off you stupid cow.

Friday, 23 January 2009


1x01 The Mad Woman in the Attic Part 1
I never really thought I'd be grateful for the existence of ITV3, but, thanks to them, I'm finally getting to see Cracker (having only previously caught the 2006 special).
Directed by Michael Winterbottom -- he who would go on to make the likes of Jude, 24 Hour Party People and 9 Songs -- it starts off looking much more like a film than a TV drama, which is especially exceptional for 1993. It's also engrossingly written, justifying all the praise that surrounds it, though in an age where every TV cop has some kind of emotional/home life issue, the amount of time spent focussing on Fitz's gambling/drinking/marriage is a bit irritating at times.
[Watch it (again) on ITV Player.]

Gilmore Girls
5x17 Pulp Friction


No Country For Old Men (2007)
[#5 in 100 Films in a Year 2009]
We watched most of this in a seminar today, making it from beginning to end in an hour and a half, including pauses for discussion -- and it's a two-hour film. As most will surely agree, this isn't the ideal way to first see a film, so I felt duty-bound to sit down and watch it properly this evening. (So I guess this is kinda "1.5 watches"...)
Reviews are shockingly behind at 100 Films, so lord only knows when this'll turn up there.

Poem of the Week: The Raven

by Edgar Allan Poe

Having skipped a week (oops; but I've been busy!), Poem of the Week is merrily back now (obviously). And it's also one week out of date, as watching Vincent last week made me want to post this.

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore,
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
"'Tis some visitor", I muttered, "tapping at my chamber door —
            Only this, and nothing more."

Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December,
And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor.
Eagerly I wished the morrow; — vainly I had sought to borrow
From my books surcease of sorrow — sorrow for the lost Lenore —
For the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore —
            Nameless here for evermore.

And the silken sad uncertain rustling of each purple curtain
Thrilled me — filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before;
So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating,
"'Tis some visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door —
Some late visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door; —
            This it is, and nothing more."

Presently my soul grew stronger; hesitating then no longer,
"Sir," said I, "or Madam, truly your forgiveness I implore;
But the fact is I was napping, and so gently you came rapping,
And so faintly you came tapping, tapping at my chamber door,
That I scarce was sure I heard you" — here I opened wide the door; —
            Darkness there, and nothing more.

Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing,
Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before;
But the silence was unbroken, and the stillness gave no token,
And the only word there spoken was the whispered word, "Lenore?"
This I whispered, and an echo murmured back the word, "Lenore!" —
            Merely this, and nothing more.

Back into the chamber turning, all my soul within me burning,
Soon again I heard a tapping somewhat louder than before.
"Surely," said I, "surely that is something at my window lattice:
Let me see, then, what thereat is, and this mystery explore —
Let my heart be still a moment and this mystery explore; —
            'Tis the wind and nothing more."

Open here I flung the shutter, when, with many a flirt and flutter,
In there stepped a stately raven of the saintly days of yore;
Not the least obeisance made he; not a minute stopped or stayed he;
But, with mien of lord or lady, perched above my chamber door —
Perched upon a bust of Pallas just above my chamber door —
            Perched, and sat, and nothing more.

Then this ebony bird beguiling my sad fancy into smiling,
By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance it wore.
"Though thy crest be shorn and shaven, thou," I said, "art sure no craven,
Ghastly grim and ancient raven wandering from the Nightly shore —
Tell me what thy lordly name is on the Night's Plutonian shore!"
            Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore."

Much I marveled this ungainly fowl to hear discourse so plainly,
Though its answer little meaning — little relevancy bore;
For we cannot help agreeing that no living human being
Ever yet was blest with seeing bird above his chamber door —
Bird or beast upon the sculptured bust above his chamber door,
            With such name as "Nevermore."

But the raven, sitting lonely on the placid bust, spoke only
That one word, as if his soul in that one word he did outpour.
Nothing further then he uttered — not a feather then he fluttered —
Till I scarcely more than muttered, "other friends have flown before —
On the morrow he will leave me, as my hopes have flown before."
            Then the bird said, "Nevermore."

Startled at the stillness broken by reply so aptly spoken,
"Doubtless," said I, "what it utters is its only stock and store,
Caught from some unhappy master whom unmerciful Disaster
Followed fast and followed faster till his songs one burden bore —
Till the dirges of his Hope that melancholy burden bore
            Of 'Never — nevermore'."

