Sunday, 28 November 2010

PODCAST: William Hartnell

Joe and Chris dive headfirst into their first Classic Doctor Who episode, for one of William Hartnell's adventures. As we actually select which adventure we'll cover on the show, you may wish to just listen and find out. If, however, you want to know beforehand (especially if you want to make sure you've seen said adventure first) the title is included underneath the image credit.

This is our first ever complete recording for the show with us both in the same place so we hope the results are pleasing. Stay tuned at the end for the time-travelling android version of Joe with further info, as well as James and Jennie with their uncanny ability to have sent voicemail EXACTLY themed around the adventure we decided to cover.


Picture from the Doctor Who Image Archive
(the adventure is "The Rescue")

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

PODCAST: Death of the Doctor (aka 507 Varieties)

507 Regenerations? Is it to be taken seriously? Is it bad form to poke fun at Katy Manning's eyesight? Can Liz Shaw keep control of her skirt on the moon? Which male listener liked Santiago and which female listener enjoyed Jo and Sarah's coffin cuddle? Which listener is sexually depraved?

Spotify playlist
YouTube playlist

Image from Sonic Biro

Sunday, 24 October 2010

PODCAST: We're Still Alive!

Howdy all, welcome back to The Eleventh Hour Podcast. Before we get cracking, we'd like to call your attention to this wonderful bit of EH Podcast art sent to us by listener Sam K-G. Fashioned in glass and having survived a perilous journey across the Atlantic and then on some buses from a Parcelforce office in Acton and replete with "Series 5 crack" motif it's the perfect accompaniment to a set of cute Time Squad toys as seen above. (Some of these for Eleven and his pals, please!)

It's bit of a ramblecast this one as we talk about what we've been doing, how the gravity bubble planes from Victory of the Daleks have been explained within canon, the upcoming Sarah Jane Adventures story "Death of the Doctor" as well as touching on the Christmas special and Series 6 (and 7?)

Chris experimented with a different way of recording himself this time with some success but occasional distortion.

Spotify playlist

Thursday, 1 July 2010

PODCAST: The Big Bang

It's finally upon us. The end. Not, perhaps, the final end but enough of an end for now.

Join Joe and Chris as they bring their recollections of the series into being purely by REMEMBERING them and also bid a fond farewell to CRACKWATCH and the frankly superhuman levels of editing it generates. Thanks for listening for all these weeks. We aren't quite sure what we'll do in the off-season but we promise we'll do SOMETHING and then make you listen to it.

Image from Sonic Biro

Friday, 25 June 2010

PODCAST: The Pandorica Opens

As promised, the Pandorica has opened and here we are again in our non-digital-representation forms. Join us as we talk about the episode, whether it's superior to what Russell would have done, who the mystery voice could be etc. Contains the sound of us excitingly typing the name of the possible Big Bad at each other so as not to say the name out loud.

Join us, won't you?

iTunes iMix

Image from Sonic Biro

Saturday, 19 June 2010

Last Minute Lodger!

What the hell was this picture all about?

Hello folks,

As I write this The Pandorica is due to open in about three hours time so getting down this review is a tactic to stop myself from just flitting about the house in an excitable haze. I say review, but it will be more like a selection of thoughts that arose during the recording of the now lost podcast episode. As you all should know by now there won't be an episode this week due to unfortunate technical problems, but I offered to write this, so that you'd at least have our general reaction to it.

Using the patented Eleventh Hour Two Tier Rating System (tm) we both decided that we liked 'The Lodger'. However, if the system were to accommodate an additional middle tier vocalized by Chris as 'fleeeeurgh', then I think we agreed that Gareth Roberts' latest effort would be fully in 'fleeeeurgh' territory.

The central plot, what the episode was really "about", as it were; was pretty effective and well done: The Doctor has to live as an actual human, uniquely apart from important people and events, for an unusually lengthy amount of time. This is the main concept, if you didn't know, lifted from Roberts' 2006 comic strip of the same name, as featured in Doctor Who Magazine. If, indeed, this episode felt most like a holdover from the Rusty era then this would be why, although both Chris and I were of the opinion that Matt Smith was more successfully weird and alien in the role than Tennant would ever have been. People have pointed out that the Doctor (especially in his third incarnation) spent a lot of time on Earth but as I pointed out he never had to sit around in someone's living room eating Murray Mints and watching Timeslip. So the Doctor getting the intricacies of human interaction just slightly wrong was mostly a joy to watch.

However, it seems the rest of the plot bolted on by old Gareth (some have forgiven him for this episode, but I still can't forget The Shakespeare Code) was somewhat less enjoyed by us at EH? Towers. In particular, the denouement seemed critically short of decent explanation. I don't mind not knowing how the ship got there or how long it was there for. But the actual details of the perception filter - and are some of us ever tired of hearing that term, seemed a bit sloppy. How could one go up non-existent stairs? How did it extend as far as the intercom? Also, did the ship have some kind of crazy self-destruct sequence that only activated when people didn't want to leave? Doesn't sound like a particularly good design feature. I also wondered how dead bodies could produce a poisonous rot, even if that rot could be cured almost instantaneously with tea, the apparent Phoenix Down of the Whoniverse. The trouble is that it forced us to make up theories to explain stuff that the writing didn't cover, which is never any fun.

Speaking of people not wanting to leave the developing romance between Craig and Sophie, although not written in a hugely original fashion, was played out quite nicely, even if Chris found James Corden rather more anonymous than most fans. True, his appearance had been hyped up quite a lot, when it wasn't a huge amount more than decent. And again, the end of this particular strand was faintly ridiculous - as mawkish as Professor Bracewell's defusing in 'Victory of the Daleks', and just as unsatisfying.

I think when recording we were a bit meaner to 'The Lodger' then we initially thought we were going to be, but in truth it was just quite an average, though mostly fun, adventure. Perhaps in Rusty times it would have been a good solid above-average episode, but in what has been quite a remarkable series it just sort of just kept things chugging along in the slightly poisoned chalice nature of episode 11 (before we got Utopia or Turn Left). It was funny, yes, but low on particularly gripping plot. But we've got next week's episode (by which I mean it's on in a few hours) for oodles of plot, and we're definitely jizzing ourselves inside-out waiting for that. Let's just hope it isn't actually Russell T. Davies inside The Pandorica, ready to take over the series again, without Moffat's knowledge. That really would be scary...

