|Back in black|
The only comparison we had was the original Star Trek whose sets, scripts and effects were no better (or not much better) than our home-grown stuff.
The latest incarnation has to impress an audience used to state-of-the-art special effects from the big Hollywood studios. Indeed the success over here of shows such as Buffy and Smallville has undoubtedly played a part in allowing the return of a curio which really had reached its sell by date when originally cancelled.
|The Doctor's greatest foes|
Russell T. Davis seems to have pulled this off with a good-natured script in which the exposition required was skilfully blended into the plot, homage to a Robert Holmes story from the Jon Pertwee era featuring a consciousness that made plastic and hence shop dummies come to life. To be honest the bit with the burping wheelie bin elicited groans rather than laughs here at Hogan Towers, but to all those dyed-in-the-wool Whovians who have whinged about the scene, I’d point out that in the original version Harry Towb was eaten by a plastic armchair.
Special effects were good and it’s hard to fathom that it was shot in Cardiff, looking very much at times like an ad for London Tourism.
|The odd couple|
The real revelation though was Billie Piper as the trusty new assistant. From the looks of this she’ll be capable of far more than being Head of Screaming and it was a nice touch in the opener that it’s her and not the Doctor that manages to overcome the alien invaders.
Noel Clarke is obviously a lucky charm when it comes to reviving old shows and he makes a fine “damsel in distress??? while Mark Benton turned in a nice cameo as a Doctor Who obsessive who meets a sticky end at the hand of an Auton.
The Auton Brides were a nice touch and now I’ve got an excuse for quickening my pace when passing the bridal shop when out with my girlfriend.
All in all then a good debut and a lot for the subsequent twelve episodes to live up to.
Just a couple of weeks after the BBC turned their backs on professional boxing, BBC Three treated us to the debacle that was The Fight.
In this complete waste of airtime and licence payers money, Mark Bosnich, a disgraced ex goalkeeper who seems to have eaten all the pies, took on DJ Spoony in three rounds of what looked more like a lumbering brawl than a boxing match.
It angers me that a public broadcaster that we are forced to pay for should spend money on this utter drivel when there is so much real sport that should get an airing.
The conundrum on Friday night was whether to watch a porky and topless Bosnich preparing for his fight on BBC Three or Kirsty Gallacher in a swimsuit over on Channel 4.
Yes, The Games is back, a sort of a cross between Superstars and Big Brother. Unlike the fight, this is strangely compelling, if only to see if there will be an event in which Mel Giedroyc doesn’t come last.
Seriously, in a week when Grandstand was replaced by an episode of Diagnosis Murder the telly seems littered with coverage of “events??? featuring celebrities with very little sporting aptitude, while up and down the country countless quality sporting events go untelevised.
Jason’s a diamond
Quite why Caleb Ranson’s Diamond Geezer worked is a mystery but it did.
Packed with every prison cliché you can think of, this hybrid of Porridge and Too Many Crooks was nevertheless an entertaining romp. I wonder if the magnificent David Jason had thoughts of old Blanco from Porridge as he shot this.
As a one off it was a bit of a treat but let’s hope they leave it there and don’t try and milk a series out of it.
Was it written in crayon? Surely they can’t let the perpetrators of this utter drivel anywhere near sharp objects.
They were already stretching the bounds of possibility having all the Ferreira boys and all their possessions leave in one small car but when Karina jumped in at last minute without even packing a toothbrush, it lost any crumbling bit of credibility it had left.
This was just sloppy programme making and EastEnders' dwindling band of faithful viewers deserves better.
The Beauty of Hindsight
Tucked away late on BBC Four has been Cast and Crew, a fascinating reunion of those involved in the making of seminal British movies The Wicker Man and The Long Good Friday.
Kirsty Wark skillfully marshals the producers, directors, art directors and actors as they reminisce about the tears and trials that went into the making of these classics.
Cleverly though the camera also lingers on the faces of those not speaking and the reactions to what is being said often says more than the words themselves.
In the last My Hero of the series, George couldn’t tell dreams from reality. I know how he feels; the whole show seemed like a nightmare to me.