Sunday, September 28, 2014

In Memorium: R.I.P. Maggie Stables

It is with a heavy heart to report this evening the passing of Maggie Stables. Stables, best known to many Big Finish listeners as the 6th Doctor companion Evelyn Smythe passed away this weekend after a long illness.

From the Big Finish page:

Maggie died peacefully in her sleep on the night of Friday the 26th of September after a long illness.

Big Finish Executive Producer Nick Briggs: 'I met Maggie many years ago when we worked together on a national theatre tour of Jane Eyre, in which Maggie superbly played the sinister role of Grace Poole. After that, Maggie was instrumental in getting me a job in the Theatre Royal Nottingham Thriller season, recommending me to the late producer, Colin McIntyre.

'I was keen to get her involved in the Big Finish audios, casting her as the gruff Ruthley in our very first Doctor Who release, The Sirens of Time. It wasn't long before my friend and producer Gary Russell spotted her and saw her as potential 'companion' material. Evelyn Smythe made Doctor Who history. The first, dare I say it, 'elderly' companion of the Doctor's. Maggie was superb in the role and she and her Doctor, Colin Baker, immediately hit it off. And even though Maggie appeared in two 'final' adventures for Evelyn, it was always our intention to continue working with her -- such is the advantage of time travel. I was very pleased to welcome her back for another trilogy in 2011.

'As a friend of Maggie's, I knew she had suffered and largely recovered from serious illness before that recording, but it was clear to me that she was still too poorly to continue with the rigours of studio work -- even though you would never have known from her great performance. Always the professional.

'Maggie was such a lovely, warm person who did a fantastic job of playing Evelyn. She was extremely popular with our listeners and always a delight to work with. I have many fond and sometimes raucous memories of working with her in Doctor Who and on stage. Unfortunately, my favourite Maggie anecdotes are far too naughty to repeat here. Suffice it to say, she had a very saucy laugh and a twinkle in her eye. Some of my warmest memories of her involve her sometimes shockingly blunt use of a put-down aimed at me... but it was always followed by that infectious laugh of hers.

'I shall always be grateful for the support and affection she gave to me and for all the laughs we shared along the way.'

Our thoughts are with Maggie's dear friends and family at this very sad time.


Saturday, September 27, 2014

They Care So We Won't Have To? or Groundskeeper Doctor: The Caretaker Review

The terrifying Skovox Blitzer is ready to destroy all humanity - but worse, and any second now, Danny Pink and the Doctor are going to meet.

When terrifying events threaten Coal Hill school, the Doctor decides to go undercover.

Episode six, episode six. This one sees Gareth Roberts return to write for the show since 2011's Closing Time. The Caretaker sees the romance of Clara and Danny blossom as the Doctor goes undercover at the very school that not only these two are employed but also a certain science and history teachers he once took along with him and his granddaughter eleven faces ago (Jinx, No Moffat talk!).  So, with that said, how does this one turn out.

The Good:
  • Danny finally meets the Doctor/ "Caretaker Smith", His reaction to the Doctor and Clara's technobabble leaves him lost for words
  • Much like the Lodger and Closing Time, The Caretaker does what it can to coordinate between the funny and the serious.
  • Courtney Woods! The rapport between her and 12th does seem like it echoes a certain umbrella man and the Pride of Perivale
  • The Skovar Blitzer design is very amusing (for a small robot....)
  • Dat jump Danny made!

"We know you miss 11th so we're giving you this guy instead. Please keep watching, Tumblr babies!!"

                                                                        -Steven Moffat*

The Bad:
  • As mentioned in last weekend's Time Heist review it's getting tiresome seeing Clara getting dropped off and picked up over and over. 
  • River Song namechecked..... excuse me... *runs to the bathroom to vomit*
  • More of the Doctor's sudden prejudice towards soldiers.....ENOUGH!!!
  • The 11th Doctor pastiche in Adrian (one of the Coal Hill faculty). You can stop apologizing to the Tumbler babies, Moffat. Rassilon knows you've remained unapoligetic about botching up the 50th and the regeneration limit so why stop now?
  • Dat jump.....The robot's small enough as it without performing the stunt. It was awful as it is amusing

It's All In The Watch: A new gadget and one that makes our dear Doctor invisible. One can't help think the Doctor should've thought of that during the Master as PM situation but what the hell. On the bright side, you might see some cosplayers donning 12s caretaker attire in future.

Verdict: The Caretaker seems more at home with the 11th Doctor era just like Robot of Sherwood. But it does push in the right direction in some spots. Another night, Another slightly above average episode. To the Moon, Alice Doctor!

6.5 Jelly Babies over 10

*Not really a Moffat quote but still

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Break the Bank: Time Heist Review

What's this?! An episode I actually enjoyed?! Have I really gotten soft or it this my off Saturday? This 5th episode (and 3rd entry from Steve Thompson) sees the Doctor, Clara and two other figures at the Bank of Karabraxos to rob from it. Unknown to them during this sceme is they come across a vain and devious bank employee and the mindwiping Teller. So how does this little diddy fare on the Continuity Zone's ratings system?


  • The production design of the bank is the stuff of wonder.
  • We finally get 12th coming into full circle as he took charge of the situation at even understood the sorrow of the Teller
  • Keeley Hawes and Pippa Bennett-Warner...nuff said
  • A plot that wasn't a big cruk you to the audience for once (despite Moffat credited as co-writer)
  • I will admit, I did squee at the legendary Dalek Killer Absolom Daak image. Ah, Absolom Daak....That's one blog post for another day/week/month/year.