Finally, though: SURPRISE!

It's an episode! Right when we said there wouldn't be one. It's just five minutes long, introducing the voicemails we would have included in the great lost episode. For those who emailed, our apologies for not getting to you.


Kevin gives us his CRACKWATCH
MB gets confused
Ros gets excited
Tosus gets ahead of himself.

LISTEN TO "THE LODGER" (emergency voicemail only version)

We'll see you again quite soon, when the Pandorica opens.

Image from Sonic Biro

And, for what it's worth, have the one-track SPOTIFY PLAYLIST

Friday, 18 June 2010

No podcast this week

Sorry, all. We did record a podcast for THE LODGER but sadly one of our number (okay, it was Chris) managed to lose his side of the conversation and due to time considerations we have been unable to remount the production in time.

We did convene to record an "emergency podcast" live, in the same room with no editing but in the end we decided that putting out no podcast was better than putting out a deliberately inferior show. If nothing else, this does mean that our VINCENT AND THE DOCTOR episode, which we're pretty proud of, has another few days at the top of the listing (if you haven't heard it yet - please do give it a listen).

One or both of us hope to give our thoughts on the episode on this very blog in the next few days. Until then, it only remains for us to include the picture that would would have kicked off the episode's blog update with:

You're welcome.

(Image from Sonic Biro)

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

PODCAST: Vincent and the Doctor (MEGACAST)

In a one-time-only never to be repeated happenstance*, this episode of EH? runs to a little over two and a half hours long, due in large part to the masses of feedback we received about the excellent, and affecting, Vincent and the Doctor. Hopefully you'll allow us this indulgence just this once.

Also, as mentioned on the show, Joe and Chris recently appeared on the excellently fun Confessions of an Internet Addict which we fully recommend as further listening.

And finally, huge thanks again to Kerrie, the sister of the podcast, who contributed our previous update "Fear Itself (And Monsters)", about mental health and the current series of Doctor Who, taken from her own blog of the same name about living with depression. Find it HERE.


Spotify Playlist

Image from Sonic Biro

* this turned out to be a lie, but not until seven years later

Sunday, 6 June 2010

Fear Itself (And Monsters)

You may have heard us talk about Kerrie, the sister of the podcast - especially when reading her emails. Well, she writes an exceptional blog about living with depression called Fear Itself (And Monsters). The reason we mention this is that she's recently written an impressive update about the depiction of depression in Vincent and the Doctor, as well as some other moments in the series that, intentionally or otherwise, contain mental health triggers. In fact, we liked it so much that we're going to repeat it verbatim below.

Remember to visit her blog from the link above and follow for other writing on this very emotive subject.


You'll have to excuse me, regular readers. This isn't the sort of thing I'd usually post here. This is, instead, a discussion of Doctor Who's current foray into mental health issues. Two episodes have drawn upon this area recently; one very much on purpose, the other perhaps unknowingly. And the end of another episode - not the entirety, but a fleeting couple of minutes - delivered a hammerblow to me, personally.

This isn't about geekery, criticism, overwhelming praise, or calling Richard Curtis names. It won't be a regular thing. A post about it has however been brewing for a long time.

Last night the episode Vincent and the Doctor aired, in which the Doctor meets the great artist Vincent Van Gogh. It was written by Richard Curtis, a man perhaps known for cloying sentimentality in his later career. He's certainly never written for Doctor Who before, and the result was an episode that - fittingly for this blog - was less about literal monsters than the monsters that plague the mind.

The episode didn't shy away from the fact Van Gogh struggled with mental health problems his entire life. Quite the opposite - it showed the man as one of extremes, at one trying desperately, animatedly, to explain to the Doctor how he saw the world, how he in particular not just saw colour, but felt it. At the other end, it showed him unable to move with anguish, a broken, sobbing man who couldn't bear the fact that everyone left him, speaking of being "left with an empty heart and no hope". The Doctor tried to comfort him with by explaining that, in his experience, "there is surprisingly always hope".

Van Gogh's response was an angry one: "then your experience is incomplete!"

There is indeed a literal monster in the episode but it is almost entirely inconsequential. What this episode is about, for me, is ways of seeing the world and the terrible relationship between beauty and horror. There is a wonderful, breathtaking scene where Vincent, the Doctor and companion Amy are looking at the night sky, and it suddenly becomes the painting Starry Night. "I've seen many things my friend," the Doctor remarks, "but you're right, nothing quite as wonderful as the things you see."

Van Gogh knew all too well the pain life brings, the overwhelming agony you have to go through just for existing. And yet the point was made very explicitly that he knew all this but could instead turn it into something beautiful through his painting. He channelled it into some of the greatest art ever created.

The artist killed himself at the age of 37, having famously only sold one painting. In this alternative reality, the Doctor shows him the fame he would go on to achieve, taking him to the modern-day Musée d'Orsay so he can understand his legacy. Amy believes it will prevent Van Gogh's suicide, but, of course, it doesn't. The implication is that nothing could have. This point is not skirted around, it is addressed full-on, in an exchange where Amy initially laments that they couldn't make a difference to his life.

The Doctor disagrees. "The way I see it, every life is a pile of good things and bad things... good things don't always soften the bad things, but vice versa, bad things don't necessarily spoil the good things... or make them unimportant. And we definitely added to his pile of good things."

Some may call that oversimplistic or, indeed, cloying as I said earlier. To me, that's just right. When depression hits you full-on, there is no amount of love, riches, adulation, or future promises that will buoy you up again. I've made that point before on this blog.

When you start to recover, it can be tempting to think you're fine again and that depression is something you get rid of forever. It's not. It leaves impressions upon you that you can live your life in spite of, but those impressions never vanish. That doesn't stop you from seeing the beauty in the world, or being so in love with it that it makes you weep one minute and hating it for the way it works the next.

The world is awful. The world is beautiful. You can see it both ways and they are not mutually exclusive. That was the part of the episode that hit me, that was the thing I took away from it. It was in many ways a bold piece of television.

As episodes featuring depression go in this series of Doctor Who goes though, this wasn't the big one for me. That was three weeks ago, the episode titled Amy's Choice. It may not seem it on the surface, but look deeper. It's there. Intentionally or not, I admit to having no idea - but it's there.

