Wednesday, 29 October 2008

David Tennant - Thank-You! - A 10th Doctor Tribute 2005-09

It’s with a little bit of sadness and shock that I write about the announcement that David Tennant will quit his role as The Doctor after the 2009 specials. It was always something that was going to happen but it was rather a shock when he announced it at the National Television Awards, where he picked up the award for best actor.

David has been a great servant to Doctor Who, even outside of filming, he has been promoting the show tirelessly and always has time for the fans. And that’s because he’s a fan himself!

It was 2005 and David Tennant burst onto the scene in the BBC Three drama – Casanova, written by Russell T Davies. His portrayal of the famous character was absolutely fantastic and that probably secured his dream role to play the Timelord he had religiously watched as a lad.

Rumours have been circulating that Tennant was always going to succeed Christopher Eccelston after the 2005 series. I suppose with the main members of the Doctor Who team, cutting their ties with the show after 2009, we will find out the truth behind the goings on in that first series.

Fast forward to June 2005 and we had known for months that the revived series was going to lose its Doctor. The production team were furious the news got out and since then they have fought to keep the programme’s plots a secret. But not many fans expected David Tennant to appear at the end of ‘The Parting of the Ways’ as the newly regenerated Doctor! It was a nice surprise, the first of many!

From his 10 seconds on series 1, David took the role on and became, arguably, the most popular Doctor ever. Women love him, men love and want to be him and he turned out to be a stalkers dream! But fair play to him, he stuck with it and handed in superb performance after superb performance.

Now I’m not a massive fan of his first series but the final two episodes of the 2006 jaunt where quite simply some of the best ‘Who’ ever. David had finally settled into his cheeky, geeky and quite brilliant characterisation of The Doctor and from then on – it was bliss. His chemistry with other cast members is always fun to watch and even his little quirks, which he brings to the role, are done very well.

However one thing that could be missed though, is his influence on the programme itself. He had recommended many things for his character to do and even had a say in a couple of casting decisions.

He has said he wants to go out on a high – well he certainly is! He still has a long year of specials to get through and that can go as slowly as possible!

So thanks David and good luck! Bring on the specials!

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Silent Witness Series 12 Episodes 7 & 8 - Judgement

Silent Witness continues their ethnic tour of Great Britain and this week’s (un)lucky contestants are the Hasidic Jewish community. Personally, I’m not sure what they are trying to tell us but if it gives us a little bit of an insight into other cultures (discounting the murders of course!), then it can’t be a bad thing.

After a Jewish man is found dead, the man’s family don’t want the team to do a full post mortem. Harry is annoyed and instead does a ‘dry’ post mortem – which, by the title, involves not cutting him up. The Jewish community believe that this is the handy work of a group of Polish builders, who by birth, have a vendetta against Jews.

It turns out he has been murdered and despite the family’s reservations, Harry goes ahead with a full post mortem. Some mobile phone footage of the attack, is later found on one of the Polish builders and the net seems to closing in.

Back at the office and Leo is on the case of a young girl, who was found dead after a drug-fuelled party. The owner of the house is under suspicion but is the girl’s sister hiding something? Oh and another thing – Everyone involved in this particular case are Australian. How many more of the world’s races do they need to collect before the end of the series?

Harry is getting on the nerves of the Jewish community and the feeling seems mutual. And after another man, who seemed to know something about the crime, is found dead, things can only get more heated. After the first murdered man’s brother is arrested for the murder of the second man, Harry believes he has him bang to rights – the DNA evidence proves that. But it seems Harry is mistaken and the Jewish community is in uproar - as is the investigating officer, who makes sure Harry is suspended from the case.

Leo, who is now getting cosy with his ‘lover’ from the other week, is still waist-deep in dodgy Aussies. It turns out that the murdered girl’s boyfriend supplied her with drugs and when she was discovered – it was thought she was dead. She wasn’t and was taken outside, on the cold balcony. Which is not where you want to be in a drug-fuelled coma. The girl’s sister was involved but she tried to save her life but it was in vain. This was a nice side story that didn’t get in the way of the main event and that’s something which this programme does so well.

Meanwhile, it looks bleak for Harry but when Nikki shows him fresh copies of the DNA, they come to the conclusion that the arrested man had another brother – who did it. The said brother was exiled from the community, after he was suffering from a mental illness. His father, the Rabbi, had no contact with him and the fella, obviously felt a bit peeved. He had taken a job on the Polish building site and when he saw his brother, he tried to speak to him. But as the chat got a little more heated, the Polish workers got involved and kicked him to death. Sadly the lad had to get involved and after a later confrontation with the other man, he killed him as well by pushing him into the path of an oncoming van.

It was a rather sombre end and it seems that the lad will be locked up in an institution. But its good news all round for Leo, as he moves in with his woman. Will it last? Possibly but I got the feeling that the writers were perhaps showing that Leo was more obsessed with his work than he should be. Will he change?

It perhaps wasn’t the best story of the series but considering how high the bar as been set, its no disgrace. I just hope that they would find more inspiration away from the many communities that London holds! A word too for the music in this story – loud at times but very good nevertheless! As in any television production, music is very important in setting the scene and the BBC do that better than anyone. It’s just a shame they tend to pay 5 million a year to ignorant, stupid berks!


Next Time: Evangelical Christians are next up on the Silent Witness stage of ‘Ethnic Murder Mysteries’. Wonder how many complaints the BBC will get?

