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    Dentarthurdent @replies

    @nerys I’m in the general age range when the death of me is expected. 🙂 Or at least, wouldn’t be unusual. It’s a bit disconcerting when acquaintances I’ve known for years, die. I just find it convenient to ignore the statistics.

    I wouldn’t even try to plan my own funeral. The one thing I might demand is that they play Dire Straits’ ‘Wild Theme’**. As it happens, I’m an atheist, but Mrs D gives Jesus his detailed orders for the day every morning, so I know I’ll get the full Christian works. That doesn’t bother me, I won’t know so I won’t care and I’ll be the only one present who doesn’t have to sit through the whole service 🙂 And, it will make Mrs D feel much better. (Of course, if I am observing it in a ghostly fashion, it will prove I’ve been wrong anyway, won’t it?)

    [** Footnote: Specifically, the version of “Wild Theme/LocalHero” off the Sultans of Swing album, which was a live recording at Les Arenes, Nimes in 1993. I have to be so specific because there are dozens of variations on Youtube and Mark Knopfler changed his playing every time he performed it. Mark Knopfler was, I think, the one musician mentioned by name in Doug Adams’ Hitchhiker trilogy – So Long, and Thanks for All The Fish, IIRC – and Adams was right about his playing.]

    Dentarthurdent @replies

    @janetteb I’ll wish you a timely restoration of your train service. I know the feeling, Auckland public transport planning has been a shambles for the last century and they see no reason to change now.
    In the beginning, the main station was right in town at the foot of Queen Street (call it ‘Britomart’). Then in the 30’s it got too busy so they abandoned it and built a grand new station at Strand, half a mile out. This became a major impediment to the use of suburban services, so finally in 2000 they built a new underground station (at Britomart) and abandoned most of Strand. A few years later, as suburban usage increased again, Britomart became too busy so the Wellington train (‘Northern Explorer’ aka ‘Dora’) was banished to the one remaining lonely platform left at Strand where it no longer connected with the Auckland suburban trains.
    January is when they typically shut down parts of the Auckland system for track works and ‘upgrading’, so I get used to Dora terminating in some unusual fashion. This year they’ve shut down Britomart so the subbies have taken over the Strand platform and evicted Dora, which terminated at Otahuhu, change to a subbie for – Strand!

    Like you say in SA, the atmosphere here re covid precautions feels strange. Masks – sometimes in use. ‘Checking in’ to commercial premises – they’re all displaying the ‘Covid’ signs (which people are supposed to scan with their phones) and many are, many aren’t. It reminds me of what I’ve read of the ‘phony war’ in 1939 when war had been declared but nobody was shooting. Or waiting for a storm to break. Hopefully the vaccines will work before it does.

    Dentarthurdent @replies

    @nerys Can I offer my condolences? Still, it should be some consolation that your father ‘had a good run’, as they say. From your account, I think he was maybe more fortunate than most in the manner of his going.

    My father died at 96. He was fine, living in his own flat, very active, till the last six months when he went downhill and could no longer manage for himself and had to go into a ‘home’ and went a bit – odd. Slightly paranoid. Which was very trying for all concerned. But his funeral was attended by a vast number of his friends. It was an excellent service, we were lucky in that the funeral director made a lot of very good suggestions that we were happy to adopt. Until that time I had thought that funeral directors were as superfluous as interior decorators – who needs ’em? – but I realised that just having someone who knew how to take care of all the 1001 details within a few days was worth every dollar.

    Dentarthurdent @replies

    Hi from DownUnderLand (or is that Australia? How about ‘Down under and a bit off to the right so it’s almost falling off the map’ land?) NZ in case I’m being too obscure.

    Well here we’re OK so far but nervous. The new more infectious strain has shown up in a few quarantined arrivals but hasn’t escaped (yet). Vaccination won’t really start till April, opr something like that. Our Opposition (National Party) is saying it should be starting now (rather unkindly I suspect they’re looking for a ‘point of difference’ and that if it was starting right now, they’d be saying we should wait until it’s been thoroughly proven overseas). But the point is, they’ve chosen to criticise the sufficiency of anti-Covid measures, they obviously see no mileage to be made in pandering to the ‘Covid deniers’. Which is, I think, a good call for them and for the country.

    So anyway, we’re only at Level 1, unless it escapes quarantine. The government has just ordered wearing of masks on public transport (previously only required at higher ‘alert levels’). Curious thing – yesterday I caught the train from Christchurch to Picton and the ferry to Wellington, and though all passengers had been warned by email to bring a mask, nobody wore them. Today, on the train from Wellington to Auckland, they reminded everyone that wearing a mask was compulsory and handed out masks to anyone who hadn’t brought one. A few people were a bit lax about wearing their masks, but nobody (that I saw) objected to wearing them. Was there a change overnight? I don’t know, because I haven’t seen the news for 2 days.

    Anyway, wearing masks has absolutely zero economic impact, unlike lockdowns.     And partial lockdowns are extremely problematic, like trying to fix the leaks in just one end of a boat…

    Dentarthurdent @replies

    I tend to agree with those preceding recent (‘recent’? 20-month-old, so what, it’s all relative isn’t it) comments on Chibnall – his stories are all fairly straightforward heros-&-villains tales, with aliens slotted in for the humans. They’re lacking the flashes of brilliance that the Moff used to inject.

    The Power of Three did have one amazingly original idea – the cubes. I loved them. They were enigmatic, neat, and funny, and the various things they did were a great display of imagination on the part of the writer (or producers. I imagine they probably had an informal discussion group coming up with ideas for nutty things the cubes might do). I imagined the cubes were, in fact, carrying out sophisticated psychological experiments on humans, in the way the mice did on scientists in Hitch-Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. I thought this was going to be a precursor to taking over all of humanity. It seemed a bit of an anti-climax when it turned out that all they cubes (or their creators) wanted was to exterminate humanity – you don’t need extensive in-depth knowledge of a species to do that.

    I think it would have been more coherent if the cubes had been investigating humanity in depth with a view to reaching a verdict on whether humankind merited extermination or not. But if that was the case, I missed it.

    Again, this episode probably suffers by comparison with its neighbours – the preceding western (A Town Called Mercy) – westerns always have high production values, at least if they can afford to go to Spain; and the climactic Angels Take Manhattan.


    Dentarthurdent @replies

    Well, I found this episode to be pretty average, very much what-it-says-on-the-tin. Though it probably also suffers from its placement between the awesome Asylum of the Daleks with its Moffat-esque twist in the tail, and the equally striking A Town Called Mercy (Amy, pointing a gun at the Doctor and she looks as if she really means it).

    The comedy robots were genuinely funny until, shockingly, they killed a dinosaur just to make a point. That was disconcerting. After that, I didn’t even blink when the Doctor let Solomon get blown up, in fact I thought he deserved it – both emotionally (he was a repulsive character) and rationally (he did murder all the Silurians).

    Nefertiti, I loved. I would have dearly liked to see her return as an ongoing companion in later episodes, she would have made a worthy opponent for the Doctor (though, with Amy’s presence, I guess that role might have started to become crowded). I am severely un-woke, but still I disliked the implication that all it needed was a bit of macho egotism from John Riddell to win her interest/companionship. He should have had to work a lot harder than that. I think the episode would have benefitted from rather fewer companions – Amy, Rory, Brian, John Riddell, Nefertiti – too many people! It didn’t leave room to do justice to all of them. (This is reminiscent of Chibnall’s Season 11).

