Come in Number 13 – The New Doctor

It was a big day Sunday, the Wimbledon final where the amazing Roger Federer took to the grass court to win a record 8th title and Lewis Hamilton won a fifth British GP. That though for some was just a side show for the really big event, yes the announcement of the thirteenth doctor. We had been left wondering when the next one would be announced as it had seemed an age since Peter Capaldi announced he was calling time on his stint as the saviour from the planet Gallifrey.

Who would it be of course was the big question, Kris Marshall of My Family fame had quit his Death in Paradise show and it seemed that he was destined to become the next Doctor. Many a Doctor Who fan thought no no no, but it was still early days. Very few had been linked with the show which also probably didnt help. Then S*n newspaper if I recall correctly had called it that Marshall was the new doctor and had already been working on the new series. That for one thing was a pile of tosh. Of course though we shouldn’t have expected the truth to come from that rag.

We watched Series 10 knowing the inevitable was on the cards, we also wondered where and when the Doctor would regenerate but as time went on things started to take a direction. In the Monk storyline we had seen what appeared to be the Doctor beginning to regenerate after he was shot by Bill. This of course was a set up as Bill had fired blanks at the Doctor. On the otherhand was the regen start though really part of the set up or had his recent battles had an effect on his body. Had reading the book caused more than just the blindess, who knows.

As the series did continue, the names for the next doctor started to crop up. A varied number of actors were linked. Ben Wishaw and Richard Ayoade were high up the list but then a a few female names cropped up. Phoebe Waller-Bridge became favourite all of a sudden. What with the various comments made during the later episodes, were we about to finally see a female doctor. Waller-Bridge would have no doubt been a good option but it seemed that there were a number of things lessening the chance. She of course is part of the Han Solo story and will shortly be filming the second series of her comedy Fleabag. Then her agency was saying it was a definite no no given. Was this double bluffing? we didn’t know could they have bee diverting everyone away. They wouldn’t have been too popular with the BBC had they let slip.

The other female linked was the talented Olivia Colman. She had appeared in the opening episode of Matt Smith’s reign as the madman in the box. She could have managed to pull off appearing in the role as the Doctor but she too had projects that would affect filming of Doctor Who.

Still by this time some fans might have been getting nervous wondering whether the comments of a female future might have well been a misdirection. It would be another male actor surely, it could but then people were not enthused at the chances of the next Doctor being portrayed by Kris Marshall. So as the post Wimbledon analysis finished, BBC spors presenter informed us that it was now time for the reveal of the next doctor.

The trailer set in woodland had the individual walking through woodland, dressed all in black. The view of course either behind taking a look at the individuals feet. From this there was surely a very big clue that the new doctor was going to be female, even from the shoulders there was a hint of which sex the new doctor would be. The person finally comes to a halt and with hand out flat the key to the tardis materialises and we then see the new doctor reveal themselves and it’s a woman we find it to be Jodie Whittaker, the mother from the Broadchurch series. After all the talk of a possible female doctor which goes back three decades, we finally have a female doctor. At last a female doctor, something to really liven it up. For me there were other actresses I would have liked to have seen, but it’s certainly going to be interesting to see how a female doctor deals with such foes as the Daleks, Cybermen, Ice Warriors. I wonder how Strax will take to the female Doctor.

If you had gone onto social media afterwards, well it was brace yourself. A mixture of opinion from all over the world that wanted to share their opinion and boy did the naysayers throw their toys out the pram. It was both funny and annoying at the same time. Funny that they could get so worked up about a fictional show and annoying that they just blamed it on the Political Correctness and Social Justice Warriors.

The American naysayers were the worst. Whilst there were many of our stateside chums totally embracing the fact that change was on the cards, there were those who just didnt see it. Here are some of the comments. Names witheld

“I am far more concerned about Chibnall and his series long story than I am a female Doctor.

But I despise the cancer that is political correctness which has driven this decision. It won’t affect my ability to enjoy the series, but I don’t have to be happy about the cause”.

“I don’t want to see a woman as Dr Who because it’s a male role, just like I don’t want to see a male actor playing Temperance Brennan. If you want a female time traveller write something new”

“Watch the originals. Men regenerated into other men. The women were able to choose what they looked like. I’m not happy with this choice. It has nothing to do with misogyny it’s because they are not keeping in touch with the older series”

“It looks like Dr Who is going the down the same “progressive” road as Marvel. I’m so disappointed that they’ve caved in to identity politics pushed by PC authoritarians. James Bond is next I guess”

“Dam liberals are ruining everything. First Ghostbusters and now this”

“Lol can’t wait until the ratings drop and you see what a mistake this is. I certainly won’t be watching this rubbish any longer. I’ll watch again when you bring back the REAL doctor ūüėä”

If it wasn’t tbose comments it was what is next Jane Bond amongst other male characters becoming female. They seemingly missed the point of the show and other characters.

