Thursday, February 27, 2014


Uh-oh, spara's gone apeshit! Again! I mean, in terms of sheer volume this is a belter.

The cause? Well, it looks like they might have cast a new companion and the fact that

a) it isn't Ben Chatham
b) it isn't Adam Rickitt
c) it is someone with a lick of a tar brush about them

all combine into a Chavhatefest unseen since School Reunion - and that was mild in comparison!

So, this Samuel Anderson is set to join the cast of Doctor Who. Once again they ignore more obvious actors for the male companion because he is "the right actor for the job". I have made it clear many times before who the more obvious choices for male companion are. My list includes people like Adam Rickitt, Ben Whishaw , Nicholas Hoult and Lee Williams. I find it hard to believe that all are unavailable.

(As one has given up acting, another with public issues about DW and two already in long-running series, this is not quite a conspiracy rivalling JFK.)

As I am a licence fee payer, the BBC has an obligation to give a damn about my opinion.

It also appears that this new man is a love interest for Clara. I suspect is will be another boring relationship sub-plot similar to the Rory-Amy snorefest. Doctor Who does not need this schmuck, just good, intelligent and exciting sci fi plotting.

As I am a viewer and I pay my licence fee and I am a long term fan of Doctor Who I decide what the show needs and doesn't need. Soap style relationship drama should not take precedence over the main plot!

(Yes, remind yourselves, this is the person who invented Ben Chatham saying this.)

It's clear NuWHo has some bizarre interracial agenda. Four out of the five main female companions seen in the new series have at one time been in an interracial relationship. Clearly the casting people at BBC Cardiff have some sort of political agenda, as evidenced by numerous other interracial couples seen in the new series, as well as Torchwood and SJA.

Unfortunately I can't give the ratios of the races of all the actors in Doctor Who as I haven't collated the info. However it is just an impression or sense that there are disproportunate support characters who are black. However it would need to be properly analysed. My impression is that there have, at times, been a disproportionate number of black actors in some Nuwho episodes. I can't remember which ones they are. I rarely re-watch Nuwho stories. My impression stems from a pre-conceived idea of what the BBC is about based on its nature. It is dominated by Guardian reading liberals from middle-class backgrounds.

And what about this character being a teacher? Will they will be depicted as smiley 'student centred' ,OFSTED friendly types who teach via letting the children play card sorting games instead of teaching from the front? Presumably it show "Coal Hill" as a decent private school. Setting it in a state school is not itself a big issue. The problem I suspect will be the trendy teaching methods on show.

Unfortunately Moffat has form for writing about teachers , he did a series called 'Chalk'. What we don't want is trendy teaching methods and mouthy kids being depicted. Ian and Barbara were good teachers. I'd like Clara and Danny to be traditional teachers standing by the board and delivering an academic lesson. Then throughout the series they could periodically return to the classroom to share their new knowledge of history and time travel. I mean wouldn't it be great if in one of the episodes they could get the Doctor to take the Sixth Formers back to see Ancient Rome or the Battle of Waterloo.

Anyway, moving on, this is an important and controversial issue rather than a bland one. One or two would have been proportionate and maybe a few more same sex relationships. However the BBC has a Blairite political agenda and that includes multiculturalism. Another factor is the commercial pressure to expand the ratings in the USA. So every episode has to look like its set in a US urban environment.

I notice that no one disagreeing with me is actually refuting any of the points I made.

Ok, lets look at some actual evidence. Here are the census statistics for the ethnic composition of British society:
Ethnic group 2011 population 2011%

White: Total 55,010,359 87.1
Gypsy/Traveller/ Irish Traveller: Total 63,193 0.1
Asian or Asian British: Indian 1,412,958 2.3
Asian or Asian British: Pakistani 1,174,983 1.9
Asian or Asian British: Bangladeshi 451,529 0.7
Asian or Asian British: Chinese 433,150 0.7
Asian or Asian British: Other Asian 861,815 1.4
Asian or Asian British: Total 4,373,339 4.7
Black or Black British: Total 1,904,684 3.0
Mixed Multiple: Total 1,250,229 2.0
Other Ethnic Group: Total 580,374 0.9
Total 63,182,178 100

As you can see, 3% of the population are black. Add up all the asian groups and it comes to over 8%. Logic dictates that the ratio of black and asian actors in Doctor Who should roughly reflect these proportions. Yet I see far more black actors than the proportions would suggest and less asian actors.

