'Can you change back?'

TV The overnight ratings from BARB are knocking about for those precious few minutes of fun last night.

BBC One : 21:00 - 21:15 : 10.7 million viewers (a 45.1% share of the total audience).


Although apparently Dimensions In Time managed 13m.

But that was 'Oh. So long ago...'

Words over.

Blog! Lately I've been reading personal weblogs more than anything else. It's been a busy few days online, and here is what I've been reading:
Karie B gets feedback from a publisher after she mocks one of their new books.
gingermark catches a bus in Leeds.
Elizabeth politely tells Sony what to go do with themselves.
Robyn discovers a site which translates the Chinese in tv's Firefly and cinema's Serenity.
Sasha's in Paris.
The Triforce find Billie Piper.


Elsewhere I've talked about a new light show in Sefton Park at the Art In Liverpool weblog. It really is the coolest thing.

Strange Reagan

When Ronald Reagan was given his first tour of the White House after being made president of the US he demanded a visit the war room he'd seen in Stanley Kubrick's film Dr. Strangelove. He was somewhat annoyed to discover it had been built on a soundstage.

Pudsey Cutaway /
Born Again.

TV But really. Wasn't it great? We should have trusted that Russell and friends would have taken the time to create something special and in keeping with the rest of series. Not a spoof. Not a silly little story which makes no sense with rubber aliens running around for the hell of it. Not even a 'dream' or 'alternative universe'. This was canonical, had a 'Previous on...' at the start, some real jeopardy and a cliffhanger at the end. As the Ninth Doctor would say, fantastic.

David Tennant's performance and the writing for the new Doctor obviously takes its cue from Casanova. As soon as I saw the man standing on those gondolas in the first few minutes of that series trying to talk himself out of a scrape I knew that if the actor ever became a timelord that would be exactly the way to do it. And here he was, joking about hopping and making fun of Rose's mum. From watching the Children in Need trailer with its creepy laugh I too was worried that this was going to have the dark shadow of The Twin Dilemma ruining everything. But here he was holding her hand and talking about the first time he and Rose had met "Oh so long ago..."

He was able to do something very few Doctors have managed before him in those faltering few seconds after a regeneration. Make us care. In fact I can't think of another time when we immediately understood who this new version of our hero was and that we wanted to carry on travelling with him. This special episode was shot a few months into the shooting schedule for the new series, so the actors and writer had a good idea themselves before shooting which will have helped things along a bit, but wasn't it refreshing to have The Doctor lucid after a regeneration for a change and able to talk his companion around, convincing them that he's still the same person?

The scene was actually a perfect example of a pattern I've seen throughout the series -- that The Doctor represents the old fans and people in the know, and Rose is those starting out on the journey. Its been repeated throughout the series, in the TARDIS reveal right back in episode one, and in the opening moments of Dalek when Rose notices the Slitheen arm (new fans) and The Doctor stops at the Cyberhead (old fans). In this episode and the next, new fans will be looking to Rose for reassurance that the new Doctor is ok. Still the same chap.

Billie Piper's performance was perfect in that regard. She goes to pieces, is entirely distrustful, until The Doctor can talk her around. Even before the regeneration goes wrong (as usual) she's not entirely convinced. I would suspect that the Christmas hour will be about her learning all over again who this man is and that she can trust him. I can't think of many other actresses which would have had the same conviction and ability than we had from Billie tonight. She might be the best television companion the show has ever had. Every little thing this girl does is magic. I'm sorry, I'm devastated.

The production was excellent too. Murray Gold's music is actually beginning to make sense. In here, he managed to drop in bits of music from all through the past series including, confusingly, the Bad Wolf theme. The direction from Euros Lynn was also as good as anything else he's done, making two people in a large room talking for a few minutes as exciting as possible. Although there were a couple of odd wide shots of the control room which seemed a bit incongruous and brightly lit.

The questions. How do The Doctor and Rose suddenly know about Captain Jack's condition and what he's up to? Does that mean he was deliberately left behind? How long has Rose been in the TARDIS when The Doctor suggests its been some time. Is this problem with the regeneration the usual shenigans or something else. The episode did the clever thing of dropping a cliffhanger in which we want to see what happens next right now, and not just because it would mean seeing more Doctor Who.

There was a moment in tonight's special which really set the fans away from those with just a passing interest. At the end, when all hell is breaking loose, the cloister bell sounded. I didn't hear it the first time I saw the episode. It was probably the excitement of seeing, well, everything. Then, second time around, watching again, (after I'd fastforwarded though one half of Peter Andre and Jordan murdering the theme song from Disney's Aladdin), there it was. It's because I'm so used to hearing the sound that when its layered in like that, in a situation like that, I don't even think about it. What it proves is that really fans who care about these things aren't just watching, but they're making the programme too.

