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Some of the best articles on the blog. Typically, these have a picture. It's a low entrance requirement, I know.


May 22, 2008

Today's Joanna Page: David Copperfield

Posted on May 22, 2008 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

Joanna Page in David Copperfield

Today's Joanna Page is David Copperfield, in which she played Dickensian femme fatale Dora Spenlow – her first big role if you ignore the important part of "Servant" (not to be confused with "Servant" or indeed "Servant") in Mike Figgis' somewhat dry and empty yet sexed-up Strindberg adaptation Miss Julie. David Copperfield and Miss Julie mark the beginning of her costume drama period, which includes The Cazalets, To The Ends of the World, The Lost World and, of course, Aladdin at the Old Vic with Sir Ian McKellen, where she played 'Panky'.

Dickens and I never used to get on together. Sure, everyone loves A Christmas Carol: that's a truism. But after struggling manfully with Bleak House at school and my mother's copy of Pickwick Papers at home, I decided I didn't like him – too florid, the characters too grotesque and the Kingsley-esque character naming a major irritant.

But David Copperfield changed all that and we've never looked back. I'm going to rabbit on more about it after the break, to save you from spoilers, although the book's 160 years old now – is that the longest 'spoiler warning' I've given so far?

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May 19, 2008

Review: Doctor Who - 4x7 - The Unicorn and the Wasp

Posted on May 19, 2008 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

The Unicorn and the Wasp

Agatha Christie: the world's favourite novelist. 

Except for me. I bloody hate her. Apart from putting together novels populated by ciphers, who are mere components in intellectual exercises with no resemblance to reality, she single-handedly reduced most of British crime-writing to the same level – a state it didn't recover from for decades, leaving the US to take over and monopolise proper crime-writing.

Even on its own terms though:

  • Miss Marple: pages of no proper clues whatsoever then three pages before the end. "Have you ever noticed the extraordinary resemblance between cipher x and cipher y?" No we bloody haven't because it's a book, Miss Marple, and we haven't had any decent descriptions that would reveal this familial connection and motive for murder.
  • Hercule Poirot: pure anti-Belgian xenophobia.

And let's not get started on The Mousetrap as the ultimate example of inter-changeable Christie characters. 

Some people disagree. Bah, and indeed, humbug to them. They're wrong. I will brook no disagreement on this one. They must think about what they've done until they realise the sheer depth of their wrongness. Yes, even my wife. I won't be telling her that though.

Anyway, this week's Doctor Who. It seems when you want to do an 'homage' to an author, you call Gareth Roberts. Writer of last year's slightly uninvolving Shakespeare Code, he's back again with a moderately better but still similar effort, this time a blatant piece of recidivist pro-Christie propaganda. 

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May 16, 2008

Review: Supernatural - The Official Companion (Season 2)

Posted on May 16, 2008 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

It's competition time again! Woo hoo!

On offer this time is Nicholas Knight's Supernatural - The Official Companion Season 2, which as you might suspect, is a "companion" guide to the second season of Supernatural. Here's the promo blurb:

Supernatural: The Official Companion: Season 2

This official companion is packed with exclusive interviews, photos, behind the scenes secrets, a complete episode guide, plus a color portrait gallery of the stars.

This season 2 official companion features a foreword from producer/director Robert Singer, plus an abundance of exclusive comments and content from series creator and executive producer Eric Kripke. There's a complete season two episode guide, packed in with exclusive interviews, and dozens of photos, including a 16-page color portrait gallery, and behind-the-scenes secrets, including a Meet the Crew section on the writers, editors and make-up designers.

Fans will also find detailed features on the characters and creatures from the show, including a closer look at Creepy Clowns, and you won't want to miss our 22 useful hints for aspiring monster hunters!

Indeed. 

It's pretty much what it says on the tin, here. As with any licensed book or magazine (not just Titan's), you'll find nary a word of dissent or suggestion that any episode was not in fact the best thing to happen to the human race since Adam and Eve left the Garden of Eden – each building on the previous glorious episode until the Rapture of the finale. 

All the same, it's not half bad for what it is. One page bios on supporting actors aren't going to tell you very much at all, and the useful facts about monsters are one of those filler concepts that have been crammed into genre books since practically the dawn of television. But you get some behind-the-scenes facts that are quite interesting, as behind-the-scenes facts go, and you learn about how the story arcing was done, how it progressed, how budget limitations changed it and so on. 

At £9.99, it's possibly a bit pricey for a softback book that's predominantly black and white with a few colour photograph pages. And the writing style is possibly a bit young for a show that's aimed at slightly older teenagers and young adults. But if you're a big lover of Supernatural and want every possible nugget of info possible about the show, it'll do what you want. 

To win a copy of the book, all you have to do is leave a comment below before the 31st May (that's two weeks away), explaining why you deserve it more than anyone else – the most deserving plea will get their pristine copy posted to them ASAP. Or you can just try to amuse me: that'll work, too.

Apologies to overseas readers, but again, the competition's open only to UK residents, since I can't be airmailing these things on my budget. I'm not made of money. 

You can find out more about the book or buy it from Amazon.co.uk.

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