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The Ladykillers theatre review

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On Saturday my parents and I forfeited Doctor Who (BLASPHEMY!!) to watch a local theatre performance by the Chameleon Theatre Company in Chandler’s Ford of Eastleigh. It was a performance of The Ladykillers and, as a favour for my mum (not that I’d usually do favours for her), I’ll review it.

The story revolves around five bank robbers consisting of ‘Professor’ Marcus, ‘Major’ Courtney, the comedic Mr Robinson, the dumb ex-boxer One-Round (aka Mr Lawson) and the gangster Louis. They go undercover to construct a plan to rob a security van, and set up base by living with Mrs Wilberforce, an old lady who the ‘Professor’ has tricked into thinking that they are innocent musicians who need complete concentration to work.

Are they true musicians? Funny scene from The Ladykillers by Chameleon Theatre Company in Chandler's Ford, Eastleigh.

Are they true musicians? Funny scene from The Ladykillers by Chameleon Theatre Company in Chandler’s Ford, Eastleigh.

The robbers all hate each other

The funniest part about all this is the fact that the five main robbers are all completely different and it’s obvious that many of them hate each other. Marcus, as the team leader, struggles the most to keep the team under control and to stop one of the others from revealing their true intentions. This leads to many hilarious moments including a scene where Marcus has to mime actions to Harry Robinson, only for Harry to mess it up completely. The scene in question has Harry trying to tell Mrs Wilberforce that he has a sick mum, and that she is blind and mad, not understanding Marcus. Marcus, understandably annoyed, places his face in his hands and Harry misinterprets this as Marcus trying to mime the fact that Harry’s mum constantly washes her face.

Professor Marcus is played by Matthew Meehan.

Professor Marcus is played by Matthew Meehan.

Harry himself is the joker of the pack, suffering from OCD, which creates a brilliant running gag of him frequently cleaning up the house. This is a complete contrast to Louis, an ultra serious criminal who is taking the whole situation too seriously and believes that Mrs Wilberforce will ruin the plan and that Marcus hasn’t planned it out (turns out he’s right). Despite this, Louis is absolutely terrified of old ladies, and with plenty of them in the story, it makes his life pretty miserable. The ‘General’ is the bumbling war veteran who is the first one to die. He tries to get away with the money by himself when the plan goes wrong and ends up on a train track. Well, in fact they all do, except for Mrs Wilberforce, who gets all the money in the end.

My favourite character, the very dumb One Round.

My favourite character, the very dumb One Round.

My favourite ‘dumb’ character

And that leaves One Round, easily my favourite character. The reason he’s my favourite is because I always like the dumb characters in these sort of things. His lack of understanding of the situation, his repetition of “Am I Mr Lawson?” and his protection of Mrs Wilberforce is just great, and he’s the only character in the whole play who actually changes as the story goes on. Mrs Wilberforce herself is hilarious, as she has no knowledge of the situation until One Round accidentally reveals that they have just robbed the bank. Oh yeah, and she has a diseased parrot called General Gordon.

The Ladykillers - Five robbers are grinning from the cupboard - "We are discussing (about the music / robbery)."

The Ladykillers – Five robbers are grinning from the cupboard – “We are discussing (about the music / robbery).”

There are lots of funny moments, so here are my top 5-

5. The aforementioned washing the face scene.

4. When they come back from the robbery and Louis is worried that one of them will betray the others. Suddenly Marcus came out of the toilet.

3. The discussion about which Friday the ‘musicians’ are meant to play.

2. Everything One Round says.

1. When they all hide in the cupboard when the policeman comes into the house, only for Mrs Wilberforce to open the door and they all stare at her, grinning.

 

The Ladykillers: hilarious.

The Ladykillers: hilarious.

Overall, this is a great play. If you missed it then it’s a shame but there are performances every few months at the Richie Memorial Centre in Chandler’s Ford.

Finally, did you know that in the original production of the play, Marcus was played by the 12th Doctor Peter Capaldi – the Doctor being a robber, where have I seen it before?

(Note: Image credit: All images are by Keith Taylor, a member of Winchester Photographic Society.)

Why do people like being scared?

