Sunday, 25 September 2011

Doctor Who 'Closing Time'

With Closing Time we reach the penultimate episode of series 6. The Doctor is on his farewell tour before the astronaut in the lake shoots him and he decides to pop by and see Craig from last years The Lodger.

Craig now has a baby son, Alfie, although the Doctor claims to 'speak baby' and that Alfie actually calls himself Stormageddon.

The lights are flickering in Colchester so the Doctor does the logical thing and gets a job in a department store, complete with name tag reading 'The Doctor'.

Along the way we get a glimpse of Amy and Rory in the shop when a little girl asks Amy for an autograph. The Doctor is watching from a distance and notices a big perfume advertisement using Amy's face, 'For the girl who is tired of waiting'. 

The main plot involves Cybermen teleporting from their spaceship into the shop's lift where they grab unfortunate staff for the cyber conversion process. The Doctor deactivates the teleporter but the Cybermen keep coming. It turns out that the spaceship is not actually in space but is buried under the shop.

The Cybermen decide to use Craig as their new cyber leader but he hears the sound of the baby crying and his emotional feedback makes the Cybermen's heads blow up.

Yes, really.

This was an entertaining enough episode, but it's a pity to see the Cybermen appear so useless and unthreatening. I remember the thrill of watching Earthshock for the first time back in 1982. This was no Earthshock. It was nice to see the return of the cybermats though.

It's another stand-alone episode, although the last few minutes get interesting. As the doctor is about to embark on his last journey he sees three kids watching him. They know something is up and we hear voiceovers looking back describing what they saw.

Then we are with the newly qualified doctor River Song who has been researching the Doctor's last days. In walks the eyepatch lady accompanied by the silent scream aliens. It turns out that River is still under the control of The Silence and is placed in the space suit in preparation for next week's episode...

Speaking of which, is that a Dalek eyestalk I saw in the trailer?

Monday, 19 September 2011

Downton Abbey 2.1 and Spooks 10.1

Last night saw the return of Downton Abbey on ITV and Spooks on BBC1.

Downton as expected turned out to be a solid piece of duvet tv. It ticked a lot of boxes for manufacturing some angst for most of the main characters. It is now 1916 and the Great War is raging in France.

The main event of the episode was the return of heir to Downton Abbey from the front. He turned up with a shock fiancee. The Michele Doherty character was doing some serious gazing-across-the-room acting. Later she is found doing some uncharacteristic praying by her bedside for his survival. They had a farewell scene at a train station as he returned to the front. Those are always good. I liked that he was all convinced he was not coming back from France, almost like they are setting him up for a shock exit? She insists on giving him her 'lucky' stuffed toy.

I expect that stuffed toy to be in the shops for Christmas.

I also liked the Penelope Wilton butler approaching the doctor as he tries to get out of being called up on account of his 'bad lungs'. He could have at least coughed.

And remember the nasty footman? He's now a stretcher bearer in the trenches and is desperate to get home. He holds a lit cigerate lighter above the trench in order to get his hand shot by an obliging German sniper. He sobs his thanks as the blood pumps from his ruined hand. I actually think the episode was quite successful in this sequence as they made me have sympathy for an unlikable character and made it quit believable that one would go those lengths to get out of the madness of the trenches.

The Bates story seemed a bit contrived to me though. One minute he's planing his future with the maid he's sweet on. The next minute his wife turns up. She was was a bit too much boo-hiss evil and was clearly added to the story just to split up Bates and his true love. He is forced to resign his position and leave in order to stop some scandal spreading and Hugh Bonniville's resulting whine about Bates leaving service didn't ring true.

In other developments the youngest daughter baked a cake and the Irish driver expressed his love for her.

I think I might like Amy Nuttal's new maid lady. Must be a redhead thing.

I'll be keeping my eyes out for any melodramatic bar of soap incidents.

Spooks was ok in a tired sort of way. The characters uncovered a plot to kill a Russian and Lara Pulver managed to shoot the assassin while wearing an evening gown. I expect that we will see her staring into a mirror a lot to signify that it's the first person she's killed. Her voice reminded me a bit of Eva Green.

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Doctor Who 'The God Complex'

A pretty good episode this week. The previews and reviews I read went a little more easy on the superlatives so my expectations were not unduly raised too high.

The Doctor once again promises Amy and Rory another exciting planet. Instead they materialise in what appears to be an hotel done out in 1980s decor

They soon encounter a group of people from Earth (and elsewhere) who have been gathered in the hotel for some reason. They appear to be compelled to open bedroom doors at random where they are faced with someone's greatest fear, e.g. a clown, a PE instructor, girls laughing at a stutter, the Weeping Angels, etc. Eventually they stumble upon their own fear and start to 'praise him'.

Him being a big monster bloke with horns who is wandering around the hotel looking for the person currently doing the praising. Whereupon they are dead.

So understandably the Doctor wants to get his chums out of danger. Along the way he works out that the monster doesn't want their fear, rather he feeds on their faith. The fear is just a way of exposing one's faith.

Amy is next to utter the dreaded 'praise him' and the Doctor finds the room with her fear: It's young Amelia sitting waiting for the doctor to return as promised. Amy's faith is in the Doctor so he he convinces Amy that she shouldn't have faith in him, that he only tool her along in the Tardis to impress her.

That pretty much defeats the monster bloke and the hotel is revealed to be a space prison. The unfortunates that ended up there were basically delivered as the monster's food.

The Doctor brings Amy and Rory back to Earth and gives them a house and a red sports car. It's goodbye as he's worried he'll get them killed.

So it appears to be goodbye Amy, at least for now. However given that the series finalie is almost upon us I would expect it to deal with the Silence, River Song, the astronaut in the lake that kills the Doctor, and that woman with the eyepatche thing. I think Amy needs to be back for all that.

