Film Trailer for Woody's next film (or next film but two if you're in the UK) Vicky Cristina Barcelona. My brain just exploded. You'll see why.
TV Woman sat dead in front of TV for 42 years: "The cup she had been drinking tea from was still on a table next to the chair she had been sitting in and the house was full of things no one had seen for decades. Nothing had been disturbed for decades, even though there were more than a few cobwebs in there." [via]
Comics 5 Superhero Movie Scenes They'll Never Let You See: "Rather than drown his sorrows in alcohol (like Iron Man) or an endless supply of nubile tail (like Wolverine), Pym (Ant Man) dealt with his self-esteem problems in the least superheroic way possible: he beat his wife."
Life In case you hadn't noticed with all the writing I've been on holiday this past couple of days. Today I went on yet another of those gallery trips, the location for which will be revealed at some later date, just to keep you in suspense (it's related to a milk commercial, that's all I'm saying) When I decided to visit all of these galleries, I just thought it would be a leisurely chance to visit some places I haven't been before and see some good paintings in the process. After Monday and today I'm beginning to see that actually this is turning into something akin to one of Dave Gorman or Danny Wallace's eccentric bets except that (a) there was no bet and (b) I'm not trying to prove anything to anyone. I'll tell you about my thrilling adventures in Lancashire when I'm a bit more awake.

Who Interrupted

TV As with last year, the series is taking a two week breather after tomorrow to make way for Eurovision on the 24th May. I don't know about you but I'm actually quite happy for this hiatus (I'm really, really trying to take that word back) especially since it gives us an extra week of anticipation for whatever Steven's cooked up for us this year. Yum. Etc.

“Ideas of time and space were changed forever.” -- Wall label

Art Art In The Age of Steam is one of the Walker Art Gallery Liverpool’s tentpole major exhibitions as part of the Capital of Culture celebrations. As such then it should be rather special and you know what – it really is – one of the best exhibitions the galleries has staged this decade. It’s an interesting and relevant topic and the show takes time to look at the very specific era between 1830 and the early half of the 1900s in great detail, showing how different artists working in various genres and media reacted to it.

As the opening explanation on the wall notes, “Ideas of time and space were changed forever.” Stream engines meant that people could travel faster than ever before between destinations which utterly changed perceptions of the local world. It’s difficult for us now to imagine a world in which it would take days or weeks to travel throughout even our small island, London seeming a very long way away rather than two and half hours (give or take some delays). Also, it’s not emphasised enough in the show but the Liverpool to Manchester steam railway was one of the technical marvels of its age with Stevenson’s Rocket the famous vehicle that ran first on the tracks.

Fittingly, it’s the flexibility of travel in the times we live that allow this exhibition to be quite as comprehensive and surprising. There’s no denying that it’s quite thrilling to enter a section, for example ‘Impressionism and Post-Impressionism’ and find five Monets and a Manet lined up on a wall opposite some Pisarros and a Van Gogh, just a ten minute bus ride away from home. That might be commonplace in London and Paris obviously, but certainly not in Liverpool and many of these are from private collections and this will be the only time they can be seen for many a year. It might sound trite to talk about names over the quality of the work on display, but this is the first time I’ve actually stood close enough to an Edward Hopper to see the brush strokes and that’s not something you’d really be able to forget.

As a side note, having worked for the registrars of a gallery I can understand the undertaking this exhibition will have represented, especially considering the number of institutions which are listed as sources, many of them in the US. Plus there’s the funding. Monet’s Railway Bridge, Argenteuil actually has an addition to its label that the ‘transportation was supported by Merseytravel’ which means that the cost of moving that one painting was so expensive an outside organisation had to step in!

Some of the provenance labels are interesting in and of themselves. Norbet Guenuette's View of Saint-Lazare Railway, Paris is owned by The Baltimore Museum of Art but many hands chipped in to buy it for their collection; 'The George A Lucas Collection purchased with funds from the State of Maryland, Laurence and Stella Bendann Fund, and contributions from individuals, foundations and corporations throughout the Baltimore community.' That's what I call civic pride.

