Rethinking the Film Canon.

Film Rethinking the Film Canon. Important essay on how the so-called film canon was originally shaped by white voices.  The canon became frozen some time in the past century even though there are dozens of films which are worthy of consideration in the same breath as Kane or (god forbid) Nation.  It'll be genuinely interesting to see how much the Sight and Sound list changes in 2022 with the prevalence of streaming services and hopefully a greater diversity of voices involved.

Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man.

Language Watching the above episode of Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man I discovered just how offensive to some the term "African American" can be. It's used as a blanket description for those who also may have their heritage elsewhere, such as the Caribbean and those who don't identify with being African because that heritage was stripped from them because of slavery. But I also see that it's a way of "othering" because White people in the US are rarely referred to as Euro-American, for example.  In news and police reports, suspects are often called White or African American, which is ridiculous.  So the least offensive term is Black, which seems to be what we use in the UK now for the most part.

The Juror's Story (Short Trips: Repercussions)

Prose A clever, funny story even if I'm not completely on-board with the conclusion (spoiler alert). A riff on 12 Good Men starring all of the Doctor's incarnations up until then banding together to save one of their own.  It's told from the point of view of one of the jurors who's slowly manipulated by these various Doctors dropping in across time until he reaches the same conclusion they do, or have to, about the accused and his actions. In which case you might then wonder why he has to be pulled out of time as happens at the close of the story. If it's because he now believes there to werewolves in the world, then considering what else is common knowledge that seems a bit unfortunate. If it's because the Doctors have weakened the web of time and he's at the epicenter of the distortion, that makes the Doctor no better than the Weeping Angels. Doctor Who in the early zeros was a weird, weird place.
Placement: Early. In the Greenpeace gap for old times sake.

The Time Lord's Story (Short Trips: Repercussions)

Prose What a pleasure. Set directly after the Big Finish version of Shada, this has the Doctor and K9 investigating genetic skulduggery on Gallifrey in which (spoiler alert) we discover a renegade time lord is attempting to give his race infinite regenerations using vampire blood. Back in 2004 this must have seemed like an utterly bizarre notion, the usual mad scientist fare for the Doctor to step in on. Now we can enjoy the irony of a character who unknowingly already has that ability stopping someone from triggering it in everyone else.  Genuinely this could be one of my favourite Eighth Doctor stories.  Iain McLaughlin & Claire Bartlett catch his voice and action perfectly, President Romana is at peak haughtiness and one off companion and proto-Osgood fan girl Tianna leaps off the page.  But it's also a classic romp, with running and screwball ratatat and feels much longer than its twenty-odd pages, in a good way.
Placement: After Shada (Shaaadaaaa!).

Repercussions... (Short Trips: Repercussions).

Prose Gary Russell's Repercussions sits very badly with me, for some reason. The Doctor is a time/space event with a personality and even in his Eighth incarnation he's made some wildly questionable decisions.  But the idea that he has an airship in a time loop for hiding people who's existence could mess up history often because a mistake he's initially made is awful however many of them "understand" why he did it. Never cruel or cowardly?  This is both.  I know that this is largely a Chaucerian framing device for this Short Trip, it also doesn't make much sense that this early in their travels Charley would discover all of this and then still be OK with being with the Doctor and spend half of her visit in this pocketverse justifying his actions.  It's also that he's apparently been doing this through various incarnations and she might still be at it for all we know.  Is this where Aramu disappeared off to when he was attacked on the beach in Praxeus?  Gary also implies that Grant Markham and Sam Jones have also been stashed here (this was in the period when Big Finish was distancing itself from the continuity in the novels).  Hopefully this is one of the things which was wiped out during the Time War because, jeez.
Placement: Just after Swords of Orion.

Lockdown Links #14

New On Streaming Services:

Little Joe which was released theatrically just before the lockdown, is now available on the BFI Player, both stand alone and Amazon Prime flavours. It's fine, unless you know a tiny area around Hope Street, Myrtle Street and Catherine Street in Liverpool as you spend the whole film shaking your head at the wonky geography. The Foresight Centre is not a school. Is it supposed to be set in Liverpool? No one has an accent despite the shots of the Everyman, down Duke Street towards the Liver Buildings and the interior of the Philharmonic Pub. It's really quite unsettling.

