Cliche away!!!

To say that TV is a world of cliches is probably in itself a cliche.

Cliches abound in drama, amongst them are:

Cat owners are weird but dog owners are normal upstanding people.

Football fans are either thugs or the complete opposite; a normal down-to-earth bunch and salt of the earth.

On the other hand, Scl-Fi fans are complete weirdos and anoraks.  Which I will admit some are, but most are normal everyday people and in times of trouble the best people you could meet.

And I don’t understand how liking something that is designed to entertain can be sad. In fact why is anything that anyone enjoys that is not considered to be normal (i.e. sport) wrong?  As long as nobody is hurting anyone, then let them do what they want.

Another cliche that abounds in TV is that all gay man are camp. Is it the shadow of Mr Humphries that looms large over gay characters?  It will be interesting to see how the character is portrayed in the new version of ‘Are You Being Served?’. Will he be as overtly camp or will it be downplayed a bit?

In the 70’s cliches abound; a couple of years ago we watched ‘Dawsons Weekly’, a series of comedies starring Les Dawson and Roy Barraclough amongst others. Each week, Roy Barraclough played a camp character, who was treated with horror by Les Dawson’s character, the implication being that Roy Barraclough would like to have his wicked way with Les in the Post Office, Les in a hospital or even Les up in an aeroplane…  Now, this was to our eyes completely unacceptable and soured the enjoyment of the series for us.

That and the fact that the writing wasn’t very good; surprising really as it was written by Galton and Simpson.

But I suppose at the time it would have been seen as completely normal and matter of fact.  As is the use of the words “queer”, “poof” and “pansy”. Oh, and of course the abuse hurled at the characters in ‘It Ain’t Half Hot Mum’ features many of these insults – the other big thing about this series was the casual use of blacking up.  Something which precludes it from being repeated on BBC 2 as ‘Dad’s Army’ is.

Another kind of cliche is shown in many war dramas; the young officer who has just joined the regiment etc. I found this recently in ‘Danger UXB’ – a character was introduced in Episode 2 and promptly killed off in the next episode. He was young, newly engaged and very much in love.  So therefore might just as well had a big sign over his head flashing DOOMED!!!

Another well worn cliche is that of the stupid comedy policeman, a example of this is Inspector Mackenzie from ‘Raffles’ he is portrayed as completely dense and even misses seeing the character of Bunny who is standing in plain sight.  Or perhaps he suffers from the common ‘Doctor Who’ monster complaint of lack of peripheral vision.  Something I also lack.

But in real life there is no way that anyone that is consistently that stupid would either keep their job or get to that level in the first place.

In a way, it’s fun to look out for these characters and to see if they exceed your expectations; very many times they don’t and the inevitable happens.

These days a lot of cliches are overused, it would be nice if sometimes dramas could be cliche free, but then I suppose that wouldn’t be fun.

I guess that’s all I have to say for now.

Until next time.

Well, you can’t expect perfection, you know. Not even from me.



Troublesome Toffs

As I think I may have mentioned before, we are currently in the process of watching ‘Sergeant Cork’. We finished Season One awhile ago, and have really enjoyed it. Both the main actors are very good; John Barrie as the eponymous Sergeant Cork and William Gaunt as Mr Marriot, they work well together.

We noticed a couple of things about the series; firstly, Sergeant Cork certainly likes his food. There is one episode where he offers everyone stickjaw, which seems to be a kind of toffee.

To say that we were amused by this would be an understatement, giggling every time it was mentioned or bought out.

The last time we were that amused by a food based name was in an episode of ‘Crown Court’ where persimmons were mentioned, which lead us to try the said fruit. I have to say that the name is better than the food.

Anyway back to ‘Sergeant Cork’; one of the other things we noticed was that an awful lot of the cases seem to be perpetrated by or to include a toff (to use the terminology used in the show).

Looking up the creator Ted Willis (also the creator of ‘Dixon of Dock Green’) was made a Labour peer (Baron Willis of Chislehurst) and it shows a bit in the shows he creates and writes. He and the other writers have a very low opinion of the aristocracy. And often use the story to make a point.

When we started the second season a couple of months ago, we found a very different story about Irish Republicans It was actually quite a dark story, featuring a large body count (off screen of course). What was very surprising was the fact that is was shown on the 28th of December 1963 (the same night the Daleks made their first full appearance on television). It was hardly cheery Christmas viewing!

Sergeant Cork was mostly absent through the second episode of the second season due to the character being struck down by a cold, which gave William Gaunt a chance to shine. Listening to John Barrie at certain points of the episode we began to wonder if the actor was really ill, possibly leading to a hasty rewrite?

