That Mitchell and Webb Sound Recording – Series 5 Episode 4

Is it worrying to not know who Little Mix are? I know it’s quite unusual but I wouldn’t say that ‘worrying’ is the appropriate adjective. Well anyway, I was up at the BBC the other night, to go and see David Mitchell and Robert Webb record the fifth series of their Radio Sketch Show – That Mitchell and Webb Sound. And by complete coincidence, Little Mix were performing round the corner at Radio 1. So I joined the crowd of anxious teenage girls and met two of Little Mix, don’t ask me which ones. They turned out to be far from the boyband I expected.

That Mitchell and Webb SoundSo on to the topic of this article; That Mitchell and Webb Sound. It’s a sketch show written by and starring the comedy duo; Mitchell and Webb along with their frequent collaborators Olivia Coleman and James Bachman. The show has spawned four series, the last of which was broadcast in 2009 and with such a long absence, many fans were worried that the sketch show would never return until earlier this year when it was announced the show would be returning once again. However to fan’s great joy, a fifth series was commissioned, one episode of which I went to.

That Mitchell and Webb Sound - Robert WebbSo what funny sketches did ‘da crew have for us? Well for starters we found out what joys life holds when you’ve cured cancer (ie. not having to receive telephone calls about third world poverty). We also heard how damaging the White Witch’s scheme of ‘winter but never Christmas’ is to Narnia’s retail industry. My favourite sketch by far was writen by John Finnemore showing a husband and wife telling a story however they can never really agree on the facts.

So at the end of the show I went outside and met three of the cast; Mitchell, Webb and Coleman. They were very nice, here’s some photos:

Me and That Mitchell and Webb Cast

The Day of the Doctor Review

So yesterday Doctor Who did it. It hit the big 50! To mark the occasion a special episode was created, something that looks back over Doctor Who’s past but also sets it in a new direction.

‘The Day of the Doctor’ has been anticipated by fans for months, or maybe it was just me. Not only is it 75 minutes long and go into the depth of the Time War, it also features the return of David Tennant’s Doctor.

The Day of the Doctor - Smith and Tennant

It’s said that everyone has their doctor, the one who was on when they were a kid. Well I grew up with David Tennant and I’m thrilled for him to be back. It was wonderful to see the inside of his battered old TARDIS again, see the blue gleam of his Sonic and of course hear his trademark cry of ‘Alons-y’. We also saw Billie Piper return as Rose, a role she’s reprised so many times over the years that it feels like she’s never left.

The Day of the Doctor was very much an episode aimed at the fans. David Tennant was there for the fans, even though he wasn’t really needed. Billie Piper was there for the fans, even though any guest actress could have taken on the shape of ‘The Moment’. The Time War was there for the fans, the Zygons were there for the fans, the past Doctors were there for the fans, the Queen Elizabeth I story arc was wrapped up for the fans. I really feel sorry for the casual viewer due to the sheer number of references to the past that popped up.

The Day of the Doctor - DaleksThese included the opening titles (done in the style of the 60’s titles) and the opening shot which showed a policeman strolling down the road past a sign for Totter’s Lane Scrap Yard. My favorite part by far was Tennant’s reaction to Smith’s TARDIS. “You’ve redecorated, I don’t like it.” A great nod there to the tenth anniversary special; The Three Doctors.

The episode had two plots. One was concerning the Zygons, who are taking over Earth by hibernating in paintings and then taking the places of random members of UNIT. This bit was ok, the Zygons were scary enough however the resolution was a bit rushed, and we never really heard the end due to the whole ‘Time War’ bit. Jemma Redgrave returned as Kate Lethbridge Stewart, a role we saw previously in Series 7 as well as the Classic ‘Home Video’ story ‘Downtime’. Although her role wasn’t huge, Redgrave excelled herself as the UNIT leader who is not afraid of destroying London to save the World.

The Day of the Doctor - The War Doctor

The second plot revolved around the Time War and John Hurt’s mysterious incarnation of our favorite Time Lord. Here we see the Daleks invading Gallifrey and Hurt repeatedly firing a gun at the wall instead of the Daleks. Hmmm? He then steals the moment and takes it to a remote hut to detonate it. There the moment’s consciousness materialises in the form of Rose and brings the Doctor’s three incarnations together.