    That’s my 2 cents worth, anyway.

    Dentarthurdent @replies

    @jamjarr     Just to pick up on one point – yes, I really liked Ace too.   I was initially prejudiced against the character because, who calls themselves ‘Ace’?     But Sophie Aldred was great in the role and she really had some ‘chemistry’ with Sylvester McCoy, it shows through in the episodes, and you can see it in their appearances together at Cons.   (There’s quite a lot of footage on Youtube of the various doctors and companions at Cons, which might be worth your while viewing while you’re working through Who).

    Similarly, I thought Sylvester McCoy looked silly, having just seen still pictures of him with his question-mark clothing – again, quite the opposite when I saw him in episodes.    It’s a pity he and Ace didn’t have more time to establish the more substantial storylines they were starting to get.

    Dentarthurdent @replies

    I’ll echo the Happy New Year from here in upside-down-land.    In fact we got to see it first and probably in rather better condition than when it reached you further-from-the-date-line people.   🙂    Since we’re currently not in any sort of lockdown – a circumstance which in normal times would be utterly unremarkable but is a rare good fortune right now – the crowd that watched the fireworks in Auckland may have been the biggest in the world, for the first and probably the only time ever.   When you’re approximately #100 on the list of countries-by-size, you grab these tiny distinctions whenever they come past.

    Here in South Island, the stiff cold onshore breeze finally let up, for the first time in several days – it *is* supposed to be summer here ffs! – so I ventured in for a ‘swim’, which consists mostly of jumping at the four-foot waves in an effort not to be knocked over – it’s actually quite fun.  So there I was in four feet of water and a little sealion floated past, waving his flippers in the air (which I hope is a sign that he was playing in the waves).   First time I’ve seen one that close on New Brighton beach.   I just hope he was a good omen.

    Revolution of the Daleks – I’ll make a wild prediction that it involves a massive retcon.   I expect I’ll find out in a year or two when I view it on DVD  (the thing about the Doctor’s adventures is, they’re timeless, so it doesn’t matter when you watch them).

    Dentarthurdent @replies

    First, best wishes to everyone, I hope you’re all safe (so far as you can be) and not too badly affected by the various lockdowns.

    Here, I’m in Christchurch, NZ South Island, and we just had two noticeably cold days in the middle of summer.   12 degrees C, I think (53 F), which is not all that cold admittedly but still, it should be double that (in Celsius) right now.   More like a nice day in midwinter.   The climate is truly screwed up.   The day we arrived (a week ago) it was beautiful and more people on New Brighton beach than I’ve ever seen before.   (We’re currently Covid-free, by the way).

    @nerys    Best wishes for your Dad, at least he is now recovered? and will be out of isolation in a couple of weeks?   I think Last Christmas  is the best of the specials.   Sarcastic Santa and the elves are a hoot, and the best thing is, they draw attention to how logically impossible they are, and then at the end we find there’s a perfectly rational explanation for them.   I love that.    I can’t watch it myself (all my DVD’s are back home in Auckland) so I’ll just have to think it  🙂

    Dentarthurdent @replies

    I’d echo blenkinsopthebrave’s wishes, and particularly to my relatives, most of whom are in the UK.

    Here in NZ, I’m now in Christchurch, we came down via the Cook Strait ferry, and nobody was wearing masks or thinking much of covid.   The beach yesterday was crowded.   Now this is probably okay since we’ve had no covid cases ‘in the wild’ for a few weeks, but the Government is understandably nervous, looking ‘across the ditch’ at Sydney that currently has 30+ new cases.   Having to lockdown right in the middle of summer, that would be tough.

    janetteb, best wishes to you and hoping the Sydney outbreak doesn’t spread to SA.

    Dentarthurdent @replies


    Thanks for the good wishes.    Our celebration was low-key but satisfying.    (As it happens, Mrs D forgot our very first anniversary (and I remembered it), which set up a very stable scenario – it never mattered which of us forgot an anniversary subsequently.   Mrs D can’t say (accusingly) “You forgot it!” because she did it first.   And I know better than to try to make anything of it because, well, no male ever won that sort of argument.   🙂

    Back to mask designs, yes those feathery leaves are rather elegant.   I can see masks becoming quite the fashion accessory.

    Dentarthurdent @replies

    Hi @janetteb

    We’ve had a ‘check in’ app (in NZ) for about 6 months, but my $18 cellphone is not a smartphone. All it does is calls and texts, which is all I want a phone for. Oh, and it’s even got a camera, which takes pictures which are, surprisingly, not bad, if the light is good enough. I do also have a Samsung S2, but the Covid app won’t run on anything that old. So I take the trouble to manually ‘check in’ at most places, though it’s rarely enforced. But I think you should certainly complain about any place that enforces checking in and doesn’t have a manual option. We’re back down to Level 1 currently, though masks have just been introduced as a requirement on our local buses and trains (previously they were only required at Level 2 or 3). I’m not fond of wearing a mask – it makes my glasses fog up – but I carry one just in case I’m in company.

    We’ve made the necessary Cook Strait ferry bookings for us to go down and stay with our daughter in Christchurch over summer. There’s a risk, if there’s a significant outbreak, that sailings could get cancelled, but better to take that risk than not go at all. In preparation for which I just did the clutch on Mrs D’s Mazda Tribute (aka Ford Escape), what a saga – it’s a 4-wheel-drive, which complicates everything. So I was putting it off but it finally reached the stage where it wouldn’t have got us up the first hill…

    @winston I’m not surprised kids accept wearing masks (often more readily than adults). To them it’s just another form of ‘dressing up’, like the way they happily wear Batman or Lone Ranger masks (well, maybe not Lone Ranger these days, how about Darth Vader?) The good thing about masks is, you can improvise one yourself – have you ever thought of going for the Tom Baker / Osgood look with the scarf?

    As it happens we’re just having a very small impromptu party – a cousin just phoned Mrs D to congratulate us on our xxxth wedding anniversary, which both of us had completely forgotten as usual. Takeaways and a cake grabbed from the supermarket, no expense spared 🙂


    Dentarthurdent @replies


    I got one too, a couple of days ago.   I think it’s ‘phishing’ i.e. a scam.   I’d ignore it.

    (I found the message function on this site has a ‘Delete’ button.   So that’s what i did.  Made like a Cyberman – ‘Delete.   Delete.’    🙂

    Dentarthurdent @replies


    Thanks.  You know, it’s occurred to me that Donald Trump is certainly making sure he’ll be remembered – as the biggest and most spectacular loser ever.   Nobody loses like Trump!   Probably not what he’d like to be remembered for, but it’s entirely self-inflicted.   I have to admit I’d have been secretly disappointed if he’d picked up the phone and conceded the day after polls closed like normal Prez’s.

    Dentarthurdent @replies

    @nerys    I’m so pleased to hear the news about your Dad.   And I’m pleased that he had stuff to keep him occupied if he needed it.   The reason I asked whether he had stuff to keep him occupied mentally is, if I had to go into isolation, I’d be climbing the walls after a couple of hours without something to keep me busy.   For example if we go visiting my wife’s rellies (they all go off chattering for hours) I just take a dreadful French sub-James-Bond novel (I’m learning French by reading it) to keep me busy.

