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  • #68482
    Bluesqueakpip @replies

    @miapatrick

    it’s honestly not that I didn’t bother to proofread,

    This. I had one postgrad marker who would *not* accept that I honestly couldn’t tell if I’d misspelled the name of some highly important source for my research.

    I mean, there was an official ‘this student is dyslexic, do not mark them down for spelling and/or grammar’ on the front page of all my essays, and I’d still get ‘you need to proofread more carefully’.

    #68469
    Bluesqueakpip @replies

    @miapatrick

    I’ve got both. Yay! Apparently I’m ‘co-morbid’, which is a lovely word that gives me the impression of a little black cloud floating above my head and busily mixing up all the brain connections.

    Spelling was fairly terrible until about my twenties, when I’d finally memorised most common words. It’s still bad when I get tired. As far as organisation goes, I was taught to use spider diagrams. Once I’ve thrown everything I want to say at the diagram I can work out what order things should be in. One odd consequence of not understanding instructions very well is that I’m told I write extremely clear instructions. Possibly because I’m writing the instructions so that I can understand them?

    Diagnosing the dyslexia was fairly complicated because, while I was late learning to read, I can read. Providing, that is, it’s pulp fiction or a script, and I’ve got time to read it more than once. I need support for more complex texts – which is what finally clued them in to ‘it’s dyslexia’. Nowadays I tend to read almost entirely on electronic devices unless a book doesn’t have an e-version.

    @janetteb I really felt for Ryan and his bike. I did think it was pretty brave of Chibnall to decide not to have Ryan finally succeed at the end of The Woman Who Fell To Earth – the payoff, I think, came with Ryan’s arc end in Resolution. Me, I can ride a bike – provided you only want me to go in a straight line or turn left. For some weird reason I can’t turn right without falling over and as for gears, forget it.

    @pedant – thanks for the link. My reaction is ‘Ooh, shiny!’

    #68456
    Bluesqueakpip @replies

    @devilishrobby

    Dyspraxia affects the ability to organise writing.

    @janetteb The thing they have missed out with Ryan is the interesting set of bruises collected as you misjudge the distance from the doorway, cupboard, chair… at least, I do that. Two years of stage fighting training,and the eventual verdict was ‘I think you’ve now reached a point where you’re no longer a danger to your fight partner.’ πŸ™‚

    #68455
    Bluesqueakpip @replies

    @fatmaninabox

    Nice to hear from you again. ::waves::

    Those Daleks do indeed look rather cool. I admit to not being a great fan of the pepperpots, but since Chibnall managed to actually do something new with them for Resolution, I’ll wait and see if the script is as cool as the redesign.

    #68444
    Bluesqueakpip @replies

    @thane16

    It’s a full series. It looks like they simply made the New Year Special episode one, possibly sneaking in a few NY references. There are rumours they may be going for an Easter Special as well – last time that happened was with David Tennant’s Doctor.

    It sounds to me as if the decision has been made that Christmas Day is absolutely mined out. So they’re seeing if they can move the yearly special to a different date, and are trying out New Year (not as good as the Christmas Specials, audience wise) and Easter (which hit No. 5 for the week last time they tried it).

    #68442
    Bluesqueakpip @replies

    Okay. So the rumours were correct.

    That said, I wonder why the BBC were keeping the kick off date so firmly under their hats.

    #68434
    Bluesqueakpip @replies

    @blenkinsopthebrave

    My favourite Miller production was his The Mikado for the ENO. He had a knack for blowing away tradition and saying ‘well, why can’t we stage it this way?’

    Agreed. If you haven’t read or seen anything of his, you should try to.

    #68378
    Bluesqueakpip @replies

    @thane16

    Hi! Resolution was the New Years Day Special for 2019. It’s not on the front page anymore because of the two retrospectives.

    You have to buy the DVD separately from the Series 11 box set – which is probably why you’re not remembering it as part of Series 11.

    The forum for Resolution is here. You didn’t miss much – for some reason it was heavily troll infested.

    #68342
    Bluesqueakpip @replies

    @devilishrobby

    We could, but I think it would’ve leaked by now. However, it could well be that the BBC’s previous announcement of ‘very early’ 2020 means Episode 1 of Series 12 takes place on … New Years Day.

    Admittedly, Resolution had lower viewers than any previous seasonal special, but the BBC might be thinking that it’s worth seeing if it’s worth trying to establish a new tradition by using the opening episode/seasonal special to grab back some of the viewers who were vaguely interested at the start of Series 12.

    #68340
    Bluesqueakpip @replies

    @janetteb and @blenkinsopthebrave

    My guess is a teaser scene or compilation from the next series, possibly with a broadcast date attached.

    #68333
    Bluesqueakpip @replies

    @thane16 @pedant and @mudlark

    How To Boil An Egg by Jan Arkless is still in print in the UK, so might be available in Australia. It’s been updated since our time, with more veggie dishes and a few more modern recipes. I second @pedant – great book.

    Another fun book to read when you set out on your own is Katharine Whitehorn’s Cooking in a Bedsitter. Mostly cookbook, part autobiography about the way life was for young singles in the 1950’s. They had only one tiny gas flame to cook with and very often a sink that was down the hall.

    While it’s mostly now a fun read, the recipes still work and can be really helpful when trying to cook on one corner of a shared stove.

    #68301
    Bluesqueakpip @replies

    @janetteb

    There is no Elmo,and A Muppet’s Christmas Carol is brilliant. Surprisingly faithful to the novel, as well, considering there’s a blue furry Charles Dickens.

