First up is DT himself, providing a masterful example of why hiring actors who know their stuff is a good thing. Here, the boy demonstrates his thorough knowledge of what makes a superior action figure by way of years of field testing, bless:
The trick is, he says, to have a completely blank expression when they photograph you. He learnt this as a child, playing with his own Doctor Who toys. “If the figures look happy, or fierce, or anything, it’s bound to ruin some scene you’ve got going on. The versatile action figure is the blank-faced action figure.” - Behind the scenes of the Doctor Who Christmas Special, starring Kylie
Next up is David McCallum, commenting on MUNCLE slash:
"I mean the idea of Robert and I getting it on (laughs) I think is the funniest thing I've heard this year. With all due respect to Robert, who's a very attractive, nice fellow." - Cool cat doesn't crack under pressure
And finally, because I've been off my game and letting all the Robin Hood reviews slip by, but this one popped into my inbox three times and it's reasonably representative of the rest of the crop (sorry Jonas):
In other words, the reason why Robin Hood’s better now is that Robin Hood’s hardly in it.
The charitable interpretation would be that, like many a series before it, the programme has spotted the potential of what were originally its more minor characters.
(When Minder began, you might remember, Arthur Daly didn’t feature greatly.)
The less charitable one is that it’s finally realised Jonas Armstrong’s frankly drippy Robin was always its weak point, and so should be kept off-screen as much as possible.
On Saturday, he spoke a few one-liners and fired a few arrows. The rest of the action was wisely left to the grown-ups. - Telegraph pick: Robin Hood
Ouch. Poor Jonas. Off crying to Mummy and playing emo songs in a darkened bedroom again this Xmas, most probably.
Or perhaps not. Whatever. It did make me smirk just a little though because I'd been thinking much the same myself. Robin is simply not that likeable a character and conflicted Guy, mercenary Allan and PSTD Much and Master Jedi Carpenter Will are all far more interesting characters. And it's not just me. There's been a poll on the least popular character over on one RH list and our poor eponymous hero was out in front. Oops.
Poor, poor Jonas, but Robin really needs to lose the holier than thou and nasty to his mates 'tude if he wants to truly win friends and influence people.
And it's ironic, as one of the cast is supposed to buy the farm/kick the bucket/fall off their perch [descends into dead parrot sketch for a few moments, then recovers] and I suspect it's not going to be Robin, whom, if dramatic shows ran like reality shows, would be the one being voted off the island. Unfortunately it looks like three of my most favourite characters are most likely possibilities for the chop and I'm hoping TPTB wouldn't be so stupid as to shoot themselves in the foot by removing one of the best characters they have but sadly we know they're exactly that kind of stupid.
There's poor Guy, whipped by both the Sheriff and Marian, driven by o'er leaping ambition, a fatal flaw if ever there was one (also, Richard says he's got stuff on that isn't RH related).
Then there's poor Allan who seems to be going for the big dramatic act of redemption, and you know how well those usually work out (almost always with an intensely homoerotic death scene in the best buddy's arms). Oh dear.
And then there's poor Much, whom I fear for most of all, mainly because he's been largely ignored all series but is now suddenly getting a story re his boundless love for Robin, and, oh nos, that never ends well, either. It smacks of Sapper Salt Syndrome, or any squaddie who whips out a photo of the sweetheart and cops a sniper bullet two seconds later. I do not see how Much can "prove himself" to Robin any more without a big gesture in a big episode. Oh dear.
It's even worse if you think of Much as the Wes and Allan as the Doyle or Spike (and they so are, in a great many ways).
One can only hope the finale will be as lame as last years and all my angsting is for nowt, but I dunno, cause the show is much improved this year, and, dammit, I actually care about some of those characters now. Lots.
Also, ironically, it looks like the only characters left standing in my now thoroughly AU (yet sticking far more closely to the traditional canon) fic are gonna be the ones killed off in S2, and vice versa. Btw, pity they killed off Denis Lawson because I'm fond, he does smarmy villian so nicely and he was a Winchester afterall - grin.
