Visit the official Doctor Who website

Visit the official Doctor Who website
Look to the future

Asylum seekers...

Asylum seekers...
Refuge of the Daleks

Doctor Who picture resource

Doctor Who picture resource
Roam the space lanes!

Explore the Doctor Who classic series website

Explore the Doctor Who classic series website
Step back in time

Infiltrate The Hub of Doctor Who spin-off Torchwood

Infiltrate The Hub of Doctor Who spin-off Torchwood
Armed and extremely dangerous

Investigate The Sarah Jane Adventures

Investigate The Sarah Jane Adventures
Fearless in the face of adversity

Call on Dani’s House

Call on Dani’s House
Harmer’s a charmer

Intercept the UFO fabsite

Intercept the UFO fabsite
Defending the Earth against alien invaders!

Uncover the secrets of the Dollhouse

Uncover the secrets of the Dollhouse
Programmable agent Echo exposed!

Hell’s belles

Hell’s belles
Naughty but nice

Love Exposure

Love Exposure
Flash photography!

Primeval portal

Primeval portal
Dressed to kill or damsels in distress?

Charmed, to be sure!

Charmed, to be sure!
The witches of San Francisco

Take on t.A.T.u.

Take on t.A.T.u.
All the way from Moscow

Proceed to the Luther website

Proceed to the Luther website
John and Jenny discuss their next move

DCI Banks is on the case

DCI Banks is on the case
You can bet on it!

On The Grid with Spooks

On The Grid with Spooks
Secret agents of Section D

Bridge to Hustle

Bridge to Hustle
Shady characters

Life on Ashes To Ashes

Life on Ashes To Ashes
Coppers with a chequered past

Claire’s no Exile

Claire’s no Exile
Goose steps

Vexed is back on the beat!

Vexed is back on the beat!
Mismatched DI Armstrong and bright fast-tracker Georgina Dixon

Medium, both super and natural

Medium, both super and natural
Open the door to your dreams

Who’s that girl? (350-picture Slideshow)

Wednesday, 30 April 2008

Telly Visions: Gabrielle Drake


Just for a change, I thought I’d better write about an actress who hasn’t appeared in “Doctor Who”! She has, however, appeared in a major science fiction series and this is probably her main claim to fame, despite being a classically trained Shakespearean actress. Her popularity also hails from, approximately, the same time period as my first two choices in this new feature and she is, facially at least, very similar in appearance to my previous “Telly Visions” selection, Wendy Padbury. I’m talking about Gabrielle Drake, one of the best-remembered stars of the 1970 television series “UFO”. Yet, she played Lieutenant Gay Ellis in only ten of the twenty-six episodes produced. Lt. Ellis worked on Moonbase, which was Earth’s first line of defence against invading flying saucers. Part of the reason for her not appearing in the remaining episodes was a gap in production, of about six months, due to relocation of the studio, during which time she needed to look for alternative employment. This also affected other major players in the Gerry Anderson show such as George Sewell. He played Colonel Alec Freeman in the first seventeen episodes then vanishes without a trace, despite still appearing, like Gabrielle, in the opening title sequence! Don’t let that put you off watching the series, though, if you’ve never seen it… Many of the later episodes have stronger scripts, despite a shifting of emphasis as to the reasons for the aliens coming to Earth! The costumes worn by Drake, and her female co-stars, included grey catsuits and mauve or purple-coloured wigs, the practical reason for which was never explained in the series. Trust me, ambiguity is good!

If you don’t remember Gabrielle from “UFO”, you may recall her appearance with John Cleese in an oft-repeated commercial for Yellow Pages, where, if I recollect correctly, the couple attempt to retrieve a goldfish bowl from their flooded home! But, really, she should be most familiar to a wider television viewing audience for her starring role in “The Brothers”, in which she played Jill Hammond for forty-two episodes between 1972 and 1974. If you’re unfamiliar with this series, “The Brothers” could be seen as producer Gerard Glaister’s forerunner to “Howards’ Way”, both being, essentially, Sunday early-evening soaps centred around a family business. It certainly brought Colin Baker into the public eye, as the villainous Paul Merroney, well over a decade before he took on the mantle of Britain’s most famous time traveller. In hindsight, the character of Paul Merroney can be viewed as a prototype for the new Thatcher-inspired generation of corporate go-getters. Anyway, it wasn’t Gabrielle’s only brush with the world of soap! Also like Wendy Padbury before her, she has appeared in the long-running motel saga “Crossroads”, though Drake’s stint was over several years during the mid-to-late Eighties as Nicola Freeman. No relation to Alec, in “UFO”, I trust! On the big screen, she played posh tottie Julia Halforde-Smythe opposite Peter Sellers in the Boulting Brothers’ romantic comedy “There’s a Girl in My Soup”. Peter’s catchphrase in the film is “My god, but you’re lovely” and this is certainly true of his co-star, Gabrielle Drake. Just take a look at the short clip of Lt. Ellis changing into her mini-skirt in the Moonbase equivalent of a locker room, from the “UFO” pilot-episode “Identified”, and I think you’ll agree!

