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    Bluesqueakpip @replies

    Glad it was helpful.

    UK senior politicians are called ‘Secretary of State for xxx’ just as in the U.S. The terms date from the same period. However, the UK has a practice of calling any Secretary of State who is also in the Cabinet ‘Minister’.

    So, unlike the US, ‘Secretary’ is often a signal that you aren’t in one of the really important government posts. (The exceptions are Home Secretary and Foreign Secretary which are Great Offices of State – but you’d always call them ‘Home Secretary/Foreign Secretary’ to make it clear they are Very Important Secretaries.)

    Bluesqueakpip @replies


    We see the Dalek from Resolution being driven away, there is a stop at the side of the road, the truck is driven away, there is huddled discussion between Robertson and the scientist, there is a demonstration of the Dalek to the corrupt politician…

    Yup. It was a long slow burn of a set up. That is, the plot proceeded methodically towards the explosive finale – slow burns are a normal film technique and as you say, Chibnall uses them in his other work.

    So. We see the Dalek from Resolution being driven away, the brief dialogue between driver and supervisor having established that even the burnt out shell is still considered highly dangerous. It also establishes that the driver has a sick mum, a weakness for tea and permission to stop.

    Why the tea? Well, it establishes that the driver was doing nothing wrong. Nice bloke with sick mother. It also establishes that CCHQ knows this is a potentially dangerous load but do not realise somebody wants to steal it. This is important.

    There is a stop at the side of the road and the driver is poisoned. Again, why the tea? Well, because we were in MI6 a few episodes ago and nobody even mentioned to the Doctor that there was a missing Dalek casing. Which means the writer has to pick a hijacking method which doesn’t allow the driver to call for help, plus a bit of backstory which explains both why he’d stop and why CCHQ might think he’d possibly had a nervous breakdown and become a missing person rather than a crime victim. They’re not putting out an all points bulletin for a stolen Dalek while the Doctor is working with MI6, they’re thinking that the Dalek casing is on a junk pile somewhere or possibly still inside an abandoned container. Later they realise it got sold to Robertson.

    The tea-poisoning also re-establishes Robertson as an utterly ruthless piece of work, quite willing to murder people to make a profit. Leo is also established as over-enthusiastic and willing to turn a blind eye to underhand methods of getting hold of tech. This fits in with his later willingness to incinerate something alive – very charming person, our Leo, but he really wasn’t very nice.

    Finally, the Dalek casings get demonstrated, which establishes that Robertson and Leo (and the corrupt politician) are not planning on establishing a Robocop style reign of terror. The security drones they plan are armed with CS gas and water-cannon, not death rays. Again, this is why nobody bothered to mention the missing Dalek to the Doctor, or her known companions. Its theft has become an embarrassment rather than (they thought) a danger.

    Chibnall actually showed us a lot without telling us. Yes, it was slower pacing than we’re used to. Is he as good as Moffat and RTD? No. Is he a perfectly good producer of Doctor Who? Yes. Is his Doctor Who currently aimed at a slightly younger age group than we’ve become used to? Yes.

    By the way, I really doubt that Chibnall is completely unaware of Robocop; his MA is in Theatre and Film and he’s displayed a consistent interest in writing fantasy and SF for TV.

    Bluesqueakpip @replies


    Martin Belam, who wrote this year’s recap over at T’Other Place, made a very good point. He was watching this with his kids, aged seven and ten. The bits he found clunky were also the bits where the seven-year-old was going ‘aha!’

    The Verhoeven film was brilliant. It was also rated 18 in the UK. It was not aimed squarely at the family market and it could afford to be far subtler in its satire.

    I agree Chibnall’s pacing is considerably slower than both RTD and Moffat, but on a second viewing it feels more like the story has room to breathe – and I remember thinking he was pacing it for the kids, not the adults.

    Bluesqueakpip @replies


    From a production point of view, I think the neon was to give us an easy way of telling the two Dalek factions apart. From a story point of view, the jazzy light show was to demonstrate that these were human designed Daleks. Face it, we do tend to think everything robotic looks better with flashing lights.

    Bluesqueakpip @replies

    Ooh, and did anyone notice that the Doctor thinks Jack’s never had a room in the TARDIS but Jack said he had a suite? Either Jack’s travelled with a now forgotten incarnation, or their timelines are slightly out of synch.

    Bluesqueakpip @replies

    Yes, I thought that was pretty good. I think the Doctor being tossed in the clink for nineteen years may have been a slight leg pull for Steven Moffat and his ‘am I a good man’ arc, in that the Whittaker Doctor has now also had a long period of identity crisis … but offscreen.

