As alluded to earlier... Richard Marson's biography of Verity Lambert, first producer of Doctor Who and guiding force behind much, much else, reviewed by me at The St James's Evening Post.
sir_guinglain: (Default)
( Apr. 12th, 2015 09:16 pm)
So much for evading a social life on the grounds that I had a conference paper to write. The conference paper is not yet begun; a day off tomorrow, I think, to begin it. Instead, some recycling has been done and I've almost finished Richard Marson's biography of Verity Lambert; a short review might appear here or elsewhere at some point.
sir_guinglain: (Eccleston)
( Mar. 26th, 2015 07:30 pm)
A few links to mark the tenth anniversary of twenty-first century Doctor Who:

My post of ten years ago

Quoted on another site of mine

Trip of a lifetime by fanzine: Tides of Time issues 30 and 31, linked here

Too busy to add more about the circumstances in which I watched the episode, the later phone calls that evening, the overnight ratings and the realisation that we were losing Christopher Eccleston almost immediately and that there had been a very good reason for the introduction to Doctor Who scheduled earlier that Saturday evening to have been narrated by David Tennant...
Election 2015: Your complete guide to predictions about Scotland and the SNP
Depressing stuff for all manner of reasons, and not necessarily the obvious ones.

Vince Cable says LibDem-SNP deal is inconceivable
Better to lock your enemy into an agreement, I'd have thought, other than antagonise probably half if not more of the Scottish electorate.

Scotland's deficit is now at the heart of the general election fight
Or it might be. My reading of SNP policy beneath the anti-austerity headlines is much as Magnus Gardham writes here.

Last week, Kenneth Baker called for a Tory-Labour coalition to stop the end of the United Kingdom
Firstly, that's really the kingdom of Great Britain (in its parliamentary aspect)[1] Baker supposedly wants to save (though it has little institutional trace beyond legislation passed between 1707 and 1800, unlike Scotland, England-and-Wales, England, Wales and Northern Ireland and variations of the above) as one of the constituent elements of the United Kingdom, not the end of the United Kingdom itself which would presumably continue with smaller component parts. I suspect that a Tory-Labour coalition, facing an SNP with the largest possible share of Scottish seats envisaged by the first link in this post, might just confirm SNP voters' suspicion of the Anglocentricity of Labour and the Conservatives and confirm the sort of proprietorship of 'Tory shires' assumed as natural by John Major in this speech last week. Proportional representation can't come soon enough to the United Kingdom parliament, and it might save the broad but in many crucial parts very thin bases of the Conservative and Labour parties and transform them into more effective advocates of their constituencies; but we seem further away from it than ever.

SNP will not contest Berwick election seat
Apologies for any overenthusiastic advertising Johnston Press foist upon readers if they follow this link. Announced back in December, and pity in a way, as Christine Grahame's appearance ("Oh, we won't stop being British...") on BBC North East [England] and Cumbria's pre-referendum special illustrated how complicated the SNP and broader Yes campaign's approach to the political relationships of the people of these islands can or could be. I'm glad as a near-contemporary of mine from my school is inheriting the defence of the seat from the retiring MP and she has a hard fight which an SNP candidate in Berwick upon Tweed (a constituency which covers a larger slice of Northumberland than its name suggests) would make harder.

[1] Interesting point. In the period 1603-1707, Scottish and English commentators alike wrote of the king or queen of Great Britain (having stopped James VI and I declaring himself Caesar and British Emperor) and there were periods in the seventeenth century, particularly when monarchical power was at whatever zeniths it could reach, that the kingdom of Great Britain seemed a real political entity with an emerging class of Scoto-English courtier administrators. The Union came about in part because after the revolutions of 1688-90 the Scottish parliament and elite found it had little leverage on royal foreign policy, in contrast to the parliament of England, and the political nation (more regularly organised and in some senses broader than the English) was susceptible to foolhardy exercises like the Darien venture, which came across to the more cosmopolitan part of the elites as a doomed exercise in saying 'Let's have a war with Spain and embarrass the king and his English friends'[2] but which could easily be interpreted in Scotland as an example of England repressing Scottish imperial aspirations.

[2] Some of what I've termed the cosmopolitan elite thought this was a very good idea, of course, especially if they were called Hamilton. Or so it sometimes appears; but Scottish political alliances were complicated, shifted often, and were not to be taken for granted, especially by remote Londoners. A lesson for the present.

