Friday 8 November 2013


Doctor Who
The TV Movie [3rd third; 5th watch]

Everything from DVD chapter 14 (with the Doctor and Grace in the Master's ambulance, i.e. before the bike chase) to the end. For those of you who remember the TVM, you'll realise that's an awful lot of its action: the bike chase, all the stuff with the clock, the Eye of Harmony climax, 'temporal orbit', etc etc. Yes, it's a longer part than the other two (remember 25/25/35), but it feels a little less like watching an "extended Part 3 of 3" and more like watching "Parts 3 & 4 of 4".

On the whole, I think the TVM is quite distinctly underrated. It was a shock to the system in 1996, but compared to the new series... well, it's actually very like the new series: the bike chase, kissing/hand-holding, "drezz for the occasion", the humour, everything at the clock, the characterisation of Grace and Chang Lee, everything McGann does -- all could fit comfortably in episodes masterminded by RTD or Moffat.

It's not perfect -- the opening few minutes are a mess of references and infodumpery; bits of the climax don't make a lick of sense -- but, on the whole, I love it.

4x14 The One with Joey's Dirty Day [4th or so watch]
4x15 The One with All the Rugby [4th or so watch]
Or, The Ones Where Emily Turns Up And Is Intensely Irritating.

The Graham Norton Show
14x04 (1/11/13 edition)
[Watch it (again) in HD on iPlayer.]

Have I Got News For You
46x04 (25/10/2013 edition)
Although an extended version of this episode is listed, it wasn't shown. Which is one of the reasons I'm so behind on it now.

Audio Drama

Doctor Who [Big Finish]
The Light at the End Part Two (of 2)

Hm. Well. OK.

Obviously the Doctor being completely wiped out of history is a suitably epic story for a Big Anniversary Doctor Team-Up Special, but it feels so... low-key. Like how it would be handled in a short story, rather than a novel or a season finale... or a big anniversary special. I also didn't quite get all of the plan. The weapon the Master uses makes sense, but why put it in that particular human, on that particular date? As the listener the choice of 23rd November 1963 is obvious, but why in the story?

Still, at least the Doctors knocking around together is fun at times. I'm pretty sure Big Finish have teamed up the Sixth and Seventh before -- I've not heard those stories (obviously), but somehow it didn't feel fresh. Maybe the Fifth and Seventh would've been more unusual? The best bits are the Fourth and Eighth together, which are mainly in Part One but make a comeback towards the end of Part Two... though leaving the Fifth, Sixth and Seventh together for the last quarter(-ish) makes it feel like the early days of Big Finish, when they were the only Doctors they had. Or maybe that was the point.

As for the appearances by the First, Second and Third... I get why their audio is obscured, to help hide the impressions that are being done; but they're still obviously impressions, and by making them so quiet in the mix we have to strain to hear them -- which makes the fact they're impressions more obvious because we're listening so hard.

The Light at the End is pleasant enough on the whole, but with some script polishing (I've not even mentioned some of the clunky dialogue) and a splash more of the epic, this could've rivalled the new series for grandiosity. Whether Moffat's come up with something bigger for The Day of the Doctor or not, the TV series has already out-agrandised this audio in the past. Shame.


Doctor Who: The Writer's Tale - The Final Chapter by Russell T Davies & Benjamin Cook
Book Two, Chapter 24-25 [the end]

A marvellous conclusion, full of defences for things that don't often get defended but deserve defending -- like RTD's writing style (p.678-9), the quality of Rose (p.681-5); plus spot-on criticism of forum-dwelling 'fans' (p.691-2).