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It’s October time! If you were any normal person my age, you will probably be counting down the days until Halloween. But, seeing how I’m the self-appointed “Scrooge of Halloween”, I’m not. In fact I already expressed my reasons why I don’t like it last year. But, that was a year ago, so seeing how it’s Halloween time again, I felt like it was time to delve into something deeper- Why DO people like being scared?

pumpkin-84687__180

 

This isn’t just a question for Halloween, but a question in general. People love traumatising themselves watching scary movies, reading horror stories and picturing something horrible standing behind them…

empty child

BOO!!

Gotcha there! But that’s the thing. People love this. Now I’m not saying I don’t do this. When I went to Singapore two years ago, I marathoned through volumes of True Singapore Ghost Stories. Some of them were scary, some weren’t. So why do people do this? In Doctor Who, people always anticipate the scary episodes. Every horror movie is hugely hyped. I think you get the point now. I have several theories as to why this mentality is so popular.

First of all, I think that being scared by fiction is preparation for getting scared in reality. Watching the Empty Child on telly is not going to be as scary as being in a dark forest, with no lights and creepy sounds. Genuine fear is very rare and traumatising for some and fiction is never going to be as scary. People enjoy watching scary movies because they can be assured that those creatures and ghosts do not exist and can therefore not be as afraid of real life. In the natural world, cats and other creatures respond to fear by making themselves bigger and making noises. This is shown in humans as when humans get scared, the hairs on the back of their head stand up, they start sweating and get more defensive. It’s just a natural occurrence in all animals, which could explain people’s obsession with fear.

Another reason is that it’s fun. You get scared by the Weeping Angels (I know the examples are all Doctor Who references but I don’t watch horror movies), and after the episode you discuss how awesome the whole thing is. The memory of being scared is just an after thought. After a whole week of hard work, people deserve to have their heart pumping and have excitement thrown at them.

So that’s why I believe people like being scared and one reason why Halloween is such a big deal. As for my Doctor Who reviews? Well, as they take a lot of time, I’ve decided to wait until the series is over and then do a post about how Series 8 develops the Doctor. My next post will either be my earliest Doctor Who memories or a post on why I love Eastleigh, Southampton and Winchester.

Top 5 favourite Doctors

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I know normally this is the time for the Doctor Who episode review, but I still need time to think the latest episode over. Still, I thought it was really, really, really, really good, but the reason why the review is not here is because I need time to analyse it. Yes, that’s right, analysis! It’s THAT good.

So, it gives me an opportunity to do a post I’ve always wanted to do. So, with 13 Doctors, which ones are my favourites? If you know me you should know my favourite, but there are other Doctors who are equally as awesome. Let’s start off with the adventurer…

The Tenth Doctor, David Tennant

“Allons-y!”

 

Yes, it’s everyone’s favourite Doctor kicking off the list. One of the many reasons I like the Tenth is that he can go through so much without saying a word. The image above is from The Family of Blood, and without words you can see that he is angry. But he’s also fun loving (especially in Series 2) and caring, willing to give even people like Davros and the Master a chance to redeem themselves.

Despite losing so many people, with Rose permanently trapped in a parallel dimension, Martha leaving to look after her family and Donna having her memory wiped, the Doctor still remained optimistic and adventurous, throwing himself into adventures always with a cheeky grin on his face and mumbling science mumbo-jumbo in rapid succession. My favourite stories from his era include Silence in The Library/Forest of the Dead, Human Nature/The Family of Blood, The Waters of Mars, School Reunion and The Fires of Pompeii.

And now, it’s time for the time travelling eccentric…

The Fourth Doctor, Tom Baker

“Would you like a jelly baby?”

would you like a jelly baby

 

Before Tennant, Baker was arguably the most iconic Doctor (Well, why else would he be the only Classic Doctor Who actor to appear in the 50th?). His obvious alien nature, his quirky dress sense and his ability to change emotions in the space of a sentence truly makes the Fourth Doctor one of my favourites. He’s just impossible to dislike, as he would bounce up and down like a child and save the day before the villains even knew what had happened. This Doctor was always an outsider, as even when he was on Gallifrey he would stand out.

He too was subject to moments of darkness, but his bursts of rage contrasts his bubbly outer persona so well it never seems out of place. He was equally delighted in being held at gunpoint as he was sitting in the Tardis playing chess with K9. I’m currently having a marathon through his era with my Dad, so I’ve seen nearly all of his stories, with my favourites being Genesis of the Daleks, The Seeds of Doom, The Deadly Assasin, Image of the Fendhal and City of Death.

