Review: Ashes to Ashes 1×1

Ashes to Ashes

In the UK: Thursdays, 9pm, BBC1
In the US: Not yet acquired

1981! Brilliant! Much better than 1973.

I loved 1981. I may only have been eight at the time but it seems to have left a lasting impression on my musical tastes among other things. So what could be better than Life on Mars in 1973?

How about a sequel, Ashes to Ashes, set in 1981? That’s got to be great hasn’t it?

Or has it?

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Friday’s creeky news

Doctor Who

  • Burn Gorman hints at Doctor Who monsters (or people) visiting Torchwood


British TV



Review: Torchwood 2×4 – Meat

Gwen and Rhys

Last week, I mocked Helen Raynor as being a fun-bereft, tedious, issue-loving, “save the whale” kind of a woman. I had no evidence for this. I was probably being very unfair.

Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that the next episode, by last season’s stalwart of quality Catherine Tregenna, would literally be a “save the whale” episode. Okay, “save the space whale”. Either I’m immensely perceptive and intuitive (unlikely) or the universe likes to have little jokes with itself. Who knew the universe read my blog, though?

Seeing as I’m on a roll with the unfair stereotypes, I’ll give them another go this week.

Now Torchwood might well be set in Cardiff, be brim-full of Welsh actors and be made by BBC Wales, but apart from Rusty’s initial quips about CSI: Cardiff and kebabs in the first episode, there’s not really been much that’s Welsh about it.

Last night’s episode, however, was very Welsh. Apart from the Welsh flag in the back of Rhys’ van (which all self-respecting Welsh people have with them at all times. I live in SE London and I can spot the other Welsh contingent on my estate from 200 metres away, since they’re flying not one but three flags, two of them indoors) and the 120dB domestics (cf Wind Street in Swansea of a Friday night), we had the very essence of Wales summed in the plot: what would happen if an alien animal landed in Cardiff? Would the Welsh greet it cordially? Would they bomb it? Would they conduct evil experiments on it?

No. They’d turn it into a pasty.

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Thursday’s energy-saving news

Doctor Who


British TV

German TV


Audio and radio play reviews

Review: Doctor Who – Dead London

Dead London Ever since BBC7 pumped Big Finish full of cash so they’d produce a range of original eighth Doctor audio plays to break up the constant repeats of Lionel Nimrod’s Inexplicable World, Sheridan Smith as Lucie Miller has been the companion du jour for Paul McGann – it was only a matter of time before India Fisher’s Charley Pollard was shown the TARDIS exit, although through the mysteries of temporal mechanics she’s now going to be a companion of the sixth Doctor, starting with Condemned (review coming soon, I promise).

Following Charley’s departure in The Girl Who Never Was, we now have the second season of Lucie stories. Whoopdy doo. It’s not that I dislike Sheridan Smith – I think she’s pretty good in Two Pints…, although you’d be hard pressed to fit a fag paper in between her performance in that and these audio plays – it’s just I really don’t like Lucie.

I’m trying to work out why. So far, my list of arbitrary reasons includes

  • her being one-dimensional and despite the massive wodges of Rose-esque familial development, she doesn’t come across as a real person, just the sort of person who appears in Radio 4 plays
  • she perpetuates the stereotype of Northerners being thick, workshy whingers who are full of themselves and only like to argue. This, I must emphasis because it’s the Internet, IS NOT TRUE
  • she doesn’t really bring anything to the party in terms of skillset. What, as they probably asked her at the career fair, can you actually do?

Not especially great as a list, but hey ho.

Whether it’s because it was all slapped together in a hurry or it was for BBC7, the first season of Lucie stories was a touch uninspiring. As I remarked at the end of Human Resources:

As a whole, the season’s been okay. Sheridan Smith has been a memorable companion, if a little too Peri-esque in the level of bickering. Paul McGann’s performance has been variable, but good on the whole. The big names in the guest cast have been uniformly excellent, even if the minor players haven’t. The plots haven’t really yielded any memorable villains or monsters and there’s been a little too much silliness. Not bad over all, though, and certainly the best thing BBC7’s done for a while.

Dead London, however, is actually quite good. Not brilliant, a bit confusing, but well paced and moderately entertaining. Whether that’s because it doesn’t have any BBC7 involvement, I don’t know.

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