In some ways the how Little Joe is filmed and the substance reminds me of a Liverpool Biennial commission. Without the dramatic elements, if it was just the shots of people tending the flowers, you could imagine it projected on a wall at FACT. That's a complement. Other than that it's a creepy attempt to redo Star Trek's This Side of Paradise in a cold, metropolitan setting.

Netflix's Homemade is a series of short films made in lockdown by major directors and stars. Features Ladj Ly, Paolo Sorrentino, Rachel Morrison, Pablo Larrain, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Kristen Stewart and Gurinder Chadha:

Staged, the new sitcom starring the Tenth Doctor and and the man RTD and Moffat joked about taking over the role in the Forest of the Dead podcast commentary is on the iPlayer in full and utterly beguiling.  In my head canon it's set in the same satirical universe as The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot.

The Color of Time, a 2012 art piece about Pulitzer Prize winner C.K. Williams directed by twelve film students at New York University featuring Jessica Chastain and Mila Kunis has turned up on Amazon Prime under the UK title Forever Love and advertising which makes it look like a romcom.  It is not.

Britbox now has a selection of archive episodes from World In Action. The selection seems to be based tangentially with current affairs. There's a piece from '89 about three journalists racing across London using different types of transport and from '92 about twenty people applying for jobs at Manchester City Council.


What If Moviegoing Is No Longer Fun? The Frightening Realities of COVID-19 Exhibition:
Indiewire on the practicalities of cinema going pre-vaccine. "Movie theaters are made for escape, but that’s a tough proposition if they look like a death trap."

A Decade of Sun:
NASA timelapse of Sol revolving over a ten year period.

Was Penny Lane really named after the slave merchant James Penny?
Incredibly detailed exploration on how Penny Lane was named and where the myth of its connection to the slave owner spread from.

The Observer view on the inept and dangerous handling of the easing of lockdown:
The Observer's Editorial about the mishandled easing of the lockdown. Key sentence: "Social distancing now designated at “one metre plus” had predictably collapsed to one metre minus." People are trusting a government which persistently lies.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) in the UK:
If you want to keep an eye on UK Coronavirus disease 2019 cases/deaths, they're available on this page at

Jesus Christ, Just Wear a Face Mask!
Metafilter user 109 has had enough of your anti-mask bullshit. I agree. Any time I leave the flat I wear a mask and gloves, even just to visit the front door of the block to pick up a Deliveroo order.  It's a tiny inconvenience and if we were all doing it, could save many lives.

The Time Ball (The Many Lives of Doctor Who).

Comics Published as "issue 0" of a new run of stories about The Thirteenth Doctor by Titan Comics, this pulls together tales about each of the Doctor's incarnations including War around the theme of the number thirteen, all written by Richard Dinnick, Who spin-off veteran and illustrated by a variety of artists.  Some stories are more substantial than others, the writer often selecting less obvious TARDIS teams, so Ben, Polly and Jamie with Second, Sarah Jane with Third and the crews in Titan's own Eighth, Tenth and Eleventh series.

Which means we have another short adventure for Eighth and Josephine Day, on this occasion trying to send an alien who's been captured by the British Zoological Society in 1833 back to her ship.  As with most of the stories in the book, we're witnessing the final moments of the action, with the pace of a Doctor Who Adventures installment, but it's just enough to remind me how interesting this team is and how much a further run of stories would be appreciated.  The Eighth Doctor just seems so happy here, which has been a rarity in his portrayal lately.

Placement:  Before The Lost Dimension apparently.

We Can't Stop What's Coming (The Target Storybook).

Prose Whenever these multi-Doctor anthologies are announced, it's always with the curiosity of how they'll deal with Eighth. For most of the time, it's a generic Doctor in what has to be an early adventure or most recently it's the Time War. But every now and then, there's a unicorn. Colour me amazed on opening The Target Storybook to find a missing adventure for Eighth, Fitz and Trix.  You can imagine my awe at having read said adventure and realised that it could be set after The Gallifrey Chronicles and prefigure the arms race that has become a key factor in the Time War. I mean really.  Thank goodness there are shortages due to the lock down or I might have ended up in hospital due to the amount squee seeping out of my various orifices.