And now, it’s time to move onto the James Bond of Doctors…

The Third Doctor, Jon Pertwee

“Reverse the polarity of the neutron flow”

you sir are a nitwit

 

Stuck on Earth for the majority of his era, the Third Doctor was unlike any other incarnation, driving around in his car Bessie with a cloak billowing behind his back, ready to use Venusian Aikido on anyone standing in his way. Arguably the most violent incarnation (though the War Doctor might have topped that position), this Doctor was also armed with UNIT, a lab and a mouthful of sarcastic quips.

More like an Earth scientist than a Time Lord, his attitude is one of annoyance at being stuck on Earth, though as he gains re-control of the Tardis he loosens up and begins to accept Earth as a home. In fact, I like to believe the Doctor’s current love of Earth steams from his time working for UNIT. Oh, and the Third Doctor can’t be mentioned without mentioning the Master, whose rivalry with each other remains unmatched in Who history. My favourite Third Doctor stories include the Curse of Peladon, Planet of the Spiders, The Sea Devils, Terror of the Autons and The Green Death.

And now, make way for the mysterious manipulator of Time…

The Seventh Doctor, Sylvester McCoy

“Unlimited rice pudding, etc, etc?”

 

 

I’ll admit, the Seventh Doctor is probably the first Doctor I remember seeing (Remembrance of the Daleks I think I saw). Even though my love for this Doctor stems from his final season, I understand that many people dislike the Seventh due to his first season. However, he is one of my favourites simply because he seems so Doctorly. He treats every mistake as a lesson, and rather than using violence uses words and cunning manipulation to trick people. When he walks into a room, he already has everything planned out, and uses his vulnerability to fool his opponents.

People describe this Doctor as the chess master Doctor, which is a perfect description. He plans all his moves and will convert any uncontrollable situation into one which he has total control over. He hated violence (a stark contrast to the Third) and will use any means to achieve his own gain, even manipulating his companion Ace to figure out the mystery behind her, in what was one of the biggest story arcs in the Classic Series. Because the series was cancelled during the Seventh’s era, he didn’t have as many stories as the others on this list, but my favourites are Remembrance of the Daleks, Battlefield, The Curse of Fenric, Ghost Light and Survival, the latter four all consisted of his final season.

And now, my favourite. It’s time for the madman in a box…

The Eleventh Doctor, Matt Smith

“Geronimo!”

hello i'm the doctor

 

My favourite Doctor is also the era which made me a mad Who fan. Sure, I had seen David Tennant, but it wasn’t until Matt Smith where I truly became MAD about Doctor Who. Without him, I would never had been interested in Classic Who as much as I am now. Everything about the Eleventh Doctor seems made to suit me; his off beat manner, his optimism, his humorous comments, his manner of moving and speaking all come together into a Doctor which is just perfect to me. His personality truly changed during his run.

He started off as a madman who would hide his brilliance underneath a playful image, but during Series 6 and with the loss of Amy and Rory, he became a man tired of playing around and aimed to become a defender of the universe however bad it was. He stopped being a child inside a man’s body and turned into an old man inside a young body, who had seen so much evil yet hid it. His era was truly brilliant, and many of my all time favourite stories are from his era, including Vincent and the Doctor, The Doctor’s Wife, The Impossible Astronaught/Day of the Moon, The Doctor trilogy and of course, The God Complex.

So, those are my five favourites. What are yours? Coming soon: KILL THE MOON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

The Caretaker episode review (Spoilers)

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How much would you want the Doctor to be your caretaker? Answer: I would very much. In this episode, not only are we half way through the series (ALREADY?!), but we have yet another great story. Seriously, why is this series so good?

This week, the explosions and monsters take a backseat as the episode focuses more on relationships. The Doctor goes undercover as the school caretaker in the school where Clara works. He is determined to stop the deadly Skovox Blitzer, a high tech robot, from destroying the school. Unfortunately, this means clashing with Clara’s personal life and, in turn, meeting her boyfriend, Danny Pink. This results in the Doctor’s hatred of soldiers coming full front and creating an interesting dynamic.