Again you make no effort to deploy any evidence to explain why I am talking nonsense. I presume that all these "academics" saying otherwise are Guardian reading vegan fiftysomethings from the Sociology department of a former Polytechnic.

The BBC is pro-actively trying to expand the US ratings and marketability of Doctor Who. Moffat may be claiming he does not make Doctor Who with foreign sales in mind and does not try and water down the British elements in the show. Hmmm. Yeah right, as the young people say.....

I do not withdraw my claim as I did not make a claim. I advanced a proposition and invited others to test it with evidence and in the light of that evidence a synthesis has emerged.

You cannot generalise about my opinions by refering to your views on other peoples' opinions. Simplistic.

Back on the original topic, I accept the statistical evidence that some have provided that there arn't THAT many interracial relationships in the show. However it does seem like its reached the 'enough' point. Why not more same sex ones?

I am entitled to express an opinion. I am not opposed to mixed race relationships. It would be somewhat hypocritical if I was considering that I support same sex marriage. I mean just a tad incongruous wouldn't you say? The thing people are objecting to is the extent to which they are appearing in the series and the feeling that it is part of some political agenda by the BBC.

There is nothing 'bigoted' in any of the comments that I have made. This thread raises the question of whether the sheer number of inter-racial relationships in Nuwho is unrepresentative of UK society and the result of the BBC pushing political correctness which is a perfectly valid topic for discussion, well that is if you happen to live outside of the po-faced Guardian reading mind trap. Just because I have admitted that it's not doesn't matter. Therefore why not represent society as it is?

They need to get away from the generic 'feisty female with a family'. I'd like a companion who was young, male, sensitive and an Archaeology graduate...

For the last time, it is not my desire to try to be like a normal person!

Yeah, Mark. Good luck with that.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

B7: Full Herculanium Jacket

Has anyone out there got a decent Adobe Acrobat Reader 7 or over I can use? My last one was fried in a computer crash and I have tried to get another but neither love (dodgy free downloads) nor money (legit paying $93 for the latest suite) can get me one that works. I hate everything.

... Oh, well, while I'm blogging I might as well mention that I recently procured rehearsal script for the last episode of Blake's 7! Bwahahaha! What amazing secrets will be unveiled...

...or, you know, not.
  • a shot of a fireball coming up the shaft into Xenon Base which takes out the whole mountain top
  • Blake wears a Travis-style eyepatch
  • Arlen is a teenage girl who is shown to recognize the name Roj Blake
  • Avon sits beside Tarrant aboard Scorpio
  • Chris Boucher was not expecting much of a budget; he lists stock footage be used wherever possible, no model shots, and Scorpio's crash is entirely off-screen
  • Tarrant doesn't try to steady out Scorpio before it crashes, but does scream uncontrollably throughout
  • so much detail is put into describing the fliers and Blake's silo it's a certainty Boucher had an eye for reusing them again, even listing stuff like flyer cargo holds that aren't used in this episode
  • Blake's silo is built into an old mine with freestanding equipment forced into spaces, very similar to Messaline in The Doctor's Daughter. The tracking gallery is effectively a large empty tunnel and Arlen is held prisoner in a spare cave
  • Klyn is an unnamed male technician who has no real relationship with Blake, who gives the impresion of being an uncontrolled dangerous maverik to his own side even when no one is watching. The vibe is that Blake joined Deva's pre-existing group and has no real ties with them; Deva is shown to be ill-at-ease with the famous rebel.
  • the abandoned cabin is like the prefab survival dome Stott used in Nightmare of Eden
  • Tarrant recovers from the crash almost immediately and appears to be in full health for the rest of the episode.
  • the genuine bounty hunters are described as having a Weeping-Angel ability to appear of nowhere around Vila and Arlen, and this is their main strength in overpowering people. The attack on Vila isn't slapstick.
  • Blake is shown examining and dismantling Slave, suggesting that the computer could have been resurrected in Season E
  • Tarrant recovers in one of the flight seats when Blake leaves the diamonds and Arlen's gun right in front of him, as a test to see if Tarrant will try to snatch up the gun and steal the diamonds. When Tarrant doesn't (and points out how obvious and crude this ploy is), Blake is described as displaying his former warmth and charm for the first time.
  • Blake's mention of Jenna is another test, but there is no hint whether her death is true or not. Up yours, Alan Stevens.
  • Arlen's arrival in Deva's office is a drammatic reveal as a door slides open to reveal her in non-Federation uniform
  • There is no reference to Orac after the flier scenes. So we still don't know what happened to him.
  • As the tracking gallery is now a tunnel, the accoustics mean the ever-increasing alarms become deafening. "They must positively shout to make themselves heard here".
  • Avon shoots Blake with his clipgun. There is no blood, and Blake is not described as having been killed.
  • Blake's final words are: "Oh Avon. I didn't take any of them on trust... except you... you are my... only friend." Which freaks Avon out.
  • The explosions from the Federation attack cause the gallery to fill with smoke and debris to rain down from the ceiling (presumably explaining why our heroes are so easily overwhelmed in the confusion).
  • Dayna "goes down" after Arlen fires at her, but is not said to be alive or dead.
  • Vila's fight with Arlen is quite a struggle. He "spins and falls" from an unseen shot, but we don't see a trooper with a smoking gun - suggesting that he did, in fact, just panic and duck and cover.
  • Soolin is the only one described as "shot"
  • Tarrant is "knocked to the ground" by a gunshot. The smoke and explosions as scripted mean we don't see any bodies on the floor bar Blake, and the Federation attack occurs more rapidly. It's more like the shootout in Mindwarp Part 3 and more obviously a cliffhanger
So, less than I thought to discover. Amazing how brief and unemotional the script is in comparison to the actual performances, though...

