Riotous Assembly

Avengers Assemble is one nerdgasmic explosion!
It may possess the least exciting sounding title of the year but in every other respect Avengers Assemble is a success from the first frame to the last. Whether or not you’ve been following the individual protagonists’ movies, there’s enough to satisfy the lover of Big Films with slices of action and drama delivered on a plate by the resurrected Joss Whedon. For some of us, of course, he never went anywhere but even the most loyal fan would admit that Dollhouse was an acquired taste rather than a mainstream event. This film, hot on the heels of his co-written triumph with Cabin in the Woods sees the former Buffy maestro back at the top of the tree where he belongs.
This year's Take That tour is slightly different


Blakewatch week 17 - Horizon

The story so far: There are 52 episodes of Blake’s 7 and 52 weeks in the year so a group of us are watching an episode a week, talking about in the pub and this is the result.

This week: Season Two Episode 4- Horizon
(1979) Writer: Allan Prior / Director: Jonathan Wright - Miller
On the edge of the known galaxies the Liberator follows a Federation cargo ship to the planet Horizon where a rare mineral is mined. As the crew are captured, Blake tries to convince the planet’s ruler of the federations’ true intent while Avon has to decide whether to rescue the others or make his own escape.

There’s something reassuring about an episode that begins with the crew complaining about how worn out they are, acknowledging something of the repetitive nature of their mission and how they are constantly on the run. It’s a tiny glimpse of the sort of thing that would be more apparent if the series were ever to be re-launched these days. You think it’s just going to be a throwaway, a different way of opening- and the series is particularly good at episode openings- but it is a sign that a new writer for the series is on board.

Weighed down by their futuristic clothes, Blake and Jenna needed a nap


Plaything of Sutekh - The Doctor Who Fanzine is now available!

Plaything of Sutekh is now available, featuring...

What Did the Sixties Do For Who? – a look at how the Patrick Troughton era of the show reflected the changes facing Britain in the late 1960s
Franks’s Who – the lasting influence of Frank Bellamy’s `Radio Times` art on Doctor Who illustration.
Accidental Art – While Terry Nation and Douglas Adams were pulling in opposite directions, how Ken Grieve’s innovative approach raised `Destiny of the Daleks` above the norm.
A New Direction? – a look at the evolution of the series under Steven Moffat
Secret Who – we re-evaluate a clutch of less celebrated stories and find there’s more to them than meets the eye: We’re talking `Underworld`, `The Krotons` and `The Android Invasion`. Do not be afraid- they are better than you think.

Plus a look at (or a listen to) Tom Baker’s return as the Doctor in Big Finish audios, recent DVD releases reviewed and we tell you who the next Doctor will be.
Oh, and the inevitable lots more.
The issue is 40 b/w A5 pages fully illustrated with colour cover.

To order: Please send a Paypal payment (via paypal.co.uk or paypal.com) to playthingofsutekh@mail.com.
Please use the `gift` option to minimise the fees taken (it’s a non profit publication) and add your address in the notes section.
You can also pay by cheque- please drop us an email for the payee details.
United Kingdom: £2.35
Elsewhere in Europe: £3.60
Outside Europe: £4.60


Plaything of Sutekh - New Doctor Who Fanzine Preview!!

Sometime during 2011, possibly in an underground lair, plans were laid to produce a traditional paper Doctor Who fanzine. It sounds crazy retro but like all the best evil geniuses we thought that it just might work and now numerous months later the copiers are whirring and an initial run of issues is being produced.

Most people’s reaction to the idea was a sort of puzzled “Why?” and that’s not an easy one to answer especially as both Richard Farrell and I are editors of other things anyway. In his case it is the acclaimed zine `Andersonic`, in mine it is, of course, this very blog you are reading. Anyway the answer to that question is very much “Why not?”


Up-words - Harsh Treatment

Up -words features the best of the articles from This way up when it was published as a print fanzine from 2002- 2010.

Harsh Treatment / John Connors / October 2004

In a twist that they might perhaps have appreciated in better times, the three most conceptual writers who defined telefantasy in the 1990s have all fallen on hard times lately. The fact that neither J Michael Strazynski, Chris Carter nor Joss Whedon currently has a television show running at time of writing is remarkable when you consider the impact and influence Babylon 5, The X Files and Buffy had. In that sense, a golden age is over. Interestingly each fell foul of the enormous success of their keynote series and as soon as they tried to diversify things seemed to go wrong. Carter, like Whedon did have some opportunity to develop a similar but subtly different show and both Millennium and Angel trod darker paths rewarding loyal albeit smaller audiences for their patience. However when Whedon unveiled the demon free and vampire-less, Western inspired Firefly the public did not want to know. Perhaps he should have seen the portents because Carter had already run into the same problem a few years previously…


Blakewatch week 16 - Weapon

The story so far: There are 52 episodes of Blake’s 7 and 52 weeks in the year so a group of us are watching an episode a week, talking about in the pub and this is the result.

