Friday, 31 July 2009


Lee Mack Live
I didn't realise until about three-quarters of the way through this that I'd actually seen it before. I thought most of the jokes seemed familiar...

Top Gear
13x06 (26/7/09 edition)
Ooh, dinosaurs! I saw them live.
[Watch it (again) on iPlayer.]

You Have Been Watching
1x04 Weird TV Special
While The Jeremy Kyle Show is undeniably fowl, I think The Swan has to take the 'honours' as the worst TV programme in the history of the medium. It appears to be utterly depraved, lacking even one redeeming quality, and is enough to make you weep for the state of humanity. It's so horrendous that it is literally (as far as I'm concerned) not even funny.
[Watch it (again) on 4oD.]

Thursday, 30 July 2009


The Mentalist
1x17 Carnelian Inc.
I'm not sure if this was a really good episode or a surprisingly middling one. There were certainly too many similarities in its initial setup to an earlier episode, not to mention a good few inconsistencies when you really think about it. It can be quite nice that The Mentalist is even more lightweight than the likes of CSI, but sometimes you do wish for a bit more meat on its bones.
[Watch it (again) on Demand Five.]

Mock the Week
7x04 (30/7/09 edition)
[Watch it (again) on iPlayer.]

DVD / Blu-ray

DVE Digital Video Essentials: HD Basics
If you've got a Blu-ray player or are serious about high-quality home entertainment, you may well have heard of this. Essentially, it's a Blu-ray Disc (formerly available in a DVD version) that helps you calibrate your system to get the best possible quality out of it (it focuses on the image quality, but also includes audio tests and some information).

As well as tests, guides and demo materials, it also includes a 97-minute documentary on these areas. I haven't watched that, but jumped straight to the calibration bits to get my display going. I checked out some bits however -- it seems a bit dry, certainly extremely technical, and in both these respects is definitely not for everyone. Some will be interested though -- me, for example, though I'm not sure how much I could handle in one sessions!

The disc is widely available from online retailers, plus there's a dedicated and information-packed website here.


Torchwood: Children of Earth - Original Television Soundtrack by Ben Foster
Tracks 1 - 25


...but is it art? by Graham Kibble-White
(from Doctor Who Magazine #411, p.24-33)
In which Proper TV Critics give their view on where Doctor Who sits in the wider world of television. Perhaps not as comprehensive as it could have been, but then it's a subject you could probably write a whole book on, so for a magazine article (and a sizable one at that) it does a fine job.

Gibbons: 'Superman needs to be reimagined' by Simon Reynolds
(from Digital Spy)
""Perhaps it would be a good idea to reimagine it the way that the Batman franchise was reimagined," he said [but] stressed that he felt it would be unwise to make the next Superman dark like Christopher Nolan's reconceived Batman series. "I've always thought of Superman and Batman as yin and yang. One is dark and mysterious and the other is bright and adventurous... my personal view is that they should make it lighter, with that sense of wonder that Superman has always had. Not to make it childish or puerile but to make it something that has a bright sense of adventure and possibility.""
Couldn't agree more.

Review of The Bill Douglas Trilogy Blu-ray
Review of Comrades Blu-ray
by Noel Megahey (from DVD Times)
Insightful reviews on two related and widely-recommended new releases.

the Virgin Media HD rip-off... is no surprise.

After months -- perhaps even years, depending how you look at it -- of promises, Virgin Media have finally launched some HD channels today (besides BBC HD, that is).

To get HD via Virgin you have to pay a £69 installation fee and £5 a month. Actually, no -- that's only if you argue with them on the phone, because otherwise they'll charge you either £99 or £150 for that.

But still, once that's set up you get all four current HD channels, with two more announced on the way. Right?


You get BBC HD, and rumour has it C4HD will be free when it arrives, but for their other channels you need to take out their more-expensive XL package. Yes, despite paying £5 every month for the privilege of having an HD box, you then need to pay however-much-more to actually get most of the HD content. Incidentally, there's no mention of this on their HD info page -- it just names the available channels -- and in the 'complete' list of channel-by-package, it conveniently doesn't list any of the HD ones.

It's a rip-off, but it shouldn't come as a surprise. After all, this is the company who insist on you taking an £11 monthly line rental for most (all? I didn't check) of their services... but don't include this £11 in the quotes slapped all over their site -- so when you sign up your monthly bill will always by £11 more than that nice low number advertised in such a big font. Yes there's a footnote to the effect of "when you take £11 line rental", but if it's always the case then why isn't it just included in the quote? To make the price look smaller, obviously.

