Producing Women.

Film Film historian Kirsten Thompson reveals how by not including exactly who the producers are when awards shows list the Best Picture category, they're hiding the contribution of women within the filmmaking process:
"Another, perhaps less important reason why producers draw less attention is that because a film often has several producers. It’s more complicated to assign responsibility for who did what. Most people have a general idea of what directors do. They’re on set, they make decisions, and they supervise other artists. A female producer, like a male one, may have been included for many reasons. She might have done most of the work in assembling the main cast or crew members or she might have concentrated on gaining financial support. She might instead be termed a producer as a reward for crucial support at one juncture. We can’t know, and that perhaps makes it difficult for the public to get enthusiastic about producers. Of course, if journalists covered them more in the entertainment press, the public might gain more of a sense of what producers do."
Thompson then offers some important work by listing exactly who the women are that have been nominated in the best picture category at Oscars over the years, noting when history was made even if it wasn't recorded or highlighted at the time. Not until 1982 did a female producer receive an Academy Award nomination, which was Kathleen Kennedy.


Shakespeare The Guardian's obituary for actress Jane Freeman, best known as Ivy the cafe owner in Last of the Summer Wine has this rather wonderful nugget. Her path into television began when she was asked to join the Osiris players, an all woman touring theatre group:
"Travelling in two Rolls-Royces with set, costumes and lights, the company toured schools, church halls and other spaces in England, Scotland and Wales, performing a repertoire that consisted mainly of Shakespeare. Paid 10 shillings a week, plus half a crown to watch other actors at work, each member of the company was involved in the stage management of the two or three performances given on most days; those with licences drove the cars towing the caravans in which the company slept. Two or more of the minor roles could be played as one, and there was doubling: Jane’s Portia in The Merchant of Venice was also Old Gobbo and as much of Lorenzo as remained in a truncated Act Five."
Back in 2004, a play was written about the theatre group which apparently helped inspire Judi Dench into acting. The Independent published a piece about the founder in 1995. The V&A retains their archive of papers.

The World Beyond The Trees (Big Finish Short Trips Audio).

Audio Sometimes an audio book is simply lifted by a performance. Nicola Walker's level of commitment and performance makes this essential in and of itself. Often, even the first person pieces can sound like exactly what they are, someone reading from a script. But now and then, as here, we're gifted a proper character piece, properly played, with a thought process and the sense of something being told by the character, in character, the only way that character could tell it, like a Doctor Who version of a Talking Heads monologue.  Liv Chenka is writing a letter to her late father, about a mini-adventure she's experienced as 1970s London falls prey to weaponised listlessness (ahem).  Unlike some writers, Jonathan Barnes is able to completely orientate the listener in the action without having Liv describe details she wouldn't otherwise mention.  Nothing is here just for pure expositional benefit, everything has emotional intent (if you see what I mean).  The lethargic London is perfectly evoked, the sense of silence, peacefulness, but with a growing sense of dread.  Placement:  The first missing adventure set during the "Dark Eyes era" it should probably take place during Eyes of the Master, but I've put it just before.  Just in case.

A Heart on Both Sides (Big Finish Audio Short Trips)

Audio Another pre-cursor to the upcoming Time War boxed set, Nyssa's involvement is revealed in a Short Trip seemingly set between Terminus and when she arrives in the Fifth Doctor audios I haven't yet had a chance to listen to properly. She's the controller of a medical ship The Trakken, scooting about the galaxy offering help where needed. Pitching up on a neutral planet within spitting distance of Gallifrey she becomes embroiled in some local trouble involving the Time Lords' territorial claim. It's another story designed to show how a usually bureaucratic people became the race featured in The End of Time and later a source of such paranoia in Night of the Doctor.  Eighth's intervention is a welcome twist on River Song's participation with his earlier incarnations and that's all I'm going to say about that.  Rob Nisbet's script and Sarah Sutton's reading capture perfectly Nyssa's mix of magnetic intellect and frequent uncertainty.  But there is some narration-based oddness - although largely written in the first person, there are a couple of scenes from the Doctor's POV containing information his companion couldn't and shouldn't be privy to and on audio, it's not initially clear when we're shift from first to third person.  The highlight:  Nisbet employs an extrapolation I've long assumed about so-called "fixed points in time", that essentially if the Doctor knows about something in history as a fact it can't be changed.  If he's unsure, it's all up for grabs.  In this story, he consciously decides not to research a historical event so that he's then able to go back and participate.  Genius.  Placement:  I'm inclined to put this later in the Time War, so just after the Titan Comics.

