Wednesday, 13 April 2011


The Crimson Petal and the White
Part 1 (of 4)
Absolutely, strikingly magnificent. It's truly gorgeously shot (especially when seen in HD), beautifully designed, marvellously acted (including at least one very surprising performance), beguilingly written... I actually had goosebumps by the final scenes. If you haven't watched it, I urge you to -- it's phenomenal. If it can keep this level up for the remaining three episodes, it'll be a certified classic in my book.
[Watch it (again) in HD on iPlayer.]

Doctor Who
31x02 The Beast Below [2nd watch]
For the past year (i.e. since it was on) I've been happy to assert that this is the most underrated episode of the 11th Doctor's/Steven Moffat's first series. Having watched it again, I absolutely agree with myself: this is an excellent episode that seems to have been unjustly under-appreciated.
I posit two reasons: one, it followed The Eleventh Hour, which is probably one of the very best Who stories ever; and two, what's so great about it is how (for want of a better word) dark it is. The final 15 minutes (ish) are amongst Who's most hair-raisingly dramatically serious, with the Doctor placed in an impossible moral decision. All credit to Moffat for being willing to take what it is ostensibly a kids' show into such deep territory. It pays dividends, to my mind; and bear in mind that my mind is one that considers Doctor Who's "kids' show" status to be vital to its success in the past and now. The reason such dilemmas and topics work here is because, while they're serious and grown-up, they're serious and grown-up in a way it's appropriate for children to be considering (in my opinion, obviously).
So yes, I love The Beast Below, and anyone who thinks it isn't a good episode is plain Wrong.

Twenty Twelve
1x05 Episode 5
[Watch it (again) in HD on iPlayer.]

Yes Minister
3x07 The Middle-Class Rip-Off [season finale]


The Crimson Petal and the White: Watching my novel reborn on TV by Michel Faber
As you may guess from the title, the author of the novel responds to the currently-running TV adaptation. It's rather pretentious in places, but still worth a read.

"I've never worked quite as hard as this... but look at the two shows I do. It's absolutely worth it." by Benjamin Cook
(from Doctor Who Magazine #433, p.22-31)
A great interview with Doctor Who's head blokey, Steven Moffat, revealing all sorts of things, from his thinking behind this season's unusual structure to what it's like being in charge of two of TV's biggest dramas at the same time. Insightful and surprisingly candid -- great work, Mr Cook and DWM.
Plus there's all sorts of other great stuff in the issue, as per always... so, y'know, buy it.