Or should that be Godsend?

Empire: Jobs For The Girls
Thoughtful piece about the treatment of women in cinema and how the old stereotypes are still around and in fact the quality of writing for women has decreased.

PopJustice: 20 things you need to know about the new Lily Allen album
I can't wait to choose track 08 on the jukebox next time I'm at the pub.

'Blake's 7: The Early Years; Eye of the Machine/Point of No Return'
I wouldn't ordinarily point something like this out, but it's a good cast -- Colin Salmon plays Avon with Keeley Hawes and Geoffrey Palmer in supporting roles, and the music's from Alistair Lock who scored the early audios with the Eighth Doctor. [via]

The Movie Game with Simon Mayo and Mark Kermode
A quiz for Christmas Day. Hopefully the celebrities will include David Morrissey and Jason Isaacs.

I Hate You Library Patrons!

Classic Craigslist mayhem: "To the girls who smoke pot in the bathrooms: Yes it was me who called the cops. No that doesn’t make me racist and no you can’t come back. I don’t care that it’s going to rain. When you get arrested in my bathroom you can’t come back, even if it means you get wet. "

Alistair Cooke's 'letters' to The Times
Before Letters From America, Cooke wrote similar columns for The Times and their blog offers a sample with links to scans of the original articles.

Behind the Britney Story: A Conversation With Writer Jenny Eliscu
Rolling Stone goes meta by interviewing the journalist who interviewed Spears for their cover article.

Thanksgiving Dinner is Sadder in Space
I hope my US readers are enjoying the holiday weekend. If you're disappointed by your relatives cooking, take a look at the plate in this linked article, part of which looks like its already been digested.

Simon Heffer's irate email to Daily Telegraph staff

Oddly enough I can well sympathise with this, especially look at some of the mistakes, though considering the speed with which newspaper copy is churned out sometimes they're bound to happen, especially if they've let go of sub-editors who are vital in making sure the copy makes sense before it's published. On the couple of occasions I've been subbed it's been a godsend. Or should that be Godsend?

Incidentally, I've set up a shared items page at Google, some of which might be linked here too, most of which won't.

I’ve just watched the entirety of The West Wing in about two months, probably about one season a week.

"TV I’ve just watched the entirety of The West Wing in about two months, probably about one season a week. I haven’t had time for much else other than the usual and my Lovefilm picks. There’s been a rash of similar statements in some of the blogs I read regularly, mostly I’m guessing because the boxset has been reduced to about fifty pounds everywhere and with the election and a renewed interest in US politics, it’s fun to watch the idealised version which offered so much hope during the darker moments of the past eight years. The show began at the tail end of the Clinton years and perhaps if you squint you can almost pretend the Democrats didn’t leave the White House.

Regularly readers will know that previously I’ve been very harsh on the John Wells era, usually holding it up as an example of what can go wrong when the producer and creator of a show leaves and the remaining production team have to deal with the fall out, desperately trying to recreate the special ingredient that their previous boss took with them. I also usually throw Aaron Sorkin’s name into the list along with Joss Whedon, Steven Moffat and sometimes Amy Sherman-Palladino of Gilmore Girls as peerless writers that much of the rubbish we have to endure can’t be compared to. What I’ve discovered in the past couple of weeks rewatching the Sorkinless years is that the distinction isn’t entirely clear cut. In other words, much to my surprise, I come to praise the Wells era rather to bury it.

I should say before offering this defense of sorts that The West Wing became a different show in those later seasons. I’ve already spoken haphazardly about the shocking difference between the cliffhanger ending of Season Four, in which Barlett’s daughter Zoe is kidnapped then rescued. The first few Wells episodes have more in common with 24 than the show I adored, lacking the poetry, humour and lyricism I'd come to expect. In fact, much of the first half of season five is horrible with episodes such as Constituency of One during which the characters essentially argue for forty minutes and Disaster Relief or the one were Josh notoriously shouts at a building (Congress) as he feels himself being politically sidelined pointing to were many of us might have fallen out of love with the series.