video

Saturday, 26 April 2008

Ten of the Beast


Being in a positive frame of mind, at the present time, and given that we seem to be heading towards some sort of conclusion to the first four seasons of new “Doctor Who”, I thought it might be an appropriate moment to consider which have been the highlights of the first forty-five episodes, since the programme’s resurrection. My selection seems obvious to me, but you may beg to differ…

From Season One, in chronological order, three stories over four episodes…

1: “The Unquiet Dead” written by Mark Gatiss, directed by Euros Lyn - originally broadcast on 9th April 2005 with Christopher Eccleston as the Doctor and Billie Piper as Rose Tyler

The Doctor shares a carriage with Dickens (Simon Callow) while Rose is touched up by undertaker Gabriel Sneed (Alan David), when she’s unconscious! And, they call this a children’s show? Meanwhile, the Time Lord is taken in by a plea to “Pity the Gelth”. He does and his gullibility costs the life of servant girl Gwyneth (Eve Myles).

2: “Dalek” written by Robert Shearman, directed by Joe Ahearne - originally broadcast on 30th April 2005 with Christopher Eccleston as the Doctor and Billie Piper as Rose Tyler

A strange way to reintroduce the Doctor’s deadliest foe, with only one of the scallywags from Skaro, but, in retrospect, it’s a tough little story, totally at odds with all the emoting going on elsewhere in the series! Who would ever have thought we’d feel sympathy for a “Metaltron”? Rose’s white t-shirt indicates she’s a Dalek virgin!

3 & 4: “The Empty Child” & “The Doctor Dances” written by Steven Moffat, directed by James Hawes - originally broadcast on 21st & 28th May 2005 with Christopher Eccleston as the Doctor, Billie Piper as Rose Tyler and John Barrowman as Captain Jack Harkness

Doctor Constantine (Richard Wilson) grows a gasmask on his face while a little boy, in a similar predicament, asks of everyone he meets, whatever their gender, “Are you my mummy?” - That dubious honour belongs to Nancy (Florence Hoath) who’d, obviously, do absolutely anything to meet Graham Norton! Rose’s Union Jack t-shirt indicates with which Captain she’d enjoy an association!!

From Season Two, one story comprising two episodes…

5 & 6: “The Impossible Planet” & “The Satan Pit” written by Matt Jones, directed by James Strong - originally broadcast on 3rd & 10th June 2006 with David Tennant as the Doctor and Billie Piper as Rose Tyler

Beam me up Scooti Manista (Myanna Buring) was, no doubt, on many a male’s mind before the wee lass was sucked into a black hole above the rocky landscape of Krop Tor! Nothing Ood about that, let me assure her!! Well, you know what they say, “The beast and his armies will rise from the pit”. While the Doctor hitches a lift to the bottom, Rose attempts to keep hers covered as she gets carried away to Zachary Cross Flane’s (Shaun Parkes) escape rocket… when she’s unconscious!

From Season Three, two stories over three episodes…

7 & 8: “Human Nature” & “The Family of Blood” written by Paul Cornell, directed by Charles Palmer - originally broadcast on 26th May & 2nd June 2007 with David Tennant as the Doctor and Freema Agyeman as Martha Jones

Doctor Jones dons a maid’s uniform just so schoolteacher John Smith can show her and matron Joan Redfern (Jessica Hynes) his “Journal of Impossible Things”! I know all about his sort, the dirty little scribble monster! Oh, that’s from a different episode altogether - silly me!! Surely, that kind of thing is best left to the Marquis de Sade? Some of the kinky devils are even dressing up… as scarecrows!!!

