Doctor Who Series Nine: The Prologue.

TV With my attention elsewhere, I've only just caught up with this. As usual ...

(1) Capaldi sounds like the Doctor. Properly the Doctor. He seems like he's finally realised how to play it and his line readings are on point.

(2) Claire Higgins returns as Ohila from The Night of the Doctor as a representative from the Sisterhood of Khan. Note that it doesn't actually feel the need to tell us who she is and who they are because it knows we've watched the Eighth Doctor's regeneration story.

(3) Speaking of which, "Look after the universe for me. I've put a lot of work into it." was another Twelfth Doctor's final line - the Hugh Grant incarnation from Curse of the Fatal Death (though the canonical Eleventh used a version of it in his first adventure). Note how Capaldi says it somewhat ironically.

(4) Isn't that the same rock face that appeared in The Time of the Angels? It'll be a repurposing but it's nice that they've branched out from reusing Peace Hall every week.

(5) Who is this enemy?  Clearly we're briefly supposed to assume it's Missy, but the pronouns are all wrong now.  Is it Sabbath?  Rassilon?  Borusa?  As earlier or later incarnation of himself (and wouldn't it be refreshing to have himself as an antagonist) (depending on your opinion of the Valeyard).

Either way, along with the feature in this month's edition of the parish circular and Last Christmas, I'm much more positive about this next season that I was at the close of the last.

"My name is Paul, and I was Gordon the Gopher."

TV The BBC's Head of Editorial Standards has a confession to make:
"‘Waggling’ Gordon was just one of the jobs the producer had to do in the small room - normally used by the BBC one announcer - that became the iconic base for children’s programmes on the BBC. None of us were puppeteers, and to be fair, no one had any idea how popular Phillip and Gordon would become. And we could be rubbish! So it came as quite a shock when mainstream entertainment shows in peak time, like Brain Conley’s ITV show, started to parody us. It was also incredibly exciting to get invitations from Spitting Image, Noel’s House Party and Graham Norton to appear. We even switched on some Christmas lights once, but I can’t remember where... wherever it was, we had arrived."
Squeek. Squeek. Squeeeeek.

My Favourite Film of 1982.

Film Christmas shopping in Chester one year, back when there was an Odeon in the city centre, I noticed they were showing Blade Runner's director's cut. There wasn't a particular reason - the film wasn't in re-release that year and it wasn't supporting one of the upteempth home releases. From what I gather, one of the staff liked the film and just decided to schedule it so he could see it on the big screen and presumably made it an open presentation to offset the price of the booking. For a four o'clock showing on a Saturday, the small screen was relatively busy and come twenty past four we were wondering when the show was going to begin. Eventually a staff member appeared - and this wasn't something that usually happened in the Odeons as where and said that they were having technical difficulties because the print they'd been supplied with was in such bad condition. They were happy to run it but would understand if anyone wanted to leave and get a refund. No one did. And so we sat and watched one of the scuzziest 35mm prints of any film I've seen.

Blade Runner's a film which I'd already seen plenty times in different ways in different places, in different formats and editions, but it was perfect. The aesthetic of the film is urban, broken and derelict already and so many lines across the screen, hairs and dust only enhanced the atmosphere of what we were seeing. Even when the sound fell out of synch briefly it simply felt like it was because were watching a transmission from the future, a future which is numerically closer to us now than the original release date of Blade Runner. However grand it is to have the pristine images of digital project and blu-ray, something organic and unpredictable has been lost from our analogue past. Plus it put in mind what it must have been like at that Los Angeles Cineplex-Odeon Fairfax Theatre in 1990 when a fan audience realised pretty quickly that they were watching one of the equally messy original workprints of the film which ultimately led to this "Director's Cut". When the doors closed at the end, Deckard and Rachel safely in the lift, I remember the audience applauding.