Yet seeing the season in about five days without a week in between to become disgruntled, it’s possible to see that there’s still some gold here. The Supremes about the search and negotiations to fill a spot on the supreme court is amazing and wouldn’t have felt out of place in earlier seasons, with the ultimate plan of action being inspired by Donna’s cats and a string of guest stars including Glenn Close and William Fichtner as judges whose beliefs neatly complement and cancel each other out. Talking Points and CJ’s solution to making the press room interested in a story about the buy out of local news by major corporations and the heartwrenching Gaza or Danna Discovers the Middle Eastern problem.

It’s worth noting that these episodes are written by Deborah Cahn, Eli Attie and Peter Noah who along with a number of others would form a writers room that would cover the bulk of the episodes in the next two seasons. When he took over the role, Wells said he had no intention of even attempting to capture Sorkin’s voice and that’s true – the structure of the episodes is closer to e.r. than in previous years with immigration issues instead of emergency heart surgery with the knock on effect that there’s less stories simply foregrounding character over ongoing story arcs, fewer shows in which characters simply sit around in rooms working their way through a talking point of the week.

To an extent plotting becomes more obviously mechanical with Toby’s leaking of classified information about a secret military space shuttle seeming particularly out of character considering how he railed against Bartlett in earlier years about his own indiscretions. Richard Schiff said that he suspected his character was being sidelined because of his political views and them not fitting in this version of the show (he walked this back a bit later) but it’s probably symptomatic of the show’s change in attitude to political discourse, from being a central plank of the series in the Sorkin years to being a kind of prop to whatever was being discussed that week, the negotiation itself becoming important rather than what’s being negotiated for. That said, the episode in which he’s fired, Here Today, it meticulously written and directed recalling the earlier episode when the MS is finally revealed to the staff.

Yet, the series really becomes sprightly again in the closing two series. It essentially become two programmes, as though someone is running alternate episodes of tv remakes of The American President and The Candidate though there’s more cross-pollinating than I remember with stories in the west wing and on the campaign trail appearing in the same episode. There are also just as many episodes set in the White House as on the road including the really interesting Internal Displacement written by Bradley Whitford (who plays Josh) with CJ negotiating to trying to solve the crisis in Darfur. If there’s one problem with the closing two series its that CJ becomes less fun, more of an exposition machine than she was even as press secretary (something Alison Janney herself identified) but this really plays to the strengths of the character.

A particular weakness in these later series is the new characters. Most of them don’t really have a life outside of their respective stories, we know little of their families, and though that allows for that lovely scene in the first episode set on election night in which Josh realises that he didn’t know that the rest of his staff were boinking one another or that Ronna was gay it’s probably the reason why we’re still so attached to Sorkin’s original creations – though Will is very poorly treated I think, with his sister removed and largely becoming either an adversary for Josh during the primaries or CJ’s whipping boy later on. That said, Kate Harper firmly took over from Ainsley Hayes as the object of my affection, actress Mary McCormack achieving much the same feat she did in Murder One of fleshing out her character, though in the writing there’s the suggestion, in that boozy flashback in the bizarre episode were Leo meets Castro, Ninety Miles Away, that the pre-White House Harper had a very interesting Alias-style undercover career. I don’t think any of the back story for any of the other characters is quite that vivid.

The main problem I had with the ’06 election first time around was just, um, probably that it broke up the original ensemble and was telling a story which fans weren’t expecting. With some distance though, it’s a very good fictionalisation of a presidential campaign and the knowledge that the Democrat Santos was based on the new US presidents adds a whole new texture. Throughout there are scary moments in which life imitates art, and you have to wonder if Obama’s advisors had the series in mind when the financial crisis happened; Barack went to ground and let McCain make a fool of himself just as Santos goes quiet during a nuclear exposition and its Vinick who blinks first. The bravest episodes are probably those which foreground Vinick, whose politics run so counter to what the show is about that sometimes it can be compared to watching a version of Star Wars were Darth Vader is the hero (and I don’t mean The Phantom Menace).