This week: Season Two Episode 3- Weapon
(1979) Writer: Chris Boucher / Director: George Spenton- Foster
Servalan has had a clone of Blake created with which she sees an opportunity to re-gain a stolen weapon and wipe the real Blake out at the same time.

As with last week’s episode Chris Boucher packs a lot in but there is more character focus. To the modern ear, the dialogue is the sort of loquacious turn of phrase only someone like Stephen Fry would imagine passes for every day conversation. Every line contains a barb or witty put down and it can be wearing at times yet it also shows what a lot of modern TV misses. Boucher’s script delights in language which is something that can only be approved of whatever the inverted snobbery of some critics.

"I feel like an idiot"  "Luckily I can only see half the costume"


Up-words - Messianic

Up-words features the best of the articles from This way up when it was published as a print fanzine from 2002- 2010.

Messianic / Sean Alexander / July 2004

The phrase ‘high concept’ is one much bandied about by television executives.  But in these days of formulaic dramas, populated by seemingly endless casts of former soap stars, the reality is only rarely glimpsed.  One such occasion was Russell T. Davies’ 2003 drama The Second Coming.  Davies, previously most renowned for controversial gay-drama Queer as Folk, is perhaps more known now as the man responsible for resurrecting Doctor Who next year.  And as a foretaste to what devotees of the Time Lord can expect, The Second Coming is an intriguing glimpse at a path the new show could take.  Principally, there is new Doctor Christopher Eccleston’s unofficial audition for the role; all manic energy and other-worldly presence.  But perhaps what whets Who fans’ appetite most is the customary grittiness Davies’ writing brings. 


Blakewatch week 15 - Shadow

The story so far: There are 52 episodes of Blake’s 7 and 52 weeks in the year so a group of us are watching an episode a week, talking about in the pub and this is the result.

This week: Season Two Episode 2- Shadow
(1979) Writer: Chris Boucher / Director: Jonathan Wright - Miller
When Blake’s plan to buy the services of the notorious crime syndicate the Terra Nostra fails, he decides to go to the source of the powerful drug Shadow with which they trade. However the journey brings dangers inside the Liberator as well as on the planet surface.

Cally was unsure about her new hat
This is the first episode not to have direct involvement from Terry Nation and it shows in. Brimming with ideas, Chris Boucher is at risk of pouring too much into a busy episode but pulls it off with aplomb, managing to tie the strands together satisfactorily and still leave time for some action.



by Oliver Wake
April 2004 (amended March 2012)

Rudolph Cartier was one of Britain’s greatest and most innovative television producers and directors. The fact that his name is not more widely known reflects the ephemeral nature of television, particularly in the pre-home recording and DVD age, rather than the quality of his work.


Blakewatch - Week 14 - Redemption

52 Weeks in The Year- 52 Episodes of Blake’s 7.

This week: Season Two Episode 1- Redemption
(1979) Writer: Terry Nation / Director: Vere Lorrimer
The Liberator is attacked by unknown aggressors and begins to turn against the crew, forcing them across the Galaxy where they discover who built the ship in the first place.

Coming on like `Blake’7- the Movie`, this season two opener has a determination from the off. Matters are pacy with everyone seeming refreshed, a boldness that is reflected in the generally improved special effects which are shown off. The chase around the planet is good for its time and some of the model shots are moodily executed capturing something of the scale of the Liberator. Overall it’s a `great to be back` attitude that carries the episode, added to by the sense that everything with which these characters have become familiar is turning against them.

The guards had to resort to desperate measures to stop Blake's singing


Up-words - "You laaacky people!"

Up-words- The Best of the Paper Issues of This way up 2002-10

“You lacchhky people!”by Sean Alexander
April 2004

You are if you ever discovered the joys of late-nineties comedy Spaced. These days, it seems hardly a month goes by without the nation being canvassed for their votes on something or other, be it best ever novel, poem or Briton.  Most recently Auntie Beeb, in her infinite wisdom, charged the great British public with the impossible task of choosing the Best Ever Sitcom.  From a shortlist of 100, ten of the most familiar - and, at times, surprisingly popular - comedies of the past thirty years were chosen for special praise by such TV alumni as Johnny Vaughan and David Dickinson.  To add to this almost surreal retro-viewpoint, the list of final contenders contained only one sitcom to begin broadcast during the nineties.  So, was this evidence that the great British sitcom simply couldn’t hack it any more?


Up-words - Loving the Alien

Up-words- The Best of the Paper Issues of This way up 2002-10

Loving The Alien by Sean Alexander
February 2004