But the Raven still beguiling all my sad soul into smiling,
Straight I wheeled a cushioned seat in front of bird, and bust and door;
Then upon the velvet sinking, I betook myself to linking
Fancy unto fancy, thinking what this ominous bird of yore —
What this grim, ungainly, ghastly, gaunt and ominous bird of yore
            Meant in croaking "Nevermore."

This I sat engaged in guessing, but no syllable expressing
To the fowl whose fiery eyes now burned into my bosom's core;
This and more I sat divining, with my head at ease reclining
On the cushion's velvet lining that the lamplight gloated o'er,
But whose velvet violet lining with the lamplight gloating o'er,
            She shall press, ah, nevermore!

Then methought the air grew denser, perfumed from an unseen censer
Swung by Seraphim whose footfalls tinkled on the tufted floor.
"Wretch," I cried, "thy God hath lent thee — by these angels he hath sent thee
Respite — respite and nepenthe, from thy memories of Lenore
Quaff, oh quaff this kind nepenthe and forget this lost Lenore!"
            Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore."

"Prophet!" said I, "thing of evil! — prophet still, if bird or devil! —
Whether Tempter sent, or whether tempest tossed thee here ashore,
Desolate yet all undaunted, on this desert land enchanted —
On this home by horror haunted — tell me truly, I implore —
Is there — is there balm in Gilead? — tell me — tell me, I implore!"
            Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore."

"Prophet!" said I, "thing of evil — prophet still, if bird or devil!
By that Heaven that bends above us — by that God we both adore —
Tell this soul with sorrow laden if, within the distant Aidenn,
It shall clasp a sainted maiden whom the angels name Lenore —
Clasp a rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore."
            Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore."

"Be that word our sign in parting, bird or fiend," I shrieked, upstarting —
"Get thee back into the tempest and the Night's Plutonian shore!
Leave no black plume as a token of that lie thy soul hath spoken!
Leave my loneliness unbroken! — quit the bust above my door!
Take thy beak from out my heart, and take thy form from off my door!"
            Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore."

And the Raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting
On the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber door;
And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon's that is dreaming,
And the lamplight o'er him streaming throws his shadow on the floor;
And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor
            Shall be lifted — nevermore!

First published in January 1845. I can't say the following for most poems, but as this is Poe it shouldn't come as too much of a surprise: you can find a surprisingly detailed article on this piece at Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (and font of all knowledge).

If you want, you can also hear the poem read (in two different versions) at Wikisource. However, I should point out that the first one has one of those slight-but-irritating voice impediments (and the accent to go with it), and the second is read by someone from Stuttgart. You may think the German accent goes well with the content, I don't know -- personally, I found it surprisingly apt... mostly... -- but it's worth nothing.

Thursday, 22 January 2009


Gilmore Girls
5x16 So... Good Talk

There's very little going on round these parts at the minute because I've been busy working on a big pile of essays for my Masters. Things should return to normal shortly however, with plenty of TV catching up to do.


24 writers use T-shirts to improve show by Ben Rawson-Jones
(from Digital Spy)
"I walked into the writers' room in the first month or two and they were all wearing T-shirts that said 'Season Six' on them just to remind themselves. So there was definitely a concerted effort to bring it back." Dear God, I hope they've succeeded. I'll find out once I can begin catching up -- five episodes to watch already!

C4, Five beat ITV, BBC in 9pm slot by Neil Wilkes
(from Digital Spy)
Well, I never!
One thing I particularly hate about Digital Spy is their insistence on using US-style headlines. You're British for Christ's sake! "C4 and Five beat ITV and BBC in 9pm slot", thank you very much.

Tarantino confirms new Kill Bill by Simon Reynolds
(from Digital Spy)
No, not Vol.3, but The Whole Bloody Affair -- and about time too!

U2 album cover called "rip-off" by Simon Reynolds
(from Digital Spy)
Bloody U2.

Oh, and the Oscar noms were announced today too. But I'm sure you didn't fail to miss that.

Wednesday, 21 January 2009

Tuesday, 20 January 2009


1x11 (19/1/09 edition)

President Obama: The Inauguration the BBC's coverage dubbed it; it's probably officially known as "The Inauguration of the 44th President of the United States of America", or somesuch.
The BBC had a slightly irritating tendency to natter over bits of the ceremony. Not the most important bits, granted, but not 'nothing' bits either.
[Check out BBC News' full online coverage of the inauguration here. The programme itself should be coming to iPlayer soon.]