Saturday, 25 October 2008

Heroes (Series 3) Volume 3 - Villains - Episode 4 - I Am Become Death

We spend some time in the future, with the two Peter’s in this week’s episode of Heroes. Things have taken quite a bizarre turn, very bizarre!

The formula, which gives normal people abilities, as been made public and is available to buy by all those who are rich enough. Future Peter wants to avoid this and later we learn that the world would be destroyed if it carried on. Unfortunately for future Peter – he is a wanted ‘terrorist’ and is being hunted down by ‘The Company’, which now includes Claire. It seems that Claire wants to kill her ‘Uncle’ and she does, but she realises that the Peter from the past, the one that could change history, is still at large. Future Peter tells him beforehand to seek out his nemesis, Sylar. Peter goes looking for Mohinder, who thanks to his own drug, is living alone and in an awful state. He tells Peter where Sylar is before going to eat a small child or something!

The weirdness continues as Peter find Sylar - who is now living in Claire’s old house and is a doting Dad to his son – called Noah and calls Peter his ‘brother’. I suppose it’s a good contrast to the character he plays in ‘our’ time and it seems this series is trying to dilute his character by giving him an excuse to murder (the hunger!)

We learn that Peter is after Sylar’s original ability – the power to find out how things work, in order to ‘fix’ the past. Sylar is reluctant but after a ‘painting of the future later’, he lets Peter have it, with a warning that the hunger to want more, will come with it

Unfortunately Claire and her ‘team’ - Daphne and some bloke called Knox, arrive not long after and try to capture Peter. They take Sylar’s son hostage and accidently kill him, which enrages Sylar and he explodes, due to the fact he can’t control the power which he had stolen from Ted Sprague. Thanks to their regenerative powers, Claire and Peter survive and the latter is locked up and tortured by the former. Nathan, who is now the President and married to Tracy, arrives and speaks with his brother and allows Peter to read his mind. Peter gets curious though and wants to know how Nathan’s mind works – he starts to cut up his brother’s head in a Sylar-style attack, before stopping himself and teleporting back to the present.

Peter is back on The Company’s level 5, in Sylar’s prison cell, where he angrily attacks his new ‘brother’, as Sylar mocks him about his new found hunger. It’s turning into a rather brilliant storyline, one which makes sense for a start! The fact that Peter can absorb abilities whilst Sylar has to murder people, to steal them, is already a good dynamic and shows the two to be on two ends of the same scale. I still think this ‘brothers’ plot isn’t needed though!

Elsewhere, Matt is still on crack, as he dreams he marries Daphne in the future (the one we saw with Peter) and they both adopt Molly and have a child of their own. But after Sylar blew up, Daphne isn’t quite quick enough and collapses in Matt’s arms – fulfilling the painting, which was painted by his African mate.

Hiro and Ando spend the majority of the episode trying to escape from their cell and the pair also have a heart-to-heart about the state of their friendship. But just as Hiro is about to escape, they are summoned by Cherie Blair. She tells him that his father would be disappointed in him for losing the formula but after Ando speaks up for his friend, Cherie sends them on a mission, saying that Hiro holds the ‘key’ to getting the formula back. That key is Adam Monroe, who Hiro buried in series 2! Upon waking up from his latest death, Adam angrily grabs his former friend and it looks like he’s in trouble!

Meanwhile, Nathan and Tracy ‘get it together’, as we learn that Tracy and Nikki where part of an experiment, which resulted in them, plus their unseen sister ‘Barbara’, receiving abilities. It’s all too much for Tracy and as she fails in an attempt to confess to the murder of the reporter, she tries to jump off a bridge – where Nathan flies in and saves her.

And it’s clear that Heroes have ripped off ‘Jekyll and Hide’, as Mohinder’s temper seems to getting worse. He attacks his neighbour, who comes back for a second confrontation. Mohinder isn’t having any of it and drags him into the flat. I very much doubt he wants him to be part of a threesome with Maya, do you? Again, that is certainly going to be interesting, to see that being played out. If it’s the beginning of the end of his mind-numbingly tedious and downright cheesy voiceovers – then most Heroes fans will be delighted!


Next Time: Angela ‘Cherie Blair’ Petrelli goes on Jeremy Kyle to talk about interbreeding in the family. Is this is how all our ‘Heroes’ get their powers? Magic formula indeed!

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

Big Finish Doctor Who 114 - Brotherhood of the Daleks

The TARDIS materialises. Despite console readings to the contrary, the Sixth Doctor and Charley step out, unexpectedly, into an alien jungle, where they find themselves stalked and then ambushed. They have landed in the middle of one of the Dalek wars, and this time the tactics used by both sides are threatening the very nature of reality.

I don’t know how to review this audio. On one hand its one of the most landmark Dalek stories that Big Finish has done. On the other, it’s the most bizarre pieces of writing this side of ‘Ghost Light’!

Okay, you can actually follow the story so the Ghost Light comparison is a bit harsh but imagine if Terry Nation based the Daleks on Communists instead of Nazis – that is what ‘Brotherhood of the Daleks’ is basically about!

The first disc (or two parts, whichever you prefer) pulls you into the story brilliantly. The Doctor and Charley land on what The Doctor thinks is an ice planet but instead its Spiridon, first seen in Jon Pertwee’s ‘Planet of the Daleks’ in 1973. But is it Spiridon? The TARDIS doesn’t think it is!