    #68294
    Bluesqueakpip @replies

    @thane16 Congratulations O Spawn for completing Year 12! Special congratulations on surviving both your philosophy teacher and your history teacher.

    I have to admit, “The Uzbeks are orthodox Jewish people from Slovakia or Slovenia” is the spectacular mistake which worries me most. It sounds like a badly remembered alt right internet meme.

    Wahhabi salad, anyone? πŸ™‚

    #68280
    Bluesqueakpip @replies

    @whisht

    I’m not sure I agree. Firstly, ‘Missy’ is a very particular choice of Nom de Guerre, especially given the nature of the character when our Missy joined our forum.

    Secondly, how do we teach children and young people to defend themselves against the genuinely offensive if we allow them to protect themselves against ever hearing contrarian views? If we teach them that ‘this is deeply offensive to me’ is a sufficient argument?

    I think I prefer the older method of debate, where it was accepted that someone might be playing the role of Devil’s Advocate. And that the bold upholders of all that is right and true would need to justify their case by presenting facts. πŸ™‚

    #68277
    Bluesqueakpip @replies

    @missy and everyone

    I must have missed this one the first time round. Oh, the life of a gender neutral job title. πŸ˜€

    Anyway, the use of ‘actor’ for females as well as males predates PC culture. There’s two reasons for it – one is simply that an actor plays both male and female roles. I’m an actor (f) who generally plays roles (f) – but I’ve played more than one role (m) in my time. Same for the actors (m), who often seem even keener to put on a dress than we are to put on the breeches.

    The second is that – in the UK – there was a very long period where ‘actress’ and ‘prostitute’ were considered synonyms. An actor (f) is a professional woman doing a professional job. Sleeping with the producer (or the company patron) shouldn’t be part of of that job. So everyone calling themselves actors became a way of saying ‘we’re running a theatre company, not a brothel, forget the King’s Mistress stuff.’ Or, for US actors (f), ‘forget the casting couch and cast me because I can play the damn part.’

    As the second reason recedes further into the past, I suspect more female actors will happily reclaim the word ‘actress’.

    #68250
    Bluesqueakpip @replies

    @mudlark
    I think the modern writer basically has two choices with Dracula.
    1/ Go for Bram Stoker’s evil monster.
    2/ Go the ‘Saberhagen’ route and base Dracula on (to some extent) the real Vlad Tepes.

    That’s a very short teaser, but it has hints that Moffat and Gatis are basing this one on the novel’s ‘evil monster’ to at least some extent. It also looks like there’s some massive expansion for the bits Jonathan Harker canonically can’t remember or where the original heroes aren’t present. Possibly by having Dracula the (anti) ‘hero’ character – which is very Saberhagen. But then, if they’ve made it theirs by having their Dracula an evil soulless bar-steward, that’s going to be a very different take from both Stoker and Saberhagen.

    The problem that Buffy was satirising is that if you offer movies and TV the original Bram Stoker Dracula, they’ll take one look and say ‘but, but … box office’. Then they’ll cast Christopher Lee or Gary Oldman. πŸ™‚ Because, box office.

    The thing is, though, Moffat and Gatiss may be able to get away with a non-romanticised Dracula simply because, for this one, Moffat himself is that magic ‘box office’. The BBC will be remembering that they didn’t get Sherlock at all, dumped it in the August slot-of-doom – and saw it turn into one of their biggest successes. At the moment (and this will continue until he has a massive flop) he’s probably going to be able to cast things the way he wants.

    #68234
    Bluesqueakpip @replies

    @blenkinsopthebrave

    That looks promising.

    #68225
    Bluesqueakpip @replies

    @thane16

    I don’t think I started it, either. πŸ˜€

    Okay, a bit of background to where I’m coming from. When Buffy was first broadcast I was – variously – either rehearsing or performing during drama training, rehearsing and performing in fringe or doing the exciting tours of old people’s homes and sports halls that the average young actor does.

    I was vaguely aware of Series 1 to 3, remember that I did watch a couple of the episodes, didn’t start regularly watching until the middle of Series 4 when a new flatmate arrived who really liked it. I saw a few episodes in S4, then had to rehearse when it was on, saw the start of S5, then got a job – you get the picture.

    So when I say ‘I think Series 6 is a jumping in point,’ I’m saying that because Series 6 was the first series of Buffy where I saw every episode in order. And I bloody loved it.

    Now, I’m not saying that this lack of knowledge didn’t impact my viewing – there’s a certain event in Series 5 where I simply hadn’t watched enough episodes to realise why it was such a big problem – but essentially, @winston, I did start with Series 6 as my jumping in point, I did have to go back and fill in the gaps by later watching Series 1 to 5 and actually, it was a lot of fun. I have the entire Buffy and Angel box sets and wrote a full-length fanfic novel set after the end of Angel – definitely a lot of fun.

    So while I get the beauty of starting from S1 and working your way through, going backwards and filling in the gaps (‘so that’s why it was such a problem!’) has its own charms.

    πŸ˜€

    #68224
    Bluesqueakpip @replies

    @janetteb

    Aha! Yes, I had heard of the Eureka Rebellion, but hadn’t realised Eureka was part of Ballarat.

    Amazing how often democracy starts with ‘we aren’t paying this @*$! tax!’ πŸ™‚

    #68220
    Bluesqueakpip @replies

    @pedant

    The time limit’s gone and it’ll need a mod, I’m afraid.