    However, I was forgetting that being sick not only reduces your ability to do things, it also mercifully reduces the urge to be ‘doing something’ (as your dad found).    When I had heart valve repairs a decade ago, I took a few books and a portable CD player with me (because I knew they had TV in the room but the average TV program drives me nuts), but all I actually needed was the CD’s.   It was quite pleasant just lying there comfortably doing nothing and – most significantly – without the guilty feeling that there were things I ought to be doing.

    Re the ‘covid tourists’ I can sympathise with your concerns.    Here in NZ, when we had the ‘first wave’ of Covid, one of the first things they did was put strong travel restrictions in place for the whole country, even in areas that didn’t have cases – simply because all it takes is one person to travel to another region and start spreading it and bingo, you’ve got an outbreak before you even knew it.   (Though I suspect they may not have been enforced very strongly in remote covid-free areas).

    When Auckland had its mini-‘second wave’ (with an epicentre a couple of miles from me) Auckland went to Level 3 (out of 4) while the rest of the country went to level 2.   And travel out of the Auckland area was actually restricted.   There were police roadblocks on all main roads out of Auckland (Auckland is geographically fairly easy to isolate) and people without a legitimate reason to travel (such as, genuinely essential business or they lived elsewhere and were returning home) were turned back.

    This is, literally, what you have to do to control covid outbreaks.   In normal times there would be public outrage over restrictions like that but everyone’s seen the overseas news and we all know how lucky we are to be (almost) covid-free.    Waiting for the vaccine…

    Dentarthurdent @replies


    I was just prompted to order Seasons 2 and 3 of Sherlock.   Bit odd to note that on the cover (Watson) is Dentarthurdent from the movie.   Which I watched the other night and really, it is a bit weak even compared with the TV series.

    My DVD of Survival just arrived, they certainly have put all the extras they could lay their hands on on these old Who reissues.   So I know what I’m watching tonight.

    (Re B5:)    ‘The best is brilliant but there are some cringey moments.’     Exactly like Xena, then.   😉


    Dentarthurdent @replies


    I’ll see you and raise you this:


    Dentarthurdent @replies


    Well of course Blakes 7 is dated, it dates from about the same vintage as early Doctor Who.   And it was notorious for its cardboard sets that would wobble if someone bumped them.    It still had some cool dialogue though (I’m a sucker for clever dialogue and black humour).   In particular the hero (who I take to be Avon) is decidedly NOT a ‘good man’.   And I’m attracted to the irony that, most of the time, there weren’t exactly Seven of them and it didn’t include Blake.   So I think I’ll try a re-watch of some episodes at some point and see how well it’s held up.

    I’ll certainly look into Sherlock a bit more – I’ve just seen the first three episodes and they were quite intriguing.

    Babylon 5 I know very little of.   For some reason the concept of the show doesn’t really appeal to me, I can’t really say why.

    I’m quite baffled by the importance of loo paper.   I keep a stack of it because it’s useful for all sorts of general-purpose uses like cleaning car parts and as a substitute for Kleenex tissues, but if I ran out I’ve got a stack of old newspapers.   In fact weren’t old newspapers hung on a nail the traditional furnishing of an outback ‘dunny’?

    Dentarthurdent @replies

    @bluesqueakpip Odd about the toilet paper. We had the same thing here in New Zealand. I must admit to being moderately guilty, I didn’t go crazy buying it but we were in Christchurch when it all kicked off and we came back up to Auckland with three packs of TP in the back of the wife’s Mazda. Cleaning products all flew off the shelves too, luckily I had seen a litre of isopropyl alcohol in the hardware a few months earlier – first time I’d seen it in ‘bulk’, it usually comes in tiny expensive bottles as ‘keyboard cleaner’ or the like – so I’d bought it.

    @nerys – good to hear about your father. I hope this progresses to a recovery. Does he have anything to keep him occupied – books or Internet? At least Covid is one virus you can’t catch down a phone line (though I’m sure the conspiracy theorists are working on it).

    @janetteb One good thing about masks is, you can make your own. Or even a scarf wrapped around – you could go full Tom Baker 🙂
    I’d be happy to suggest an episode of Xena when the time comes. In case I’m not in contact at that moment, I’ll mention one now – the one most people seem to suggest is ‘The Debt’ 1 and 2, a two-parter in the middle of Season 3. Or anything with the villainess Callisto in it, they’re usually fun.
    It sounds like you have a good long-term project. Mine is – finish re-watching through Xena (I interrupted it to watch right through New Who – and that was a while ago!), then I’ve got The Prisoner, Red Dwarf, Blakes 7, Battlestar Galactica (the new series, not the old one), Farscape, not necessarily in that order. One day I might take a look at Game of Thrones, since everybody else in the universe apparently has.


    Dentarthurdent @replies


    Sorry to hear your weekend is off. Hopefully the lockdown will be brief and you can reschedule your trip.

    I’m not sure what Black Books is?

    Xena is notorious for the uneven ‘quality’ of its episodes, even more than Who. One week it’s Hell Bent, next week it’s Love and Monsters (in Who terms). And from my observation any Xena fan would agree with that statement, even though they’d battle to the death over which was which. 😉

    (Was there ever a fandom that wasn’t a hotbed of dissent and bickering over the storyline and the characters? I haven’t seen one yet).

    Dentarthurdent @replies


    Sadly, there’s no great glowing eye any more, though there was 25,000 years ago – known as the Taupo supervolcano, it was a humongous eruption in the middle of North Island where Lake Taupo is now. I think the lake is in the crater.

    There are (of course) books and probably websites that tell where all the locations for LOTR are. I never really investigated that. On the other hand, if you ever caught Hercules or Xena on TV, I could tell you exactly where the Land of the Amazon Dead and the Gateway to Eternity are   🙂

    Dentarthurdent @replies


    Reminds me of ‘the only water in the forest is the river’   🙂

    I actually lived in Perth (with my parents) from the age of 3 till 6.   (I know West Australia doesn’t really count as ‘Australia’, or so I’ve heard   🙂     But it was too hot and my parents fled back to England for a while (where schoolkids thought I was Australian, I’d picked up a bit of an accent, but it wore off) before trying New Zealand a decade later.   My wife has seen more of Oz than me, she has rellies in Sydney and Melbourne and probably the Gold Coast too.

    Not entirely sure LOTR gives an accurate picture of New Zealand geography  (grin).




    Dentarthurdent @replies


    The ‘outbreak’ in Auckland seems to be under control – it’s limited to about three people. It originated as a ‘leak’ from a quarantine facility – which just shows how sneaky this virus can be. Typically NZ has up to 30 cases at any one time, being overseas arrivals in quarantine – it’s when it leaks out that everyone worries since one case can become a hundred in a matter of days.

    We’re hoping no more significant outbreaks since we’re planning to go to Christchurch in South Island to stay with our daughter over Christmas, which means taking the Cook Strait Ferry. Obviously a serious lockdown could disrupt that. I’ve spent the last few days replacing the clutch on Mrs D’s Mazda Tribute 4WD (same as a Ford Escape), because it wasn’t going to get us to Christchurch otherwise. But what a performance! The workshop manual has more plot twists, red herrings and plot holes than a vintage Doctor Who ep. Seriously – “disconnect gearchange cables (see section 5.4)” So Section 5.4 Gearchange Cables starts by removing the gear lever and taking apart the centre console and gearchange mechanism inside the car, and it was only after doing all this that it occurred to me, what has this got to do with the clutch? – and I realised that the ONLY part of Section 5.4 that applied was Paragraph 5.4.7 ‘remove clips and lift cables off gearbox change levers’. It did this sort of thing to me, or tried to, several times. So it’s been a bit of a saga, I hope when I fire it up tomorrow everything works and I haven’t forgotten something vital.