In the most recent of episode of ‘Sergeant Cork’ we’ve watched, an unusual thing occurred – Cork didn’t get his man! A theme of the series we really enjoy is the fact that Sergeant Cork usually gets his man. Be that man be working class or an aristocrat, justice is all that matters to Cork.

It shows that British justice doesn’t always win.

We would highly recommend ‘Sergeant Cork’; a great series featuring lots of recognisable actors. (Stephen Gallagher likes it, too!)

Another show I am considering getting is ‘Gideon’s Way’. “Another police series?” I hear you cry “Are you obsessed?” Well, yes; in a way we probably are. We both enjoy vintage television. It’s always interesting to see what people managed to do on much smaller budgets and in tiny studios.

I’m also thinking of getting the film version ‘Gideon’s Day’, which stars Jack Hawkins alongside Cyril Cusack and a young Jack Watling.

I recently caught it halfway through and quite enjoyed it as period piece.

We’re going through a black and white telly phase at the moment, as we are currently watching ‘Callan’, ‘It’s Dark Outside’ and, of course, ‘Sergeant Cork’.

We’ve been posting photos of the title card of whatever episode we are watching; this includes an episode of ‘Barlow’ from 1975 featuring Stratford Johns of course, but also Neil Stacy, Derek Newark and Martin Shaw.

It was an interesting watch, but left me a little uncomfortable as Barlow suggested to a female character who had accused another character of rape that if she had enjoyed it just for a moment, then it wasn’t rape. Perhaps just an indication of when the episode was written and broadcast.

We also watched an episode of ‘Z-Cars’ (‘People’s Property’) which featured a lot of location filming and unusually all four regulars at one point or another.

I’d also recommend ‘New Scotland Yard’, which features John Woodvine and John Carlisle as the leads for the first three series and Michael Turner and Clive Francis for the fourth series. It’s another ITV show and very 70’s in places, but with some interesting stories.

“She’s hiding fact from me and so are you, and if you don’t tell me where the rest of the household is, I shall arrest you for obstructing my enquiries!”


Andrew and I recently went to see the new ‘Star Wars’ film.

Andrew wasn’t as keen as me to go and see it, so I bribed him with a free ticket and lunch.

And in the end he quite enjoyed it, giving it 7 ½ stars out of 10.

It was nice to see the original characters again and the new characters were very likeable, apart from the baddies of course!

I particularly liked BB-8 as he reminds me of my cat Martha.  Especially when he nudges other characters.

In fact, I enjoyed the film so much that I re-watched the original trilogy which I bought recently along with the prequel trilogy, which I haven’t yet gotten around to re-watching.

One thing I did notice re-watching the originals was that I couldn’t take Darth Vader quite so seriously since seeing the episode of ‘The Big Bang Theory’ in which James Earl Jones appeared. But once I got over that I really enjoyed the films. It was particularly nice to see the many British actors that star in the the original trilogy; actors such as Ken Colley, Julian Glover and, of course, the inimitable Michael Sheard.  Sheardy’s appearance, though brief, is wonderfully acted and gained him a round of applause from the cast and crew.  

And on the subject of Michael Sheard, we had the great pleasure of being good pals as he would have termed it. We would meet him at conventions and always have a drink with him. We were made to ask questions at his panels and to bid for items he was auctioning, such as the infamous photo of Katy Manning and the Dalek, which we ended up buying and sending to a perplexed friend for his birthday.

His presence is sadly missed at conventions these days as he could always be relied on to raise the spirits of a group and make the event just that bit more fun.

Back onto the subject of the ‘Star Wars’ films, I must be one of the few people apart from children who don’t mind Jar Jar Binks and that indeed is where the title of this blog comes from as I misunderstood his saying “How rude” as “Ah-woo!”… Make that of what you will.

Generally though I don’t mind the prequel trilogy; as I mentioned, I haven’t re-watched them in a while.  Though they are on my list to do so at the some point and anything with Brian Blessed overacting madly in can’t be all that bad.

Moving on to a different subject now, we were saddened last week to hear of the death of Alan Rickman and re-watched ‘Galaxy Quest’ at the weekend along with our friend Warren, which we all enjoyed. And though based more on ‘Star Trek’ than ‘Doctor Who’, we can relate to some of the events that happen in it.  Especially the bit where Tim Allen tells the fan that it’s all real and the reaction of the fan.