Now here is where things turn interesting as the Doctor’s figure out a way of NOT destroying Gallifrey even though we’ve spent 10 year feeling sorry for him for killing everybody. They’re plan was to freeze Gallifrey in a single moment in Time, which then gets hidden somewhere in the universe. Of course they don’t do it on there own and get the help of all the previous Doctors. We were all expecting it, all anticipating it and yes it happened, the past Doctor’s popped up. But not just them, Peter Capaldi’s 12th incarnation also popped up, Moffat just couldn’t resist it could he?

The Day of the Doctor - Rose

So that’s it, they’ve saved Gallifrey and undone 10 years of countless children’s emotions. Hurt regenerated, Tennant ran off to meet some Ood and Smith met the mysterious curator of the London Museum who happens to look like an old Tom Baker (it was Tom Baker).

All in all, a great episode. It had it’s ups and downs, just like everything does. It was nice to see Tennant back, and even Tom Baker was nice surprise. Here’s to another 50 years!

An Adventure in Space and Time Review

50 years ago the BBC decided to commission a science fiction series, something to fill the Saturday Night slot, something that would appeal to children. They wanted it to be fun, exciting, scary, interesting and teach the viewers something about history. I’m talking of course, about Doctor Who.

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50 years on and Doctor Who is still going strong. It’s had its ups and downs of course. Who can forget Colin Baker’s era or that pathetic TV Movie that so many of us have had to sit through, however it has remained intact, constantly in the public’s mind. And now 50 years on and the modern audience are given a chance to go back and watch Doctor Who’s humble beginnings unfold in the shape of a new TV Drama by Doctor Who enthusiast Mark Gatiss.

The new drama ‘An Adventure in Time and Space’ tells the story of Doctor Who’s original producer Verity Lambert, who, after becoming spellbound with the concept of Doctor Who, fought very hard to get the show off the ground. It also focuses on actor William Hartnell, who took on the role of the first Doctor after being typecast in many ‘hard man’ roles.

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The show starts at the end of William Hartnell’s tenure as Doctor and, through a variety of flashback we see Doctor Who’s very beginnings. The show was written superbly and is a perfect tribute to the 50th anniversary which is coming up today. Mark Gatiss really must be praised. The writing and very essence of the drama was beautiful and in my eyes he can be finally be forgiven for turning the Daleks into large, robot Jelly babies.

David Bradley’s performance brought tears to my eyes as we see Hartnell’s medical condition overpower him until he had to eventually leave the show. We also see the irritable and abrupt side to Hartnell that has been unearthed in interviews, something I’m glad the writers didn’t skate around.

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My only criticism would be some of the likenesses. Maureen O’Brien’s double was laughable whilst I was particularly amused at whoever they had dragged of the street to play the part is Patrick Troughton. But it’s fine isn’t it. Who cares?

A stunning piece of work and a great tribute to Doctor Who’s early days. Well done Gatiss and happy birthday Doctor Who!

My First Planet Recording – Series 2 Episodes 3&4

I really have been going to a lot of radio recordings, but, you’ve gotta go when they come.

So quite recently I went to the recording of episodes 3 & 4 of My First Planet Series 2, a radio sitcom starring Nicholas Lyndhurst. For those of you who don’t know it, it is set on a newly founded space colony. Brian (Lyndhurst) has been made colony commander after the original leader died en-route. He is assisted by his odd and unscrupulous team including Lead Scientific Adviser Mason (Tom Goodman-Hill), Plumber and ‘wannabe’ empath ‘Archer’ (Phil Whelans) and those appointed with the task of making a baby, who actually lied about being a couple just to get on the trip (John Dorney and Letty Butler). Vicki Pepperdine also appears as Medical Officer Lillian and Brian’s nemesis.

My First Planet Cast - Series 2 Episode 4

The gang get into all sorts of troubles and adventures which I’m perfectly certain would be far too common in space. The first episode sees them meet and form a quiz team with a talking plant whilst the second sees Brian overruled as top job is almost taken by somebody you’d least expect.

Me and Nicholas Lyndhurst

Although I could rant on about the truly epic theme music, instead I’ll talk about the acting. The actors work so seamlessly together that you can easily visualise the vents unfolding, a definite nesecity for radio. Another cert for Radio Comedy are overreactions, something Lyndhurst takes in his stride as his bumbling charecter struggles to maintain control. Tom Goodman-Hill is also excellent, reeling off jokes in the calm, faultless tone of his charecter Mason. Guest star Tom Meeton also did a good job as the secretive Head-of-Security.

