11 January 2017

Good Times! # 12 ManoptiCon 2 and 3 (1993 /94)

ManoptiCon 2 (Originally published in Top 1993)

It was the lifts that did it. Normally it’s the alcohol. This time it was the lifts. O to 60 in about 2 seconds or something equally as bone crunching and the problem was you had to use them to get above the ground floor. Thing was they went so fast it took until about the seventh floor to recover your senses. Manchester has to be different like that. You arrive to find a city centre full of trams. Not those clunky old ones but streamlined modern versions gliding about majestically as you try to work out what direction all the different types of traffic are coming at you from. Then there’s the Piccadilly Hotel itself. 47 quid a night! Are they kidding? Besides the rooms across the road in the Britannia are a mere £30, they’re bigger and it’s got fabulous chandeliers and deep blue stair carpets enigmatically illuminated like some grand club. By comparison the Piccadilly is tacky light browns and greens- faceless and for the price decidedly un- accommodating.

6 January 2017

Audio taping Doctor Who

Growing up, we didn’t have what Doctor Who kids have these days where all the existing episodes are relatively easy for them (or their parents) to obtain. Back in the Seventies Doctor Who was actually quite a fleeting thing. Beyond its 25 minute Saturday evening broadcast an episode would rarely be glimpsed again. It might be repeated on a Bank Holiday. A photo might show up in a magazine but basically all you then had was your memory of it and the Target novelisation. There were not even video recorders in general circulation then but one thing that you could do – if you had the equipment- was make an audio recording. Nowadays Big Finish produce new audio adventures but they are made for the medium knowing full well that things will have to be explained verbally for listeners to know what is going on. Audio recording television is another matter altogether. 
"Doctor, it's like we're hearing the same wild animal noises again and again" "Er, come on Jo, they must just be moving around alot." "Mmmm"

26 December 2016

The Return of Doctor Mysterio

If the currently running raft of Marvel films and DC superhero shows on US television are taking a fresh look at the superhero genre and the , this on trend Xmas Special harks back to its roots and the old secret identity angle. The villain’s plan is right out of a comic book and the visual representation of New York looks great (even if the cars are driving too slowly). The result is a brisk production that doesn’t dwell on the festive season and delivers a clever entertaining take on familiar ideas.
Spoilers beyond this point.

14 December 2016

The Original #4 The Firemaker

As has been apparent all the way through the series’ debut story the combination of writer Anthony Coburn and director Waris Hussein has been vital in turning what could easily have been a far less impressive affair into something stylish and clever. Here in the final episode they both triumph bringing matters to an interesting conclusion. 

11 December 2016

Sensorite Gone Wrong!

When I was a child I was a Doctor Who fan (see, not much has changed) and in the fabulous book `The Making of Doctor Who` there was a photo of two Sensorites which I found oddly fascinating. I'd never seen Sensorites before and imagined they were very evil, dangerous aliens. However the book's episode guide told me that in serial code G (which I didn’t even know then was called `The Sensorites` though I might have guessed) the enemy had been a disease killing them so they were not evil. Still they looked it. These aliens were quite unlike anything I’d seen lately which were things like the Sea Devils.  Anyway at the time I was also a member of the Doctor Who Fan Club and members used to send in their drawings so I foolishly drew a picture of a Sensorite and sent it in. 

7 December 2016

The Original #3 The Forest of Fear

People have complained lately that Peter Capaldi’s Doctor was too angry and unfriendly in his first season or that David Tennant’s Doctor acted out of character by imprisoning the Family at the end of `Family of Blood` but what do they know? You only have to travel three episodes into the entire series to find the Doctor at his most unforgiving in a manner that makes his later incarnations seem like big softies by comparison. This episode is a tautly staged, powerful spin on how people react in extreme situations and really deserves as many plaudits at `An Unearthly Child` which it is the equal of.

3 December 2016

Class - The Lost

This is a finale solely aimed at those who have watched the previous seven episodes and as such works towards an emotional climax that contains no easy answers. By the cliffhanger ending not all of the characters have survived and some of the fatalities have been brutally despatched in a shocking manner. It’s almost too much stuff in what really needed to be a 2 parter if only to allow us and the characters to take it all in because like the characters we’re wondering what on earth will happen next!