Ah, it's been a week of Mr Lawson as I spent the weekend watching Jekyll on and off (an episode here, an episode there, ah, the marvels of dvd) and there was Denis "hello, I'll be your buttoned up villain for this evening" Lawson. Of course, I don't think you were supposed to think of him as a black hat from the start, but he was Denis, and he brought with him creep factor and baggage, and besides, he was one of those modern ruthless only following orders type chaps who never see themselves as anything but a company man (much like Gisborne, one could say). So there were shades of grey, but it was a very, very dark grey. Because, it was Denis, afterall.
Jekyll, btw, was effin' ace. Brilliant, brilliant script by Mr Moffat, and even if one could drive a fleet of buses through the plotholes it didn't matter because it was so damn funny and stylish. It had panache. It had verve. It made me stay up into the wee hours unable to press stop.
I can see why Jimmy Nesbitt got himself nominated for a Golden Globe. This is the sort of big acting Americans just love. And he was big, he was huge, he was so over the top he turned over three times and met himself on the other side. The peanut gallery usually says after a scenery chewing performance that the stage hands didn't so much strike the set as package it up in doggy bags but after Jimmy I think they just blew away the crumbs. He didn't just chew the scenery, he gorged on it with gusto. But it was such a show, such an amazing show. I never knew he could bring the sexy, the campy, dangerous sexy, like that.
Also, I could tell they'd written the first two parts before casting Gina because after that she just turned into Jane (from Coupling) and suddenly Hyde wasn't the most OTT creature out there and it was rather funny. What a matched pair - grin.
I did like the episode that actually went back to the book, frock coats and all, and yay to the Robert Louis Stevenson meta which has been stalking me all year (I even touched one of his father's lighthouses up in Scotland).
But yeah, I just loved it. It was a really good interpretation: less wallowing in dry dissertation of Freud, Jung, etc and more on showboating sexiness (think Stuart from QAF to the power of ten), psychopathy and hulk style superheroics. In fact that was kind of clever, as The Hulk is the re-telling of J&H and here we have a re-telling of J&H that lifted amply from the Hulk. Very pop will eat itself, but again, done with so must style that it really worked (for me, anyway).
And speaking of, ahem, homages, don't think I didn't notice the carcass on the roof bit from Jurassic Park or the line from Buffy, the one about "his death would bring me little joy, but sometimes a little is enough". Kinda liked the pop culture riffs but that's probably because I was getting them, rather than going huh? as I so often do when watching foreign telly.
Anyway, it was brilliant fun. Not the most subtle or restrained of pieces, but great, enormous fun. Who knew the Brits could do superheroic telly better than the Yanks? (Because ironically this featured the lesser Bionic Woman and this was so much better in every way).
Last night I watched Beau Brummell and it was brill too. A sharp and pointed little essay on celebrity culture and the fashionable people and by setting it in the past it neatly sidestepped pointing the finger at anyone currently, though by this one was led to think of obvious parallels (Byron and Pete Doherty for example) and it also served up a big serving of everything changes/nothing changes. Or rather, the only changes were cosmetic as our hero ushers in a completely new style, and I just loved the dandies vs the fops, very mods and rockers.
It also had some things to say about the empty lives and damn lies of these fashionable people, and despite poor Beau pretty much being the engineer of his own downfall (a bit of a sociopath, much like young Robin) I couldn't help but feel for the chap as his entourage turned on him and turned nasty. Ah, the fickle friends of fame.
Aside from that, James Purefoy! Woof! Woof! I do like a bit of the James, and there was a lot of James, especially during the, ahem, vaguely homoerotic dressing for an audience scenes. Ah, the beauty myth exposed, etc, etc. But my, he's a damn attractive man. And amusing, too, that James seems to make a habit of playing these celebrity creatures (because if Mark and Cleo weren't the Brangelina of the BC world then I don't know who was). The eternally fey Matthew Rhys did a nice turn as the self absorbed, self destructive Byron (though a friend was shocked to discover that Byron had political leanings, yes, he managed to fit it in betwixt the hedonism and scribblings, a true renaissance man).
I also really like the guy who played the king, though it was hard not to drift off into Blackadder territory at first - very hard indeed (ditto Robin Hood, because I've yet to watch #2.5 without going off onto the Wise Woman bit). Hee. Hugh Laurie has kind of stamped his mark on the role of the Prince Regent now and forevermore.
Also, was bemused by the way they called attention to everyone being called George. Now an entire generation of kids is going to think that it was called the Georgian era because everyone was, indeed, called George. Mind you, it did grind a bit too, but probably because when I went to school there were only three names allowed for girls, and I was one of those three (which is why I hate, loathe, despise and will not answer to my name, ever).