It’s obvious that the Doctor cares about Clara, and it’s hilarious when he thinks that the Matt Smith look alike is her boyfriend. However, the relationship becomes more interesting when Danny becomes involved, as he discovers what the Doctor thinks of him and of soldiers in general. The Third Doctor may have teamed up with UNIT many times, but after spending hundreds of years in conflict and warfare, the Doctor now has every right to hate soldiers. It’s just like with Robin Ho0d- in that case, the Doctor hated the idea of a perfect hero as he knew that he cannot be that, and in this episode he hates the idea of people following orders and people being controlled, as he knows that he himself is bound to the laws of time, the very thing which drove David Tennant’s Doctor over the edge. This series is just full of ideas that develop the Doctor.

This episode develops all the characters, so much so that the alien threat is barely in the story. Now, that’s not a bad thing, as plenty of episodes like Human Nature, School Reunion and Vincent and the Doctor have the alien activity as a backdrop to the drama, but in this case, the threat really isn’t much. The Blitzer is meant to be on of the deadliest killing machines ever invented, but it kills one person. The Raston Warrior Robot from The Five Doctors in 1983 killed an armada of Cybermen. The monster in this episode really didn’t feel very threatening, despite the Blitzer looking great. I appreciate the use of practical effects in this series, meaning that the CGI creatures like the T-Rex and the upcoming spiders look better than previous stories. It’s this reason why the story gets an 8/10.

While the episode is stand alone, the ending is really something else. After a three week absence Missy returns, although it seems the ‘Promised Land’ is now picking up people wherever they are. It’s a great tease to an intriguing story arc. There are also hints to the Doctor’s dark side, which will come full force in this week’s episode. Speaking of which…

So, since we’re halfway through the series, time for a recap. Which of the six stories do you like the most? For me, it’s Listen, Robot of Sherwood and this episode so far, but that should change. What do you think? Be sure to  say what you think is the best below!

Coming up: My five favourite Doctors!

5 extinct animals I want back from the dead

Ladies and gentlemen, I have done a post which ISN’T Doctor Who! So, let’s dive into the realm of prehistory! For the purposes of this post, I will not have dinosaurs, as who doesn’t want dinosaurs back (provided the fences actually work). I will instead focus on animals before and after the dinosaurs which I want brought back.

Megatherium

Megatherum DB
A giant, meat eating sloth the size of an elephant which once lived in South America. That sentence alone shows why this awesome animal deserves to come back from the dead. There are still huge chunks of South America uninhabited by humans and plenty of food to eat. If you’ve seen Walking with Beasts, then you know how cool the Megatherium is. Its name literally means “great beast”.

Terror birds

Paraphysornis BW-2r

It doesn’t matter what kind, but these creatures need to come back. Giant carnivorous birds, complete with huge, hooked beaks, giant feet and just looking awesome. There are two birds which are pretty close to the terror bird. One is the secretary bird in Africa, and the other is the shoebill, also in Africa. Just imagine a bird like that, except 3 metres tall!

Gorgonops

Gorgonops whaitsii1

This is hard to describe. A pre-dinosaur predator which is half mammal, half reptile, over 3 metres long and which has sabre-fangs. Who would like to see that? ME! Sure it may be dangerous, but a nice desert could contain them and ensure that the world still has awesome predators. This is the only pre-Mesozoic creature on the list, but it sure is a great one!

Thylacine

Thylacine stamp

This is a bit of an odd one, as many people both in Tasmania and mainland Australia have claimed to have seen this apparently extinct creature alive and well. But assuming it is extinct, I still want it to be brought back (forget the how to do it part). What would be cool about this is that there’d be a proper marsupial predator, as well as an incredibly cool creature. Seeing how it went extinct in 1936 (the last thylacine was kept in a zoo), it is possible that a) it still could be a living species and b) if not, a chance of cloning.

Titanoboa

Titanoboa by Ryan Somma. Image via <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/ideonexus/6890467678/">Flickr</a>.

Titanoboa by Ryan Somma. Image via Flickr.

A 12 metre snake. I’ll repeat that. A 12 METRE SNAKE! Admittedly this one is entirely personal, but there’s something about snakes I love. A giant snake. That’s all I need to say.

So, those are 5 prehistoric creatures I want back from the dead. What are yours?