    I did think about it, but BTVS Series 6 has been out in the wild for eighteen years (counting from the premiere). Also, @winston said she was working from a DVD box set, and the big picture of Sarah Michelle Gellar on the DVD is a teeny bit of a hint. Not to mention the truly massive spoiler in the DVD episode description (in my box set, at least).

    ::ahem:: If any of the mods do think the above spoiler needs removing, probably best to remove this post as well.

    #68218
    Bluesqueakpip @replies

    @winston

    In the UK, Buffy is being streamed on Amazon Prime right now. Might be worth having a look if they’re also streaming it on Amazon. Ca.

    Series 6 has everyone acting in very different ways from Series 1-5, but that’s the reaction they all have to to Buffy coming back. I’m not entirely sure I agree with @thane16 that you have to watch 1-5 first; the show moved networks for S6, so I think it is a ‘jump in here’ point. But it’s true you won’t get just how shocking and deep the changes were unless you know the characters from earlier.

    #68215
    Bluesqueakpip @replies

    @janetteb

    I’m afraid my knowledge of Ballarat comes almost entirely from Sherlock Holmes and Wikipedia. Sorry.

    But what I gather from both those is that it was extremely rich as long as the mining held out, so has got loads of very fine examples of Victorian architecture. Was there a lot of filming while you were there, or was The Getting of Wisdom the only one? I’d think it’d be a good place to film for period stuff.

    #68202
    Bluesqueakpip @replies

    @blenkinsopthebrave

    Agreed about John Arnatt. On one of the DVD commentaries (currently unavailable to me, grrrr) Louise Jameson was making very complimentary noises about his performance. She also thought he was a perfect ‘Prime Minister’ Chancellor.

    @janetteb

    but both times not got a chance to post my comments because of R.L.

    Cursed, I tell you. Cursed! πŸ˜‰

    Yes, I’ve heard that they were originally thinking of Rodan as the next Companion. Possibly Hilary Ryan wasn’t enthusiastic about an entire year (or more) making technobabble lines sound interesting. Or she may have had some stage work upcoming – I have in the back of my mind the idea that someone said she wasn’t available because of other work.

    #68198
    Bluesqueakpip @replies

    Anyway, I need a new Blu-ray player, the version up on You Tube has been taken down for copyright violations, and this story is not available on BBC iPlayer. Cursed, I tell you!

    Having finally located a copy that can be streamed, it’s not a bad little episode. There’s a certain amount of running very slowly down corridors, running very slowly up corridors and walking down corridors in a stately way because John Arnott is a bit old for much running. But despite the deus ex machina of ‘The Chancellor has a personal force field in his symbol of office? Since when?’ the previously set up ‘search for the Great Key’ has a nice denouement. Though with what we now know about Rassilon, it seems a bit weird that he set things up to prevent a Presidential dictatorship. Possibly it was meant to prevent anyone but him setting up a dictatorship.

    The plot is very standard BG Who: somebody gets invaded, the Doctor has to defeat the Invaders. The difference this time is that it’s Gallifrey being invaded – and for once, the Doctor got outplayed. The Sontarans concentrated his attention on the Vardans; the Doctor never considered whether there was anyone behind the Vardan screen. However, this appears to have exhausted the Sontarian subtlety quota for the next several generations – or possibly they’d picked up a couple of human books on strategy when they were failing to invade Earth and were trying some of the tricks.

    Both the main women characters get important stuff to do. Leela shows off her knife-throwing skills, later copied by a dying Outsider. Rodan shows she would have been a great companion. Not only does she have the engineering and technical skills to rebuild and reprogram a piece of obsolete equipment and make it bypass the force-field control unit, but she also appears to have taken Advanced Snark at the Academy. Romana seems to have had a considerable amount of Rodan in her DNA. Possibly they’re cousins?

    John Arnott is an entirely believable Chancellor – nothing, nothing at all, is going to make him lose his cool. Being horribly murdered by invading aliens might prove somewhat inconvenient, but one must display dignity in all circumstances.

    The remaining Outsiders and Andred have very little to do except follow the Doctor and Leela around – signposted in a couple of comic shots where they all look around in order. Fortunately, (well, not for the characters) the Sontarians winnow the chorus line down a bit.

    And Milton Johns is displaying his ability to perform characters who are a) oily, b) creeps and c) will betray absolutely anybody or anything for a gumdrop. I always look forward to a story with Milton in it – he’s so much fun. πŸ™‚

    #68197
    Bluesqueakpip @replies

    @janetteb and @craig

    I think The Invasion of Time has some weird ‘Don’t watch this story’ curse upon it. The latest is that I need a new Blu Ray Player. πŸ™

    Do you think we’ll get to the end of this story before the new series starts?

    #68196
    Bluesqueakpip @replies

    @janetteb @blenkinsopthebrave

    Aren’t Sea Devils relatives of the Silurians? Could we be seeing a Silurian style makeover with them?