The Doctor and Charley meet a team of Thals who are waiting to be rescued, whilst they are on the run from Daleks. One of their member has been killed and they seem rather trigger-happy and after the TARDIS disappears, will The Doctor, his ridiculous deerskin apparel and Charley, get out alive?

It’s a gripping listen but once you get to part three, that’s where it all goes bonkers! At times you’re not sure what is real and what is not real. Considering this is a fiction anyway, it gets all the more confusing! Add to that the fact that the Daleks seem to remember Charley (from the audio) ‘Terror Firma’ - you’ll struggle to keep up!

It’s quite interesting to see what this story does to the Daleks. I suppose it ratifies the fact that the Daleks will never change but I would like to see a continuing arc of different Daleks, with a different agenda. Big Finish toyed with this in the ‘Dalek Empire’ spinoffs (which are a great listen, if you’re into Daleks) but I would like to see a change in direction with future Dalek stories. Let’s stop using them as joke devices, which is what the television series has done and make them into the menacing threat they should be!

As always, Colin Baker and India Fisher are on top form as the 6th Doctor and Charley. The Charley story arc is also getting that little bit more interesting. Although I do hope we have this pairing for a few years yet, I hope this plotline isn’t done to death! It isn’t surprising to listen how easy the two have settled down together. I do get the feeling that the 6th Doctor could fit in with every one of his past and future companions and that is all due to Colin, who apart from being loveable, has the best name in the world! Me and him and so much in common!

Michael Cochrane (who plays Murgat) is the main guest star in this audio. He has appeared in the television stories ‘Black Orchid’ and, (surprise, surprise!) Ghost Light’. He also appeared in the 7th Doctor audio, ‘No Man’s Land, which is well worth digging out!

There are also over 30 minutes of extras, which are also well worth a listen. If only to hear people trying to talk normally, but having the Dalek sound affect on their voice! As always the behind the scenes stuff is very informative and adds that little bit of gloss to each release. Just hearing about how India Fisher wanted to re-record a scene because she wasn’t happy with it, just shows how much work everyone puts in and that’s just great to hear. It does make you wonder how a small company like Big Finish, gets all its releases out and at the same time, maintain the high quality they have set themselves.

Despite the strangeness of this release, it’s still a good story that has plenty of twists and turns, more so from part three onwards! You may have to listen to it at least twice to understand what’s going on, though!


Next Time: its “HAPPY 45th BIRTHDAY DOCTOR WHO!”, as Big Finish will be celebrating by releasing ‘Forty Five’, with the 7th Doctor, Ace and Hex.

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Bernice Summerfield 9.3 - The Adventure Of The Diogenes Damsel

I quite enjoy ‘historical’ stories, be it on screen, audio or in print, I like to learn about that particular time period and enjoy the story it spawns. The Bernice Summerfield range is no different from its parent (so to speak!) Doctor Who, in producing good historical stories. ‘The Time Ring Trilogy’, consisting the stories ‘Walking To Babylon’, ‘Birthright’ and ‘Just War’ are beautifully – and brilliantly, done (although to be fair the latter two are adaption’s of Doctor Who books!) I would recommend that you start your Bernice Summerfield education there, before going to listen to the other three in the first series (Oh No It Isn’t, Beyond The Sun and Dragon’s Wrath)

The latest offering is ‘The Adventure of the Diogenes Damsel’, which sees Benny stuck in Victorian London (or as the Victorians called it – London) after her time ring malfunctions. She enlists the help of Mycroft Holmes, the brother of a famous fictional detective, Sherlock Holmes. He employs Benny as his assistant and they investigate the movements of the mysterious ‘7 killer’, who murders people in the most bizarre ways. However, as Benny tries to help out, as well as work out a way to get back home, she is being watched by two strange men - a famed ‘collector of antiquities’ and his, to want for a better word, gofer!

I was a little bit disappointed that they included the Sherlock Holmes motif. What these historical do so well is that they always get history bang on. Sherlock Holmes was never real, so I didn’t understand why they played with it. Having Benny meet his brother, instead of Sherlock himself, was a nice touch though and its a break from the 'we'll do these really famous characters because we can' train of thought. Benny did meet Sherlock and Dr. Watson in a Doctor Who novel, so I suppose the writers are just keeping the continuity!

But once I got over that, I quite enjoyed it! David Warner played the very likeable Mycroft Holmes and seemed to have a good on-audio understanding with Lisa Bowerman’s Benny. The supporting cast, which includes Peter Miles, hold up the story well and its strange now not hearing the voice of Peter Summerfield (Thomas Grant), as he is only heard shouting ‘Mum’, very briefly!

As with any Benny audio, it’s a lot of fun and should be taken as so. There are plenty nods to the Time Lords and what is happening over at the collection but hopefully we can wait a while longer until this plot device is played out! We even have a guest appearance from another character from the Doctor Who range but whether or not this is set before or after the audios this character appears in, I don’t know!


Next Tine: We come to the end of a very short series, although thanks to the delay in July, it hasn’t been that short! ‘The Diet of Worms’ is the delightfully-named final story!

Monday, 20 October 2008

Silent Witness Series 12 Episodes 5 & 6 - Terror

After delving into the world of inner-city crime and last week’s story about Russian gangsters, this week the Silent Witness team encounter Islamic terrorists and police shootings. Whether or not they intend to offend anyone, I don’t know! But fair play to them for not pussyfooting around the said subjects.