Time Heist spoilery review

Nearly halfway through the series already! One more week before the halfway point. How is the latest episode?

Honestly, like the rest of the series, it’s great. But unlike the rest of the series, I don’t really have much to say. It’s really good, but while episodes like Listen and Robot of Sherwood had things to discuss in terms of a multi-layered script, this can just be discussed in terms of how well it’s made and how fun it is.

The episode basically has the Doctor and Clara go bank robber along with a cyborg and shapeshifter (think Rogue and Mystique from X-Men combined). What is intriguing about this is that they have had their memory wiped, so they don’t know why they have to rob the bank. This adds an ongoing mystery to the episode as to what they need to do and who the Architect, the hooded person giving them instructions, is. Throw in a monster which can detect guilt and turn people’s brains into soup and you have a great story.

What I like about this is how it isn’t too complex or confusing. It would have been so easy for it to have been a time travel, timey wimey story which confuses the audience, but for the most part it’s a straight-forward plot with great direction and pacing (seriously, the pacing in the last few episodes have been perfect). Another thing is the fact that the characters are likeable. While the Doctor isn’t as moody as he is in Into the Dalek or Listen, he’s still a huge contrast to his predecessor. But while it took five episodes for Matt Smith to “be” the Doctor, Capaldi became the Doctor three episodes in for me. It wasn’t until the spoon fight where I said “That’s the Doctor”. Though “She cares so I don’t have to” and “Hello rusty old robots from the dawn of time” were close.

The Teller is one of the best monsters in recent Doctor Who, easily the best alien design since the Silence. The scene where it pursued Clara reminded me of the God Complex (which is a very, very, very good thing), and it provided genuine tension. And with the Teller and the upcoming Skovox Blitzer, spider creatures and the Mummy, things seem great from the creature department.

The side characters are also interesting. Psi, the cyborg, is interesting because he wiped the memory of his family and doesn’t know what happened, while Saibra, the shapeshifter, is interesting because of her inability to touch people. Both are likeable and very well written, as they didn’t feel tacked on to the plot.

If the is one thing I would have like to see expanded though, it’s the Teller’s guilt detection. The Doctor has tons of guilt, not just from the Time War but through all his lives. I would have loved to see the Doctor confront his guilt. The final third of the episode is also weird. While the first two thirds were easy to follow, the episode really confused me in the final part. What was the main plan? Was it to redeem Karabraxos? To unite the Teller with its mate? (also we’re doing the “love” thing from Hide again? Urgh, of all the episodes to take inspiration from…) Was it to gain the Doctor’s reward, whatever it was? I would have loved to see just a heist episode, where it turned out the Architect was someone else (Missy or one of her goons? Or maybe it could have been an ongoing mystery). I like the idea of the Doctor setting everything up though and wiping his memory. It felt like Now You See Me, a movie with a similar revelation.

Overall, this episode was yet another great one. While it may have been confusing at the end, it still is a fun and exciting story which gets an 8/10. Can this series get any better? Well, Kill the Moon is coming up, but first we have…

Listen review. (HUMONGOUS SPOILERS)

Normally I do my Doctor Who reviews a couple of days after the episode. But this episode is so talked about and acclaimed, I feel like I need to talk about it now. This is easily the best episode of the series so far, and could very well be one of my favourites overall.

The episode deals with a very simple question- is anyone truly alone? What if everyone had a dream about the monster under the bed? It deals with fear of the unknown, which is the main idea through the episode. It’s easy to see why Robot of Sherwood was broadcast first; a light-hearted adventure feels needed after an episode like this. An episode which, for the first time since Series 6, is truly creepy.

The Doctor is at his most interesting here. All traces of Matt Smith are gone, instead, Peter Capaldi IS the Doctor, and he’s brilliant as always. I’ve noticed three things which I’ve associated with this Doctor. The first are his lecture-like speeches, the second is his habit of constantly changing suits, and the third is his tendency to write on chalkboards. His catchphrase seems to be “Question is…” followed by the answer. This episode basically revolves around the Doctor’s investigation into the dream about having a monster under the bed and he goes quite mad. There’s no big threat, no alien overlord threatening to consume the world or anything like that. It’s just the Doctor’s obsession about a monster which might not even exist.