Getting a vaguely equivalent package on Sky still works out more expensive... but, actually, not that much more -- and what you get for your extra cash is a massive load of extra HD channels and a more upfront approach to them. I don't say this as a Sky advocate, but as someone who took Virgin because they'd be cheaper and is now stuck in a long contract for a less-than-impressive service.

As you can tell, I'm not best pleased.

Wednesday, 29 July 2009


Dragons' Den
7x03 Episode 3
Someone who goes to my Uni! Whoo!
Otherwise, not the most exciting episode.
[Watch it (again) on iPlayer.]

Tuesday, 28 July 2009


8 Out of 10 Cats
8x08 Best Bits [season finale]
[Watch it (again) on 4oD.]

Desperate Romantics
Part 1 (of 6)
Desperate Romantics has come in for some criticism over its historical accuracy, but I found it to be rather fun.
Incidentally, the BBC's series website is actually worth checking out for once -- unlike most series, there's actually content there beyond press release episode summaries and iPlayer links.
[Watch it (again) on iPlayer.]

Wildest Dreams
Part 1 (of 7)
Ah Nick Knowles, never knowingly saying something that isn't a cliche stating the bleedin' obvious. As for the series, it has a good heart -- helping wannabes become wildlife cameraman -- but is actually a huge con -- the prize, according to a recent Radio Times, is actually a much more lowly job in the BBC's wildlife department. So the contestants go through all this hardship to become something like a runner? Makes you feel kinda sorry for them...
[Watch it (again) on iPlayer.]


Cox 'asked Fincher for directing advice' by Lara Martin
(from Digital Spy)
"Former Friends star Courteney Cox has revealed that she turned to Fight Club filmmaker David Fincher for advice about making her directorial debut."
Well, he did appear in an episode of (the underrated) Dirt, maybe he exec produced it as well or somesuch (I could look it up to find out, but I won't).

Jon Favreau 'confirms Iron Man 3' by Tim Parks
(from Digital Spy)
"He said: "There's an Iron Man 3. Here's how I know. When they make the option deals, they include Iron Man 3. So I know they're planning on 3.""
What non-news! I can't really believe Favreau really thinks optioning your cast & crew for future potential films confirms a franchise. Of course, only the second one flopping at the box office would keep it from happening, and that's not likely, but still...

Review: Watchmen Director’s Cut
Good coverage of the extended cut, and a relatively complete list of its changes can be found here. My Blu-ray copy is still making its way to me from Amazon US.

Tom Felton rejection 'really upsets' fan by Daniel Kilkelly
(from Digital Spy)
Headline makes it sound mean; truth is, fan was a bit loopy. Ah fans, you are a mad lot.

Wogan backs Norton at Eurovision
(from BBC News)
A tiny aside in the new Radio Times prompted this, BBC News' #1 entertainment story for some of today. Madness. Still, Norton was very good.

Monday, 27 July 2009


Crip on a Trip
This is one of those Channel 4 documentaries that has a mildly offensive/outrageous title but hides a programme with some genuine worth and serious thought. Not normally the kind of thing I bother with, to be honest, but I happened to see the start of a repeat on and became engrossed.
[Watch it (again) on or 4oD.]

Doctor Who: The Waters of Mars Trailer
The San Diego Comic-Con trailer, as mentioned in the panel reports. Looks fantastic.


Dorian Gray Trailer
Trailer for the forthcoming film adaptation starring Ben Barnes, Colin Firth, and others (obviously, but I mean some notable others). The link above goes to an Empire article that provides a teeny bit of analysis and links on to the trailer at a different site.


Doctor Who And The End Of Time: Tennant's Last Moments by Charlie Jane Anders
(from io9)
Firstly, The Waters of Mars: yes, yes, yes! After setting up the concept of "some things must not be changed" to explain why the Doctor didn't just save everyone in The Fires of Pompeii, doing the same in a future-set episode is officially the new Best Idea Ever. Well done Russell & co for thinking of it -- it seems so obvious, yet I bet didn't occur to most people.
Anyway, this report includes more details on the trailers shown, and a few more bits of info on the Who panel... but hardly anything more than the weak article I found yesterday, so I'm led to assume there was really nothing to report. Ho hum.