"We're trying to defeat the Daleks, not start a jumble sale!"

TV Just as I was finishing off another half hearted review of a Big Finish Short Trip with a view to going to bed, the BBC do their usual and drop some big news late on a Sunday night. Companions! TX details!


The rumours were true, Bradley Walsh is a companion, but he's not the only one. Joining his character Graham (and I know at least one person who'll be pleased with that choice) are Tosin Cole and Mandip Gill as Ryan and Yasmin. It's going to be a busy old TARDIS.

Tosin's longest stretch on television so far is as someone called Neil on Hollyoaks, but he was also in Star Wars The Force Awakens as Bastian, who flew with Red Squadron in the final battle so he can be added to the list of actors who have characters listed in the TARDIS Datacore and the Wookiepedia.

Mandip's another Hollyoaks alum who may have been contemporaneous with Tosin.  Outside of that it's mainly regional theatre in bit parts in medical dramas, which I love.   We don't know anything about her which provides a counterweight to Bradley of whom we know quite a lot. She's on Twitter, god help her.

Sharon D Clarke will also appear in a "returning role".  Does that means she's playing a character from the past or a new character who'll return now and then.  Is it the Rani?  Clarke is best known from Holby, but she appeared in a couple of episodes of Paul Abbot and Kay Mellor's Children's Ward for which Russell T Davies was also a script writer. Oh and Song for Europe in 2000 with this thematically suitable song [via]:

They placed second incidentally, losing out to Nicki French.

TX details!

Hello darkness, my old friend, I've come to talk with you again.

Amid all the excitement, we also discover that the episode count has been cut again, from 12 and a special to 10 and a special and that it's not arriving until Autumn 2018 which means that like 2015 season, it'll be at the mercy of Strictly's scheduling again as the dance competition episodes decrease in length over time.

Cue discussions about money and time.  The press release indicates: "Doctor Who is a BBC Studios production for BBC One and a BBC America co-production. BBC Worldwide are the international distributors for Doctor Who."  So the most recent funding model is still in place.

So why do less episodes?  Is it that production costs are so high in relative terms now that in order to keep making the show to a certain standard they've had to cut the number of episodes?  Some of the recent installments have seems a bit interior heavy so it's possible they're trimming the duration in order to improve whats there.

Time: having at least two of these cast members working on the show for the old production period of ten months is a stretch so could it be Jodie and especially Bradley's schedule which has led to this?

Or is it simply that Chibbers wants to turn out ten quality episodes in writing terms rather than forcing through twelve with some ropey ones in the middle as has been the case since the show came back.

Anyway, here's the full press release with the usual quotes about how happy everyone is to be there.

Squee etc.

The Young Lions (Short Trips Rarities)

Audio Another wide release for Big Finish's old subscriber exclusive, or as they're officially called "Short Trips Rarities" and we're back in the middle of the With Lucie years although tonally this could just as easily have featured any of the Doctors, especially Pertwee or Davison. That's not a criticism; with so many of Eighth's stories now tied to ferreting out some new or old bit of continuity, it's nice to have a stand alone story however slight. Soldiers at barracks in Little Morton are far healthier than they should be, especially after having been injured and since this is a Doctor Who story, there can be only one catalyst but it's up to the Doctor and Lucie to uncover which one it is.  Writer Alice Cavendar's later The Curse of the Fugue was marked by how well she captured Lucie's voice and you can see why she received that commission here.  Even with the very male Stephen Critchlow reading in, Sheridan's performance is echoed throughout although her Eighth is also brilliantly rendered, especially in a key moment of TARDIS business.  Placement: Just before The Curse of the Fugue, I suppose.