    I hope you’re able to have your weekend away, even if you have to take precautions. I take it ‘the River’ is the Murray (you’re in South Australia, right? – forgive me if I’ve misremembered). (My grasp of Aussie geography is a bit sketchy, it was only when I just Googled that I realised the Murray comes out east of Adelaide and not in Melbourne or the other ‘obvious’ place at the head of Spencer Gulf (Port Augusta). I’m embarrassed, I thought my geographical knowledge was better than that). But anyway, even a ‘socially distancing’ weekend can be quite pleasant, so best wishes for that.

    Dentarthurdent @replies

    @nerys Can I add my best wishes to the others?

    I was going to say we’re relatively lucky (here in New Zealand) but just to remind us that nowhere is 100% safe, someone just tested positive today in Auckland City and it hasn’t been traced to a known source so everyone’s hopping. (There was a minor outbreak a couple of months ago that caused a month-long partial shutdown of the whole Auckland area). Mrs Dent has decided not to bother going out on the town tonight, somewhat to my relief.

    @blenkinsopthebrave You just reminded me of another excellent episode I should watch (i.e. A Good Man Goes To War). I was going to watch Magician’s Apprentice / Witch’s Familiar tonight but Mrs Dent is watching Youtube videos on the TV. (But I can always resort to watching DVD’s on my laptop with headphones). I’ll add A Good Man to the list. In fact I might make a list of ‘highlight’ episodes to watch roughly in order. There would be about 50 eps in Seasons 1-10 that I’d rate very good to excellent (and I know this because I made a list of all the episodes and prequels and mini-episodes in narrative order and stuck an ‘X’ beside the best ones).


    Dentarthurdent @replies


    The Capaldi Tardis was great, wasn’t it? Lots of space, it was three-dimensional (by which I mean, it was on more than one level, it had stairways and a gallery for actors to walk around – a great set for them to just do acting in). And enough design elements to be visually interesting and convincing as a control room, but clean and uncluttered. If you look at any working control room – the bridge of a ship, the control room of a power station or a major pumping station – they all accommodate various bits of equipment and furniture and machinery for the use and convenience of the crew. Capaldi’s control room was like that, but it also looked capacious, elegant and comfortable.

    The classic ‘white’ Tardis interior (like the one ‘belonging’ to Clara and Me) was elegantly simple but much smaller. Much less opportunity for the actors to move around. I could imagine living in Capaldi’s Tardis, but after a few hours in Clara’s I’d be bouncing off the walls. Of course it’s canon that there were hundreds of rooms leading off the control room, but we rarely got to see them.

    The Eccleston/Tennant interior was larger than the Classic, but cluttered with those odd curvy columns. Essentially one level, it did have a ‘basement’ but it wasn’t really used much. And the console was a bit of a mess. Trying too hard to be ‘organic’. Matt Smith’s Tardis was a bit more multi-level but the interior was even more cluttered. Everything being curving made it hard to see the size of it.

    Then it transformed into the very clean Capaldi-era one (I can’t remember the episode, but it was in Series 7 while Matt Smith was still Doctor, I think?) And you could see the size of it. It acquired the bookcases with Capaldi. And yes, it’s the only one I really like, too.


    Dentarthurdent @replies


    That certainly sounds … weird.

    In fact I was going to elaborate on how weird it all was when I came across the source of that report, on DoctorWhoTV

    Jodie Quits! Julia Foster is the 14th Doctor, with Tennant Back as Companion

    – the thing is, it’s dated April 1st 2020. And reading it with that in mind, I’m fairly sure it’s a hoax.

    (In fact the link, for some reason, brings up a picture explicitly labelled ‘April Fools 2020’ – I don’t know why this is, the article itself doesn’t carry that label).

    Dentarthurdent @replies


    That’s brilliant.   You couldn’t make this stuff up.   (Well, you could, but no-one would believe it).    Four Seasons Total Landscaping is indeed a few yards from a porn shop called Fantasy Island  and just across the road from a crematorium.   The symbolism is irresistible.

    (It really is.   I looked on Streetview, I’m suspicious that way).


    Dentarthurdent @replies


    I think I share your feelings. I watched Season 11 but it didn’t do a lot for me. Season 12 can wait till a DVD boxset comes up at a reasonable price, I’m in no great hurry. Instead, I just rewatched Hell Bent, and then I was going to follow it with Magicians’Apprentice/Witch’s Familiar, but Last Christmas was on the same DVD so I watched that. I’ll do Magician’s Apprentice next.

    Personally, I have nothing against a female Doctor but Whittaker just hasn’t got it. She’s a pleasant Yorkshire lass but no menace, no gravitas. (In pretty much the same way as I could never believe Roger Moore as James Bond until he got a bit older and more mature). Grace, or Tasha Lem of the Church of the Papal Mainframe, or Missy, or Ohila of the Sisterhood of Karn, or Liz 10 for example, would have been credible (if they hadn’t already played other characters, obviously). The other half of the problem is the writing, she talks too much and dithers annoyingly in the face of the enemy. Matt Smith’s doctor initially took ten minutes eating weird stuff (fish fingers etc) but by the end of the first episode he was ordering the Atraxi back just to warn them off. Capaldi spent his first 25 minutes trying to figure out who he was but by the end of the ep he was facing down a millennia-old killer robot. In contrast, Whittaker-Doctor was still dithering all the way through Season 11.

    And the new Tardis interior is – weird.

    So mentally, I regard ‘true Who’ as ending for the moment with Capaldi, and mentally file S11 as a spinoff. That way, I’m less inclined to compare it with Moffatt episodes.

    At least, we still have all of Seasons 1-10 on DVD.

    Dentarthurdent @replies

    Finally!   For what seemed like weeks (but was actually days) typing ‘US election’ into Google gave ‘Biden 264   Trump 214’.   Now it says  290 – 214 which looks decisive.     Anyone sane would concede at this point.

    But I’m reminded of a comment made by a competitor in the America’s Cup, that notoriously litigious boat race:   “We sail around for a bit, then we go to court to find out who won”.

    I don’t think any US President in living memory has done one-tenth as much as Trump to destroy any goodwill, trust or respect for the USA internationally.   Hopefully American foreign policy will now start to resemble something rational and coherent and not just the outcome of last nights tantrum.

    Well, I suppose we can at least extract a bit of schadenfreude in the next few weeks watching the orange buffoon thrashing around desperately trying to avoid being labelled a LOSER.


    Dentarthurdent @replies


    Thanks for that link.    I absolutely love Hell Bent, more than Heaven Sent.  Heaven Sent was a tour de force, but not fun.    Hell Bent was just a visual and narrative delight from start to finish.

    I’m a sucker for genuinely clever dialogue. “How many regenerations did we grant you? I’ve got all night.” Ouch!

    Or the pilot of the huge gunship: “Attention! Will all non-military personnel step away from the Doctor.”
    (Nobody moves.)
    “I repeat. All non-military personnel, please, step away from the Doctor.” (Love that ‘please’)
    “At least move the children away.”
    – When you’re reduced to begging, you’ve lost control of the situation.

    By the way, the gun on that gunship – and the soldiers’ guns, all looked suitably sci-fi but also genuinely realistic and dangerous.