"I have got a mole." -- The Doctor (Doctor Who)

Elsewhere I've just posted a review of tonight's special episode of Doctor Who here. Just off to watch it again.

Ha ha ha haaaa (or something)

TV Outpost Gallifrey reports that the Children in Need Special will be shown on a BBC website after 9:30pm tomorrow. That trailer is up at the moment. Anyone else find the photo of Terry Wogan at the top of the page mildly disturbing? I mean what is he doing?

Review 2005 update

Review 2005 One solitary slot left available. I'd like some advice though. Would it be right to send out a reminder to people a week before the closing date or should I trust that everyone will be ready, willing and able? I don't want to jeopardise things by doing the wrong thing. Opinions? Ideas?

Monogamy table

TV Rebecca gets the nod from the reality tv people. Still it's better than the unsolicited emails I tend to get telling me I've won I lottery I haven't entered.

Make it sooo....

Music The Picard Song. That is ... I'm speechless ...

Low note.

Music I was talking to someone online not that long ago and we had the 'How much music have you got on your hard drive?' conversation. Checking WinAmp I realised I had twenty-six hours of music on here, all ripped from my perfectly legal cd collection. I then checked how much space that was using. Sure enough, nearly 30 gig. No wonder my computer was slow and prone to crashing and not shutting down properly. It was bloated.

I thought about the pros and cons of having my entire music collection on my computer. Apart from being able to play tracks randomly and being able to create compilations really easily. Couldn't think of any. So over the past few days I've removed all the music from my computer. Not deleted it. Decanted it to some DVD-Rs just in case I ever do buy an ipod or have a larger hard disk. My computer is much healthier. It takes a full 30 seconds less to start up and I don't think it's hung since the contents dipped back below five gig.

Recently I took my music collection out and it's now in a bookcase in easy reach of my hand. And I really enjoy taking out the shiny disc, dropping it into the cd drawer of the hifi and waiting those few tentative moments before it plays. I'm enjoying the flow of an entire album again, the musical journey from a to z. I suddenly understand the joy of commercial compilations, how the really good ones have been produced by producers who care about the music and the order in which its played. If only WinAmp could learn that it's a no-no to segway from the Pet Shop Boys into Howard Shaw no matter which end of middle earth you're looking at.

Can't stop the signal.

Film The BBC's Film 2005 is asking for online votes for the film of the year. I voted for Serenity. You should too. That is all.

"You seem jumpy Carter, did you switch from mocha to crack?" -- Dan (In Good Company)

Film Paul Weitz's In Good Company (2004), is a really sweet comedy drama in which Dennis Quade proves yet again that he's the most underrated actor in Hollywood and that Topher Grace has a bright future (in a role which was originally handed to Ashton Kulcher who left after creative differences. I mean seriously). It's the story of a man in his mid-twenties heading through the crisis of a middle aged man, and a middle-age man having to deal yet again with all the things he dealt with in his mid-twenties. It has the feel of a good old fashioned family drama without the noir cinematograpy and angels. Another great performance too from Scarlett Johansson who has seriously taken over the law which used to govern Gwyneth Paltrow that everyone should see all of her films. Even The Perfect Score. Word of warning though -- the soundtrack features the deployment of Peter Gabriel's 'Solsbury Hill' a song entirely ruined by its appearance in the online fake trailer Shining ... you just can't keep a straight face anymore.

Beep. It's from Hamlet.

You know, you read this stuff and scream. I mean really: "Hamlet's "To be or not to be" soliloquy is rendered: "2B? NT2B?=???". At the end of Romeo and Juliet, "bothLuvrs kill Emselves," while Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice concludes when "Evry1GtsMaryd." You'd think a professor would know better.

Something funny related to ice, 24 hours and cougars.

Sport 'I live in L.A., but I love hockey as a sport! I follow players. The Habs are where my family is and I think Calgary is pretty strong -- hey, I was born there! I've got a friend who plays for Vancouver, and one who plays for the Blue Jackets and another in Phoenix. So I guess you could say I'm all over the place. I'm going to stick to L.A. though. Just to go back to all that other stuff, though, whether Canadians like it or not, we're making some damn-good hockey players. Not to mention actors too!!! What can I say, "It's the Canadian dream."' -- Elisha Cuthbert (Kim Bauer from 24) blogs about Ice Hockey. Funny.

"It's just restin.." -- Michael Palin

Spam BlogSpot is Dead! apparently, because there are too many sblogs. That's just silly. Although, I think it's pretty ironic that a previous post on here about spam is attracting spam comments.

Dakota dropping poppy petals 13/11/05


Dakota dropping poppy petals 13/11/05
Originally uploaded by Indigo Goat.