Why a woman? a number of reasons, first off because the Time Lords don’t get too bothered about the sex of a person, secondly it’s been on the cards for not just in the past two doctors, remember Matt Smith initially wondering if he was a female. Not only that, the co creator Sydney Newman even said there should be a female doctor. Finally the doctor sometimes chooses a face from the past and if they keep Jodie’s hair colour as it is then there is one person who the doctor could choose is Kate Lethbridge-Stewart or known as Kate Stewart. Kate being the daughter of one Brigadier Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart. It could be a possibility but then it could very well just be not.

So finally we can say that whatever happens we’re in for an interesting journey. Theme tune and outfit to be decided and remember if you can deal with a fictional character 2,000 year old alien with two hearts, that travels ¬†in a living spaceship but can’t hack said character turning into a woman, then maybe you should watch something else because it’s not about Political Correctness or the Social Justice Warriors.

So till the next blog post GEEEERRONIMMOOOOO!!!

Doctor Who – The Next Doctor

So with one episode of series ten and a Christmas special to go, Peter Capaldi’s period as the Time Lord is coming to an end.¬†It is a shame to see Capaldi leaving as he has been a good Doctor, some of the stories might have been disappointing, but an actor of course can only work with what is in front of him. When he has had a good story, boy has he played a blinder.

As I write this, the next Doctor is not even known. Names have been bandied about, conclusions have been made, but no official announcement has been put out by the BBC or Moffatt himself. With ¬†just under six months to go until the Christmas Special, we can only speculate as to who it could be and who it couldn’t be. So that is what Im going to do, but before that Im just going to share a thought or two on the direction of the sex of the Doctor.

For me its a shame to see Peter Capaldi leave the show as I have enjoyed his portrayal of the doctor, it was good to see an older person to play the doctor after Tennant and Smith. From this latest season I have also enjoyed the companions Nardol and Bill. Whether we see Bill again is all in the air, but who knows what will happen.

¬†Historically the Doctor as we know has always been played by a male actor. Some of Britain’s finest actors to grace tv and stage have portrayed the Gallifreyan, the likes of Troughton, Pertwee, Tennant,Pertwee,Davidson, Eccleston, McGann, Baker and Baker. Matt Smith of course is still breaking out into the film world but that isn’t to say he is rubbish. He was relatively unknown to the world when he became the doctor. Let’s though return to the point. We have yet to see a female play the Time Lord, why is that? I don’t know. After all we have seen a female lead in Star Trek for example.

I wouldn’t have an issue with a female Doctor, after all we have seen a female take on the Master, which to be honest has been an interesting turn. I’m sure opinion has been quite mixed up and down the country and around the world where there are viewers of the iconic tv show. What I would though have an issue is for a female doctor just for the sake of it just to tick a box as it were. It should also be about who is cast. You could have a really good female actress or one that ends up coming over poor. To be the doctor regardless of sex, they ultimately need to be able to portray the doctor in the typical comedic moments, but also have the convincing ruthless side that the character has and has been seen throughout the various portrayals.

So let’s kick off with some of those who have been linked¬† for the next Doctor and unfortunately the leading name is one that somehow could ruin the role.

Kris Marshall

Why should we be even considering this man as the next Doctor, I’m sure many of you will not need to know why he shouldn’t be anywhere near this iconic role. He featured in My Family, a tv sitcom that in reality should have been really good given the leading cast members, but sadly it was purely average especially when they started bringing in extra characters who were about as funny as getting a parking ticket. When he did leave, he said he wanted to go onto better things. Those better things turned out to be BT ads. Of course he did star in Death in Paradise, but admittedly I havent seen that so can’t judge on that. Even if he did pull off a good performance in Death In Paradise, it doesn’t necessarily mean that he would be able to pull it off performing as the Doctor.

Ben Wishaw

Ben Wishaw is one who has been linked with the doctor. Known for his portrayal of Q in the James Bond films, he could be putting it the 007 role behind him and move onto another iconic role. Wishaw of course is a well trained actor and has appeared in the cinema, on tv and the stage. He could quite easily fit into the role of the doctor. He as featured in both comedic and straight roles. It wouldn’t be a surprise if he were to be chosen given his previous links after the departure of Matt Smith as the Doctor. If he can master Q, then he can easily take on the mantle of the Doctor.