Monday, 19 January 2009


Serenity (2005)
[5th watch]
Now that's a gorram good film. Would rather watch this than Star Wars any day. Haven't actually seen it since it was on the big screen, at my uni's cinema society (when I saw it twice, back-to-back) -- the best part of three years ago now!
Oh how I wish they'd make a sequel.

Sunday, 18 January 2009


6x04 Fight or Flight (extended edition)
What's the point in watching the Friday night broadcast when there's an extended one on the next day that's also available on iPlayer? (Well, it was extended on the iPlayer on the telly.)
[Watch it (again) on iPlayer.]


Having a lot of work to do in a very short space of time (12,000 words by next Friday) means one thing: lots of time procrastinating. And the easiest way to procrastinate is reading things on the Internet. So a whole load of articles today -- and these are just the most interesting.

Though, first, some very sad news...

TV presenter Tony Hart dies at 83
(from BBC News)
Who didn't watch at least one Tony Hart-fronted show in their time? (Well, the very young, the elderly, and foreigners, but still.) The BBC have a full obituary here.

On to other news... (Stay tuned til the end for all the juicy goodness.)

Jericho feature in the pipeline by Sarah Rollo
(from Digital Spy)
Aiming to follow the Firefly / Serenity model, I wager. While Jericho's fanbase is dedicated, I doubt it's quite as dedicated as Firefly's was. But we shall see. If it even gets made, that is.

Legal downloads swamped by piracy
(from BBC News)
While legal downloads have increased -- "a 25% rise since last year with downloads now accounting for a fifth of all recorded music sales" -- they're still swamped by the illegal (more relevant to consumers, "free") kind -- "95% of music downloaded online is illegal". To bung some basic maths on that, almost 80% of all music acquired is acquired illegally!

The pre-owned gaming debate by Liam Martin
(from Digital Spy)
I'm not much of a gamer any more, but this is nonetheless an interesting feature on the impact of the sales of pre-owned games on the industry. Occasionally written like a poor student essay ("So far, both sides of the business spectrum have been examined, but what about the consumers?"), it still has some interesting quotes and things to say -- basically, buying pre-owned feels good for the consumer, but it could kill the industry.

And be sure to look here for all today's TV news.

Articles: TV news

Heroes 'will start from scratch'
(from BBC News)
"Heroes is returning to its roots in a bid to turn round falling audience figures in the US. Creator Tim Kring said series four will start "pretty much from scratch", after fans criticised a lack of direction in the second and third series." But then, remember what Kring said before the start of the third season? So I'll believe it when I see it.

ITV's Demons drops to 4.2m by Neil Wilkes
(from Digital Spy)
"ITV1's fantasy drama Demons lost another 650,000 viewers last night (Saturday), according to early figures. The third episode pulled in 4.18m... The audience is down almost 1.6m on that for the first episode." Oh dear oh dear. No second series then, I'm guessing.
(On an only-vaguelly-connected note, I love how Digital Spy's staff seem to work every day of the week! Either they have no life, or really love their job. Says the man who updates his blog every day. Hey, at least mine's a hobby.)

Jones feels Gavin & Stacey pressure by Alex Fletcher
(from Digital Spy)
Mostly interesting is something I hadn't yet heard: Gavin & Stacey is definitely getting a third series! Hurrah!

Laurie: Accent caused UK House flop by Simon Reynolds
(from Digital Spy)
"Hugh Laurie has claimed that his American accent is the reason for House's failure in the UK." For one, it's not really a "failure", is it? If it were a failure it wouldn't still be on a Freeview channel in a primetime slot. And to be honest, I rather suspect it has more to do with it being on Five. Five's ratings may've gone up in the past few years, but back when House started it was still before all this "everyone must have digital TV" stuff that's going on now and Five wasn't available everywhere (far from it!) Plus that there's a huge discrepancy between US and UK viewing figures anyway, and I expect he sees both, making the UK ones look teeny-tiny by comparison.

New Argumental on Dave in March by James Welsh
(from Digital Spy)
That's all.