Anyways, James pretty. (And I really want a dandy on my Xmas tree. I've kerniggetts, and centurions, etc but no dandies, aside from the Rev Walker, whom peanut gallery called the rollerskating Reverend Walker when he meant ice-skating but now I've got this The Rev Walker In Rollerball! mashup going on in my head, oh dear).
Watched some Avengers on Sunday, too. It wasn't my intent but Sunday just kind of got away from me. I was woken early and put to work so by nine I'd done all the watering (spiders! huge, huge spiders!) and had the washing out on the line so I thought I'd read the papers for a bit before I went out, as I'd won tickets to see that Gerry film, which is suposed to be dire but it's a Gerry film so that's a given and I wanted to cause I'd not won tickets or gone out in ages but the next thing I know it's nearly 3pm. Ooops, Guess I was a bit tired. And it was raining so the laundry had to be all slung in the drier and there went my arvo/evening plans of mowing/weeding/replanting, etc. Okay, so I'll go with Plan C and get online. Nope. No signal. At all. Okay, so I'll scan. Oops, no, here comes a thunderstorm (I don't like running the PC during storms, I'm superstitious that way).
By this stage, being all groggy and grumpy I decided to give up and sulk on the couch with dvds (on the old dvd player) and we decided upon the seasonal favourite Too Many Christmas Trees. Which amused me because I'd just read an article in the paper about how flatpacked cut-out trees were all the rage, and here they were, large as life, in an Avengers dream sequence (I love an Avengers dream sequence). Ah, Steed, back when he was still sexy and dangerous and clever and tricksy and being all witty and wicked (no other man could make the words "first edition" sound so dirty).
This time round I was distracted from the plot and Dickens themes (been stalked by Dickens quite a bit this year, too) by the fact that the actor playing an unfortunate chap called Jeremy looked exactly like the bastard love child of Daniel Craig and Jason Hughes, no doubt the result of an accident involving a time machine and a contraceptive. He really, really, omg, really did.
The other episode we watched started with a chap lying in the middle of the road in a forest, supposedly shot through with an arrow. Not at all like anything else I might have watched, then. This is the Robin Hood episode of The Avengers, with Patrick Mower in tights, no less, and dear me, I think they might be calling Robin a dirty stinking commie. At least, I think that's what all the guff about economic systems was about. I did like the western-style bow and arrow attack on the gypsy caravan, though. Hee.
And speaking of Jason Hughes and Gina Bellman we arrive at their common demonitor: Jack Davenport. This Life +10, to be precise (I love a non-rating period, don't you? I'm getting all my treats).
I kind of liked the conceit of the reunion as staged publicity stunt for Egg's book, a sort of a nod to the now where Big Brother invades the lives of the TL gang. Of course it was all going to go pearshaped because they haven't really evolved or grown from the vain, selfish and ruthless little so and sos they always were. However this time around (and, oh, the pain of the mirror's harsh reflection) age has indeed wearied them and given then an almost endearing fragility and sense of mortality, as opposed to the nihlistic indestructible immortality they professed as shiny young things.
It was also nice to see Jason get a bit more to do, probably because he's now Barnaby's offsider (I kept expecting an arcane and particularly horrid murder at any moment but was sadly disappointed). Did not like Jack's Norrington hair though. That was horrid. Absolutely horrid. It impinged on the hotness of Jack (albeit aging Jack) and it made him look like a 70s footballer, it really did. And I don't mean that in a good way.
But it was fun, I enjoyed it, and got nearly as weepy nostalgic as they did in bits. Gawd, what is it coming to when my spunky young things from the 90s are having grumpy old xmas special reunion fests.
Speaking of which, Aunty played an ancient grumpy old men Xmas special, so old some of the grumpies were grumbling to us from beyond the grave, but I do miss John Peel so. I really do. That man was so formative, and, as evinced from the special last night, very sharp and funny, too.
Meanwhile, I was suddenly reminded of why I have particular sympathy with the whole Jekyll & Hyde story (and it's funny how modern adaptations always make it revolve around women when the original is notoriously devoid of all females, only two are mentioned and are nothing more than plot macguffins). Oh yes, suddenly unseasonal lower grumblings reminded me that Ms Hyde wants to come out to play (already? well, I suuppose I am a wee bit stressed). In fact I was putting the whole insomina, crankiness, weepiness, choccie cravings down to pre-xmas jitters but I should have known better.
