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October 5, 2006

Review: The Outsiders

Posted on October 5, 2006 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

The Outsiders

In the UK: Tuesday, ITV1, 9pm or something. Ask my PVR.
In the US: For the sake of our national pride, no other country must be allowed to see this programme.

Ah if only all comedies were as funny as The Outsiders. What a shame The Outsiders, starring former EastEnder Nigel Harman, was supposed to be serious: an exciting escapist action drama in the same vein as The Avengers, Mission: Impossible, and Spooks. The kind of show where the Vatican has a secret police force.

Problematically though, everything about The Outsiders seemed calculated to insult the intelligence of everything larger than a single-celled organism, much like the majority of ITV1 shows.

It wasn't so much the plot that was the problem – I've seen far, far worse, although this really had some choice scrapings from the bottom of the cliché barrel. The story, in fact, was very much a rip-off of Alias's Rambaldi plotline, which also featured shadowy organisations trying to find the secret of eternal youth by locating the work of Renaissance artists; there were even frequent trips to continental European nightclubs to avoid the authorities, a trick much beloved of Sidney Bristow. But like all British attempts to do US-style dramas, it was embarrassing in the exact same way as watching someone's dad trying out a particularly tight pair of leather trousers at a local disco.

No, the biggest crime against humanity committed by The Outsiders was the dialogue.

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September 7, 2006

Review: Doctor Who - Red

Posted on September 7, 2006 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

RedAs promised yesterday, here's my review of Red, the latest of the Big Finish Doctor Who audio plays.

Sit down. Be calm. Brace yourself. This one stars Sylvester McCoy and Bonnie Langford.

I do appreciate that to most people of taste and distinction, those words will strike the same kind of terror in your heart as phrases such as “biological warfare”, “plague of rats” and “a very special episode of Blossom”. But, I've said it before and I think it's worth re-iterating again, Bonnie Langford is actually pretty good in these Big Finish stories. It comes to something when you look forward to her stories more than Ace (Sophie Aldred) stories, I know, but the producers really have done wonders with her character: I don't think she screams once in any of her appearances, and in just about every story, the fact that Mel was supposed to be a computer programmer has come in extremely handy. She's actually probably the best and most consistently written of all the audio companions at the moment (possible competitor: Charley Pollard, but she's not been the same since C'rizz arrived).

So don't be too afeared. Red is quite a good story and Bonnie Langford is rather a good companion.

What's that? “What about Sylvester McCoy?” Oh. I was hoping you weren't going to ask that...

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August 29, 2006

And at number 25...

Posted on August 29, 2006 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

Coming up with last few characters in the list of the top 25 TV characters ever has proved harder than I thought. I managed to come up with 23 and 24 yesterday morning. That's caused a bit of a stir over at the Doctor Who LiveJournal forum. Some agreed with my inclusion of Liz Shaw. Some didn't pick up on my tongue-in-cheek style. Oh well.

Anyway, ever since, I've been trying to come up with number 25. You should have seen the look on my wife's face when I explained why I seemed distracted in Sainsbury's: “Well, I'm trying to think up the 25th greatest character in TV history.” “Oh, right....”

I came up with a few options, some of whom might be good for your own lists, if you haven't already got them:

  • Frank Burnside from The Bill
  • Miranda from Sex and the City (thanks Marie)
  • Maggie Forbes from The Gentle Touch (which goes back to my point about how we forget strong female characters in favour of slightly less strong female characters such as Jane Tennison from Prime Suspect, in this case)
  • Dirty Den from EastEnders (until he came back from the dead)
  • Dr Cox from Scrubs (thanks Lisa)
  • Niles Crane from Frasier (thanks again Lisa)
  • Regan from The Sweeney
  • JR from Dallas
  • Matthew Burton from It's Your Move (Jason Bateman showing off some extreme talent at a very early age)
  • Jason King from Department S and Jason King (the original Austin Powers)
  • Kit Curran from The Kit Curran Radio Show
  • Julie Newmar's Catwoman in Batman
  • Basil Fawlty from Fawlty Towers
  • Howling Mad Murdoch from The A-Team
  • Tom Chance from Chance in a Million


Eventually, though, I hit on it. I couldn't believe I'd forgotten him (or is it her)! You might well kick yourself when you hear their name.

At number 25 is...

Jim Bergerac.

Nah. Just kidding it's....

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