Anyway. Moving back...


"Battle Tracer or not, I don't take kindly to criticism from someone who comes from Delta-Grade stock! You were born in the baby-farm slums of Outer Europe, weren't you, Mikalov? Parents were municipal workers! Why don't you clean a street, Battle Tracer? Empty a few garbage pods? After all, your father can't any more - your DEAD father. I'm an Alpha-Grade! I'm also a Field Commander with five years' experience on the outpost worlds! I have campaign ribbons for Chenga and Revotil! I shouldn't even be here on this... this... SCHOOL PLANET! So you can call me 'sir', Battle Tracer!"

The second installment of Season BB (no, wait, don't call it that, it's rubbish) kicks off with the crew finishing their stupidly-random quest introduced about of absolutely nowhere in the previous episode, Fractures - to whit, the Federation now have an Orac-style device of their own to track down the Liberator and by jingo by crikey they are going to use it. The only clue to this thing's construction is a woman called Alexei Mikalov, but as they dare not use Orac to search for her they've had to basically check the phone book and facebook records to track down every A. Mikalov they can find - including a rather puzled schoolkid and a psychopath in a maximum security jail who suffocates small animals with his testicles.

At last, our designated heroes have tracked down the only possible Mikalov to her current address - the distant planet of Straxus (which in true B7 fashion of Kaldor, Xenon, Auros, Cygnus A, et all, is already infamous in the Whoniverse as the name of a rather camp Time War era Gallifreyan). However, Straxus is codenamed Battleground 9 and the entire planet has been turned into an extremely violent paintball war game kind of place... if the paintballs were plasma bullets and ICBMs, anyway. Here, the fresh recruits of the Federation are trained to kill and desensitized to violence as they organize war games against a "rebellion" consisting of everyone who isn't sent to Cygnus Alpha.

One such political prisoner is the Governor of Tarsus (mentioned in Traitor, because author Andrew Smith seems to have actually done a bit more research than Justin Richards - though, to be fair, this does add to the ambiance of televised B7), who had an attack of conscience and resisted the Federation. As he's an expert in the Federation military mindset, he's survived on Battleground 9 for longer than any other rebel - four months! He's even got his own non-speaking ragtag army of politicos, crooks and deserters who would probably justify their own spin-off if any of them had any dialogue.

The main badguy this week is a disgraced Federation Captain who has been sent back for retraining because not only is he psychotically violent but subversively stupid (you never think for a second that Travis was considered so dumb he needed a refresher course like this). In a strange quirk, the Captain is played by Dave Starkey - the bloke who now rivals Nick Briggs in dominating both TV Who and BF audios - so the main villain on Straxus is Strax! Classic Terry Nation! Absolutely lampshade!

But Strax - not his name, but I'm feeling sick - is not the endearingly brain-damaged Sontaran but a whining little Daddy's Boy with a huge chip on his shoulder and a severe inferiority complex. So the fact he has to be constantly justifying his monumentally retarded battle plans to a young, former-Delta-grade woman with a higher IQ than Strax can actually count does not make the brave little soldier happy.

