Something I've been thinking about recently - actors who might have been cast as the various Doctors if the people chosen were busy or not interested. I've tried to go for ones who might have fitted the characters we got for each of the Doctors. I've also tried to avoid people who were approached or ho tend to turn up on these lists - so no Brian Blessed for a start...

1st Doctor - Alistair Sim
2nd Doctor - Michael Ripper
3rd Doctor - Patrick Macnee
4th Doctor - Dinsdale Landen
5th Doctor - Michael Palin
6th Doctor - Rik Mayall
7th Doctor - Tony Robinson
8th Doctor - Michael Praed
9th Doctor - Alun Armstrong
10th Doctor - Andrew Lincoln
11th Doctor - Daniel Kaluuya
12th Doctor - Charles Dance

War Doctor - Terence Stamp

ETA - it's just been pointed out to me that Tony Robinson auditioned for the 7th Doctor, so we'll have David Dixon instead.
1400 people sexually abused in Rotherham, at a conservative estimate. What is the correct response to this? Horror? Disbelief? Fury?

Acording to Fraser Nelson, it's twofold. He tweeted:

The real scandal of Rotherham is that social work doesn’t work, says Dr Colin Brewer in tomorrow's @spectator - http://specc.ie/1tJmpzT

So, the correct response is to use it to sell copies of your magazine and also to belittle what has happened. 1400 (minimum) victims of sexual abuse is not a real scandal - the real scandal is somethig entirely different. It'd be nice if something as horrific as this weren't used as a political football. If Nelson had shown a bit of compassion, a bit of empathy. Not happening here. This can be put into service to prove a piece of political dogma and also make a bit of money.

I was gang raped in the swimming pool changing room at school when I was 12. It was fucking horrific. At least no-one's response was to say "What really matters here is that teaching swimming is a waste of money."
The Prisoner:
Number 2: Why did you resign?
Number 6: Got a better offer.
Number 2: Oh, er right. Thought it'd be harder than that, actually. Well, you can go, I guess.
Number 6: Actually, I quite like it here. Mind if I stick around?

Sapphire and Steel:
Transuranic heavy elements may not be used where there is life. Medium atomic weights are available. Cardboard, MDF, Pepsi Max, Happidog, Jam, Bisto, Underlay and Smegma. Bisto and Smegma have been assigned.

Blake's 7.
Blake: I'm not going out of the bloody dome. It's raining.

Life on Mars:
Sam Tyler: Mad bastard - you nearly hit me!

Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased):
Passer-by: I think I've got a pulse!

Doctor Who:

Jenny: Where's the Doctor?
Clara: That's the Doctor right there.
Malcolm Tucker: Like fucking bollocks I am.

The Omen:
Mysterious & sinister Medical-type person: Ambassador Thorne, your child died during delivery. We are very sorry.
Ambassador Thorne: You what? She was only in for an ingrowing toenail.

The Goodies:
I know we said we'd do anything, anywhere, any time, but that's disgusting, you sad pervy.

The Wicker Man

Sgt Howie: Oh bugger it. Waiting for the wedding night always seemed a daft idea.
Lord Summerisle. I think it rhymes with clucking bell.

The Rocky Horror Show

Brad: Dr Scott? Look, it's pissing down. Mind if we take a rain check?

The Shining:

Jack: Is that the garage? My VW's packed up, can you help? (Pause) Not till Tuesday? Bollocks, that's the job interview out of the window.

The Seventh Seal:

Death: Oh. Didn't see that one. Best of three?

Hound of the Baskervilles: "Oh, ignore Holmes. He's so off his face he couldn't find his arse with both hands and a flashlight."

Horror Express: "Sorry mate - engineering works. We've got a rail replacement bus."

Frightmare: "Bugger. No extension lead."
Robin Williams and Lauren Bacall in two days. And all a few weeks after Rik Mayall. Which means for me that Williams and Bacall are always going to be connected in my head in the same way as Robert Mitchum and Jimmy Stewart, who died on consecutive days in July 1997. This is despite the fact that Mitchum and Stewart only appeared together once - in Michael Winner's London-set adaptation of The Big Seep in the late '70's. Which just seems horribly inappropriate. Two men who appeared between thm in the likes of Vertigo, Night of the Hunter, Cape Fear and It's A Wonderful Life - and that's the only time they appeared on screen? For two screen giants of the same generation, that feels counter-intuitive. I could swear that there were other films where they sared screen time - but not so.