If you’re still an undecided, I’d at the very least watch everything from Election Day onwards. They’re closest to the spirit of the Sorkin years as original characters return for cameos and more in the wake of Leo’s death and a general feeling of the series being put to rest. The exception being The Last Hoorah, that that is still exceptional, one of the few explorations I’ve seen of what happens to the other candidate after a presidential election as Vinick becomes yesterday’s man and goes from having packed schedule to nothing at all. It’s brilliantly carried by Alan Alda, whose mournful gate can’t quite digest that the election is over. Institutional Memory is the best of the bunch as CJ has to decide what happens next and if Danny figures in any of it, with Xander Berkley appearing as a kind of philanthropic Bill Gates.

I said originally of the last episode that it had “the odd nice character moment but no drama” but I’ve now decided that’s probably about right since in reality that’s exactly how final days anywhere turn out to be. And there is drama, in Bartlett’s decision to pardon Toby. This time around, far from being frustrated by the lack of call backs to earlier times, I sobbed, real tears, more than that became disappointed that we wouldn’t get to see the first year of the Santos administration with Josh in Leo’s job and Sam working Josh’s beat. The show didn’t really recreate the magic of those early years, yet it was still miles ahead of many tv dramas, wasn’t afraid to take risks now and then and though it probably failed as much as it succeeded, it could have been much, much worse.

good luck and take care

Liverpool Confidential: Jobs shock at Post and Echo -- Nearly a quarter of journalists to go, and Saturday Daily Post to vanish in latest Old Hall Street misery
I know a couple of you might be mixed up in this and my ranting about it won't help. So all I'll say is good luck and take care.

Jemima Kiss: The UK's hidden newspaper archives
Which is a good reminder that you can digitise material all you want but it's still no substitute for the original or for paper.

Twenty things librarians want patrons to know!
I'm not sure about (2) though. I'm not sure a responsible librarian would supply an 18 certificate film to a minor.

McDonald's did away with its spoon-shaped coffee stirrers because people were using them as cocaine spoons.
Another snopes expose. Note they didn't get rid of them because kids like me used to chew the end off.

the fine line between envy and bitterness
Obama's West Wing-style appointees continue. Here's the Sam Seaborn.

Santa Monica Public Library Memorial
Depression-era fresco that looks like a precursor to Yellow Submarine (the film).

A Note From Producer Tom Werman.
Popdose offers write of reply to a producer who disliked their review of Motley Crew's Girls, Girls, Girls or more specifically his part in it: "If you’re logging on to this site to read blogs about music that are allegedly written by people who are qualified to do so, then demand a modicum of accuracy. Check some facts now and then. Somehow, in some way, I must have slighted or offended Mr. Bolin in the past. I can see no other reason for this left-field assault on my professional and personal integrity."

Unhappy Farewell to Stalag 666
Another example of same but much worse. Stalag 666 is a strip in 2000 AD comic that has attracted a fair amount of unpleasant criticism. Rather than simply rolling over, writer Tony Lee describes some of the worst of it at a public forum, including the unpleasant human deposit he found in his mail. Ugh.

Element Four
... produced water from the air. Hello, future, it's good to see you. It's just a pity Tomorrow's World isn't still on so we can see Maggie Philbin trying to demonstrate it in a studio.

I once did Beavis and Butt-head impressions to Alan Bennett.


1. Stuart Burns
2. Stuart Ian Burns (there's a subtle difference)
3. Stu

1. springandfall
2. groovejet42
3. feelinglistless

1. Bush hair
2. Expressive eyes (apparentlY)
3. Big toe

1. My long nose
2. My slightly deformed little finger
3. Ear wax

1. Partially Scottish on my Dad's side
2. Mostly Liverpudlian on my mum's side
3. The way I say Somerset

1. Loneliness
2. Listlessness
3. Lovelessness

1. Radio 4
2. Wheetabix
3. The Guardian

1. Sweat-pants
2. T-shirt
3. A look of determination

1. Madeleine Peyroux
2. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
3. Miles Davis

1. Maggie Gyllenhaal: 'How Lucky Am I?'
2. Miles Davis: 'So What?'
3. Axelle Red: 'Grootvader Geplant'

1. Reliability
2. More thans small talk.
3. To be learning.

1. I once did Beavis and Butt-head impressions to Alan Bennett
2. I once accidentally tried to chat up a soap star and didn't realise until weeks later
3. I once lost track of how old I am.