Me and John Dorney

My First Planet returns Spring next year.

McGann’s Back!!!

paul-mcgann-2013-doctor-whoWe’ve been told by just about every official source, that none of the Classic Doctors will be making an appearance in this year’s 50th Anniversary Celebrations. We’ve been told by the BBC, we’ve been told by Moffat and even by the Classic Doctors themselves. However, it turns out one of them has been lying.

It is Paul McGann who’s donned his costume once more and worked some action with the trusty old Sonic Screwdriver. His appearance is in an online mini-episode; The Night of the Doctor, a prequel to this years 50th. The clip, which is seven minutes long, also sees the return of the Sisterhood of Karn (last seen during Tom Baker’s tenure). The clip shows the events leading to and including McGann’s long awaited regeneration, however not into whom the audience is expecting.

Admitting the short clip is not the best of Moffat’s work. The script seems a tad rushed whilst the special effects department had obviously had their budget cut for this work. However it was nice to see Paul McGann back (currently the shortest-lived Doctor with a screen time equating to less than 90 minutes) and to know that around the world thousands of fan-girls have had their dreams answered in seeing the Eight Doctor Once more.

If you want to take a look at the Night of the Doctor (in my opinion the first mini-episode done that’s actually been any good), watch it below:

The Escape Artist Review

It is a really terrible thing to see a man with everything he ever wanted; the perfect job, the perfect home, the perfect family, descend so utterly and completely, to become capable of murder.

This is what we see happen to Will Burton; a rich and successful lawyer whom we met just three episodes ago, at the start of David Tennant’s compelling new drama; The Escape Artist.

David Tennant in The Escape Artist

In that time we have seen this man go through an unspeakable loss, finding his wife dead in front of him, killed by a man he just let walk free from a murder charge. What’s more we see the murderer walk free again, aided by a woman Burton know’s as a colleague and a friend. Toby Kebbell gives us an amazing performance as Liam Foyle; the unhinged sociopath with a taste for violence. He goes about his business in such a carefree way, a speaks in such a reassuring tone, that the audience can become chilled without him even raising his voice. He truly is one of the best villains I have seen on the BBC, since Andrew Scott’s performance as Moriarty.

But without a doubt, it is David Tennant who gives the greatest performance as William Burton is changed into an empty shell, a man entirely fixed on revenge and a man with the perfect mid capable of delivering it. The confrontation between these two perfect charecters is chilling, leaving the audience wondering who they want to triumph.

Toby Kebbell and David Tennant in The Escape Artist

In the end, Burton walks free, the man he loathes dead but yet still a devestating hole in his family.

David Wolstencroft, the writer of this brilliant drama, really has to be commended for packing such a compelling story into a three part drama which in no way feels rushed. Whoever did the casting should also be acknowledged as the entire lot gave brilliant performances with great acting also coming from co-stars Sophie Okonedo and Monica Dolan. The BBC really needs some more dramas like this, my knowledge of the criminal court has really improved.

Dilemma Recording – Series 3 Episode 3

I don’t really watch panel shows. I must admit that when conversations with my fandom-friends drifts to 8 out of 10 Cats, A League of their Own or Was it Something I Said, I don’t really have anything to add. However one of the two panel shows with which I do frequent myself (the other being QI) is Dilemma.

Dilemma is a radio panel show, hosted by Bake-Off’s own Sue Perkins. Within the show the panelists answer a series of moral dilemmas as well as a quick fire-round and answering the audience’s own Moral Issues.

???????????????????????????????The panelists themselves are usually more obscure comedians however the odd celebratory has popped up, including Danielle Ward and John Finnemore.

The other night I went to a recording of Dilemma, all set for broadcast next year, when the third series will go on air.

??????????????????????????????? The recording took place at BBC Radio Theater, a location I have both scorned and praised for it’s over modern and patronising feel. But it’s not where you’re at, it’s the content of the show that matters and this episode was packed with ridiculous but spectacular laughs from a panel containing not one familiar face.

After a show filled with questions like ‘What do you say when I you’ve killed your neighbor’s cat, in front of another neighbor?’, me and my friends waited keenly outside to gather autographs for our now swelling collections. And HURUMBLE!!! I met Sue Perkins!

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