If the Impressionists stands out for its A-List power, the emotional backbone is the section about 'the human drama of the railway'. Spend enough time between trains, idly waiting for the next one and you’ll find yourself people watching, speculating on who your fellow passengers are and how they spend the rest of their lives. Sometimes, if you’ve been commuting together you might ask and sometimes their story might even be more fantastic than you first thought. But often you’re better off with the fantasy, and these pictures of travellers on station platforms and in train carriages capture that impulse perfectly, period scenes teaming with life, small groups of people demanding us to imagine their story.

The area is dominated by WP Frith’s The Railway Station which like all of them contrasts the different classes of passenger showing how segregation was still in effect even as they joined the train. It’s Parting Words, Fenchurch Street Station by Frederick Brown Barwell that creates the biggest mystery because it seems to be based on some lost novel. As the label asks, just “Why is the man on the left standing in amazement at one of the two identically dressed ladies?” That seems to be a theme, since across the room Augustus Egg’s The Travelling Companions also features two similarly costumed girls, twins in fact, sitting opposite one another in a carriage producing a near symmetrical image but for the scenery.

The American vistas in 'Crossing continents - America and beyond' are of the order which must have influenced John Ford and his cinematographers as they attempted to capture the old west on film. Often, as in George Inness’s The Lackawanna Valley there’s a stark contrast between the idyllic countryside and this symbol of industrialisation rolling through. But its difficult not be moved by the massive canvas of Donner Lake from the Summit by Albert Biersladt in which the train is dwarfed by the landscape, suggesting that no matter what happens, nature will out.

The final two areas 'States of Mind' and 'The Machine Age' bespeak of the transitional period when Steam was inevitably superseded by even more impressive, but perhaps more damaging technology. Whilst it's interesting to watch the avant-guard attempt to deal with old technology in a new era, the most effective image here are the still green and red hues of Hopper’s Railroad Sunset which shows a solitary signaling box and now trains, perhaps underscoring what’s been lost. A plasma screen in the gallery has footage from a range of films showing these beasts in action and it’s certainly a more thrilling experience than watching an anonymous two carriage electric box trundle out of Lime Street.
Film A couple of years ago there was a screening in Manchester of Mitchell & Kenyon’s football films. M&K were two Blackburn entrepreneurs who for a period in the early part of the last century set about filming people and work and play and then charging them to see their life projected that evening at various locations including fair grounds and libraries and it turned out St George’s Hall. I’ve thought since then how wonderful it would be to organise such a showing at that venue again and last night I got to see what that looked like as hundreds of people piled into the main hall to see a selection of their films of Liverpool, in a screening organised by the BFI and Liverpool University.

My version of the event was a plasma tv running from a Matsui dvd player with about thirty chairs. Instead, the main stage was filled with a giant screen, showing images from a state of the art projector sat on the organ balcony and an audience covering the whole floor. The programme selected highlights from over two hours of footage shot in the city, generally places with large gatherings of people such ass football matches, parades, the return of soldiers from the Boer War, the leaving of Cunard ships from the Pier Head and oddly a reconstruction of the arrest of a criminal.

As you can see from these edited highlights, that’s a very broad description of the marvels we saw, blurry scenes of the past put into context by the guest speakers, Julia Hallam from Liverpool University and Vanessa Toulmin from Sheffield’s National Fairground Archive, who’d also commentated on the football in Manchester and has apparently presented over a hundred and thirty similar shows throughout the country. Vanessa seems tireless and has the same enthusiasm for the subject that I saw two years ago.

I went with my Dad and he was particularly impressed with the musical accompaniment provided by Stephen Horne, who at one point played the flute and piano simultaneously creating a spooky atmosphere to accompany the recreated Arrest of Goudie (a film which demonstrates exactly how difficult it was to spin a narrative when you’ve only very long static shots to work with, establishing shots lasting many minutes). Now and then Horne imported familiar melodies including You’ll Never Walk Alone and The Leaving of Liverpool, which created some wonderfully post-modern moments, different eras of the past combining.