After an investigation into a terrorist cell, which ends up in a bugled shooting, which leaves a few people dead – including a police officer, the pathologists get to work. They are under the supervision of a tough anti-terrorist cop, DI Tranfield (Shaun Dooley) who is wary that the threat isn’t over.

Harry is charged with identifying a woman who was brought back by two men to the suspected terrorists flat. Which is a bit difficult considering half of her face as been blown away. Meanwhile Nikki and the DI clash after she suspects that the statements given by the police aren’t what exactly happened. She also tries to talk to one of dead men’s sister, as she is the only one who was left alive. Her lack of English and the fact that she’s been taken under the wing of a Turkish lawyer, slow down the investigation.

We learn that the dead policeman had a grudge against his mate, Rhys, who was in the same unit and who just happened to having an affair with his wife. After Nikki proves that he was in shooting distance of him, during the raid, he is suspended, pending further enquiry and the case looks like it’s sown up. But as Nikki makes her way home, she is ambushed and her laptop (with some of her reports on) is stolen. She gives chase but the mysterious thief pulls a gun on her and it looks like bye, bye Nikki. End of part 1.

Of course it isn’t the end for her! The man makes his escape and leaves Nikki, shaken but not hurt. The investigation continues and Harry learns all about the ‘girl with no face’ – she was an undercover officer who Tranfield knew about but he couldn’t disclose her identity because he believed she had been heavily involved in drug-taking at the flat.

Meanwhile, Rhys tries to prove his innocence. He tracks down Nikki and tells her that he was the man who stole her laptop. He asks her to look at the case again, to prove his innocence. She eventually agrees and after another look at the crime scene and how everyone was positioned, she comes to the conclusion that it was the girl who shot the police officer as well as shooting her brother, accidently.

It seems it’s too late though, as the girl, under instructions from the lawyer, attempts a suicide bombing at a local nightclub. The police get there in time and it was ironically, Rhys was the man who shot her. That isn’t the end of the action though, as back at the mortuary, the team have to clear out as Nikki has been sent a suspect package. Who says being a postman isn’t exciting?

It’s another well written episode. There was little development for the main characters but I thought this was a refreshing change, considering that happens in most episodes. I always get the feeling that at times, the supporting characters lack a lot of depth but on this occasion, it was done well.


Next Time: Leo tries to educate his team by using the new Wii game – ‘Corpse Control Clarifier’, to help him.

Sunday, 19 October 2008

Heroes (Series 3) Volume 3 - Villains - Episode 3 - One of Us, One of Them

The third series of Heroes starts to get more interesting with this weeks episode ‘One of Us, One of Them’. We learn of Angela Petrelli’s plan for ‘her son’, we find out who Tracy is and Noah is back at the company and has a new partner!

After last week’s disappointing revelation that Sylar was the son of ‘Cherie Blair’, I wonder how this would start to play out. It seems she wants to use him for The Company's ends, she even ‘feeds’ him – by luring a company employee, who can know the history of any person/object just by touching it, to prove her intentions. She also plays with his mind, claiming that he has a ‘hunger’ that he can’t control. That hunger is of course, murdering people and taking their abilities. Sylar was then to join a disgusted Noah, who knows nothing of Cherie’s antics. I found this a bit strange, seeing as Sylar was fresh from cutting Claire’s head open!

Meanwhile one man who is certainly feeling the hunger at the moment, is fatty Matt, who is still stuck somewhere in Africa. Apparently his new mate has got the same ability as Isaac (he can paint the future) and has been painting about Matt, since he was a boy. It seems though, that he wants Matt to go on a ‘Sprit Walk’ and gives Matt his ‘magic headphones’ and Matt’s eyes go white like a crack addict. Not sure about this plot device, at all – magic headphones?

Tracy heads to New Orleans, to find out about Nikki, who is defiantly dead, as she finds out when she gets to the house and sees her coffin and opens it up. Little Micah is behind her and the lad (although to be fair, he’s probably hit puberty now) thinks she’s his mum. She isn’t and after a conversation, Micah helps Tracy to trace her roots and finds out that she was born at the exact same time as Nikki, at the same hospital and all this was supervised by the same doctor. Tracy leaves Micah, who I don’t think we’ll see again, and visits this Dr Zimmerman. Once there, we find out that he had ‘created’ her. This could result in a number of possibilities but I believe that Nikki’s ‘sister’ (or sisters?) are her other personalities and they all have a mental link. Sounds mental I know but this is Heroes, nothing is impossible!

Peter is still stuck inside the body of Jesse and whilst he and his gang are busy robbing money and threatening people, Noah and Sylar turn up. The other members of the gang want Noah dead, for capturing them. Although not all of them agree and the leader kills ‘The German’ by punching him right through his chest! Things would soon calm down but not before future Peter comes in, stops time and takes his present version away, to ‘show him something’. Sylar cleans up the remaining villains but not before locking Noah out and taking the powers of the men. He again comes up with the ‘I must feed my hunger’ line, which Cherie planted in his head.

