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Who embodies the nation?

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The Sunday Times had an interesting article last week about a survey. Young people were asked: Who embodies Britain?

There are some pretty interesting choices, some obvious ones and some questionable ones. Let’s take a look…

The person who embodies the nation the most is, of course, the Queen. 63% of young people thought she embodied Britain perfectly, followed by the Duke of Cambridge and Richard Branson at 57% and 45%. It really shows how influential the Queen is when her grandson is 6% lower than her in the chart.

Queen Elizabeth II

Queen Elizabeth II

Other notable people on the list are J.K. Rowling, Stephen Fry, David Beckham, Mo Farah, Benedict Cumberbatch and DAVID TENNANT! All are great choices, but one person seems to be missing: what about Sir David Attenborough? Surely as the controller of BBC 2 and as someone who has inspired many people to get interested in wildlife and the world, David Attenborough should be on the list.

This led me to think that if people like David Attenborough aren’t on the list, and young people (18-24) are voting, does that mean that they are voting for people who they knew and grew up with? After all, if an 18 year old voted David Tennant, chances are that as a 10 year old, they saw him as the Doctor in 2006 and therefore have grown up with him.

I was surprised that David Attenborough wasn’t on the list. My prediction was that people just don’t watch or appreciate nature programmes and are more used to people this generation rather than last generation.

But anyway, my list of the people who have embodied Britain are:

1) David Attenborough – Because he’s DAVID ATTENBOROUGH!!!! In all seriousness, David Attenborough is a huge influence on me, as I grew up watching his nature programs, with my dad such as Life on Mammals and Planet Earth. I have seen all of the Life series and many other of his programs.

2) Stephen Fry –  He’s a great presenter and is an influence on comedy. I love watching his show, QI.

3) Rowan Atkinson – For playing not one, but two, iconic British character, Mr Bean and Blackadder. Blackadder is a smart character who is surrounded by idiots in various historical settings such as Tudor England, Georgian England and World War I. My favourite episode is the pigeon episode, where Blackadder is put on trial for shooting a messenger pigeon.

4) The Queen – She can parachute into an Olympic stadium. That is awesome! (Of course she didn’t really).

5) JK Rowling – For writing a global phenomenon, Harry Potter, which I have read, watched and listened to, with the audio books read by Stephen Fry.

So these five influential people would be on my list as the people who embody Britain today, but there are other people in history I think represent and embody Britain too -

William Shakespeare, Queen Victoria, Charles Dickens, Charles Darwin, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, HG Wells and Elizabeth I just to name a few.

So who do you think embodies Britain?

A word on game shows

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Today I got back from my grandparents’ house where I stayed for a few days. I did lots of exciting things but the highlight was discovering the weird world of game shows.

You see, there was a time where channels like CBBC would show programs which can be enjoyed by younger and older children, such as The Sarah Jane Adventures (which is one of the best spin offs of Doctor Who ever). But ever since the show stopped, CBBC turned into CBeebies and started showing shows purely for the younger children, leaving a mature 13-year-old like me out of my comfort zone and forcing me to resort to game shows. But, to my surprise, they are some of the most entertaining yet silly types of show ever.

So what is a game show? Typically a host (someone who I’ve never heard of) gets 2-4 celebrities (who I haven’t heard of) or 2-4 random people (who of course I won’t know) and have them fight (metaphorically) their way to a cash prize to either a charity or to themselves in either general knowledge questions. So what is so inherently fun about them?

Well, it’s partly because I know a lot of the answers. Sports, music and most of science I have no idea but geography, history and film, yeah, I know quite a bit. I also learned a few things about general knowledge from them.

Which leads me to my second point: it’s so fun when you know something and the person being questioned doesn’t know it. Then you can laugh when they get kicked off the show for getting an answer wrong. I know I shouldn’t but it’s hilarious.

I counted 47 rounds of applause in an hour-long game.

I counted 47 rounds of applause in an hour-long game.

But there’s one thing which intrigued me was what happened in Golden Balls TV Show. The aim of the game is to get people out and then work with your partner to get money hidden in balls. But here’s the thing… the audience keeps on clapping. I mean it. Every time a number higher than £950 was mentioned, their was a huge round of applause. I counted around 47 rounds of applause in an hour-long game. Seriously, it’s like in Blackadder III when Blackadder annoyed those two actors by saying Macbeth and they had to do a dance every time! Every time a high number was mentioned – clap clap clap clap clap!

What about you? Do you enjoy game shows?

Visit to Southampton Old Cemetery

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On Monday, I went to Southampton on a visit to Southampton Old Cemetery with some of my classmates as we were on a history trip. I found out several interesting facts about the cemetery and the area.