Oh wait, what's this? A more thorough report. Yes indeed...

Live: Doctor Who panel at Comic-Con by Neil Wilkes
(from Digital Spy)
Ah, right, nothing else news-y. Fans may wish to wade through the writer's irritating lack of Who knowledge (despite the fact he thinks he knows a lot, clearly) for the info present. Only news on Torchwood 4 is that it's not confirmed but is likely, etc etc.

Talking of Torchwood, what's this?

Live: Torchwood panel at Comic-Con by Neil Wilkes
(from Digital Spy)
Thanks to a series recently airing, there's a bit more to this panel than the Who one, though still little in the way of news. Probably the best bit: "RTD says he is "still reeling" from the success of [Children of Earth] and says no-one at the BBC saw it coming." Super.
Actually, even better: "Girl claims that RTD has "hurt" a lot of internet fans and accuses him of being "out of line" with killing Ianto. "I'm immensely sorry if people are sad, but I'm not changing my mind. I've got to be blunt about this, there have been campaigns to send packets of coffee to BBC Wales in protest. There have been nine packets sent. I'm not taking the mickey, but that's a very small number."" You tell 'em Russell!

Also from the Con...

Are You Ready For The Avatar Backlash? by Charlie Jane Anders
(from io9)
Remember what I said about Avatar not sounding that great? Well...

And on a final, related (not to Avatar, to Torchwood) note...

Torchwood Children Of Earth Soundtrack review by Cameron K McEwan
(from Den of Geek!)
I've not changed my opinion that Den of Geek is rubbish (because it is), but this review is worth reading purely for this comment:
The Ballad Of Ianto Jones [is] one of the album's highlights. Though ‘highlights' does not quite do it service or meaning. It's more of a ‘low'light in tone and emotion. Not a tune for those emotionally unstable 'fans' that can't handle drama.

Nice dig! I approve.

Sunday, 26 July 2009


Grand Designs
8x04 Monmouth: The Gothic House
I do like a bit of Grand Designs, though most of the houses built -- despite supposedly being highly personalised -- are rather samey. Not so here, however, as a couple create a brilliant faux-Gothic mansion. Right up my street. Though going over budget by a whopping £150,000 -- in this case, that's 60%! -- is just insane.


As ever at this time of year, lots from the all-dominating San Diego Comic-Con. But first, we'll have all that's Doctor Who-y from it...

Doctor Who, David Tennant and The End Of Time by Glenn Hauman
(from ComicM!x)
The main panel, hurrah! Not much in this report though -- no mention of any of the things covered by the following, for example. I shall now hunt the net for something more thorough...

David Tennant Tells Us Why His Doctor's So Sorry, And What's To Come by Charlie Jane Anders
(from io9)
Despite the main panel (see above), this press pre-interview has a couple of revelations. Or non-revelations, really (there won't be a movie).

Torchwood picked up for another season by BBC by Glenn Hauman
(from ComicM!x)
Allegedly -- no mention of it in that panel report above. That said, it wasn't very thorough, so who knows? As it's from the same site (and the same reporter), maybe they assumed people would just trust that they'd already said it? (Which would be foolish, but hey, sites are like that.)

Doctor Who Vs Predator by James Dyer
(from Amazing Tales from Comic-Con! at Empire)
A silly little bit, courtesy of Empire.

And in other, genuinely comic-related con news...

Marvel Announces The Avengers' Line-Up, Plus Thor And Captain America News by Meredith Woerner
(from io9)
A pared back line-up for the film of The Avengers comic, it would seem, sticking to those with already-established (or about-to-be-established) film franchises.

Tony Stark's On The Firing Line In First Iron Man 2 Footage! by Lauren Davis
(from io9)
Unsurprisingly, one of the big stars of Comic-Con is Iron Man 2. Plenty of reports around the web, but this one describes the footage seen in good detail.

Saturday, 25 July 2009


As Seen on TV
1x02 Episode 2
[Watch it (again) on iPlayer.]

2x02 Episode 2 [2nd watch]
I stumbled across this repeat tonight just a few minutes in and couldn't help but watch the rest -- it's brilliant.
[Watch it (again) on iPlayer.]


Alice in Wonderland Trailer
Tim Burton directing Alice in Wonderland? It is, as they say, a "no brainer", and looks pretty much exactly as you'd expect it to... but in a good way.



