Sunday, 14 September 2014

Doctor Who - Listen

BBC One, 13/09/14 starring: Peter Capaldi, Jenna Coleman, Samuel Anderson, Robert Goodman / Written by Steven Moffat / Directed by Douglas MacKinnon
Reviewed by Sean Alexander
Are we ever truly alone..?  Travelling solo in the TARDIS – whilst Clara is out on her inaugural (not to mention, disastrous) date with colleague Danny Pink - the Doctor speculates on the nature of solitude.  What is left when everything else is gone, and do nursery rhymes that allow children to whistle in the dark when alone and scared hide a greater monster than the one under the bed?

Friday, 12 September 2014

Scottish Independence

If I had a vote in the referendum I think it would be a narrow No.
I don’t live in Scotland so won’t be getting a vote in next week’s referendum but have seen (more than) enough to know how the debate is going. With no real opinion either way at the start of it, I’ve tried to absorb the arguments of both sides to see if I can reach a conclusion. The No campaign has been focussed on what a disaster Scottish independence would be for the economy, commerce, jobs and so on. They have been less clear cut about what the benefits to retaining the Union might be. The Yes campaign have worked vigorously to give the impression that Scotland would be able to cope as a separate nation, however when it comes to details as to how they seem to retreat into `don’t worry, it’ll be ok` mode. 

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

A Very Peculiar Practice Series 2

First broadcast 1988/ written by Andrew Davies/ starring Peter Davison, Graham Crowden, David Troughton, Barbara Flynn, Joanna Kanska, Michael J Shannon
After the first season ended on the slightly bizarre merger between the University and a police college it was hard to see what direction Andrew Davies was planning to go in. Thankfully he strips this unlikely arrangement out of the way immediately instead having the campus fall into the hands of ambitions Americans whose vice chancellor is named Jack Daniels. It’s as apposite a moniker as last season’s quintessential Englishman Ernest Hemingway. This time round the series is given an increased level of surreal happenings, often straying deeper into the dreams of either Jock or Stephen as they fathom the changes this new hierarchy brings. The Nuns prove to be as symbolic as the Tower of London’s ravens, while the students, so often absent during season one, have a greater presence and the series is the richer for it. There is also an increased level of farce as times which helps underpin the grimness elsewhere while relationships take on an altogether more intriguing dimension.

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Doctor Who - Robot of Sherwood

BBC One 06/09/14 written by Mark Gatiss / directed by Paul Murphy / starring Peter Capaldi, Jenna Coleman, Tom Riley, Ben Miller
After two episodes that emphasised a darker approach, `Robot of Sherwood` from it’s not quite a pun title to its frenetic pace and use of running gags does bear much more resemblance to the Matt Smith years though somehow it’s better. In fact it is one of the funniest the series has done, with far more out and out jokes than usual, all of which work. I can’t remember laughing out loud at a Doctor Who episode for ages! I suspect the wider public will prefer it, fans probably won’t but there is enough in Mark Gatiss’ lively script for everyone. It is unquestionably enjoyable unless you’re the sort of person irritated by swashbuckling, robots or people talking very, very quickly!


Friday, 5 September 2014


In cinemas now. Starring Scarlett Johansson, Morgan Freeman, Min Sik-choi, Waked Amr. written & directed by Luc Besson

Apparently we only use 10% of our cerebral capacity and we all know people who use even less than that! Luc Besson’s brisk, at times brutal, sci-fi thriller poses the question of what would happen if we could access the other 90%. We’re initially in Taiwan where Scarlett Johansson’s character is tricked by a man she’s only known for a week into delivering a locked case to a Mr Jang in a plush hotel. No surprise that it contains drugs which she and four other hapless victims are subsequently forced by the ruthless Jang (Min Sik-choi, causally vicious) to ferry home in their stomachs.  Where the surprises start is when Lucy is assaulted causing her package to rupture thus filling her body with chemicals that start to expand her brain. Once she wakes she searches for the other victims and the perpetrators of the crime.

Saturday, 30 August 2014

Doctor Who- Into The Dalek

BBC One 7.30pm Saturday 30th August 2014
written by Phil Ford and Steven Moffatt / starring Peter Capaldi, Jenna Coleman, Zawe Ashton, Michael Smiley, Nicholas Briggs, Samuel Anderson

Reviewed by Sean Alexander

The Doctor and the Daleks.  Fifty years and seemingly countless stories later and still the two seem inseparable, both in the mind-set of the general public and narratively speaking at the core of ‘Doctor Who’s raison d’etre.  In the post Time War universe of the 21st Century show the stakes between Doctor and Dalek have been raised as high as the bar can seemingly go; and the trick of every fresh Dalek story remains the same: how can you keep Time Lord and nemesis at each others’ throats without the risk of apathetic overkill?


Friday, 29 August 2014

Top of the Pops 30 August 1979

Reviewed by Chris Arnsby

Kid Jensen. "Hi and welcome to Top of the Pops. To get us under way let’s see the charts and listen to The Bellamy Brothers."

Chart music: The Bellamy Brothers:  If I Said You Had A Beautiful Body Would You Hold It Against Me [22].

Secret Affair:  Time For Action [67]. Number 67? Top of the Pops often dips outside of the top 30 but I think this is the first time it's reached down this far.  Kid Jensen says it's his current record of the week which raises the question of how much influence the host has on the songs played. Was Peter Powell a secret fan of The Dooleys? I think we should be told. Regardless, this is a great song and it's a textbook example of how to get the programme off to a great start while also giving a leg up to a record which might otherwise be overlooked. 
Secret Affair poised for the action that it's apparently time for.