9: “Blink” written by Steven Moffat, directed by Hettie Macdonald - originally broadcast on 9th June 2007 with Carey Mulligan as Sally Sparrow, David Tennant as the Doctor and Freema Agyeman as Martha Jones

Well, I have to say, I’d do bird to make the acquaintance of young Miss Sparrow! I can hear her song now, “Sally, Sally, pride of our alley, You’re more than the whole world to me…” Why the Doctor didn’t fly her away in his TARDIS, I’ll never know!! They could’ve done time together!!!

And, from the first three episodes of Season Four, one single-episode story…

10: “Planet of the Ood” written by Keith Temple, directed by Graeme Harper - originally broadcast on 19th April 2008 with David Tennant as the Doctor and Catherine Tate as Donna Noble

This final selection certainly provided fOod for thought! And, the Ood were prepared to sing for their supper. The script required many things, not least… plenty of brains. So quite what Donna was doing on the Ood-Sphere, in the year 4126, remains a mystery. I think she keeps hers in her hindquarters!!

The observant reader will notice I haven’t chosen a single episode written by Russell T. Davies, nor have I chosen any that feature companions’ familial ties! That’s a feat in itself!! I wonder if the two are synonymous? Considering numerous instalments of new “Doctor Who” feature harmonious mothers, melodious brothers and dynamic lovers, it may suggest these are default choices, which isn’t the case. I do, genuinely, like the episodes detailed above. Those are my favourites, which ones are yours?

Tuesday, 22 April 2008

Warden’s Watch: Planet of the Ood (or… Ood, Glorious Ood!)


I’ll lay my cards immediately on the table and let you all know that I absolutely adored the latest episode in the new series of “Doctor Who”, “Planet of the Ood”! It’s as big a surprise for me as it is you, dear reader!! In spite of Tate, regardless of Davies and notwithstanding a rather naff gag dependant on, admittedly minimal, knowledge of “The Simpsons”, I would love it if the programme were like this more of the time. I confess I’d been looking forward to this episode, more than any other, because the Ood story from two years ago is my favourite of the tenth Doctor’s era, to date. Ironically, considering my preference for the classic series, but not being particularly partial to the Sontarans, I haven’t been looking forward to next week’s two-parter nearly as much! One of the things I like about these Ood tales is the turning on its head of the master-servant/slave relationship. Usually, it’s the humans who are subjugated in “Doctor Who”, not the aliens. At the start of the story, a mystery is quickly inaugurated for the Doctor and his companion to investigate when the pair chance upon what-is-soon-to-be-revealed-as a red-eyed Ood dying in the snow whose last words plead, “The circle must be broken”. The whole setup of this adventure is very similar to that of “Revelation of the Daleks”, with the fast-fading Ood being comparable to the forgiving mutant near the start of the earlier escapade. Both stories feature a trudge through snow, from where the TARDIS has materialised, across an alien landscape. Both include the aforementioned preliminary confrontation before reaching the hub of the action. And, both deal with the nature of conducting business while, perhaps revealingly, both are directed by Graeme Harper! It doesn’t take the time travellers quite as long to reach their destination in “Planet of the Ood”, however, as it did the Doctor and Peri twenty-three years ago!!

As “Planet of the Ood” hurtles towards its climax, the Doctor and Donna make an alarming discovery. Huddled together in a cell, singing the song of captivity, are a group of natural born Ood, unprocessed, before they’re adapted to slavery, unspoilt. They carry their secondary hind-brain in their cupped hands. Donna finds the music overwhelmingly unbearable, emotionally speaking, and asks for it to be taken away. I used to have the same problem whilst spinning discs for customers, when working in a record shop back in the Eighties! Joking aside, the use of music here is exemplary, for once, and connected to a warning in the final moments of this sequel, when, speaking to the Doctor, an Ood forewarns, “I think your song must end soon. Every song must end.” Earlier, the Doctor offers stunning marketing manager Solana Mercurio, played by the beautifully named Ayesha Dharker (pictured), the hand of friendship which she briefly considers then rejects. She proceeds by betraying both him and Donna at the first available opportunity, not being able to step outside her own small, seemingly secure, world of the workplace. This is a minor moment of momentous tragedy, more real than any of the nonsense concerning the separation of Rose from her mentor at the end of Series Two! And, the themes of this Ood episode have resonance, not just emotional content. We are privy to a great big (business) empire built on slavery, witness to battery-hen farming for Ood-kind. There is a slowness and precision in both manner and movement of the Ood which makes them a very dignified race of beings, and that is key to their success. As Tennant said in the following “Doctor Who Confidential” documentary, “Oods and Ends”, “they are benevolent and non-invasive”. By way of contrast, this time round there are also rabid Ood, perhaps comparable in concept to rogue Cybermen as seen in “The Invasion” and “Attack of the Cybermen”.