    The ten month mistake also proved to have dramatic point, as it was long enough for Ryan to settle back into life on Earth and to have time to realise he preferred it to travelling among the stars. I think Graham was always (barring Tim Shaw) more along to try and protect his grandson, so it made perfect sense that he’d go when Ryan went.

    TARDISES are sentient – which also means that TARDIS may have consented to a suicide run if it would save a planet from being destroyed by Daleks. We don’t know; it wasn’t included in the script.

    I am still somewhat annoyed at Gallifrey being destroyed yet again, but only somewhat. The Doctor briefly considered changing the timeline so she got back earlier – so I’m happy to wait until the end of this arc to see if there’s another timeline change coming for Gallifrey. If we’re constantly being reminded that Time Lords can change time, I’ll presume a major time change is coming up before the end of Act III.

    And I loved the way Ryan and Graham ended their arc the way it began – with Grace still with them in spirit and Ryan still trying to ride that bike.

    Bluesqueakpip @replies

    Hope everyone had a good and safe Christmas and that you all managed to eat and drink too much even in these most difficult times.

    Merry Christmas


    Bluesqueakpip @replies

    @devilishrobby and @janetteb

    I’ll start by saying I don’t really know any more than anyone else on this one, but while Bradley and Tosin are ‘strongly rumoured’ to be leaving as regular characters (other work commitments, basically) – there are equally strong rumours that they’re not.

    One solution to these conflicting rumours would be that they’re no longer in every episode, solving the ‘supposed to be filming in two places simultaneously’ problem. Yaz is the regular, Ryan and Graham are appearing ‘as and when’- bit like Freema Aygeman who left the TARDIS but was in several episodes afterwards.

    Bluesqueakpip @replies

    @blenkinsopthebrave and @geoffers

    The not-always-good Captain is front and centre in one of the BBC publicity photos, so it’s now as official as it gets.

    Bluesqueakpip @replies

    Glad to hear the news that your Dad’s oxygen levels are now up to scratch and they’re thinking in terms of a move to rehab. That is good news. As @dentarthurdent says, not wanting to read etc is part of resting – and from what I’ve been told, a more serious dose of Covid is really energy-sapping.

    My Mum lives back in North Wales and they’ve ended up having to put similar travel restrictions in place – to the extent of police checking people travelling over the border are doing so for essential purposes. I mean, seriously? The Welsh-English border hasn’t been a real border for centuries. We make jokes about it! There’s even border jokes in Doctor Who and Torchwood!

    But now we have a real border again. Undoubtedly a temporary one, but who knows what the long term effects are going to be? The village shop was telling her they’ve never been busier – not because non-villagers are driving there to shop, but because the villagers want to go to the nearest large town as little as possible.

    Toilet paper is definitely a self fulfilling prophecy. Having been unable to buy any, I’m now keeping a spare pack in my cupboard and bought a larger pack than usual. This is undoubtedly contributing to the shortage, but what else can you do if you can’t rely on any TP being available?

    Bluesqueakpip @replies

    Glad to hear your Dad seems to be staying stable. Yeah, COVID is very weird and can present with all sorts of symptoms (or none at all). I think Strange Noises hit about 10% or so.

    Bluesqueakpip @replies


    I classed the archive as handwavium – the Master showed he can hack the Matrix more than once, so I’d expect him to be able to copy the interesting bits. But we’ll see.

    I think the definite ‘unreliable narrator’ bit for me is where Brendan in the cover story is deliberately shot by a criminal, but the Master is oddly insistent that the Timeless Child’s first death was in fact two children playing, a childish shove that accidentally sent her over the cliff.

    One of those is a lie. But which one? And why would the Master care about the reputation of some ancient child?

    The other interesting thing is hiding in plain sight. The title.

    If this is a story about ‘The Timeless Child’, why is it called ‘The Timeless Children‘?

    Yeah, he’s an unreliable narrator. This affects him in more ways than some spliced-in genes. 🙂

    Bluesqueakpip @replies


    He actually hasn’t ignored everything that’s gone before, any more than, say, RTD ignored everything we knew about the Master when he decided to make him a) driven insane by the Time Vortex and then b) driven insane by a homing signal sent through the Time Vortex by Rassillon. In a very similar way, Chibnall has given us information we didn’t previously know about the character’s life before his/her first appearance on our screens. The interesting twist is that the character didn’t know it either. As you say, the Master may be acting as Mr Unreliable Narrator, but the appearance of the Fugitive Doctor suggests there IS a gap in the Doctor’s memory.

