Doctor Who : The Name of the Doctor
The Name of the Doctor started with a bang with the first Doctor being witnessed stealing a TARDIS from Gallifrey (which we had never seen before but it had been mentioned on numerous occasions) and then scenes where Clara appeared with lots of other Doctors including the third, fourth, fifth, six and seventh Doctors.
The rest of the episode led up to the point where the reason why the Doctor had met someone who looked like Clara twice before in the past (and the future) was explained to all of the expectant viewers.
I was actually very happy with this explanation as it makes perfect sense, even if it is not very original in terms of an idea (see City of Death for something very similar), but that that works very well in this case, as does the reasons why Clara ended up doing what she does at the close of this episode, mainly because it really was the only thing that she could have done at that moment in time, and was probably what we all would have done in her place.
The other main shock of the episode was the reveal at the end of a person who is the Doctor, but is not the Doctor which will obviously be explained further in the anniversary special, leaving us fans with six months of constant speculation as to what it can all mean, and exactly who that person in the end actually is.
We get to see the previously mentioned Trenzalore a place which the Doctor must never visit, but being the Doctor, he decides to go anyway despite the warnings that he must never go there. Since when has the Doctor ever done something that he has been told not to do? It wouldn’t be in his nature, and, we wouldn’t love him for it either. Trenzalore itself was very well realised and the explanation of what it is, and what it means, was also very interesting, as is what was inside it.
I thought that this episode was really good and Matt Smith was at his very best in this episode, giving the performance of his tenure in this episode I would say. It was also really well directed and it looked sumptuous.
Vastra, Strax and Jenny also made an appearance in this story and they were as good as ever with Strax getting the best lines as he always does and we also find out what he does in his spare time.
I must admit that it did seem a little strange that the Doctor is such a nuisance to the Great Intelligence when you think that they have only met him on a couple of occasions to go to such lengths as they did in this episode. I am sure that there could have been plenty of other alien races who would like to see the back of the Doctor more than the Great Intelligence, but it was them who we got in this episode.
Richard E Grant was very menacing in the few scenes that he had in this episode it has to be said and it was a shame that he wasn’t more prominent in this episode as he made a really good, and very nasty, foe for the Doctor.
The Whispermen were also quite interesting creations who certainly looked creepy enough (I think it was the lack of eyes) and you can imagine them being quite frightening to younger viewers, and there was something very creepy about the way they tended to speak in rhyming couplets as well.
In general I really enjoyed the episode especially the footage featuring the other Doctors with the scenes between Clara and the first Doctor being the best of the bunch. The others were not as impressive as that one was (which bought a lump to my throat), but it was still nice to see them all, even if the choice of images for them might not have been the best that they could have used, which is a minor thing considering the trouble they went to putting them into the episode in the first place.
The ending of the episode was a superb cliff hanger to end the series with, and one that makes you want the 23rd November to come as soon as possible, even if it just to find out what the hell is going on!
This week I am reading The Devotion of Suspect X by Keigo Higashino.
The front cover of the books bears the legend ‘the japanese Steig Larsson’ but it isn’t living up to it so far. Don’t get me wrong it is quite interesting but it is not up to the standard of Larsson’s book for me at least.
These are my marks out of 5 for all of the songs from this years contest.
My favourites were Marry Me the Finland entry because it was quite mad (the girl on girl kiss helped but it was very bonkers and very Eurovision as well) , as was It’s My Life the Romanian entry (what on earth was that all about with the costume and the singing which got higher and higher as the song went on) and the Greek entry Alcohol Is Free (which was a novelty effort which did much better than they probably thought that it would).
The majority of the others were nice enough songs, sang well and staged well, but didn’t really register with me much and as a result I have pretty much forgotten them but I did think that the Netherlands song Birds was ok, as was the Maltese song about a guy in IT entitled Tomorrow.
Quite a few of the songs were sung by very pretty women almost wearing very short dresses (most notably Belarus’s Solyaho) but although quite nice to watch at the time the songs themselves were not ones that would linger in the memory very long.
One of the best things about the whole show though was the bit before they started revealing the scores which was just the most bonkers thing that I have seen in a long time. You can see it here and it is most definitely worth watching.
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
This is the first book that I have read by Martin Amis. I have seen the film of The Rachel Papers one of his earlier books but i have yet to read one of his books proper until now.
Lionel Asbo is about a rather strange family of villians, ne’er-do-well’s, chavs, the Pepperdines who comprise of Grace, a 39 year old woman who sired seven children by the time she was 19 (the youngest of which is the books titualar character Lionel), and is now a grandmother of a young 15 year old named Desmond who is one of the main characters in the book and it is his journey through the book that is the most interesting aspect of it, as he is a totally different character to any of the other Pepperdine’s, who are very much the sort of people you expect to see on Jeremy Kyle.
The titular character Lionel Asbo is a career criminal and lout who is 21 years old and is the spitting image of Wayne Rooney (something that is even mentioned in the text). He is basically in and out of prison on a regular basis and is your typical thuggish character who like beer, fags and porn, but, unlike Wayne Rooney, he doesn’t like shagging grannies (indeed he is vehemently opposed to it).
The book takes us through about seven years in the life of this very strange family and lots of stuff happens some of it downright bizarre (including a massive lottery win, and a wedding reception where the entire gathering ended up in custody) and some of it heartwarming (the relationship between Desmond and Dawn a girl he meet later in the book) and most of it very, very funny indeed, but mostly a barbed look at a certain strata of British society which is usually only see on ITV2.
The majority of the characters are caricatures and it is not difficult to see who they are caricatures of, and if not anyone in partcular (although some of them are probably based on certain individuals notably the girlfriend Lionel aquires after his lottery win, a buxom glamour model, constantly at war with another similiarly buxom glamour model), caricatures of a type of person who is beloved of the tabloid media of this country of ours. They are people you really shouldn’t like, or even warm to, but there is something about them which makes you like them and warm to them despite that.
I have to say that I enjoyed this book and would recommend it as a book that is most definitely worth reading, for some of the best prose around from a writer at the top of his game, if nothing else.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
The Holmes Affair is a story with two distinct plotlines. One follows Arthur Conan Doyle himself during the period between the death of Sherlock Holmes at the hands of Moriarty and before his sudden reappearance when he helped the police out with the case of a serial killer of young women, who also happened to be supporters of women’s suffrage (something that Conan Doyle in this book is quite opposed too).
The other half of the book is set in the present day, and is the story of a the death of a Sherlockian after a priceless missing Conan Doyle artefact is apparently found and how another young Sherlockian is able to solve the mystery death of the other better known Sherlockian.
The afterword of the books says that this is partly based on a true story which I have read about since and was pretty much as described in this book and although I did enjoy the book I do wonder if I should have liked it as much as I did considering it is partly factual.
In the fact the whole story is partly factual and partly fictional and I think in the end it is quite obvious which the real stuff is and which is the fiction.
As a fan of the Sherlock Holmes stories there was a lot of stuff to enjoy about this book what will all of the references to the Canon and also the little in jokes which the book is littered with. Other than that I really got into the plot and thoroughly enjoyed reading it.
There are a few criticisms though and that is mainly in some of the language used especially in the scenes set in the Victorian era which just didn’t sound like they belonged there, and certainly weren’t present in the Holmes stories themselves.
If you are a fan of Sherlock Holmes then this is a must read, otherwise I don’t think that you will get much out of it.