I guessed, before “Planet of the Ood” commenced, that the Doctor wouldn’t be able to resist mentioning the “real” snow, on this occasion, as opposed to the raining ash etc of previous instances! I also predicted the fate of Tim McInnerny’s Klineman Halpen, when he first commented upon his hair loss ten minutes into the episode, even though the manner in which it happened was still a pleasant surprise! Transformed into the very creature he’s been abusing, it’s not quite as agreeable for the character as the viewer but justly deserved, nevertheless, for both murder and as amoral “owner of the franchise for selling Ood, domestically, across the known and unknown galaxy”!! A nice commentary on the nasty and seedy nature of business, generally, I thought. I hope Sir Alan was watching, though I’m not sure he would heed any message even if attuned to literary subtext! The enemy within Halpen’s company was successfully disguised throughout by the discreet performance of Adrian Rawlins, as much put upon Dr Ryder, having been a friend of the Ood, working for their release, for the past ten years! The almost-chanted and oft-repeated phrase, “Doctor, Donna, friends”, will no doubt pass into the folklore of the programme though I’m more likely to remember the Time Lord’s criticism, “Who do you think made your clothes?” As producer Susie Liggat indicated, “Planet of the Ood” is a really important story about liberating repressed people, a metaphor that can be applied the world over both on a personal level and globally. Writer Keith Temple fashioned what-turned-out-to-be a very old school episode of “Doctor Who”, and good on him!!

Thursday, 17 April 2008

Warden’s Watch: The Invasion (or… Lifting the Lid on the Cybermen!)


With the news that a pair of Cybermen have been photographed stomping round a cemetery in Newport, filming for this year’s “Doctor Who” Christmas Special, it seemed an appropriate moment to look at the story I consider to be their finest hour! That “The Invasion” is also Wendy Padbury’s best “Doctor Who” serial is a happy coincidence, as well as the fact that this eight-part epic just happens to be my second favourite “Doctor Who” story. When I was consciously choosing an order of preference, perhaps some twenty odd years ago now, it was a toss up between this Cyber-adventure and the previously discussed, ecologically minded, “Fury from the Deep” as to which should claim pole position in my affections, and the tale of the demented seaweed won out in the final analysis! Incidentally, it’s about time the producers of the new version of “Doctor Who” resorted to using one of the programme’s giants as villains in their seasonal offering. The creative choices taken, thus far, to fill the Christmas episodes have been quite odd, to say the least. The Doctor hardly appeared in the first, we were treated to a screaming bride in the second and the third relied on the notoriety of an unsinkable ship that sank! Personally speaking, I’ve always wanted to spend my Christmas with a Dalek!! I know… there’s no accounting for taste! Anyway, onto the main thrust of what I hope will be a very buoyant discourse…

“The Invasion” was directed by Douglas Camfield, the most-assured figure to work in this capacity on “Doctor Who” at any time in the programme’s history, and therein lies the strength of this serial. The Cybermen look very good on screen, due partly to the superb new costumes designed for them by Bobi Bartlett but perhaps more particularly to Douglas Camfield’s excellent direction. The helmets, for example, were now a lot bulkier in appearance with the addition of what can perhaps best be described as “tyres”, preventing the notorious handlebars from attaching directly to each side of each creature’s face. The teardrop effect, on the underside of each eye, was retained in the revamp but dropped from the lower lip, which became wider and narrower. It hadn’t been long since the monsters, originally from Mondas with Telos as their adopted home planet, were last dispatched by the present TARDIS incumbents, with only two five-part serials separating the earlier “The Wheel in Space” from the creature’s surprise reappearance halfway through this escapade. The first repeat of a complete adventure in the programme’s history, “The Evil of the Daleks”, undoubtedly helped put some distance between the two Cyber-serials. One of the really good things about “The Invasion” is the Cybermen’s seeming indestructibility. Attacking them with all manner of military hardware does nothing to stop their inevitable nihilistic onslaught…

