The Great One? by John Connors

`Planet of the Spiders` is monumental in importance, as big as The Great One is supposed to be and almost as powerful. Amongst the topics it considers are our fears, our greed and our morality. There is betrayal, loyalty and the Doctors own fallibility at its core. You even get two regenerations. And this is 1974! Teatime in 1974 when the world was still beige!!

"Good grief, Lethbridge Stewart, Cyril Shaps reminds me of Lady Gaga" 


Welcome to the Pleasure Dome… by Andrew Darlington Part Two

Inevitably there was a new tie-in edition of the novel timed to coincide with the movie, although the two formats are distinctively different. In fairness, to place such fictional conjectures on screen presents obvious problems. But ‘Logan’s Run’ still has a lot to recommend it. There was a working screenplay by Nolan himself, but in the transition through pre-production hell it was superceded by an adaptation by David Zelag Goodman. Filming commenced with locations including the clean antiseptic shopping malls of the Dallas and Fort Worth Metroplex – including the Market Center, the Water Gardens and the World Trade Mart. In keeping with such settings there’s no irony or darkness. It is bright and clean, with even the squalor and ruins deliberately contrived. As John Clute’s ‘Science Fiction: An Illustrated Encyclopedia’ (Dorling Kindersley, 1995) points out ‘a couple of years later, this sanitised future was no longer viable, cinema had learned about grit and gunge. But in 1975, clean-cut kids in fab togas could still revolt against saniseal elders and escape outdoors’. For Logan, although there are problems, they are resolved. Such up optimism does not sit well with more downbeat current critical taste. It is very much of its time. But it’s fun.


Welcome to the Pleasure Dome… by Andrew Darlington Part One

The late-sixties were plagued with persistent rumours that the Rolling Stones were about to embark on a film of Dave Wells’ novel ‘Only Lovers Left Alive’ (Pan Books, 1964), in which stale oldsters die off leaving the fractured planet as the exclusive domain of rebellious youth. Although the novel remains unfilmed, ‘sometime in the twenty-third century…’ there was another world cleansed of thirty-somethings, done by other hands. A parallel fictional continuum ignited as a novel, extended into celluloid, then done as a spin-off TV-series, a comic-strip… and follow-up novels. It was ‘Logan’s Run’, and – in those various interlocking media, Logan just keeps on running. Yet the novel does not always coincide with the film. And when the film does coincide with the novel, it’s only in the sketchiest outline way. The novel says that over-population pressures hit critical mass in the year 2000, with intergenerational warfare. And by 2072, all the world was young, by the simple expedient of institutionalised euthanasia at the age of twenty-one, enforced by sanctioned killers. The film reduces that global situation down to a single domed city, and raises the cut-off point to age thirty.


The New Life of Pies by John Newman

Fine dining, exotic cuisine and gourmet meals are all well and good but sometimes you just want a pie don’t you? This used to be something of a risk because pies did not have a good reputation, in fact the feeling was that chomping a pie was dull at best and dangerous at worst. Pies were stodgy and lurked untouched for days in the corners of cafes and pubs. They were either full of gristle or actually contained very little except huge volumes of pastry. Filling – yes but tasty- no. Over the past decade though there has been a pie revolution and now people are proudly pies eating again.


Doctor Who Instants: A Good Man Goes to War

The idea of what we might call a half finale is certainly an innovation though with all the twists this season, will viewers actually remember much by the time we get to the second half, never mind recalling what was said last season. Now that River Song’s secret is out of the bag, it may even be necessary to re-watch her episodes to see how or indeed if it all fits.

"I can't see any spoilers with the eyepatch. You can if you click on the break..."


Acid House by Garreth F. Hirons

Dear reader, it is a privilege to announce that I have witnessed perhaps the best story of the Matt Smith era so far.  But enough about "The Doctor's Wife" (snare roll, cymbal crash; muted applause) - we're here to pick through "The Rebel Flesh" b/w "The Almost People", a mid-season two-parter with a much-vaunted cliffhanger ending.

Ah, the mid-season two-parter - a staple of the series since its return, along with the token historical, the season-long story arc and Daleks by the dozen.  Historically, though, the odds are against it actually being any good.  Let's look at the evidence: the unwelcome arrival of RTD's pet project the Slitheen, the underwhelming introduction of Trigger's Cybermen, bloody Daleks in bloody Manhatten, the single worst piece of acting in history from two soldiers in "The Sontaran Strategem" and the neutering of the Weeping Angel threat, featuring a side order of Alex Kingston.  Now there's a highlight reel to make your eyes bleed.

Little did she know her tango was about to be prematurely ended by an oil drum..