    I believe that the production team have a habit of placing ‘jokes’ into the IMDB cast list, so it certainly isn’t to be relied upon, but it would be great if a writer has come up with something new. Besides, the original costume was No. 1 in the list of ‘Doctor Who Costumes Most Likely To Kill The Actor Inside.’ πŸ™‚

    Mary Shelley sounds fantastic, and is entirely in keeping with Real Life. Her explanation of Frankenstein is as follows:

    When I placed my head on my pillow I did not sleep, nor could I be said to think. My imagination, unbidden, possessed and guided me, gifting the successive images that arose in my mind with a vividness far beyond the usual bounds of reverie. I saw – with shut eyes, but acute mental vision – I saw the pale student of the unhallowed arts kneeling beside the thing he had put together. I saw the hideous phantasm of a man stretched out, and then, on the working of some powerful engine show signs of life and stir with an uneasy, half-vital motion …

    This can easily be stretched into ‘yeah, it was my adventure with The Doctor and a Cyberman, but I can’t talk about it. Just my imagination, folks, nothing to see here, read the book…’ πŸ˜€

    #67608
    Bluesqueakpip @replies

    @janetteb Yes, this episode has a strong air of ‘quick, find some more filler!’

    Andred seems to be suffering from a certain reluctance to kill his Head of State. Not to mention suffering from an episode where he’s largely acting as an excuse to explain the plot or have the plot explained to him. I’d imagine the long process of teaching him to trust the Doctor happened in the cut away to the Vardans.

    Personally, I would have thought it easier to read a robot like K9 than a living brain, but let’s presume that K9’s programming is firewalled. πŸ™‚

    Interesting that the people in the Citadel (in this era) appear convinced that the Outsiders don’t exist and that being exiled is a death sentence. Rodan talked about rumours, though. Again, in this episode the Outsiders get a perfectly good sub-plot, but that perfectly good sub-plot ends up being entirely useless and just acts as scene-filler. Perhaps if the writers had more time to write the script, they’d have found a way of tying up the ‘rescue the Doctor’ sub-plot so that the Doctor genuinely needed rescuing.

    I agree that Andred gets to parade in a sexy shirt, but the point is, I think, that he’s taken off as much of his uniform as is decent. He’s in rebellion; he’s no longer a Citadel Guard and doesn’t feel comfortable still wearing that uniform.

    Yes. You’re right JanetteB. I wouldn’t have believed it possible to be a less convincing Who villain than shimmering bacofoil, but the materialised Vardans manage it. It doesn’t help that the three voice actors’ stock army uniforms make them look distinctly tubby when shot from the side, that the Vardan on stage left looks about fourteen years old and their commander in the middle is a bit on the short side. Tough soldiers invading an enemy planet they aren’t.

    Meanwhile, the Outsiders struggle endlessly across a giant sandpit. Eventually they get inside the Citadel, where they prove to be dangerous. Pity the script writers couldn’t think of something better for them to do.

    Yes, Baker is playing it too confident, but this is Episode 4. The audience knows the problem won’t be solved in Episode 4 of a 6 part story, so his over-confidence is a signal that something’s going to go badly wrong. Probably at the cliff-hanger.

    Castellan Kelner is still turning his over-large cloak according to the winds of the moment. Any bets on how long before he pledges loyalty to his new Sontaran overlords?

    Five seconds? Ten?
    πŸ™‚

    #67566
    Bluesqueakpip @replies

    @JannetteB – yes, I agree that this story, hurriedly written as it was, plays to the leading actors strengths. It takes advantage of Baker’s unpredictability, and Louise Jameson has a good, strong role to play as Leela – who, as you say, shows off how she’s grown while she was with the Doctor.

    Rodan does indeed have an inner strength. She has her moment of complete meltdown as she realises she’s stuck in a howling wilderness and will starve to death if these people don’t help her – and then recovers from it and later takes an intelligent part in the ‘what do we do now’ discussion. Though, Presta’s immediate ‘there, there’ reaction suggests Rodan isn’t the first exiled Time Lord to have a meltdown when realisation hits. πŸ™‚

    The retcon that all candidate Time Lords are sent to the Academy (or a prep school for the Academy) at age eight goes some way to explaining why we don’t see the children, but there was a New Adventures theory that Time Lords didn’t have children. They were all genetically engineered in Gene Looms, with Susan being the first child born for millennia.

    #67559
    Bluesqueakpip @replies

    This is a much better paced, more ‘fun’ episode than last week. Probably because they now have a lot of plot to get through – get Leela and Rodan outside, bring Borusa in on the plot, develop a resistance movement through Andred.
    And room for some terrible puns. ‘A matter of time,’ indeed.

    The weakness of the Time Lords; they’re utilitarian rationalists. Reason (greatest good of greatest number) suggests that they should submit to their new Bacofoil overlords, so Rodan acts as spokeswoman for that point of view. They’re not big on subtext; no imagination. It’s noticeable that the leaders of the revolutionaries are Andred, retconned years later as a failed Time Lord and Leela; a warrior of the Sevvateem, trained to act instinctively. The other ‘unreliable element’ is the Surgeon General, Gomer, – a doctor. Little bit of a joke, there. πŸ™‚

    And yet Leela is reasoning based on her experience – the Doctor, her experience tells her, is up to something. So if he wants her outside, outside she has to go. Only to discover that Rodan has never in her life left the Citadel – a real city girl – and hasn’t a clue how to survive out there.

    Again, interestingly, the Doctor’s later backstory develops the idea that he didn’t grow up in the Citadel. Whether the Barn was part of a Time Lord prep school or an orphanage, both he and the Master seem to have grown up amongst the ‘outsiders’ in a quite literal sense. The Master/Missy as a privileged child of a great landowner, the Doctor as … not. They didn’t grow up among the rebels. But neither of them come from the closed world of the Citadel.