Like the second William Hartnell Dalek serial, “The Dalek Invasion of Earth”, “The Invasion” benefits enormously from the use of location filming around familiar London landmarks. Whereas, in the earlier story, we were treated to Daleks patrolling the likes of Westminster and Trafalgar Square, in this Cybermen outing the aliens appear through street manholes from out of the sewers, at the end of the sixth episode, to march triumphantly down the steps behind St. Paul’s Cathedral. It is, indeed, an imposing sight. Also something of an arresting display, and without skirting around the issue, Wendy Padbury’s and Sally Faulkner’s knickers are frequently revealed! Douglas would insist on filming things using low camera angles!! The director had the reputation for organising his shoots with military precision!!! He’s also responsible for my favourite episode of “The Sweeney”, “Thou Shalt Not Kill”, which prominently featured another lovely of the day, Harriet Philpin, better known to “Doctor Who” fans as Bettan in the second half of “Genesis of the Daleks”. As for the Cybermen themselves, and despite not having much dialogue in “The Invasion”, they would never again be this good. After their fifth and final black and white story, writers seemed to forget that the creatures are supposed to be emotionless, when terms like “Revenge” and “Excellent” started creeping into future scripts! They seem harder to write for than Daleks, with only “The Tomb of the Cybermen” being truly comparable in quality to the pièce de résistance that is “The Invasion”.

Tuesday, 15 April 2008

Telly Visions: Wendy Padbury


Deborah Watling’s successor in “Doctor Who” was the diminutive, but equally lovely, Wendy Padbury. Wendy became something of an icon for me in my formative years. Not only did she have a regular part to play in the adventures of the second Doctor but also with the team on children’s drama series “Freewheelers”. She joined “Doctor Who”, as Zoë Heriot, during another encounter with the Cybermen, in “The Wheel in Space”, and was returned to her own time and place, after forty-eight episodes, at the end of the epic ten-part story “The War Games”. It is during her final episodes on the series, the end of the Sixth Season, that we discover the Doctor’s race is known as Time Lords. I suspect this came out of desperation on the part of writers Terrance Dicks and Malcolm Hulke having had problems securing enough scripts for the programme’s final days in black and white and having to hurriedly write new instalments themselves! Ms Padbury’s bottom gained great notoriety at the beginning of her third story on the show, “The Mind Robber”, when, at the end of episode one, the TARDIS explodes and she and fellow companion Jamie are left clinging to its console as it slowly spins round, becoming engulfed in swirling mist. I hasten to add she was wearing a close-fitting lamé catsuit with said derrière pointing directly at the camera! No wonder I was enamoured!!

After leaving “Doctor Who”, Wendy Padbury found employment as co-presenter on a BBC game show, alongside Paul McCartney’s brother Mike McGear, in a short-lived series called “Score with the Scaffold”. The Scaffold were a well-known pop trio of the day, with a humorous slant, who themselves scored great success with hits “Thank U Very Much” and “Lily the Pink”. Wendy returned to acting in the brilliant and controversial British horror film, dealing with witchcraft and superstitions, “Blood on Satan’s Claw”. Appearing as Cathy Vespers, she is ritualistically raped. The actress renewed her acquaintance with the small screen in the fondly remembered, by me at least, Southern Television series “Freewheelers” as Sue Craig. Then in its fifth series, “Freewheelers” can probably best be described as a sort of junior James Bond, being action-adventure orientated. Like “Doctor Who”, a series usually comprised several serials, each episode closing with a cliff-hanger. It had a jaunty opening theme tune but ended with a different part of the same composition, creating a more sombre mood. The credibility of the show declined in its final days but I loved it and used to rush home from school to catch it, in an era before the introduction of domestic video recorders! Towards the end of her career, Wendy played Rosemary Roberts in the ITV soap opera “Emmerdale Farm”, to give it its original title, where she was reunited with Frazer Hines, her co-star from the good old days of “Doctor Who”!!

Sunday, 13 April 2008

Warden’s Watch: Fury from the Deep


As a companion piece to “Telly Visions”, I’ve determined to introduce another new recurring feature, to this blog, in order to give it a fresh sense of identity in the absence of regular new “Doctor Who” reviews. The general idea of “Warden’s Watch” is to take a closer look at one of the productions in which the selected “Telly Visions” actress featured. This doesn’t, necessarily, mean analysing whole series (perish the thought!) but attempting to discern what makes a single episode, or serial within a series, stand out from the crowd. In the interests of variation, I may choose to consider a piece under the “Warden’s Watch” banner, initially, then follow through, subsequently, with an overview of a particular cast member’s career. Equally, each of the new strands may simply stand alone. It’s not set in stone like the rock creatures in “The Fires of Pompeii” otherwise any possible creativity, in the writing department, goes straight out the window! I may even still review a new “Doctor Who” episode as part of this series. Next Saturday’s “Planet of the Ood” looks a little more promising than its two predecessors, in the latest run, now that the British Board of Film Classification has indicated it’s not as suitable for youngsters by giving it a 12 rating! On the other hand, don’t hold your breath!! So, without further ado, to business…