    This episode was the Act II climax, I’d suggest, which means things may seem very different by Act III. But rather than ignoring backstory, the idea explains a lot that’s puzzling about The Doctor. Why she’s so mistrusted, why she takes no responsibility for Gallifrey even when he’s the elected President, why the Time Lords seem ‘engineered’, even why there was such a mismatch between the number of children on Gallifrey and Time Lord life spans.

    Is she a River Song? A mutation from over-exposure to the Time Vortex during conception? Was she abandoned because her own people could not cope with regeneration?

    Incidentally, you can materialise inside the TARDIS – it implies the Judoon or the Shadow Proclamation now have TARDISlike technology, but it’s been done both pre and post gap. It’s best done when the shields are down.

    Bluesqueakpip @replies


    Ah, yes, the mad queues at the supermarket. Currently I’m in Lockdown 2, the sequel and supermarkets here are a lot calmer. Apart from toilet paper. Why there was panic buying of toilet paper at the beginning of both English lockdowns is one of life’s little mysteries, especially since the UK not only manufactures toilet paper, it exports the stuff. But I think most people had at least stocked up on food this time – certainly I’m trying to keep enough tins in the cupboards that having to self isolate isn’t a massive problem.

    My self isolation episodes are beginning to look like the Star Wars saga, but so far I’ve been lucky and got a (negative) test each time.

    Definitely make your own face masks – you need a double or triple layer of cloth, but they’re pretty easy.

    @blenkinsopthebrave We Are Living Nervously sounds like a great title for a history of this pandemic.

    Bluesqueakpip @replies

    @geoffers @blenkinsopthebrave

    To be honest, the reason given for the original rumour (police box is to be changed because of the way the police are perceived by the public) sounds like something someone’s made up for its click bait value.

    The whole reason the BBC still has the trademark was because the Metropolitan Police lost their case that the iconic blue box is a ‘police’ box. The ruling was that the general public will, if they see a police box, assume it’s the TARDIS. 🙂

    I reckon it’s either a pile of rubbish, a rumour aimed at smoking out a leaker in the production team or something happening in one or two episodes being released because it’s guaranteed to get people talking about the new series.

    Bluesqueakpip @replies


    The BBC owns the trademark for the TARDIS. Furthermore, the TARDIS has changed its outward appearance before – Baker2 and Capaldi – but only for a short period each time.

    Basically, I can imagine the BBC signing off again on a temporary change to their highly valuable trademarked property, but not on anything permanent.

    It’s possible that the storyline is heading in a direction where the Doctor is losing all her ‘props’ – Gallifrey, Time Lord and now the Police Box – in a way that symbolises the past she now knows she’s lost. But if that’s the direction I’d expect it to end with the Police Box back as she gets her sense of self and identity (what you’re describing as authority) back.

    Bluesqueakpip @replies


    I suspect it MAY be connected with the Fugitive Doctor/Timeless Child storyline. The Judoon still have that millennia old arrest warrant and a very, very annoyed officer who had his horn removed. So it may be that the Doctor realises that the appearance of a Police Box results in a squad or more of Judoon appearing – and TEMPORARILY changes the Police Box appearance (until this storyline is resolved).

    It’s certainly a great publicity item, because the Police Box is so iconic that they used it for the Ruth/Fugitive Doctor to immediately reveal her ‘Doctor’ status.

    Bluesqueakpip @replies

    That’s good news! Hoping and praying that your Dad continues along the needs-hospital-but-not-intensive-care pathway to recovery.

    @dentarthurdent Sorry, do you mean there isn’t a giant glowing eye in the middle of New Zealand?

    Bluesqueakpip @replies


    So sorry to hear about your father and I hope the Remdesvir treatment goes well.

    Even if you were living close by, the hospital very likely wouldn’t let you visit. That’s the worst of it – quite a few people I know have had COVID and you just have to hope and pray each time that they’re one of the lucky ones. I hope your Dad is too.

    @thane16 Sorry to hear about your Mum. Lots of hugs.

    Best wishes to you both.

    Bluesqueakpip @replies

    Hi, everyone

    Terrible news. Forty one is far too young. He was a real enthusiast who helped make his Guardian blog a lovely place to be – one of the few above-the-line commentators who’d join in below-the-line and (sometimes) argue it out with posters. You could tell he saw himself as a fellow fan, not simply a critic.

    Bluesqueakpip @replies

    @blenkinsopthebrave and @janetteb

    Only one TV appearance, yes. There was a name check in the Moffat era – Twice Upon A Time?

    No,I wouldn’t bother with the Valeyard episodes, Janette. It was very much ‘what the heck is going on here?’ but not in a good way. Good actors and crew slogging their way through as scriptwriters died, script editors resigned, the BBC cut the 50 minute episodes back to 25 minutes so Doctor Who had to dump every commissioned script… amazing that they managed to get something half decent on screen.