    The set designer seems to have gone bonkers on the clockwork motif for the shielded office – and we have an ‘explain the plot’ session. The Vardans are (like the Time Lords) semi-telepathic. They can read minds – which explains why the Doctor’s mind has been imitating a grasshopper. He was probably working on the theory that his mind would be just too irritating to read.

    I’m now wondering why they decided to give Louise Jameson that giant cloak – was the weather too bad for her to be filming in her normal skimpy leather? All the ‘outside’ actors seem to have been given rather warm costumes – given that they had to do the location filming after the studio work, instead of before, and it was heading into November, they may have simply been dressing everyone for the weather. Gallifrey itself got to be a sand quarry rather than a chalk pit – later retconned as ‘the Drylands’.

    We will now establish that one never hires Milton Johns unless his character is going to stab another character in the back. Possibly several characters. Nobody does it better. πŸ˜€

    Leela and Rodan meet the people who live outside – fairly comfortably, though at a much lower tech level. At the moment they seem to be in the hunter-gatherer phase of civilisation (Leela would fit right in), but the outsiders we see during the Moffat era appear to be farmers. The difference may be ‘rebel hunters’ vs ‘not rebel farmers’ Either way, Rodan has just stepped into a part of Gallifrey where she has no useful skills whatsoever.

    Whatever the Doctor’s plot is, it seems to involve getting the Vardans to fully materialise and sending most of the rebels outside the Citadel. There’s a slight plot hole in that we don’t know how the Doctor knows the Outsiders will help; again, that’s something Moffat’s retconning will later make clear. In the meantime, Rodan (now dressed in even warmer clothing) helpfully points out that the Outsider Time Lord rebels have been ‘whispered about’, so maybe we should just guess that the Doctor had heard the whispers.

    Yup, as @craig says, K9 is doing … something. Padding, perhaps, or maybe filler. It involves data, somehow, and probably connects with the point carefully made by Borusa earlier – everything the Doctor knows is now part of the Matrix. Meanwhile, we establish that Andred is a rebel, even though he might seem to be on the side of the Castellan. He’s going to assassinate the traitorous Doctor! I’m pretty sure Tom Baker ends the episode by saying ‘oh, bugger’. πŸ™‚

    #67541
    Bluesqueakpip @replies

    @janetteb

    I didn’t mean to be so detailed I stopped anyone saying anything!

    Yes, the Time Lords have terrible taste in hats – though I did rather like the more ‘working class’ headgear used in The Day of The Doctor. The purple, embroidered taqiyahs managed to be both practical and recognisably ‘Gallifreyan’.

    The guards are completely useless, yet Andred is – in this episode at least – a competent officer suffering a boss playing office politics. It could well be that the Citadel guards are ceremonial and therefore they dump all the duffers there. Andred’s been transferred to the Commander role because they need at least one person who knows what they’re doing. πŸ™‚

    I often think men don’t deliberately overlook women, they just don’t realise that there is another gender.

    I did a very interesting course on Unconscious Bias last year – it was compulsory for everyone – and the current research is that we tend to pick ‘people like us’. So, yeah, a lot of it’s unconscious. Male producer, director etc picks male actors for the Time Lords – until someone makes a conscious decision to include a woman and reference sexism. As the joke goes, if ‘Lord’ is gender inclusive, how many women do you think of when asked to name ten Lords?

    But I was certainly aware of ‘you can’t do that, you’re a girl’. It wasn’t all unconscious bias – some of it was legal discrimination. Older teachers who were unmarried, because they’d started teaching in an era when married women couldn’t teach (or hold most jobs, for that matter). If they’d married, they’d have had to leave teaching – and it was all perfectly legal. Certain areas I couldn’t go into. The future PM saying she didn’t think there’d be a woman PM in her lifetime. πŸ™‚

    So I also forgive this story a lot. Rodan was important – a small crack in ‘you can’t do that, you’re a girl.’ I could be a Time Lord. And if girls could be a Time Lord, what else could we do? πŸ˜€

    #67539
    Bluesqueakpip @replies

    Inside this episode is a perfectly good plot, screaming to get out.

    Unfortunately, that perfectly good plot would only take up about twelve minutes of screen time. Given that the two writers – Anthony Read and Graham Williams – were struggling with both the after effects of a production strike and having to write a replacement script in no-time-at-all, it’s not surprising that they went for the old Who standby of padding-by-corridor. Lots of corridors. When they’d finally run out of corridors, they used the old ‘banter in the TARDIS’ standby.

    @craig summarised the good plot rather neatly, so instead, I’m going to work my way through the episode.

    First rule of padding – have everyone argue with everyone else. We can waste loads of time if people argue about everything. Hence Borusa starts up an argument with Gold Usher, Leela AND the Surgeon General. Quite some going. The Surgeon General, by the way, manages some impressive diagnosis by merely waving his hand vaguely in the direction of Tom Baker – but I remain convinced that Gallifreyan medicine mostly consists of ‘take two painkillers and call me if you haven’t regenerated by the morning’.

    A continuation of a theme from Deadly Assassin – Time Lords are a bunch of racist gits, which the Doctor makes use of to get Leela out of the Citadel. Why he needs her outside is as yet unclear. Naturally, since the Doctor hasn’t bothered explaining his plans to Leela, she escapes. Yay, padding!

    In case any of the audience suspects the Doctor has gone genuinely mad, there’s another argument – this time between Borusa and the Doctor. Borusa isn’t having a good day. Neither is Andred, who’s having to cope with a Castellan (Milton Johns at his slimiest) who takes all the credit and leaves him to do all the work.