This episode is even more about the figurative monsters than the literal ones - in fact the literal monsters aren't the real threat at all. A character called the Dream Lord tasks the Doctor, Amy and Rory (another companion of which a lot more shortly) with figuring out which of two scenarios is a dream and which is reality. In both scenarios, which feel equally real to them, they are in mortal danger; choose to die in the dream and they wake up, fail to guess correctly and they will simply die.

However, the Dream Lord isn't real at all. As the Doctor puts it to him, "there's only one person in the universe who hates me as much as you do" - the Dream Lord is the manifestation of his own self-loathing. Throughout the episode he picks apart the Doctor's flaws, especially the way he treats people - repeatedly putting people he supposedly cares for in danger, leaving them behind, never seeing them again.

Once you work it out it's almost uncomfortable to watch. You realise why the Doctor has no answers for this man, and that all his faults and transgressions are being paraded out for those close to him to see as well. At the end when Amy asks him if he really thinks those things, he deflects the question. There's an embarrassment at having his darkest thoughts revealed - as anyone with that level of self-hatred can identify with. You hate yourself, but you don't want anyone else seeing it.

That isn't the only thing that set this episode down the depression route, though. The entire thing feels like a metaphor for a breakdown. Not being able to tell if you're asleep or awake? That's a big one: at my lowest points, when I was awake my emotions were too blunted to feel anything but a haze; when I was asleep I had the most vivid, torturous dreams.

Dreams in which you die, indeed? Dreams in which you're hounded, dreams where you have to watch loved ones die? In my worst year, I had those every single night.

The twist at the end, where the Doctor realises neither version is reality and instead blows up the TARDIS - because the choice was, actually, between two dreams? That's ripping it all to shreds and starting again. You have the unreality of the waking nightmare of depression, or the unreality of soldiering on against it, pretending you're alright. Or you can choose giving into it and bringing it all crashing down. Because sometimes, that is the only option available to you.

Even the way the village scenario is shot brought to mind the blank slate of a breakdown. It's meant to be a sleepy village, certainly, but it's stark, silent. Even the quality of the light invokes it - it's harsh, too bright, too revealing.

I will admit I may be reading far more into this than the writer Simon Nye ever intended, but it invoked all that in me on one viewing and a second one didn't do anything to challenge those ideas. Trapped in your own unreality with only how much you despise yourself for company, though? If that isn't a description of depression, what is?

The final part of Doctor Who that gave me pause regarding my own issues involved a character death. It happened at the end of Cold Blood, an otherwise rubbish episode that had a totally compelling final five minutes. Alas poor Rory, for I had come to be fond of his character. I don't usually get that invested in fictional television shows, I should point out - this series of Doctor Who is proving to be an exception rather than a rule - but this one was different. Rory didn't just die. Rory has never existed. Nobody except the Doctor remembers him - that aside the world has no trace of him.

The day before the episode aired I said to someone. "It's not that I want to die these days. I just wish I never existed."

And so I bawled because Rory Williams has never existed. It seemed like such a cruel thing to do, and I don't know if I bawled because it was what I wished and I saw it played out the very next day, or if it was because I saw how cruel it was and still wished for the same. Or if it simply brought it home to me that I'm not all that well at the moment, which I need to deal with. I knew all that anyway, it doesn't take telly to make me realise these things. It was just a shock to watch.

The character of the Doctor is a lot of things to millions of people. To me, he represents not losing your sense of wonder at the world. Lately, there's been some interesting other stuff happening in the programme, dealing with the darker side (although he's always had his dark, brooding side) - but overall, that's still what the Doctor is to me. A reminder that no matter how awful it gets, never lose your ability to let the world take your breath away.

Thursday, 3 June 2010

PODCAST: The Hungry Earth and Cold Blood

One post, two episodes. There are reasons, and there are reasons why the playlist for The Hungry Earth features so low down in the comments AND why a couple of the songs are oddly titled (but they're pretty famous and shouldn't keep you guessing too long and if all else fails, they're on the Spotify playlist) but those aren't important right now, let's just get on with the lizardy business:

This is the sound of EH? on disappointment. Not that The Hungry Earth was a bad episode as such, but more that it didn't really provoke much reaction from us in either direction. Still, come with us as we plumb the depths, mining the episode for all it's worth and finding out if there's anything much beneath the surface. Also - hear us attempt classic Silurian voices. It doesn't go well.

LISTEN TO "THE HUNGRY EARTH" - Hear the playlist on Spotify

COLD BLOOD aka SILURIAN SMACKDOWN 2020 (AD) Chris Chibnall offers us the chance to compare 2010 Who with 1970 Who with results that might not necessarily be deemed successful. However, at the time of recording, there was a gulf between Joe and Chris's opinion on the episode leading to the proposed auditory brawl above.
In the end, though, we find ourselves reaching a consensus by dint of how well written we thought the episode was. But hey, let's not spoil it here - listen and find out if we loved it or not.
LISTEN TO "COLD BLOOD" - Hear the playlist on Spotify

Image from Sonic Biro

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

PODCAST: Amy's Choice

Five years after the events of the Eleventh Hour Podcast, Joe and Chris have settled down in peaceful Upper Podcastshire, but one day their rural idyll is shattered by the arrival of A Badly Thought Out Metaphor Based On The Doctor Who Episode "Amy's Choice". Nope. No idea where to go with that one. Don't blame us, it's late and we aren't very clever.

Scroll down the comments for the playlist - Playlst on Spotify


Image from Sonic Biro

Friday, 14 May 2010

PODCAST: The Vampires of Venice

The "Vampiric Puns Guidebook" states that we must begin this update by imploring you to get your teeth into the new episode of EH?, in which Joe and Chris discuss The Vampires of Venice and look up stuff live on the internet AS YOU LISTEN. Some good listener feedback this week, too. Thanks to everyone who has emailed and commented on the blog. It's much appreciated!

