Breaking the fourth wall:
Jon Pertwee in
Doctor Who: The Five Doctors: Special Edition


Breaking the fourth wall: Jon Pertwee in Doctor Who: The Five Doctors: Special Edition
Originally uploaded by feelinglistless.

Pertwee inadvertantly looks into the lense during one of many particularly long scenes in this special anniversary edition of Doctor Who. I'm not sure if this appeared in the programme when it was originally broadcast, but the look is fairly ghostly, as though he's wondering why the camera hasn't moved away yet. Tom Baker's incarnation would look into the camera intentionally all the time to crack some joke, but they don't count. It's only glances such as this, so scary in their own way, which appear here.

Mentioned in a Tachyon TV podcast.


Film I wasn't hearing things. Herzog really did say ... "It was not a significant bullet. I am not afraid."

Mapped Out

Geography Doctor Who Locations Google Maps mash-up featuring a list of the place the series was filmed. Why were aliens always invading the south west? There is a full list of the featured locations here. [via]

Actually Liverpool can sort of claim one too (if you don't include 'The Feast of Steven'). The advert Jon Pertwee made for (I'd like to say) Manweb just before he passed away was filmed on Pilgrim Street just off Hardman Street. The big black garage doors with 'Doctor On Call' painted on them in white which he disappeared into are still there.


Elsewhere At Metafilter: Werner Herzog shot at during interview. Spot the moments when it becomes abundantly clear that I haven't watched the whole clip and have a faulty memory at to what Kermode said on the radio, as people post screenshots of the bullet hole and a transcript.


About I'm in the mood for posting my weblog. I mean actually posting it. Through the letter box.

What I'm proposing is that if anyone would like to email me their name and address I will write a blog post which only they will read posted directly to them, the main stipulation being that if you have a blog yourself that you post your reaction to the content of the blog entry you've received so that I can link to it, although I'd appreciate it if you didn't mention specifics if it seems a bit personal. If you don't have a blog, email me the entry and I'll post it up here. I'll also hand write the post as well so that its as far offline as possible.

If you want to include a subject for the post or ask a question in the email to start me off, that would be good too. It'll be excellent for me because it means I might be able to write something I'd never put up here; I'll be able to do it away from the computer. And we'll be testing at what point a blog entry becomes a letter. I'll not apologise in advance for the quality of the handwriting or content or how long it takes for you to receive yours.

[, as if you didn't already know]

Branagh Hamlet dvd may be out in 2006 after all

"Our commitment to releasing HAMLET is 100% but remastering and production schedules may force a delay. It will be out within the next 12 months -- we must be able to have the time necessary to release it properly. We do hope you understand. Please be patient. It will be worth the wait." -- Ronnee Sass, Executive Director of Publicity for Warner Home Video


Books "Geoffrey Knoop, Ms. Albert's partner for the last 16 years, said in a telephone interview on Saturday evening that he had seen Ms. Albert write the books of JT Leroy in their San Francisco apartment. He added that for much of the last decade, he had been present when Ms. Albert conducted telephone conversations as JT Leroy with unwitting editors, writers and celebrities, using the voice of a young man with a West Virginia accent. Ms. Albert, 40, is originally from Brooklyn." -- Warren St. John in The New York Times

That's a shame. I've posted on this before, and it certainly looks like Laura Barton deduced much of anything. If you look at that Guardian article now, whole sections of it start to make sense -- such as the fact that Emily said that she and Barton had the same first names and the suspicion that the late night phone call had been the interview. Also the fact than when Barton spoke to JT she simply didn't seem like someone who could write those books. She wasn't. She was someone called Savannah. What isn't explained in the Times article is Carrie Fisher's part in all that and who's been writing those Deadwood episodes ...


TV "For the first time ever in High Definition, Universal HD is premiering the series "Quantum Leap" for 2006. Viewers can see Sam's (played by Scott Bakula) first leap into the past and experience his continuing quest to leap home, for the first time in high definition. It has been re-mastered in 1080i from the original negatives and reframed in 16x9 exclusively for the Universal HD audience." -- A nugget from the brilliantly named Dale Cripps at HDTV Magazine. [via]

Why do I not believe that they're going through this whole process just for some tv broadcasts. I'd imagine that in a couple of years all of those people who've bought the series on dvd will be shelling out again when the series hits Blue-Ray or whatever in the above format...