Seeing images such as the giving of medals to soldiers even I can’t but feel that we’ve lost something in our stupid cynical world. True, some of the audience in the footage of the May Day Demonstrations look bored stiff (with the exception of one particularly enthusiastic gentleman waving his hat in the air) but it was at least a regular gathering in which the entire community could become involved and which by the looks of things hadn’t been hijacked by commercial concerns (with the exception of the ice cream man perhaps).

The Capital of Culture year, with collective experiences such as this screening are proving that actually such things are still possible. Usually in screenings I’m quite obsessed about talkers making noise during the main feature. Here it seemed positively encouraged, a collective brains trust attempting to work out exactly were in Liverpool particular films had been shot, or exclamations of surprise as the older demographic of the audience saw shops and streets that have long disappeared.
TV Heather writes about being interviewed by Kathie Lee Gifford on NBC's Today Show, which sounds even worse than BBC Breakfast in dealing with left of field (ie, not mainstream) topics:
"this is obviously a case of an interviewer not being adequately familiar with the topic at hand (also, probably not a good idea to have someone afraid of computers interviewing someone about their job using computers). And I'm not about to jump into the crowd and start calling Kathie Lee names, she does not deserve that from me. I'm not so much angry at her as I am disappointed that this topic was not given the service it deserves."
I've not seen anything but the opening of video because of my chuggy connection, but really? That's how you're introducing a section about something computer related? 'I hate computers!' That sounds like it's going to be an in-depth interview ...
"Journalism" Just because they need to be told over and over and often. No Daily Mail, it isn't cool to steal photos from flickr without attribution and for commercial gain if the photographer says it isn't.
Law So after October 1 when judges are hearing civil and family cases in England and Wales, they'll be dressed like The Ood from Doctor Who with fashion pretensions?

Updated three minutes later: I just want it on record that I read what Hadley Freeman said in The Guardian three minutes after I posted the above. She said: "If humanising the judicial profession was the aim of this makeover, it is interesting that Betty Jackson decided that the outfit best suited for this would be one that looks like something an alien android with menacing religious undertones would wear when waging war with Doctor Who." I let you decide which is funnier. It's hers right?
Education Annette writes inspiringly about being a teacher: "But then, just when you want to give up, something amazing happens. You're reading a student's essay, and it's so much better than the first draft. He read my comments! You read on--wow, this kid's got good ideas! He cited his sources correctly. Some of the comma errors are still there, but they're not too bad. This kid, the kid who sits in the back texting while you're lecturing, the kid who you thought never paid attention, this kid can write a college paper! *Choirs of angels sing hallelujah* It worked! I "taught" them something! As a teacher you live for those moments. As satisfying moments go, those rank right up there."

Dunham Massey.

Art I was told off by one of the attendants when I described Dunham Massey Hall as a stately home. “Not so stately” she whispered to me mischievously. I’m still not sure how else to describe it, given that it’s a rather large house in the middle of an estate. The National Trust website calls it mansion so we'll go with that. Of all the venues I've visited from Edward Morris’s Public Art Collections In North-West England book, it’s the first so-far that I’ve actually wanted to live in, with room after room filled with gorgeous furniture and a genuine sense of lost time. Except I’m not sure where I’d put the telly and there doesn’t seem to be anywhere to plug in a computer.

The mansion was built in 1616 by Sir George Booth, one of James I’s baronettes and across the years has been occupied by various Lords and Earls of Stamford and Warrington before falling into the hands of the National Trust on the death of the 10th Earl Roger Grey in 1976. Since then the house has hardly been changed which means that as you stroll past wood paneling and wallpaper, across wooden floors and worn carpets you can see the modification and developments added by many of owners, all attempting to make it their home.

In many cases the original furniture was kept in state and later generations have simply filled other rooms with their life with areas such as The Great Hall, the Library and the Billiard Room all seeming like separate time zones, the visitor stepping through portals between. At first it’s quite disorientating and there’s certainly too much for the eye to take in, every detail suggesting the tastes and decency of the people who lived here. It’s probably best to concentrate on a particular aspect and focus, which is why it’s helpful that I particular wanted to see the fine art collection.