Funnily enough the beast stirred when I cracked open a magazine and found another Jonas pic. See? I might sledge the boy but my ovaries just think he's the ginchiest. Gincheroonie, even (mind you, my ovaries and I often find ourselves at odds over our tastes in men, but I do like Jonas, obviously).
Hee, I gotta find you that silly ginchiest beat track sometime but I've no idea what it is, only it appears in a Australasian 50s mix the peanut gallery made for me, and I shudder to think where he sourced it. I think it's a recording of some former associate of Ol' Blue Eyes who was um, holidaying down under for his health, though putting out a single is hardly low key but the tale is probably apocryphal anyway.
Oh, forgot to mention they finally played the Doctor Who version of The Weakest Link. I was up to my eyeballs in mersyndols at the time, which didn't help, and now when I try to tell people I saw K-9 voted off the Weakest Link they give me looks and back away slowly. I did see it, I know I did.
Oh, I'm all sparkly. Really, I am. I was finishing off some (obviously) last minute (obviously cheap) chrissie cards and all the sparklies fell off onto me, so now I look like the sugar plum fairy, albeit an enormously fat and grumpy Dalziel-esque sugar plum fairy.
I've just about finished my runs to the post office, thank frell. Sad though, that all, and I do mean all, my xmas shopping is being posted, not put under the tree. This is the first xmas I'll be entirely and utterly alone, with absolutely no one popping around for mince pies. It's not the xmas I should be spending alone, either, but this it what it's come to. So we all know who's really going to be sitting in a dark room with the emo songs at Xmas, don't we.
Don't even have an alsatian (what do they call German Shepherds in Austria, anyway?) or cat to eat me. But I do have a sparrow hawk. Oh yeah, my garden is now so jungly I have proper predators lurking about. And I was wrong, it wasn't the neighbourhood feral and semi-feral cats knocking off my birdies, it was the hawk, because I saw him leave those puffs of feathers I've been seeing about. Only this time it was a big puff of feathers, it was one of my pet magpies, in fact, who had been following me about as I hung out the washing and I went inside to fetch another load and when I came back out again he was being eaten by Mr Hawk, who gave me a filthy look so I backed off and left him (or her) to it. I was kinda thrilled to see a raptor, as they're so rare, but did it have to be a bird I knew by name?
Btw, small birds, Mr Sparrow Hawk, not magpies, you greedy and ambitious bastard. I suppose that explains where the sparrows, noisy miners and pidgeons went. And those feral kittens I wanted rid of. Waste not, want not, eh, Mr Hawk? (Oh, don't blub, if I'm going to be philosophical about my ex pet magpie, not to mention the practicalities of shevelling up his remains, you can be stiff upper lippy too).
This is probably why I'm alone this Xmas, right? On account of being a fat, grumpy pragmatic sugar plum fairy? Well, you would be too, year I've had.
Also, they've finally decided I'm to make a new website. By Friday, if you please. Words fail, even the Saxon ones. And when am I supposed do my Xmas shopping and stuff?
Or mow the lawn. Did my best to get home while the sun was still up yesterday and it started raining as I got to the gate. Sigh.
It's also still raining actual rain. If I'd known buying a party frock was all it took to end the drought...
The Reverend Robert Walker, Henry Raeburn (1794)
The Skating Minister
Robin Hood ep12/13 preview
Vampire on a mission
Out of the darkness
Alex O'Loughlin talks about his role in Moonlight
The nature of violence (Brolin)
Cool cat doesn't crack under pressure (McCallum)
Behind the scenes of the Doctor Who Christmas Special, starring Kylie
Where a Go-Between went next
Top Gear’s Richard Hammond has top cut
Indiana Jones wrapped up
Nobody Knows the Tribbles He’s Seen
Dexter Finale Shocker
My mum went to the Tate and all I got was a pair of Andy Warhol oven gloves
Behold the first goth of summer
To date, the most eloquent criticism of Will Smith science-fiction blockbusters has been in the 1998 "X-Files" feature film: Fox Mulder in an alley, urinating against an "Independence Day" poster.