Richard Ayoade

Another popular candidate, famous for the role of Maurice Moss in the IT crowd. His geeky character and persona would help. The only issue now though is that he is now fronting the Crystal Maze, so it would be unlikely that he would have the time to commit to becoming the new Doctor, that is unless Channel 4 were to suddenly drop the show. This of course may cause fans of that show to be slightly miffed and all too late for Ayoade. Having seen the first CM show, he could easily pull off the sarcastic and droll side of the Doctor.

Anthony Head

I also heard that Anthony Head was linked to becoming the next Doctor. Now that would be interesting, the actor isn’t shy of appearing in sci and fantasy as we know. He’s been in Buffy, Merlin, Warehouse 13 and of course Doctor Who itself as the Headmaster back in the Tennant era. Given that Peter Capaldi once appeared in the show and went on to become the Doctor, it wouldn’t be unreasonable for Head to join the ranks. I think it would really work with him as the doctor although I imagine the fangirls¬† would not be happy with another older actor portraying the Doctor. I imagine though he won’t be in the top three.

It’s not just about the men, during the final two episodes there have been hints as to the next doctor being female with different lines coming out regarding female. Naturally it could be a red herring but it could be time for a female doctor. There has been talk that a female doctor would bring the show to the 21st century, which is weird as we have seen a lesbian companion, a bi character, same sex companionship albeit one human and one alien character. At the same time whilst it would be great to see a female doctor, it should be done naturally, not because people are calling for one.

 

Phoebe Waller-Bridge

One of the leading female candidates is Phoebe Waller-Bridge. I don’t know much about Phoebe, although I did see her in the fantastic Broadchurch series, where she appeared as Abbey Thompson, who was the junior barrister to Joe Miller’s Defence QC. Her series Fleabag is quite successful an a second series is being filmed late in 2017 to be shown in 2018. I imagine that should she become the new doctor, her Fleabag show may have to be rescheduled if filming for Doctor Who and Fleabag clashes. Not only that, but she has the little Star Wars spin off film that though is a one off so wouldn’t conflict with further filming. Should Waller-Bridge be the new Doctor, she would be one of the youngest actors to portray the much much older Doctor.

Olivia Colman

Olivia Colman is another name that has been linked and would be an ideal candidate, having had a career in comedy and drama, she would seem perfect for the role. Like Phoebe Waller-Bridge, she appeared in Broadchurch thus working with Chris Chibnall who will be taking over from Moffat. We have seen her wide range of output comedy wise along with a wide range of straight roles including the previously mentioned Broadchurch and the popular drama The Night Manager.  She has also funnily enough previously appeared in the first episode of the Matt Smith era in Doctor Who.

It will be interesting to see who is the next doctor and how long we will have to wait until the announcement. Maybe just maybe they will keep it secret so we don’t find out until we see the regeneration take place towards the end of the Christmas Special.

 

 

Lets get digital – Electronic voting & ID cards?

As the fallout from the 2017 General Election continues, it’s an opportune time to look at voting in the 21st Century. As the young turned out in force, there has also been talk of the use of technology and voting via electronic methods. As many of us either own a laptop/pc, tablet or smartphone, is it not time to think about using these to vote in future elections? Whilst there would still be the time period on election day, people could vote from their phone or their pc/laptop without having the need to go to out to a polling station. Shift workers will be able to cast a vote without having to worry about trying to reach their polling station in time or taking time out.

Not everyone though will have access to a computer or a smartphone, so it would be possible for people to have a postal vote if they so wished if they weren’t able to have the electronic version. Of course the Postal vote system would need¬† tightened and made more secure as there have always been concerns regarding the method.

With the option of electronic voting, everyone would have an individual code that they would take with them regardless of where they are living. The voter would just need to register the code when they move and the system would update. By having electronic voting and a more secure postal vote system, it will mean a less costs for the local authorities as they wont need to pay for Presiding officers or polling clerks in the day time or counters for the evening/overnight. It would make things easier for Electoral Services departments up and down the country.

It will be interesting to see what readers have to say, comments completely welcome.

Now to something more controversial. The ID card has always been something that brings cynicism and distrust. There are naturally big concerns regarding the idea of the ID card. The Big Brother notion is something that people aren’t keen on seeing. They see a distrust and possible abuse of the system.

If a bio ID card could consist of a thumbprint/DNA set up. The card would hold travel permissions, driving permissions. It would not only reduce the need for multi levels of identification, but will of course reduce the levels of staff in the Passport Office and DVLA. The savings would allow money to be invested elsewhere. but it would naturally also help reduce the crime level and crime detection time. Using thumbprint/DNA would naturally make people jumpy, but as much of a cliché it is, law abiding citizens would have no need to worry.