WWI veteran Patch dies aged 111
(from BBC News)
"The last British survivor of the World War I trenches, Harry Patch, has died at the age of 111."
Appropriately, the main story across BBC News today.

Now, on to more trivial matters...

A Night With Peter Jackson by Nick de Semlyen
(from Amazing Tales from Comic Con! at Empire)
In which the director reveals all a little about the many, many projects he has in development.

Panel Report: Avatar by James Dyer
(from Amazing Tales from Comic Con! at Empire)
It's amazing, blah blah blah. I can only assume it looked a lot better than it actually sounds.

Spies like them by Gordon Corera
(from BBC News Magazine)
"What do real life spooks make of fictional spies?"
A simple but incredibly interesting concept for an article, which is moderately well-served here. It would be more interesting to know what spies thought of purportedly realistic series like Spooks (well, in its early series) or the too-forgotten Sandbaggers, rather than the obviously-fictional world of James Bond. Perhaps the three-part radio series it's promoting will shed more light on the matter.

Blogger Search

Is it just me, or has Blogger's search function turned into a load of old rubbish?

Try searching this blog for Spooks, for just one example. I've seen all of Spooks, in order, so that includes all of season six and season seven... but when you search for it, the top result is the TV post from 24th October 2008, when I watched episode four and five (of ten) of Spooks 6. Well, that's clearly not right.

Scroll further, and you see that Blogger hasn't forgotten all posts since then for some bizarre reason. The next post showing on the search results is from 25th August 2008 -- season five, episode five! It's lost a whole series in between too!

Or so it seems, for while the third post displayed is from June 2008, the fourth then jumps back to July, and the sixth finally makes it into 2009... for an episode of The Sandbaggers where I mention Spooks.

I presume search is now based on some 'relevance' order rather than the old chronological system, which is a huge annoyance for a blog like this. (Also, how it determines relevance is entirely unclear. While some of the top results do mention Spooks by name several times, others only say it once, yet are still out of order.)

It would be nice if there were some kind of setting to change how search results were displayed -- especially by default, but even at all would be nice -- but it seems no one's thought to include this. Not even the supposedly swish new Search Box gadget helps (I know, I've tried adding it -- look there on the right).

This has rather annoyed me, as you may be able to tell. So what have I done about it?

Well, um, I've moaned about it on my blog, of course...

Edit: This issue is, of course, widespread. After a lot of moaning that went unanswered, someone from Google finally responded (scroll down that thread)... with a "we're working on it" claim. Well, we'll see...

Friday, 24 July 2009


FlashForward Trailer
I'd vaguely heard of this before, but didn't realise it was being pitched as such a Big Thing until now. It certainly looks mystery-packed and promising, and one can only hope it lives up to the hype, but the real question is: will the main story be solved in one season a la Heroes, or far too many, a la Lost? Only time (or, y'know, a decent creator interview) will tell.
(Incidentally, it's just been announced that in the UK it will air on Five and its associate channels.)

Mock the Week
7x03 (23/7/09 edition)
[Watch it (again) on iPlayer.]

Taking the Flak
1x01 Bigfooting
A strong start for this African-set war-based news sitcom, which seems to have been buried in the schedules for no good reason. That said, perhaps trimming this hour-long opener down to the regular length of 30 minutes might've kept the joke-rate higher. Nonetheless, a lot of promise, so fingers crossed it can deliver.
[Watch it (again) on iPlayer.]

Poem of the Week: A Clubman's Ozymandias

by Kit Wright

Back when Watchmen hit cinemas I posted two vaguelly related poems about Ozymandias, the famous one by Percy Bysshe Shelley and a lesser-known one by his friend Horace Smith.

Well, next Monday sees Watchmen released on DVD and Blu-ray here in the UK (some lucky pre-ordering people will already have their copies), plus it was out earlier this week in the US, so here's an even-more-tenuously linked poem: Kit Wright's take on the Shelley poem.

So this chap tells this other chap
Some damned clap-trap
About how somewhere on the old map
He's seen these de-bagged legs, and to cap
It all, not a scrap
On top of them, bugger all on tap
But the desert sands and similar pap --
Just a bloody great gap --

This was first published in 1989 in Wright's collection Short Afternoons. It's currently available in Hoping It Might Be So: Poems 1974-2000, a collection of all Wright’s work for adults in that period, published by Faber Finds.