Claire is taught a lesson by her birth mother, which got a little bit tedious for me. I’m starting to despise the Claire character, to be honest. Claire later drove off with one of her father’s boxes, presumably with files relating to The Company in it. Marvellous! But Hiro and Ando continue to impress, their ‘Batman and Robin’ partnership is getting better all the time. They track Daphne (aka ‘The Speedster’) down to Germany, where she is poised to steal the other half of the ‘formula’. The Haitian also pops up and does the exchange, on behalf of The Company. Hiro believes that they must follow him and after Daphne winds up Ando about his one-sided friendship with Hiro, they hit The Haitian on the head! This was to haunt them later as The Haitian caught up with them and locked them up in The Company’s prison. WHOOPS!

So with Sylar locked up as well, shower time should be fun! The Haitian is placed back with Noah and it seems Cherie has got one half of the formula. Daphne, or her employer, has the other but who is she working for? I can’t wait to find out!


Next Time: Hiro plays table tennis with Sylar, whilst Ando, the only one without powers, is crowned the ‘prison bitch’.

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

The Sarah Jane Adventures Series 2 Episodes 3 & 4 - The Day of the Clown

Bradley Walsh steals the show as the villain in ‘The Day of The Clown’. For those who don’t know, he is a well-known entertainer-turned actor on British TV and perhaps one of the last people you’d expect to be in a children’s show!

This story also sees the introduction of Rani (played by Anjli Mohindra) and you know what? I was impressed! However, I do think there's something sinister going on with her though, not because her name's Rani (no not at all!) it just seemed like there was more to her than meets the eye. Apparently she wants to ‘be a journalist’, like Sarah* so expect her to be shadowing and coping all her traits. Hope she doesn’t get annoying!

Another surprise was the pace of the story. It felt more like a ‘classic’ episode of Doctor Who, as the tension was built up, little by little. I suspect it was a case of trying to do the introduction of Rani character that took up most of the time.

She arrives in Bannerman Road with her Mum and Dad (who just happens to be the new Headmaster at Luke and Clyde’s school and immediately builds up a love-hate rapport with the former!) and befriends the lads. Meanwhile, children are going missing and only Clyde and Rani can see the sinister clown’s that seem to be hanging around the place. They learn that the missing kids took tickets from a clown and disappeared not long after.

The team (is that the right word?) are lead to Elijah Spellman’s museum of ‘fun’, thanks to a ticket that Clyde had (which is why he could see the clown). They learn that Spellman isn’t what he seems to be – he’s an alien that feeds on fear! It’s also revealed that he is also the fabled ‘Pied Piper of Hamlin’, which is a well known fairytale about how a travelling entertainer took all the town’s children away after they refused to pay him for his ‘rat removal’ service. Seeing as having your children taken away is any parent’s greatest fear, it’s a rather good idea for a creepy tale, which could have worked just as well in Doctor Who!

After getting over the shock (and giggling!) of seeing Bradley Walsh playing three roles (Spellmen, The Pied Piper and ‘Oddbob The Clown'), I quite enjoyed the story! It was creepy and funny in all the right places and the kids must lap it up! Not sure about Sarah Jane’s fear of clown’s but it didn’t put me off.

The three kids work well together and Maria wasn’t really that missed, expect by poor Luke! Although I did enjoy him admitting he found out that Johnny Depp was scared of clowns – by reading Heat!**

Here’s looking forward the next story, where I believe another bizarre but brilliant piece of casting has taken place!


Next Time: Luke is (not for the first time) mistaken for Eastenders character Martin Fowler and bricks are thrown. It won’t be a pretty sight!

* I quite enjoyed Sarah insisting her name was Sarah-Jane to Rani’s mother. But if ‘Sarah’ is what the late great Jon Pertwee's Doctor (and Tom Baker) called you, that’s what I’m calling you!

** For those who don’t know, Heat is a very abysmal ‘celebrity’ gossip magazine for Women.

Monday, 13 October 2008

Silent Witness Series 12 Episodes 3 & 4 - Death's Door

This week the team are joined by a student but she’s quickly ‘dispatched’, so it’s all back to normal when part two comes along!

After a woman is murdered, her face cut off and dumped by a roadside, the team try everything to identify her. It’s grizzly stuff but that’s the pull of this programme, it doesn’t hold back!

We learn that the woman is a television personality, who had recently been on more drugs than Amy Winehouse but was in the middle of a comeback - by writing a book. That book was to about a jailed Russian gangster, who became the chief suspect in the case, lead by annoying detective – Barker (played by Neil Dudgeon).

Barker takes a shine to our pretty student (Naomi Bentley – Caroline in ‘Primeval’) and it seems she’s in hot water with her mentor, Harry, after the press get hold of some details about the investigation and she is photographed when she goes with Harry, to the woman’s house.

Meanwhile, Leo is getting on like a ‘house on fire’ with Prof. Janet (Jaye Griffiths, who also appeared in a Silent Witness episode in 2003, as a police officer), who has been attached to the case for her expertise. It isn’t long though, until they are ‘at it’!

As we come to the end of episode one, Nikki is sent to a new crime scene. Unfortunately the victim is our student, who has had her throat cut. It’s a shocking end but it gets more shocking in part two, as we learn that Barker had sex with her, the night she was murdered. Nikki didn’t come to that conclusion until testing the DNA found on her against Harry’s – who had been at her flat just before Barker.

Barker isn’t the one who ‘did it though’ but he was the one who leaked information to the press, in order to get more information from the public, about the murderer. Sadly it leads to her being photographed and she was killed because of her involvement with the case.