To an extent it’s a building-shaped family album, with every wall featuring at least one portrait of somebody or other. With the exception of the Romney and the Reynolds, most of these are head and shoulders 'shots' and actually a bit samey and of the kind which would be dashed off quickly by a painter living off the commissions. Since we are seeing generations of the same family though, you can see how painting methods have developed over the centuries, techniques becoming more sophisticated with the passage of time, from rather sombre ladies in black from the Jacobian era to the bright face of the turn of the last century.

You’ll need a good pair of binoculars though, since the best of these portraits tend to be at the opposite ends of large rooms, a frustration of stately homes were security is paramount. There’s an amazing picture of Dorothy Wrighte, the wife of the 3rd Earl of Stamford attributed to Jon Richardson in the Dining Room, with vivid reds in her dress but you can only see it from a small mezzanine leading in from the Stone Parlour. Similarly you need some determination to have decent look at the canvas that dominates the summer parlour, a full length by J. Ernest Breum of Penelope Theobald, Countess of Stamford and her children.

In general though, I think the finest pictures are fairly unheralded and you’d miss most of them if you weren’t looking. On ducking into the entrance hall, the staff are determined to herald you on, but I managed to stop in the doorway of the adjoining courtyard and noticed on either side two paintings by J Boultbee, Denham Oak. These appear to be mirror images of each other, broken trees moodily gathered in dark wood. Look more closely and you’ll notice that actually the artist has painted the same scene from two different directions and if you were to lean the two canvases back to back, you’d have a three hundred and sixty degree view within a two dimensional plain. A.L.R. Ducros’s Temple of Minerva Medici, Rome uses much the same trick showing a ruined dome within a landscape from opposite angles as nature in the form of vines and trees claims this ancient architecture for its own.

Roped off nearby in the parlour you can just about glimpse J Nelson Drummond’s Where Heroes Rest, a poignantly misty view of St. Paul’s Cathedral created in coloured crayon, greens and blues blended to underscore the sense of doom in the title. Along the corridors, don’t miss Le Champ Du Drop D’or, a 1774 engraving at the bottom of a stairwell showing the procession of Henry VIII to meet the French King Francis I, which as well as featuring some wonderfully Hogarthian characterisation amongst hundreds of faces has a dragon, yes, a dragon flying through the sky, something Shakespeare omitted when he got around to writing the King’s stage biography. Further into the house, the weirdest picture by far is the one Edward highlights in his book by Jan Wyck of A Dutch Mastiff with Dunham Massey in the Background. He calls it ‘sensitive and touching’ but it's also scary, a kind of forced perspective suggesting that the dog’s grown to Digby proportions and is preparing to stamp all over the town which also lies in the background, giant paw prints in its wake.

Most of these curiosities aren’t even mentioned in their guide book, which prefers to spend much of its time detailing the silver, jewelery and furniture, the history of the house and its gardens. It does take time though to include John Harris’s birds-eye views of the hall painted in 1751. Predating the game show Treasure Hunt and Google Earth by around two hundred and fifty years these are fascinating descriptions of the grounds of the house and how the 2nd Earl of Warrington very much saw them as an extension of the property, avenues fanning out into his plantations. I presume they’re extrapolations of the plans, that century’s equivalent of the artist impression as seen whenever a new building project is being proposed (see the soon to be opened Liverpool One).

This one of the most idyll places I’ve ever visited. In the gardens alone, despite having spent most of life near Sefton Park I still wasn’t prepared for the freshness of the air and fragrances, the colours and the silences. Or the wildlife; deer walk freely around the estate and I couldn’t help pointing and exclaiming ‘It’s a deer!’ to the staff member I’d luckily got off the bus with and was showing me the way to the house. Ironically, even if much of the collection is slightly obscured from view, it’s relatively expensive to get in and it wasn’t the easiest venue to reach (it took three and a half hours to get home) I think this might well come close to being my favourite of these visits, if only because it far exceeded my expectations.
TV That's hilarious. It's ages since I've had a text message that exciting. From the comments: "Apparently, he's been pacing the corridor saying "It's not what it looks like"

(yes, I know that's not much to go on but you'll just have to click and have look -- the last thing we need is for Google's algorithm to latch onto the names -- it'd be in the tabloids by the end of the week which wouldn't be fair)
TV If anyone still needs to be convinced that Doctor Who is real television, Steven Moffat has won Best Writer at the Bafta Craft Awards for arguably the best episode of last year's series Blink. Which sounds quite impressive, and then you find out that he beat Jimmy McGovern (for "The Street"), Tony Marchant (for "The Mark of Cain") and Heidi Thomas (for "Cranford"). Extraordinary.

