Schedule for the week

John BarrowmanHappy New Year everyone. Did you all have nice holidays? Feeling rested and geared up for another 365 days? Thought so.

Christmas is a funny time. It’s a time for eating and watching loads of television, apparently. I know this because Radio 1 told me so – while simultaneously berating the quality of Christmas TV – as I was driving over the Severn bridge. The funny thing is, despite being MediumRob, I hardly watched any tele.

In part, that’s because of Bastard. ‘Bastard’ is the new name for my PVR. Why am I anthropomorphising my PVR? Because just like the rest of us, it took a break for Christmas. Everything fine until December 23rd but then it took a little rest until I got back on the 28th. Ah diddums.

I managed to catch up a bit thanks to the beauties of digital TV and its constant repeats, but I still have a bit of a backlog of viewing because of my Christmas presents. As a little glimpse into my life (and what people think I’d like for Christmas), here’s a list of all the presents I got that didn’t include ‘voucher’ or ‘chocolate’ in their name.

Not quite as much sci-fi as you might have suspected, huh? I do in fact have more than one layer. Two maybe. I wouldn’t say more than three, though. Anyway, given a choice between watching Stanley Tucci and Daniel Benzali at the height of their acting powers or watching insipid Christmas TV, I plumped for Murder One. And everyone assembled agreed it was the right choice and could they have copies, too? (I said no, because that would be completely illegal).

So I’ve still to make my way through a few shows, and will be bunging up reviews later in the week than might have been expected. It’ll give you all some time to settle in. After the jump are some blipvert-style reviews of a few of the shows I’ve already managed to watch, since they probably don’t merit their own entries.

There was one extra present, though: Doctor Who Top Trumps (“Doctor Who Top Trumps…?!” “Oh you love it really.” Sigh). Anyway, there I was, Christmas Day, playing Doctor Who Top Trumps in the Celtic Manor. I mention this not to show off, but because at roughly the same time, John Barrowman and his family were in Wales’ other five-star hotel. I’m hoping that through some form of symmetry, they were playing “Snooty TV Reviewers Top Trumps”:

John: Rob Buckley? Never heard of him. Oh well, cheap sarcasm – nine.

John’s Dad: Damn. There you go.

John: Next card… Worth to society – one.

John’s Dad: You got the Clive James high card?!

Wouldn’t that have been fun?


  • Charlie Brooker’s Screen Wipe: Not as good as the last series, but half of each episode was worth watching at least.
  • After Thomas: With a show about an autistic kid, you’d have thought Thomas would have been the eponymous tank engine. But it was a Labrador. Ah! Surprisingly accurate and good drama for ITV1.
  • The Sarah Jane Adventures: Very much for kids. Very good. Had a little tear in my eye when I saw the pictures of Harry Sullivan and the Brigadier on Sarah Jane’s wall.
  • Number 13: Creepier than the original MR James story and at least as good as the 70s adaptations. Greg Wise is looking a bit craggy though, isn’t he?
  • Doctor Who – The Runaway Bride: If you’ve never been drunk, just watch this after watching a regular Doctor Who episode and you’ll know exactly what it’s like. Fun, nonsensical, touching in places; not as good as The Christmas Invasion, mind, but good Christmas entertainment all the same.

Still to come this week (assuming they merit it): Dracula, It Started With Swap Shop, the last three episodes of Torchwood, and BBC7’s Doctor Who Blood of the Daleks. I’ll try to catch up with the latest Big Finish plays, too, although The Year of the Pig is proving to be a bit of a monster.