Memories of the first few months of Doctor Who Magazine, when it was Doctor Who Weekly, at The Event Library.
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I visited the Cartoon Museum in London today with [livejournal.com profile] gervase_fen to see the Target Doctor Who covers exhibition, which [livejournal.com profile] gervase_fen has written up here. I have little to add other than say that Chris Achilleos's new cover for Vengeance on Varos works better with a noose around Colin Baker's neck as originally intended, and that among the details cropped out of Roy Knipe's artwork is a well-turned button on the fourth Doctor's cuff for Doctor Who and the Invisible Enemy. So much detail on the work is lost during reproduction, and was further eroded by cheap reprint methods as the books migrated methods and printers during the 1980s. The ebb and flow of the ink on what appears as a solid purple border on Achilleos's Doctor Who and the Pyramids of Mars is visible, as is the technique of his inking of the cosmic objects on his first three covers, ...and the Daleks, ...and the Zarbi and ...and the Crusaders. More impenetrable are the smooth washes of his early multi-coloured Daleks (very much based on the work of the last of the TV 21 Dalek artists, Ron Turner) and the methods by which he painted the incredibly smooth features of Tom Baker on ...and the Genesis of the Daleks and ...and the Ark in Space.

The exhibition draws attention to the lost art of the book cover, but could have made more of the links between the book covers and comic strip art. Chris Achilleos's covers were initially intended as patterned after the style of Frank Bellamy, too expensive a comics artist for budget-conscious Universal-Tandem to avoid, and he drew not only on Turner but on Marvel's Jack Kirby. A notable absence from the exhibition was Peter Brookes, who drew four mould-breaking but mould-defining covers in 1975. At a time when the BBC Books reprint programme is associating the Target series exclusively with Chris Achilleos, it's a reminder that there were many other artists with the 'family friendly' image BBC Books have cited as their reason for using the Achilleos covers. I think a case exists for a Peter Brookes set of reprints, a Jeff Cummins set and a Roy Knipe set.
The public face: going into Blackwells, photographing the new reissues of some old Target Doctor Who books, and Tweeting it with the handles of BBC Books and Blackwells noted.

BBC Books notice this and retweet.

I then send BBC Books a private message correcting the indicia on six of the titles, which have listed the wrong original publisher. They have at least not unfollowed me yet.
Thoughts on two James Bond films seen in the last week:

Spectre )

Goldeneye )
Now available for download from The Terrible Zodin website, issue 18 of the said The Terrible Zodin includes within its ninety-eight pages a look at the career of Valentine Dyall, reviews of series nine (where I get to review a story a second time), a look back at the Missing Adventures series published in the 1990s by Virgin, fiction, artwork, and other Whoish items.
On Tuesday night I was discussing broadcasting history with someone and mention was made of Asa Briggs. Within an hour his death was announced. A few hours later, I learned of Sylvia Anderson's death; and now, Cliff Michelmore, a broadcaster who was moving into a retirement phase in my childhood but who still loomed large. The sense of twentieth-century Britain tidying up after itself through the death of people who seemed to epitomise aspects of the mid-late century spirit which animated last year is even stronger this. Some links:

The BBC Archive Cliff Michelmore page

Cliff Michelmore switches off Lime Grove studios, The Late Show, 1991

Cliff Michelmore interviews David Jones (the future David Bowie), Tonight, 1964

The Shadows: 'Lady Penelope' from Thunderbirds are Go - shared by [twitter.com profile] outonbluesix as a tribute to her alter ego, Sylvia Anderson

Sylvia Anderson interviewed for the third or fourth generation of fans of Lady Penelope and Thunderbirds, Blue Peter, 1995

I've not watched this, but here's Asa Briggs in discussion early last year at the University of Sussex

An episode of The Seven Ages of Radio with Asa Briggs, starting with part of one of my favourite broadcasting quotations from David Dunhill, with added Tony Blackburn, though the structure of the series seems somewhat pessimistic.

While I'm making a link post, here's a Kickstarter worth exploring: Duel for Citizenship by Holly Matthies
"As the antients had their Capitoline and their Olympian Jupiter, so we had our virgin of Winchester and our virgin of Walsingham: and as there were temples to the Capitoline Jupiter in other places, as well as on the Capitoline hill, and one at Athens in particular; so we had places dedicated to the virgin of Winchester, in other places as well as Winchester; and one at Oxford in particular. The society at Oxford (to which I am obliged more than I could easily express, for passing the best part of my life, in a most agreeable manner) was established before the light of the Reformation had begun to dawn on England; by one of the noblest patrons of learning, that ever was. As he was, in those times, bishop of Winchester, he founded a seminary there; and a college to be supplied with students from it, at Oxford. This college, at Oxford, was dedicated Sanctae Mariae Wintoniensi; and both of them are called, the two St. Mary-Winton colleges, on some occasions, to this day."

