Christmas mini-reviews: Gavin and Stacey and the Next Doctor

Gavin and Stacey Christmas Special

Well, it may be a while since they’ve been on, but that doesn’t stop me making a few notes and comments on some of the Christmas fare. Not all of it, since I still haven’t watched Crooked House or The 39 Steps, but Gavin & Stacey and Doctor Who‘s The Next Doctor at least.

Gavin & Stacey
Disappointing this. Kind of like Gavin & Stacey by numbers, with more or less the same as what we’ve seen before just slightly expanded upon – a kind of G&S‘s greatest hits – rather than anything too original. So we get the holiday incident, the big fight, references to Ness’s exciting past, etc, but nothing too startling. Don’t get me wrong, there were some great moments, but they were surprisingly few and far between.

Still, at least the potential for a new series is obviously there, they did try to give both Gavin and Stacey something to do this time, and there were no sudden flip-flops of character designed purely to achieve a happy ending or a wrap-up of loose plot threads. And it is a Christmas Special, so you have to give it some leeway.

All the same, I found the BBC3 “Making of…” show, Gavin & Stacey: The 12 Days of Christmas, to be a whole lot funnier than the episode itself.

Of course, it might just be because we didn’t watch it on the day then met up with my wife’s aunt, who said “Oh, haven’t you seen it yet? Well, I won’t spoil it for you then,” before proceeding to tell us about six of the funniest bits in it. Curses.

The Next Doctor
50% of this was good, 50% of this was bad, and there was a pretty clear demarcation line: anything with David Morrissey in it – good, even moving at times; anything with the Cybermen, little children or Dervla Kirwan in it – bad and very silly, particularly the giant Cyberman.

Again, a Christmas special so some slack should be given and it was a whole lot better than last year’s Titanic snooze-fest with Kylie. But not great.

Dick Heads

Dick Heads: The Beginning

Richard Armitage at the BAFTAs

Well, for our new feature, thanks to the lovely and inspired Jane Henry and Andrea, we appear to have settled on an actor (Richard Armitage), a format (pictures, usually taken by fans, that mainly focus on his head, with bonus points if he’s wearing a hat) and a corresponding name (Dick Heads).

Other than that, let’s see how it goes – normally these things grow organically as people get inspired. If you all one to write captions, love poetry or even haiku about the pictures or want to turn it into a competition à la Sitting Tennant, that’ll be your choice.

To get the ball rolling, here’s Richard Armitage in close up from the 2007 BAFTAs.

So, I’m putting out the call – pictures, please. Either leave a URL below or email me them. We’re going to start off slowly, just so we don’t use them up too quickly, so I’m only going to be needing one or two a week. Over to you!

BFI events

Being Human: prequels, pilot, trailers and interviews

Being Human – the vampire/werewolf/ghost flatshare drama that was piloted on BBC3 last year – is coming back as a six-part series soon. Hooray! It was absolutely brilliant. I’ll be off to the BFI’s preview screening of the first episode (together with a Q&A with the writer and star(s)) next Friday, so I’ll let you know what that was like afterwards – I hear it might just be the pilot episode with a new cast and made ‘less dark’, which would be a shame.

In the meantime, and to thrill you all, here are some videos: the first is a trailer for the series proper; the second is the entire pilot episode that someone has uploaded to YouTube; and the rest are prequels to the series, showing what each of the characters was like before they met each other – they’re shot in a Blair Witch/Ghostwatch vein and at least one might be too gruesome to be transmitted on TV (even BBC3), although you never know, so watch them while you can. The Annie one is very good, BTW.

It’s worth noting that the cast has changed, which is a bit disappointing, since Guy Flanagan was brilliant as Mitchell the vampire; Mitchell’s now played by Aidan Turner (The Clinic), while Annie, the comedy Northern ghost formerly played by Andrea Riseborough, is now played by Lenora Crichlow (Sugar Rush). The exception is Russell Tovey, who plays George the werewolf: he’ll be back for the series proper. There’s also a production blog containing interviews with the cast that you can check out.


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Wednesday’s I’m privileged news

Doctor Who



  • Kraftwerk co-founder quits



Tuesday’s royally painful news



French TV

British TV