Ross will not apologise for prank again
Jonathan Ross plans new Sachs apology
by Daniel Kilkelly (from Digital Spy)
Don't you just love it when there's a pair of stories like that? I guess we'll have to wait til Friday night to find out which is true, though the latter sounds more convincing.
The pair of stories also have an interesting line in establishing Ross' true thoughts about the affair and the BBC: "Being suspended hit Jonathan hard -- but he says, 'I have learnt my lesson'", and "Jonathan feels let down by some aspects of the BBC... It was a pre-recorded segment and he expected those who needed to check and follow through to do so. He was aware of the potential pitfalls and alerted other people at the BBC before it went out."

Ryan tipped as new Who assistant by Daniel Kilkelly
(from Digital Spy)
I'll believe it when I see it, considering the source; but, considering her recent recurring role in Merlin, her previous appearance in a Moffat production (Jekyll), and that she (supposedly) auditioned when Rose left, it's not at all implausible. She'd certainly be better than Lily bloody Allen. She's probably older than the new Doctor though, isn't she? But then, so's almost everyone they might consider, so...


Have you seen those annoying ads on the telly? (If not, check it out here.) Despite the high level of irritation they provoke I couldn't resist checking out the site, just to see what, if anything, was there.

Of course, it's mainly an excuse to get you to visit -- which I made a point of not doing -- and if you're on there long enough it'll even warn you that it will auto-forward you to the real site, unless you're really interested in comparing meerkats. This side of thing filters through to every element -- take the FAQ, for example: while trying to be amusing, as if really part of a meerkat-comparing site, it's also (unsurprisingly) all about how good the main site is.

And behind all this, you genuinely can search for and compare meerkats. My God is it an over-developed ad tool! They're silly meerkats, of course -- they can scubadive, or fly helicopters, or come from locations as diverse as New York, Rio, and Western-super-Mare -- but some of it's actually mildly amusing... very mildly...

On the other hand, I'd've been more annoyed if you couldn't compare any meerkats, so it's good really... mildly good...

Saturday, 17 January 2009


1x02 The Whole Enchilada
Yes, I'm watching this exactly a week behind. But at least I've got round to watching it, unlike Apparitions or Dead Set, which I still have all of recorded.
The title song is really, truly dreadful -- big dramatic pre-titles, you expect a decent theme kick-in, like you get with Who, or even EastEnders's closing theme... but no, it's some silly disposable pop trash. That should be changed.
As noted at the time, Demons' ratings dropped for this episode. It's not that bad, and it's wonderful to have so much telefantasy (as it used to be known, back in the day) on TV these days, so hopefully it will continue to do OK. Or at least that they'll cancel it for something better.
[Watch it (again) on ITV Player.]

Eurovision: Your Country Needs You
Episode 3 (of 5)
We don't have a hope of winning Eurovision anyway, but these acts certainly aren't going to do us any favours. At least Charlotte's gone -- despite what the judges... sorry, panel... sorry, what are they?... Anyway, despite what they had to say, her rendition of Duffy's Rain On Your Parade was literally no better than mediocre karaoke. No wonder she ended up in the Sing Off... sorry, "Danger Zone".
[Watch it (again) on iPlayer.]

Live at the Apollo
4x06 (16/1/09 edition) [season finale]
Russell Howard: hilariously funny, lots of sensible points about the world too.
Jo Brand: somewhat disappointing, especially coming right after.
[Watch it (again) on iPlayer.]

Oedipal snakes

Tonight sees the terrestrial TV premiere of Snakes on a Plane on Channel 4; at 10pm for those who are interested.

In acknowledgement of this -- and as part of my general review catch-up on 100 Films in a Year -- I've today posted my thoughts on the Samuel L. Jackson-starring B-movie-esque Oedipally-catchphrased Internet-fandom-engendering horror/thriller.

And you can read them here.

Friday, 16 January 2009


Lark Rise to Candleford
2x03 Episode 3
[Watch it (again) on iPlayer.]


Vincent (1982)
[2nd watch]
Tim Burton's excellent stop-motion short, based around a poem what he wrote.

The Wraith of Cobble Hill (2006)
[#4a in 100 Films in a Year 2009]


Doctor Who: Series 4 - Original Television Soundtrack by Murray Gold

The third volume of Gold's great music from modern Who doesn't disappoint. There's nothing quite as outstanding as series three's This is Gallifrey: Our Childhood, Our Home, or even Torchwood's The Chase, but the overall quality is still incredibly high and several tracks are excellent.