PLAYLIST (on Spotify)

Antsy Pants: Vampire
Gerard McMann: Cry Little Sister
Ikara Colt: Sink Venice
New Musik: Dead Fish (Don't Swim Home)
The Human League: Mirror Man
OryZhien: Le Miroir
Les Savy Fav: Raging in the Plague Age
The Tremeloes: Silence is Golden
The Sleepy Jackson: Vampire Racecourse
Tenacious D: Master Exploder
Radiohead: Weird Fishes/Arpeggi
Simon and Garfunkel: The Sound of Silence
Z: Mommy
Chromeo: Momma's Boy
Harry Gregson-Williams: Vamp
Filter: Take a Picture
Killing Joke: Love Like Blood
New Musik: This World of Water
Pere Ubu: Caligari's Mirror
Brian Eno: Little Fishes
Andrew W.K.: Let's Go On a Date


Image from Sonic Biro

Friday, 7 May 2010

PODCAST: Flesh and Stone


Battling against the odds referred to by Joe/Horatio in his lovely update explaining why the episode is going to be later than usual (although we deliberately don't have a scheduled release day), here it is after all.

Still - you should have a look at the previous entry to see the watch photograph that we mention on this episode.

Enjoy in good health, and see if you agree that this is possibly our strangest playlist to date.

PLAYLIST (on Spotify)

Go West: We Close Our Eyes
The Aloof: One Night Stand
Liars: Sailing to Byzantium
The Cure: A Forest
Giorgio Moroder: Watch Your Step
David Byrne: My Big Hands (Fall Through the Cracks)
Elton John: Kiss the Bride
Dweezil Zappa: The Kiss
Mastodon: Crack the Skye
The Moog Cookbook: Bob's Funk
Fox: S-S-Single Bed
Les Savy Fav: Kiss Kiss is Getting Old
Alisha's Attic: Sex is on Everyone's Tongue
Andrew W.K.: Not Going to Bed
Tarwater: Stone
Pulp: Modern Marriage
Jack Jones: Angel Eyes
Mike Oldfield: Tears of an Angel
The Swing Bach Ensemble: Prima Ballerina (Theme from BBC Schools' "Watch")
Queens of the Stone Age: In My Head
Combustible Edison: Seduction
Kruder & Dorfmeister: Original Bedroom Rockers
Primus: Bob
Roger Limb: Kassia's Wedding Music
Paddy Kingsland: The Ambulance
White Town: Undressed
The Dresden Dolls: Gravity
Nobuo Uematsu: One Winged Angel (Orchestral Version)
Palast Orchester mit seinem Sänger Max Raabe: Kiss


Image from Sonic Biro

Thursday, 6 May 2010

Sorry. I'm So Sorry

Thanks to Chris pulling some frankly astonishing, and muchly appreciated, feats of editing in the past few weeks it's only fair that he should get a week of rest sometime. Due to both of us being dog-tired on Sunday and to me being at band practice on Monday we didn't even get round to recording till Tuesday this week. And, since Chris goes to great lengths to bring you the high-quality, modulated, sweary Eleventh Hour Podcast that you all apparently love so much, I'm afraid that this week's episode will not be up till later tonight. It may even be up tomorrow but Chris has promised it will go live before this Saturday's episode, and I trust him to stick to his word. I know you're all good, patient people and will honestly not mind that the episode is a little later than usual (ooh we have been spoiling you) but it's polite of us to let you know. For my part, I promise that it'll be a cracking episode.

In the meantime, why not look at this image sent to us by hopefully future-participant of EH? Seb aka Vislor Merlot? It's intriguing and will be discussed in the episode. LOOK AT THE WATCHES!

If you prefer flippant explanations for lateness, we got stuck in a time vortex and had to live three days in an alternate universe as the same person. Getting to work was a right pain in the arse.

Saturday, 1 May 2010

Rampant Speculation about 'Flesh And Stone'

So tonight we may find out some answers about the contractually-obliged-t0-be-called-enigmatic River Song (though Ms. Song will also accept 'mysterious'), that strange crack that's been popping up everywhere and what exactly Scotland's role in all of this is. OK, perhaps not that last one. But here at The Eleventh Hour Podcast, we've been coming up with our own theories about what this all means, and we'd like to share them with you before we're proved horribly wrong.

1. River Song is Romana from another dimensions, who remembers the Doctor but nothing else, and who was imprisoned for not returning to Gallifrey (which still exists in her universe). The Doctor would be annoyed at her jumping between dimensions at not telling him about alternate Gallifrey, which is a fun place filled with candy and bunnies.

2. River Song is a future version of the Doctor, who turns female after receiving a strong burst of Zectronic energy.

3. River Song is the Rani, who survived the Time War due to err, special Rani reasons.

4. River Song is a member of the popular Doctor Who podcast 'The Eleventh Hour Podcast', from the future.

5. River Song is actress Alex Kingston, from an alternate dimension. And the future.

6. River Song is from a future Scotland, trapped in a dimensional plane, with plans to take over the rest of the universe. The cracks are doorways into Future Scotland, which are following Amy around in the hope of gaining her help, and getting to the Doctor.

7. The cracks are the work of a vengeful pan-dimensional plasterer, who was been somewhat out of work since the events of Army of Ghosts/Doomsday.

8. Something about Rory - he's the creator of the angels/the master/the Rani/a member of the Eleventh Hour Podcast.

9. Hey, how come those disgraced Time Lords in 'The End of Time' were called "The Weeping Angels of Old"?

10. Actually, ignore that. That was stupid.

11. SLIGHT SPOILERS: The forest of the Byzantium is actually the forest that the Vashta Nerada are from in the Library two-parter, in another massive Moffat wad blow.

12. Amy was just REALLY unobservant during 'The Stolen Earth'. And has not asked any questions since.

13. That's enough for now.

Enjoy the episode, folks!


Tuesday, 27 April 2010

PODCAST: The Time of Angels

Join Joe and Chris on thie week's EH? as we discuss the wisdom of Steven Moffat whacking two of his most popular Doctor Who creations together in the same episode while also resolutely not saying "CRACKWATCH!"

For a while at least.

Remember to keep listening, as if you stop, we will emerge out of your speakers and earphones at speeds that defy human comprehension.