The cemetery was built in the 1840s and over the years, it slowly became an area of over 27 acres. There are hundreds graves there, including 45 from the Titanic disaster. While there are headstones of the people who died on the Titanic, their bodies were never sent to the cemetery because the bodies had sunk with the ship. The headstones are marked with a blue peg.

The Titanic is important to Southampton as the ship made the infamous voyage to America from Southampton harbour and the memorials in the cemetery consist mainly of workers and officers, although one passenger is commemorated there.

There is also a section of land with Belgian and French graves with a memorial. The soldiers were on their way for World War One but they got killed and the bodies were moved here. Lots of families are buried here and several graves have special engravings like badges in the army, and special emblems, including one grave with a harp, showing the person’s love for music.

Belgium graves in Southampton Old cemetery.  Image by Matt via Flickr.

Belgium graves in Southampton Old Cemetery. Image by Matt via Flickr.

I felt very intrigued by a lot of the stories behind the graves and I learned quite a bit about our local cemeteries and their history.

Most anticipated films of 2014

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2014 is officially here. Well actually it’s been here for a whole month, but anyway. A major part of any year are the films. Considering I only saw 5 films in the cinema last year and countless ones on DVD and on television, my goal this year is to watch as many films in the cinema as possible. Here are my most anticipated films of 2014

  • Godzilla

zillagod

I’ll admit it. I’ve never seen a single Godzilla film, so my anticipation of this film is mainly due to the trailer. I’ve always had a thing for giant monsters and rumours has it that Godzilla fights another monster. So Pacific Rim has robots versus monsters, Godzilla will have monster on monster. This better be good!

  • Interstellar

Interstellar_film_logo

 

I love science fiction. Some of my favourite films and television shows are science fiction. With Star Wars VII and Jurassic Park IV still a year away, it’s time for original science fiction to appear, and Interstellar seems to be an original idea. Not much is known other than the fact it’s released near my birthday and the trailer is awesome. Seriously, I haven’t seen a trailer this good in a long time.

  • Guardians of the Galaxy

220px-Guardians_of_the_Galaxy_logo

 

Marvel is stepping away from Earth and going complete sci-fi in August. There’s been no trailer yet (wahhh) but the film sounds so cool. It revolves around well, guardians of the galaxy and this seems completely crazy in a good way. This could be the next huge science fiction thing. Or it couldn’t. But I’m optimistic.

  • Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Captain_America_The_Winter_Soldier

I didn’t see Iron Man 3 but I saw Thor: The Dark World, so this will be the first Marvel film I’ve seen which isn’t a Thor movie (not counting the Avengers). I have the first Captain America on DVD so I’ll have to catch up, but the trailers and posters for this so cool. Also, like Guardians of the Galaxy, the Marvel logo pretty much guarantee that this will be awesome.

So those four are the ones I’m most looking forward to. There will be others through the year but these are top of the list. Are there any films you’re looking forward to?

 

The Scotland debate – Stay or leave?

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Tonight is Burns night, where Scottish people everywhere will celebrate the great poet Robert Burns. But this raises a thought about some recent Scottish news – the debate about whether Scotland will stay as part of the United Kingdom or become its own separate country. I’ve compiled a list of arguments for and against why Scotland should stay part of Britain (also, as I’ve never been to Scotland, I might get some facts wrong. But I think I know enough facts from the news).

Against

uk flag

At this current time, Scotland is one of the four countries which make up the United Kingdom, along with England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Despite this, Scotland has its own education system, money, government and football team. So, if that’s the case, why be independent? You could argue that any major changes that the Prime Minister of England decides is best for all the country that Scotland has to agree with it, and that any major changes that the Scottish government want to do has to be decided by the English government, but they still have lots of freedom within the country. Not everything Hampshire County Council decides has to have Downing Street approval, and Scotland is still allowed lots of freedom as part of another country.

For

scottish flag

Alternatively, if Scotland do become independent, there would be a lot of benefits. First, all the oil and other resources used to make the whole of Britain rich would just be for Scotland, which could let them have lots of money and richness. Scotland will also be able to call their culture completely unique, without having to share their culture with Britain. They will also be able to host their own sporting events such as the Olympics (2024 perhaps?) and the World Cup. They can change their government and make laws without having to consult the rest of the country. They can hold their own identity and run their country however they want and choose whether to join the EU and other global organisations.

The Scottish government will have a referendum later this year to decide if they’re going or staying, so only time will tell. But I hope that they take these considerations into their vote. What do you think? Should Scotland stay with the UK or split to be their own country?