Personal favourites (in order of appearance, with one exception):
  • UNIT Rocks
  • The Doctor's Theme Series Four (compared to the series one & two version, this really shows just how far Gold's music has come)
  • Voyage of the Damned Suite
  • A Dazzling End
  • The Dark and Endless Dalek Night
  • A Pressing Need to Save the World (isn't that a great track title?)
  • Song of Freedom
  • and, most of all, The Greatest Story Never Told.

  • Additionally, track 27, Doctor Who Series Four Closing Credits, seems to be the track that was given away as a hidden free download with the series three album. Personally, I think it's an excellent rendition of the theme, perfectly suited to the current incarnation of the show.

    Also, Gold's liner notes are variable in quality, but still a great addition -- something similar was much missed from the Torchwood soundtrack, in my opinion. Among the things he reveals is that these 76 minutes are cut down from about 420, which just makes you wish there was even more.


    First, the big news...

    We Shall Watch the Watchmen by Helen O'Hara
    (from Empire)
    "The Watchmen legal dispute has settled, and everything is on course for the film's release... The settlement will see Warners pay Fox an unspecified sum upfront, and then give them an unspecified share of the film's profits. Those sums are 'unspecified' because the studios are keeping silent on the details of the deal, but it's known that the sums involved are in the tens of millions of dollars."
    Poor Warners. Still, great for the rest of us!

    And elsewhere...

    Keanu Reeves Does the Cowboy Bebop by Helen O'Hara
    (from Empire)
    "Exciting news this morning as Keanu Reeves signs on for the long-mooted film version of anime series Cowboy Bebop, a futuristic series about bounty hunters around the solar system. Reeves would play Spike Spiegel, a bounty hunter or 'cowboy' who travels on spaceship Bebop with his partner in (hunting) crime Jet Black and a motley collection of marks and hangers-on" -- kinda like Firefly, only more Japanese (or something). Could be groovy. I might finally get round to watching the series now...

    Murray Gold and Ben Foster on Four Years with the Doctor by Michael Beek
    (from Doctor Who: Series Four - Original Television Soundtrack liner notes)
    A fairly interesting interview with the Doctor Who composer and orchestrator. More interesting still are Murray Gold's track-by-track liner notes -- especially the occasionally bizarre introduction, which include Gold berating his engineer for creating a rubbish version of the album!
    See here for a couple of thoughts on the album itself.

    Paul McCartney Selects Duffy For Live And Let Die Cover by Devin Zydel
    "she has done a really brave reworking of one of the most played and instantly recognisable songs ever. I would be very surprised if this is the last Bond song she sings." She'd certainly be a more appropriate choice than Amy bloody Crackhead... sorry, Winehouse.

    Tiger bread
    (from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)
    This is why Wikipedia is great -- however random the thing you want to find out about, they probably have some info on it.

    Thursday, 15 January 2009


    The Sandbaggers
    2x04 A Question of Loyalty
    Still brilliant! Burnside continues to dig a deeper and deeper hole for himself, it seems. Where will he wind up?


    Doctor Who: The Keys of Marinus - DVD by Steve Roberts
    (from the Doctor Who Restoration Team Website)
    A slew of new articles on the RT's site at the minute (there's lots of Who DVDs out this year, and most have already been announced), but this one is especially interesting -- they've discovered 17 seconds of material missing from the story, which haven't been seen since the original broadcast 45 years ago! The images are still missing unfortunately, but the soundtrack has been reinstated for the DVD release.
    While we're at it, the new article about The War Games also has some interesting info about archiving. (It's more interesting than that sounds!)

    Two Bafta nods for Kate Winslet
    (from BBC News)
    But she won't be repeating her Golden Globe double whammy -- she's nominated for the same two films, but this time both in the Best Actress category.
    Among the rest of the nods: "Slumdog Millionaire has 11 nominations in total, as does Benjamin Button. Batman blockbuster The Dark Knight follows with nine nominations, while Changeling, directed by Clint Eastwood, is up for eight awards. Frost/Nixon has received six nominations in all, while The Reader has five."
    Read the full list here. Most are more or less as expected, though I'm very disappointed to not see a Best Actor -- or at least Best Supporting Actor, even -- nomination for Michael Sheen.