Williams and Bacall on the other hand feel much more separated - Williams who came to film stardom via stage work, stand up and success on TV, and Bacall who was already a star before Williams was even born, havng been spotted by Howard Hawks and cast in To Have or Have Not, going from obscurity to becoming an icon overnight.

The frst thing I ever saw Williams in was Popeye when I was 9. Having watched it again recently, my favourite scene is where he first finds the abandoned baby, Swee'pea. It's a lovely scene- part way through, the baby starts crying and Williams manages to work calming the crying baby into his performance in the scene. Sadly, it doesn't seem to be on youtube, so here's another scene I like, the boxing match.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gayJ4elFCKQ

Meanwhile, for Lauren Bacall, the closing scene of To Have and Have Not. As a sidenote, the pianist is Hoagy Carmichael who I first heard of mentioned in one of the James Bond novels - Ian Fleming has one of the characters mention that Bond looks like Carmichael.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fs4vI2XnQJ4

An object lesson in how to make an exit in style.

I was thinking that was a good closing line for this, but I read Bacall's obituary in The Guardian and I think a few things bear quoting - one of them I've used as the titles for this. I approve of her taste in films.


"In old age, she raged against what she saw as the mediocrity of contemporary Hollywood, as represented by everything from the career of Tom Cruise to the Twilight movies that her granddaughter dragged her to see. “She said it was the greatest vampire film ever made,” Bacall recalled. “After the film was over, I wanted to smack her across the head with my shoe.”

Instead, Bacall bought the child a DVD of FW Murnau’s 1922 classic Nosferatu. “Now that’s a vampire film,” she told her sternly."

And one last line from her which seems to carry some resonance.

“Happy schmappy,” she scoffed to Vanity Fair. “I don’t think anyone that has a brain can ever really be happy.”

Leaving.

Aug. 6th, 2014 06:21 pm
Andrew Hickey posted this on his blog. It’s very much worth reading.

http://andrewhickey.info/2014/08/05/open-door-policy/

 If you’ve now read it and you’re reaction is anything starting with “Yes, but…” and you want to talk about different sorts of immigrants or how some are the “right” sort of immigrant, then do us both a favour and stop reading. This isn’t for you and it’s not going to mean anything to you.
 
Andrew’s reaction above pretty much mirrors mine. We both love someone who has had horrendous experiences while attempting to settle in the UK. The situation has got worse and the leader of the party I belong to is saying that it is still too easy for immigrants to settle here and that Something Must Be Done. To be precise, access to benefits and availability of translation services should be reduced. Because immigrants claiming benefits and not even having the manners to be able to speak English is a major factor in the problems the country has.

The preamble to the Lib Dem constitution starts “The Liberal Democrats exist to build and safeguard a fair, free and open society “. Hardly a description of a party which has decided to join with the other two major parties in looking for minority groups to victimise in an attempt to be seen to be doing something that might attract voters. Three parties scrapping over a small area of ground without a square inch of moral justification between them.

I joined the Lib Dems back in 2011. I knew people who I respected who were members and I liked a lot about the party – things like the democratic process within the party and the way that it worked from the bottom up, with ideas from the party membership being put forward at conference and, if supported by a vote, being adopted into party policy. We were in coalition with the Tories and so there were things I didn’t like which had the party’s fingerprints on them, but we were in coalition with a much bigger party and it was inevitable that compromises had to be made. My feelings have changed.

The petty side swipe at immigrants is by no means the only contributory factor. There was also my reaction, which I’ve blogged about, to the railroading through parliament of the regulations about access to private information. There have been other things which have happened, but it's Clegg's e-mail about immigrants that’s decided me that I’m leaving.
 
I used to work for the Home Office in Immigration and Asylum. Over the years, as attitudes there became more and more poisonous, I stopped being able to tell myself that I was making a difference. I took redundancy and left. Currently I work for a debt advice charity, helping people to get out of debt. It’s a very good job, but quite a demanding one – daily I speak to people who are desperate, from time to time I find myself talking to someone considering suicide. Including the commute, it’s a 12 hour day and my evenings and days off are pretty much spent recovering.
 