ETA A characteristically cleverly boorish Salmond column reacting just as I'd expect him to the Kenneth Baker proposal - but even with votes his party enjoys the SNP is not Scotland, just as Margaret Thatcher forgot (if she ever knew) that the Conservative Party did not equal England which was not the same as Britain or the United Kingdom. However, the move present in some SNP utterances in recent months to adopt a pan-British agenda, as leaders of an insurgency against 'Westminster', is present in the column and shows that this party has learned some of the lessons Conservative and Labour seem never to have known, and which the Liberal Democrats appear to be forgetting.
In seventeenth-century Britain a change from one denomination to another threatened not just eternal damnation but damage to one's material condition in the present. This was especially true in Scotland where the identity of the Scottish Church was more contested than it was in England and the elite arguably broader and more fissured. In 1688 Walter Ogilvy, Lord Deskford, eldest son and heir of James Ogilvy, third earl of Findlater, converted to Catholicism from the (then episcopal) Church of Scotland. This is how his father warned his younger son James (later first earl of Seafield and eventually fourth earl of Findlater) about the danger his eldest son posssessed, and how they needed to rapidly exclude him from inheriting the family estates:

I cannot but desier you to remmeber to consult your bussines of the convayence of my esteat in your person; for although Walter be nou in my house, yett be his still frequenting the Popish chappell and continouing in odd and most unacountable actions, ther can be no good expected of him so ye need to be the mor circumspect in garding your selfe against his evell.

---The Correspondence of James First Earl of Seafield, pp 42-43

(Charles II appears in the userpic in the absence of his brother James VII and II, then reigning.)
Among the many projects displaced by my actually obtaining regular employment was the management of my two hard disc recorders, particularly the creaky secondhand one which lives in my bedroom under my 1980s Rediffusion portable. I've been catching up this evening, and as a result I'm currently being transported back to 23 November 2013 and listening to that morning's Radio 2 Graham Norton show live (with prerecorded inserts - and of course, to be technical, lots of old records) from the Doctor Who Celebration at ExCel. There are some arch inserts - the first traffic report ends with the information that traffic has cleared around Metebelis Three after a rush for blue crystals - and after words with Matt Smith, Jenna Coleman, a defensively self-deprecating Steven Moffat and superfan costume and prop exhibition curator Andrew Beech, Colin Baker has just trotted out his ancient but understandable resentment towards Michael Grade, and all has been interspersed with as much music actually played on Doctor Who as possible. It was a frenetic and hyperbolic few days, or rather weeks, barely imaginable ten or twenty years earlier, and for all Graham makes fun of the detail of Doctor Who lore he has to read out, it seems to have judged its tone more carefully than the dire Afterparty which went out later on BBC Three, about the only good thing in it being the participation of Jackie Lane.

There is also a distressing amount of paper on my study floor, three days after I submitted my tax return, which accounts for most of it...
The userpic associated with this post is from a Doctor Who comic strip drawn by Gerry Haylock for TV Action, and Countdown to TV Action by Steve Holland tells the story of this comic and its first incarnation Countdown. Unexpected characters in its tale are Rupert Murdoch (whose role in the decline and demise of TV21 I had not known) and John Selwyn Gummer; the enterprise seemed based on poor market research, nostalgia for happy working conditions at former employers (especially the pre-Murdoch TV [Century] 21) and a publisher which was focused on editorial, advertising and circulation being dealt with by its parent who commandeered pages as required. Good to see a picture of Polly Perkins House, the office of Polystyle Publications for most of the 1970s, too - I'd wondered where it was for years, and had been misled by its 'Paddington Green' address, because strictly speaking it isn't there. Holland specialises in the indexing of British comics and there are full content listings and many, many reproductions of art, though apart from the cover it's in black and white. Nevertheless it's a valuable addition to Paul Scoones's The Comic Strip Companion, the first volume of which looks at Doctor Who in the pages of TV Comic, Countdown and TV Action, a must for historians of the creations of Gerry Anderson (whose characters and series were the original lead features of Countdown) a strong source of information about the careers of several British comic professionals and the comics industry in the early 1970s, though being me I have to note that the common ownership of Polystyle and TV Publications (from whom Polystyle 'bought' TV Comic, Playland and Pippin in 1968) isn't picked up, nor the nature of Independent Television Publications (a subsidiary of the ITV companies acting together under the ITA's supervision) and its acquisition of TV Times from TV Publications in 1968 quite understood. The shake-up of the youth market from ITP's Look-In is a constant presence and one Polystyle never quite dealt with - Look-In relied on more than constant promotion on ITV to help it, but its rivals could never get past that fact, it seems.
sir_guinglain: (Default)
( Jan. 1st, 2015 01:36 am)
...surely we were worrying about the Millennium Bug only yesterday?