    As the joke goes, I don’t want it good, I want it Tuesday. They managed Tuesday.

    Of course, the really interesting question is now whether the Valeyard is ‘future’ or ‘past’. Or was always a possibility, an ‘alternate Doctor’, that the Doctor has to avoid.

    Bluesqueakpip @replies

    Quatermass and the Pit Part 1 also seems to have been visited by an inept hacker.

    Bluesqueakpip @replies

    @master124 and @devilishrobby
    Yes, it actually explains a lot. Why the Time Lords have always seemed so … genetically engineered as survival machines (they are), why the Doctor is almost universally loathed on Gallifrey (no aliens on Gallifrey, but the Doctor is The Alien Who Must Not Be Mentioned).

    Why the Doctor is so different (he/she is different). Why Time Lords live for thousands of years but Gallifrey has 2.47 billion children (Shogobhans are the original Gallifreyans and don’t regenerate).

    In terms of what kind of stories can be derived from it, we’ve got the question of whether the Master has really made Day of The Doctor kind of pointless, or whether the Doctor can save Gallifrey’s children again. We’ve got the mystery back – the Doctor joins the large number of mythological foundlings and nobody has a clue who or what she/he is. So various ‘quest’ possibilities.

    Then there’s the ‘Master as unreliable narrator’ possibility. I keep looking at that ‘child who kills the Timeless Child’ and wondering. Just how long has the Master been killing the Doctor? Since before they were even ‘The Doctor’ and ‘The Master’?

    Plus, more guest actors as ‘The Doctor’ because we’re no longer constrained to the current TV Doctor – or even to one-and-only-one series on air at a time. RTD did it by bringing back Liz Sladen to headline as Promoted Assistant, but the ability to have different Doctors the way Star Trek has different ships is a plus for me. A franchisable Doctor Who is far more likely to continue in today’s box-set on-demand multiple channel TV environment.

    Bluesqueakpip @replies

    As @winston says, there isn’t a transgender agenda. Female actors have been taking male roles for centuries (and male actors have been taking female roles for millennia). Women have played Prospero, Hamlet and King Lear – and I promise you that I can find you examples of women playing some of those roles before the word ‘transgender’ was even coined. The Doctor isn’t transgender, just as the pregnant male in the Tsangra Conundrum wasn’t transgender. The non human characters in Doctor Who do stuff differently, that’s all, and Moffat and Chibnall between them found a way to make our Gallifreyan shape shifters able to change gender as well as bodies.

    In Star Trek they were able to get round it by placing the female Captains in different ships, but regeneration is now so firmly established that only Doctor Who can headline Doctor Who.

    Personally, I think RTD making the Doctor a genocide was a much bigger change to canon than the discovery that she may have been adopted from a non-Gallifreyan species. Especially since the Timeless Child reveal was positioned as a between-series cliffhanger – and as @blenkinsopthebrave has pointed out frequently, the Master isn’t exactly Mr Reliable Narrator. 🙂

    Bluesqueakpip @replies


    So who do we get to replace Chibnall for the next season? This is tough. truly tough.

    Especially tough because he’s already confirmed for the next series. Or season. So is Jodie Whittaker. Sorry about that.

    If your internal conception of the Doctor is an authority figure, then the Whittaker Doctor isn’t going to be your cup of tea – because her Doctor is experimenting with a less authoritarian, more truthful, more dare-I-say-it feminine style of leadership. And one of the funny things about the stereotypically female leadership style (participatory and team-building) is it tends to be seen as losing authority when it’s used in a male-dominated area. Such as playing a role where most actors and writers have gone with:

    “I’m the Doctor and this is the situation and you need to do this to fix it.”

    This particular thread is for TV Shows that aren’t Doctor Who, so I’ll bring in Picard – in the episodes I’ve seen to date, the production team are also playing with the idea of ‘authority’. Picard isn’t an ‘authority figure’ any more, and he clearly finds it both disconcerting and upsetting. It raises the question of whether his ‘authority’ was accepted not because people realised Picard was right, but simply because of his place in the Starfleet hierarcy.

    The point is that looking at ‘authority’ – whether through how we perceive it or through leadership styles or whether it changes when someone’s gender changes – is a perfectly valid thing for a writer to do.

    I’d go further and say that casting a woman in the role of the Doctor and then demanding that she play the part exactly like the men did is a complete waste of time; might as well not bother. Moffat, for example, didn’t demand that Michelle Gomez base her Missy on the previous Masters (I think Gomez has said she didn’t even look at the previous performances).

    He pretty much stepped on Doctor Who with this rewriting of his entire canon origin from the beginning till now.

    Since you could say that about just about every major change in Doctor Who since William Hartnell regenerated into Patrick Troughton, I’d say a willingness to rewrite canon when required is part of the Showrunner’s job description. I’d also say that the angst over the Timeless Child rewrite is a bit of a Twitterstorm – again, comparing it with other TV shows, Star Trek: Discovery rewrote canon to give Spock an entirely new foster-sister who not only has her very own show but then proceeded to rewrite half the previously accepted canon about Spock’s backstory. And the mushroom drive? Since when did Star Trek spaceships fly on mushrooms? That metaphor didn’t just extend, it achieved warp speed and visited entirely new dimensions.

    I believe Discovery’s rewriting of canon also created something of a Twitterstorm, but I enjoyed the story. 🙂

    Bluesqueakpip @replies


    Good to know.

    I suspect the reason I’m liking Discovery better than Picard (apart from one being straight-up action adventure and the other aspiring to drama) is that Discovery stuck to the episodic style and Picard seems to be designed for a binge-watch. Since I don’t binge-watch, the current downward curve seems blinkin’ endless.

    Bluesqueakpip @replies


    I suspect the videos have been carefully selected – at least, in my part of London people are generally being very careful and keeping apart. However I could, if I wanted to, find a large group to film, (teenage boys, usually) all suffering from ‘it can’t happen to me’ syndrome. The Thames Path last weekend was also extremely busy, and I think you could have got a camera angle that would make it look less-than-two-metre crowded, but the reality was that people were keeping their distance.

    @nerys – yeah, I think population density (or lack thereof) has a lot to do with the rate of spread. Simple maths – even if only one in 400 people have Covid, but you live in an area with 4000 people per km squared, that’s ten people you can be infected by – without going out of your local area. But in a rural area with maybe 150 people per km squared, there’s quite possibly not anyone nearby to catch Covid from.

    Bluesqueakpip @replies

    Hi, just popping my head up above the hibernation parapet.

    So – I notice a lot of people on here liked Picard, but I’m currently on Episode 5 and feel as if the writers have mislaid their Prozac. Does it get any more cheerful? Any slight hint of optimism? At the moment I’m half expecting Picard to return home to discover the chateau has been torched, the Romulan bodyguards have died protecting it and the dog has been nailed to the gatepost a la Gladiator. All the characters seem to have a little sign above their heads saying ‘tragic angst delivered here’.

    Currently I vastly prefer Discovery, especially Season 2.

    Bluesqueakpip @replies


    I think this two-parter would have a much higher reputation if it hadn’t come immediately before Blink. Three really excellent episodes in a row.

    I’d agree that most of the humour in this episode comes from the villains – because this is a classic tragedy for everyone. Latimer (and Hutchinson) at least have their tragedy diverted by Latimer’s foreknowledge, but everyone else (except The Doctor) ends up either dead or emotionally wrecked.

    To be fair to David Tennant: firstly, I don’t think you’d ever really cast him as an ordinary schoolmaster in 1913, secondly ‘John Smith’ is not from 1913. As is made clear from the script, he’s been dumped down with a bunch of facts, not any real emotional memories. Tennant did try to play ‘John Smith’ (apparently he introduced himself in the read-through as playing John Smith), but he was trying to play a character who thought he was real, not a character like Pip Torrens’ Headmaster, who was.

    If you notice, the Headmaster has real, emotional memories to play in that excellent script, whereas John Smith only has a geographical description of where his supposed home was located.

    The Chameleon Arch for the Martin Doctor seemingly works much better – but that might represent a difference between the Tennant Doctor (who seems oblivious to the emotional impact he has on other people) and the Martin Doctor (who seems incredibly tough, but who’s programmed in emotional memories that explain why she doesn’t want to talk about or think about her past).

    The Martin Doctor presumably remembers her real childhood, of course, so we can guess that those feelings of isolation represented by the remote lighthouse could be real childhood feelings.

    Yes, the Tennant Doctor is simultaneously very self-absorbed and very self-pitying. But it might not be Tennant who picked that over-emotional performance. I remember in his final episode he gave the director about five readings of ‘I don’t want to go’, ranging from very muted to completely OTT. The director made the final choice, not the actor and it could easily be the same here.

    Bluesqueakpip @replies


    I’m wondering whether racial integration was really so smooth in 1929.

    Not one of my historical areas, so I wouldn’t know about Central Park Hooverville specifically – but Wikipedia says that the St Louis Hooverville was well known for being completely integrated. Given that, I’d say that whether or not it’s historically true, it’s allowable artistic licence for the Whoniverse Central Park Hooverville to have the integration that was in St Louis in our world.