What is it that makes “Fury from the Deep” my all-time favourite “Doctor Who” story? I haven’t watched this six-part serial since I was nine years old, and am unlikely ever to see it again, having been wiped from the BBC’s archive, so the answer is simple… my memory of it being the scariest set of episodes. It boasts three genuinely frightening cliff-hangers, one of which is the most bizarre thing I’ve ever experienced in a television drama to this day. At the end of episode three, Maggie Harris and Robson, both infected by the weed creature, meet on the beach. The former tells the latter she will obey his instructions. Then, she turns and walks straight out into the sea, eventually becoming completely submerged beneath the waves… Can you imagine the effect that had on someone my age in 1968? It is a haunting image, make no mistake. And, talk about creative! You need a warped imagination to invent something as unusual and truly weird as that!! Thinking about it now, I’m surprised it made it to broadcast at 5.15 in the afternoon of Saturday, 30th March. Episode one’s ending was a stunner, too. Victoria (Deborah Watling), trapped in a store room at the base, screams as foam pours in through an open grille and advances toward her. Within the foam are fronds of animated seaweed… And, it occurs to me that it’s exactly forty years, to the day, since the transmission of episode five which concludes with the Doctor and Jamie entering the central area of the control rig to find themselves confronted by the terrifying sight of Robson standing in the middle of a mass of weed and foam. “Come in Doctor,” he whispers. “We’ve been waiting for you.”

“Fury from the Deep” is the only television “Doctor Who” story to be written by script editor, and former actor, Victor Pemberton. He based it on his own radio play “The Slide”, about mind-controlling mud with a heartbeat! Yeah, I know it may sound silly but if done properly, with the skill to suspend one’s disbelief, it can scare the heebie-jeebies out of anyone!! “Fury” features a Robert Holmes-style double act in the shape of a couple of characters called Oak and Quill. The scene of these two weed-infected technicians attacking Maggie Harris in the comfort of her own home is one of the most terrifying in the show’s history. On the downside, I wasn’t too sure about the travellers returning to the TARDIS to conduct experiments, mid-serial, considering the ship was parked on the surface of the ocean, making it more than a little inaccessible. Second Doctor Patrick Troughton didn’t want to go up in a helicopter either! However, the story was more than successfully directed by another former actor, and ex-school teacher, Hugh David. Formerly David Hughes, it was his second and last time on the show. He had previously worked on “The Highlanders” in the same capacity. I later discovered he taught my father maths at grammar school! His wife, Wendy Williams, played Vira in the Tom Baker serial “The Ark in Space”. And, she was the English teacher at the same establishment!! It was the first story to feature the sonic screwdriver which, now, is a mixed blessing but, then, functioned exactly as described. And, it was the last story to feature Debbie Watling as Victoria Waterfield. The end of the final episode features a touching and emotional farewell without being overbearing. As the image of Victoria waving goodbye recedes on the TARDIS scanner screen, the Doctor reminds his forlorn companion, “I was fond of her too, you know, Jamie.”

Thursday, 10 April 2008

Telly Visions: Deborah Watling


I’ve decided to start up a brand new strand, on this blog, profiling some of my favourite actresses who have appeared on both the small and large screens over the decades. I’ll attempt to give it a personal slant in that each post will concentrate on the productions in which I’ve most enjoyed their performances. I make no apologies for the fact that this, hopefully, regular series of pieces is picture-inspired. I’m the one who has to look at this blog most often, therefore I will try and accompany each small article with a rarely seen image of each vision of loveliness! I suppose I could’ve called the series “Favourite Actresses” but thought it a dull and uninspired title. After a little more thought, I came up with “Telly Visions” instead! So, turn on, tune in and open up your eyes as first off the starting block is the gorgeous Deborah Watling!! But, then, they’re all beautiful…