Published a whole fourteen years after this TARDIS crew's last adventure which ended on a cliffhanger, goodness knows what children and young adults made of this if they'd picked it up due to Jodie Whittaker's face on the cover (along with all of the Doctor's other incarnations - and Adric for some reason) (yes, I know, Matthew Waterhouse has written the Fifth Doctor bit).  The writer, Steve Cole (old EDA show runner and editor of this anthology) makes few concessions to the reader in explaining who Fitz and Trix are, even their appearance, with the former narrating half the story in the first person.  Perhaps some kids are wondering which television series featured this crew.  Or there are others seeking out their other adventures online and god knows what they'll make of Sometime Never ...

This being the literary equivalent of meeting some old friends on a train platform just long enough to say "Hello" and "Whatcha doin?" before you go your separate ways, it's a pretty simply story about time paradoxes, although Steve doesn't go completely down the rabbit hole and start throwing words like "faction" around.  That would be silly.  It's an immensely brutal story, which fits neatly with the novels of that period just before Cardiff steered the franchise back to its family roots with Trix's sadism in particular accurately portrayed.  Then after a couple of dozen pages, they're gone again, back into literary history.
Placement: There's isn't anything to really indicate where this happens in the latter stages of the EDAs but I'm adding it after The Gallifrey Chronicles anyway.

Notre Dame du Temps (Short Trips: Companions)

Prose Anji! The Seventh Doctor on his way to San Francisco! Amnesiac Eighth Doctor! City of Death! Published in April 2003, around the time of both the release of an official Ninth Doctor story and the announcement of an even more official one, it's tempting to see Notre Dame du Temp as a reminder of the rich mythology developed during the wilderness years in a moment went it was possible that these new series would reboot it all.  Except, the BBC Books series still had a couple of years to go.  This is from the same month Reckless Engineering was published and features elements which were continuity right then.  How was that possible?  I'm also intrigued to know who the writer is.  This is Nick Clarke's single Doctor Who contribution and yet this as accurate a depiction of that period and characters as you'll find.  It has to be a pen name surely?
Placement: Since the focus of the timeline is the Eighth Doctor himself, based on his cameo I've placed it just before Camera Obscura, when he gets his other heart back.

Femme Fatale (BBC More Short Trips)

Prose Paul Magrs' nostalgic throwback to the 60s has itself, twenty years on, become a bit of a nostalgic throwback.  Published three years on from the TV Movie, two years before the Big Finish audios, right in the thickets of the wilderness years with the franchise continuing to entertain its smallest audience ever in print and comic form.  For some reason, I entirely neglected to either read or review Femme Fatale at the start of this project fifteen years ago and so here we are, in the old review format, filling in a gap.

It's a culture shock to be back in the "With Sam" years, somewhere between The Scarlet Empress and Interference when the storytelling mode was often experimental and writers had license to produce stories with shattered timelines and unreliable narrators.  Magrs' story is the finale to an anthology which includes stories told in the format of a police statement, a second Doctor story set during season 6B and a prologue to The Romans from the Hartnell era about the budding romance between Barbara and Ian and how they came by the house.

Femme Fatale's Bayesian narrative presents a series of events around the attempted murder of Andy Warhol and expects the reader to cobble together what actually happened.  There are multiple versions of the Eighth Doctor and Sam Jones some of which are in Iris Wildthyme's own "biography", in the Doctor's rewrite of that text, a reimagining of Doctor Who reminiscent of Steed and Mrs Peel which could be either of the former and straight storytelling.  It's the kind of writing which is rarely sanctioned by Bristol now.

God, it's good.  Iris is in her full Barbarella bloom (making this prequel to The Blue Angel) and the writing evokes the freewheeling structure of Mary Harron's film I Shot Andy Warhol making it impossible not to see Lili Taylor in the Valerie Solanas.  Plus, let's be honest, it's a Doctor Who story about the shooting of Andy Warhol which is something you don't read every day.  I mean you could read it every day but I think even Paul would agree there are plenty of other stories in the world.