    Rather like Thin Ice, where every black person in London obviously decided to visit the Frost Fair on the same day. Artistic licence, again. There were Black people in London then and they might have all been at the Frost Fair on the day Bill and the Doctor turned up. 🙂

    One of those with the iffiest accent is Andrew Garfield, of later Amazing Spider-man fame.

    I think that’s probably because he was asked to do a Tennessee accent, and he’s from Los Angeles (though at that point, he’d mostly lived in Essex). Kerry Shale displayed a similarly dodgy accent in Day of the Moon – a Canadian actor asked to do a Floridian accent; didn’t go well.

    The author, Helen Raynor, has done surprisingly little work outside the DWU.

    Not actually true. She’s had a reasonably busy career outside the Whoniverse, but not if you compare it with top-level writers like Moffat and Davies. Post Who she’s done a series for BBC Wales (Baker Boys) and was lead writer for Mr Selfridge. Currently I think she’s got several treatments out and a pilot filmed, but I dunno if any of them have been greenlit. She’s also done an episode for Call The Midwife this year.

    Bluesqueakpip @replies

    Dalek Caan! I’d forgotten Dalek Caan.

    I think this was Nick Briggs finest comic Dalek performance – a Dalek who appear to have discovered a secret stash of hallucinogens during the Time War and is just so, so completely stoned.

    Stolen Earth is a terrific episode, in the trademark RTD style of throwing everything at the finale, including the kitchen sink, the dishwasher, the microwave and the food processor. Not to mention probably the Best Cliffhanger Ever.

    Bluesqueakpip @replies

    Also rather late to the party. It seems working from home involves a lot of, err, work. 🙂

    What struck me on this re-viewing was the character work. Gaiman’s given some considerable thought to the way a multi-dimensional time machine would relate to time and seems to have ended up with an Idris who sees past, present and future in the same way that we’d see left, in front and right. Sexy’s a bit like someone trying to drive a car when none of the other drivers can see right.

    But what also struck me, given that we’ve also re-watched Day of the Doctor recently, is how much Day of the Doctor is developing the ideas Gaiman came up with here. The Moment, especially. And the calculations.

    @jimthefish I agree that Amy and Rory’s TARDIS scenes were a bit bumpy. Some bits worked beautifully (as when Amy found a decayed skeleton, or the dark corridor) and others didn’t. The changing gravity, for example, could definitely have been improved with a bigger budget. Or any budget. But I’d disagree that Suranne Jones is playing a Doctor. She’s playing a TARDIS and her performance is very finely judged as a ‘one-episode’ performance. The eccentricity and strangeness is great in one episode, but at that level, over a longer period, it would drive the audience insane. See Jo Martin for an example of a one-episode performance judged for probable call-backs.

    I dunno about Uncle and Auntie, because on a rewatch there’s a strong feeling of nothing there beyond the performance. But that may be deliberate; they have mannerisms but no ‘soul’. Puppets, not people.

    I just can’t listen to that much Queen

    Nobody wants to. Even Crowley would like to hear something else occasionally. But it’s proof of Crowley’s demonic nature that, whenever he’s around, every piece of music anyone tries to play invariably turns into a track from Queen’s Greatest Hits. 😈

    Bluesqueakpip @replies

    For those who like (or want to try) Big Finish Audios, they’re offering free downloads of selected titles during the lockdown. Some will be available throughout, others will be time-limited. They’re also doing various special offers.

    First one up in the ‘time limited’ selection is The War Doctor – The Innocent with John Hurt. Available until tomorrow (April 12th) 23:59 UK time.

    Bluesqueakpip @replies

    @winston and @blenkinsopthebrave and jimthefish

    Also watched it again – it really is one of the best of the ‘introducing the new Doctor’ episodes. In a way, it’s a shame this didn’t get a cinema live-stream because it feels very cinematic.

    When Matt Smith pops his head out of the Tardis with that cheeky grin and the twinkle in his eyes I still think “this is going to be an exciting ride” and it was.

    He had me at that moment. There was no ‘bedding in’ period, no giving it a series for him to become the Doctor. Matt Smith just was the Doctor, from the first moment on screen. It was the weirdest and yet most brilliant bit of casting.

    Bluesqueakpip @replies


    Agreed. Everything just works with this one: not just Curran’s performance, but Karen Gillan’s performance as someone grieving but not understanding why. And then there’s Matt Smith, being nice to Amy without being able to explain why.

    It all just – works. A dramatic poem on the subject of depression and grief.

    Bluesqueakpip @replies

    Why. Do. They. All. Have. To Try. “It”. In. America??