Thursday, 23 July 2009


As Seen on TV
1x01 Episode 1
It's funny that two TV-related quiz shows should start up so close together. While this isn't as funny as You Have Been Watching (see further down), it is more of a quiz, which increases the play-along-at-home factor. I also thought a lot of it was very easy... but maybe that just means I watch too much TV...
As a side note, it felt quite at home on a Friday, but from episode two has moved to Thursdays. Why? (I appreciate the extreme irony in saying this having watched it on a Thursday.)
[Watch it (again) on iPlayer.]

Dragons' Den
7x02 Episode 2
Another excellent, unusual finale for the second week in a row -- not to mention the poker player earlier in the episode -- suggests this is shaping up to be a very good series.
[Watch it (again) on iPlayer.]

The Mentalist
1x16 Bloodshot
A new episode was on tonight, but I'm still a few weeks behind playing catch-up. An episode with a lot of potential here, and some relatively important moments in the series' ongoing subplots, but some ideas (the blindness, taking hostages inside the CBI) still felt a little wasted.
[Watch it (again) on Demand Five.]

You Have Been Watching
1x03 (21/7/09 edition)
Brilliant brilliant brilliant. If you haven't already, watch it.
[Watch it (again) on 4oD.]

Wednesday, 22 July 2009


Dara O Briain Talks Funny: Live in London [TV version; 2nd half]
[Watch it (again) on iPlayer.]


Review of Watchmen: Director's Cut - BD by Mike Restaino
(from DVDFile)
DVDFile's reviews are pretty awful on the whole (poorly written and edited, and I seem to very rarely agree with their opinions), but this gives a nice indication of how good the disc's image, audio and extras are. On the other hand, I suppose I should really go find a review by a decent site. Oh, like...

Review of Watchmen - Director's Cut [Blu-ray] by Gary Tooze
(from DVD Beaver)
Much better. And also, this one:

Review of Watchmen Blu-ray by Kenneth Brown
Ah, the best, most thorough one yet. That should do it.

Tuesday, 21 July 2009


Dara O Briain Talks Funny: Live in London [TV version; 1st half]
The first thing I've properly watched on BBC HD in my new place... and recorded too. Rather surprised, and somewhat pleased, to discover that because I've got my Surround Sound system hooked up to my V+ box it forces me to use it (it doesn't send any sound whatsoever to the telly), which is a very handy and obvious reminder to turn it all on and receive the extra quality.
[Watch it (again) on iPlayer.]

Monday, 20 July 2009


8 Out of 10 Cats
8x07 Best of British Special
Something a little different for Cats (though they did a Movie Special earlier this series, which I annoyingly missed).

The Mentalist
1x15 Scarlett Fever
A relatively slight episode, though a couple of scenes did stand out.
[Watch it (again) on Demand Five.]


His time has come: New Doctor Who Matt Smith begins filming with his gorgeous young redheaded assistant by Daily Mail Reporter
(from Mail Online)
Well, the headline tells most of the story, but the pictures also give our first glimpse at his costume. They seem to be going for the Old Man In A Young Body thing, which is probably for the best. Only eight or so months til these episodes start airing...

Sunday, 19 July 2009


Mock the Week
7x02 (16/7/09 edition)
[Watch it (again) on iPlayer.]

Top Gear
13x05 (19/7/09 edition)
[Watch it (again) on iPlayer.]

Saturday, 18 July 2009

Friday, 17 July 2009


Friday Night With Jonathan Ross
16x24 (17/7/09 edition) [U2 interview]
Bono really is quite insufferable, isn't he.
[Watch it (again) on iPlayer.]

Stephen Fry: Guilty [2nd watch]
More repeats, but this is a great one-off: certifiable genius and national treasure Stephen Fry chats about the things he loves but thinks he shouldn't. Intelligent and fascinating as always.

This Morning
17/7/09 edition
Fern Britton's last show, after 10 years.

You Have Been Watching
1x02 (14/7/09 edition)
Had been intending to watch this sooner but completely forgot. It's absolutely brilliant though, perfectly positioned on C4 to be cuttingly funny without anyone moaning too much. It's also surprisingly, pleasingly long. Quite why there's a vague quiz format tacked on is a mystery though -- surely four comedians/experts taking the mick out of the week's TV is fine by itself? (Though at least they acknowledged it was just bolted on.)
This particular edition is particularly notable for commentary on the coverage of Michael Jackson's memorial -- suitably irreverent.
[Watch it (again) on 4oD.]