Ah, but I have forgotten something. While exploring the hotel the Doctor opens the door to room 11. We don't sew what's inside but the Doctor says 'of course' and we hear what sounds like the Tardis cloister bell... Interesting.

Next week: the bloke from last years Lodger episode and Cybermen.

Friday, 16 September 2011

Lara Pulver in Daily Mail and elsewhere

There's a few new articles about Lara Pulver appearing in Spooks.

First of all there's a nice big article in the center pages of today's Daily Mail newspaper.

You can read the article at

There's a little piece at

From the Evening Standard...

Spooks star Lara Pulver has told of the "crazy adrenaline buzz" she got from holding a gun.

The actress was armed with a Walther PPK semi-automatic, the same gun used by James Bond, for a scene in the 10th and final series of Spooks, which starts on Sunday.

She described the weapon as "the girlie version, all silver and sexy but just as deadly as 007's".

Pulver, who plays Erin Watts in the BBC1 show, added: "It felt empowering in a very rude way."

Finally there's an interview with Lara in the current issue of Reveal magazine. Which is a magazine I had never heard of up to a few minutes ago.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Lara Pulver Spooks interview

I've just discovered this interview with Lara on a site called cultbox so I thought I would post it here.

Lara Pulver ('Spooks': Series 10) interview

Update, I found another interview:

PS I've just realised that this is my 300th post to this blog thing.

Lara Pulver Spooks article in Total TV Guide

Today is "new TV listings mag day" and I was hoping that the Radio Times would have a nice Lara Pulver article for me ahead of Spooks returning on Saturday.

However while the Radio Times and most other mags do have some Spooks content there is very little Lara-specific stuff going on.

Fortunately Total TV Guide (somewhere between the TV Times and Whats On TV in terms of quality) does provide us with a nice full-page photo of Lara looking very lovely indeed...

It would appear that she spends the episode in an evening dress running around with a gun. I can only assume there is yet another embassy siege with her colleagues being held hostage. Sounds good to me.

It is worth noting that all the TV guides are presently having a collective swoon of excitement with the return of Downton Abbey. The TV Times has even produced alternate Downton Abbey covers to collect and be passed on to future generations. The Radio Times has a foldy-out cover to fit in bigger picture of the stars, no doubt worth framing and hanging in the living room.

All well and good, but Spooks and Downton are on at the same time on Sunday. And my DVD Recorder has packed in. I may resort to recording on on good old VHS. Remember that?

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Doctor Who 'The Girl Who Waited'

I felt that last week's superlative-laden episode didn't quite live up to it's raised expectations. Then this week I noticed the preview writers were at it again, so I automatically lowered my expectations accordingly. However I'm happy to report that this week's episode is pretty decent and will probably be remembered as one of the more memorable instalments of this series.

The Doctor, Amy and Rory are off on holiday, so it appears that any pretense of looking for baby Melody/River has been well an truly jettisoned. When the Tardis materialises on the universe's second most popular holiday destination they are presented, not with glittering colonnades, but a sterile white featureless room. Rory and the Doctor enter another room by pressing a green anchor button. Amy has been lagging behind and presses a red waterfall button instead. She ends up in the same room but there's no Doctor or Rory.

It transpires that there are two time streams, one faster than the other with Amy in the fast stream. The reason given has to do with the planet being under quarantine from a virus that kills you in a day. Uninfected people could live out their lives in the fast stream and still have the company of their infected loved ones who stay in the slower stream. At least thats my interpertation. The Doctor seemed to suggest the opposite and I think that the point was poorly explained.

The Doctor promises to slip over to the fast stream to rescue Amy, however when he arrives he discovers that she has aged 36 years. Oops. She's not the same Amy after being left alone to fend for herself. Rory wants to go back and somehow rescue Amy when she first got trapped so she doesn't have to wait all that time. Understandably the older Amy wants to live and not vanish from existence.

And Doctor tells Rory that he must make a choice.

The old Amy make up is pretty well done and Karen Gillan does a good job playing the same character differently. At the episodes heart is the relationship between Rory and Amy with the doctor actually taking a bit of a back seat. The story doesn't shy away from having what is actually a bit of a downbeat ending. Credit to Arthur Darvill for taking the potential fifth wheel Rory and making him essential to the show.

On another note I quite enjoyed the white rooms which reminded me a little of the empty white space where the Second Doctor, Jamie and Zoe find themselves in The Mind Robber. And I've just realised both stories have mysterious white robots...

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Lara Pulver in Spooks info from BBC

The BBC press office has released some info on the upcoming final series of Spooks. Here's the little bit about Lara Pulver's character plus a tiny photo.

In the last ever series of acclaimed spy drama Spooks, the team has been left reeling by Lucas North's betrayal, and with Harry Pearce on gardening leave, Section D has a new leader. Erin Watts is acting head and she has brought Calum Reed with her, a brilliant officer and technical genius.

You can read the complete press release at

Hopefully the BBC will release a larger photo soon.

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Doctor Who 'Night Terrors'

I expected big things from episode 9 as some of the previews/reviews I had read about it were brimming with superlatives. There were suggestions that it was the best episode ever, or scariest episode ever. That immediately made me sit up and take notice. 'Better than Blink? Really? That good? Wow!'

No, it's not better than Blink, but I was silly for thinking it could be.

So we have a Mark Gatiss written stand-alone episode in a series that has pretty much steered clear from stand-alone episodes. Basically a little boy is scared of his bedroom wardrobe. And the little boy turns out to be an alien. And that's about it really apart from stuff where our heroes run around a dolls house and Amy gets turned into a wooden doll. But she gets better I am happy to say.

The guy from Outcasts who reminded me of Danny Dyer is in is as the alien boy's human dad.