Deborah is the daughter of actor Jack Watling. She first came to my attention, naturally enough, in “Doctor Who” during the late-Sixties. I’m beginning with her because she played the female companion throughout what is my favourite year of the science fiction series. Deborah joined the show, playing Victoria Waterfield, at the end of the Fourth Season, in the second episode of “The Evil of the Daleks”. Her father in the story is exterminated by the Daleks and so the second Doctor, Patrick Troughton, takes her under his wing, essentially adopting her by inviting her to join him and Jamie aboard the TARDIS. There is a rather touching scene in “The Tomb of the Cybermen”, the opening story of the following season, in which the Doctor tries to comfort and reassure her after her tragic loss. It isn’t dwelt on interminably and is the perfect example of how to deal with such issues in an essentially escapist series such as this. Her real dad joined the cast as Professor Travers, during her run, for the two Yeti stories and, in her final tale, it is her amplified scream that defeats the seaweed creature in my all-time favourite “Doctor Who” story, “Fury from the Deep”. It wasn’t only Jamie who was sorry to see her leave the programme at the end of this adventure!

Debbie had already appeared in a long running series at the tender age of eleven. She played Sally Brady in nine episodes of “H. G. Wells’ Invisible Man”, broadcast during 1959. Six years later, she appeared on the cover of the Radio Times to promote her starring role in Dennis Potter’s “Wednesday Play”, entitled “Alice”, which also featured future “Wexford” actor George Baker. Since moving on from “Doctor Who”, after a magnificent forty episodes over exactly eleven months, I suppose it’s fair to say television appearances have been thin on the ground. We saw a lot more of her as Sandra, alongside David Essex, in rock ‘n’ roll flick “That’ll Be the Day”. Whilst Ringo (Starr) is off doing his business elsewhere, our man from Essex attempts to get inside Miss Watling’s undergarments, lucky geezer, in one of the holiday camp chalets where he’s clearly gainfully employed! Back on the small screen, Deborah played Lorna in “Hello Young Lovers”, an episode of “Rising Damp”, in which her ample bosom is certainly thrust to the fore!! And, coming full circle, she appeared in the recurring role of “Naughty” Norma Baker, opposite Anthony Andrews, in seven episodes of “Danger UXB”, a series co-created by non other than Verity Lambert, the original Producer of Watling’s best-remembered gig, “Doctor Who”!

Tuesday, 8 April 2008

Beginnings


It was terrific to see “Doctor Who” back on BBC television, early Saturday evening! Engaging, through the sincerity of its performances, suspenseful, in that you really didn’t know in what direction the tale was going to turn, and full of hidden terrors, in the shadows flickering across a seemingly deserted and unknown terrain. Whatever dangers are to be faced, it doesn’t help any companion if they don’t feel able to trust the Doctor! He makes up excuses to have his own way, oblivious to the hazards in which he may be placing them, allowing curiosity to get the better of him. Unrushed, with time to slowly build the narrative, to dwell upon ideas to consider their implications, the story places the TARDIS crew in considerable peril. What is the object found on the forest floor outside the ship - a bomb? Who has left it there and what is its purpose? Who can be relied upon - the Thals? Who is to be believed - “The Daleks”?

How unfortunate for Russell T Davies, supposedly the saviour of British television drama, that his latest offering should premiere on the same night as a welcome, and long overdue, repeat of a serial representing a master class in economically effective writing! And, written by a supposed hack!! Almost immediately, Terry Nation has the explorers fall ill, succumbing to radiation sickness, and just as they encounter the conniving inhabitants of Skaro for the very first time. But, the mysterious old man, leading the crew, is equally devious - disastrously to the travellers’ detriment… One of their number, a science teacher, is paralysed from the waist down. They are all imprisoned inside an alien city, forced to lay a trap against those who have befriended them, while the youngest has to face her fear and journey again amongst the petrified trees, alone, to fetch drugs to combat their deteriorating and debilitating condition. Will “The Daleks” allow the Doctor, Susan, Ian and Barbara to use the medicine or do the exterminators want it for themselves?

Friday, 4 April 2008

Tits Make Hits


Singer Mariah Carey has passed Elvis Presley for the most Number One US singles and is now second only to The Beatles. But, while the diva was in full celebration mode after learning of her latest milestone with her eighteenth chart-topper, “Touch My Body”, she was also quick to place her accomplishment in perspective. Sincerely spoken, and with more modesty than her dress sense, she opined, “I really can never put myself in the category of people who have not only revolutionised music but also changed the world”! You’re damn right, love… but, what exactly is it that this insidiously vacuous phenomenon wants to be known for, the quality of her tonsils or the size of her tits? I think the answer is neither. I don’t think she gives a toss about music and the only reason she flaunts her, admittedly, oversized breasts is to get young boys to part with their cash. I don’t feel remotely sorry that she has to do this to earn a crust. It’s all a question of who’s exploiting who? I wish punters, who get their mitts on her hits, would realise that all they’re getting for their hard earned is another, totally forgettable, trashy little ditty. You don’t get to tweak Mariah’s nipples by purchasing a copy of her latest compact disc, even though the title is inviting you to!