Oh, and said woman is Alexei (isn't that a boy's name?) Mikalov. She's a strategic analyst, which means she's like a Carnell style puppeteer only without all the bisexual fourth-wall-Magic-Bullet-arousal stuff. She's trained to predict military reactions with complete impartiality and likes shouting "Advisory!" at Strax in a clearly-defined "No, Baldrick, This Is A Bad Idea" codephrase. Mikalov's job is to be a pro-active Kiff to Strax's Zap Brannigan and, amusingly, this seems to be standard Federation Procedure.

So, as Strax tries and fails to bully Mikalov into passing him and the Governor rouses the rabble, the set is scene for the Liberator to arrive in orbit with a so-over-this-crew aboard. However, Battleground 9 is surrounded by Galaxy-Quest-style space mines which immediately blow the ever-loving crap out of the Liberator and then, with computerized sadism, use EMPs to throttle Zen unconscious and cause absolutely everything to break down and fall apart.

Apparently this is standard Federation defenses. But they've never been used before because they're only on Battleground Planets and this is the first time they've been to one of those. Even Cally is struggling to big up this suicidal plan (or, as Avon calls it, something with all the hallmarks of being thought up by Blake).

Blake teleports down to the planet to find Mikalov and Avon, deciding it's safer down there, goes with him. Alas, he misses Vila redeeming himself for the previous episode by effortlessly creating a jamming field that instantly saves the Liberator and everything on it. Like Stardrive, he's been in shit like this before and he's actually better travelled and more multi-talented than the rest of them put together. As the EMPs work the same way as certain burglar alarms, Vila fucks them up with such effortless badassery that Orac double takes and tells him "Well done."

Oh yes. Vila is the Man of Fist this week.

Of course, this is all undone as instead of getting the hell out of there, the Liberator remains in orbit long enough for the satellites to upgrade a patch and resume battering the shit out of the deep space vehicle. As soon as Avon gets back, he rants that he left these morons alone for five minutes... Of course, he has yet to meet Tarrant and know what REAL incompetence is like.

The rest of the plot flows predictably but not unentertainingly. Blake and Avon arrive in the bombed out pine forests of Straxus and are captured by either sides of the conflict, then Blake leads the rebels to victory (well, leads them to take advantage of the five seconds where Avon takes over the Federation stronghold) before the Federation send in reinforcements and kill everyone.

Blake has eagerly asked the Governor and some of his mute pals to join them on the Liberator, so it comes to absolutely no surprise he decides to stay behind and face death as the rebels teleport to safety. No doubt you're also unshocked that Mikalov, having decided to help the rebels after they wiped out the Shadow dealing busines (aw... so ALL the moondiscs had to die?), is immediately killed before she can help our heroes beyond saying something useful is on an asteroid somewhere she's a bit vague about.

The episode ends on a cliffhanger, with our heroes trapped on a broken down Liberator about to either fall into Straxus' atmosphere or be used as target practice by an approaching fleet of pursuit ships.


Look, I am definitely not in the right mindset to appreciate this particular episode. Not only am I conditioned to expect self-contained episodes or, at the least, the next episode directly afterwards, I was listening to this down by Cook's River where various gardening chemicals were being used and I suddenly became a vomiting extra from GuestHouse Paradiso. So, distracted and unwell but I still laughed at the hilarious dialogue free fight between Avon and Strax, which sounded like it had been sampled from Bottom: Gas.








Strax: Ow!

5/10 (until such time as I am healthy enough to review again)

BLAKE: You cut that very fine, Avon. Did I wake you?

AVON: You've been down there for two hours and the first thing you say is "teleport now". Be grateful I reacted as quickly as I did. Or even at all.
BLAKE: Heh. I like putting my life in your hands, Avon. I like the uncertainty of it.
AVON: Speaking of uncertainty, Mikalov?
BLAKE: Do you want the good news or the bad news?
AVON: I want an answer.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Another Birthday (Quelle Suprise)

Well, with missing cats, lungless cousins, amnesiac computers and food poisoning, it's been a bitch of a week and on top of that, I have chronologically aged another terrestrial year which - as you all know - never brings out the best in this humble blogger.

Thankfully, facebook has allowed nearly a dozen people to be aware of my birthday and they've wished me the traditional acknowledgement. Which is nice. I mean, I could go "where were you bastards earlier?" but the fact is not that they knew, but that they bothered to say anything at all. So, this is nice.

And even sparacus has done a little tribute to me.

posted by sparacus
Feb 4, 2014 at 7:57am
Killing Ben off is not canon.

What a soppy little gobshite.

Still, I'm alive - unlive MLock, which makes me smug on so many different levels it's rather disturbing.