The Doctor's Daughter.

TV Lately I’ve been catching up on some of the recent events to beset the DC Multiverse: Identity Crisis, Infinite Crisis, essentially anything with the word 'crisis' in the title. Growing up a Marvel Comics reader, I was always under the impression that Supes, Bats and Wonder Woman were all rather stolid characters, dark, forthright and dull. I’ve been amazed to discover that in recent years these icons have been infused with a sense of irony, going on the same kinds of emotional journeys as their Stan Lee derived counterparts and have at their core a strong sense of community and surprisingly, family. Earth One’s a hot bed of hatches, matches and dispatches, super-parents dealing with the fact their kids want to follow them into the family profession of saving the world (or destroying it in the case of the villains).

As everyone from Stephen Greenhorn the writer of The Doctor’s Daughter through to Russell, Phil and Dave noted in Doctor Who Confidential, the Doctor’s familial connections are not something the television series has ever really had to deal with. There was Susan, of course, dear, dear Susan, but apart from the odd hint there and here, the series has very much kept in thrall to the premise of the none titular word in the title. The less we know about our traveling companion is the better. In the decade or so when the series was off-screen, text and sound writers needing to plug the space went to town trying to explain his origins and Susan’s origins on the one hand emphasising something akin to natural child birth and on the other suggesting that timelords, are ‘loomed’ rather like, in fact, the doctor’s daughter here.

Whilst it’s tempting to think of these God-like beings as being zapped into existence and sent into the world, even in their earlier appearances on television it’s difficult not to think of the process as not being in some way gynecological. In the likes of The Deadly Assassin, they’re really just humans with a different genetic code and a mythic case of piles. They also have the capacity for the darker emotions; avarice, arrogance, anger, officiousness and boredom. The Doctor has the capacity for those emotions too, and also in his later incarnations, love, romance and satire. Partly this could be explained by his exposure to humans over the years, but also it’s an over compensation for the survivor guilt which gripped him during the Eccleston era. In my version of the canon, then, the Doctor, like those comic book heroes, did indeed have a family: a wife, kids, grandkids, father, mother (wherever they came from) and siblings (hey Brax!).

It adds even greater layers to his character somehow, and in these series with the loss of not just his family, his whole civilisation, like Batman’s loss, rationalises quite why he takes his ‘job’ so seriously and why he seems devastated when everything doesn’t go to plan, why he’s so prepared to resort to his own death to stop a war and save the day. This cleverly conceived new genetic anomaly does also indeed allow us to see how the Doctor copes with these emotions without overloading the canon (and was that the first time we’ve heard that word in a Confidential?). Helped by a brilliant performance from Tennant, who still somehow manages to make each tear surprising, we were able to see that indeed the Doctor can be just like us, he can care like us, can care about a child just like us and yet still be God-like, worthy, as much to do with truth and justice as Superman, even as it’s revealed he’s done some very bad things. Jenny let us see that for the first time since he bid goodbye to Susan in a London wrecked by a The Dalek Invasion of Earth.

Plus, she’s well fit.

Georgia Moffett, let me count the ways. Jenny may well be another Whedonesque intrusion into the Whoniverse, this time of his ultimate female role model, balletic, quick witted and shiny. But she had to be unlike the Doctor and yet exactly like him. Another choice might have been to make her bookish, a bit pre-gay Willow, one of the aforementioned Holmesian timelords, tut-tutting as he made another reference to meeting Agatha Christie (sorry, that’s next week). Why do that though when she can be this cool, this funny, this bendy and capable of the back flip through the beam thing last seen in Charlie’s Angels or Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, a posh Jennifer Ellison with a membership to the NRA? And in the hands and smile of Georgia Moffett and Greenhorn’s script, what could have been an irritatingly chipper Buffy facsimile (anyone else remember Becky Lee Kowalczyck from Big Finish’s Minuet In Hell?), anomaly if only because of her perfect make-up in a war zone, was just awesome.