Carey’s actually playing a rather dangerous game through the manner in which she, continually, flaunts herself. The woman suggests, in both body language and lyric, that she’s available for molestation. Asking for trouble if you ask me! No wonder she calls for security at the end of her video. She, obviously, has many deep-rooted insecurities and I’m not sure it’s the computer geek that really needs to be shown off her premises. She wouldn’t need security if she didn’t keep flashing her matching bra and knicker sets at every peeping Tom, Dick or Harry. How, exactly, and I’m talking precisely, did she ever get a recording contract? I know the answer and I’m sure you all do, too! Don’t forget, at the start of her career, she married the boss of Sony records!! She doesn’t have a vocal range of five octaves. The mere suggestion is completely ludicrous as it is a physical impossibility, whatever the size of your cup! While I’m laughing my ass off, she’s too busy showing hers!! She may have made plenty of money in “the business” but, in actuality, has precious little musicianship. I really hope she doesn’t supersede The Beatles’ record of twenty.

Wednesday, 2 April 2008

Keeping Who Covered





Having no sooner got back from the newsagents, after acquiring all six “Doctor Who” DVDs courtesy of The Sun giveaway, I now have to make a return visit, pronto, if I’m to pick up all four versions of this week’s Radio Times while stocks last! My favourite cover is the one on which the Ood looms large, not least because it also happens to be the one on which la Donna is least visible!! Miss Tate has her knockers, it’s true, but never let it be said that I am one of them! My impartiality is exposed for all to see!! Otherwise, why would I post four blooming great pictures of the lovely lofty lassie?!!

Guest stars are pictured in abundance including Phil Davis, recently seen as Wilfrid Brambell in “The Curse of Steptoe”, as Lucius together with Peter Capaldi as Caecillius whom I remember playing rocker Zeno Vedast in “Some Lie and Some Die”, one of my favourite Inspector Wexford “Ruth Rendell Mysteries”. Shame they didn’t see fit to include former “Howards’ Way” actress Tracey Childs as Metella in the picture, who also features in “The Hanky-Panky of Frankie”, as well as spell Capaldi’s character’s name correctly! Ladies exhibiting their wares include Sarah Hotpot as Miss Lager, from the opening episode “Pilchards in Brine”, and Velocity Mint Cake as Lady Edible with Vanilla Thermal Undies as “Marble Sponge Pudding” creator Marathon Christ Knows, both featuring in “The Horny Horse and the Hornet”.

The Ood cover features Tim McInnerny as Mr Halpen. Dunno what he likes for breakfast but he’s best known for playing the Chancellor of the Exchequer in “Blackadder Goes Forth”! Oh, hang on, I’ve got my facts slightly muddled… Tim was Captain Darling in the final series of “Blackadder”, not Alistair Darling!! I can only imagine the misunderstandings that might arise from such a problematical surname. Picture Prime Monster Gordon Brown addressing this formidable financial fellow, by said surname in the Gents, with the conversation being overheard by an undercover police officer… Anyway, don’t forget to tune into “Doctor Who” this Saturday evening, at 8.30pm on BBC Four, for what promises to be the start of an exciting adventure!

Tuesday, 1 April 2008

“Doctor Who” Series Four - Campfire Trailer, Episode Titles and Authors



01. “Partners in Crime” by Russell T Davies
02. “The Fires of Pompeii” by James Moran
03. “Planet of the Ood” by Keith Temple
04. “The Sontaran Stratagem” by Helen Raynor
05. “The Poison Sky” by Helen Raynor
06. “The Doctor’s Daughter” by Stephen Greenhorn
07. “The Unicorn and the Wasp” by Gareth Roberts
08. “Silence in the Library” by Steven Moffat
09. “Forest of the Dead” by Steven Moffat
10. “Midnight” by Russell T Davies
11. “Turn Left” by Russell T Davies
12. (This title is being kept under wraps, for the moment, probably because it includes the word Daleks!) by Russell T Davies
13. “Journey’s End” by Russell T Davies