The Conservative and Lib Dem of course saw the end to the National ID project back in the beginning of the Coalition Agreement with the repeal of the 2006 legislation and destruction of the National Identity Register. This will never see the light of day as a mandatory option. What though if people would like to have the option of one card with all information held on?

For myself the idea of having one card with all the info on it, sounds great and sounds useful, but it would only ever be voluntary.

Again, it will be interesting to see what readers think.

 

A few words

This morning we woke up to the horrific news of an explosion at the Manchester Arena at the end of an Ariane Grande gig. that happened in the foyer area. Twenty two innocent people lost their lives and over fifty innocent people were injured. Amongst them were teenagers and youngsters who had been getting ready to leave and go home after what should have been an exciting evening out. Sadly it has been reported that an 8 year old girl is one of those killed a young child who should have been going home excited, buzzing and looking forward to talking about it with friends today. A family has lost a dear little girl and her friends have lost one of their group. Adults can deal with such things but how can you tell friends who are around the same age that their friend is has died. It is not something that anyone should have to deal with.

The explosion was declared a terrorist attack by the police. Once more it appears an individual was responsible for this sickening act although it is not fully known at this time. The police are aware of his id but have not released any details. Whoever that person is, he speaks for no one but himself. He does certainly not speak for any religion. People will of course start pointing the finger at Muslims and the religion of Islam. Im sure many Muslims up and down the country and around the world will be appalled at the acts of this one person.  Muslims children and teenagers may have been there enjoying the gig along with parents.

Individuals today on social media have come out with the usual tosh including one who said that we dont need anymore Islamic jihadist imported into the UK and would also like the Koran banned. Katie Hopkins spouting off once more apparently. Im all for free speech, but she undoubtedly pushes barriers and seriously oversteps the mark. Her words are not helpful one bit. Spouting the anti Islam and Muslim rubbish is not helpful to anyone and quite frankly offensive to all the decent Muslims that make a great contribution to this country. We have doctors and police officers amongst other roles who put themselves first to help others.

Whilst we of course mourn the loss of those killed and wish those injured a quick recovery and hope that those who are missing are reunited with their families as quick as possible.

Today will be a sad day for many, but it is interesting to see that once more a country is united. The United Kingdom has seen undoubtedly more terrorist attacks than other nations but like in this nation, we remain united and resolute. I have read posts of people offering to help with getting children home, hotels putting up children without parents, taxi drivers from Liverpool driving all the way to Manchester, people giving drinks to the police as they do their duty. Whilst we differ on political issues, these are forgotten as we come to each others aid.

Once the police have done their jobs, you will see Manchester flourishing busy again getting on with life just as they were doing on Sunday. They may initially be wary, but they will not stay at home, not change their ways just like the people of London didn’t after Westminster Bridge or the 7/7 bombings.

Those who choose to attack our freedoms will continue to fail whilst we stand together regardless of religious beliefs, sexuality, colour of skin, nationality.

Blackadder – Flashback40

Blackadder where would we be without the character that is Edmund Blackadder and his poor unfortunate sidekick Baldrick. British greats in Rowan Atkinson as Blackadder together with Sir Tony Robinson as his dogsbody and servant  Baldrick, the show has to be without doubt one of the greatest historical based sitcoms ever to grace British tv or any tv around the world for that fact. In the following post I take a look at series together with some favourite moments, memories and quotes where some have entered everyday conversations.

The Black Adder

When the very first series appeared on tv, I was only six and too young to be watching such fine comic delights. I have to say though when I did get to watch the first series, it didn’t quite grab me as the rest would. Was it due to the fact that there were a lot of outside scenes, was it that the first series was written by Richard Curtis and Rowan Atkinson alone? Who knows but it whilst it wasnt as funny as the rest, it still has place in my comedy collection.

The very first Blackadder series was set in an alternate 1485 where Richard IV was king and Edmund was the Duke of Edinburgh, the second and unfavoured son. Edmund decided to call himself The Black Adder and attempt to overthrow his father and get himself higher up and noticed.

Having been expensive to make a reported £1 million and Michael Grade not keen commissioning it, the likelihood of  was quite possible that it would never make it beyond series two, especially with Rowan Atkinson no longer wishing to write. It featured the first of three appearances by the late Rik Mayall Thankfully it was all to change thanks to some changes and a meeting between Richard Curtis and Ben Elton. The show was brought inside and filmed in front of a studio audience and as they say the rest is history..although the show is all history.

Blackadder II

Series two which is set in Elizabethan times, started well with the episode Bells, although it might appear that this should have been the second episode given the beard of Lord Percy appears in Head and disappearing in Bells. Series two has to be one of my favourites out of the four as we see the appearance of a sarcastic and witty Blackadder who finds himself plagued with Lord Percy and Baldrick.