Film "From July, FilmFour, which launched in 1998 as a paid-for service, will screen six films a day, starting at 3pm and coming off air at 3am. Films will typically start every two hours and the aim is to offer a broader range of films than any other UK film channel, with classic films earlier in the day giving way to modern Hollywood output, followed by the best of US and UK independent cinema in peak hours and foreign language and cult cinema late at night." -- Liz Thomas reports in The Stage

FilmFour goes Freeview. It's a relaunched channel although I'm not sure how significantly different it will be. The current line-up often includes foreign films which haven't been released on video let along dvd so it's all very exciting. My only concern is that with it being free-to-air, they'll be introducing ad-breaks which I'm a bit more antsy about than others (breaking up the pace of the film, distracting if not done well etc).

That said, it might be that actually with an audience share to look at rather than a number of subscribers that the revenue stream would be higher and they might not need to. With 300,000 odd subscribed paying £7 a month equating to just £2.1 million comparing to a potential 6 million odd viewers on the Freeview platform, it could be that ads between films might be just as, if not more cost effective -- which means the style of the channel might not change too much. Still with or without ad breaks, I'm really looking forward to this. More films...


dvd "I am quickly becoming bored with the uninspired practice of slathering multiple commentary tracks onto the same DVD. There are very few pictures where this is necessary or desired. Your average flick that comes with two, three, or even four commentary tracks? Hell, more often than not only a third of any one of those tracks is worth listening to. So, find a sound editor, edit out all the useless blather and make a single track already! Better still, find a good sound editor who can take the interesting stuff and actually create something from it. Some of the very best commentaries are those that combine and contrast different speakers, creating a whole more intriguing than the sum of the individual parts." -- an anonymous writer at something called Spookshow with an exhaustive list and review of dvd commentaries.

I'm obviously going to disagree with his views on the so-called academic commentary track, which can be very well researched and extraordinarily revealing. I'd much rather have that than the 'best boy' or whoever saying useful things like 'Humphrey Bogart was a great actor and very generous'. Yes, and?


About I thought it was time to change the tagline for the blog. "Times are hard for dreamers." comes from Jean-Pierre Jeunet's Le Fabuleux destin d'Amélie Poulain or Amelie for short.


TV ""Emily's Reasons Why Not" was the much-touted Heather Graham vehicle that many critics described as a cleaned-up version of "Sex and the City." I gave it a chance and found it surprisingly smart in a totally silly way. It was one of the funniest shows I've seen in a long time, and I couldn't wait to see more. But apparently I was the only one who felt that way. I also apparently was the only one watching. The ratings were stinky, and ABC pulled the second episode to air a rerun of "The Bachelor." -- The Witchita Eagle laments another cancellation.

The Merchant of Tennis


The Merchant of Tennis
Originally uploaded by BlueAlgae.


Music "This is a singer-songwriter cd. This is a terribly personal cd. I was cryptic enough that i did not betray what i feel is personal, but i was able to exorcise the feelings i needed to. It has been a crazy ass life, and a crazy ass couple of years. What i can say about it, i said in the songs. I tried to make this an intensely personal record; one that is almost embarrassing to listen to. I pulled no punches. I tried not to repeat myself on any song." -- Jewel Kilcher blogs about her new album at her official website. Careful though, block capitals ahead.

Kilcher goes on to say quite baldly that she doesn't think that much of it'll be playlisted because the tracks are too long for radio. The album is forthcoming in May. Judging by the video, Goodbye Alice in Wonderland is a return to the lilting folksiness of Pieces of You through This Way with a slight drift into Sheryl Crow territory, which means that 0304 really was a concept album rather than a new direction which I know some people will be pleased about. I really enjoyed it though.