In Liverpool on Sunday, a Dakota flew across the remembrance service at St George's Hall Plateau and drops hundreds of thousands of paper poppy petals. We could actually see from home the red line as they were release in a sight not dissimilar to this photograph. As I trotted up to Lime Street Station on Monday the petals which had gone off course still lined the pavement.

Noam Chomsky's brain

Journalism No sooner have I been singing the praises of Emma Brockes when some other writer called John Matshikiza from Africa's Mail & Guardian puts the boot in, particularly taking issue with her interview with Noam Chomsky. He seems to have forgotten is that the point of an interview of this kind is to both ask searching questions and give a measure of the person being interviewed; that in the best of these pieces the writer takes a point of view. That said ...

I've taken a glance at the interview again and at the top of the page at Guardian Unlimited there is a new disclaimer:
"On November 2 the Guardian published a letter from Noam Chomsky in which he was strongly critical of the interview below. Subsequently Professor Chomsky complained to the readers' editor about the interview on a number of specific points. The readers' editor has been investigating the complaint and has been in direct correspondence with Professor Chomsky. The readers' editor will publish his findings when the matter is resolved."
In the letter, he communicates that he's not happy with the context within which his responses were reported -- he's happy with the quotes, just not necessarily the order in which they were published. Any subject is open to a right of reply, and it's good that channels are open. I still think it's a good interview. I'll be interested to see what the reader's editor at The Guardian discovers. Although it's wierd that he hasn't taken issue with the photograph. I mean I noticed it.

"I am completely at my leisure." -- Mr Bennet (Pride and Prejudice)

Film There is a certain inevitability to this post. But. I really liked the ending of the new adaptation of Pride and Prejudice with Donald Sutherland chuckling away, instead of the expected wedding. I chuckled along with him. Turns out the US release of the film, wierdly just happening now (it's usually the other way around) has a extra eight minutes tacked on the end, which includes that wedding and a typical Hollywood kissing bit. It's a very sad reflection on Working Title and its expectations of how films will work in the US that they've done this -- and it sets a slightly dangerous predicent. Take your pick on the reports available online. UK fans have apparently begun a petition for the scenes to be added to the UK version the DVD. Please god no. At least not without a branching option, so that we purists can stick with the original cut ... [via]

Boom City

TV "Blimey! I never saw that either, and presumably neither did Jonathan, otherwise I'm sure we would have whipped it out!" -- Steve Roberts of the Doctor Who Restoration Team at their forum on seeing this. This is my favourite story and ... good lord ...

No More Viewopa

Viewropa Closes. Shame. I was there at the beginning and it sounded and still sounds like a great idea. It just needed the momentum it could never really manage. Metafilter laments its passing here.


Life I've been a bit out of sorts this weekend, which I'm sure is connected to my great expedition / damn fool idealistic crusade / fruitloops idiotic idea on Friday. Today was no exception. I began wearing my big heavy coat which is a certain sign that winter is setting in, although in the massive fuzzy hood I look like an eskimo who needs something to cover his ears.

"It's a bit fey isn't it?" -- Roger McGough

Poetry Inevitably for the third week running I'm posting a link to the Emma Brockes interview from The Guardian. This week it's Roger McGough:
"Roger McGough likes to think he is the model for what his fellow poet, Wendy Cope, calls a Tump: a Typically Useless Male Poet. He can't drive. He is indecisive - or rather, he is accused of being indecisive and denies it ("If I decide to be indecisive, that's my decision"). He broods. He is impractical. When he sits down to write, he thinks, gloomily: "Just what the world needs, another book of poetry." With fondness he supports Cope's conclusion: "Bloody useless."
And that's just the opening paragraph...

John Lithgow and Dr. Ruth share a laugh together.


Books for Kids: John Lithgow and Dr. Ruth share a laugh.
Originally uploaded by carpeicthus.

Isn't this great? I love pictures of people laughing. Although this was at an event in which celebrities read books to kids. I imagine the conversation when a child asks their parent who Dr. Ruth is will have gone well.

"There's an endless story..." -- Shakira

Music ""I look back at that time now, and I don't know how the heck I was able to put together an album in English and write my own songs in English, when my command of the language back then was very limited." -- Shakira on writing Laundery Service. Her latest English language album, Oral Fixation, Vol. 2 is due out late November.

"Is in my ears and in my eyes." -- The Beatles

Music Alistair talks movingly about living near Penny Lane.

"The subject being copied is terminated." -- T-800 (Terminator 2)

Film Josh Friedman. Yes, this guy, is writing the pilot for the new Terminator tv series. As they say on Metafilter: "Heh." If I post any more genre related news, I might as well rename the site SciFi SFX Wire Central Online or something...

"Heeeh." -- Yoda (Empire Strikes Back)

Film The making of Hip Hop Yoda.