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!!!

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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.

 

 

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

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.

Big screen to small screen -Movies to tv series

Having blown the dust off, here I am once more on the WordPress and with a new post, although I guess better than an old post. So there I was trawling through the tv listings and there was an advert for the Exorcist tv series. Now as anyone will know, the Exorcist is a classic film and I guess that although not having seen any episodes, I assume that it will loosely be based on the film? I’m sure someone will enlighten me. It got me thinking though, what other films could be converted to tv series (those that havent already).

First obvious one for me is Ghostbusters. It goes without shadow of a doubt that this could run as a successful tv series given the subject matter that it’s based on, with plenty of scope you could have a couple of seasons maybe. It would be interesting to see if it ever comes to fruition. I’d like to think it could involve some of the original cast as well as those from the latest film.

Before anyone mentions it, yes there was a cartoon series, which I enjoyed greatly, but I would love to see a live action series, who would feature, would there be appearances from the old cast or the female cast from the 2016 reboot, probably not but there are plenty of stars who could take up the mantle.

One Sci Fi film that could make a tv series is the Riddick Series. The film trilogy that featured Vin Diesel amongst other names such as Claudia Black, Karl Urban and Dame Judi Dench. The film series received mixed reviews. I personally only seen Pitch Black but enjoyed it. I could see the opportunity to see a sequel, but have yet to watch it or even the third one. It’s possible that my film loving cousin Jamie maybe tutting and shaking his head if and when he reads this.

The Public Enemies movie that featured Johnny Depp and Christian Bale could become a tv series. John Dillinger was the focus of the film and the tv series could be the lead up to the events that took place in the year leading up to his demise. Naturally the series would have pre determined conclusion, but the series would look at the depression era America and stories surrounding Dillinger and his surrounding entourage.

Moving to the zombie side of things. Before there was The Walking Dead, we had the films 28 days later and 28 weeks later. There had been talk of 28 months later, but that doesnt appear to be happening at the moment although there is possibly movement on the cards.

 If there is not going to be a third film, then a tv series on 28 months later could be on the cards. It would be tricky I guess though as we have seen the popularity of The Walking Dead. Would another zombie series be accepted and do well, or would it be time up for the zombie tv series genre. I guess only time will tell.

There are probably many other films that could turn into tv series, but it would be finding those in amongst films that haven’t already been made for tv.

Christmas festivities

Well a Happy New Year to my followers and readers, hope you all had a fab time. For me it was a busy but fun time split between friends and family. It was quite a fab time, lots of laughs, socialising and fun. Plenty of food but not so much in the way of alcohol, but you don’t need to drink loads to enjoy yourself….god I’m sounding old.

Anyway, it was a special Christmas, it was the first Christmas of many that I would be spending with my lovely girlfriend Emma. It had been a long time since I had felt this excited about Christmas, but hey why not, Christmas comes but once a year. With all our shopping done before Christmas Eve, it was time to chill and relax and a visit to a pub was much required. Whilst of course the weather has been far from what we are used to for the festivities, it couldnt stop the The Bell Inn down in Minster, from having an open and roaring fire.

Christmas Day had arrived and for whatever reason, it felt like it should be the weekend, it wasnt but not far off. I dont know what it is about this time of year that makes you forget which day of the week it is. It wasnt a white one, chances of that ever happening were extremely rare. It was miserable weather wise, but who cared. Being surrounded by some of the important people in your life is always going to make things better whatever maybe happening outside.

A nice post Christmas dinner walk in the afternoon to burn the calories off and before we knew it the evening was here and Emma and I were chilling watching various things, including the Doctor Who Christmas Special, which, was not quite up with those of Christmas Specials gone by, but hey its a staple part of Christmas tv.

Boxing Day brought more fun as we took presents to my folks to give out to my niece and nephew, is there anything more enjoyable than seeing younger members of the family excited as they unwrap presents? Very pleased with what they received, I dont think we could have done a better job at delivering on behalf of Santa Claus. My nephew has decided that he is no longer known as Father Christmas but as Santa. He’s only 4 so he can choose to call him what he likes.