I'm Not Dead

Music The Dead Collector: Bring out yer dead.
[a man puts a body on the cart]
Large Man with Dead Body: Here's one.
The Dead Collector: That'll be ninepence.
The Dead Body That Claims It Isn't: I'm not dead.
The Dead Collector: What?
Large Man with Dead Body: Nothing. There's your ninepence.
The Dead Body That Claims It Isn't: I'm not dead.
The Dead Collector: 'Ere, he says he's not dead.
Large Man with Dead Body: Yes he is.
The Dead Body That Claims It Isn't: I'm not.
The Dead Collector: He isn't.
Large Man with Dead Body: Well, he will be soon, he's very ill.
The Dead Body That Claims It Isn't: I'm getting better.
Large Man with Dead Body: No you're not, you'll be stone dead in a moment.
The Dead Collector: Well, I can't take him like that. It's against regulations.
The Dead Body That Claims It Isn't: I don't want to go on the cart.
Large Man with Dead Body: Oh, don't be such a baby.
The Dead Collector: I can't take him.
The Dead Body That Claims It Isn't: I feel fine.
Large Man with Dead Body: Oh, do me a favor.
The Dead Collector: I can't.
Large Man with Dead Body: Well, can you hang around for a couple of minutes? He won't be long.
The Dead Collector: I promised I'd be at the Robinsons'. They've lost nine today.
Large Man with Dead Body: Well, when's your next round?
The Dead Collector: Thursday.
The Dead Body That Claims It Isn't: I think I'll go for a walk.
Large Man with Dead Body: You're not fooling anyone, you know. Isn't there anything you could do?
The Dead Body That Claims It Isn't: I feel happy. I feel happy.
[the Dead Collector glances up and down the street furtively, then silences the Body with his a whack of his club]
Large Man with Dead Body: Ah, thank you very much.
The Dead Collector: Not at all. See you on Thursday.
Large Man with Dead Body: Right.

[Really, Pink, what were you thinking?]


University Life In one of those disasterously scatterbrained moves I thought I'd left a course outline in a lecture theatre yesterday. When I returned to look for it, a different lecture was just finishing so I hung back and waited. Someone was also waiting, well ok a girl, and she seemed not at all startled as I peered through the little window in the door.

Girl: Are you here for the screening?
Me: Screening?
Girl: Yes.
Me: No. I think I left a course outline in there.
So there's a screening in there next?
(I was having one of those days. Well, alright I'm having one of those lives.)
Girl: Yes.
Me: What is it.
Girl: Star Wars.
Me: Star Wars!?!
Girl: Yes.
Me: What course are you studying?

The girl mumbles something I don't quite understand which features 'American' 'Cultural' and 'Studies'. The course title may have been American Cultural Studies. I'm not sure.

Me: Wow. Star Wars.
Girl: We're watching Pulp Fiction next week.

There is a pause. As usual she doesn't ask me what course I'm studying. So I tell her anyway.

Me: I'm studying Screen Studies.
Girl: Really?

I don't know it. There's just something comforting about the fact that for two hours yesterday afternoon, somewhere in the University of Manchester some people were watching Star Wars as part of their course. And if I hadn't had my own screening to go to (of this masterpiece, oddly enough) I would have sneeked in with them ... and in case you're wondering the chat didn't go anywhere else other than a goodbye ... there are probably hundreds of conversations like this between strangers throughout the university everyday. Or it's just me. Putz.


Housing Stuart, 31, who didn't want his last name published, might have to resort to this if the trains don't sort themselves. That's Stuart Ian Burns, 31. Sorry, you'll have to read the link to get the joke. Hah!


Shakespeare I've been find all kinds of blogs connected with the Bard lately. The tagline for Shaksper Random nearly made the coffee spill out of my nose. [via]



"Dear Friends and Colleagues,

This is just a note for those who will be in London in late March:

My documentary film IRAQ IN FRAGMENTS will be screening at the Human Rights Watch Film Festival

Friday, 17 March 18.30, ICA
Sunday, 19 March 14.00, Ritzy

James Longley"

[James contributed to Review 2003 after I saw his amazing film Gaza Strip which I reviewed here.]


Music "She couldn't see much through the glare of the stage lights, but afterwards Joan Baez was told that up to 200 people had walked out of her show. Those in the crowd who could withstand the protest songs fell at the jokes about Bush. "They were pretty ferocious jokes," she says. "I left Gandhi by the wayside for a while there."" -- Emma Brockes in The Guardian


Commuter Life When I began commuting again, for some reason I assumed that in the three or four years since I was doing the Liverpool-Manchester-Liverpool grind that the train service might have improved. Huh. No. If anything it's worse. Even though I'm catching the train at different times every day, during rush hour, which I'd put between four and six-thirty the train is delayed either by a few minutes or as happened tonight, a full half an hour.