And this is the point – I don’t have the energy or the inclination to do anything constructive as a member of the party. I know people who do and who are working hard to try to restore the party to what they – and I – feel it should be and I admire them for what they’re doing.

But as long as I don’t have the energy to help with that, I am not going to be a member. If someone asks me why I financially support an organisation that says and does things I believe are fundamentally wrong, why I am allowing myself to be seen as allied to ideas with which I disagree, I want to be able to explain what I’m doing to try to change that. I can’t do that, so I’m leaving.
This may become a regular blog. I've been meaning for a few years to watch all of Doctor Who from the start and maybe write about it. We'll see how long it lasts.

It is utterly impossible to view An Unearthly Child as it would have been seen in 1963. We know too much. After the initial titles and the policeman on his beat, we close in on a shot of the TARDIS. Perhaps the single most recognisable icon of the programme. Not in 1963. It was a police box. The only question about it would have been what it was doing in a junk yard.

Of course these days, we view this opening through an additional filter. The 50th Anniversary story, Day of the Doctor, opened with the original titles and music followed by a patrolling policeman walking past a sign indicating I M Foreman's junk yard - one of many call backs to the opening episode. Another one of these comes right at the end of the 50th special. Compare the first Doctor's line to Susan from Unearthly Child

One day we shall get back. Yes, one day.

to Matt Smith's closing narration from Day of the Doctor.

It's taken me so many years, so many lifetimes, but at last I know where I'm going. Where I've always been going. Home. The long way around.

The whole story of the programme so far has been one single journey - one which is still running and which may one day lead the Doctor to his final destination. Another quote that seems appropriate - the fourth Doctor talking to Duggan in City of Death:

Duggan: Where do you two come from?
Doctor Who: From? Well, I suppose the best way to find out where you've come from is to find out where you're going and then work backwards.
Duggan: Where are you going?
Doctor Who: I don't know.

According to Moffat, the Doctor is returning to where he came from. Given Moffat's seeming desire to leave his fingerprints on all of Doctor Who, rather than just his era as showrunner, one could, if one were in an unforgiving mood, be rather irate at this apparent dismissal of the first fifty years of the programme as a digression.

Unearthly Child is generally seen as a stand alone episode introducing the series before a self-contained 3-part story with cavemen. Not so much the case. There are hints of elements of the story to come. We get several shots of the dummy in the junk yard with the smashed head, later echoed in the smashed skulls in the Cave of Skulls which are both a threat of he travellers' possible fate and also their eventual means of salvation. Ian loses his torch and doesn't have any matches - later the travellers' lives will be endangered by their inability to make fire. Most ironically, Ian says that he takes things as they come. And yet by the start of episode 2, it is Barbara who turns out to be more open to new ideas, while Ian struggles to accept anything beyond his experience.

We have a few things here which will become frequent features of episodes - for better or for worse. We have one of the series' lucky guesses which look much more impressive in retrospect - Susan predicting the decimal system. We have the first example of a plot poit being quietly abandoned without any explanation. Ian and Barbara become interested in Susan because her homework has got so much worse recently. Why? Were she and her grandfather busy fighting off an alien invasion during the preceding week? No explanation is forthcoming.

However there are two things in this episode which we never see in quite the same way again. The TARDIS is never seen as dangerous and a trap in the same way ever again. Even in the first Eccleston episode, when the series was reintroduced, the TARDIS was explicitly identified as a safe place, while the 2005 Doctor, although introduced as a man who bombs department stores, is shown as exciting and attractive.

Here, although softened from the original version of An Unearthly Child, he still appears threatening. He is superior, arrogant and dismissive, with a tendency to change the subject, finding fascination in old paintings or broken clocks. In short, he is very Doctorish. It just feels different, because his manner is aimed at the people who we have so far identified with. We haven't learnt to trust him yet. But on the basis of the fifty years of TV to come, we know that we will. Like Moffat scattering Clara's throughout the Doctor's history, we have overwritten how he was originally seen.
Having caught Yvette Cooper's comments in the debate on the emergency powers, in which she acknowledged that the situation requiring this had arisen in April and yet the legislation had reached the House - in a great state of urgency - a mere 3 months later and a matter of days before the summer recess, but that this didn't matter because of the safeguards built in, I'd just like to wonder whether it is possible to dislocate one's shoulder from patting oneself on the back. I also wonder whether certain politicians are in fact only held upright by the starch in their shirts while they wait for the spine donor to get back to them.