PLAYLIST (on Spotify)

Space: Avenging Angels
The Sallyangie: River Song
J. Elliott & B.A. Ferguson: Charlie's Angels
Ooberman: Blink of an Eye
The Streets: Dry Your Eyes
Outkast: When I Look in Your Eyes
Sleeper: Statuesque
Tasmin Archer: Lords of the New Church
Electric Light Orchestra: Turn to Stone
Booth and the Bad Angel: Dance of the Bad Angels
The Templeton Twins with Teddy Turner's Bunsen Burners: Can't Take My Eyes Off of You
Marvin Berry & The Starlighters: Earth Angel (Will You Be Mine?)
Pentangle: I Saw an Angel
Smashing Pumpkins: Eye
Nazz: Open my Eyes
Scott Walker: Angels of Ashes
Nuno Bettencourt: Fallen Angels
ABBA: Angel Eyes
Helmut Zacharias: Naturally Stoned
Faye Wong: Eyes on Me
Stone Temple Pilots: Where the River Goes
Van Halen: Jump
Fantastic Plastic Machine: There Must Be an Angel (Playing with My Heart)
Graeme Revell: Believe in Angels
Buddy Guy: I Got My Eyes on You


Image from Sonic Biro

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

PODCAST: Victory of the Daleks

Joe and Chris are back to discuss Victory of the Daleks, an episode which has received an almost unanimous kicking from the Doctor Who fanbase but find that in the end they have to concede that their expectations were higher than the episode could deliver.

But, you'll be amazed how little we mention the Dalek redesign, which is a refreshing change, right?

Last week, our sexy deep breathing caused listener Rose to suggest she had to "cover [her] ovaries' ears", so we're doing it again this week, with extra sniffing.

Also, contains gratuitous reference to Halloween III: Season of the Witch.

PLAYLIST (on Spotify)

Andrew W.K.: Victory Strikes Again
Jeff Wayne: The Fighting Machine
Malcolm Clarke: Resurrection of the Daleks (Stereo Suite)
Joan Armatrading: Drop the Pilot
The Human League: Human
Daft Punk: Human After All
Fluke: Atom Bomb
John Barry: Space Lazer Battle
Pulp: Space
Mourning Widows: Space
War: Low Rider
John Williams: Star Wars Main Title
Styx: Mr. Roboto
Muse: Blackout
Tom Jones: Sex Bomb
Bernard Herrann: Rebirth
Buzzcocks: Ever Fallen in Love (With Someone You Shouldn't've)
The Fucking Champs: Flawless Victory
Urban Cookie Collective: The Key The Secret
Paddy Kingsland: A Whisper from Space
Queen: Action This Day
The Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band: I'm the Urban Spaceman
Babylon Zoo: Spaceman
Hot Chocolate: So You Win Again
Edwin Starr: War
Faith No More: A Small Victory


Image from Sonic Biro

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

PODCAST: The Beast Below

After last week's glitchfest, welcome to the "recorded in a totally different way" EH? wherein the extra clarity of the recording, coupled with seasonal sinus fun, gives you a very human sounding podcast complete with sniffles and sexy heavy breathing.


PLAYLIST (on Spotify)

Breakwater: Release the Beast
Whale: Hobo Humpin' Slobo Babe
Kool Keith: Get Off My Elevator
Bill Callahan: All Thoughts Are Prey to Some Beast
Richard Attree: Music From "The Demon Headmaster"
Guns n' Roses: Rocket Queen
Mike Oldfield: QE2
Leonard Nimoy: Once I Smiled
Steve Harley and Cockney Rebel: Make Me Smile (Come Up and See Me)
The Supernaturals: Smile
David Axelrod - The Smile
Sunset Rubdown: They Took a Vote and Said No
The Fall: English Scheme
Kirsty MacColl: A New England
Dodgy: U.K.R.I.P.
Melvins: Lizzy
Black Box Recorder: England Made Me
Wendy Carlos: La Gazza Ladra (The Thieving Magpie)
Nine Inch Nails: The Great Below
Badly Drawn Boy: Above You, Below Me
The Beatles: Fixing a Hole
Queen: Killer Queen
Paddy Kingsland: The Whale


Image from Sonic Biro

Thursday, 8 April 2010

PODCAST: The Eleventh Hour


After some experimental podcast nibblings, welcome to our proper episode one. We've had some teething problems with our recording software so you will hear a few glitches. Most of them have been edited around. But enough of the apology: join Joe and Chris as we CHAT ABOUT DOCTOR WHO.


PLAYLIST (on Spotify)

Ron Grainer: The Prisoner Main Theme (Full Version)
Josef K: Applebush
Led Zeppelin: Black Dog
British Sea Power: Open the Door
Orbital: Doctor?
Weezer: Pork & Beans
Smashing Pumpkins: Zero
Tori Amos: You Can Bring Your Dog
Pink Floyd: Apples and Oranges
The Black Mages: Zeromus
Icehouse: Hey Little Girl
Labi Siffre: Doctor, Doctor
Sparks: Amateur Hour
The Prodigy: Take Me to the Hospital
Hot Chocolate: You Sexy Thing
The Human League: Being Boiled (Fast Version)
Meat Loaf: Lost Boys and Golden Girls
Scrap Heap Challenge - The Leisure Hive


Image from Sonic Biro

Monday, 5 April 2010

Thursday, 1 April 2010

Episode 0 Reference Guide

Hello folks! Hope you enjoyed Episode 0 as much as we enjoyed making it. I did notice listening back that, although we tried to explain things, we did make a few throwaway references to the old series of Who in particular that may not have made much sense to some of you. So, with that in mind, I've made a handy reference guide so you can look up any stuff from the episode that confuses you (and also partly for my own enjoyment). I should think that I won't have to do this again, given that Episode 0 was uncharacteristicall rambly. Anyway, here is your handy glossary for 'The Zero Room':

Androgum - A primitive human race featured in 'The Two Doctors'

The Caves of Androzani - Peter Davison's final adventure.

Chris Chibnall - Writer of '42' from series 3.

Destiny of the Daleks - 1979 Tom Baker story, regarded less positively than 'Genesis of the Daleks'. We refer to a cliffhanger where Daleks repeatedly order Romana to not move.

Dimensions in Time - 1993 Eastenders/Doctor Who crossover broadcast for Children in Need. It has a very poor reputation among fans.

Earthshock - Peter Davison story, featuring David Banks camping it up as the Cyberleader.

Genesis of the Daleks - 1975 Tom Baker story, referred to by me as the best Dalek adventure ever, and which makes the Dalek/Nazi comparison especially obvious. Also first appearance of Davros.

Murray Gold - Composer for all of New Who.

Jacqueline Hill - Played one of the initial companions of the First Doctor, Barbara, and appears as a different character in the Tom Baker adventure 'Meglos'.

