David Walliams makes it across the Channel

David WalliamsI can’t swim. Well, that’s not entirely true. I just can’t swim well. My body has the consistency of lead, unfortunately. Well, actually, only my legs do: my torso floats just fine, it’s my legs that gravitate to the bottom of the pool, no matter what I do (they’re fine in salt water though), while the rest of me just wonders where they’re going. So I swim along as best I can with the equivalent of a couple of weights tied to my feet. Not fun.

Which is why I greet this particular bit of news with a mixture of envy as well as astonishment. David Walliams, star of Little Britain, has swum across the Channel in just 10.5 hours, raising £432,000. Amazing. Whichever way you look a it, that’s a wonderful and outstanding thing to do and we should all give him hearty congratulations. Or even more sponsorship money.

But I wish I could do that, too.

Who’s the next companion?

Yes, I know we’ve done this already. Twice, in fact. But as mentioned… well, everywhere now, neither the new companion to be nor Billie Piper will be appearing in the Doctor Who Christmas Special. But who will be the actual “next companion”, albeit for the space of one episode? Well, I know someone who does know, but he isn’t telling because the journalistic equivalent an ancient and terrible curse will descend upon him and family for the next three generations if he does.

Interesting that, huh? The Christmas episode is going to feature someone so massively of note as an interim companion for the Doctor that all who are in the know have been sworn to even greater secrecy than those who knew the identity of the companion for the third series.

So who do you reckon it is? Captain Jack? Probably not – he’s in Torchwood already so won’t be such an exciting choice. So it’s either going to be someone who’s a really big name (eg Catherine Zeta Jones, Tom Cruise, Leslie Grantham, etc) or (and this is my personal theory) a former companion.

What do y’all reckon to Sarah Jane being given one last Christmas adventure? It would please the old-school fans. All the kids know who she is now. It makes sense dramatically (Doctor, facing sadness and regrets over loss of Rose, turns to former companion whom he met up with recently and who knew Rose for solace and to start making amends for past behaviour). They could drag K9 along for the trip, which would please everyone. And it would stop us all from getting attached to a new companion before the real one turns up.

Of course, since it’s a theory that I whole-heartedly endorse, it’s wrong, but I thought I’d throw it out there so that people with better track records could ruminate on it.

Which paper to read about the new companion?

Of course, the news is out in all the papers about who the new companion on Doctor Who is (I won’t name names at this point so as to preserve some element of surprise for those who don’t want to know until Saturday). But it’s interesting, as always, to plough through them all, just to see which ones do anything other than crib from the press release.

So here’s a pretty standard example from the Daily Mirror. Just a rewrite basically. But let’s not judge too much, since plenty of other papers, including media bible The Guardian, The Scotsman and the Daily Record did the same thing.

The Times adds a few extra nuggets of info, though, including speculation on how the actress involved will play the character differently from Billie Piper.

Here’s the Independent’s version. Note the angle of the story, plus they got a nice quote from someone else, albeit someone who doesn’t actually know any of the parties involved.

Lastly, there’s the pure evil, alternative universe version of that angle. Of course, it’s from the Daily Mail. On the one hand, the Mail has clearly done more legwork than all the other papers put together, which should be something to be applauded. Yet, by the end of the story, somehow it’s not…

And the new Doctor Who companion is…

I’ve seen the press release, I’ve seen the name and I can announce that the next Doctor Who companion is… what’s that? It’s embargoed until midnight? Bugger.

Oh well. I can tell you a few things though:

  1. It’s one of the people listed here.
  2. The character, Martha Jones, hasn’t appeared yet
  3. Our various conspiracy theories were mostly right

So a big pat on the back for the various assembled geniuses here present in advance of the announcement.

UPDATE: Well, it wasn’t me that did it, but if you really want to know who the new companion is, there’s already a Wikipedia article about her. Those embargoes just don’t work like they used to, do they?


Steven Seagal to appear in the next Orange ad

Mr DresdenOrange are a rubbish phone company. I speak from experience. The one thing they do well, however, is make good commercials. There are all those lovely TV ads, for starters. And then there are those cracking ads in the cinemas, featuring Patrick Swayze, Alan Cumming and co. They can usually be more entertaining than the films themselves.

But for the last few months it’s been Sean Astin and I’ve got bored, despite the great voiceover. I think we all have. I want to hear the likes of “Make me bleed!” again.

Thankfully, there’s a new ad on the way. And fantastically enough, it has the legendary Steven Seagal in it. The full story is at the Media Guardian, but here’s the basic plot:

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