Even less hilariously, the reasons for the delays haven't changed either. It's going to be a signal failure; the express was stuck behind a local service at some time during the trip through from Norwich or Scarborough; it's waiting for a different delayed train (usually the Blackpool or Southport service) to leave its usual platform designation of two or even more ignominious the stopping train for Liverpool leaves a minute or two before it and we'll be stuck behind that, which means the one which is naturally slow is making ours even slower.

If I didn't know any better I'd say it was some kind of conspiracy between the train operators and mobile phone companies. Because as soon as the usual delay announcement happens passengers are calling home to say they're going to be late. Sometimes they'll do this multiple times over the half hour that the train doesn't arrive. I've done it, if needed. Really I can't remember or know what happened before the invention of communication in the pocket, but Orange and T-Mobile must be making a fortune. Some of the highest tariffs can be around teatime -- I wonder why.

But I just keep rubbing my temples and saying quietly "I'm back at university ... I'm doing what I've always wanted ... it's only half an hour here and there ... read a book ..." But really it's very disappointing and shouldn't be that way. Why should a train service running on time be an exception rather than a rule -- what's the point in having a timetable if you're not going to keep to it?

OK, kvetch over. I'll return to linking to interviews by Emma Brockes of The Guardian. Oh, look, there's one ...

Dalek, I Love You

Radio On BBC7 ...

Dalek, I Love You
Sat 11 Feb, 18:00 - 18:30 30 mins

A young Dr Who obsessive gets more than he bargains for when he meets his very own Dr Who Girl. But is she real or imagined? [Rptd Sun 12.00am]

Goodness knows what this is going to be like, although it would be a crime (against music?) if the main theme isn't the Mitch Benn song.

This is the slot which previously featured the Big Finish Eighth Doctor stories. If you haven't got digital radio or you're not in the uk, you might be able to listen again after the broadcast.


TV "Cleverly shot with excellent production values, gripping storylines and solid performances from the talented cast, The Vice is British crime drama at its best. This set contains all twenty-eight episodes from all five series and the programme?s catchy and suitably moody theme tune is Sour Times performed by Bristol collective Portishead." -- DVD Times on a wierdly cheap dvd release.


Photography I've just added the Dave Gorman as contact at flickr. I wonder if he'll recipricate. [via]


Elsewhere Do you think this is going a bit too far?

Funny Stuff

Annie: No more funny stuff?
Sam Tyler: Funny stuff?
Annie: Y'know the whole time travel, out of body experience thing.
Sam Tyler: Well, I went to see Doctor Who, he err prescribed me some pills...

TV Life On Mars' first proper reference to Doctor Who happened this evening in a story surrounding a football match between Manchester United and Manchester City.

In case anyone is wondering, after a quick look around, the match happened on the 21st April 1973 (since there were no other local derby's that year) and it was a 0-0 draw (61,500 gate). Which also means the young Sam Tyler might have gone home that night and enjoyed episode three of Planet of the Daleks ...

Seeing I.

Books  There was moment in Seeing I when I genuinely laughed then cried, in that way that we all did at the end of The Doctor Dances.  It's on page 176 when the Doctor and Sam are finally re-united and he is able to do something he's been wanted to do for over three years.  It's small, takes but three sentences or so, but manages to capture both characters and their situation more clearly than anything which has happened in the whole of this lost Sam plot-arc.  Infuriatingly I'm not going to tell you what it is, because by the time you've finished reading this, you'll be reaching for your bookshelf, a library or ebay wanting to see what I mean.  I spent last night reading the whole book in one sitting.  It's ages since I've been able to do that.  But then again, it was a Saturday ...

Going into this big read, I knew there were going to be certain tent pole books generally written by Lawrence Miles.  I generally know what happens in those, either because I've read them before or many columns of writing in Doctor Who Magazine which accompanied their publication.  Seeing I was not one of these.  I knew it was part of the first plot-arc and what that arc was about but having seen the book remaindered in The Works many years ago I didn't really pay it much mind.  How wrong could I be?  Frankly this enters my top five which includes, predictably, in no particular order, The Dying Days, Vampire Science, Alien Bodies and weirdly enough Option Lock.