    I love that the dialogue on the diner works on two levels – first time through, it appears as if Clara is the one who doesn’t remember. And on a re-watch, knowing that Clara remembers and the Doctor doesn’t, it still works. I like that.

    I was wondering what to watch (my DVD-with-all-the-extras of Survival hasn’t arrived yet) but that just decided me – I’ll put on Hell Bent. I need cheering up.

    Dentarthurdent @replies

    I first saw a very few early Doctor Who’s.   Possibly even the first ever.   Saw a few later on with Patrick Troughton (who is my canonical ‘Doctor) and a few more with Pertwee, then lost touch.   Never saw McCoy, and in the various still photos I saw I thought he looked rather silly – the question-mark theme didn’t help.   Just recently I saw him ‘live’ for the first time in The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot and was more impressed.   I’ve also since seen a bit of him doing Q&A’s at cons, often with Sophie Aldred, and he’s very quick-witted.   Also, there’s obviously a great chemistry between them.   So I definitely like his Doctor (based on his last three episodes).

    Never saw the Paul McGann movie but – based on The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot and The Night of the Doctor – I think he would have made an excellent Doctor.  He had presence.

    But you may well be right, if Who hadn’t lapsed with the seventh Doctor, it might not have got revived by RTD.   After I lost touch (with Pertwee), the next time I made acquaintance with Who was ‘Rose’.     Watched until about The Eleventh Hour, I have to admit Matt Smith didn’t impress me initially (too young), and lost touch again.   Much later, I saw intriguing references to Capaldi, so I decided to catch up via DVD boxsets and I have to say I now rate the Moffatt years as the best (of nuWho at least).

    But I see the Companion as being at least as important as the Doctor to the story (which is why it never worried me when the Companion became ‘too important’ – a charge often levelled at Clara, for some reason, but it could equally be levelled at Rose, Martha, Donna, or Amy, and probably would apply to Bill if she’d had more than a season).

    Dentarthurdent @replies

    Since there doesn’t seem to be an episode thread for ‘Survival’, I’ll just post my impressions here.

    Well, I’ve just watched Survival, and I enjoyed it. The plot is fairly easy to follow, for some reason it felt like a ninth-Doctor (i.e. Eccleston) episode to me.
    I did like the mental image of Ace as a big cat. Speaking of which, the big cats (cheetahs?) managed to surmount the absurdity factor of moggies on horseback and I actually got quite absorbed in the story.

    And Ace should stop griping, there are far worse places to be stuck than Perivale. Maybe nothing ever happens but it seems to be a very pleasant suburb for it to be not happening in.

    The Doctor, for such a natural comedian, actually managed to convey an air of menace. And Ace starting to turn into one of the feline hunters was entirely believable. In fact the build-up to the final confrontation with the Master, when the Doctor warned Ace that if she fought she’d turn into a hunter permanently, I was half-expecting her to jump on the bike and do just that. It would have been a great exit for a Companion. (Only outside knowledge made me discount that possibility). So now Ace has that dark streak inside her, which is an interesting portent for future episodes.

    I am liking Ace more and more, it’s such a shame that when she and the Doctor stroll off to fresh adventures at the end, we never got to see them.

    I can quite see how fans would have been dismayed at the cancellation, based just on Ghost Light, Fenric and Survival  I’d say the standard was quite high – eminently watchable stories.   (Am I being indulgent towards OldWho?  – I really don’t know).

    (In fact my copy of Survival is an old just-the-bare-episode DVD, I’ve just ordered a copy of the newer release which has a heap of extras on it. Since I’m as stingy as a BBC bean counter, that attests to my liking for the ep).

    Dentarthurdent @replies

    Excellent analysis by PhaseShift up there.

    This is my impressions of the full remastered ‘directors cut’ version off the DVD.

    This is weirder than Ghost Light.
    Some impressions:
    In the first 15 minutes we’ve had: Men in rubber boats speaking what-sounded-like-Italian-to-me but was probably Russian (and on re-listen, yes); confirmed by a document pouch with ‘Konfidentsialno’ on it in Cyrillic; a British military camp; a WW2 codebreaker attempting to decipher Norse runes in the church crypt; an interesting gravestone with the name Millington; and a Commander A H Millington trying to look like Hitler, with swastika flags, being saluted by a British Army soldier…

    I liked the way the Doctor borrowed a sheet of War Office notepaper and typed his own authorisation on it, who needs psychic paper?

    Okay, so the plot threads were more tangled than Ghost Light. I thought it was necessary to destroy the computer that had become infected/programmed with pure evil, but apparently that necessity ceased when evil took over Judson.

    There was so much going on, it was sometimes difficult to tell who the villain(s) were. The Old One? Judson? Commander Millington?
    Millington was certainly unpleasant enough, ordering people shot at the drop of a hat (I appreciated the irony of the Doctor and Ace being rescued by the Russians). I was saddened when Zorin was possessed by Fenric.

    One nitpick occurred to me – how did the Russians (or Millington) think they were going to transport the computer to Moscow? And the Russians decided early on ‘from now on, we speak English’, which was odd, since they weren’t dressed as infiltrators, but very convenient for the viewers I suppose.

    Did anyone else think the Old One had the most beautiful sad eyes?

    The zombies – some of them retained their human form, like Ace’s two friends; some of them were full sea-monster. What was the rule? Had the sea-monster ones been brought with him by the Old One? Or did zombified humans gradually change into seamonsters? If it was explained in the script I missed it.

    Aside from that, I think I’ve got all the plot threads sorted out in my mind now.


    Dentarthurdent @replies

    @janetteb    It seems we have similar views again  🙂

    Human Nature / Family of Blood is good, two of the better eps of Martha’s tenure (though it’s hard to beat Blink, of course.   However Blink is not really a Tennant/Martha episode at all).

    Actually, the hardest thing about ‘three disks’ is stopping at three.   I could think of maybe thirty episodes of nuWho which are very good to excellent  (I’m sure any of us could, too, though obviously our lists would not be identical).

    I found Curse of Fenric to be more bizarre than Ghost Light, in fact.   And the plot threads more convoluted.   It was just slightly tricky working out who the villain was, or rather who or what the villain was inhabiting at any time.   I really can’t see why Ghost Light got the rep of hard-to-follow.

    And (back to Fenric) the vampire zombies – I assumed they all turned into the hideous fish creatures, but Ace’s two friends didn’t, just looked like they’d had a month of wild partying, so I assume the fish-creature zombies had somehow travelled through time along with the Big Bad fish, and vampire victims just kept their original form as zombies.   There were some neat ironic reversals, the Commander looking like Hitler (was this a secret Nazi spy cell?  Apparently not, it was just the Commander overdoing the ‘think-like-the-enemy’ meme);  the Russian soldiers rescuing the Doctor and  Ace from the British Army; the Big Bad Fish turning good but being inhibited by Ace’s faith in the Doctor from finishing off the real villain (I must admit that took me by surprise).   Made it hard to tell who the villain was.   I liked Ace’s role better in Ghost Light, in Fenric there were times when she felt stereotyped domestic, and I always hated those 40’s hairnet bob hairstyles.

    Off to listen to the commentary and the DVD extras now…


    Dentarthurdent @replies

    Well now, I was going to watch ‘Survival’ next after Ghost Light, when I realised Curse of Fenric came in between them so I bought it online and…   it’s just arrived.   2-disc set, and includes a 104-minute re-edited movie-length version with additional CGI and remixed soundtrack (so it says), so that’ll be interesting.   And also a commentary track with McCoy, Sophie Aldred and Nick Parsons who I assume is the villain.    Plenty of DVD goodies.    The only  McCoy/Ace I’ve seen was in Ghost Light last week, but I’ve since seen a little of them in Q&A’s at cons (thanks Youtube) and McCoy in particular strikes me as a very quick-witted actor.