School safety 'insult' to Pullman
(from BBC News)
"How dare you check me, I'm famous!" One rule for them, etc etc. I can almost see where they're coming from but, to be frank, they're wrong. Following this article I have a lot less respect for Philip Pullman, Anne Fine, Michael Morpurgo and Anthony Horowitz.

Poem of the Week: Starting from Scratch

by Ingrid Wendt

In honour of last week's Poem of the Week being put off by my move (as was the whole blog, of course), here's a poem about that very thing. (Moving home, I mean, not putting off blog updates.)

To begin with, none of your neighbors began here.
Everyone moved in years before you moved into
a pattern you found yourself part of
before you intended: flowers, fences,
attention to details your mother always took care of,
duller than film on dishes it was always your job to wipe.
Nobody spoke about courage.

Nobody said you could choose this life.
It happened, it didn't, the fact
you could choose to remain would become
what's yours to control: hours
of sleeping and waking, meals, the home
you need to go out in the world from.
Neighborhood customs you know you can count on.

Recipes, grapes exchanged for zucchini, the garden
someone will know when to plant.
The book you suggest. The pattern of limits
no one has asked for, told over coffee, lives
like yours you could have become
starting from scratch. Each day
the way you will live before what comes next.

Starting from Scratch is taken from Wendt's collection Moving the House, which features a number of poems on this subject. I'm uncertain of its copyright status, but the whole thing's available online for free here (with some copyright info that may or may not be relevant). There's also biographical detail and the like there if you're interested, and a list of years, one of which it will have been written in.

Thursday, 16 July 2009


Derren Brown: Trick or Treat
2x06 Episode 6 [2nd watch]
Love Derren.
[Watch it (again) on 4oD.]

TNT Show
1x06 (16/9/09) [2nd half]
Oh dear. This is rubbish on so many levels, not least the laughter track that's been obviously, unnaturally stuck on at points where there was meant to be a joke. I only stumbled across it waiting for the Derren Brown repeat; I suggest you make an effort to avoid it.
[Watch it (again) on 4oD. But I recommend you don't.]


Legal row over National Portrait Gallery images placed on Wikipedia by Maev Kennedy
"The National Portrait Gallery has threatened legal proceedings for breach of copyright against a man who downloaded thousands of high-resolution images from its website, and placed them in an archive of free-to-use images on Wikipedia... Photographs of works of art are protected by copyright in the UK, but not in the US, where Coetzee lives...
the photographs were only taken for the NPG as part of a £1m digitisation project in the last couple of years. The gallery... said it would be happy for the online site to use low-resolution images but was "very concerned" about loss of revenue from copyright fees for the high-resolution versions, which form a significant part of its income"

Wednesday, 15 July 2009


Dragons' Den
7x01 Episode 1
Always good to have back on our screens. The battle over this week's final pitch feels set to be a particularly memorable Den moment.
[Watch it (again) on iPlayer.]

Mock the Week
7x01 (9/7/09 edition)
With Virgin now more or less installed, it's time to catch up on some of the stuff I've missed in the last week or so... starting, semi-ironically, with a topical news quiz.
[Watch it (again) on iPlayer.]


Five Outrageous Reality Shows from Around the World by Stefanie Lee
Penitents Compete? Japanese Tetris? Sperm Race? You know you want to know more.

Rose Byrne: Star Wars TV Show To Be a Family Drama by Seth Abramovitch (from Movie|Line)
Star Wars Live-Action TV Series Casting Underway by Eric Ditzian (from MTV Movies Blog)
She's not in the series and she only had a small part in one of the six films ("I’m literally like an extra in that film."), but it seems Damages star Rose Byrne can't help letting slip little details on the forthcoming Star Wars live action TV series.

Steven Soderbergh: 'I can see the end of my career' by Henry Barnes (from
Does Anyone Direct More Movies Than Steven Soderbergh? by Kyle Buchanan (from Movie|Line)
Apparently this news has caused a bit of a stir -- unsurprisingly -- but it is phenomenal how many films Soderbergh has directed in such a short space of time. Read the second article for some comparisons to other prolific directors -- Soderbergh leaves them all in the shade.