1. Intelligent.
2. Smiley.
3. Opinionated.

1. Films
2. Reading
3. Music

1. Have a proper holiday.
2. Be able to write more than the few words this meme requires.
3. Know how to cook properly.

1. Editorial Researcher
2. Film writer
3. Zoologist

1. Washington
2. New York
3. Tokyo

1. Lucinda
2. Helene
3. Miri

1. Do something useful
2. Smile more
3. Learn all of the words to REM's 'It's The End of the World as we know it and I Feel Fine'

1. I cry at everything
2. I know that all men are bastards. Or most of them.
3. I think that sport gets too much coverage.

1. I'm forgetful.
2. I don't shave often enough.
3. I don't know what I've lost until it's gone.

It was the early Eighties I think when I first went into an MFI.

Life It was the early eighties I think when I first went into an MFI. Our family had finally decided to buy a wardrobe (that sat in my room for well over a decade until the back finally fell through). My memory of the trip is dim, but I remember being plonked in the sparse children's play area with some lego but was quickly bored and decided to hunt around the shop for my parents. I remember walking through the fitted kitchen samples, whole rooms reconstructed in-store, realising even at that young age and these cupboards and drawers and sink fittings were nothing like the make shift hand me downs we had at home. It seemed magical, like a palace, and with my small legs went on forever.

Woolworths is also a brand which always seems to have been there, though unlike the furniture warehouse it's somewhere I've shopped a lot. I buy my Easter eggs there and they're always a good place to pick up cheap dvds and cds. For ages the tat in my room was stacked in plastic storage boxes bought there, and I suspect there isn't a room in the flat which doesn't have something which originated in Woolies. But also I was knew the retailer wouldn't survive. The likes of Tesco moved into its turf, Metros and even Expresses offering cds and magazine, blank media and sometimes at even more competitive prices. It's too diverse in its product range, and with a reputation for not being exceptional at any one thing, though I hear the children's departments are very good.

It's happened before; When C&A, or place I used to buy my school trousers, died it was unusual, a once in a decade occurance. The loss of these two businesses confirms that no one is safe from the onslaught of what I still think will become a depression, even shops with ninety-nine years worth of high street service, disappearing. An interesting knock-on effect for some of us in relation to the Woolworths implosion is that they have a stake in 2Entertain, who for the past half decade have been publish the BBC's dvd releases and particularly Doctor Who. For now, that looks safe, and BBC Worldwide who own the other stake are looking to buy the business outright.

But obviously the more important concern is for the thousands of people who are looking at signing on next week. I should just be happy that I have a job at all in this climate. I'd hate to be starting from scratch again right now.

I'm surprised Starbucks hasn't opened on Lark Lane already.

Our mains electricity cut out earlier causing widespread panic around the nine rooms that constitute the flat. I tried turning everything, I thought, flicked some switches, but nothing would work. We rang the electrician who visited just twenty minutes later, an older man with a youngster close-by. This is the set up whenever a repairman visits. Always two there are, the master and the apprentice. Sorry. Anyway, he enters, opens the cupboard, flicks a few switches, and the power comes back on. Apparently he has twenty identical calls a day because people don’t know how the system works and he’s basically training us, once household at a time.

Robert Altman: His dangerous angel remembers
Virginia Madsen talks about working with the director on his final film, A Prairie Home Companion, which I adored.

Something Awful Weddings
Example: "Elbowed my cousin's four year old step-daughter in the face on accident as she jetted across the dance floor."