    Short answer: an acting job in Hollywood pays about five to ten times as much as an acting job in the UK.

    Long answer: everyone’s hoping like crazy they’ll do a Sir Patrick Stewart: get a high profile job in a high profile US series and earn so much from the spin-offs, conventions, etc that they can come back to the UK, set up their own production company and do

    Twenty sodding years being a stalwart character actor for the RSC and did they give him a lead role? Did they heck! Five years playing a starship captain and suddenly the RSC is begging him to accept the leads. Plus, he can afford to say ‘no thanks, I’m setting up my very own company and going in to the West End. Well, after I play Scrooge in my very own film of A Christmas Carol.’ 😀

    Bluesqueakpip @replies


    Yes, I saw video of the goats! Llandudno hits the national news!

    Typical nosy goats – no humans around so we’ll trot down from the headland and take a look, ooh, tasty flowers! And typical of a small dog. In their doggy minds they are equal to any challenge and if necessary, they’ll bring the goat down by the kneecaps.

    Glad you held on to him long enough for his carer to find him. Yes, the worst possible time to have to tell his dad he’d got lost.

    Bluesqueakpip @replies

    Happy Birthday! Hope it’s a good one in spite of the circumstances. 🙂

    Bluesqueakpip @replies

    @miapatrick Yeah, it’s the not knowing the timescale that makes it worse. There was an article on NHS England’s response in the Spectator this week by Dr Max Pemberton which is simultaneously reassuring and scary. Reassuring because they are gearing up to do everything they can; scary because they don’t yet know how long they’ll have to be in crisis mode.

    Both of you stay safe and stay strong.

    Bluesqueakpip @replies


    I’m really sorry to hear that. I do know some cancer treatments affect the immune system, so it could well be that they’re cancelling treatments because they’re balancing the medium term progression against the short term chance of dying from Coronavirus.

    Or it just could be that all their beds are full (or they expect them to be full) of highly infectious patients and they don’t want anybody who isn’t in immediate danger near their hospital.

    My mum (North Wales) has already been told that she’s not considered bad enough to get the ‘stay inside for 12 weeks’ letter, but that she is not to go in to the GP’s surgery until further notice. Phone them, fine, but don’t go in.

    Bluesqueakpip @replies


    unless the choice of a fancy breed was a deliberate joke

    I suspect it was partly a deliberate joke and partly that they needed a rabbit that would sit placidly where it was put while David Tennant was ranting at it. It was probably an exhibition or show rabbit.

    But I know what you mean; I remember seeing it for the first time and thinking what a huge rabbit it was – but that would be why the Tennant Doctor would think it might possibly be a Zygon. 😀

    Bluesqueakpip @replies

    This is a fan video that Tom Spilsbury (Editor of Doctor Who Magazine)has shared – an expanded and brought-up-to-date version of the ‘Gallifrey Stands’ sequence

    Bluesqueakpip @replies

    Maybe see what people are going with online initially? I think we have done rewatches of every new-Who episode, plus the 50th Anniversary Specials, so joining in a worldwide rewatch of ‘greatest hits’ might be fun – especially if the relevant showrunners are along for the ride. The Moffat beard is pretty scary, though.

    If we did go with forum-only rewatches, another go at Adventure in Time and Space would be my vote, but I’m not sure it’s on iPlayer. Likewise, @janetteb‘s suggestion of The Five(ish) Doctors would be a good one.

    You weren’t the only one who promptly thought of Davison, Baker and McCoy under those sheets.

    The subheading was Craig’s choice and my suggestion, if I’m recalling rightly. Craig asked for a few possibilities and I suggested the quote from The God Complex.

    Bluesqueakpip @replies

    Well, that was fun. Is it really six and a half years since the 50th?

    I agree with @jimthefish – everyone is working at the top of their game, trying to make something really special. This isn’t a love letter to the fans – it’s a love letter to Doctor Who. All of Doctor Who, from the actors who’ve played The Doctor on TV, to the slightly naff rubber monsters, to Gallifrey, to the reboot. All of it, right down to the then-present-day Moffat loop (where does that fez come from?).

    John Hurt’s performance is excellent. The most Doctorish thing about his Doctor is the sheer charm he brings to the role. Not only is he charming Clara, he’s charming the audience into believing that he is ‘The Doctor’, even though they’ll only see him in this story.

    And I did like the Strax introduction video. 🙂

    Bluesqueakpip @replies

    So that’s how the centre gets in chocolates! Thanks for the link to that very interesting collection.

    Thanks also for everyone’s good wishes – my temperature was down again today, approaching normal. But you’re right @winston – I did a tiny bit of prep work this morning, and it was exhausting. The afternoon was spent resting. 🙂

    Day of the Doctor re-watch, Saturday at 7pm. I’m on.