It is of course one of the best series for Blackadder’s put downs and lines. Episode one sees him mock Lord Percy’s latest interest Jane Harrington who seems to be a bit popular with the men enquiring as to whether it is Jane ‘bury me in a y shaped coffin’ Harrington together with that she goes like a privy door when the plague is in town. Edmund looks like giving a bit of sympathy when he says to Percy he’ll get over her and then hits him with a knock out blow as having said that he did, that even Baldrick had got over her.

The first episode sees the first appearance of the iconic character that is Flashheart played by the fantastic but sadly no longer with us Rik Mayall. Blackadder looks certain to marry Kate (Bob) but is dashed when his very own best man Lord Flasheart appears and takes her away leaving Blackadder regretfully asking Baldrick, who is a bridesmaid whether he will honour the Bridesmaids role in replacing the bride.

Episode two (Head) has a great opening scene where Edmund is teaching Baldrick advanced mathematics much to Edmund’s dismay. He is on top form when Percy makes an appearance wearing a ruff, You can check out the scene here.

Series two continues to excel in the following three episodes with guest appearances from legend Tom Baker in Potato, Ronald Lacey as the Bishop of Bath and Wells in Money. Money is a great episode that sees Blackadder turn his debt situation into a great revenge scheme, Miriam Margoyles makes an appearance as the puritan Lady Whiteadder, who visits whilst Blackadder is trying to host a party.

Blackadder III

Series 3 which is now 30 years old this year sees Blackadder returning once more but in the reign of the Prince Regent, played by another favourite of mine Hugh Laurie. Blackadder is the servant to George. The opening episode is set around the election and the battle to keep Prince George on the civil list as the Prime Minister, Pitt The Younger, wants rid. So Blackadder sets off on another scheme and some more witty put downs. Unfortunately when the key part of your plan is one S Baldrick or Sod Off Baldrick as he was called at school, you just know things are never going to go to plan. Although for Blackadder, he seems best when he is verbally tying up someone. When he comes across Pitt The Younger, who is the recently elected PM, Blackadder launches into some fine mockery. Pitt intends to put his brother up as a candidate to which Blackadder ¬†which Pitt this would be? Pitt The Toddler? Pitt the Embryo? Pitt the Glint in the Milkman’s eye?

Blackadder, having rigged the election for his purposes, sees the dimwitted Baldrick only going and screw things up by unwittingly voting against the Prince Regent. Fear not of course because there is no way that the lords would be happy, so step two in the plan is about to evolve. This plan is a  step into the lords for Baldrick which sadly sees the downfall in his plan. Give Baldrick some money and you know its going to end in only one thing a huge turnip for £4,000.

Episode two sees another fine outing. The episode titled Ink and incapability, sees a guest appearance from Robbie Coltrane as Dr Samuel Johnson. The Prince Regent attempts to up his intellectual standing by becoming a patron of Dr Johnson’s new dictionary. Blackadder isn’t amused and calls the new dictionary the most pointless thing since How to Learn French was translated into French. His bitterness might be to do with the fact that Johnson has ignored a novel that he has written under a pseudonym. Under the name of Gertrude Perkins, Blackadder has written his magnum opus titled A Butler’s Tale, that contains over 400 sizzling chapters of domestic servitude in the eighteenth century. Not forgetting of course the hot gypsies he has thrown in.

Not to be undone Baldrick has his as he calls it magnificent octopus which is on a piece of paper. He doesn’t like long books and his story is about a sausage called Baldrick, that lives happily ever after. Blackadder of course isn’t impressed by Baldrick’s story but adds seeing that it’s rubbish, Dr Johnson will probably like it. Enter then of course the very person as Robbie Coltrane enters the scene. Anyone can read a script but to make it seems genuine and not just a load of words, which would be quite apt,you need someone who can transform those words and Coltrane does just that.

As Johnson rifles off some long words to describe how he feels ¬†after completing the dictionary, Blackadder opts for very much the same and starts what seems a game of one upmanship creating made up words such as contrafribblarities, that Johnson makes note of. Then of course Prince George enters the fray. Johnson becomes dismayed as George becomes disappointed that the dictionary he is patronising doesn’t have any scenes of action or anything. It is then when Johnson storms off that Blackadder’s hopes are suddenly broken. With the Prince abandoning his patronage, Johnson then informs him that he has missed out the only book better than his dictionary. That book being Edmund: A Butlers tale. Blackadder then tries to convince unsuccessfully to get Johnson to change his mind.