McDonalds Japan Goes No-Brand with Quarter Pounder Shops

I haven't been underneath the golden arches for well over two years now, but I'm forever tempted. Apart from the health and environmental issues, I'm always concerned that I'll be disappointed. Last time I tasted a Big Mac it was very flat.

Atari: The Golden Years
Ataris were always something other people owned so this is a good way to catch up on someone else's history.

A Pop Culture Rant...Feel Free to Skip
Alternate commentary on Heroes taking a much more balanced approach than I did the other day. We're pretty much in agreement -- Kring can't see the wood for trees and doesn't know what the strengths of his own series are. I showed the infamous panel to a work colleague the other day. She said: "I mean what's he got the whine about?" Meanwhile:

Tim Kring Apologizes For 'Mangled Quote'
This is looking increasingly like the Ratners moment for the series. I expect he'll be fired if there's a fourth season and someone good like Bryan Fuller will be installed. If only Joss were free.

Challenged Ballots: You Be The Judge
A range of challenged ballots from the narrowing Coleman/Franken senate race. I don't understand how some of these could happen. All they're doing is colouring in an oval.

BBC Audio Returns
A whole raft of off-air audio recording from lost BBC programmes have been 'returned' to the archive and he's a list of new merchandising opportunities.

Modern Pentathlon change irks Livingston
"The sport's governing body has voted to combine the disciplines of shooting and running into one event from January." Yes, really. I expect it's to delineate the running discipline from athletics, but I can't see how making it a start-stop-shoot-start-stop-shoot will help the sport's media profile.

Be-A-Magpie Is PayPerPost For Twitter
Wrong headed attempt to monetarise Twitter; as TechCrunch notes if all someone is posting is adverts there's little incentive to continue following them.

Richard Klein named as BBC4 controller
This is excellent news and the linked article is full of juicy quotes demonstrating why. Example: "Too many docs are commissioned, frankly, to do no more than shock and titillate, to thrill. They may well have a semblance of insight but actually it is a mask to feed our baser desires to stare, to mock, to revel in sensation." Hopefully this means Storyville is safe again for the time being.

Fed up Liverpool-Manchester passengers put squeeze on East Midlands Trains by sending controller something fishy in post
It's my old commuter line again. Enough being enough, a new protest group has been formed who will be sending tins of sardines to the management to see if it'll get them to budge and put more carriages on the service. A spokesman on the television earlier said they were aware of the problem and were talking about increasing regularity, but that's not what people are asking for. They just want to know that they can get on the train safely with it arrives. Here's a video of a typical morning service.

public radio podcasts rss feeds
The NPR's own website lacking its own feeds, a fan has set up a website filled with them instead.

BBC: Are there too many bars on Lark Lane?
Lark Lane - boho retreat or binge-drinking strip?
Considering its only across the park from me, I visit Lark Lane less and less. When we first moved here, it was a novelty in comparison to Speke and the city centre, quirkier. Now it seems have become infected by a problem which blights the city in general -- that whenever a property does become vacant it becomes a bar or restaurant or chain coffee shop. I'm surprised Starbucks hasn't opened on Lark Lane already. Not that I wouldn't be too averse to having a Starbucks in walking distance. Ooh, now I'm conflicted.

Yves Klein Blue
If only all band names were this clever.

Student houses don’t often feel like homes.

Life When I was in my third year as a student at Leeds Metropolitan University during the mid-90s I lived at 38 Harold Walk, an end house within walking distance of the city centre and my home campus at Beckett Park (see above). Five years ago I revisited the house and solved a few issues I had with the place, which I wrote about at the time and I’ve rarely thought of the place since, mostly when I was chatting to someone who also went to the university and we were swapping notes about where we’d lived. Most of them knew the Harolds.

Student houses don’t often feel like homes. Apart from not having all of your belongings there, unless you’re settled in with friends for years on end, you recognise it’s just a temporary stop and you know that someone else was there three months before and after you stacked your books on the shelf in the room, piled your bacon in the fridge. You rarely leave your mark so you’ve no idea if the person who’s shared your room had the same problems with it you did. But you can’t help asking yourself – are you like me?