And now-the monster. Or the lack of. The “creature” encountered by the Doctor, Clara and the young Danny Pink in his room is extremely creepy. What’s more effective is the fact that the thing under the blanket is covered up. Is it another child playing a trick? Is it an entity which feeds on fear? Or is it something else? It’s great having an unknown monster and playing with the primal fear of the monster under the bed. It also works with the Doctor looking into the door at the end of the universe? Is it just the ship falling apart? Or is it a creature so horrifying it even scares the Doctor? It’s all down to the imagination, which is chillingly effective.

But the best part are the character dynamics. It’s clever how Clara uses the Tardis to try and continue the date with Danny, only for Orson Pink, his descendant, come and causes causes Danny to question Clara (I can’t wait to see how the Doctor will react to Danny when they inevitably meet). The end of the universe portion is incredibly effective, as it shows how a man who is literally the last man alive in the universe reacts in this situation. The Doctor is maniacal by this point, determined to seek out his theory. It all links in with how the Doctor influences and changes people.

And finally, there’s THAT scene. The scene which caused everyone (including me) to jump up and go “GA!” (though not literally). The scene in question revolves around Clara, who has landed the Tardis in a barn (the same barn John Hurt used to try and destroy Gallifrey) and sees the Doctor as a child. It’s shown that the Doctor, as a child, was scared of the dark, of monsters under the bed and of joining the Time Lord academy. It’s here where the Doctor’s influence on Clara in turn allows her to influence him. The speech by Clara basically sums up the greatness of this episode-

Listen. This is just a dream. But very clever people can hear dreams. So please just listen. I know you’re afraid, but being afraid is all right. Because didn’t anybody ever tell you, fear is a superpower? Fear can make you faster, and cleverer and stronger. And one day, you’re going to come back to this barn and on that day you are going to be very afraid indeed. But that’s OK. Because if you’re very wise and very strong, fear doesn’t have to make you cruel or cowardly, fear can you make you kind. It doesn’t matter if there’s nothing under the bed or in the dark so long as you know it’s OK to be afraid of it. So listen. If you listen to nothing else listen to this. You’re always going to be afraid, even if you learn to hide it. Fear is like a companion. A constant companion always there. But that’s ok, as fear can bring is together. Fear can be bring you home. I’m going to leave you something just so you’ll always remember. Fear makes companions of us all.

Grrrr! This episode is so good! It definitely gets a 10/10! Next week’s episode is looking good, but how can it compete…

 

 

Robot of Sherwood review (Spoilers)

So, my most anticipated episode of Series 8 has aired. What do I think? Here’s my review (two days late!)

=D!

The episode is pretty much what the trailers promised to deliver. The Doctor and Clara meet Robin Hood, and they fight against the Sheriff of Nottingham and his robots. Add on top of that the Doctor’s complete refusal to accept Robin Hood’s reality (leading to a great Classic Series reference), and you have an episode which is just pure fun. The closest episode I can compare this to is Dinosaurs on a Spaceship, as both episodes seem made to suit me and what I love (in that case dinosaurs, in this case medieval times).

The main thing to note about this episode is the comedy. While each Matt Smith story (regardless of quality), was hilarious, the two episodes this series have remained moderately dark. There have been jokes (mostly coming from the Doctor’s sarcasm), but neither reach the hilarious style this episode has. The humour is mostly between the Doctor and Robin, with the dark and cold Doctor trapped in a room with a bubbly, fun loving Robin Hood.

The funniest moment of the whole thing is a duel in the beginning of the episode with the two facing off against each other on a bridge. Not only are there Third Doctor references (which is automatically great), but the Doctor shows off his comedic side by unveiling a spoon against Robin Hood. Last of the Time Lords versus the Prince of Thieves.

But beneath this comedic undertones is a clever subtext which shows how clever this episode actually is. While the Doctor is intentionally annoyed by the fact that he has been proven wrong about Robin Hood’s existence, but as the episode goes on he gets annoyed because Robin is to him what he was as the Eleventh Doctor is like, hiding his fears and anger underneath a happy image, while the Doctor is not afraid to show his anger or fear. In short, Robin is the opposite of everything this new Doctor is, which is brilliant.

This is everything I wanted from a medieval episode. There’s sword fights, a great, over the top villain which feels like someone out of the Fourth Doctor era, and a pace is for the first time in ages… perfect. It didn’t feel like anything was missing.