    “Even the Sonic Screwdriver won’t get me out of this one” – that was a total aside to the audience, a real ‘breaking the fourth wall’ moment with a momentary flick of the eyes straight to the camera.

    Corridors. Plus more Time Lord infighting. The Castellan wants to be Chancellor, I think. And the Citadel Guards are genuinely thick – later retconned by explaining that qualifications for the army included failing your Time Lord exams. Presumably, the ordinary guards have also failed their officer’s entry exams, their NCO exams … 😈 Poor Andred is beginning to look like he’s got this week’s ‘only sane man’ role.

    We will now have a short break for padding as Leela tries desperately to get into the TARDIS, the guards approach very, very slowly, K9 hangs his head in a meaningful manner, and the Castellan looks at a video screen and does absolutely nothing. Oh, yeah, and we forgot the keys.

    Did I mention that the first rule of padding was to have everyone argue with everyone else? The Doctor and K9 will now have a row to stretch out the scene explaining the Doctor’s cunning plan. πŸ™‚

    Rodan. The entire reason we’re having this rewatch. She is, unbelievably, the first female Gallifreyan seen for thirteen years since Carole Ann Ford bowed out as Susan, and for nine years after the Doctor was specifically identified as being from a race called ‘Time Lords’. It’s probably difficult to understand the impact seeing this perfectly ordinary young Time Lady had on me back in 1978. I was too young to remember Susan. I didn’t really remember either Troughton or Hartnell. Time Lords were men. They were always shown as men, and that reflected the way things were in real life. The people in power were, basically, men. Male doctors, male Doctors. Male Prime Ministers, male Time Lords. My brother could have an ambition to be an RAF pilot. I … couldn’t. Legally couldn’t.

    That ‘men only’ era was starting to break apart, and again, that was reflected in Doctor Who’s increasingly assertive female assistants, showing a level of competence that hadn’t been seen since Verity Lambert. But they were the assistants.

    And then, suddenly, Leela turns a corner, and there was Rodan, complaining that she’d passed the Seventh Grade and had been shoved into a post as a glorified traffic warden. I remember it as mind-blowing, that realisation that Time Lords don’t have to be men. πŸ˜€

    The introduction of Rodan is deliberately ambiguous – Leela’s ‘The Doctor’s always saying’ could be referring to Rodan telling her she’s going to hurt herself with that knife, or it could be a joke that ‘but he said they were all men’.

    And back to the plot (and the padding). Nice bit of juxtaposition with the transduction barrier, followed by extensive jellybabying. We can spend a bit of time sorting through the keys, as well. How about some Time Lord infighting? Milton Johns is so good at being conniving. πŸ™‚

    Actual plot in the last four minutes. An alien fleet is heading to Gallifrey, the transduction barrier needs raising to max (pity K9 is blowing it up).

    And Gallifrey is being invaded – by a collection of Bacofoil special effects. I bet the Castellan, for one, will welcome his new Bacofoil overlords.

    #67528
    Bluesqueakpip @replies

    @craig

    Yippee! Will watch this tomorrow – which is kind of appropriate, given the Sunday slot for the Whittaker Doctor.

    Glad you’re back, even if you did have to take a year-long detour to get here. πŸ™‚

    #67481
    Bluesqueakpip @replies

    @thane16 and @pedant

    Wot pedant says. πŸ™‚

    Diabetes Type 1 is complicated in that it appears to be a combination of both genetics and environment, and the honest answer is that we don’t currently know why people get Type 1. Genetic risk factors can be identified: they don’t mean you’re going to get Type 1.

    Similarly with Type 2. But again, genetic risk factors don’t mean you’re going to get diabetes Type 2. According to the risk factors, I should almost certainly have diabetes Type 2 by now – every member of my immediate family has it. Both parents, sibling, the lot.

    And yet, I currently don’t. Why? Is it because I moved down to London in my twenties and wasn’t exposed to the same environment as the rest of my family? Is it weight? What?

    Which is why more research is needed, and why I’m firmly of the opinion that a study that sends about a third of its volunteers into remission should be both followed up and expanded. We know the long term effects of Diabetes 2 and they’re often very bad indeed. Can the side effects of eight weeks on what is effectively a crash diet really make things worse? Given that we already have many, many longitudinal studies on various types of weight loss? Shouldn’t people at least be given the opportunity to volunteer?

    But I agree with pedant that this needs to be studied. If it ‘jumps starts’ the pancreas in some people, that suggests a line of research that we just didn’t have before. And a lot is going to depend on how long the remission lasts – if it turns out that it’s life-long for some patients who’ve provably had Type 2, that means we’ve gone from ‘no cure’ to ‘cure’.

    Science is fun. πŸ˜€

    #67480
    Bluesqueakpip @replies

    @craig @blenkinsopthebrave @mudlark @devilishrobby @miapatrick

    Apparently, Elizabeth thinks we’re a dating site. Are we a dating site? I didn’t know we were a dating site.

    I’ve been doing this all wrong….

    πŸ˜‰

    #67460
    Bluesqueakpip @replies

    So: we in the UK are possibly days away from a Prime Minister nobody’s ever heard of. David Lidington.

    Nobody’s noticed any hypnotic drum beats on their phones, have they?

    #67459
    Bluesqueakpip @replies

    Okay, I’ve been thinking about our BG episode recap discussions.