We will also watch ‘Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves’ at some point as Alan Rickman completely steals the show in that one. I’ve told Andrew, who has never seen it, that even though the history is complete rubbish and Robin Hood is an American, the film as a whole is fun and again is chock-full of great British actors, such as Brian Blessed, Jack Wild and Daniel Peacock.

I think that’s all for this time, short but hopefully sweet.

Until next time, stay warm.

Goody Goody Yum Yum.

In general I have always favoured the good guys in drama.

That’s why I love ‘Doctor Who’; because the good guys nearly always win.

It’s also the reason I really love police dramas, such as ‘Z Cars’ and ‘Dixon Of Dock Green’ as they usually get their man.

Having said that, there is a run of episodes of ‘Dixon’ in the batch that exists from 1972, where the bad guy wins. Undoubtedly realistic as this is, I did find them a little bleak to watch.

Now that I’ve said that I support the good guy, there have been one or two exceptions.

One of these being Nigel Havers’ character Ralph Gorse from ‘The Charmer’, who on original transmission I recall really liking and not wanting him to get caught. I’ve just bought the DVD so it will be interesting to see if I get the same view through more adult eyes or if I’m supporting Bernard Hepton this time.

The other ‘bad guy’ I that I really like is A J Raffles as played by Anthony Valentine, who sadly passed away recently. In tribute we’ve been rewatching the odd episode and I’ve found him just as likeable and compared to some of the dishonest and despicable people he steals from, he actually the good guy I guess.

Now really I guess I should want Inspector Mackenzie to win, but he’s such a bumptious, annoying and stupid character that it’s always a pleasure to see him bested.

‘Raffles’ is a series we’d highly recommend to anyone that’s a fan of vintage television or Anthony Valentine and serves as a good tribute to him.  As well as featuring a host of well known guest stars such as Graham Crowden and John Savident.

And if you see no other episode, watch the pilot  ‘The Amateur Cracksman’ for no other reason than to see and hear James Maxwell’s extraordinary performance as Inspector Mackenzie.

Another good guy I’ve been enjoying watching is President Jed Bartlet from ‘The West Wing’; he’s the kind of man I wish were standing now against Donald Trump, because I think he’d make mincemeat of him.

But he’s not the only good guy in the show, most of the other characters are good guys too, each is there trying to do their best for the President or the country.  My favourite character being Toby Ziegler.

Now just because someone is a good guy it doesn’t mean they have to be perfect, in fact sometimes not doing things the right way but doing the right thing means that the ultimate end is even more satisfying.

That’s why characters like Reagan and Carter in ‘The Sweeney’ or Gene Hunt in ‘Life On Mars’ & ‘Ashes To Ashes’ who, despite their unorthodox ways of doing things, are ultimately acting for the greater good.

Incidentally if there was to be a remake of ‘Dixon Of Dock Green’, then I vote for Philip Glenister as Dixon, giving the character a harder edge suitable for the 21st Century.

Obviously the ultimate good guy is Dr. Who / Doctor Who / The Doctor (depending on how he appears in the end credits!); saving planets and people for 52 years.

But he doesn’t always do this in a way that we would consider to be ethical, as shown in the  Series 8  episode ‘Kill The Moon’. I have to admit that I struggled with this episode on transmission, as The Doctor’s behaviour leaves a lot to be desired. But The Doctor has always had moments where he is dislikable, in ‘An Unearthly Child’ / ’The Tribe Of Gum’ / ‘100000 BC’ he almost bashes Za’s brains out to allow their escape.  And in ‘The Dead Planet’ / ‘The Daleks’ / ‘The Mutants (Not The Pertwee One)’ he endangers all their lives so that he can get a look at the Dalek city.

Some of The Doctor’s recent behaviour has also been a little dubious, as he struggled to save Clara after the events of ‘Face The Raven’; a lot of people have criticised this as he never did this to save some of his other companions including Amy and Rory.  Well, obviously different stories require different attitudes. But for me the reason that he moves heaven and earth to save Clara is the fact that she saved his existence many times over.

And also that she was there when he regenerated, in the same way he was very fond of Sarah Jane who was with him when he regenerated from the Third Doctor to the Fourth.

Anyway enough waffling from me.
As the First Doctor says “A Very Merry Christmas to all of you at home!”

Books and Stuff.

“Books are the principal business of a library, sir…”

So says Shardovan to the 5th Doctor’s question in ‘Castrovalva’.

Books have been occupying our thoughts this last month or so as we have added many used and new books to our collection.