Shocked by her death, Harry is a man on a mission and whilst he is being shadowed by a bodyguard, he is summoned by a Russian businessman who gives him information. He says that it was the jailed gangster who ordered the killing and hands him some ‘evidence’ to prove it. He even plants £10,000 in Harry’s bank account, so he can ‘work’ for him!

We learn though, that the gangster is indeed innocent and it was the businessman who ordered the murder of the women. She was writing the book on the jailed man, who co-operated with her but he had connections with the businessman man and he would have been implicated if the book was published. Thing is though, the book was already written and stored on her laptop.

It’s too late for Mr Gangster though, as he dies after an asthma attack, inside a prison van after one of the businessman’s associate’s hands him a duff asthma inhaler.

It’s another interesting and informative episode. That’s the thing with Silent Witness – you always seem to learn stuff off it! Be it medical or law, you always get your fix! There’s a decent supporting cast too, Phil Davis also appears, playing the dead woman’s unscrupulous agent. It should be interesting to see if the relationship between Leo and Janet will continue, I reckon not because I don’t think she’s in next week’s episode! But you never know!


Next Time: Harry takes a job as a college lecturer – if he as that much of an affect on Students as he did in this story, there’ll be none left!

Sunday, 12 October 2008

Heroes (Series 3) Volume 3 Episode 2 - The Butterfly Effect

After last week’s interesting opening episode, Heroes: Villains is now starting to settle down and flesh out its plotlines.

It seems that Angela ‘Cherie Blair’ Petrelli’s is going to be an integral part of this current overall storyline. She dreams that Hiro, Claire, Peter, Noah and Matt are all killed, in very viscous ways. She turns round to see Adam Monroe, Nikki, Maury Parkman and another man, who we learn later is an inmate at the company’s facility, with rather sinister grins on their faces. Sylar, standing behind her, then puts his hand on her shoulder, in a very chilling manner. Does this mean he’s going to get a group of villains together? Perhaps they’ve just set up a book club and want her to join!

Meanwhile, we learn that ‘Nikki’ isn’t Nikki at all – she’s someone called ‘Tracy Strauss’. She would later go to see Nathan and persuade him to take the job, he had been earmarked for and he’s aghast when she turns up. She is stalked by a newspaper reporter, who also believes her to the Nikki we know. He threatens to publish details of her ‘past’, which she knows nothing about. Tracy gets angrier and when she grabs hold of the reporter – he turns to ice and smashes on the floor. Which leaves one question – what has happened to Nikki?

Fatty Matt is still alive and well – just! He’s lying in the desert and is helped by a local, who seems to know him. Thing is though – Matt is in a yet unspecified country in Africa! We learn that the local can paint the future and knew Matt was coming.

Mohinder is loving his new powers and just after he deflowers Maya, he finds out he has some kind of skin infection, something that looks like ‘orange scales’. You should have worn a condom before you ‘got it on’ with the bore, Mohinder!

Sylar is up to his usual tricks and this time Bob is the victim as Sylar breaks into ‘The Company’ and kills him. The reason behind this is that Stephen Tobolowsky, who plays Bob, had an horse riding accident and was only able to act in a chair. Apparently he will make a full recovery.

Back to the action as the corpse of Bob is discovered by his daughter, Elle, who then has a showdown with Sylar. This resulted in Elle letting out a massive electrical charge, knocking Sylar out but opening all the cells and letting out all the inmates – including Noah.

Noah then goes home but immediately explains to his family that he needs to go out and recapture all the escaped inmates. He turns down Claire’s request to accompany him and he brings in her birth mother, Meredith Gordon, to protect his family. Angela takes charge of the company and immediately sacks Elle.

The escaped inmates are a terrible bunch and we now know what has happened to ‘Present Peter’. The future version of Peter trapped his younger self in the body of an inmate, Jesse Murphy, in order to keep him safe inside the company’s prison. With all hell breaking loose and the escapees murdering people on the spot, things are going to get interesting!

Hiro and Ando are perhaps coming to beginning of the end of their friendship. Ando is annoyed at Hiro, after the pair teleport to Paris, in order to get the formula back. After a showdown with the ‘speedster’, we learn that she is working for someone and she escapes, cutting Ando in the process.

Sylar wakes up and is trapped in the company’s prison, accompanied by Angela, she has to spoil it all by muttering – I am your mother! I’m not sure if this is the right thing to do, it’s a plotline which has been done so many times in other television programs and having good family members, trying to save the world and evil family members, working against them, can only make the series end up in a terrible state, which most of the shows that use this device, do.

It should be interesting to see how the plots with Matt, Nikki/Tracy and Peter, pan out. The same can be said for Nathan, who we learn is the only one who can see Linderman. Does that mean he is dead after all?

I felt that the program is trying to do plenty of ambitious things too quickly. Even though I enjoyed this episode, that bit with Angela and Sylar really spoiled it for me! Although the series has settled down rather quickly, this will give the writers the opportunity to develop the characters more, something which I think the program doesn’t do as well as it needs to. And it’s nice to see them using characters and plotlines from the novels, some of which I need to get my sticky hands on!


Next Time: We learn what the term ‘Ice Queen’ really means, thanks to Tracy!

Saturday, 4 October 2008

Lost in Austen - Reviewed

Take one of the most popular novels, ‘Pride and Prejudice’, sprinkle a bit of magic and stick in a modern girl. That is basically what ‘Lost in Austen’ is all about.

Now I’m no fan of these types of books or the telly adaptations. Even though I do like period dramas, mine involve war or people getting murdered – not love stories about posh wazzocks! But you know what? This works!