And we now have first Alan Johnson and then Hazel Blears complaining that the new legislation doesn't go far enough and that further powers are needed.
Apparently it's not the Snooper's Charter. We've been told that by Julian Huppert (was Shirley Williams busy?) and that ought to be enough for all right-thinking, hard-working families. And please bear in mind, where we work, we win. I'm not sure whether that just applies to families, but I'm sure someone reassuring will be along to tell us soon.

Actually maybe I was wrong about the reassuring bit. Depends whether you find 12 stone of gammon on the turn and wearing an Armani suit to be reassuring. David Cameron has tweeted that "I'll be explaining today why emergency legislation is needed to maintain powers to help keep us safe from those who would harm UK citizens." And after that he'll be showing how you can use those leftovers from the Sunday roast to make a lovely flan.

David Cameron of course is the man who once said "Too many tweets make a twat." Post hoc ergo propter hoc is the phrase that comes to mind.

Anyway, there's a press release knocking about. That ought to put our minds to rest, shouldn't it?

A few quotes and a few thoughts on them.

"The Bill includes a termination clause that ensures the legislation falls at the end of 2016 and the next government is forced to look again at these powers." Because the next government won't be one of the parties who have agreed to this bill, will they? And having these powers already in place won't in any way mean that they are easier to keep or indeed to extend.

"We will establish a Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board on the American model, to ensure that civil liberties are properly considered in the formulation of government policy on counter-terrorism. This will be based on David Anderson's existing role as the Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation." So it'll be something similar to what already exists, but with the name changed?

"We will restrict the number of public bodies that are able to approach phone and internet companies and ask for communications data. Some bodies will lose their powers to access data altogether while local authorities will be required to go through a single central authority who will make the request on their behalf." So, restrict. Is the number not already restricted? We're told that some bodies will lose powers. Will any bodies gain powers?

And then we have some examples of crimes which would be more difficult to effectively investigate.

First up - "Murder– those who conspired to assist the killers of Rhys Jones were caught using evidence from mobile phones, which proved they were associating at certain key times and places." Please note - this does not actually suggest that the evidence gathered had any effect of Rhys' killers being caught, but rather people who assisted. Any thoughts that this particular case was chosen because it involved the death of a child are utterly cynical.

"Sexual exploitation– the men who groomed young girls in Rochdale were prosecuted, in part, using mobile phone call evidence which showed their association with each other and contact with victims." It's perhaps worth noting that, while the press release says that the conviction was "in part" because of this evidence, Cameron at his press conference has said that the convictions would not have happened at all without the mobile phone evidence.

"Door step fraud– a gang who conned an 85-year-old were prosecuted using evidence that they had called the victims repeatedly from their mobile phone." At this point, you may be wondering whether this is going to affect any crimes which don't affect either children or the elderly.

"Locating Vulnerable People– Mobile phone location data was used to direct a search by Mountain Rescue and locate an elderly man with medical conditions, who had gone missing following a hospital appointment." Another elderly man? Good grief...

There was a case in the news today of a farmer who lost his mobile phone and later had it returned to him. I can only assume that this appeared too late to be included in the press release...

One final justification is included.

"A major recent Europol investigation into online child sexual exploitation (known as Operation Rescue) gives an indication of what the impact would be:Of 371 suspects identified in the UK, 240 cases were investigated and 121 arrests or convictions were possible. One man was sentenced in March 2010 to six years’ imprisonment for sexual abuse of two minors after police discovered more than 60,000 indecent images on his computer.In contrast, of 377 suspects identified in Germany, which has no such data retention arrangements, only seven could be investigated and no arrests were made." It might be worth mentioning that this was actually a UK-led investigation in which Europol also took part, as well as police from Australia, New Zealand, the Netherlands and Canada. This is not something that gives me confidence in the press release. Also - 121 arrests or convictions? According to the Guardian in March 2011, there had been 33 convictions.

http://www.theguardian.com/society/2011/mar/16/global-paedophile-ring-smashed

There may have been more convictions since then, but presumably not many otherwise the number of convictions would actually be mentioned. Going from 371 suspects to 240 investigated to 121 arrests to 33 convictions suddenly sounds rather less impressive...
So, I was watching Ben Aaronovitch's Rememberance of the Daleks, after listening to the podcast about it from Doctor Who - The Writers' Room (it's rather good, even if they do slag off Pyramids of Mars. What's annoying is that I can't actually disagee with any of their reasons) Anyway, it struck me, the undertaker's assistant says that he thought the Doctor was an old man with white hair - who we were obviously meant to see as the First Doctor. Doesn't it make more sense if it's actually the Curator from Day of the Doctor?