We are now the proud owners of a complete set of ‘Worzel Gummidge’ books, plus ‘The Trial of Worzel Gummidge’ – a TV Tie-in by Keith Waterhouse and Willis Hall, which Andrew insists doesn’t really count as it isn’t by the original author Barbara Euphan Todd. Andrew loves the ‘Worzel Gummidge’ books as the books are a lot darker than the TV series could ever have been.

We recently stayed in a hotel in Kent to attend a friend’s wedding renewal and spent the Friday night using the free hotel wi-fi to look up ‘Worzel Gummidge’ books on ebay and trying to work out which one to buy first.

We tried not to get any with photo covers of Jon Pertwee, but have ended up with a couple with illustrated covers which look suspiciously like him.

Two of the harder ones to track down Andrew managed to buy from Amazon and they are both ex-library copies and are older than he is.

Andrew’s idea casting for a remake of ‘Worzel Gummidge’ would be Phil Davis, who we imagine would play the role with much more darkness and nastiness than Jon Pertwee (great as he was) could have done.

There are also marked differences in the books, neither Aunt Sally or The Crowman feature heavily and Worzel is married to another scarecrow called Earthy Mangold who used to be a Hawthorn Hedge and loves all creatures.

We have come to the decision that Andrew is Worzel and I am Earthy.

I have also bought vintage copies of some of the Richard Gordon’s ‘Doctor…’ books, a set of 6 or 7. I do love vintage books, and the fact that sometimes you get a message to someone in the book or a name and address.

I also have a set of vintage Paddington books. Paddington books are a bit of obsession for me as ‘A Bear Called Paddington’ was the first book that I was bought after I learned to read, so it has a very sentimental feeling for me.  

Though sometimes I worry that we have too many books, though I’m not sure you can have too many really and on the bonus side we could always open up a book shop.

I can’t tell you how much I love the feel of a book, especially new books.

I also love the smell of new books, which makes me sound a bit weird.

I also use a Kindle app on my phone and quite often find myself doubling up on books and having them as a physical and e-book.

I find e-books easier to read sometimes as I am very short sighted and find them easier to read as they are lit up and you can make the text larger.

But they will never replace the feel of a physical book for me.

Other books that I have recently bought are the complete ‘How To Train Your Dragon’ series, the complete ‘Borrowers’ novels, which we’ve also been watching weekly.

And a whole bunch of ‘Round The Horne’ books, including scripts, a history of the programme and a biography of Kenneth Horne.

There’s also been a whole bunch of ‘Doctor Who’ and ‘Downton Abbey’ related books and Simon Fisher-Becker’s wonderful ‘My Dalek Has A Puncture’.

One series of books I would recommend is by Tom Cox and concerns life with his cats and other assorted animals they also feature the sayings of Tom’s dad who could fill a book alone with the things he has said and that has happened to him.

You also get to meet Tom’s cats, including the 20 year old The Bear, who you can find on Twitter as

A very entertaining series of books, sometimes sad, but mostly happy and life affirming.

The complete set of books are:

‘Under The Paw’

‘Talk To The Tail’

‘The Good, The Bad and The Furry’

‘Close Encounters of the Furred Kind’.

Anyway I think I’ve waffled on enough.

Well, whoever I feel like, it’s absolutely splendid. Let’s go.

“Who’d be a woman?”

“How would you know, honey?” is of course, Captain Hopper’s answer to Victoria’s rhetorical question in ‘The Tomb Of The Cybermen’.

For years and years being a female ‘Doctor Who’ fan was seen to be somewhat unusual. It’s hard to believe these days when being a ‘Doctor Who’ fan and a girl is nothing out of the ordinary.

But go back 15 years or so and I was told by my then supervisor that I’d grow out of it. Now since I was 28 at that point, I’d say that I`d long passed the point of that even being a vague possibility!

These days there are almost more female fans than male, helped especially by the fact that the newer series of ‘Doctor Who’ has seen the Doctor’s relationship with his companion(s) become a bit more emotional; sometimes even a love story, as with the Tenth Doctor and Rose.

Though I suppose when you look back, there was a real love between Sarah Jane and the Fourth Doctor, though not as overt.

I’m an old school fan and enjoy the adventure side of ‘Doctor Who’ along with the character of the Doctor. For one thing, I respect and enjoy his tolerance (Daleks not included!).

A line that Andrew and I have been quoting a lot recently is from the Jon Pertwee story ‘The Claws Of Axos’ when the odious Mister Chinn says he has a duty to his country. “Not to the World?” retorts the Doctor with burning anger. Something we both believe in; that we are one world and not just individual countries.

Something else we’ve had recently is a female Master; a brave and clever idea. Something which has reinvigorated the character and paved the way for a female Doctor.