    Generally, we’ve run them as follows: @craig sets up a thread for each episode in the story, we discuss them. But that puts a lot of work on Craig, who has to set up a new thread weekly. That became apparent during The Invasion of Time discussion, when it just wasn’t possible for him to publish a thread beyond Episode 1.

    So: one possible solution would to use the blog facility for BG story discussions, with posters with blog privileges agreeing to host each story. Either we could have a blog per episode, or one blog per story – if the latter, I’m thinking that the host could add the new episode to the blog each week. Either way, the discussion would take place in the blog comments.

    Do we want to restart BG watches? Do we want to keep on with the ‘Women Time Lords’ theme, or say that didn’t work and try something else? If Women Time Lords, do we want to restart with Invasion of Time or say ‘we all hated it, let’s move on to Romana I’?

    Thoughts?

    #67457
    Bluesqueakpip @replies

    @pedant

    Funnily enough, I think they mentioned something about a) and b) when I did my BSc. 😈

    b) would explain the differences between NHS Scotland and NHS England – the Glasgow study was done with Scottish NHS GPs and nurses, so they’re confident that they can go forward into a wider roll-out. Presumably, gathering longitudinal data as they go. NHS England still needs to trial delivering it – and while they’ve now got several years data from the original patients, they need to figure out whether this is, as it seems, a long term remission or something that will last a few years only. Scotland seems to have decided the possibility that this treatment gives long term remission is worth the effort, given the ‘one third in remission after two years’ results so far.

    And then they’ve both got to figure out which treatment is cheaper in the long run. The medical treatment is well known and can generally be delivered by GPs. Are the associated costs of a new treatment offset by the savings from not having to deliver the old treatments, and are the people in remission requiring less hospital treatment? When people come out of remission, do they still require less hospital treatment than the control group? Etcetera.

    I’m still excited. πŸ˜‰ Diabetes 2 has always been thought of as inevitably progressive – if that isn’t the case … fun times. Science is at its best when we find that what we thought we knew wasn’t the case. πŸ˜€

    #67455
    Bluesqueakpip @replies

    @pedant

    That’s the one. The impression I got is that it’s the big topic at this year’s conferences for diabetes professionals, because the Newcastle-Glasgow follow up showed the results could be replicated in general practice. Plus, the whatever-scan-it-is seems to have confirmed the hypothesis of the pilot study – so it’s all terribly exciting.

    Fascinating to me because, at the moment, I’m the only person in my immediate family who does NOT have Type 2 diabetes. For obvious reasons, I’d like to keep not having it. πŸ™‚

    #67451
    Bluesqueakpip @replies

    @pedant

    Talking matters diabetic, have you seen the latest results of the DIRECT study? Apparently the preliminary results are so exciting (about a third of patients go into remission) that NHS England is going ahead with a pilot study and NHS Scotland is already rolling out programmes.

    In matters pancake, I’m currently trying to make almond pancakes work. The ones I did on Pancake Tuesday were … edible. Too much egg, I think. πŸ™‚

    #67429
    Bluesqueakpip @replies

    @peladon1972

    It would be interesting if the doctor could leave the earth and go to other places and times in the universe

    The Ghost Monument
    The Tsuranga Conundrum
    Kerblam!
    The Battle of Ranskoor Av Kolos

    That’s over a third of the series on other planets and I’m not even counting the historicals.

    #67427
    Bluesqueakpip @replies

    @miapatrick and @peladon1972

    Doctor Who is a mix between sci-fi and fantasy. Where, exactly, each story places on the Mohs Scale of Science Fiction hardness depends entirely on the writer, and has done from the beginning. Generally speaking, we’re talking really, really soft as the story becomes SF-in-name-only. We want a horror story about a hand that possesses people and turns into Something Evil? Fine, just make the Something Evil an alien… 😈

    Deadly Assassin uses SF tropes; virtual reality was around since the 1930’s and the Matrix itself was definitely a hard SF concept. But the fact that one story is hard-SF based doesn’t say a thing about any other Doctor Who story.

    By the way, critiquing Chibnall while making an elementary continuity error yourself is not necessarily a good look.

    #67424
    Bluesqueakpip @replies

    @winston

    Yes, loss after death was a good arc for this series – because, in the subtext, we had the loss of just about everything except the format and the technical staff. Producers, leading actors, writing team – all gone.

    I’m going to check the settings on the blog in case there’s anything I can do – it might be a time-out or a connection drop, though.

    #67419
    Bluesqueakpip @replies

    Everyone

    Just flagging that I have a new blog up – which is really my take on the Series 11 arc. Other series arcs may be available. πŸ™‚

    More seriously, since it’s now time enough for Series 11 to have sunk in, so to speak, I wondered if we could use the comment sections of the blog to talk about Series 11 as-a-whole, rather than as individual episodes?

    #67356
    Bluesqueakpip @replies

    @archaicwhovian

    They’re short for Before Gap and After Gap. The Gap is the over-long period when Who wasn’t being produced. After Gap starts with the episode Rose.

    Other sites refer to Classic Who and New Who, but we felt that identifying an era by whether it was before or after the Gap was more value-neutral.

    #67355
    Bluesqueakpip @replies

    @blenkinsopthebrave, @janetteb and @winston

    The one slight problem is that we’ve already watched and discussed it, about four years back. I think it was one of the first Hartnells we watched. And we can’t really do the Dalek Master Plan because it’s mostly lost. There’s nothing to stop a second rewatch – the conversations are already set up.