Written by Guy Andrews and directed by Dan Zeff, of ‘Doctor Who: Love and Monsters’ fame, it already has some decent starting blocks. Add to that the lovely Jemima Rooper (As If, Hex, Sinchronicity) and a decent support cast including, Hugh Bonneville, Alex Kingston, Gemma Atherton, Elliot Cowan, Tom Riley and Christina Cole, then it should be decent runner!

Amanda Price (Rooper) is sick of her life, stuck in a job which doesn’t appreciate her, a pig of a boyfriend who appreciates her even less, she amuses herself in a good old romantic novel to escape. However when she finds one of the books characters, Elizabeth Bennet (Atherton) in her bathroom she thinks she going mad. But when they accidently swap places, through Amanda’s ‘magic bathroom door’, she ends up in the world of ‘Pride and Prejudice’!

It’s quite amusing seeing the modern girl trying to fit in with society there. It’s very well acted from all involved, as Amanda, in her own words ‘totally buggers up the plot of the book', as she tries to set things right! Her mission takes a nose dive when she encounters the much-talked about Mr Darcy (Elliot Cowan), who isn’t anything like he is in the books and films!

There are plenty of priceless moments and quick-witted one liners. However, due to copyright issues, the scene with Amanda singing Petula Clark’s ‘Downtown’ at the bemused 19th Century characters, won’t be on the DVD unfortunately!

It’s one for the girls to be honest but lads can learn a lot from it too – like how to behave properly! Some negative things I do have about it, is the lack of coverage of Elizabeth in the modern world. We just hear she has been working as a nanny and has been hanging around with Amanda’s friend. I just felt that it would have been better if we had a situation, totally opposite to what Amanda was experiencing. Another thing was the lack of explanation behind the ‘magic door’ and how it all worked. Maybe that’s just the science-fiction geek inside me and I’m not partial to the odd bit of magic!

However, it’s an interesting concept which works extremely well. It won’t encourage me to read any of Jane Austen’s books but I don’t really have to, after seeing this! It’ll be interesting to read the views on this by fans of the book, which I’m sure will sell a few more copies! It’s well worth a look and I would encourage you to give it a go!


The DVD is out now from ITV and all good retailers.

Friday, 3 October 2008

Silent Witness Series 12 Episodes 1 & 2 - Safe

Often underrated and ignored in favour of similar-styled shows, such as the mind-numbingly tedious CSI, Silent Witness has been going on strong for 12 series now and it really has improved with age!

The show originally featured Amanda Burton’s character Sam Ryan, a forensic pathologist and the show set in Cambridge. The setting eventually moved to London and despite her colleagues constantly changing, only Sam remained the permanent fixture.

However series 6 came about and Leo and Harry (William Gaminara and Tom Ward) joined Sam, who was to leave at the start of series 8. This gave the writers the chance to move the series on from just concentrating on one character and give the series more consistency. Later on in the series, Nikki (Emilia Fox) was to join the team, now headed by Leo and the series has gone from strength to strength ever since.

In this story, after driving home from a social shindig, Leo is stopped by the police and breath-tested. Unfortunately he is just over the limit and he is sentenced to community service - helping a football coach at a local estate. The coach isn’t too happy with this and with the gang culture hanging over the estate, a ‘drunk whitey’ isn’t going to help, is he?

Meanwhile a young girl is found dead at a fun fair. It seems she’s been murdered but the police are baffled. Whilst at the scene, Nikki is ‘picked up’ by a paramedic, which won’t go down well with fans of the Harry-Nikki story, which has been brewing for the last couple of series!

It seems that the murder is gang-related and connected to the estate Leo is on, after some mobile phone footage, displaying the murder, is found. After the person, who stabbed the girl, is gunned down, the murderer is believed to be the girl’s ‘boyfriend’. The lad though, didn’t want to be part of the gang and while he is trying to keep his little brother away from it, he himself was stabbed by the gang and saved by Leo. Instead of keeping away from them, he joined back up to get revenge for the girl’s stabbing.

Later the lad was killed in revenge, by the rival gang. Quite shockingly too! Still the police and pathologists didn’t a clue. Nobody was willing to talk to them but those people expected the police to protect them. It was quite interesting to hear that, how can they protect you, if you don’t tell them anything?

Well that statement was put into context later, as the murdered lad’s younger brother, who had been a runner for the gang, was to tell Leo about the gang and their involvement in events. Leo promised that he wouldn’t let nobody harm him but when the police went blundering in and arrested the gang’s leader, the rest of the gang sought out the young boy and set a dog on him and made sure he was dead by knifing him. It was quite shocking just to hear what they did, I didn’t think they would kill the young lad off to be honest. Sad thing is though, that probably happens for real.

Even though they proved that the dog ravaged the boy and with no knife to prove it, it seems that the CPS doesn’t agree it was murder, so the gang leader is in the clear. That is until Leo, gutted from the young boy’s murder, tries on last thing. The murdered girl was pregnant, when she was raped as part of a ‘gang initiation’. It turns out that the gang leader was the unlucky man – as the girl was 13, so he is charged.

It’s a relief for Leo who had struck up a bond with some of the kids on the estate. Its bad news for Nikki though, as the paramedic turns out to be a racist, WHOOPS!