I really liked Michelle Gomez’s portrayal of Missy (she can’t very well call herself the Master, after all).

To paraphrase Lady Caroline Lamb on Lord Byron, she’s mad, bad and dangerous to know.

But lots of fun and I look forward to seeing what she will get up to in Series 9.

As for a female Doctor, there was a time when I’d have said no, most definitely not. But then I read this article:

And I changed my mind, I can just imagine Sue Perkins as the 10th Doctor and how the romance between her and Rose would work.

I don’t understand why the Doctor can’t be a woman, as long as you get the right actress.

I understand that the actress and comedian Susan Calman would like to be The Doctor and I can’t disagree with that, as I think she’d be fab. Not for a while though, as I’d like Peter Capaldi to stay a bit longer. Mind you, maybe not straight after him as we don’t really want two Scottish Doctors that close.

I’d like to see a black or Asian Doctor. My personal favorite would be an actor called Kobna Holdbrook-Smith who does an excellent job reading the audio versions of Ben Aaronovitch’s wonderful series ‘Rivers of London’.

Check them out if you get the chance, they’re about a Met Policeman who is also a wizard.

Though when Sanjeev Bhaskar was announced as being a guest star in ‘Death In Heaven’, Andrew had a theory that he might be a future incarnation of The Doctor. Sadly, that didn’t quite pan out anything like we expected, but it would have been an interesting idea.

Anyway I think I’ve waffled on long enough for now.

I suppose it makes sense… wearing a bit thin

The Idiot’s Lantern.

Much like the ladies watching the Coronation in Mark Gatiss’ excellent story of the above name, Andrew and I quite often talk whilst watching television.

Unlike the ladies, it isn’t about how lovely the person currently on screen looks, but more often how bad the quality of the picture is or who that particular guest actor is.

And in one case recently whilst watching Part Two of ‘Remembrance Of The Daleks’ we paused the scene in the cafe which discusses the use of sugar to work out if John’s Great-Grandfather could have been a slave, which we happily worked out was possible.

Andrew also has the slightly annoying habit of quoting ‘Doctor Who’ as it it goes along. Just before the line is actually said… Especially Jon Pertwee episodes as he had most of them on audio tape and listened to them so much that he can now quote them word for word and even imitate the music cues. (“Ba-da-da-dada-da-dum!!!”)

We also have the habit of watching quiz shows and getting very annoyed when the most obvious answers are missed by contestants or the general public at large.

A recent example happened in an edition of ‘Pointless Celebrities’. It always amazes us how many people that work in TV know nothing about TV. Meera Syal and Phil Cornwell had made it to the final round and had chosen ‘The 70’s’ as their jackpot question. One of the categories was regular cast members of ‘Are You Being Served’…

Firstly I’d want to qualify what constitutes a regular character; one of our online friends later told us that it was actually 25 episodes or more, but we didn’t hear bit so (probably because we got too excited). We were working on the theory of 2 episode or more. So were coming up with names like Milo Sperber who played Mr Grossman the Head of Menswear in 4 episodes of Series 8 or Alfie Bass who was Mr Goldberg in Series 7. Andrew also thought of Candy Davis (Mr Rumbold`s secretary in Series 9 and 10. But then, Andrew often thinks of Candy Davis…) But when it came to it, Trevor Bannister who played Mr Lucas in 7 whole series (!) got 7 points and Nicholas Smith who played Mr Rumbold in the entire 10 series run was a Pointless answer. Which to us is completely ridiculous, and somewhat insulting to the actors concerned! 🙂

But I appreciate we may have somewhat specialised knowledge and be the weird ones here…

I do get a bit obsessed by things sometimes, for instance we watched a edition of ‘Late Night Line’ up on YouTube the other day. It was focussing on the filming and rehearsal of a ‘Z Cars’ episode, as they were still largely live at the stage. After we watched the programme I tried to find out what episode of ‘Z Cars’ had been covered. I’ve just found out via the wonder of Twitter that the episode is ‘The Soft Game’ from 21st April 1965. Thanks to clever old @CFarnesbarnes for that!

We have a huge pile of DVDs to be watched many of them vintage and classic (or not so classic) TV programmes. At the moment we currently have ‘Bless This House’, ‘Get Some In’, ‘On The Buses’, ‘The Prisoner’ and ‘It Ain’t Half Hot Mum’. You can hopefully see the pattern here, as we enjoy all sorts of 60’s and 70’s TV programmes. I think we keep Network DVD in business really, as we buy an awful lot of stuff from them. Or possibly a lot of awful stuff…!