Karn - The planet 'The Brain of Morbius' is set on. The 'other Karn' I refer to is Dalek Caan from the new series.

Leela - Companion of the Fourth Doctor.

Louis - My dog, who Chris may end up kissing.

Maxil - A character played by Colin Baker, the Sixth Doctor, in the Fifth Doctor adventure 'Arc of Infinity'

Mondas - In the original series, one of the home planets of the Cybermen. It was the twin planet of Earth.

The Rani - Evil time lady, featured in 'Mark of the Rani', 'Time and the Rani' and the charity special 'Dimensions in Time'

Gary Russell - Former editor of Doctor Who Magazine and writer of Doctor Who spin-off material, who Chris keeps confusing Gareth Roberts for.

Christopher Ryan - Played General Staal in 'The Sontaran Stratagem'/'The Poison Sky'

Sil - Creature (called a 'Mentor') in the Colin Baker adventures 'Vengeance on Varos' and 'Mindwarp'

Silurians - Reptilian creatures, the original inhabitants of Earth. Appear in 'Doctor Who and the Silurians' and 'Warriors of the Deep'. Their close relatives, Sea Devils, appear (unsurprisingly) in 'The Sea Devils'

The Space Museum - First Doctor adventure. Can you guess what it features?

Mary Tamm - Actress who played the first incarnation of Romana, a time lady and companion of the Fourth Doctor, in 1979-9.

Time Crash - 2007 mini-length Children in Need special, featuring a meeting between the Fifth and Tenth Doctors.

The Two Doctors - Colin Baker story (also starring Patrick Troughton) in which the Doctor, due to the actions of the androgums, does indeed swear to adopt a vegetarian diet.

UNIT - Military organisation whose purpose is to investigate and combat alien and paranormal threats to the Earth.

Toby Whithouse - Writer of 'School Reunion' from series 2.

Beth Willis - One of the other executive producers of the forthcoming series (along with Steven Moffat and Piers Wenger)

Tuesday, 30 March 2010

PODCAST: Episode 0 - a.k.a. The Zero Room

Finally, it's Episode 0 of EH? in which Joe and Chris go a bit spaffy and spoilery about the upcoming series. We will not be a spoiler podcast in future episodes, so if you're "spoiler-free", you may have to give this one a miss and we'll catch up with you on Episode 1 Proper.

The rest of you, pop it on, lay back and relax. Preferably in a room cut off from the influences of the rest of the universe.


Friday, 26 March 2010

Regeneration X

So the actual airing of The Eleventh Hour is tantalisingly, annoyingly close: close enough, indeed, for the press release, which means we now have mostly spoiler-free reviews of the first episode. The closeness of the airdate, and my increasing, and difficult to contain, excitement has got me thinking about other regeneration stories, and what the tenth regeneration can learn from them. The BBC review, for one, said the actual story of The Eleventh Hour itself is not particularly strong, but this is hardly to be expected. The episode has a lot of stuff to fit in: introducing both a new Doctor and a new companion, and fitting in the usual alien threat/saving the world plot from a normal episode. So it hardly seems suprising that The Eleventh Hour itself will run to an amusingly contrary 65 minutes.

In terms of the other nine times that the Doctor has changed his appearance there are a couple that I can't talk about here - sadly Patrick Troughton's first adventure 'The Power of the Daleks' is missing, as are many serials from that time (incidentally, Troughton is the first Doctor so far to have faced the Daleks on his first adventure). However, the actual regeneration (even if it isn't actually referred to as such till Pertwee carks it) in 'The Tenth Planet' looks pretty darned good. I also can't comment on the fate of the short-lived (on screen anyway) Eighth Doctor, as the Ninth Doctor appears in 'Rose' fully regenerated: a pretty sensible decision, especially given the problems with the TV Movie, which I'll get onto... right now.

Paul McGann's sole visual outing as the Doctor, the 1996 part-American funded TV Movie, is certainly a regeneration story that can be learnt from. Sylvester McCoy, though he does a good job, gets what feels like the cheapest death in the series' entire run and, in a film that's just under an hour and a half, it's a full 23 minutes before the new Doctor appears. Rob Shearman, in a documentary about regeneration, says that they never even considered starting the new run with Eccleston regenerating, probably for this exact reason, and it now seems obvious that the film should have started with the new Doctor all ready to go and, if the regeneration had to be shown, have it explored through flashbacks.

There are, of course, two other regeneration stories with exceedingly poor reputations: 'The Twin Dilemma' and 'Time and the Rani', the first appearances of Colin Baker and Sylvester McCoy, respectively. The former, indeed, has the poorest reputation of any Doctor Who serial ever, coming last in both of Doctor Who Magazine's fan-rankings of all the adventures and the latter has McCoy in a blonde wig, pretending to be Colin Baker. Now I, dear fans, have watched the first episode of both of these in an effort to get a sense of whether they deserve their poor reputations. And let me just say that unless they both have a dramatic turnaround after the first episode, they do both kinda suck. In terms of what TEH can learn 'The Twin Dilemma' suggests that having your new Doctor act like a dick and attempt to strangle his companion is probably not the best way to have the audience warm to him, whereas 'Time and the Rani' makes the same mistake as the TV Movie only worse - there was no reason why McCoy couldn't have started the serial already functional, especially as Baker understandably didn't want to return to the role he'd been fired from just so he could turn into a short Scotsman.

As I've just briefly touched on, a theme of regeneration stories is the various ill-effects that the often traumatic process of regeneration has on the Doctor. The violence of Colin in 'The Twin Dilemma' is unusual, as usually the effect goes the other way - both 'Castrovalva' (5th) and 'The Christmas Invasion' (10th) feature the Doctor in an extreme state of torpor for much of the running time. Apparently 'The Twin Dilemma' was an attempt to get away from Davison's inactivity in his first adventure. So it's successful in that respect at least.

Anyway I feel the two aforementioned stories do illustrate the differences between the old and new incarnations pretty well (though I promise not to get all partisan here). 'Castrovalva' is a pretty leisurely-paced adventure, with a typically Christopher Bidmead-esque confusion of a plot (loosely based around the theme of recursion). 'The Christmas Invasion', though the Doctor is pretty bedridden, is somewhat more lively and straightforward and is reliant on the well-established supporting cast carrying along the action for the most part. This is obviously not a luxury the new series can afford to take, so don't expect to be seeing Matt Smith sleeping on the job anytime soon. I have to admit I watched 'The Christmas Invasion' again recently and didn't enjoy it as much as the first time, but it is pretty good fun all round.