The British Avengers

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avengers

Everyone loves team up movies. The Avengers (which I have actually watched in full now!) pretty much solidified that team up movies are SO cool. Watching characters from different franchises in one movie is so fun. So, what famous characters from Britain could fight to save the world? I’ve got a list of characters from here to form the British Avengers (unoriginal I know, but I can’t be bothered to think up this stuff. I’ve got more important things to do than to think up names)

Well, let’s start with the obvious ones…

wooo

Ok Ok Ok! I’ll go Capaldi, I’ll go! Just calm down! I just need to retrieve my bow tie! The other one!

  •  The Doctor

Was there any doubt? Of any British television icon, the Doctor pretty much rules all. He’s one of the most iconic British icons armed with jammy dodgers, jelly babies, bow ties and speeches. Lots of speeches…wonder how many Capaldi will do. How long till autumn? IWANNASEECAPALDICMONCMONNOTNINEMONTHS!!!! Sorry, let’s continue…

sherlock

Yes I’m looking at you. I may be able to deduce, but if you ask me to fight aliens Doc, I’m outta here!

  • Sherlock Holmes

Sherlock Holmes is to books what the Doctor is to television. While I will admit I’ve never read a Sherlock book, I’ve watched the BBC television series and it is one of the best shows around in my opinion. Let’s face it, EVERYONE has heard of Sherlock Holmes and his trademark deerstalker hat (which was only in the Sherlock Holmes plays). If one British icon deserves to be in the British Avengers, it’s Sherlock! (What an awesome name!)

bond james bond

My bow tie is cooler!

  • Bond, James Bond

Duum Dum Dum Dum… That theme is so cool. James Bond is the perfect description of a British hero. He parachuted out of an airplane with the Queen into the Olympic stadium. I dare you to find one Bond movie which doesn’t show London. One of the movies is called On Her Majesties Secret Service! Bond is one patriotic dude…

harry potter

Any studio wants to copy my success? Hmm? Or is Hollywood going to make original ideas instead of adapting every book in existence?

  •  Harry Potter

You could say Warner Brothers is American, but the books are British, so Harry Potter is allowed to enter the British Avengers. The proof? In the fifth film they go into a red phone box, the seventh film is literally destroying London and he goes to Hogwarts on Platform 9 3/4 in King’s Cross station. That’s so cool…

mr bean

  • Mr Bean

There is a rumor that if you go to the furthest parts of the world and ask someone what famous British fictional icons they’ve seen, they’ll say Mr Bean. He is one of the most universally recognised characters in the world, partly due to the fact that he doesn’t speak so anyone can understand the short episodes which he stars in. Remember in my comedy post about the three rules? Mr Bean just needs to do the third one, situation. Throw in some slapstick and WHAM! Comedy gold!

So a Time Lord, detective, wizard, spy and a guy with a teddy bear is an impressive cast of heroes to defend the world against? But who else? King Arthur? Robin Hood? Or are there any, more obscure British characters I don’t know of?

Why Joseph is underrated

As we are still in the Christmas season, I’ve decided to take a look at a character in the Nativity story who I think is quite underrated. Judging by the title, you should know who I’m talking about.

I mean, in the Nativity Joseph still does stuff, he gets mentioned a lot, the angels talk to him and all that, but I think Mary gets too much attention in the story. Let’s look at what Joseph did-

  • Walk a long way on foot to Bethlehem to get his pregnant fiance somewhere to stay
  • Tried to find somewhere to stay only to be kicked out of everywhere he tries
  • Was forced to pick between his fiance getting killed or divorcing her
  • Had to live with the fact that his son wasn’t his

When most people talk about the Nativity, they talk about Mary and Jesus the most. Joseph only seems to get mentioned in passing or when the story needs to talk about him. I actually think he’s a much more defined character than most of the characters in the Nativity. He believes in a simple way out of things and wants to solve problems in the least harmful way to the person involved. For example, when he finds out Mary is pregnant, instead of getting her killed, he tries to quietly divorce her and get her in the least harm. He is also patient, brave and willing to accept things he might not like. All Mary did was to give birth and look after Jesus (although this could be because the writers of the Gospel didn’t like women).

So overall, I think Joseph needs to be looked at more and given more attention in the story. I think we need to talk more of his side of the story, about what he has to go through, such as his humiliation of having a pregnant fiance and losing his friends and reputation. Oh well, 360 days till next Christmas. Let’s hope Joseph gets mentioned more!

Doctor Who Christmas Special review

Be honest. Who cried? Be honest!