It seems wrong somehow to fancy Peter Davison’s progeny; it's like being back at school, noticing someone in your class then finding out she's your teacher’s daughter and so clearly out of bounds (believe me, I know). But from the minute she stepped out of the Ikea-redesigned Telepod from The Fly, I found myself repeatedly irritated when the camera cut somewhere else, even to the increasingly lush Catherine Tate and former obsession Freema. Like the group of monks from the martial arts film A Touch of Zen, there can’t be many rubbish films that couldn’t be improved with Georgia high kicking her way though them. Not since seeing Louise Jameson in The Invasion of Time three days ago has a story potentially been a pleasure to watch on the basis of just one actress. Squee. And squee again. And again. Times one hundred.

Where was I? Right, serious analysis. Ironically, this was a fairly trad … Um. Sorry, I’ll be back in a minute. I really need to take a cold shower.

That’s better. When my eyes weren’t being diverted I did notice that structurally this was about as traditional an episode as we’ve seen this series, with a companion being isolated so that they could meet the alien race with everyone meeting up again at the finale. Martha’s participation was seemingly erroneous though, the reaction to a script problem when the writer realised that he couldn’t have the Doctor meeting his daughter alone without a voice of reason or in this case plot-solving Donna knocking around and so would need an extra body in the ‘enemy’ camp. Freema still made the most of the opportunity though and, with the exception of the freefall into the random bog, showed an easy confidence in Martha which the character slightly lacking last week. It is worth grumbling about the fact that she was put in a desperate position of having to be saved again which is a bit of an indignity given she did save the world at the end of the last series.

Of the combatants, the humans were mostly really rather bland but that’s perhaps as it should be considering they supposedly haven’t had much life experience of their own, a race memory rattling around their brains. Yes, Nigel Terry’s old hand did seem rather mature to be in this crew, but I’d be quite willing to accept that the machines would be rigged to produce a range of ages, perhaps having been programmed by a fan of old Vietnam war movies who realised that every battalion needs a bitter old emotionally scarred veteran as well as the wet behind the ears innocent, yet to discover that the first casualty of war is your generation. On the other side, the Hath were a good idea in theory but in realisation a rare own goal from Neil Gorton and friends, harking back to the monster designs of the past – better painted perhaps but even with the plop, plop, plop lacked a point of identification, their boggle eyes not matter how much they spun at no point appearing to look anywhere, more convincing than the fish swimmers from The Underwater Menace perhaps but Admiral Akbar showed how well this can be done in Return of the Jedi, two and a half decades ago.

Alice Troughton's direction was tight and smart, the editing very sharp, particularly in the scene when the Doctor and Martha and both armies realised where the rest of the episode would be going via the glowly map thing. The music was good too, Murray Gold showing the kind of percussive sensitivity which you might remember I thought would have benefited Planet of the Ood . And to close out this inevitable paragraph in which I shoe-horn in all of the good things about the episode I can't fit anywhere else, how great does Catherine continue to be? Sure, it's the sixth episode in a row that she's cried but that to me just shows how serious the actress is treating the job. I'll repeat this again, having seen her in all kinds of things which aren't her own comedy sketch show, this is the best we've ever seen her and I've become something of a fan.

In the end, there were two tisk worthy moments. Once during that melodramatic scene at the bog (couldn’t the fish swim?) and then when Jenny took the bullet. I didn’t cry. I was annoyed simply because it was disappointingly predictable to see that the premise of the new programme couldn’t allow its protagonist to become ‘the not quite last of the timelords’, ‘last of the old timelords’ or some such. The surprising choice would have been for him to lead the gang back into the Tardis together, job done. I thought the reaction to the death went on too long, the gathering of Jenny in the Doctor’s hands too close to his pleading with the Master at the close of the last series. ‘Regenerate!’ I shouted ‘Regenerate!’ How come Martha’s somehow become the expert on that sort of thing – just how detailed are the UNIT records?