    Wednesday, 14 January 2009


    The Secret Life of Elephants
    Part 1 (of 3)
    [Watch it (again) on iPlayer.]


    Torchwood: Original Television Soundtrack by Ben Foster & Murray Gold
    Track 2, The Chase, is bloody excellent. The rest of it's good, but that's outstanding.


    First today, two RIPs (one of which, if I'm honest, I shamefully forgot yesterday) -- both cultish, though one will undoubtedly get more media coverage than the other:

    John Scott Martin (1926-2009) by Paul Hayes
    (from Outpost Gallifrey)
    "veteran of countless roles in over one hundred episodes of the classic series of Doctor Who... best remembered by fans as the main Dalek operator across the twenty-six years of the classic series, but he also played various other monsters opposite the first seven Doctors, and also had occasional more visible roles, such as the dead miner at the start of The Green Death... In 2004, he appeared as the old man who inherits all of Swansea in the Russell T Davies comedy-drama serial Mine All Mine."
    I know this isn't necessarily the place to say it, but Mine All Mine is brilliant and much underrated, and it was lovely to see Martin turn up in it.

    R.I.P. Patrick McGoohan by Keith Phipps
    (from A.V. Club)
    "Actor and writer Patrick McGoohan has died at the age of 80... his fame rests squarely on the cultishly adored series The Prisoner, which ran for 17 episodes in 1967 and 1968. McGoohan, who also wrote a few episodes under a pseudonym, starred in the James Bond-meets-Franz Kafka series as a spy who, after resigning, wakes up in a mysterious village assigned a new name: Number 6."

    Moving on...

    John Barrowman To Write Torchwood Comic by R. Alan Siler
    (from Outpost Gallifrey)
    Part of Torchwood Magazine's much-needed revamp? (See here for more of my thoughts on that!)

    Samuel L. Jackson: The man who may not be Nick Fury by Keith Phipps
    (from A.V. Club)
    "Jackson, who famously cameod as Marvel superspy Nick Fury in 2008's Iron Man, may not be reprising the role... "There was a huge kind of negotiation that broke down... Maybe I won't be Nick Fury. Maybe somebody else will be Nick Fury or maybe Nick Fury won't be in it." ... Marvel has stated that it will not comment on active negotiations, so maybe all is not lost."

    Also see today's reports on an idiotic judge and the uselessness of our legal system.

    the British Injustice System

    (Do you see my clever pun there?)

    A yob accused of robbing a driving instructor walked free from court - after a judge ruled that the victim was too believable as a witness.

    Judge Jamie Tabor praised Denise Dawson as 'honest, utterly decent and brave' when she identified a man as her alleged attacker and gave evidence against him.

    But moments later he halted the trial and ordered a not guilty verdict on Liam Perks, 20.

    The judge said Mrs Dawson's good character and compelling evidence could sway the jury, even though she had had only a fleeting glimpse of her attacker.

    What a moron! Surely the point of evidence is to sway the jury?

    And this is the same judge who...

  • set free a woman who killed her husband just to stop him seeing his mistress [source]
  • let off a famous photographer who took indecent photos of a 15-year-old girl [source]
  • suggested rape victims shouldn't bother pressing charges [source]
  • let a paedophilic choirmaster go with a lighter sentence because one boy he abused seemed to be enjoying it [source]
  • let a defendant break his curfew to go to a holiday camp!

  • I appreciate that most of these articles being from the Daily Mail rather weakens the case against anyone, but it was the top Google result. See the main story covered by The Independent, The Times, The Telegraph, or even The Sun. (I also looked on The Guardian's site for a leftest-of-the-left view, but couldn't find an article on it.)

    Judge Jamie Tabor

    Judge Jamie Tabor -- the sort of person that makes you wonder why being in contempt of court is a crime.

    Tuesday, 13 January 2009


    Broken Saints
    Chapter 11 Surfacing
    Chapter 12 Passage
    The plot rattles on ("rattles on" in the context of Broken Saints, anyway) as we reach the halfway point -- in terms of episode numbers at any rate (the parts get much longer toward the end, meaning the halfway point in running time is somewhere around the end of Chapter 15).

    Derren Brown: An Evening of Wonders
    Derren Brown's brilliant, you know -- incredibly clever, hilariously funny, amazing to observe. It's all good.