    Bluesqueakpip @replies

    @phaseshift and @mudlark

    Currently I’m catching up with Discovery Season 2, which my brother very kindly posted to me. I’m liking it much more than I did Season 1; they seem to have got their act together and everyone now knows the characters. I’ve also managed to nearly finish one of those ‘books I ought to read’. I think feeling ill helps fight ‘cabin fever’ – firstly, I know taking time off to recover is a good thing, secondly, whenever I go near the NHS 111 website it basically tells me ‘Don’t even THINK about leaving the house.’ 🙂 If I were in quarantine because somebody else was ill I’d probably be climbing the walls by now.

    My temperature stabilised yesterday and is down again today – I’m hoping this means I’m now in the recovery phase.

    @miapatrick and @rob
    I’ve been doing some research on Skype and Google Classroom and one of my regular parents has already contacted me about a couple of hours tutoring a week. So fingers crossed!

    Baby formula makes considerably more sense than toilet paper. If you’re in quarantine for 14 days, that means any parent of a young baby really would be sensible to have a fourteen day supply of formula in the cupboard. Even if you breast-feed – suppose it’s Mum who gets the corona virus? Looking at some on-line supermarkets, it seems to be the ‘from birth’ packs that are starting to sell out; suggesting it is parents whose child is too small for anything but milk.

    Bluesqueakpip @replies

    @rob and @janetteb

    Yes, it’s a worrisom time for the self-employed and small businesses. I have no idea how it’s going to go – I’ve already lost my regular summer work, because it was invigilating for university exams. Theatres are being shut, and I’ve no idea whether filming is going to completely shut down – some series have already stopped. The government has announced loans, rates holidays and mortgage holidays, but nothing as yet specifically for the self-employed.

    The one gig that might continue is tutoring, because if the schools are closed, more parents might want one-to-one sessions (and I can do English and Maths up to GCSE). I think I need to look into skyping…. Normally summer’s a black hole as far as that gig’s concerned, but if the GCSE exams are moved to September, there might be more work coming in.

    Anyway, one of the things I’ve done while I’ve been stuck at home not earning anything is to open up a Universal Credit application. Judging by the 40 minute wait to book an appointment, so has everyone else.

    Bluesqueakpip @replies


    They’re pushing it as a precaution, because they have some evidence that ibuprofen and respiratory diseases like Coronavirus don’t go well together. The BBC have a fact vs fiction page on it.

    The NHS advice is:

    There is currently no strong evidence that ibuprofen can make coronavirus (COVID-19) worse. But until we have more information, take paracetamol to treat the symptoms of coronavirus, unless your doctor has told you paracetamol is not suitable for you.

    If you are already taking ibuprofen or another non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) on the advice of a doctor, do not stop taking it without checking first.

    So if paracetamol makes you sick, I think you might come under ‘paracetamol is not suitable’. If you’ve been prescribed ibuprofen, definitely keep taking it.

    Bluesqueakpip @replies


    Thanks for that – I’m definitely eating my (frozen) greens.

    Further to my advice above, the latest precaution is that you should now AVOID anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen (Nurofen, Advil) if you suspect your illness may possibly be Coronavirus. Paracetamol (Acetaminophen, Tylenol or Panadol) is still fine.

    That’s very funny – and so true. I’m still puzzling over the bog roll shortage. It’s a respiratory disease; do people think you breath in through your butt? (Out, maybe 😉 )

    Bluesqueakpip @replies

    @whisht – Thanks for your good wishes – yes, being able to type to someone is definitely one of the strengths of online!

    Advice from others that I’ve found useful two-and-a-half days in: the government advice is to keep well ventilated and having a through breeze definitely feels less ‘locked in’. So unless they change that advice, open a couple of windows (just enough for ventilation).

    Don’t act like you normally would when ill. Get up, get showered, dressed etc. Sit in chairs, don’t lie in bed. If you feel too ill to do things like that (and you normally can do them), that’s the point when you should be consulting the medicos.

    As well as online, TV etc, physical hobbies like knitting, crotchet, drawing are very helpful.

    Stocking up. Think stuff you can throw in a slow cooker or casserole as well as pasta. If you’re having to self-isolate because you’ve got a cough and a fever, you might not feel well enough to do any complicated cooking. Don’t forget to buy paracetamol/asprin/ibuprofen or whatever your fever medication of choice is and get enough to cover having to take the full daily dose for several days.

    @nerys – it does sound like it started earlier than the arrival of the Dreaded Lurgy, but colds are still horrible. Hope you get better soon and are able to visit your parents later this year.

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