Happy New Year, all.
sir_guinglain: (Marmite)
( Dec. 17th, 2014 02:27 pm)
[tumblr.com profile] whovianfeminism interviews Rachel Talalay, director of Doctor Who's Dark Water/Death in Heaven, and helps provide some context for fan criticisms of sexism in Doctor Who.

A cat called Holly walks 190 miles home, report ABC News (US), and relayed by the Pussington Post.
I don't think I've ever done one of these before...

Poll #16094 Doctor Who pre-finale poll: Who is Missy?
This poll is closed.
Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 6


Who is Missy?

View Answers

The Master
2 (33.3%)

Clara (or some splinter thereof)
1 (16.7%)

The Rani
3 (50.0%)

River Song
0 (0.0%)

Miss Evangelista
1 (16.7%)

Susan
0 (0.0%)

Romana
1 (16.7%)

Someone else from the Doctor's past
1 (16.7%)

Someone whom the Doctor's never met
1 (16.7%)

The Doctor herself
1 (16.7%)

Someone I've not mentioned
0 (0.0%)

I don't know what you are on about
0 (0.0%)

I am supremely indifferent to what you are on about
1 (16.7%)

Supreme Commander Servalan
2 (33.3%)

Oh look, a box
2 (33.3%)



20.03 01:11:2014 - poll now closed.
Some very brief thoughts here. I did find it more compelling than last week, but I wonder whether it's the right direction to take.
I know I've missed Robot of Sherwood - my reactions to that were more complicated and I've not finished writing them up - but Listen extracted a less ambiguous reaction. As I've written elsewhere...

Sit cross-legged on a police box roof and say... Those look like a status update and follow-up comments. You're right except in one case. )
Butley was given to me by my sister after we went to see a revival of a Simon Gray play in London several years ago. This film version was produced as part of the American Film Theatre seasons, where producer Ely Landau drew on his television experience to make two packages of cinema adaptations of stage plays and sell them in advance to networks of cinemas in the US. The scene is set by a caption reading 'LONDON' at the start of the film, as Alan Bates's Ben Butley cuts himself shaving on a morning, and then by a sequence shot on the northbound platform at Kilburn Park station, moving onto a train (complete with Bakerloo line diagrams showing both branches) where Burley's rudeness, selfishness and uneasy eye towards men are pointed out by Bates's gesture and the sullen curious camera. Most of the two-hour running time is spent in the office Butley shares at Queen Anne College, University of London (with rebellious indifference but solipsistic indulgence too, Butley is always seen entering its precincts through the 'OUT' gateway) with his former pupil, protégé and lover Joey Keystone (Richard O'Callaghan). Joey is disentangling himself from Ben, finding a new partner in publisher Reg (Michael Byrne). Ben snipes continually at Joey's willingness to work within the university career structure, his sexual identity and presentation, while reeling him in to jibes at their older colleague Edna (Jessica Tandy), her teaching (probably diligent) and publishing record. Ben seems to hanker after reconciliation with his estranged wife Anne (Susan Engel), and peppers his conversation with arguments with himself over the location and nature of their last sexual encounter. Georgina Hale, Darien Angadi, Colin Haigh and Simon Rouse play disgusted, belittled, exasperated and furious students.

The self-absorbed alcoholic protagonist who dares the audience to be driven to sympathise with him and so become complicit in his destructive narcissism feels like a 1970s device especially, Butley being a representative of the old professional class overtaken by men who have climbed the new ladders provided by the Welfare State, and women whom he feels really just shouldn't be there. The ground over which the story is told is familiar to an audience in the 2010s, though: society's understanding of gender and sexuality, disintegration and relayering of class structures, academic reform and the need to produce outputs (though we don't hear that term) juxtaposed with teaching demands and assumptions of a new student generation which are incomprehensible to or rejected by their jaded or self-interested elders. It's no spoiler that Ben is eventually left alone in his office with a bottle of Haig's whisky, seemingly content with his own inadequacy. There are aspects of the character close to Alan Bates's own life and large sectors of British society seemed to negotiate the 1970s in a spirit-soaked haze, but though a period piece now Butley is a reminder that social and psychological problem-solving can take a very long time indeed.
Tags:
.

Profile

sir_guinglain: (Default)
sir_guinglain

Syndicate

RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Powered by Dreamwidth Studios

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags