Holiday time

Although it seems like I’ve been back since I went on my pilgrimage, I’m off for a week to Norfolk for a well-earned vacation. They don’t have the Internet in Norfolk, apparently, so the chances of my blogging anything – particularly the daily news page – are quite small, but I should be back at the start of June.

Happily, the next episode of Doctor Who is a two-parter so I can pretend to be taking the reviewing high ground and pick holes in the pair of them when I get back. I’ll leave you under the watchful gaze of The Carusometer until I return, so enjoy yourselves!

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UK TV

People Elevated to God-like Status: two new members

People elevated to God-like status logo

Time to induct two new members to the group of people elevated to God-like status: Douglas Camfield and Graeme Harper. They’re not especially well known names, except within a certain group of (charitably) TV aficionados or (less charitably) geeks. But they are two of the best directors Doctor Who and possibly British TV has ever seen.

Now it would be unfair to say that early Doctor Who didn’t have very good direction. Directed by Waris Hussein, the opening episode, An Unearthly Child, was a particularly splendid piece of work: whenever Anna and I talk about how flat some episodes have looked, I at least am thinking of An Unearthly Child as an example of how well lit and directed Doctor Who can be (Anna can tell you what she’s thinking about!).

Here below is the opening to the world’s longest running sci-fi series. Imagine it’s 1963. Kid’s TV has been Muffin the Mule and Bill and Ben. There are no synthesisers, special effects or anything else on television. Then this hits the scene at Saturday tea time. Just how severely blown away would you have been?

But post-Unearthly Child, it all went a bit flat. After all, we’re talking about a show that initially had to put out a new episode every week, all year round, with no budget, no time, no real ability to do re-takes if scenes messed up and technical issues aplenty. It’s a miracle the sets stayed up.

Douglas Camfield was one of the first to change that.

Continue reading “People Elevated to God-like Status: two new members”

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US TV

Season finales: Lost

Lost finale

Well, if ever you’re worried that Lost is just going to run around in circles, never getting anywhere, the third season finale should dispel that thought immediately. We got pay-offs, answers, a bucket load of new questions, and – the so-called “snake in the mailbox” game-changer, which unfortunately I guessed and you might too – a twist right at the end that lets you know what the exec producers have planned for the next few seasons.

Continue reading “Season finales: Lost”

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Friday’s lovely, lovely news

Doctor Who

  • Maybe Kylie after all…
  • Gareth McLean interviews Jessica ex-Stevenson [free registration required]
  • Plus Freema Agyeman – aka Sweet FA – is on Jonathan Ross tonight. Sorry on Jonathan Ross tonight.

Books

Film

Music

British TV

  • Noel Edmonds to host the badly re-titled Sky version of Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?
  • Kirsty Young‘s leaving Five News
  • Anyone who thought Xena: Warrior Princess was in any way about female empowerment, think again – or at least send Universal Playback a rude message. Mud-wrestling glamour models to launch a DVD?
  • What happened to some of the former contestants of The Apprentice and Dragons’ Den [free registration required]
  • Celebrity Big Brother was more racist than anyone suspected. Full transcript here. Which is handy because it’s clear some celebrities haven’t read it

Australian TV

  • It could be worse: the father of one of the contestants has died in the Australian version of Big Brother and no one’s told her

US TV

  • CBS’s Moonlight gets recast, while Prison Break looks for some more inmates
  • And The IT Crowd needs a new Jen while Heroes needs some more heroes
  • Footage from the new Babylon 5 DVDs

And a great big shout-out to The Stage’s TV Today blog which is now one year’s old. Happy Birthday guys!

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Paxo and Charlie Rose

It’s not quite UK Paxman vs US Paxman, since Charlie Rose is more of a Tim Sebastian than a Jeremy Paxman, but this ‘ere hour-long interview is pretty interesting. Plus you get to see Paxo aging gracefully over the years. Kept me occupied on the train this morning, anyway.