The nightmare then begins in earnest for our man of sarcastic put downs and scheming plans as upon returning, it turns out that Baldrick has only gone and thrown Johnsons manuscript into the fire and to make things worse, Edmund finds out that it was the only copy and to add to his troubles, the poets Shelley, Colleridge and Byron are all worse for wear in Mrs Miggins pie shop. Byron it seems is quite happy to get 50 men to deal with whoever it is.

Back at the house, when Edmund returns with bad news, Baldrick suggests they rewrite the whole dictionary. Baldrick is mocked but then upon realisation of the alternative both Prince George and Balders set to work. Not Britain’s best hope at salvaging the dictionary. We see a moment when Blackadder is dreaming with a returning Dr Johnson no longer interested in his dictionary, alas for Prince George’s servant, it is a hallucination when he notices an aunt with a dogs head. Dr Johnson does enter but this time a tad more angry and demanding his dictionary. One glimmer of hope for Edmund is when Johnson requests the manuscript by Gertrude Perkins this is when Edmund reveals that he is indeed Gertrude Perkins and has the manuscript to prove it. The world caves in for him when Baldrick reveals that its been burnt in the fire leaving Blackadder slightly upset.

Baldrick offers his book which angers Johnson once more who promptly leaves , it turns out that he had left out sausage and aardvark. Blackadder and Prince George later leave and we see Baldrick throwing more paper into the fire and completely unaware the very dictionary itself.

Blackadder Goes Forth

So to the final series and this time we see all the cast back together. Atkinson, Robinson, Fry and Laurie, McInnerney and Mayall all feature in this outing. In these final six episodes we see a Captain Edmund Blackadder trying to escape the trenches of World War One and head back to England. This series captures some more fine writing from Elton and Curtis along with the sharp tongue of Blackie as once again he is left to deal with the not so bright Captain George and Private Baldrick.

The series is strong throughout with notable highlights and Blackadder put downs throughout. The first episode sees Blackadder heading out of the trenches and into the kitchens but not before claiming that Baldrick’s idea of cooking would see him arrested for the biggest case of food poisoning since Lucretia Borgia invited 500 of her friends for a wine and anthrax party. Still though it’s a plan that is worth them getting out of the trenches albeit for a short time.

Blackadder almost becomes a cropper in episode two when he thinks that no one will miss a pigeon on the frontline, it turns out to be almost the end of the Captain. Unfortunately for Edmund it turns out to not be any old pigeon, but General Melchett’s Speckled Jim. General Melchett like with Lord Melchett in series two, is played by the fantastic Stephen Fry. Blackadder is eventually sentenced to be shot at dawn, no thanks to Lieutenant George being his defence QC. Strangely enough for Edmund, George is involved again. This time it’s his uncle that he completely forgot about until getting drunk that denies the premature end of Blackadder.

Moving onto episode four and it’s the return of the great Rik Mayall as Lord Flashheart. This time as Squadron Commander in the Royal Flying Corp. Mayall is at his best in this episode where Blackadder is using the Flying Corp as another means to escape the front line. As usual things don’t go to plan as especially when he has Baldrick as his co pilot. The two end up crashing but only it seems in German territory. Blackadder could see out the rest of the war as a PoW although with Baldrick loitering around, that may not have been so much fun. For Edmund, what he doesn’t realise is that his fellow soldier and trusty Lieutenant George is harassing Captain Darling and General Melchett for him to be rescued.

Bad news is that the eventual rescue party of Flashheart and George is on the way much to the dismay of the Captain, who along with Baldrick have already had a visit from Oberleutnant Von Gerhardt who warns them of a fate worse than death with a visit from the Baron Von Richtofen, who is played by Ade Edmondson. The visit from Von Richtofen brings a fate worse than a fate worse than death when he warns they will be sent to a convent school in Germany, where they will teach young girls home economics. Blackadder notices that the German has left the door open, for many it would be a chance to make a break, for Blackadder though wants to stay despite Baldrick’s hope to escape. For the captain the moment to get the door locked is at an end.

His hopes to escape bombs schrapnel whizzbangs and films with whoops in the title come to an abrupt end as Lieutenant George is standing at the door. George thrilled to be rescuing his chum, doesn’t quite get the reception he plans for as Blackadder pushes the door. ¬† Blackadder feigns injury in order to remain in prison and then tries to warn the guards with a sudden ‘cough’. Flashheart though forces him to change his mind with the threat of turning the prison walls with an interesting new colour called hint of brain. ¬†As they try to escape, they are then greeted by Von Richtofen whose moment with the finest flying fellow is short lived as Flasheart shoots him before they all go to escape.