Placement: Most timelines put it between Beltempest and The Face Eater.

Forgotten (Short Trips: The Centenarian)

Prose Here we have the other side of the events in the prologue to this anthology. Having completely misunderstood what was happening in Dear John, I find this is actually another attempt to explain how the Master got back out into the world from within the innards of the TARDIS. Given this is a time travel show, there's nothing to say that what we see here is any more or less valid that the explanations given by subsequent audios. Time can be rewritten. This is otherwise a very poignant send-off for Edward Grainger in which we discover the extent to which he and the Doctor's lives became intertwined and are reminded once again how the Time Lord continues to make attachment only to have then stolen away by time.
Placement: With the Prologue.

Dear John (Short Trips: The Centenarian)

Prose One of a tiny group of stories from the "With Gemma and Samson" which the Eight Doctor promptly forgot about, which is something he's often prone to do. This brief glimpse of what a functioning story for this TARDIS team looks like suggests something akin to This Life featuring a grown up John and Gillian. It's also potentially a direct sequel to the prologue of this anthology, explaining what an entity which left Teddy Grainger's small body was and why, if I'd read the stories in between, there was something a bit off about him, the subsequent stories developing the aftermath.  This is a rich read with allusions to AA Milne and Poltergeist and neatly deals with the three in the TARDIS problem by having one of them getting absolutely blathered.
Placement:  The TARDIS Datacore suggests this might be post "With Mary".  Why not?

Prologue (Short Trips: The Centenarian).

Prose The aim of The Centenarian is to present the life of someone who constantly meets and aids the Doctor from his chronological or biographical perspective. This could be seen as a meditation on the nature of spin-off media, stories inserted between the gaps in the television continuity.  Here's a figure of huge importance in the Doctor's life that was previously hidden. The Prologue covers the birth of the protagonist, Edward Grainger, and is told from the point of view of a maid working in the Eaton Place-like setting, describing events and foreshadowing what's to come, a perspective at one remove from the position we're usually in during an adventure.  Since I'm focusing on the Eighth Doctor, I'll be diving straight into his main adventure within the anthology, but I'm intrigued enough to want to read the whole thing at some point.
Placement: The Doctor seems to be travelling alone so I'll arbitrarily put it between The Girl Who Never Was and Blood of the Daleks.

You Had me at Verify Username and Password (Short Trips: Snapshots)

Prose The central question I have about this simple whimsy is whether the Doctor himself is running the Nigerian 419 scam or someone who was somehow previously aware of his and Charley's existence and their connect to the the protagonist, Calabria, Fifth Moof of Trebidden. Despite what the TARDIS Datacore suggests, it simply doesn't feel in character for the Doctor to be taking advantage of the lovelorn in order to have a lot of money sent to him to get Charley out of jail when he has a sonic screwdriver and been in enough prisons himself to know the ins and outs. Plus the Earth is in jeopardy if he doesn't keep up repayments.  So no, I don't think this is about the Doctor, or at least not the real one.  Someone's hacked his MySpace.
Placement: Almost, but not quite, entirely unlike the Eighth Doctor ...

The Sorrows of Vienna (Short Trips: Snapshots).

Prose Oh, so that's what that is. If nothing else, Steven Savile's story has filled in a blank about the Doctor's attire. The scarf Eighth wears is more properly called an "ascot" which probably won't be a revelation to you, but as someone who's only just about social climbing from George at Asda to M&S, call me fascinated (and yes, I do know what a fascinator is). A celebrity historical in which the Doctor becomes embroiled in the lovers grief of Goethe and inspiring the writing of Faust, this shows the influence of The Unquiet Dead (broadcast a couple of years before). Savile writes with a richly detailed, literary style which enjoys picking out the details of the Viennese landscape and society. But he doesn't quite have the ear for the Eighth Doctor's voice, notably when he keeps referring to Goethe as "poet" when he would more than likely simply use his first name. 
Placement: A powerful statement about the Doctor's guilt on how he left things with Cr'zz and Charlotte, let's assume it's set in the otherwise unexplored gap between The Girl Who Never Was and Blood of the Daleks.