The story picks up directly after Dreamstone Moon.  Sam is a homeless refugee on the planet Ha'olam picking herself up from the doldrums by helping out in a shelter before she gets a job at the slightly sinister Microsoftesque INC.  Meanwhile, the Doctor is still searching for her, and after messing up a search of that corporation computer finds himself imprisoned.  The book tells the story of the next three years of the Sam's shift from employee to someone fighting against the system and the timelord's attempts to escape from a prison that appears impossible to escape from.  It's The Constant Gardener intercut with The Shawshank Redemption and unlike the previous book, their separation does not feel forced.

Overall, the whole arc has been a bit of a mish-mash but somehow Seeing I's writers Jonathan Blum and Kate Orman manage to rationalize some of its weirder excesses and character points.  The effect here is cumulative.  The authors manage to reference nearly all of the preceding books, even explaining the Doctor's behaviour in Legacy of the Daleks to an extent, and offers an excellent parallel at one point with something that happened in the Virgin New Adventures, specifically tying the two continuities together for the first time (there's even a quote from a Paul Cornell novel, Timewyrm: Revelation,  inside).  For the first time I actually understand what was going on at the end of Longest Day and really why Sam ran off like that.  It reminds us that this whole arc has largely taken place in the same timeframe, in one little area of the galaxy (which makes Legacy even more of an abberation).

Ha'olam is very well drawn - just close enough to being Earth for the reader understand why Sam would care and alien enough to allow for invention.  It seems to be based the modern middle east, in which large hi-tech structures jut out of urban living areas which haven't been developed since the middle of the last century or earlier.  The INC corporation will be familiar to anyone who has worked or is working in a white collar job (it was a bank call centre for me) a chip in the machine, easily replaceable.  There is some excellent extrapolation of how corporate co-opting of the human body and soul might go.  You might be covered by the company's medical scheme for a heart transplant, but they'll own the new pump and if you leave their employ you're stealing property.  Same for any experience you might have gathered in the job, for which they have various methods of extraction.

I want to say this is Sam's book, but really that's really unfair.  The heroic, passionate, witty Eighth Doctor I remember from the earlier novels makes a florid return from the doldrums.  The dimensions he's lacked recently return.  For once when he says confidently that he'll break out of that prison within a few days you believe him and are shattered when it doesn't happen.  In one of the book's best set piece, chapter two, his dogged determination to break the bureaucracy of the corporation will hearten anyone who's had to do anything within a stymieded system (and certainly has more resonance than a similar scene in the recent disastrous Hichhiker's film).

Cleverly, whilst in prison, his captors, particular Dr. Arkula, are cordial, intelligent company, which makes his inability to escape even more infuriating.  Unlike Big Finish's Minuet in Hell, the reader isn't sure whether he really is broken or if its just a way of fooling those who are tracking his movements (and who they are is something I want to keep secret for when you read the book).  It's not until the moment referenced in the first paragraph above that we're sure.  This Doctor changes almost as much as his companion but still continues to be the same.  It's all so pleasingly confusing.

So half of this book is Sam's.  Whilst the Doctor's (to quote the song) 'consumed by the chill of solitary' for once Sam is allowed to space live and breath.  She develops from a teenager into a young woman in the space of two hundred pages and the process feels entirely natural.  In the dvd commentary to the recent release of The Daleks, Carole Ann Ford bemoans the fact that her character was never allowed to grow or doing anything really and that's why she left (an opinion which I've heard from many actresses who've been in the series over the years).

I think the companion's trajectory here is exactly what they were clammering for.  Except her maturity isn't gained through an encounter with some great interplanetary entity, galactic war or accidentally time slip.  It's because of dealing with the banality of her young life, being a (as she realises) sixth form dropout with few qualifications trying to make their way in someone else's world.  For once, as the Doctor paces about in the four walls of a cell his life story on hold, Sam moves from location to location helping out where she can and standing up for what she believes in.