And a friend Brad Jones is a very good weather vane of what’s good to buy; he’ll post about something he’s watching on DVD and I usually buy the same DVD soon after.

I think during the week we watch more vintage programmes than current ones.  I’m not keen on heavy, depressing programmes or US TV Series.

My current favourite programme is the new version of ‘Clangers’, which I absolutely adore and could watch quite a few back to back. It’s the ideal stress buster for me; if I’ve had a bad day at work or feel a bit stressed, ‘Clangers’ really cheers me up.

I have the same reaction if I listen to Murray Gold’s ‘I am The Doctor’ track; it reminds me of happy times and places. And the joy of realising that Matt Smith’s Doctor was going to be great.

Anyway I think I’ve deviated from the point of this blog somewhat, I love TV and love nothing more than to sit down with Andrew and our cats (Rose and Martha) on a Saturday to watch ‘Doctor Who’ or whatever other series we’ve got on the go.

Anyway I think I’ve wittered on enough for now.


“Before I go, I just wanna tell you, you were fantastic. Absolutely fantastic. And do you know what? So was I!”

“Doctor, you’re becoming obsessed!”

Being a ‘Doctor Who’ fan means, to a certain extent, being a bit obsessive.

Focussing on things that other people don’t worry about… For instance, recently I was flicking through TV channels to find something to watch when the title card of ‘Sharpe’s Enemy’ came up on screen. “Oh, Pete Postlethwaite!” was my immediate response, as he plays the main villain in that story.

When I like a TV series or book I tended to research it thoroughly, in some cases too far! I find out too much and end up not wanting to watch certain episodes because of what happens in them. ‘Game of Thrones’ is a prime example of this; I’ve researched it so thoroughly that I don’t actually need to watch the series as I know what happens.

I should have probably taken River Song’s advice regarding spoilers.

I sometimes listen to people at work trying to remember who a certain actor is and am shy of telling them as it seems like showing off, having that knowledge.

I can tell the difference between film and video, something that which usually confuses the person I’m with (unless it’s Andrew) as they can’t tell any difference.

Frequently when we watch TV programmes there will be an actor that we half recognize, in which case IMDb comes in very handy. It proves a bit more difficult when we are at my father in law’s as you can’t get access to the internet there. In that case you just have to remember the name of the person from the end credits and look them up when we get home.

Though sometimes we remember what we’ve seen them from anyway.

We watch a lot of vintage television and started watching ‘Softly, Softly: Taskforce’ a while ago. Being the sort of person I am and instantly worrying about one of the characters I did some research into the series and found something out about the last episode of the first series which has made me stop watching for the moment. We will carry on at some point, though, as there are some great guest stars coming up, but still won’t be watching the last episode. You’ll have to look it up yourselves if you want to find out what happens.

We also have the habit of taking photos of things we find interesting and posting them onto Facebook or Twitter. Recently these have included Tony Selby being blown up in ‘Get Some In!’, a young Simon Callow as a teddy boy again in ‘Get Some In!’. A very youthful Colin Baker in ‘The Mind Of Mr. J.G. Reeder’ and a picture break-up in an episode of ‘Bless This House’, which left Sid James’ head in one position and his body in another.

We’ve also been watching ‘Dixon Of Dock Green’ and are rather sad to have come to the end of the available DVD releases. If someone involved with them is listening out there, please release some of the black and white stuff, you’d get at least one sale.

Oh, and some more ‘Z Cars’ too, please!

It took a little while to get into ‘Dixon Of Dock Green’ as the first few episodes on Volume One are all a little depressing and as they were made on film they looked a little weird.

But then we got to the episode ‘Firearms Were Issued’ which completely changed the way we viewed the series.

It’s a superb episode and I would recommend the disc just for that episode alone.

Andrew bought me the ‘Dixon’ DVD for my 40th a couple of years ago along with ‘Crown Court’ which is another series I’d recommend.

It even features a young Peter Capaldi in a 1984 episode. A clip of which can be found on YouTube if you wish to look it up.

And there’s a completely bonkers Christmas episode which features John Le Mesurier amongst others. And one to look up on YouTube is ‘An Upward Fall’, which features Michael Jayston. It’s about a nursing home set at the top of a cliff but the toilets are at the bottom, meaning that residents are killed trying to get down to them.

Completely bonkers and I must admit I haven’t finished that one yet.

We’ve just started watching ‘The Avengers’ and so far have seen one and a third episodes, none of which featured Patrick Macnee. But we are looking forward to working our way through the series and seeing how it progresses, give us a few years to complete that one.