Then this afternoon as I was checking my referrer logs I noticed someone had googled “38 harold walk” and “leeds”. Could be someone thinking of moving in there, someone who’s lived there, someone wanting to find the place at Google Maps. Either way, I was curious enough to see how far up the ranking my blog was. Second it turned out, the first result being some kind of auto house evaluation site looking at properties in the area (£220,000). Then there was the third.

It’s Karaoke Queens, a blog in Icelandic by two Reykjavik natives and here’s the twist and reason I’m writing this – they lived at 38 Harold Walk ten years after I did! I love how sometimes a bit of your life can sometimes resurface online, and that it's not just Facebook reintroducing you to people. Not speaking any Icelandic, I can’t say what they thought of the place, but in this post which judging by the date was published when they moved in the full address is given (I’d forgotten the postcode) and here at what looks like the end of their year there are some photographs, of the clothes shop opposite and the pavement outside complete with the much needed bars on the kitchen window.

I’d love to know what they thought of the place, if the landlords improved it during that decade. It didn’t look much different when I was loitering around outside in 2003, but I wonder if the room I had next to the toilet has been soundproofed, the 1940s furniture had been replaced or the cellar cleared out and if they had as many incidents with people trying break in or grab things through the window. If you are them and you're reading this, please get in touch and let me know. And everyone else -- how is your Icelandic?

(Thanks to Suw and Karie for having a better recognition of the world’s languages than I do, especially after I asked on Twitter before simply looking at the About page...duh...)

The Zygon Who Fell To Earth.

Audio Forty-five years. Let those syllable roll around your mouth as you say them out loud. Four-tee-five-yeeaarrrs. A certain sketch from Doctor Who Night not withstanding, it’s doubtful Sydney, Verity and Waris had any idea that the tale they began with an imagined ‘One upon a time…’ and a junkyard all those years ago would still be in the process of being told four and a half decades later, with full stop or ‘The End’ nowhere in sight. The Doctor might walk into the sunset now and then, be interrupted by a freeze frame or make some bad choices, but he continues, still fighting.

And what better way to celebrate than with a story which typically captures exactly why he endures, that features an incarnation of the Doctor who only appeared in the show’s natural home of television once, in a version made in an unnatural home after a gap of seven years or so and who five years later began recording audio versions for cd. The play is authored by a writer who arguably found favour producing novels based on this incarnation and includes a monster who appeared on television only once, thirty years ago. Phew.

Happy birthday to you, Doctor Who. You don’t look a day over forty-two.

Even with it's rather fantastic title (which almost canonizes the play as a classic in and of itself) The Zygon Who Fell To Earth is another example of the kind trick Paul Magrs which has always stood Paul Magrs in good stead, in which his more way out ideas are threaded through a fairly traditional story type. So his Tenth Doctor novel, Sick Building, features a base under siege story inhabited by sentient sunbeds and vending machines, or his story for the last series of Eighth and Lucie stories, The Horror of Glam Rock, in which a roadside cafĂ© was attacked by what I still maintain were killer Wombles. This latest episode is a small scale alien invasion story, which the crashed remnants of a race attempt to take over the world, but with the twist that one of the aliens had gone native, assumed the identity of folk singer, married a woman we know as Lucie’s Auntie and opened up a small lakeside hotel, surprising omnisexual implications included. Unlike City of Death, the twist is that Pat is fully aware that her significant other is a space invader and doesn’t see why it should be a barrier to a successful marriage.

In the hands of another writer this could have been mawkish or silly or weighed down by its own philosophical pomposity. But by opening on a light mood before nihilistically sticking the knife in, or in this case, the Skaresen, he gives the listener some time to become attached to the characters. If only all of writers of these plays had been so patient. Lynsey Hardwick’s Patricia makes a welcome return but the reunion is not overplayed for a change having occurred off-speaker before the adventure begins. Trevor is as normal as can be (considering), Steven Pacey’s regional gasp underscoring his ordinary life, despite his extraordinary origins. Even as the Doctor and Lucie natter about Wordsworth, this is a domestic scene, with even the visiting Zygons forced to partake in its crushing, restful triviality.