Thinking about it, the First Doctor gives no indication of knowing who the Daleks are when he first meets them and generally does not seem to be a man who has run away with a vital piece of high-tech weaponry. On the other hand, the Curator is a man who, by his position, is likely to come across odd artefacts and we know that he's not averse to popping up and giving advice to his previous selves. So perhaps he left the Hand of Omega with the undertaker and then dropped a line to the 7th Doctor asking him to do something about it.

I know this is overwriting Aaronovitch's original intentions, but then given that he did exactly the same to Anthony Coburn, Terry Nation et al, it seems fair enough.

And one other thing I was thinking about - in End of Time, Rassilon speaks of the shame of the two Time Lords who did not vote with him and compares them to the Weeping Angels. Just in passing, Rassilon has a history of turning people who he doesn't like into statues, as he did with Borusa in The Five Doctors. It's hard to see how something like the Weeping Angels could evolve independently. Maybe they were a creation of Rassilon's, evolving from his punishment method?
Someone on a forum started a discussion as to what songs you might want played at your funeral.

It depends very much on mood. Either Wannabe by The Spice Girls because I loathe it and wouldn't be there to listen to it or John Barry's them from Midnight Cowboy.

I might also record a speech to be played as a farewell.

See below for the planned ending to it.

http://vocaroo.com/i/s1xFMHbRkqw4
Star Trek 2 is a far superior film than Star Trek 5. Surely the most uncontroversial of opinions?
"There were times when Rik and I were writing together when we almost died laughing. They were some of the most carefree stupid days I ever had, and I feel privileged to have shared them with him. And now he's died for real. Without me. Selfish bastard."

Adrian Edmondson.
Hard to pick a highlight here. Offering a cracker to a naked woman wandering round a top security installation? Steve Ralsbeck's interrogation technique - equal parts face-slapping, incoherent howls and snogging Patrick Stewart? Conversations between the shuttle crew at the start, none of whom appear to have ever acted before? Aubrey Morris with an occasional German accent? A character exploding with a resigned comment of "Well, here I go"? A woman whose breasts have the ability to telekinetically shatter glass?

The scenes of devastation in London are far less impressive than those from Quatermass and the Pit, despite the latter having a fraction the budget, while the interior of the spaceship looks like Alien produced by the makers of Space 1999. Also, one of the infected chasing Peter Firth appears to be the It's man from Monty Python and another at the Chancery Lane tube station is apparently conducting the soundtrack. There's also a variety of dubious chat up lines. The female vampire invites someone "Use my body", while one of the male ones tells Peter Firth "It'll be much less terrifying if you just come to me."

What with this and Firth's response of "I'll do just that", things have reached such a point of stupidity that the world being saved by people shagging in St Paul's Cathedral while impaled on a conveniently handy wrought iron fence post barely raises an eyebrow. After which, the film doesnt so much end as stop, presumably having concluded that anything else would be an anticlimax.

People who should watch this film:

Anyone who thinks Space 1999 would be improved by nudity and lethal snogging puppets.
Anyone who watches Casualty and thinks "This could do with mind control and lethal breasts"
Lib Dem Friends of Biscuits

People who shoud not watch this film:

Anyone looking for a good chat up routine
People upset by improperly used fence posts
Glaziers

ETA - Probably not a good idea to have one of the last lines in the film be "Now, can this madness finally end?"
I've been rewatching this over the last couple of days and something struck me. The Master seems quite - well, not relaxed, but accepting that Azal may decide to destroy the planet. Which suggests that he has an escape route in mind - presumably his Tardis. In The Sea Devils, chronologically the next story fo the Doctor and the Master, the Master won't reveal where his Tardis is hidden.