Once more with the biblical reference, the sometimes lonely god recreating a planet after seven days. The troubling moment of the Doctor brandishing the gun seemed a bit ill considered in this day and age, especially considering how conventional the revolver was. I thought about Paul Leonard’s equally ill-considered novel Revolution Man in which the Doctor actually does shoot someone apparently for the greater good (See here for what I thought of that. Preview: “No! No! No! No! NO! It’s one of the fundamentals of the series, the Doctor does not, I repeat does NOT! kill another human in cold blood like this and particularly with a gun.” etc). I genuinely thought in these final moments that episode was broken and I’d be writing fifteen hundred words on how in the end the whole farrago was just some cheap knock-off from The Wrath of Khan. With added spunk.

How wrong I was. The Doctor keeps being kicked in the teeth, by time, fate, whatever and now here he is again losing someone from his own race, albeit not naturally born but still with two hearts, and breathing and with the kind of connection he can never have with anyone else no matter how long he spends with them in the blue box. Of course he’s going to be a bit upset about that and we should be with him for every agonising moment otherwise it would have looked trite. Most fans of the franchise who haven’t had to endure the very out of character moments which crop up in the novels from time to time would know that he wouldn’t take a life, especially in revenge. He’s being an example, showing the fictional constructs and kids at home that guns are bad, a message that can’t be repeated too often. One of the features of DC’s Infinite Crisis is to show Wonder Woman dragging herself back from breaking someone’s neck in a very public way but simply by being on television, the Doctor’s an even more impressive symbol and so brave to attempt this kind of psychological investigation in front of a family audience on a Saturday night.

Then she lived. For a few moments as Jenny lay on the slab, the spangly smoke drifting from her mouth, I thought she was going to regenerate into Rose (which is ironic since Moffett was one of the many thousands of actresses who read for the role). Back when the first series was still being generated and Russell’s mate Paul Abbot was writing an episode (in the slot which was ultimately filled by Boomtown) the writer had an idea that Rose would discover she was in fact created by the Doctor to be the perfect companion, presumably inserted in history to live a life before being picked up later for great adventures. Russell was tempted but ultimately thought it busted the character and as we saw, went another way. If Jenny’s an echo, she’s an echo of that idea, a perfect companion for the Doctor literally created directly from his loins. She’s in whatever end of history we’ve just witnessed, like Sarah Jane and a few other people who’ve met the Doctor, fighting the good fight in their relevant time zone or reality, with according to the podcast, Steven Moffat to thank for the idea of a resurrection (clever bloke). She’ll be back of course, perhaps even before the season is out, but wouldn’t it be breezy if the Andy Pryor (casting director) gave her agent a call to check for her availability for ten months filming in 2010?

Next Week: Fenelllaaaa Woooolgaaaar. As Tom might pronounce it …
Commerce EBay is broken: "So I returned to the list of items, and found that - sure enough - the 6th page which I had expected to find my item on was actually only the sixth page of featured items. It was not for another several pages that the list of featured items was finally exhausted, and the 'Time Left' column reset from '5 days' to '< 1 minute'. Once again I had to click through several pages of items which were ending before mine, until finally, around page 20, I saw my item in the queue. Great, I thought, what good is an auction if nobody sees it?" Later.
Music Why I don't go to gigs -- and in fact why I don't go to gigs: "People who take pictures throughout gigs. Several flavours of these, now; the professional photographer who elbows his way to the front on the grounds that he has a job to do, clicks away with little regard for the people behind or destruction of atmosphere. The mobile phone fan who you would assume had done this enough times to realise you will never, ever get a decent photograph of a band from the back of a hall, particularly by waving your shitty handset in the air, but still tries periodically."
Music When does it stop being Kraftwerk? "I happily accept that when they play 'The Robots' as an encore, with nothing on stage except 4 laptops and 4 mechanical robots, that I am watching Kraftwerk."
Elsewhere In case you're wondering, I actually did have a shower.