At this point, the story might not have been about aliens at all, but two cold war spies turning up to remind a sleeper of his duties. Except the neat performances Malcolm Stoddard and Tim Brook-Taylor (Goodie, goodie, yum, yum) offer the impression of something being very wrong with Urtak and Mims, oh, and the title, which unlike Brave New Town of couple of weeks ago gives a fairly big hint of the returning alien. Which is where, hidden in the middle of this paragraph, I make a rather startling revelation. I’ve never seen Terror of the Zygons, which I know in some circles is tantamount to saying that you haven’t visited a galaxy, far, far, away. But bar some publicity stills, a few clips of Tom in a tamoshanta and the usual osmosis which means I know what Sarah Jane was talking about in School Reunion with the Loch Ness Monster, I’ve no idea what happens in that story.

Though clearly I do now, since the bottom end of The Zygon Who Fell To Earth explains everything you need to know, unexpectedly pulling in a references to The Bodysnatchers, an old Eighth Doctor novel I’d tried to forget. The exposition's not exactly seemless, but for once it doesn't get in the way of the drama. I'm surprised the new series hasn’t resurrected the Zygons yet, with their budget saving ability to assume human form, though admittedly the Slitheen and The Family of Blood have done much the same thing. They were achieved very well on audio with the huskiness of their voices demarking the change in shape, and their personalities, a kind of teenage hectoring mixed with utter sadism with a dash of strategic genius, perfect for the 80s setting in which just that kind of personality made a killing on the stock market (the fallout from which we’re finally having to deal with). But they’re hard to dislike even as they’re plotting to use a mix of the plot of the film which almost bares this play's name and a lo-fi version of the Sontaran stratagem to take over the world.

Like that adventure too, we’ve an evil companion doppelganger, Lucie this time instead of Martha, and like Freema, Sheridan understood that the best way to play those scene is simply to key the performance down slightly, remove the lively spikes from the tone of voice. Also as in that adventure, we’ve a livelier Doctor seemingly offering enough bumptiousness for the two of them, asking the questions which his companion is strangely forgetting about, commenting instead of curious. I’ve been loving McGann’s attack on the role in these stories and he’s in good spirits here, with in the darker moments, a return of the man we remember from the earlier audios, the commanding rather than bluff presence, deciding exactly which status quo he thinks should be perpetuated.

This was grade A, top side Doctor Who of the kind which pops up now and then and reminds you of why you love the franchise. Having made the pun in the title, Magrs feels the need to inject some further musical references, making the main supporting character a musician. But typically rather than simply turning Trevor into a former Bowie impersonator or something, instead he's an ex-folk singer and we get to hear his hit anyway, sung with great determination by the man who was once Tarrant in Blake's 7. I love these sojurn's into fake music history and this is certainly preferable to Children of Tomorrow from last year, even in deliciously accurate rubbish 80s 12" remix.

But it’s at the close of what's been an uneven radio series that we finally see what the show is capable of and if you haven’t heard the play yet, I’d look away now. That final moment in which Lucie reflects on the death of her Auntie Pat and how she can’t be dead because she remembers her, with the Doctor explaining that the web of time is a resilient construct, is amazing, and probably the best scene this series. It takes a giant sci-fi concept which has developed across the decades, and makes it personal, explaining why the Whoniverse can be contradictory and demonstrating that even a simple human can deal with the consequences of that and then, like Father’s Day, someone makes a sacrifice so that it can happen. Was Trevor’s meant to survive all along or are we seeing/hearing an example of how time rights itself? We might never know.

Next Week: The Chimes at Midnight !?! Or I might have another idea …

the bit in the middle where I lose my way

Elsewhere A review of last night's Doctor Who. Feels right that there should have been a new, and actually very good episode broadcast on the birthday of the series, even if it was on digital radio.