Some years later in Keeper of Traken, the Master's Tardis is disguised as a statue which can walk and fire lethal energy bolts. So, is Bok the Master's Tardis?
When I was a child, my dad used to take me to the pictures. They tended to be things he wanted to see, but since this included the likes of Star Wars, Superman and James Bond, i wasn't complaining.

There was the odd exception. In December 1980, we saw the Disney film of Popeye. Which I've just rewatched. It's quite astonishing how much of it has stuck with me, even 33 years later. The songs - Sweet Sweethaven, Everything is Food - the comedy moments - Popeye bowling down the hill after being punched by Bluto.

For a children's film, it has quite the pedigree - directed by Robert Altman, songs by Harry Nilsson and orchestrated by Van Dyke Parks, script by Jules Feifer. And it all works. The songs are memorable. Williams and Duvall are funny and also rather touching. There's something unexpectedly heartfelt and rather moving about the very gentle romance between the two characters, one alone in the world, the other smothered by relatives, but confessing in one of the songs that she never felt anyone needed her before.

In another touching moment, Popeye affectionately bids goodnight to a photo of his long-lost father, revealed by the camera to be an empty frame with the words "me pappy" scrawled on it. There are some nice callbacks to the cartoons too - Popeye winding up his fist before punching someone and the moments when his pipe sound round in his mouth to register fury, or doubles as a submarine's periscope.

Meanwhile, Shelley Duvall manages to be the living embodiment of a cartoon as Olive, all pipecleaner limbs. Robin Williams is not as visually exact to the cartoon, but still moves like something more animated than human, while his interplay with his adopted son - much of which seems to be improvised - is a joy.

A very welcome rediscovery.
So, I've been given the letter w. Dammit.

Something I hate:

Putting "wankers" seems something of a possibility, but feels like a cheat. Far too easy. Instead, we'll go with water, specifically being in large amounts of it. I have unpleasant associations with this from school, but I know I hated swimming long before then. People I trust have told me that if you just relax, then you can float. And I reply - well, why would you want to? Far easier to stay on dry land where the whole floating thing doesn't come into it.

Something I love.

We'll avoid the first thing that comes to mind, as frankly I doubt it's something anyone wants to hear about. Not sure if this count as a cheat, but there's a film called The Blood Beast Terror, which stars Peter Cushing, in which the titular monster turns out to be a weremoth. I rather like the concept that a woman who turns into a creature fatally disadvantaged by its tendency to fly into lights could ever be terrifying.

Somewhere I have been

Wien - or Vienna, if you want to be Anglocentric. I spent a year teaching English at a boarding school there. Beautiful architecture, good beer, lots of nice places to eat. Plus, I was being paid full-time and only doing 4 hours a week, because most of the teachers thought the job should have gone to someone Viennese.

Somewhere I would like to go

Well, I really want to go back to Vienna. Also, when I was a child, I remember getting really crappy reception on BBC1 in bad weather because the Winter Hill transmitter had been knocked out. I'd like to go there - just because of the name.

Someone I know

I had a French teacher called Mrs Walker. Never got on with her.

Best movie

I did think briefly about Watership Down, but I'm going for Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. It's something I saw as a child and then next saw 30 years later - and enjoyed it as much as I remembered. For a character in a children's movie, Gene Wldr is fantastically disquieting.

Anyone want a letter?
My son is writing Bilbo/Smaug slash fiction.

What have I unleashed upon the world?
To quote the Sixth Doctor, "Didn't go very well, did it?" Which is sad, because in many ways, I feel Moffat's intentions were sound here. The idea behind this felt like a reaction against the Tennant Doctor's death. Where 10 runs from his foretold death, 11 waits in one place for his. Where 10 rails against sacrificing himself for Wilf, 11 talks of each life saved as being a victory and asks Clara to let him save her as one last victory. Where 10 is desperate to remain the Doctor, even down to regenerating into himself, 11 welcomes the fact that a new man is coming.

So, given that Moffat's instincts for a Doctorish farewell seem to have been sound, where did it go wrong?