Another great series is ‘Colditz’; which we bought in response to the death of Bernard Kay, who puts an outstanding performance in ‘Tweedledum’ . I’d recommend this without hesitation, especially as an earlier episode features Patrick Troughton putting in his usual excellent performance.

Anyway I think I’ve waffled enough for now.
Goodbye Raggedy Man!

Everything I Do, I Do It For ‘Who’…

Recently we purchased some ‘Doctor Who’ themed tea and some ‘Sherlock’ themed tea too.

As well as the teas we also bought a teapot with a TARDIS painted on it.

I could have bought an ordinary Not-We teapot, of course, but once we’d decided on the tea I set my mind to the teapot as well.

The ‘Doctor Who’ themed teas were part of a sample collection; each tea in a little tin, which has a drawing of the character on it. And to be honest, it was worth buying them for the tins alone.  Ours came from the European site of Adagio teas and are all 21st century ‘Who’ related, but you can buy a wider range from the US site. We certainly intend to try the wonderfully named ‘UNIT Dating Controversy’ tea!

So far we have tried Eleven, Donna Noble, Rose Tyler, River Song, Nine, Ten and Martha Jones. Each is very different and unique in its own right – if you like your teas, I’d recommend you try them. Though if you don’t like aniseed I’d avoid Nine as it tastes like hot liquorice. In my opinion – Sorry!

Just search for Adagio Teas if you’re interested.

I have bought other things over the years because of their relation to ‘Doctor Who’, including Elizabeth Shaw mints and ‘Doctor Who’ pasta shapes, which are now out of date; still unopened in their tin. Not forgetting the Dalek cookie mix packet which is now about 8 years out of date! We had previously made Dalek cookies along with the inevitable Kaled mutants you have to make with the leftover mix…

Andrew has carved a couple of Cybermen pumpkins at Halloween.

When we stayed in Cambridge we made a special trip to Emmanuel College because of Douglas Adams.  We had lunch in either ‘The Baron of Beef’ or ‘The Mitre’ (can’t remember which now!), where the scene of Doctor being chased up the back passage by Skagra’s Sphere was filmed.

Incidentally, the hotel where we stayed was hosting a large party of German businessmen. One of the hotel TV channels was showing ‘Star Trek: The Next Generation’ dubbed into German – apparently, German for ‘Dilithium crystals’ is ‘Dilithium crystals’…

Cambridge is also where Andrew bought a copy of ‘The Big Issue’ and then got his head dirty by repeatedly banging it with said ‘Big Issue’. I had to spit on a tissue and wipe the black ink off his head, like he was six. We also had to make a trip to the Emergency Cobblers as the sole of Andrew’s shoe split the moment we went outside! The kindly cobbler repaired it for free, simply asking for a donation in the charity box.

Nothing to do with ‘Doctor Who’, but all part of the rich experiences of that particular trip. (I will draw a veil over the student who mooned at me outside King’s College…)

I think it was in the Cambridge hotel that we took a photo of a sign pointing the way to the Master Suite, simply because it said Master. A sad fan moment there. Mind you, Andrew had also bought me a Bagpuss soft toy, which we photographed apparently coming into the room.

Rose cat  has now adopted the Bagpuss and has squished it flat by plodding up and down on it. And made it terribly dirty as part of the process…

I attended a stag weekend for my friend Nick in Dover (being deemed an Honorary Man for the weekend).

Part of the trip was a visit to Dover Castle as featured in the 3rd Doctor story ‘The Mind Of Evil’  We did a guided tour of the castle on which I embarrassed Andrew by asking him how he had gotten chalk over his back, just as we walked into an echoey tunnel.

We didn’t re-enact the events of ‘The Mind Of Evil’ though. (In colour or black-and-white!)

When I first got involved in the group of friends that ultimately introduced me to Andrew we went to Comic Marts to start with. After a while a satellite member of the group liked to go to ‘Doctor Who’ locations and re-enact crucial scenes; one of these included the bit from ‘Resurrection Of The Daleks’ of Tegan being chased along Butler’s Wharf by the two fake policemen. To play the policemen, two passing teenage girls were persuaded by another friend to take part, being told that they would be appearing on the telly.  I wonder if they’re still waiting for it to appear?

On another occasion he decided he wanted to re-enact some scenes from the 1989 story ‘Survival’. To this end we climbed Horsenden Hill… We had arrived there rather late and it was December, so by the time we had got to the top of the rather steep hill, it was twilight and too dark to film anything! So we walked back down the hill and went off to another friend’s house for tea – Beans on Toast as I recall. And never has anything tasted better than that Beans on Toast and cup of tea.