So attentive readers will have noticed that there are two regeneration stories that I haven't mentioned yet, and they are the two I'd regard as the best. Jon Pertwee's virgin outing 'Spearhead From Space' has a great story, written by the masterful Robert Holmes, a brilliantly threatening alien menace, and a great central performance from Pertwee. It also avoids the problems of 'Time and the Rani' by having the Third Doctor fall out of the TARDIS fully-regenerated, rather than sticking a Patrick Troughton wig on him for some bizarre need for completeness.

Similarly 'Robot', in which Tom Baker began his historic tenure is a great bit of fun, involving some charmingly outdated special effects and a slightly slapstick central performance. It's obviously a bit silly, and the regeneration angst doesn't really last very long at all, but it's a good central idea, executed well. Oddly enough it feels like a Third Doctor adventure starring the Fourth, as it is an earthbound UNIT story with Tom Baker driving Bessie! I suppose it shows that whoever the actor is, the Doctor is still the Doctor, and a good story goes a long way.

Bring on number eleven!

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

News From The Zero Room

It has been hinted at on Twitter that our first podcast would be an Episode 0, where we'd mostly gush over the new trailers, and make wild, ambitious predictions about the upcoming series. We're still up for doing it - we've just been trying to find a mutually agreeable evening to do this for a while - I (Horatio) have bought a headset and we've done a test recording, which has established that we can talk bollocks for a very long time.

Basically what I'm trying to say is: hold tight, followers and potential-followers, the first episode proper of The Eleventh Hour Podcast arrives soon, and there's plenty of exciting stuff we can talk about.

Trust me, I can't wait either.


Saturday, 20 March 2010

Review: Jubilee

Okay, I'm not going to carry on reviewing every single Big Finish audio drama I listen to because, frankly, I can't see anyone enjoying that. But I felt that 'Jubilee' was worthy of an exception (and I'm not saying that I will stop the reviews completely from now on. I've already potentially earmarked Marc Platt's 'Spare Parts' for a possible write-up, once I've listened to it obviously).

Anyway 'Jubilee' deserves a review for two important reasons: 1) it's really bloody good and 2) it was later adapted by writer Rob Shearman into the equally excellent series 1 episode 'Dalek'. Now I'm going to assume that all of you have seen 'Dalek' otherwise my spoiler containment will get Just Plain Ridiculous.

So 'Jubilee' shares a fair few similarities with 'Dalek' - most obviously the (apparently) last Dalek in the universe being kept imprisoned for a nefarious purpose and a pretty amazing scene where the Doctor meets said Dalek, not to mention some of the most inventive exploration of the motivations of the Daleks. However, pretty much everything else is different. I don't want to spoil too much, as it really is a great story, but the basic premise involves a mysteriously anachronistic English Empire planning to execute the last remaining Dalek for the benefit of its 100th jubilee celebrations.

From here on it's a pretty complex ride. I read a review somewhere that claimed there was so much going on in 'Jubilee' that it was difficult to keep track of everything on first listen. While I wasn't confused as such, this is definitely a drama that would be equally rewarding on subsequent listens. As well as the complex philosophical examinations on the nature of Daleks, there's also some top quality Doctor Who style time confusion (which I'm always fond of), serious points about the nature of humanity and history and possibly one of the best cliffhangers in Doctor Who history. Seriously, it points you in a certain direction and then completely blindsides you with an amazing revelation. It stunned the hell out of me when I first heard it. And, as usual, the performances are great all round (Martin Jarvis is particularly impressive).

All in all, Jubilee is an impressive piece of work - rich, densely layered, and thought-provoking. It's probably the grimmest and darkest audio drama I've listened to, but not overwhelmingly so - there's some nice levity scattered throughout, including an almost self-rerencing joke about Dalek merchandising, that stops it being too depressing. Ultimately 'Jubilee' is a great example of what Big Finish, indeed what Doctor Who itself, does best.

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

In praise of 'Ghost Light'

It's hardly an understatement to say that the 1980s were a troubled time for Doctor Who. The viewing figures were vastly down from the its heyday in the 1970s and by the show's termination in 1989 the seasons were roughly half the length they had been then. In this period we also had a forced 18-month hiatus and the only actor ever to have been sacked from the role of the Doctor. John Nathan-Turner's tenure as the show's producer during the time has been widely criticised for these problems, with a lot of his innovations (stunt casting, silly costumes, Adric) being seen as turning the show into a campy 80s monstrosity which no longer captured the imagination of the British public.

Whilst not the most unpopular Doctor it seems, as least to me, that Sylvester McCoy's time in the role has been somewhat overlooked in the discussion of the show's history. While, by all accounts, his first series did slip into the kind of tacky nonsense discussed above his second series was much improved. New companion Ace (who really was) brought a massive breath of fresh air, and the season started with the absolute corker of a return-to-form 'Remembrance of the Daleks'.

'Ghost Light' comes from the show's 26th, and final season, and McCoy's third in the role. It has the somewhat dubious distinction of being the last story of the original series ever filmed (although 'Survivial' was shown last, it was filmed earlier). It forms part a loose trilogy in the last series where Ace's backstory is explored - quite the rarity in the old series! Oh yes, and it's really, really good.

One of the first things anyone says about Ghost Light is that the plot makes no sense and it's certainly true that the plot is complicated and not all aspects of it are fully explained - including the exact roles that two major characters play. It doesn't help that a lot of the explanatory scenes were cut, first in rehearsals and then from the filmed scenes. It's rare that a serial from the original series feels too short, as opposed to the many that feel overlong, but Ghost Light is definitely an adventure that would have benefited from being a four-parter.

However the mysterious nature of the plot is actually one of the things I regard as a strength of Ghost Light. Doctor Who, as a rule, tends to like having every element of the plot explained, often in great detail and I found it rather refreshing to have a story where, even after the end credits roll, one is left not quite fully understanding exactly what has gone on. I think the production team rarely appreciate that a bit of mystery is a good thing, or at least it's not an idea that they explore very often.