Well, a plot would have been nice. What we have here is - the Doctor defends a planet and his people for 900 years. Then he dies. And that could have been fantastic. A man who has travelled for 900 years, compulsively moving on to somewhere new is compelled to stay in one place. Sadly, it was thrown away. This feels like something cut down into an hour of tv. Given the rumours for the last year or so that there was meant to be more Who than we got, was this intended to be a multi-episode storyline? The Doctor settling into his role as protector, forging links with the townspeople, becoming accepted by them, being the fixed point in their lives as the generations are born, grow and pass on as new ones take their place and as he reflects that once this would have happened to him, once he would have moved on and his place been taken by a new Doctor. No time for any of this, sadly. The townsfolk are barely differentiated from each other - even the Doctor has difficulty telling them apart.

But there are new characters who get some time on screen. Clara's step mum and granny and also Tasha Lem. All of whom seem depressingly familiar.Clara's step mother seems to be straight from the RTD book of Mothers Who Hold Their Children Back. She snipes and grouses and appears to be made from off-cuts of Rose, Martha and Donna's mothers. Clara's gran was perky, fancied the Doctor and had a romantic side and generally obeyed the rules of Old Ladies - Aren't They Wonderful. And then there was Tasha Lem. She's powerful. She flirts with the Doctor. She can fly the Tardis. She has an inner psychopath.

Now, something that makes criticism a little difficult here - given that Moffat has a definite type of female character that he reverts to, what can we read into the fact that she appears to be River with the serial numbers filed off? Is this going to be revealed to be another timey wimey iteration of River? Or are we to presume that River was modelled on Tasha when the Silence created her? After all, she's already been reduced from the strong independent woman from Silence in the Library by the revelations that she does everything to get the Doctor to notice her. So finding that she's actually modelled on another person would seem just part of the same process, really. Or shall we just put it down to bad writing? To be fair, the latter category pretty much encompasses the first two, so I suspect that's the one to go for.

And of course she's also there to show that the Doctor has problems understanding consent. It's disturbing that sexual assault is being used as a means of showing that the Doctor doesn't understand social mores. It happened previously in Crimson Horror and, like this, was played for laughs. What makes it more disturbing is the Doctor leching over Clara at the end of Nightmare in Silver. If it is just being used as a means of showing social ineptness, then that's a miscalculation. If there are suggestions that it reflects something about the Doctor's predelictions, then that heads into increasingly unpleasant territory. I grew up watching this character. I don't like feeling that there are areas where I have to look down on him for his morality. I have to say, it's perhaps not as unpleasant as the 10th Doctor bragging about deflowering the Virgin Queen, but that's not really saying much. I am not against the Doctor having a sexual element to his character, but surely it should be handled better than consent issues and bragging "I've had her."

Regeneration episodes are onto a bit of a loser. Everything in this is leading up to one thing. The Doctor is dead. Long live the Doctor. We'll pass over the fact that the Doctor was there 900 years and never thought to mention that he was running a bit low and could do with a top up. Why not? Moffat did. We'll also pass over the latest firework display and Clara, the current companion, being sidelined in favour of Amy. Because Peter Capaldi appeared. And the prospect of Doctor Who starring the man who played Malcolm Tucker, directed by the man who directed Sightseers and written by the man who wrote Day of the Doctor is pretty damn enticing. Sadly, it'll also be written by the man who wrote Time of the Doctor. Shame, really.
1. What did you do in 2013 that you'd never done before?:
Had relationships with two different people with all of us being happy and no-one getting hurt

2. Did you keep your new year's resolutions, and will you make more for next year?:
Don't do them.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?:
Nope.

4. Did anyone close to you die?:
No.

5. What countries did you visit?:
Scotland

6. What would you like to have in 2014 that you lacked in 2013?:
A lottery win.

7. What date from 2013 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?:
18 April. Although, honesty compels me to say I had to check the exact date. It was a nice day though.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?:
See answer for 1.

9. What was your biggest failure?:
Being tolerant. Can't do it as much as would make life easier.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?:
Largely either mental or self inflicted. And food poisoning.

11. What was the best thing you bought?:
Train tickets. And hotel rooms.

12. Whose behaviour merited celebration?:
Jennie, Holly, Mat, Holly (there's two of them. Yes it can be confusing.), Andrew, Alisdair, for making Jennie happy, my sister for a rather vitally timed phone conversation. Probably mine, some of the time at least.

13. Whose behaviour made you appalled and depressed?:
Mostly people I've never met.

14. Where did most of your money go?:
Rent, Amazon, Northern Rail, various pubs, Waterstones.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?:
Holly, Jennie, Edinburgh, Doctor Who.