    I’ve been spending my day off binge-watching the Whittaker Doctor’s first series, which has been fun. I think we really were looking in the wrong direction for the arc – watch the episodes close together and it becomes clear that the arc is both the new Doctor’s character development and Graham and Ryan’s developing relationship and recovery from the loss of Grace.

    Anyway, Hartnell. Rewatch The Time Meddler, or pick another Hartnell?

    #67165
    Bluesqueakpip @replies

    @seeoswald

    Try some maths.

    Eleven episodes of 42 minutes plus one of 60 minutes: 524 minutes to be written, shot, edited and SX put in.

    Nine episodes of 50 minutes plus one of 60 minutes: 510 minutes. People are wailing and gnashing their teeth over a loss of fourteen whole minutes of Doctor Who. Why, that’s nearly half one of the older episodes. πŸ˜€

    If you want twelve episodes again, write to the BBC and ask them to give Doctor Who more budget. Then step back while they laugh – they don’t have more budget to give.

    The only way I can see for the BBC to be able to increase the budget would be to split each series over two financial periods, which is where the ‘two mini series of six episodes’ comes from. As it is, the studied avoidance of episodes in 2019 (unless they decide to go with a Christmas Special again) is another signal that the problem isn’t Chibbers – it’s the BBC and the massive budget cuts they’re facing.

    [Oh, he might well be screaming about the workload – as far as I can tell, each producer in the new era has spent their first year going ‘AAARRRGH! Ohsh*tohsh*tohsh*tohsh*t, arrgh, arrgh, ohsh*tohsh*t, arrrgghhh … phew.’
    ::pause::
    ‘You mean I have to do this again‘? ]

    πŸ˜€

    #67163
    Bluesqueakpip @replies

    @seeoswald

    It doesn’t matter how much work it is,

    Let me guess: you don’t work in TV either.

    #67160
    Bluesqueakpip @replies

    @bluffme

    Any reference for this, or are you just quoting a ‘my best friend’s mate who is third assistant focus puller at BBC Cardiff and once went within shouting distance of the Doctor Who set said’ article?

    I take it you don’t work in TV? Just guessing, because you don’t seem to have a clue how much work an effects heavy SF programme is.

    #67115
    Bluesqueakpip @replies

    A bit late to the party, but there it is. I did manage to watch most of Resolution on New Years Day, but squeezing out any time this week to watch the bits I missed has been a bit tricky. πŸ™‚

    Like @scaryb, I do like the move to New Years Day, even if it was difficult to find the time to watch. Firstly, I agree that the various producers have now mined every single possible ‘Christmas’ angle (or angel), with the possible exception of having a Cyberman made out of tinsel. The New Years Day theme felt much less forced, and provided a plausible excuse for Aaron to suddenly turn up. He’s made a New Years Resolution to reconnect with Ryan. Yup, that’s gonna go well … πŸ™‚

    So Ryan’s Dad is bad at the entire life skills thing. And Ryan is dyspraxic. Okay, that does make sense -and we also now see why Ryan in Episode 1 was studying to be a mechanic, which is probably one of the least suitable professions for someone with dyspraxia. His estranged Dad is an engineer on oil rigs. Nan was a nurse, Dad was an engineer and Ryan – works in a warehouse. Ouch. No wonder he threw the bike into a tree.

    This episode was clearly the ‘finale’ – the bookending of things like the Doctor and Dalek Lynn both welding alien tech out of scrap, Ryan’s Nan getting killed versus Ryan managing to save his Dad, the newly regenerated Doctor struggling to defeat Tim Shaw The Inadequate, where the more established Doctor can confidently tackle Daleks. Well, one Dalek.

    One Dalek is definitely scarier than an entire army of the things, especially when it’s channelling Robert Heinlein’s The Puppet Masters. Having a Dalek mostly out of its shell worked even better than having an Ice Warrior out of its armour.

    The ‘UNIT cancelled by Brexit’ joke, followed by ‘We’re on our own!’ made me laugh out loud. I did note, however, that UNIT is ‘suspended’ and ‘under review’, NOT definitely disbanded. πŸ™‚ Like The Doctor, I’m sure UNIT will return – just possibly not under Chibnall.

    I thought ‘so I’m told’ is a possible reference to the Doctor not having a Dad of their own. Possibly their Dad regenerated into their Mum? Or maybe the Doctor is a half-orphan? Like the barn in Listen, that line was definitely a reference to something in the Doctor’s backstory.

    The other thing that made me wonder was the way Aaron was used, as in the first episode, to mirror the Doctor. Made mistakes, by the time he realised they were mistakes, it was too late and the damage was done. Then he ran away because he was too ashamed to step up and admit he’d got it wrong. Now, who else do we know who famously ran away from home?

    The mirroring in the first episode – I wonder if the Doctor would’ve walked away from Grace’s funeral as normal if Aaron had turned up? Whether she stayed because she understood that Ryan needed all his friends, since his Dad had let him down? – Then we see her in other, later funerals because she now understands the damage she’s doing to people by just walking away and not giving them the support they need.

    Another signal that we are going to have a Yaz arc next series – she again does a ‘greater good’ thing when Aaron gets taken prisoner. That’s a tendency that could so easily go so horribly wrong – though I did like the way the Doctor effectively had Yaz use her Mad Police Skillz (yes, with a zed) to get the two bystanders (they thought) out of the danger zone.

    #66997
    Bluesqueakpip @replies

    Happy New Year, everyone. πŸ˜€

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