    Oh, hope blenkinsop and winston don’t mind me adding in my choice of desert island disks – after a few seconds’ thought it’d be:

    Asylum of the Daleks – because it’s fun, full of surprises, clever dialogue (I’m a sucker for clever dialogue) and a couple of neat plot twists which Moffatt gave us all clues about and I never saw coming

    Magician’s Apprentice / Witch’s Familiar – also fun, and wild – Capaldi on a tank with an axe, Missy being outrageous  (I’m cheating and counting that as one single double ep)

    The Day of the Doctor – also, fun.   Two Doctors bickering, plus John Hurt, Clara, Osgoods, and The Moment

    If I was allowed a fourth, it’d be Last Christmas, for the sarcastic elves deliberately pointing out how impossible they are and the dream-within-a-dream plot which hangs together logically.   Probably.   I think.

    Oh, they’re all by Moffatt.   What a surprise   🙂

    Well,  on to The Curse of Fenric…



    Dentarthurdent @replies

    I just watched Ghost Light (all three parts). First of OldWho I’ve seen in five decades, first McCoy ep ever.

    I’ve just finished a saga through all of NuWho from Rose to Resolution (end of S11). I recently ordered Survival (as the last of oldWho) and Ghost Light which was said to be deeply weird and incomprehensible. Well, I didn’t find it so, first watch through (without having read any synopses) I could find it quite easy to follow generally, even if some of the fine detail was a little fuzzy. It was multithreaded but with a straight timeline and no more complex than a Moffatt episode, and it felt much more like a Moffatt than a S11 Chibnall. It didn’t have heapings of social commentary, for a start. And on the strength of Ghost Light I’ve just ordered Curse of Fenric, which I will watch in order before Survival.

    The DVD extras and the commentary (by Sophie Aldred/Ace, the writer, the script editor and composer) were very interesting and informative – more so than many new DVD extras. After watching those I now understand the whole story. From the interviews and some fascinating rehearsal/filming footage it’s obvious the whole cast enjoyed making this ep, and McCoy and Aldred had a blast.

    I like McCoy’s Doctor – apparently he was keen for the writers to ‘go darker’ and it’s a great pity the series was canned before he got the chance. And I very much like Ace, she has heaps of character and reminds me a bit of Clara (in assertiveness, not in storyline). She certainly wasn’t going to let herself be overshadowed.

    The sets and production values – especially the Victorian house – were excellent, though of course the 1980’s special effects are just adequate (with a bit of leeway allowed) to not distract too much from the story. Great pity modern FX can’t be pasted in (which of course would be impossible without a full remake). And while a remake was suggested somewhere in this thread – umm, no. The chemistry between the Doc and Ace would be – different, with different actors, and I don’t think it would be fair to McCoy or Sophie. Better to make a genuinely new episode.


    Dentarthurdent @replies

    …  umm, great.   I’d heard Ghost Light got really weird, but I found I could follow it okay.  And Ace certainly held her own.   She reminded a bit of Clara – not in her storyline, but in her attitude.

    Talk of Chibnall going back to the style of Old Who doesn’t stand up, this Old Who ep felt a lot more like a Moffatt ep to me.   It might have been Earth-located, but it wasn’t continually waving Social Conscience at me.

    I liked McCoy and I liked Ace.    Watching the DVD extras, it looks to me as if they got on well together.

    The other OldWho ep I’ve got is the last one, Survival.   Quite looking forward to watching it, now.

    Dentarthurdent @replies

    Okay, I’m watching  Ghost Light.   The first OldWho I’ve seen in decades, first time I’ve ever seen McCoy.   I’m five minutes in so far, and already I like Ace.   I don’t mind that the Doc keeps trying to shut her up, they’re characters, and I’m sure she can look after herself.   We shall see…

    Dentarthurdent @replies

    testing  – oh it is working.   Tried on another thread & it ate my comment.   Sorry for the noise

    Dentarthurdent @replies

    Well that was no Battle of Ranskoor Av Kolos (thank goodness)
    It started well, with a sweeping concept (the Pacific Islands weren’t part of the known world 900 years ago, but I can overlook that) but then it scaled back to something much more mundane.

    Chibnall can’t do dialogue nearly as well as his predecessors. As some reviewer commented, the initial scene with the two archaeologists would have been warming with RTD, funny with the Moff, but just kinda awkward with Chibnall.
    And it had large chunks of East Enders dropped into it – e.g. the scenes with Ryan and his father. Doubtless very touching but it ain’t NuWho. And I’ll defend that contention – almost all domestic scenes with previous NuWho docs this century have been either quite brief, OR have included the Doctor, or both.

    And that bloody microwave oven wasn’t a Chekhov’s gun, it was a Chekhov’s cannon.

    When I realised what the ‘octopus’ was, I was quite apprehensive (and almost offended) by what Chibnall might do with the Daleks; but I have to say, he did quite well, and didn’t perpetrate any massive retconning. I was quite pleased (and surprised) that Lin survived her Dalek experience. I don’t know why the Dalek would leave her alive as a witness but I can invent a reason – it needed her help to settle into its shell and then she crawled away while it was setting up shop – not great but that’ll do.

    The home-made Dalek shell was convincing – though where it got the advanced weapons from in a farm workshop I don’t know, but hey, Dalek magic. It was genuinely frightening in being able to massacre squads of soldiers (I wanted a main battle tank to shoot it with a depleted uranium discarding-sabot round – that would’ve fixed it – but I understand there isn’t always one handy). Its final disposal seemed a bit anticlimactic – lost its grip?

    I still can’t see the 13th Doctor as an alien, just as a Yorkshire lass who talks too much. Not enough gravitas, I think Yaz has more (though this may just be because she has a lot fewer lines). And in fact, as someone noted, why didn’t the Dalek latch onto Yaz instead? It would finally have given Yaz (who I like) something to do, generated some genuine companion danger, and reduced the passenger count. Nothing against Lin (who was good), but the Tardis was getting quite crowded. Especially with that hokey interior with those six bent crystal columns nodding at each other. ‘Bigger on the inside’ worked best when the inside was truly ‘big’.

    Final note – it seems the Doctor has – finally – fixed her problems with the Tardis navigation circuits, which as recently as Witchfinders were all over the place.

    So, reasonably watchable.


    Dentarthurdent @replies

    That is one of my absolute favourite stand-alone episodes.    It is actually a classic tragedy, but with no villain except Time.   Amy seems fated to suffer these glitches of the timeline.

    But it set up a situation at the end where there was no good answer.   The classic ‘trolley problem’.   Far, far worse than just facing terrible consequences, is having to choose between two equally terrible consequences.

    It is magnificently built up.   At first it just looks like the familiar rescue-the-fugitive problem where Rory just has to track down Amy and rescue her from the Handbots.   But then we get the reveal that Amy is now Old Amy and she doesn’t want to lose 36 years of her life.   Awkward.   Amy and Old Amy ‘meet’ and find they quite like each other, sharing common memories.   And then they *both* want to be rescued.   And the Doctor knows this is impossible and is forced into a flat-out lie.   He knows what the consequences are going to be, but what else can he do?

    And then we almost forget that incompatibility, watching the McGuffins of Rory fiddling with wiring and the Amys fighting off the handbots to get back to the Tardis, and start to think the Doctor’s gobbledegook about reality compensators might be true, right until the Doctor shuts the door on Old Amy.   But, at that point, what else could the Doctor do?    The only thing he could have done differently at that point would have been to forbid Rory from opening the door to let Old Amy in, rather than putting it on Rory to decide.   Which might have led to a cataclysmic Doctor-Rory confrontation but wouldn’t have changed the outcome.   And it leaves Old Amy telling Rory not to let her in…

    I just glanced through the transcript before I wrote this to get a couple of recollections straight and I can’t even read that without going a bit sniffly.   An absolute masterpiece of an episode.

    Dentarthurdent @replies

    Hmm,  well I’ve reached the end of S11 with Battle of Ranskoor av Kolos.   The episodes were gradually improving (Demons of the Punjab, Kerblam, It Takes You Away, and I posted my comments on them on the relevant pages) but I’m afraid Ranskoor raised a continual string of nitpicks which I won’t post since the thread for that episode had already noticed most of them.

    Also, I came to this site while watching Season 10 when reading reviews of episodes I really liked, the Guardian’s reviewer gave a pointer to this place as being more positive than the Guardian’s ‘below the line’ comments pages which were full of negativity, so this site was more agreeable to me.   I’m acutely conscious of the irony that with some of the S11 eps I’m actually agreeing with the Guardian ‘below the line’ comments that I previously shunned.   Probably better if I don’t import it to this site.

    So, I’ve still got the New Year (?) ep ‘Resolution’ to watch.   After that, whether I’ll spring for the S12  DVD set I haven’t made up my mind yet, which is the first time in my progression through the eps I’ve queried that.   I might break my usual no-spoilers rule and actually read some S12 reviews to see if it’s worth it.

    However I also have the ‘last of old Who’ eps  Ghost Light  and  Survival  to watch; I’ve never seen a McCoy ep so that will be a new experience.   From all accounts  Ghost Light was really weird so it will be interesting to see if I can follow it.    (Could it be any weirder than ‘Fall Out’, the final ep of The Prisoner, I wonder?)


    Dentarthurdent @replies

    @janetteb    Oh, good.   Makes it worth me posting.     I think I will give it a re-watch.

    In fact I think (as someone suggested) it might have made a better series finale than Ranskoor av Kolos, it had the necessary quality of cosmic peril  (the Solitract potentially destroying the universe),  the ‘book-end’ resolution of the Grace thread, and the cosmic confrontation between the Doctor and the Solitract.    The only narrative oddity I noticed was the cave and Ribbons, which could have been skipped (they could have gone straight through the mirror into Solitract-land), but it didn’t actually contradict any other element of the story.   The location was indeed quite scenic – it was apparently in Wales, with the fjord and further mountains added in post, but very well done.

    (I’ve just watched Ranskoor av Kolos, I wrote a review of that but it was all nitpicks about inconsistencies so I don’t think I’ll post it, most of them were raised by previous commenters in that thread anyway).

    Dentarthurdent @replies

    Well the last page of comments seems to have been about comparative linguistics. Not that I object – fascinating subject.
    But I came here to talk about ‘It Takes You Away’, so I guess I’ll just leave this here:

    Interesting bit of world-building, feels more like the Who I’m used to.
    I still can’t ‘see’ Jodie as an alien, even if she is eating dirt; though I think she improved a lot in this ep. Partly the casting, and partly the writing – it’s taken them a long time to get this far.
    There were a few moments in the ’empty’ house that reached almost ‘Listen’ levels of spookiness.
    Leaving Ryan to mind the blind girl might have been a way for Ryan to improve his non-existent people skills but it was a bit hard on the girl, I thought. I was absolutely sure she was going to use her Differently Abled blind skills to lead them all out of the cave in the dark, kudos to the writers for not doing the obvious.
    Ribbons resembled a leftover from Hercules, or maybe Gollum. I still can’t figure where he came from. And the flesh-moths looked too furry to be properly scary. And what was the deal with the Doctor’s piece of string and Ribbons talk about guiding them, when everybody subsequently found their way between portals with apparent ease? Just a red herring I guess.
    The meeting with Grace was very moving (and so would be the father’s meeting with Trine, but Grace – who we know already – overshadowed that).
    The Solitract – once I got my head around the slightly incoherent explanation and worked out it was a conscious being rather than a phenomena – was an interesting concept. I was quite happy when it turned into a frog, as well that as anything else. I wouldn’t have minded a bit more screentime with the Solitract. But I thought the resolution was just too easy – the Doctor persuades the Solitract to let everyone else go in exchange for her, then in the space of 2 minutes, to let her go too without keeping her promise to tell all. She could (as someone commented) at least have given the Solitract a telepathic information transfer, surely?
    Like most episodes this season, the resolution felt rushed, as if a bit more editing and attending to details would have improved it.
    But overall, this was the most enjoyable episode so far this season. I might watch it again (which was my habit in previous seasons but will be a first for this one).

    Dentarthurdent @replies

    KerblAmazon. Interesting concept for an episode.
    The robots reminded me of the Johnny cab driver in Total Recall.
    The System decided the Doctor’s most suitable aptitude was janitor? That would certainly have evoked some funny/sarcastic dialogue in the Moff’s day – though as someone in this thread pointed out, that would have put the Doc right next to the source of the problem.
    I don’t see any skill from Team Tardis with the bubblewrap packing (okay, major nitpick 🙂 Having clumsily tried wrapping things myself, and having despairingly watched the skill with which shop assistants do it, I noticed this. Ryan at least should have a clue; surely the cast could have been given a quick ten-minute practice run? And they got away with a lot of talking on the job. In fact the first quarter hour was really slow.
    Very good fake-out by the writer, twice in a row, in that the villains weren’t the two human bosses, and it wasn’t the System (although the System was pretty harsh in killing Charlie’s girlfriend in the hope of discouraging him). Although, the Moff would have planted many clues for us – I didn’t notice any in this episode, not even on a re-watch. This was the first ep of Season 11 that I bothered to re-watch; typically, Moffat dialogue would have layers of meaning, and you could enjoy it as much the second time through (when the dialogue would have subtly different undertones of meaning from what you knew was going to happen) as on first acquaintance.
    The Doctor, as usual, talks far too much. And Ryan’s dyspraxia made one of its transitory appearances.
    On re-watch, I think I noticed a few more inconsistencies – why would drone #1 be able to understand the ‘source code’, normally that would be compiled into machine code, which is all a bot would ‘see’, and surely there would have been dozens of updates since. Oddly, that bothers me far more than the magic sonic screwdriver. Though the System hijacked drone #1 to deliver its message anyway (but why couldn’t it have used any of the maintenance bots for that?) And ‘all the power being drained down to Dispatch’ like it was subject to gravity – okay, probably not intended by the writer. And, the system on detecting organic lifeforms entering Dispatch tries to *shoot* them (inaccurately)? That could well have been skipped with no loss of drama. And a soundproof cell and a liquidizer in the basement? Well, maybe it was for product testing and recycling of damaged/obsoleted stock, but a couple of lines of dialogue would have helped (see, I can think of a plausible reason in 20 seconds!)
    But, on the whole, I liked it. I couldn’t care less what ‘message’ it might or might not have been trying to send about workers’ rights or commercialisation or terrorism, which seems to have so divided the commentariat.

    Dentarthurdent @replies

    Hi @janetteb

    Yes, the demons not being evil was a pleasant surprise, particularly since they looked so ferocious.   It was actually quite a clever twist, since they always appeared in the vicinity of someone who had died a violent death, which naturally would make them the prime suspects.

    Reasons for filming in Spain – probably budgetary, as always.   It was shot just 40 miles from ‘A Town Called Mercy’, which of course was also the scene of many famous spaghetti westerns, so I guess much of the necessary location equipment would be available for hire locally.  (I know India has ‘Bollywood’ in Bombay (Mumbai), but the Punjab is 800 miles from there).

    Also, they’d save quite a bit on air fares and flight times.

    It’s surprising how much gear a ‘location’ shoot involves.   Just getting it all on site at the right time must be like planning a major military operation.    A friend and I were wandering through Woodhill Forest (west of Auckland) one day, hunting old ‘Xena’ locations, and we came on a lonely big white truck with no names on it at all, just parked and deserted.   When I touched it I could feel an engine running, but we could hear no sound at all – it was that well silenced.   Very impressive.   There was a thick cable running into the trees which we followed for 300 yards and came upon a film crew who were, as always, polite and friendly but uncommunicative (they always have a few spare minders to stop stray members of the public from walking into shot).   Must have been at least 50 people there.   We worked out later it was ‘Legend of the Seeker’ from Renaissance Pictures.

    I’ve only come across one other location shoot, at The Gap at the south end of Piha beach (my favourite beach).   They too were very polite and offered me coffee and cakes from the lunch tent – I still don’t know what production it was but a lot of stuff has been filmed there and even more at Bethells just to the north.    Which reminds me, it’s spring here in upside-down-land and as soon as my flu-which-is-almost-certainly-not-covid clears up, it’s ‘beach time’ again  🙂

    Dentarthurdent @replies

    Here I am, forever playing catch-up…   anyway, I’ll leave this here, someone may read it some time

    First impressions of Demons:

    What took the Doctor so long to realise they’d landed in northwest India bang on Partition? I mean, the entire audience had surely realised that long before. But maybe we’re all primed to expect that…
    And, even more, howcome the Doctor didn’t realise what was likely to happen when she let Yaz near her granny, considering what happened when s/he took Rose back to see her dad?
    Interesting that the aliens turned out to be benign and benevolent – I quite liked that, although they seem to have borrowed the idea from Testimony (Twice Upon a Time). “It’s not an evil plan. I don’t really know what to do when it isn’t an evil plan” – 12th Doctor, the Jodie doc seems to be encountering non-evil plans quite frequently these days.
    Certainly I thought the writing was a bit crisper than the last few eps, though I still miss Moff’s brilliance or even RTD’s.    The Jodie Doctor continues to be wordy, Moff’s Doctor would have said twice as much in half the words.

    And the actual evil ‘demons’ turned out to be, not aliens, but just people.
    So, they went to Grenada to film this one. South Africa, Spain, for 3 out of 5 eps – wish they’d had a budget like this in the Moffat years.

    But overall, I quite enjoyed this one.

    Dentarthurdent @replies

    I’ve just been reflecting on one quite disturbing development at the start of Season 11 – the Tardis  (and I don’t mean the redecoration).   It was implied in RTD’s days, and made explicit in Moffatt’s, that the Tardis had some sort of close psychic link with the Doctor.   Regenerations sometimes upset the Tardis, for example when Tennant regenerated into Matt Smith, but I don’t think she (it) ever rejected the Doctor?     But in The Woman Who Fell to Earth / Ghost Monument the Tardis dumped the Doctor out the front door at 10,000 feet and went off to sulk halfway across the galaxy.   Can they really trust each other again?

    I’ve just watched The Tsuranga Conundrum, where the Doctor was again separated from the Tardis (though this time, not the Doctor’s or the Tardis’s doing).   I thought the hospital ship looked absolutely fabulous, clean lines and beautiful.   Liked the antimatter drive (though the technical explanation went on a bit long, it could have been cut in half without losing anything).   The Pting made me want to swat it, it looked like an escapee from Farscape.   Crichton or Aeryn would certainly have swatted it.     (Actually, it looked remarkably like the Vork, from ‘Beware of Dog’, though the Vork was in fact benign.   It still got killed though, that was Farscape after all…)    The other plot development, the pregnant man, was a one-line joke that I’m sure has been made many times before and it then predictably turned into the same old pregnancy-won’t-wait story we’ve seen in every soap this side of Jupiter.   I’m just not fond of medical emergencies, I’m squeamish and prefer to leave the gory details of peoples’ insides (and mine, incidentally) to people who are paid to deal with it.   Wasn’t expecting it on Who.  Consider it my equivalent of  ‘spiders’.


    Dentarthurdent @replies

    Hi @janetteb

    Yes, New Zealand has the huge advantage of being an island, and the current government did most of the right things and acted fairly promptly.   We were helped by seeing what was already happening overseas, but also, our current government is fairly popular, which undoubtedly helped greatly.   None of the other mainstream parties could see any political advantage in undermining the Government’s lockdown/quarantine measures.   We’re in the middle of an election right now but most of their criticism has been of the occasional failures of quarantine or quibbling about the management of lockdowns, not questioning the need for them.   So whichever party wins, it’s certain that immigration restrictions, quarantine of arrivals and anyone who tests positive for covid, and lockdowns in the event of any outbreaks, will continue at least until a vaccine is found.   We do have our share of conspiracy theorists and lunatic fringe, but – on this issue at least – there are very few of them, everyone has seen the overseas news.

    Dentarthurdent @replies

    Hi @janetteb

    Spiders. I live in Auckland, NZ (we’re just about to drop back from level 2 Covid to level 1, by the way, Auckland had an outbreak of a couple of dozen cases, mostly only a couple of miles from where I live). But we have very few poisonous spiders and they’re not bad, I think about one person a year gets bitten and no-one dies. We did have lovely (I know you won’t think so) big ‘Avondale spiders’ – I live not far from Avondale – they were Australian Huntsmans that somehow got established. Generally harmless to people, we had one in our garden but I haven’t seen one for years.

    But then, in Australia, *all* the wildlife hates you and wants to kill you, or so I’ve heard 😉 We’re luckier here, I like to walk through the bush and I usually go everywhere barefoot, the worst hazard is common yellow wasps. We also have centipedes, which creep me out far worse than spiders, but I’ve only ever seen one big one (6″) and that was caught by a friend’s kids in their garden in the bush.

    Anyway, Rosa – I just *know* it’s going to be a story with a moral, and while it’s a very worthy story, it isn’t Doctor Who. I watch Doctor Who for escapism. Also, my aversion to preachiness even extends to things I agree with. For example I’m broadly anti-gun, but I don’t need the Doctor telling me so every five minutes. Of course what is ‘preachy’ is very much personal opinion, some of the Daily Mail readership seem to see the mere fact of the Doctor being female, or Yaz’s mum wondering if Yaz and the Doctor have something going on, as pushing all sorts of feminist/gay messages, I don’t notice that unless the script starts belabouring it. There used to be some popular American TV show, now mercifully faded from my memory, where you could guarantee that the last two minutes would be the ‘hero’ telling his listeners (and the audience) what the moral of the story was. Ruined the whole show for me.

    Hope the cat’s visit to the vet was successful, please continue…

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