Twitter is not for teens, Morgan Stanley told by 15-year-old expert by Julia Kollewe
"Report on young people's media habits written for investment bank by teenage intern causes huge interest in the City"
It's interesting that this has caused such a stir, because you can read the full text of his report here and see it's really not much cop -- a decent enough piece of work for a 15-year-old on an internship, maybe, but certainly no more than that. I'd also be prepared to wager it shows no more than the opinions of his group of friends -- at best, because it may just be what he thinks, lazily knocked out in half an hour. There's at least one glaring factual error in there, for example:
"Most people have Virgin Media as a TV provider. Some have Sky and some have Freeview"
It's a cold hard fact that the number of people with Sky is several times bigger than those with Virgin.

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

I'm back!

My Cultural Experience is back online!

Our new Virgin service was installed today, and while it sadly hasn't gone flawlessly (a duff V+ box means I can currently only watch the free channels; though there are phone sockets throughout the house they're mostly BT, so there's only one I can actually use), the Internet works just fine (and the installer man was very nice and helpful, and the installation process itself was painless... I just need a new box under my telly). Speed tests show it operates close to its 10Mb promise too, despite our new house being relatively distant and residential. Upload speeds are a tad pathetic though.

Anyway, what this means for you, dear reader, is that updates should be more or less back on track. Hurrah! And I may even get round to watching some more films...


Half-Blood Prince stars imagine post-Potter future by Breeanna Hare
No big surprises, really, but it must be odd to have been doing something for the majority of your young life and then have it ending. It'll be interesting to see if they can make the leap into being Proper Actors (leaving Potter behind as something they did when they were young) or if they all flounder and end up only being known for this.

Monday, 13 July 2009


Gavin & Stacey
3x00 Christmas Special [2nd watch]
One slightly odd side effect of having so many channels begging for so much content is that some do things like this -- repeating Christmas specials at any time of the year. We're almost as far as it's possible to be from Christmas (almost equidistant between the last and the next), yet BBC Three still merrily repeat this (or various Doctor Who ones). Maybe their schedulers really do wish it could be Christmas every day...
[Watch it (again) on iPlayer.]

Sunday, 12 July 2009


Mark Lawson Talks To
Liz Smith
[Watch it (again) on iPlayer.]

Top Gear
13x04 (12/7/09 edition)
[Watch it (again) on iPlayer.]

Saturday, 11 July 2009


Michael McIntyre's Comedy Roadshow
1x06 Brighton [season finale]
Despite his admirable love of Queen, I'm not much of a fan of the Pub Landlord, which made for a somewhat disappointing end to an otherwise outstanding series.
[Watch it (again) on iPlayer.]

Friday, 10 July 2009


3x05 Children of Earth: Day Five [season finale]
Depressingly believable, and uncompromisingly excellent with it.
[Watch it (again) on iPlayer.]

Poem of the Week is on holiday

Due to the moving issues previously mentioned, Poem of the Week will return next week.

Thursday, 9 July 2009


3x04 Children of Earth: Day Four
An outstanding episode on every level: scary, exciting, surprising, funny and heartbreaking. Torchwood has really, finally come into its own with this miniseries (or maxi-episode, as I heard it described today, and it seems an even more fitting term). While it might be nice to see a return to 13 individual episodes next year, in many respects this format is even more exciting. Lord alone knows how they could top it though!
[Watch it (again) on iPlayer.]

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Tuesday, 7 July 2009


Michael McIntyre's Comedy Roadshow
1x05 Belfast
[Watch it (again) on iPlayer.]

3x02 Children of Earth: Day Two
A brilliant second episode. Perhps not as packed as the first, but series like this need a good kick to get going and then can afford to slow the pace slightly in the middle. That said, with all the action going on, Torchwood certainly couldn't be accused of being slow-paced. For one, the JCB rescue/escape is an instant-classic action sequence.
[Watch it (again) on iPlayer.]


Blade Prequel Trilogy In The Works by Dave Golder
(from SFX)
The involvement of the original director -- and not, it seems, of Wesley Snipes -- is promising.

Monkey Island to return today by David Bradley
(from SFX)
"Launch Of The Screaming Narwhal is the first part of Tales Of Monkey Island, a five-game series with a whole new swashbuckling storyline... It launches on PC and WiiWare later today."