I blame Andrew Cartmel myself! (Waves at Andrew Cartmel “Hello Andrew”)

Anyway that’s enough wittering for now.

And to quote Mr Cartmel:

“There are worlds out there where the sky is burning, and the sea’s asleep, and the rivers dream; people made of smoke and cities made of song. Somewhere there’s danger, somewhere there’s injustice, and somewhere else the tea’s getting cold…”

Until we meet again.

P.S. Whilst writing this blog I have just bought a TARDIS sign watch.

Unexpected (Happy) Times and Places.

‘Doctor Who’ has surprised me many times, popping up in the most unexpected of places.

For instance when I’m at work, one of my colleagues is called Matt Smith. When he’s called to the customer service desk for some reason, I always imagine the 11th Doctor barrelling up arms waving.

Perhaps one of the strangest occurrences of ‘Doctor Who’ surprising me is the time I was on the way home from work once. I saw a child of around 6 or 7 riding his bike through the town and exclaiming “This is not war, this is sport!” from ‘The Poison Sky’ (the second half of the Sontaran two-parter from David Tennant’s 3rd series).

We were once on a guided bus tour of Oxford just passing the Natural History Museum when we happened to spot a TARDIS outside! Not being sure that our eyes weren’t playing tricks on us and it being too far to walk back once we’d processed the fact, we stayed on the tour for another circuit and got off to see what was going on.

There was indeed a TARDIS outside the museum and one inside, part of an installation by the artist Mark Wallinger. We decided to take photos only to discover that my new camera had broken and had to walk into town to purchase a disposable camera. And then of course back to the museum; a half mile round trip in all.

This lead to us attending another Mark Wallinger exhibition at West Ham, where he had a reflective TARDIS made of stainless steel, which from certain angles looked like it was dematerializing. Well, it did until people touched it and left sticky finger marks…

And to this day any time a question about artists comes on ‘Pointless’, Mark Wallinger is Andrew’s immediate (and usually pointless!) answer…

We also came across a Police Box at the seafront in Scarborough; not a traditionally shaped one but still recognisably a Police Box.

Also while in Oxford, we came across an Doctor Who compliation annual from the mid 1980’s in Oxfam. Naturally, we bought it and spent a pleasant lunchtime in ‘The Eagle and Child’ pub (made famous by the fact that J.R.R. Tolkein and C.S. Lewis met there once a week to drink beer and poke holes in each others books). Our favourite illustration in the book was of Peter Davison with two heads, which has to be seen to be believed.

I’ve also met or seen a few people associated with ‘Doctor Who’ over the years, sometimes very unexpectedly. I once had the pleasure of serving the late Michael Gough, who was very charming. He and his wife had bought some raspberries and gin and the first punnet of raspberries unfortunately fell on the floor and were spilt. He also forgot his PIN number and his wife had to shout it over to him. He told me his was “very old”, but a lovely man.  Not long before that I served Mary Wimbush who played Sarah Jane Smith’s Aunt Lavina in ‘K9 and Company’. She too was very nice and and friendly.  Not directly related to ‘Doctor Who’ (except for the fact that she once made Dalek cakes) I once showed Valerie Singleton where the chilled soup was.

More recently I had the pleasure of serving Adele Silva who played Kelly Windsor in ‘Emmerdale’ and Squeak in ‘Survival’. Had it not been for the fact that she was with someone else I would have asked her if she’d seen “the bad cat man” recently.

Guy Siner from ‘Genesis Of The Daleks’ was in Panto at our local theatre a few years ago and I must admit to being a bit disappointed he didn’t come and visit us in his little tank.

Andrew once walked past Martin ‘Snakedance’ Clunes in a shop in Gillingham completely oblivious. It was our friend Warren who was also there who pointed it out afterwards!

We crossed paths with the late Michael Sheard at the catamaran port at Portsmouth going over to the Isle of Wight. He hugged us and hurried off to catch a train. A lady near by asked if he was an actor, “Well, he likes to think he is” Andrew replied, knowing he’d grin if he heard that.

Finally, whilst on the way back to the tube station after attending the Doctor Who Proms in 2010, we walked alongside Al Murray who had attended with his children. Wonderfully he was left alone by everyone as he was “off duty”.  We’d had the pleasure of seeing our chum Toby Hadoke after the prom.

Well that’s enough for now, sorry for the delay between the last blog and this one; unfortunately real life got in the way. Hopefully the gap between this and the next won’t quite as long.

Bye bye Duggan!!!