I didn’t! I STILL haven’t cried at Doctor Who. Although believe me, this episode did really try, especially at the regeneration. I found it to be miles better than David Tennant’s regeneration, which I thought was too sappy. Here, the Doctor accepted his regeneration and it is probably the best one yet… OK, don’t have a full clip of the regeneration, speech and the cameo (which I will not spoil) so just watch the episode again because it is good.

Also, like last time, if you haven’t seen the episode yet, then watch it first then read this.

wooo

After four years, we finally get answers to all the loose threads and plot points from the Eleventh Doctor era, like the exploding Tardis, the River Song plot, the cracks and the Silence. They were tied together very nicely to make way for  the main event.

YAY!

Not that yet though! Because we have an hour of awesome shots, a great story and some of the funniest Who moments since the three Doctors bantered in the 50th (guess that wasn’t too long ago).

This episode has some of the coolest imagery and shots in a long time. I didn’t think anything could top the Doctors zapping the Dalek in the 50th but lots of things have. Let’s take a look!

boom

wooo

wooden cybermen=awesome

weeping angel

awesome!

Seriously, so cool! But what about everything else? I really enjoyed how simple the whole scheme was and how the whole of Matt Smith’s era linked together so well. It also told a great story, with charming moments, sad moments, funny moments and clever moments. One thing I really liked was the Doctor staying on the planet to fight. But it’s really the little touches that make this episode, like the music from the Rings of Akhaten (hugely appreciated) in the regeneration scene, the flamethrower Cyberman (which is probably one the coolest things ever), the Doctor’s walking stick (don’t know why, it’s just so cool), Amy’s cameo and that beautiful speech which the Doctor makes before regenerating. The episode was paced really well and perfectly balanced humour and drama like most of the Eleventh Doctor era. (I highlight most as I am talking to that episode which you know I hate and everyone loves).

But let’s not talk about bad episodes, let’s talk about good episodes and the cleverest introduction to a Doctor that I’ve seen.

So we already have four lines for the new Doctor: Kidneys! I don’t like the colour! We’re probably crashing! And the best one of all

DO YOU HAPPEN TO KNOW HOW TO FLY THIS THING!?

How long until autumn?

As for this episode, I think this concludes the Doctor trilogy (Name, Day and Time of the Doctor). All three combined create on of the greatest Who stories ever.

Where I want to go in summer 2014

It’s nearly Christmas! And after Christmas comes six days until the New Year. There are a lot of things to do next year including-

  • Waiting until autumn for Doctor Who Series 8
  • Lots of movies like Captain America 2, X Men 2 and Godzilla
  • Summer holidays and CHRISTMAS!

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Next year, I want to go to a lot of places in the summer. Now, I’ve already done a Top 5 places I want to go post which can be found here, but that was a more abstract list. This is a list of countries I want to go, and with a sentence or two explaining why I want to go there. This is going to be a long list…

Let’s start in Europe 

Iceland

I really want to go here because of the huge geysers which attract hundreds of tourists. There are also humpback whales and other marine animals to see off the shore. There are also great waterfalls and spectacular scenery and it seems like a great place to visit.

Sweden

I love Swedish meatballs, and to go to their place of origin would be great. I’ve also had a huge love of wolverines, capercailies and those kind of Scandinavian animals and it would be nice to explore the European wilderness.

France

Since it’s so close to England, I’ve always suggested going to France during a half term. It’s not just Paris to go to, but several English kings like William the Conqueror are buried there.

Italy

I love Italian food, but who doesn’t? But that’s not the only reason to visit Italy. The world’s smallest country, the Vatican, is there, and the Colosseum will be an amazing place to visit.

OK, I realise if I stick to Europe this will be super long, as every country in Europe is worth visiting as it’s such a varied continent. So let’s explore the rest of the world… here are the Top 5 non-European countries I want to go to in the holidays.

5. USA

its the US of AAAAA

There are so many places in the USA to visit. The Florida Everglades. the Arizona desert, the Grand Canyon, Alaska and of course New York and the Georgia Aquarium. I don’t think going on a huge tour across the country is the right idea as it’ll take up the whole summer but if I was going to go for the first time I would go to the Aquarium (I love marine life) then go to the Everglades in Florida (it is possible, Georgia and Florida are near each other). Why the Everglades? Snapping…turtles. Those two words shouldn’t combine but when they do, it is awesome.

4. South Africa

cape town

With the recent death of Nelson Mandela, I think it would be important to visit the country which he changed. A visit to Robben Island could give in insight into the country’s past. I also love visiting exotic places with interesting scenery and wildlife, which is why I’ve always wanted to go to Africa. In Cape Town there is the world famous Tabletop Mountain and lots of safari parks through the country. I’ve always loved African wildlife.