Torchwood BBC1 run starts with nearly 6m viewers by Leigh Holmwood
"Torchwood: Children of Earth brought 5.9 million viewers and a 26% share to BBC1 in the 9pm hour, comfortably winning its slot, according to unofficial overnight figures."

Monday, 6 July 2009


Loose Women
6/7/09 edition
Featuring John Barrowman, who's always a riot.

3x01 Children of Earth: Day One
The new series of Torchwood gets off to a flying start -- a proper semi-political thriller, packed with all the requisite mystery and twists (and genuine ones at that!), but not losing any of the show's usual humour, character or quirkiness.
It also impressed in seeming to contain more plot and action than your average Torchwood episode, despite being the first not to tell a self-contained story. This may be the skill of having Russell T Davies back in the writer's chair -- imbuing more pace and interest into 59-minutes that tell just one fifth of a story than most writers can achieve telling a whole tale in 45 minutes. That's without mentioning how multi-faceted it was, managing to throw in horror and sci-fi plot points right beside domestic relationships, sweet character moments and broad comedy.
This is what Torchwood has been aiming to be all along, and it was fantastic. Let's just hope the rest of the story can live up to the opener...
[Watch it (again) on iPlayer.]

Moving update

Due to technical issues relating to my move (see previous few days for related posts), updates to this blog will not appear with their regular efficiency for the next week. Rest assured that updates will continue daily (though delayed) and normal service will resume shortly.

Sunday, 5 July 2009


Wimbledon 2009
The Men's Singles final, of course. I'm glad Federer got his record-breaking 15th Grand Slam title at what is almost his home Slam, though felt sorry for Roddick -- he worked hard, deserved it at least as much, and has just the one Slam win to his name (so far). He looked almost broken.


Spent most of today moving stuff again, but that included setting up my oft-discussed new TV arrangement.

I've not had a chance to fully calibrate and enjoy it yet, but the brief check-it-works tests proved it all to be as stunning as I hoped.

Saturday, 4 July 2009


My Cultural Experience spent today moving, with occasional breaks to visit the likes of B&Q, which rather got in the way of any more genuine cultural experiences.

Friday, 3 July 2009


Wimbledon 2009
Today at Wimbledon, Andy Roddick put out number three seed -- and, thanks to the absence of Nadal, runner-up-favourite -- Andy Murray. Despite being British, I was more than a little pleased. Well done Roddick.

Thursday, 2 July 2009


Listening to Mr iPhone by Rory Cellan-Jones
(from on the BBC Blog Network)
A moderately interesting piece about an interview (yes, "about an interview", not "an interview") with the designer of numerous Apple products, Jonathan Ive. Sadly, the comment section quickly degenerates into yet another Mac vs PC flame war.

World Exclusive: Hands-on with Battlestar Galactica: The Complete Series on Blu-ray by Anton van Beek
(from Home Cinema Choice)
A first-look/review of the first 14 discs of the forthcoming UK/Region B release of the re-imagined Battlestar Galactica on Blu-ray. After getting shafted with extras on the DVD releases, it looks as if the UK is getting a full port of the US Battlestar set. We may lose out on the Cylon action figure, but we get some different cool packaging -- and it's much cheaper than importing! And good news for both regions: looks like they've done it justice with the set. Something to seriously look forward to, then.

Wednesday, 1 July 2009


Michael McIntyre's Comedy Roadshow
1x04 Swansea [2nd half]
After waiting a few days for this in the end, it was a sadly disappointing second half.
[Watch it (again) on iPlayer.]


Bill Nighy joins cast of Deathly Hallows by Lara Martin
(from Digital Spy)
Though not which part he'll play.

Conversation, Forever Captured, in Dinner by Jen Chaney
(from The Washington Post)
An interesting review of the new Criterion DVD of My Dinner with André, which makes some interesting points about modern culture (specifically regarding the rise of YouTube).

Cybermen - Del-eat! Del-eat! by Dave Golder
(from SFX)
"This brilliant Cybercake, created by a shop called Truly Scrumptious was spotted by SFX reader David Todd... Apparently, the cake took four days to make."

Ross criticises Norton, Barrowman shows by Mayer Nissim
(from Digital Spy)
What is says in the title, really, though read the article if you want the exact quote. Could he be jealous of their increasing dominance at the Beeb?

Russell T Davies talks Torchwood by Ian Berriman
(from SFX)
Most Davies interviews are worth a read, and this is certainly no exception. A decent length too.