Upon return to Captain Darling’s office, Darling is surprised to see Blackadder standing in his office. So begins a conversation where Flashy verbally lays into Darling before knowing his name where Blackadder informs him. In typical Mayall delivery of Flashheart, he tells Darling the last time I called someone darling she was pregnant 20 seconds later. Darling doesn’t make life easier for himself telling the Commander that trying to rescue Blackadder was a waste of resources. In typical response Flasheart says this is waste of my resources but Im going to do it anyway, to which he headbuts Darling.

So to the final episode. Goodbyeee!! A well written episode that sees Captain Blackadder trying to escape the front line one more time. We see more great humour and lines with put downs through the episode, the three share moments and even Baldrick’s suspect poetry. At one point Blackadder tries to use a pair of pants and pair of pencils which proves fruitless as he overhears General Melchett describing how they shot deserters for doing the same thing. He remembers that he is owed a favour from General Haigh (played by the talented Geoffrey Palmer) unfortunately it proves a waste of time as he tells Blacky to put a pair of pants on his head and two pencils up his nose. Edmund then utters the well known line of “I believe it rhymes with clucking bell”.

As the episode heads towards the end, it seems not even Captain Darling, who had once locked horns, could escape the front line as Melchett sent him packing to the front. The reality of war gets ever closer having shared brief words including where Kevin Darling had hoped to keep wicket with the Croydon gentlemen as well as marrying Doris, the bravado seems to have disappeared with everyone saying how scared they were. There aren’t many words to describe the final scene, so I will just leave it here¬†Good Luck Everyone.

Now to leave you with some of Blackadder’s finest words, thank you for reading and pip pip Bernards your uncle.

Some Quotes and put downs

‚ÄėBaldrick, does it have to be this way? Our valued friendship ending with me cutting you up into strips and telling the prince that you walked over a very sharp cattle grid in an extremely heavy hat?‚Äô

‚ÄėUnfortunately most of the infantry think you‚Äôre a prat. Ask them who they‚Äôd rather meet, Squadron Commander Flasheart or the man who cleans out the public toilets in Aberdeen, and they‚Äôd go for Wee Jock Poo-Pong McPlop every time.‚Äô

‚ÄėThere hasn‚Äôt been a war run this badly since Olaf the hairy, King of all the Vikings, ordered 80,000 battle helmets with the horns on the inside.‚Äô

‚ÄėPercy, far from being a fit consort for a Prince of the Realm, you would bore the leggings off a village idiot. You ride a horse rather less well than another horse would

“Oh, God. Fortune vomits on my eiderdown once more.”

‚ÄúWorst idea since someone said ‚Äėyeah let‚Äôs take this suspiciously large wooden horse into Troy, statues are all the rage this season‚Äô.‚ÄĚ

Fleetwood Mac – Rumours Flashback 40

Here is the first album look back in my Flashback 40 series. Kicking off is Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours album. The 11th studio album of their career, it was one that was to be, despite everything that was going on outside the recording studios. To be honest it was an album that was even lucky to be written and completed given the situation of a number of the band members, it in a way though it probably existed purely down to the external factors and quite possibly with its title.

It was released on 4th February 1977 and was a huge success as they achieve number ones in five different countries throught out the coming months. In the US, it had spent 31 weeks non consecutively at the top of the Billboard 200. Come March 1978 ,Rumours alone had sold 8 million copies in the US and ten million around the world. In the UK it entered in at number at number 7 before hitting the top early in 1978  giving the band their first UK number one album.

To this day the album is still selling and as recent as 2009 it had shipped 30 million album sales. That is pretty darn good for one album. There are bands who wish they could sell 30 million albums in a career let alone for one album. As at July 2016 it was the 11th best selling album in UK history.

Rumours gives us some of the bands most notable releases such as Dreams, Don’t Stop, Go Your Own Way and of course The Chain. The Chain is famous for the use of the Bass line for the BBC’s Formula One theme tune up until they lost tv rights. Upon its return to the BBC, the ¬†track entered the charts in 2009 through downloads where it reached 94 in th charts. It did so again in 2011 reaching 89, after a facebook campaign to get it number one for the start of the 2011 season.

The album looks like it reflects the break up of Buckingham and Nicks’ relationship with each of them taking a different perspective of the break up. With Stevie Nicks it seems to be reflective, but with Buckingham there seems to be some anger and bitterness. It would seem strange that the songs written could have some great music but yet be about break ups from two sides. For example Go Your Own Way sees a bitter line, but the music to the song is catchy and seemingly more light as it were.

Whilst there are the songs we all come to know, Rumours has tracks that make this album complete. Songbird written and sung by Christine McVie is a beautiful acoustic track that has a relaxing feel to it and one that is still sounds fresh even though it’s forty years old. A song with an appeal, that it was covered by the late Eva Cassidy and featured in her posthumously released album titled Songbird. It reached number one back in 2001. Willie Nelson also covered it on his album, also titled Songbird. The song itself found its way into the charts back in 2009 when it reached 56. This was down to an X Factor contestant singing it in her audition.