    Gilmore Girls
    5x15 Jews and Chinese Food


    Watchmen Japanese Trailer
    Sure, you can't understand a word the voiceover guy says, or read any of the on screen text, and it's pretty low quality... but look at the beautiful pictures! Revel in the coolness! Amaze at the apparent faithfulness! I can't wait.


    Add "Get Off My Lawn" To "Make My Day"
    (from Studio Briefing)
    "Gran Torino took in $29.5 million in 2,808 theaters -- or a whopping $10,500 per theater -- [over the weekend] after playing for a month in limited release. It was the 78-year-old Eastwood's best opening ever." Well blimey.

    Report: Watchmen Settlement Close
    (from Studio Briefing)
    Fingers crossed!

    Monday, 12 January 2009


    1x10 (12/1/09 edition)
    Annoyingly, I missed last week's episode 9, and it's not repeated. It's on Dave for Chrissake, the channel that exists for repeats -- why wasn't there one of their only (pretty much only, anyway) original programme?!

    Broken Saints
    Chapter 8 Lomalagi
    Chapter 9 Personas
    Chapter 10 Trinity
    Things actually happen! The story moves forward! My God, what is the world coming to?! "And so it begins," Shandala says in Chapter 8, and I'm inclined to agree with her -- but why did it take two hours to get there?!


    Anne Frank Remembered (1995)
    [#4 in 100 Films in a Year 2009]


    1 million smite ITV's Demons by Neil Wilkes
    (from Digital Spy)
    "New fantasy drama Demons lost almost a million viewers Saturday. The supernatural series made an encouraging start last week with 5.75m (24.1%). The second episode averaged 4.83m (20.4%)... The most-watched programme of the day was Lottery gameshow In It To Win It, which pulled in 6.86m (28.9%) for BBC One."
    Oh dear for Demons -- but how the hell did that wind up as number one for the day, especially on a Saturday?!

    Golden Globes bring tears, tributes and upset wins by Maureen Ryan
    "“Well done, Winslet,” Ricky Gervais said to the actress, who got one Globe for her work in The Reader, a Holocaust drama. “I told you -- do a Holocaust movie, the awards come, didn’t I?”" Nice Extras reference.

    Someone rescue 24 from bland stories — now! by Maureen Ryan
    "If familiarity with 24 doesn’t quite breed contempt, it has, by this point, bred a certain amount of indifference...
    There are droning scenes in Sunday’s season premiere that literally stop the show cold... the biggest problem is that by now some elements of 24 are distressingly predictable. There’s no computer system or firewall that snarky hackers can’t subvert or disrupt. There’s always a mole among the good guys. Characters who flinch at the idea of torturing suspects are portrayed as hopelessly naive...
    Despite an extremely uneven start to the season, there’s always hope that, as Jack Bauer so often does, the show may pull off an unlikely rescue -- of itself. Or we could all be in for another very long day."
    (The rest of the article includes some spoilers for the new season; but they're all from the first ep and quite widely known.)

    Plus, see here for more thoughts on the Golden Globes.

    Golden Globes result

    Winslet and Slumdog sweep Globes
    (from BBC News)

    "Kate Winslet has won two awards at the Golden Globes in Los Angeles, winning best actress for Revolutionary Road and best supporting actress for The Reader."

    Now that was unexpected.

    Elsewhere, British efforts also cleaned up: "Slumdog Millionaire was named best film drama, one of four awards Danny Boyle's Mumbai-set movie received [also director, screenplay, and score]. Other British recipients included Sally Hawkins, named best comedy actress for her role in Mike Leigh's Happy-Go-Lucky... John Adams British co-star Tom Wilkinson was also recognised, winning a best supporting actor prize for his role as Benjamin Franklin."

    Plus, "Irish star Colin Farrell was named best actor in a musical or comedy for his role as a hit man in black comedy In Bruges" and "Irish actor Gabriel Byrne was named best actor in a TV drama for In Treatment." (Though Cranford was shockingly overlooked in all the TV categories.)

    Despite the amazing turnout for our fair isles, the Americans managed some notable wins too, including... "Heath Ledger was given a posthumous supporting actor prize for The Dark Knight, accepted by director Christopher Nolan, who said the late actor would be "eternally missed but never forgotten... All of us who worked with Heath accept with an awful mixture of sadness but incredible pride."