Her progression is perfectly natural as she falls in and out of love, from relationship to relationship, from job to cause.  At one point, within two pages, a year goes by, presented by the number of month's she's been with her first proper boyfriend.  All of her friends and partners are carefully drawn and you can understand why Sam would want to be with them or not.  Anyone who's been part of a studenty dynamic will recognize the conversations and emotions, particular in the middle section when she's helping to rebuild a village in the middle of the desert in a place no one seems to care for.  We've all known a Orin or a Shoshama, a Paul or Rachel.  To throw in another film reference (I'm on a film studies course so what do you expect?), the effect is similar to that of Cédric Klapisch's L'Auberge espagnole, with Sam in place of Wendy who similarly fell in and out of relationships.  Indeed, not since some of those Short Trips has the character seemed like someone you've met in the real world.  In fact, later in the book the Doctor simply wouldn't survive without her company - even though the basis of their friendship has changed because of the time she's spent with other people.  She still loves him but in a different way.

I've written over a thousand odd words here and I still think I've shortchanged the experience of reading Seeing I.  I've missed out so many important things and again I can't see that the next book, Placebo Effect, could be as good, even though it is written by Gary Russell.  I'm looking forward to reading how this new Sam and the Doctor interact with (oh no) the Wyrrn.

[This is another book which beats with the heart of the new series.  As well as implants similar to those in The Long Game, there's constructive use of a banana, the kinds of double bluffs you might expect in The Parting of the Ways and a scene right at the end reminiscent of the 'It also travels in time' moment from Rose.]


Liverpool Life Somehow I've only just noticed that Liverpool has a Craiglist. Not an awful lot on there though.


Film "Yes, I am an obnoxious American who thinks I can come over here and tell people what to do...especially since I pay taxes that support benefits afforded you because you have children...especially since I've been living and contributing here for some years...especially with regards to your rights infringing upon mine. I think that in this country I have the right to go to the cinema and watch the film without molestation. I also think that I have the right to voice my opinion regardless of whether or not you feel that I am an obnoxious American. I think this is a country that allows free speech (unlike my own), and I like to exercise it." -- Daneeta Loretta Saft

Mark Kermode said something similar on the radio the other week (I'm paraphrasing): "Would you talk in church? No. Then why are you talking in the cinema?" When I saw Match Point the other week, it was a pretty full cinema which was totally quiet, except for these two women on the back row who laughed and chatted quite loudly all of the way through ...

... or until I got up from my seat on the front row, walked all the way to the back of the auditorium, leaned over to them and said, "Would you mind being quiet please, I'm trying to watch the film." Oh yes, they were quiet after that -- I think it was the effort I went to -- they looked stunned. Which isn't to say I didn't hurry out of the cinema at the end so as not to have a confrontation. Really, I had a train to catch.


Food "Domino's Pizza has a new rival. True to his reputation as a "serial entrepreneur", Stelios Haji-Ioannou, the founder of easyJet, has started a pizza business. [...] The easyPizza chain intends to set up 9,000 franchises across the UK, which sounds incredibly ambitious considering that Domino's Pizza, the UK's leading pizza delivery company, has 400 stores, with ambitions to have between 800 and 1,000 in all." -- Mark Tran at The Guardian.


Books "For many years Donald Jackson, Senior Illuminator to Her Majesty's Crown Office, had dreamed of creating a modern, illuminated Bible to celebrate the new millennium. Finally, in November 1995, he presented the idea to Saint John's Benedictine Abbey & University in Minnesota. Work started in 2000 and is scheduled for completion in 2007, at a total cost of over £2 million. It is taking place in a scriptorium in Monmouth, Wales, under the artistic direction of Donald Jackson and his team of scribes and illuminators." -- Victoria and Albert Museum. [via]


Elsewhere I've been busier than you think, writing a lot at my Hamlet blog and Behind The Sofa. This post about lunchtime karoke at Art In Liverpool went up yesterday and there's also Chewbacca and Shakespeare's birds at Metafilter.


Film "Yeah, if I could do one really nice play a year - this is my plan at the moment. But of course you can't really plan because I might get offered a job tomorrow then not get a job for three or four months. You have to take what comes up. At the moment I've done more theatre than film, now Peaches is coming out and Last Orders will be coming out, I?d like to take advantage of that and continue to learn." -- Kelly Reilly (who played Caroline Bingley in the recent film version of Pride & Prejudice from an interview she did earlier in the decade. Her last film The Russian Dolls, still hasn't got a release date in the UK, even though its set in London.


Film The Web Goddess Oscar Contest 2006. A pair of gay sock puppets up for grabs. Of course I used my full name when I voted so there it is in the link list looking all austentatious ...