16. What song will always remind you of 2013?:
Ask me in a few years. I might have an answer.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you
i. happier or sadder? Happier, for the most part.
ii. thinner or fatter? Either I'm fatter or someone's been taking all my clothes in.
iii. richer or poorer? About the same.

18. What do you wish you'd done more of?:
Shagging. (8 months into one new relationship. 3 and a half years into another new relationship. Yes, I am lucky) Reading.

19. What do you wish you'd done less of?:
Procrastinating. Thinking about things I wasn't doing.

20. How will you be spending Christmas?:
Hopng Matt Smith's last story isn't as much of a drag as David Tennant's

21. Did you fall in love in 2013?:
Yes.

22. How many one night stands?:
Last one of them was 1997.

23. What was your favourite TV programme?:
Hannibal.

24. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?:
No-one I've met.

25. What was the best book you read?:
Went through the first 3 volumes of Tardis Eruditorum. They were fun.

26. What was your greatest musical discovery?:
Not sure I've had one of them.

27. What did you want and get?:
More time with Holly.

28. What did you want and not get?
A lottery win.

29. What was your favourite film this year?:
Iron Man 3, for a variety of reasons. This may yet be surpassed by the second Hobbit film. Also, there was a very pleasant Sunday afternoon watching Squirm with Jennie. And it's a game rather than a film, but Skyrim is bloody fantastic.

30. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?:
42. Did various things for it - dinner with my parents, dinner with Jennie, a night in a hotel in Manchester with Holly.

31. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?:
A lottery win. Yes, I am that shallow.

32. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2013?:
Varies between "Is this clean? It'll do" and "I need a fob watch for my new suit"

33. What kept you sane?:
Jennie, Holly, Mat, Holly, beer, shagging, Doctor Who, work, reading, Skyrim.

34. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?:
Um. Peter Capaldi?

35. What political issue stirred you the most?:
Anything with the word "immigration" in it.

36. Who did you miss?:
Friends who I've not seen for years.

37. Who was the best new person you met?:
Couldn't tell you.

38. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2013.:
If she says she'll always come back to you, try having a little faith.

39. Who did you spend the most time on the phone with?:
Jennie, Holly, parents.

40. Quote a song that sums up your year:
Not sure.

41. What was your favorite moment of the year?:
Holly's reaction to me saying I wanted to kiss her. Rediscovering something I'd not done fo a few years and thought I'd lost. Large amount of Day of the Doctor (Mad Tom and scary eyebrows)

42. What was your least favorite moment of the year?:
Not something I've any intention of talking about here.

43. Where were you when 2013 started?:
On the sofa, resenting the fact that Jools Holland exists.

44. Who were you with?:
Jennie, Mat

45. Where will you be when 2013 ends?:
Probably much the same.

46. Who will you be with when 2013 ends?:
Also the same.

47. What was your favourite month of 2013?
4 days in Edinburgh make July a strong contender. Also November for Doctor Who stuff and other things.

48. Did you drink a lot of alcohol in 2013?:
Not a vast amount, but I enjoyed what I drank.

49. Did you do a lot of drugs in 2013?:
Nope.

50. What are your plans for 2014?
In an ideal world, win the lottery, find out whether several people ae interested in relationships/one night stands/whatever, buy somewhere nice to live and be happy.

In reality, try to be in a similar position in a year's time, give or take a few wrinkles.
So thanks to miss_s_b, I need to post 5 little-known facts about me. Cue much sound of barrel-scraping.

1. When I was 6, I used to climb down the outside of the banisters rather than use the stairs. My brother - then 3 - decided to imitate me, fell of and fractured his skull. My response when he came back from hospital was to check whether this had healed by hitting him over the head with a tin of Bird's Custard Powder. My mother still hasn't forgiven me for this.

2. I have a new crush. The person in question is unlikely in the extreme to ever reciprocate, but it's still nice.

3. I had a nightmare a few nights ago which involved someone I cared about being executed unless I was able to perform various dances to a high enough standard. Suffice it to say that it didn't end well.

4. I hate watching anything with people being wrongly accused of something. Either it's so badly done that it's impossible to empathise with them or it's sufficiently well done and I don't want to empathise with them because it's too upsetting.

5. I used to find crumpets vaguely disturbing. I don't know why either.