Another visit to other family members brought the shenanigans to a close, but the New Year was still to be enjoyed

A week of wonder, but those automated calls still get to you.

Last week I found myself with a week off, a nice perfect week of doing nothing but relaxing and chilling. Sadly but to no surprise the weather couldn’t decide what it was doing. One day sun, next day rain, then sun. Should be used to it by now given that it always seems to be the way. Anyway, I finally got to see Avengers Assemble: Age of Ultron, a really good film I thought and if you haven’t seen it, you really must go and catch. One thing you should do is stay right to the end of the credits.

It wasnt just the main film. The trailers included Mad Max, Ant-Man, and some others. It seems that I am likely to be making several visits to the cinema over the next few weeks and more than likely the next few months. Ah well, why not. I’ve still got the Spooks:The Greater Good film to catch. I so have to go see that at the cinema. It would have been good to see another series, but I wonder if they might make another couple of films. I could deal with that as an alternative.

Managed to finally complete season three of House of Cards. A fantastic series based on the Michael Dobbs books.Whilst the original series evolved around the three books: The House of Cards, To Play the King and The Final Cut, the American set version takes the original series and expands it into the American political scene and under the same title. In the US version you see a character called Frank Underwood, portrayed by the fantastic Kevin Spacey, who after being looked over for a government role, aims with his wife Clare, to plot revenge and god forbid if anything gets in his way. In the UK version it featured the brilliant Ian Richardson as the infamous Francis Urquhart, one of the most scheming and underhanded characters to appear on tv. I also intend to buy the books as I imagine there will be much more to the character of Francis Urquhart. A fourth series of House of Cards has been commissioned and will be aired in 2016, which is the presidential election year, something to spice up the political tastebuds I feel.

It was birthday weekend as my sister celebrated her birthday on one day and a good friend of mine on the Sunday.If there is one thing that a visit to my sisters will bring, it is the endless bound of energy of my fantastic niece and nephew. Peter Pan and Captain Hook were the order of the day as they jumped, screamed and pretended to be in Neverland. It’s certainly never a dull moment with those two around.

Sunday was a visit to my good friend Gemma, who was celebrating her birthday, Much tea, cake (both purchased and made by the excellent Sasha) and laughs were to be had. The delightful young Misty being the entertainment for part of the  afternoon.

Visits to banks don’t always bring good results but apart from almost leaving my card in the bank, my trip was a fruitful one. Safe to say that it means I will finally be able to say good riddance to Vanquis, you wont be missed.

After much thought, well two minutes chatting to an online customer advisor, I decided to stay with o2. It was back to the good old sim only deal, this time ¬†a minimum of twelve months. For ¬£18, I would get 4 gb of 4g data, unlimited texts and calls plus a ¬£4 loyalty credit thrown in for good measure. I also opted to change my number, I had become fed up with the regular blocking of PPI/write off your debts/you were involved in an accident so you maybe entitled to compensation. Peace at last you say, oh sodding no. Within three hours of changing my number, I get one of those bloody automated calls. The bastards get you because its unknown number, but you can’t leave it unless its someone trying to get hold of you from an internal line. Thankfully that has been the only one so far and I hope that stays the way for quite a long time.

The mental health battle continues and a review on the week just gone has seen my medication increased and referred for one to one counselling. I hope that this will keep the good ship full steam ahead.

My good friend David Stone is doing his bit for Thanet’s local coffee shops and eating establishments, not necessarily for that reason, but one of Davey’s ideas is for readers of his blog and others, to search for a lucky artefact attached to underneath a table. I imagine this will bring many a person sitting and feeling underneath the table or to the unsuspected soul. a rather uncomfortable look. For more information along with other wonderful and entertaining posts, go to www,blokecalleddave.co.uk

One final thing is down at Bernie’s Chocolate Bar Margate High Street, lovers of photography and those who like a good hot chocolate, can find Andrew Steven’s first photographic exhibition. It is on until 9th June so there is plenty of time to get down and have a look and enjoy what Bernie’s Chocolate Bar has to offer.