The album takes a brief country feel with the track, it was a track actually written by Stevie Nicks and Lindsay Buckingham pre Rumours and is a look at a romantic break up although it was way before ¬† their very own break up. It’s hard not to like this track with it’s uplifting beat.

Oh Daddy is one of the few tracks not about break up. There is a seeming split about who it is about. Christine McVie claimed that it was about Mick Fleetwood, who was the only father around the band at the time, although others claimed it was about the bands lighting director, who McVie was dating at the time. Regardless of who it’s about, it’s a good track to listen to.

So there we have it (at last) the first of a number of Flashback 40 album reviews.

Musings from Down Under

Having been away for a couple of weeks, spending time down under I thought I’d share some thoughts and observations from my fantastic little trip with Emma to visit family.

Going during the summer period I was preparing for the roasting temperatures of 40 plus, unfortunately and merely coincidence the summer and temperatures on the west coast were much lower than that.  Having eventually arrived after the communication incompetence of Emirates and surviving the crazy driving of the locals, it was a brief stay in Perth before heading south to Busselton.

Busselton if you havent ever heard of it, is a regional city in the South West region of West Australia. It has one of the longest jetties in the world, albeit rebuilt following damage from a Cyclone. It extends to around 2km and you can take a walk or jump on a ‘train to take you to the end, where there is an underwater observatory. A fair number of fish and if you were to be really lucky, a passing shark. Sad to say that during my time on the West Coast, I didnt see any sharks. We did though see dolphins on several occasions

Admittedly there isnt much to Busselton tourist wise other than the beach, jetty and the Busselton museum in the old Butter factory, but it is still a great place to go. If you are every down that way I recommend you go to Codrocks for the fish and chips. They cook the order fresh, which may mean a little wait but it is certainly worth it. I had snapper and chips. Very yummy indeed.  If you take a walk further round you will find a shopping parade in Kent Street and a bakery aptly named Kent Street Bakery. Here you will find a range of awesome cake and rolls. The Chocolate marble cake was cake to die for.

It’s not all about Busselton, the South West Region of Western. Take a trip south to Metricup, you will find a the Metricup Bird Park where you could get seed to feed the various birds and animals. I had the experience of walking in amongst kangaroos and feeding a joey. It was great to get so close but naturally taking precautions as to not get a punch or have talons wiping me out with a swipe. Checking out permanently or having serious medical attention in a continental holiday was not something I really quite fancied, Im sure no one else did either.

Head southwards and you will find a number of caves, all with their unique parts within the system. We visited Jewel, Mammoth, Lake and Ngilgi Cave.Whether you were guided or went alone there was a lot to enjoy. The one thing though is that it if walking and steps are not your thing then you they are best to avoid. With the Jewel, Mammoth and Lake cave you could buy a multi vist pass that would allow you visits over the two days, should you wish.

Although we didnt stop there, en route to Margaret River is a town called Cowaramup and if you wondered by the name there is a cow theme within. You will see randomly placed lifesize sculptures of cows as a tourist attraction. There are 42 in total. In 2014 the town set a Guiness World Record for the largest number of people dressed as cows…..the number oh that was 1352.

Cowaramup derives it name from the Cowaramup siding that was near to the town on the disused Busselton to Augusta railway. The name is believed to come from the aboriginal word Cowara that means purple crowned lorikeet.

The Margaret River region is a heaven for wine connoiseurs or fans of the grape. You will find yourself surrounded by choice, but of course if you choose to have a glass or few, be sure to find alternative travel as like everywhere drink driving is against the law. There are of course a number of breweries if wine isnt your thing.

Chocolate fans will not be disappointed should they go to Margaret River or indeed anywhere in the West Coast at least. Margaret River boasts a chocolate factory where you can try handfuls of chocolate for free, buy as much chocolate as your budget will allow and feel like you may have found heaven after all. Chocolate in general is a wonderous joy,  Cadburys blocks including various flavours and brands like Black Forest and the Old Gold brand that we dont see in the UK. Im pretty well sure that they would sell like hotcakes or should I say chocolate off the shelves over here.

 Whilst in Margaret River and you feel like grabbing some food, you wont go wrong in visiting the Settlers pub. With various beers, including a selection of craft beers, you will also get good food and a speedy service. You wont have long to wait for your food either. On our next return, we shall be heading there once again no doubt.

So from my visit to Australia, I had a fantastic time and cant wait to return down under. I do hope you enjoyed reading this brief musing, do feel free to comment.