3. New Zealand

new zealand

Just looking at that picture should explain my reason for wanting to visit this country. New Zealand has some of the most spectacular landscapes in the world. Not only that, but it has some of the coolest animals ever! A sheep eating bird, giant insects, reptiles closely related to dinosaurs (that’s gonna be the closest we’ll get, until Jurassic Park becomes a reality which it WILL) and nocturnal parrots. Sadly most of these are on special island nature reserves, but I’ll find a way to see them.

2. Madagascar

madagascar

Yet another country with awesome animals, Madagascar has the strangest landscape of any country. Just look at that picture. Those trees are so strange. The fossa is one of the coolest things ever next to a T Rex, the God Complex, the flying Kaiju and the kea. It just seems like a fantastic place to visit and there will be lots of great photos because of the surreal landscape and wildlife.

1. Australia

austarlia

Being an island the size of a continent gives the scenery of this country to run wild. Crocodiles, kangaroos, giant cuttlefish, monitor lizards and so much more makes this the place I want to go to the most. I also really want to visit the Great Barrier Reef because it might vanish soon due to the seas warming up and I want to see Ayer’s Rock as it looks amazing. Sydney is somewhere I want to visit, mainly due to that building which everyone knows of…

operaa

Oh, it’s the Opera house! Thought I could keep that joke! It really is an amazing building and I want to visit it.

What other places do you think I should visit? Anywhere closer to home?

Doctor Who Christmas and Series 8: Rumours and confirmed facts

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23 days till Christmas! Yay! The season of goodwill, joy and… watching Matt Smith die in the Doctor Who Christmas special? NO!!! WHY!!! YOU WERE THE BEST!

But since you all know that (and if not then where have you been the last few months?), I have decided to look at rumours and confirmed facts about the Christmas special and Series 8, with Peter Capaldi (the Doctor with the best frown).

Christmas special

  • The special will be called the Time of the Doctor, concluding a trilogy of stories (Name and Day of the Doctor being first and second).
  • A poster has been released-

23 days till CHRISTMAS!

In the poster there is a bell tower pointing at 12, three Silences, a Weeping Angel stuck in the snow and Peter Capaldi’s eyes (YAY) in a fire by Clara (who is wearing a bow tie jacket). Lots to fit in!

  • The monsters will be Weeping Angels, Cybermen, the Silence and Daleks (WHY?????????)
  • A plot synopsis has been released. Sounds awesome! (From the Doctor Who website).

“Orbiting a quiet backwater planet, the massed forces of the universe’s deadliest species gather, drawn to a mysterious message that echoes out to the stars. And amongst them – the Doctor. Rescuing Clara from a family Christmas dinner, the Time Lord and his best friend must learn what this enigmatic signal means for his own fate and that of the universe.”

Oooooooooooo…

Could there be two good Christmas specials in a row? Could there? COULD THERE? We’ll find out in 23 days time.

Series 8

  • So we all know it’ll be the Twelfth Doctor and Clara next year, but rumours are that there will be a third, male companion (We’ll have another Rory! Rory was awesome!) One of the teachers shown at the beginning of Day of the Doctor in Coach Hill School will apparently be joining the TARDIS.
  • A writer confirmed returning is Neil Cross, who wrote Rings of Akhaten (yay) and Hide (blargh). If the script in Series 8 is like the former, we should be getting great stuff. He also did uncredited script writing for Pacific Rim, the awesomest movie of the summer! Does that mean we can get Guillermo del Toro interested in Who? That…would…be…amazing.
  • Speaking of film makers involved with Who, Peter Jackson (director of the Lord of the Rings, which I really really want to see), is interested in Doctor Who. A good script by Toby Whithouse or Neil Gaiman (who has also said he’s developing scripts), could mean an episode filmed in New Zealand.
  • Other writers said to be writing scripts are Jack Lothian, Chris Chibnall (Dinosaurs on a Spaceship guy so yay), author Frank Cottrel Boyce (I know I’ve heard his name somewhere) and Tom Macrea-

that...........thing

GAH! But he’s got a new Doctor and new companion to work a brilliant script around. So I’m willing to let the past misstep behind if the episode is great.

So that leaves the question: why are Toby Whithouse, Richard Curtis or Paul Cornell not doing scripts? They’re some of the best writers that Doctor Who has. Don’t waste great talent!

So, those are some basic facts about upcoming Who. Looking forward to it!

Some of these facts were from Doctor Who TV, others from the Series 8 page on Wikipedia (I don’t know where they get their sources from).

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