    "Mickey Rourke was named best actor in a drama for The Wrestler. Woody Allen's Vicky Cristina Barcelona was named best comedy, ahead of Happy-Go-Lucky and Mamma Mia. WALL-E was named best animated feature, while animated documentary Waltz with Bashir received the best foreign language film prize. Steven Spielberg was presented the Cecil B DeMille Award for his "outstanding contribution to the entertainment field"."

    And a small splash of disappointment too:

    "But there were no awards for Doubt, Frost/Nixon and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, despite them having led the field with five nominations apiece." Don't be surprised if Frost/Nixon is a tad more successful at the BAFTAs, considering its British roots -- hopefully a nomination, if not an award, for the always-excellent Michael Sheen.

    Still, well done Britain! Chances of a similarly good result in six weeks at the Oscars? Slim, I would imagine.

    Sunday, 11 January 2009


    Broken Saints
    Chapter 6 Synchronicity
    Chapter 7 Lucid
    After a Christmas hiatus (that lasted exactly a month), it's back down to business with this animated-comic-y epic. It's still rather pretentious and incredibly slow-paced though.

    Gilmore Girls
    5x14 Say Something

    6x03 Flotsam and Jetsam (extended repeat) [2nd watch]
    A much lower percentage of filthy stuff in this fourteen-minutes-longer extended repeat. It's all interesting and amusing too, making the filthiness of the edited one look even more deliberate.
    [Watch it (again) on iPlayer.]

    The Sandbaggers
    2x03 Decision by Committee
    Another brilliant episode, as Burnside fights Whitehall bureaucracy to save two British officials -- plus Willie and a CIA agent -- trapped on a hijacked plane that's set to explode at midnight. It might sound like something Spooks would do, but in practice it really isn't. For one thing, in Spooks you'd know from the outset Harry would succeed in his persuasions, but in Sandbaggers the outcome is always in doubt -- and I'm not going to reveal it here, because you should go watch it!


    Five Favourite Films with Danny Boyle by Joe Utichi & Jen Yamato
    (from Rotten Tomatoes)
    A very interesting list, with much of interest to say about the choices. Danny Boyle is an excellent filmmaker too, so, all in, this list earns much respect from me.

    Harry circus shames journalism by Iain Martin
    "It is all so very typical of... a section of the modern British media and its absence of any sense of perspective. There's a dislike of anything which smacks of complexity and a refusal to understand that people make mistakes. Should Harry have used those precise words? Of course not, but is anyone really surprised that young soldiers say silly things? And heavens, one can never imagine a News of the World reader using such a term as that employed by the Prince."
    (If any News of the World readers happen to be reading, I'd like to point out that the last sentence is using irony. This means he actually means the opposite. Complex, I know, but people with brains can handle that kind of thing.)

    Saturday, 10 January 2009


    1x01 They Bite
    My God, that's one of the worst title sequences ever! A dreadful -- and dreadfully inappropriate -- song stuck on animation that would barely pass as a DVD menu. Oh dear oh dear. And Christian Cooke needs a better agent -- he's ostensibly the star, yet his name comes third? Ha! And Philip Glenister's accent is variable and a bit am-dram; which is a shame because, obviously, he's great otherwise.
    Still, the first episode did alright in the ratings (and by "alright" I mean it didn't do as well as Merlin (created by some of the same people, incidentally) or Primeval -- or Doctor Who, obviously... or even the Doctor Who Confidential announcing the 11th Doctor, which was on earlier that evening -- but still beat what was on BBC One at the time); and the concept, albeit all nicked from other places (mainly Buffy), has legs.
    [Watch it (again) on ITV Player.]

    Eurovision: Your Country Needs You
    Episode 2 (of 5)
    And so it becomes your bog-standard talent show. Except, it must be said, with less talent than usual.
    [Watch it (again) on iPlayer.]

    Gilmore Girls
    5x13 Wedding Bell Blues

    Live at the Apollo
    4x05 (9/1/09 edition)
    So what if nearly all the guests are regulars on Mock the Week? It's still funny. Also, an appearance by Lenny Henry, which seems to be something of a rarity these days.
    [Watch it (again) on iPlayer.]

    The Sandbaggers
    2x02 Enough of Ghosts
    Bloody Germans, eh?