The first time I watched Blade Runner was during a late night broadcast on ITV, also at Christmas, I think, some time in the mid-eighties when I was still young, just before secondary school. The idea that there were different versions, that it was panned and scanned would have meant nothing to me (just as it meant nothing to the most of us) but I have a vivid memory of lying chest first across the floor on a duvet cover, watching from the across some pillows, scared witless, Dad watching on from the couch, Mum having gone to bed. Until eventually buying a VHS, my only real memory of the film was the giant advertising screens, of the echoing voice, the Geisha popping something in her mouth and the resonant voice from elsewhere advertising off-world colonies. Little would we know that of all Douglas Trumble's futurological design work, it's this which would become realised and quickly. Remember this image of an advertising screen in Beijing three years ago? Now there are half a dozen in Liverpool city centre too.

Then, of course, the boxed set of every version you could wish for was released and I finally got to see that work print version for myself and as expected, despite all the work Ridley Scott put into his final version, digitally cleaning shots, fixing continuity mistakes, notably making Joanna Cassidy cry on first seeing herself be terminated at Zhora rather than the stand in, it's this version which still feels most authentic. Yes, the music isn't wholly Vangelis's score, temping in incongruous pieces of Jerry Goldsmith and the pacing is just slightly off and the editing and continuity are flat out wrong in places, but its this first draft which seems to capture the original ideas before the studio decided they knew what was best based on the reaction of a dodgy, unreceptive test audience. The Final Cut is the work of an older man trying capture what he was originally trying to do.  But for all the poor mathematics in the mission sequence and wrong Zhora, here it is.

About Journalism in Comic Book News Sites.

Comics The Outhousers has a long column from Richard Caldwell about comic book journalism or journalism about comic books which also goes for other type of culture and media. Here's a typical paragraph:
"For god knows what reasons, many smaller news sites will not acknowledge a story unless it has already been covered by one of the larger sites. Adversely, I have seen before that should a smaller news site grow a spine and break a story, then that story will go untouched by the larger sites, evidently in scorn at having been scooped. This is even more stupid than the battle of the sexes. There is bias in all forms of media, and the comics journo game is no different. Sometimes, the bias in comics media is deliberate and malicious, but there are even more occasions where it is simply the result of negligence or ignorance or incompetence. And it does not have to be that way."
We live in a largely unreported world in which something only really seems to be happening when the mainstream media flashes its light against it usually when it doesn't have a choice.

Some of my associates.

About Associate links. Apparently something people do on their blogs is to add an associate link to the end of a URL when they link to Amazon.  I signed up to the Associates programme years ago but never really did anything with it so even after at least five years I've never quite managed to reach the £25 minimum for a gift voucher.

One of the reasons I haven't gone to town on it is because I don't know the etiquette really.  Some people say it's expected, others say they want to know if an associate code has been added which makes sense but feels difficult to implement without being too clunky and obvious, but again I don't want to be underhanded about it somehow.

Plus there's the notion of exactly why I'd want to.  I generally do this for fun (not that it seems that way sometimes) and the idea of y'know, a kickback, feels a bit alien.  Now and then I've had offers to put advertising up here too, or had suggestions about a "tip  jar" somewhere but again it changes the boundaries between whether this is a hobby or something more.

I'm not sure it works anyway.  I've had those links under the "support feeling listless" heading in the sidebar for ages and nothing has happened.  Perhaps I don't get enough visitors.  Or I'm just not very good at this.

For now, I've decided to finally put a link on the most trafficked post on the blog, the Doctor Who chronology.  Just some text and a link, nothing obnoxious I don't think and I'll keep an eye on it and see what happens (you can see it at the bottom of the list here) (feel free to comment on language).

Last time I tried this, with the coffee bag thingy, I made about fifty virtual gift pence and that's pretty much stopped anyway now that they're available anywhere and everywhere, notably Home Bargains and Waitrose.

We'll see.  With any luck I'll manage to scrape together enough vouchers to stream Agent Carter at least.