  • The episode feels no more as rushed as Chibnall's Power of Three episode from two years before. Particularly the ending.
  • In theory, the Teller design looks cool but when brought to life on screen it's like staring at the female reproductive system. Knowing this now, I can't unsee it nor can I stop laughing!
  • Pity Sabra and Psy couldn't stay beyond this episode. I'd welcome a 4 TARDIS combo over the current tained (and inevitable) 12/Clara/Danny line-up that may come off as 11th/Amy/Rory revisited sans a certain Stetson shooting harpy and the Silence.

Fashion Police:

  • Must start saving up on getting similar shirts akin to the nes Peter Capaldi's worn in the episodes up to now for my own cosplay. The way Capaldi had most of hisd coat buttoned does remind me of How Hartnell's coat was buttoned early on in the early portions of An Unearthly Child and The Daleks.

It's a good check or a fraud?: Time Heist its an straightforward tale that may noy sit well for those aiming for continuity vandalisim like last week's shock value-fest. For once it's a Steve Thompson penned one that didn't have me making facepalms like Curse of the Black Spot and Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS.

7 Jelly Babys out of 10

Next: School (Un)Reunion: The Gareth Roberts Boogaloo

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Mary Poppins, You Are Not!!!: Listen Review

When ghosts of past and future crowd into their lives, the Doctor and Clara are thrown into an adventure that takes them to the very end of the universe.

What happens when the Doctor is alone? And what scares the grand old man of Time and Space? Listen!

Now we enter episode four of the series...and its another solo effort from tiring showrunner Steven Moffat. He promised the fairy tale periuod of his tenure's over and we'd get darker stories. If Deep Breath was onany indication, his promises are as hollow as him film flopping on which number incarnation Peter Capaldi is having tortured the regeneration limit 12 ways from Sunday to where it's a complete joke. This episode's apparently no different from Time of the Doctor and Deep Breath plus moreso The Beast Below. Listen kicks off with the Doctor...Oh, what the hell, since Clara's more imporantant than him I'll rephrease it like this: The episode kicks off with Clara and Danny at dinner, she leaves early and joins the Doctor in a unlocking a mystery of an unseen foe that grabs children's feet from under the bed. Let's get to the nitty gritty, shall we?

Mary Poppins you are NOT, Clara!!

The Good:

  • The fact that the episode isn't CGI heavy is a plus and a welcomed change from the bog standard lightshows of Day and Time.
  • the "Rupert"/Orson segments of the tale were  real your deforce for Samuel Anderson and Remi Gooding.
  • Capaldi once again rising above subpar materialand dat holey Paul Smith sweater! (must emulate it for Halloween costume STAT!)

What part of "Push off! don't you understand, you abomination?!

The Bad:

  • Moffat can't help himself to rewritting the show's canon, can he? As if subplanting Clara into most of the Doctor incarnations while dealing with the Great Inteligence wasn't enough, we're forced into seeing Clara being the Doctor's saviour once again when she pops up into his family home and asedropping on an argument between his parents.... UGH! What I'd give for Lawrence Miles to do a hatched job on this and the Looms to be acknowledged alot (YES, I prefer the Looms! Sue me!)
  • The whole thing was the Beat Below all over again only made woest by foisting Clara's imoprtance over the Doctor's. This second half of it really gave the episode more strile against it than good points
  • Don't even get me started on the footage of the Plot Device (aka John Hurt). I nearly put my fist through my screen in rage.

Don't ever call me "Rupert"!

Bottom Line. Listen is a certified marmite story that serves as the show's cry for fresh blood and showunners who aren't pretentous and take pride and taking the mick out of canon and fandom at every turn. If you love your cashcow, BBC, you'll get rid of the stale garbage and bring in new blood. Disagree if you wish, but Capaldi deserves better matrial than this rubbish.

2 Jelly Babies out of 10

NEXT TIME: A bank robbin' we will go (and four amusing Easter Eggs)

Saturday, September 6, 2014

'Bots In Tights: Robot of Sherwood Review

As you all know, there have been two vital scenes cut due to the IS beheadings of two Journalists. Having seen the leaked episode (cheating, I know), this review will be based on the leaked and the televised versions

So, we now onto Episode three of the 2014 Season and it's one that's as by the numbers romp as it gets. One should come to expect this from Mark Gatiss. There's been a few scripts from Gatiss that haven't reached the heights of his 2005 entry The Unquiet Dead. Some came close (Cold War, The Crimson Horror, other floundered (The Idiot Lantern, Night Thoughts) and one came out like a Toy commercial (Victory of the Daleks). This little number is about the Doctor taking Clara to see Robin Hood at her request but all isn't what it seems. Yes, I know what you're saying "but Robin Hood's not real". It is rather weird of her to meet a man who's no more fictional than Noddy (let's not go there!). So how does this one turn out?

The Good:

  • Clara's medieval dress
  • 12th and Robin's sword-spoon fight
  • The bow contest made for a wee giggle considering the bows the Doctor fired ad exploded aren't made of wood
  • A lovely Patrick Troughton easter egg when we learn how the Prince of Thieves came to be; Troughton played the character in 1953
  • The rapport between Clara and the Sherrif

The Bad:

  • The dungeon bickering which does make you realize that this could've been an 10th or 11th Doctor episode
  • The fact that Clara wanted to meet a fictional character does make me wonder if Gatiss should've had the episode set in the Land of Fiction.
  • A Spaceship in medieval times....We've done that before, havent we? (i.e. The Time Warrior)

Bottom Line: Robot of Sherwood is a fluffy average romp but like the other Gatiss penned episodes diring the 2006-2011 period, it's not really nothing to write home about. Yes, it does bring out the comedic side of Capaldi and company but it all does feel like a leftover script for his predecessors. I'd say next week's show will be better, but I've been wrong before....

5.5 Jelly Babies out of 10