The robots themselves are great, and I like the way the series’s arc is slotted in. It turns out that these robots are also searching for “The Promised Land”, just like the Half Faced Man, and while Missy doesn’t appear in this episode, it is revealed that the “Promised Land” is a planet which robots (and what else?) are searching for. Is it Gallifrey? Too obvious I think. I want answers, but all will be revealed in the series finale.

tihtd

And now, for the Top 5 Doctor lines-

“No damsels in distress, no pretty castles, no such thing as Robin Hood”.

“I am the Doctor, and this is my spoon”.

“A robot. Now we’re talking”.

“You would have been floating around in little laughing bits”.

“Long haired ninny versus robot knights. I know were I’d put my money”.

This episode is just fun, pure fun. While it may not be the deepest story, it’s so well paced and written that it isn’t a problem. I give this episode 9/10. I debated giving it a 10, but 10/10’s are for the episodes which aren’t just great, but REALLY great. Which is exactly what I think the next episode will be-

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N15qtDfix78

Doctor Who and history

So here’s my Friday Doctor Who post-on the day of the episode. Whoops. Anyway, seeing how tonight’s episode will be set in the past, I figured it would be a good idea to show where I’d like the Doctor to go in his travels. But first, let’s examine where the Doctor has been in the series:

In the First Doctor’s era, many stories were entirely historical. But because of those pesky Daleks (DALEKS!), the historical stories vanished by the Second Doctor and the history became a backdrop for science-fiction. However, in the revived series, the historical episodes have become commonplace in every series, with the Doctor meeting historical figures and taking part in historical events. So far in Doctor Who-

Series 1- Victorian Cardiff and World War II London, plus Rose’s childhood.

Series 2- Victorian Scotland, 18th century France and 1953.

Series 3- Elizabethan England, 1930’s New York and 1913.

Series 4- Ancient Rome and 1920’s England.

Series 5- World War II, Venice, 19th century France, Roman Britain.

Series 6- 1969, 18th century pirate ship and Nazi Germany.

Series 7- 19th century America, 1930’s New York (again), the Cold War, Victorian Yorkshire.

And in Series 8 already we have Victorian London and now medieval times. So that’s quite a lot of places and time periods. Why are the historical episodes appealing to me? Well, as I like history, it’s great seeing these historical places unfold on television. It’s also because, like I said, the show started off as a historical/science-fiction show, designed to teach children history. It still does now. How many Doctor Who fans knew about Vincent Van Gogh’s mental torture before Vincent and the Doctor? My guess is not many. So, what interesting places could the Doctor visit?

  • World War I- While the Family of Blood ended with a brief glimpse of the War, the First World War has not been touched in the show. A good story idea could be the Doctor could be trapped in No-Man’s Land, along with some threat. It would make a unique and interesting, not to mention dark, episode. Given the Doctor’s dislike of soldiers, it could add an extra layer by forcing him to work with them. This should be a must for Series 9.
  • Ancient China- This one is admittedly a personal one, but one which could be interesting. The episode could take advantage of China’s mythology (maybe the monster is an Oriental Dragon) and have the Doctor in a team up with the Emperor. It could also incorporate the Monkey myth and use the Great Wall of China as backdrop. This probably won’t happen but it would be cool to see.
  • Ancient Egypt- Even though the Fourth Doctor already fought (robot) mummies, and the Twelfth Doctor will face off against the Mummy in 5 weeks time, an episode in Ancient Egypt would be great. It could have the Doctor and the Pharaoh have an Indiana Jones style adventure inside a pyramid, trying to stop an alien from destroying the world. This would be an interesting episode for sure.
  • Prehistoric times -Again, a bit of a personal one, but an awesome one. While dinosaurs have appeared loads of times in recent years, there hasn’t been an episode set on Cretaceous Earth. Perhaps the Doctor is pursuing a spaceship, and both it and the Tardis crash onto the prehistoic Earth and the Doctor rides a T-Rex into battle? Ok, that last part is silly. I’d wait until Series 10 for this one, as dinosaurs have appeared for the past two seasons.
  • The Cold War- While last year’s Ice Warrior episode was during the 80’s, a 50’s or 60’s set Cold War thriller would be fascinating. A massive conspiracy (Roswell? JFK? The Cuban missile crisis?), the Doctor being a spy for the government and a cool, James Bond like plot would make this episode unique. One reason why I loved the series 6 opener is because of its style and unique plot, in that case the moon landing. I want to see this episode get made.