---Joseph Spence Polymetis (1747), p 48 note 7
"Time-serving reviewers, those sensitive registers of the day-to-day changes in current and temperature, no longer invite their readers to sneer at Mr. Leavis, and Cambridge seems to be becoming increasingly aware to whom it owes its international reputation for English studies. The Leavis case is fortunately the rare one of the obnoxious character holding on until in the course of time it has become apparent that he is a great man and must be admitted, however reluctantly, into the fold, if only to avert scandal."
---H.A. Mason, 'F.R. Leavis and Scrutiny', The Critic, 1/2, Autumn 1947, p. 21
I've little to say on Chris Chibnall's appointment as executive producer/head writer of Doctor Who beyond that it will be difficult to judge him on his previous work for the series, none of which established a personal signature. Torchwood was effectively show-run by him for its first two series, but I suspect he was dealing with several competing agendas over what the series was meant to be; I've been told by someone who saw the script that the visualisation of 'Cyberwoman' was definitely not implied by Chibnall's descriptions, for example. Since then he's (re)learned the showrunner's job on Law and Order UK(having been the creator of Born and Bred before Who's return) and then created Broadchurch, of course - I've not seen all of the first series of the latter and wasn't that impressed by the second episode of the second series and stpped watching. However, he knows about the business of television on both sides of the Atlantic and is of course a veteran Doctor Who fan, though one who took no part in the workshopping of the concepts of Doctor Who by the Virgin and BBC Books ranges in the 1989-2005 period, nor indeed (I think) with Big Finish. Indicators to watch will be the continuity with the Moffat era on staffing - the start of the Moffat-Wenger-Willis production era had at least one significant element of competition over personnel with the outgoing Davies-Gardner team - and whether Chibnall contributes to the 2017 series. Otherwise there is nothing one can do but wait and see.
I've started to make an inroad on a small backlog of promised book reviews, mainly for the Doctor Who News Page. Here, therefore, is my look at You and Who Else, the latest charity anthology of fan writing edited by J.R. Southall.
I've been up finishing a Doctor Who book review which I'll link to when it's published... but I've not been paying enough attention to Alex and Richard and tbeir Doctor Who 52. So here, Richard says a lot of things about The Abominable Snowmen which change my perspective on the story.
Doctor Who at Christmas is increasingly a difficult beast to shepherd into a pen. The two most recent series have felt more like
mainstream mid-evening BBC drama rather than the ‘drama for a light entertainment slot’ of 2005. Consequently the Christmas episodes feel increasingly like a drastic change in tone. Even the grading seems to be different, with the colour palette seeming brighter, returning to the blue with flashes of other primary colours of the Matt Smith era Christmas specials.

The highlight was the typically vigorous performances of both Peter Capaldi and Alex Kingston, of course; but despite a good start I failed to be held by these alone in the way I hoped, despite some strong moments of repartee. There was too much emphasis on a denial of sparkle between the Doctor and River, rather than on its existence. Likewise the business with the robot and its switching heads seemed underplayed and undramatic and lacked sufficient sleight of hand to convince; nor were the decapitated characters depicted with sufficient sympathy to make me feel for their plight. There were so many still backgrounds or illustrations which I thought would have been animated a few years ago too.

Perhaps I’ll revisit it and find it more enjoyable another time. I don’t like being negative about the series, and am glad to see from some early reactions that that it did engage and entertain several others.

Also posted at The Event Library
sir_guinglain: (Default)
( Dec. 24th, 2015 11:18 pm)


From the Morpeth Herald of 24 December 1915. (With regard to the advert on the left, I visited the Herald office, then still at 19 Bridge Street, in 1988, but few of the items listed were in sight, and certainly not the bibles and hymns or 'Children's Friend'.)

Merry Christmas to all!
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A gift in pdf from the BBC Genome team: the Christmas Radio Times of 1923. More is explained at the BBC Genome blog. This is the era of the BBC as monopoly private company rather than autonomous corporation and that's reflected in the business-led feature writing which opens the magazine; but there are contributions too from Ramsay Macdonald, a few weeks away from becoming first Labour prime minister, and Lilian Bayliss of the Old Vic, as well as various broadcasters including several of the uncles and aunts of the regional stations. The adverts are revealing of a vanished time; the listings show that a simultaneous broadcast of Shakespeare recitals by Sir Frank Benson was taken by most stations, intriguingly for me coming from 5NO in Newcastle; 5WA in Cardiff offers A Christmas Carol instead. Although not the modern Woman's Hour, which did not begin until the 1940s, there is a Women's Hour, but it only seems to last thirty minutes. Christmas Day itself is one of a Christmas party and religious messages, including one specifically aimed at children.
Digital Fix report that Peter Harness will be adapting H.G. Wells's The War of the Worlds for Mammoth Screen and ITV, with shooting not beginning until 2017. Promising; and further food for the speculators surrounding the Doctor Who succession.
This was another episode where I'd been asked to write a review based on a rough cut of the episode available through the BBC Previews web service. I had rather a lot of time on my hands this week and so it's even longer than usual. Doctor Who Reviews: Hell Bent

I added a few more thoughts at The Event Library, but really as accompaniment for the link. Meanwhile there is more squee than scorn online, and I expect a flurry of fanfics about a certain partnership within the next twenty-four hours.
My thoughts on Heaven Sent

ETA - additions and amendments added this morning. (11.56am, Sunday 29 November)
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