It’s a rather difficult subject for the writers to write about, what with the current state of social breakdown and gang culture in this country. They managed to pull it off though and write a good story. With it being on the BBC too, they could have gone all PC but despite threatening to, they just managed to stay on centre, just!


Next Time – Will Nikki be dating Nick Griffin?

Thursday, 2 October 2008

Heroes (Series 3) Volume 3 - Villains - Episode 1 - The Second Coming

Heroes is back! And things do move on rather quickly in this new ‘volume’ entitled ‘Villains’.

At the end of series 2, Nathan was shot by an unknown gunman, who wanted to stop him from telling the world that people with superpowers do exist. We learn that it was Peter, from the future, who shot him. Apparently the revelation would have caused war and the world would be in a state of ruin.

Meanwhile Hiro is getting his feet under the table in his Dad’s office. A video message from beyond the grave later and Hiro uncovers a DNA formula which will apparently throw the world into chaos. We learn later that Angela Petrelli was also part of this and she tells future Peter, in uncertain terms, to go back to the future. But where is present Peter, is he looked up with Mr Bennett?

Sylar finally gets the annoying cheerleader but unlike all the others, Claire doesn’t die and retains her power, despite Sylar taking it. Apparently she is ‘special’, well that’s one word that could be used to describe her, yes!

Mohinder continues to talk shite, before and after the show and Maya is somehow speaking like a native yank. Molly has been packed off to an unknown destination, to ‘keep her safe’. Looks like the writers strike took its toll on the actress who plays young Molly, she’ll be about 21 now! Thanks to Maya, Mohinder discovers a drug that can give people superpowers and despite the protests of Maya, Mohinder goes down to the docks and injects himself like a smackhead. The daft man has only given himself ‘super strength’ – I can see this ending in tears!

We are also introduced to a new hero, a woman who can ‘run really fast’. Not sure if she’s taking any kind of banned substance, but hopefully she’ll be at the 2012 Olympics! This new hero steals the formula from Hiro, who teleports into the future to see if anything’s changed. It has – the world is crumbling and Hiro sees himself ‘killed’ by his good friend Ando, who hits him with some kind of power, he has acquired and steals the formula from him. Hmmm, sounds interesting!

Back at the hospital, Nathan goes 'all David Icke' and believes that it was god who saved him. It wasn’t, it was a bearded English bloke who was in ‘A Clockwork Orange’. Yes, Linderman is back from the dead. How and why I don’t have a Scooby but I’m sure we’ll find out in the coming weeks. We also learn that Nikki is still alive - she is being a ‘Monica Lewinsky’ to a governor who takes a shine to Nathan’s ramblings about god on telly.

Poor Matt finds himself stuck in a desert after a confrontation with future Peter, the poor bastard can’t survive 10 minutes without something to eat. I hope he finds a Little Chef somewhere!

It was an episode that moved pretty quick and some of the plot from series 1 looks a little pointless now, after Peter and the others tried to prevent Sylar from taking Claire’s power. Leaving her home alone wasn’t the best idea was it? The episode doesn’t suffer too much from it though but it could have been a little more polished. I expect it to improve as the series goes on. Everything else, as always, was bang on but I didn’t feel as if it was the best idea for an opening episode – it moved too fast!


Next Time – Hiro accidentally teleports himself inside Matt’s stomach, which at this point, is about as barren as Angela Petrelli’s knickers!

Wednesday, 1 October 2008

The Sarah Jane Adventures Series 2 Episodes 1 & 2 - The Last Sontaran

Well what a start for series two of the Sarah Jane Adventures! Thankfully no Slitheen this time, instead we have a Sontaran milling about in show woods. It’s like ‘Time Warrior’ all over again!

Sadly though, this episode she the departure of Maria Jackson, as Yasmin Paige (who plays her) was studying for her GCSE’s at the time. Don’t understand how this would be a problem – a young Cyber Colin used to get drunk off Morrison’s knock-off Scrumpy, at the shops, every night after each exam and I did okay!

After some ‘strange lights’ are shown in the sky, next to a radio tower, the team investigate. When they get there however, they find that the tower’s head man has disappeared in the woods and his daughter is left holding the fort.

As Luke and Clyde snoop around near the woods, they stumble upon an invisible space ship, which turns out to be Commander Kaagh’s. The Sontaran wants revenge on planet earth after his fleet’s defeat during the events of the Doctor Who episodes The Sontaran Stratagem/The Poison Sky.

It’s a well written two-parter and the cliffhanger leaves those without the CBBC channel hanging! With everything set up, part two is the ‘run around and catch me’ episode, with Clyde and Kaagh exchanging some great banter. It is worth watching the episode just for that!

In fact I’ve been really impressed by young Clyde (Daniel Anthony), he’s the only one out of the teenagers that acts like a teenager and I think that’s great! It seems with Maria leaving, he will take a much bigger role this year, as his parents are due to be introduced.

Maria’s mum, Chrissie, stumbles upon the problems as she follows Alan into Sarah’s attic. She would be the one to save the day – hitting Kaagh with the heal of her shoe! Apparently that scene was originally written for the two Doctor Who episodes but Catherine Tate refused to wear anything but trainers!

So with Kaagh sent back to Sontar with his tail between his legs, Maria and father Alan leave for America. Hopefully she can return to the series one day, as her performances during series one really helped those episodes to be watchable!


Next Time – In ‘Day of the Clown’, we are introduced to Maria’s replacement – Rani. No not THE Rani, at least I hope not!