So those are five time periods I would like the Doctor to visit. I’m sure that there are many other places and time periods that would make for unique episodes. What others could there be? By the time this post comes out, it will be roughly 4 hours till Doctor Who airs, so get ready for the Doctor and Robin Hood…

Into the Dalek review (Spoilers)

Two episodes in, and the Twelfth Doctor is shaping up to be epic. How does his first proper story hold up against the opener? But before we get going…

That stare of the Doctor.

SPOILERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Synopsis

As the episode title shows, this episode shows the Doctor and Clara venturing inside a Dalek, sort of like the Fourth Doctor story The Invisible Enemy. The Doctor finds himself caught in a fight between human soldiers and a fleet of Daleks. The humans have a weapon a Dalek which, according to the Doctor, is “so damaged it became good”. He offers to help go inside the Dalek as he believes that if he can fix this Dalek so that it stays good, he can make the rest of them good. He picks up Clara from her job and they proceed to enter the Dalek…

The main thing to note about this episode is the Doctor. He’s first seen in the episode inside the Tardis, having rescued one of the soldiers from the fight and holding a tray of coffee (the same coffee Clara asked for at the end of last episode). This scene has lots of clever dialogue, as the Doctor literally makes the soldier ask him to take her back to her ship. It’s a great way to show that the Doctor, whatever incarnation, will always try to use non-violence first.

The Doctor

The Doctor in this episode is cold and dark. It’s obvious that he’s still unsure about who he is (hence the “Am I a good man?” scene), but he understands the situation which they’re in. One stand out scene is when he’s inside the Dalek and he tricks a soldier into eating a tracking pill and having him be killed by the Dalek antibodies, allowing him, Clara and the other soldiers a chance to escape the antibodies themselves. This kind of behaviour is definitely not something the Eleventh or Tenth Doctor would have done, making the Twelfth a stark contrast to his predecessors.

What makes the Doctor interesting in this episode though is the fact that despite the fact he is not particularly pleasant in this story, he still has a strong belief that he can make the Daleks good and still has good intentions. When the Dalek turns evil though, he is genuinely upset and even gets slapped by Clara (Capaldi’s lucky, the amount of times Tennant was smacked is a lot more). Despite now being caught in a death machine, he’s still desperate to complete this plan and now aims to make the Dalek good, even if it is just one. However, in the end, the Dalek exterminates all the other Daleks on the ship and remarks to the Doctor “You are a good Dalek”.

Thus, several questions are raised. One: did the Doctor succeed in turning the Dalek good? It exterminated the other Daleks, but that is still wrong. And the second question is all about the final remark the Dalek makes. Both the Doctor and this Dalek have destroyed countless other Daleks in the past, so what makes them different? It’s a great dynamic which should make this Doctor interesting to watch.

The Daleks

The Daleks in this episode are at their coolest. Not only do they actually exterminate people in this episode, but they seem genuinely threatening and have a genuine presence.

The design of the inside of the Dalek is interesting and fun, and the action is a lot more fast paced than last week. The music is also really good and I’m starting to enjoy the new theme now. It has a Classic Who feel to it. This musical track is a stand out-

The episode also shows more of Clara’s life away from the Doctor and also introduces Danny Pink, who will be a major supporting character through the series. However, the beginning and the end of the episode which focuses on him feel strange and don’t link in with the episode. It does raise the fact that he’s a soldier and seeing how the Doctor hates soldiers it would be interesting to see how they will interact in Episode 4.

This leads me to the new segment called “The Top 5 Twelfth Doctor lines in the episode!”. First, the runners-up:

“Don’t be lasagna”

“She cares so I don’t have to”

“He was dead already, I was saving us”

“He’s on the top layer if you want a few words”

And the winner is:

Conclusion (I need to stop using that word it makes the review sound like a test paper)- 9/10 again. There are scenes which didn’t need to be here, but overall it is an interesting look at the Doctor and the Daleks. Onto next week, where I’ll explode in excitement that the Doctor is in medieval England-

 

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