And by God does Ghost Light ever throw a lot of mysteries at you - a character evolving into a Victorian gentleman, a crazed hunter, a neanderthal butler (no, really, he's an actual neanderthal) and a policeman preserved in a drawer being among the weird and wonderful characters the script throws at you. Theis brings me on to what I believe is the biggest success of Ghost Light - it's incredible atmosphere. The story is filmed in the studio and uses the BBC's skill at making period dramas to conduct an incredibly dark and mysterious gothic horror tale. You may not quite understand everything that happens but the mood of the story is something that very few other Doctor Who stories can match in terms of its creepiness and beauty.

Ace is also at her very best here. The gradual reveal of her backstory, and the significance the mysterious house has for her in 1983 is wonderfully handled, and, as the production team point out, she's unusually on the ball for a companion - making observations and guesses about the strange situation that she and the Doctor find themselves in, rather than asking questions and screaming. This was a deliberate move to bring in a companion who was more proactive but script editor Andrew Cartmel does admit that this doesn't help with the complicated nature of the plot, as the Doctor never has to explain it to Ace!

All in all this is a story I'd definitely recommend owning, especially as an introduction to the beauty of the later McCoy stories, and for a glimpse at the direction the show might have gone had it not been cancelled shortly afterwards. Owning it on DVD means that the main problems with the story can be overcome, as the extra features go a long way towards explaining the strange plot. Another problem, the fact that the sound mix is a bit dodgy, meaning that the music often drowns out the dialogue; can be solved by turning on subtitles (in fact I'd recommend it for first viewing). Overall Ghost Light is a hauntingly beautiful tale, from a much underappreciared era of Doctor Who.

Sunday, 7 March 2010

Review: Circular Time

My adventures into the Big Finish range of Doctor Who audios continues with a very different production. 'Circular Time', written by Paul Cornell (Father's Day, Human Nature/The Family of Blood) and Mike Maddox, consists of four standalone Fifth Doctor and Nyssa adventures that nevertheless, to me at least, seems to have subtle themes running throughout concerning Nyssa's traumatic past and the Doctor's role in time.

More interestingly each story is set in a different season, which gives them all something of a different feel. Spring features the Doctor and Nyssa chasing down a rogue Time Lord in a society of bird-people. It's possibly the weakest of the four stories, but does feature some pretty interesting discussions on Time Lord interference and regeneration. Plus it has a TARDIS disguised as a lake. Summer features a brilliant performance by David Warner as an unstable Isaac Newton, suspicious of a captive Doctor and Nyssa. There's a scene in which he deduces the nature of the Doctor using only some coins and his genius, and it is both sublimely written and acted.

Autumn is an interesting story. Fans of 'Black Orchid' will have plenty to enjoy, as the Doctor pretty much plays cricket for the entire episode. Obviously, this is not all that happens asn the subplot involving Nyssa's romance is beautifully played and her eventual facing of her past is both touching and understated. For me, as well, this story does the best at evoking the season in which it is set, as one can really picture the drawing in of the days and almost feel the beating of the low autumn sun. Finally comes Winter, for my money the best of the four stories here. It's based on a brilliant premise, which I couldn't possibly spoil here, and is again very touching in place.

Overall, this is a great collection of individual stories, well written and acted all round, and packed with great ideas. However I might suggest that it might be more enjoyed by those with good knowledge of the classic series (there is a hilarious reference to the very first episode during the Summer episode). The winter section, in particular, requires familiarity with a particular Fifth Doctor story to get the most out of it. But to someone who is an avid fan of Whos new and old, I can highly recommend this collection.

Thursday, 4 March 2010

Review: The Nightmare Fair

'The Nightmare Fair' is my first experience of Big Finish audio stories. It is also the first in their adaptations of Colin Baker's "Lost Stories" for audio. The original season 23 was shelved when Michael Grade put Doctor Who on an 18-month hiatus and when it returned to screens, it was in the form of 1986's season-long story arc 'The Trial of a Time Lord', and the original scripts were never filmed. Thus, in 2009 Big Finish took the very sensible decision to dramatise these lost scripts. 'The Nightmare Fair', written by former Doctor Who producer Graham Williams, was fairly advanced at the time of the series' hiatus, with a director even been assigned to the story. Williams even went on to novelise the story in 1989.

'The Nightmare Fair' sees the return of The Celestial Toymaker, a mysterious character first seen in the 1966 William Hartnell story... 'The Celestial Toymaker'. In that serial he was played by Michael Gough (who, I believe, would have been approached to play him again if this story was ever filmed) but for this adaptation he is played, very well in my opinion, by David Bailie, best known to Doctor Who fans as Dask in 'The Robots of Death'. Here he adds something of a childlike sort of impetuous glee to the Toymaker, which makes a nice change for a Who villain.

Overall it's a pretty good story, well told and it's fairly clear that all the actors involved are having a good time. Chris has suggested that the story might actually have looked pretty cheap onscreen and I'm inclined to agree with him: given the BBC's budget and special effects capabilities in the mid-80s I can't help but think that Blackpool might have ended up looking a bit cheap and tawdry. Similarly the focus on arcade machines may seem a little dated now, but I did very much enjoy learning a little more about the motivations of the Toymaker. 'The Nightmare Fair' is not too bad a place to start with Big Finish and there's a nice kind of justice in allowing Colin Baker to rewrite a little bit of his tragic history as the Doctor.

Monday, 1 March 2010

Alright, what have you got for me this time?

Hello, future fans (at the moment we don't have any officially but that's because we've not really started this thing up - I know you'll all just flock in once we do).

'The Eleventh Hour Podcast', my future-sense detects that you may well say, 'that sounds fabulous! What, pray is this thing of assured wonderment?'

Well, hypothetical future person, I shall explain. Myself and Mr. JC are two pretty big Doctor Who fans living in London, and we thought it'd be just swell to do a podcast about the upcoming series. New series, new podcast. It all seemed to fit together. The idea might just have initially sprung from m'colleague listening to 'Release The Beast' by Breakwater, but we will probably get round to that in due course.

In the meantime, because April 3rd feels so very far away I will no doubt contribute some of my many, if possibly dull and/or controversial, feelings about the world's longest running sci-fi series on this very blog. Or I may wait a bit. It will depend largely on how deeply I feel the need to rank the different versions of the theme music or talk about how great Ghost Light is.

All of time and space, every week. Hope you'll be along for the ride.


Friday, 26 February 2010