Posts Tagged ‘Doctor Who’

It’s that time of year again when thoughts turn to hearts and flowers and bloggers try to find a new angle on the Valentine’s Day post. Looking back I have explored telly couples who were obviously destined for one another and, on the flip side, other pairings that probably weren’t a very good idea. This year I’m examining that tried and true plot device, the love triangle, in which one character has to choose between two (and sometimes more) suitors. I’ve compiled five examples of this exhilarating yet often heartbreaking scenario and at the end I’m going to ask you to vote for the trio who you felt did it best.

Miranda, Gary and Mike from Miranda

Once the poster girl for lonely hearts, now Miranda’s facing an embarrassment of riches (or proposals, as it were)!


Ross, Elizabeth and Demelza from Poldark

This is what happens when everyone thinks you’ve died in a far off war and it’s best for your betrothed to just move on. And then you meet a fire-haired street urchin…


Amy, Rory and The Doctor from Doctor Who

Miss Pond has carried a torch for the Doctor since they met (as adults anyway). Despite the fact that she married Rory, it takes some time for her husband to believe she prefers him over the fascinating Time Lord.


Assumpta, Leo and Peter from Ballykissangel 

What to do when you fall for a priest? Get married to an old school beau, that’s what.


Gillian, Robbie and John from Last Tango in Halifax

Considering Gillian’s track record with men, you could argue this one is a love square or perhaps even a pentagon. But since Robbie and John are her only age appropriate suitors, I feel I this qualifies as a three-sided love affair.

image credit Courtesy of Ben Blackall/© Anthony and Cleopatra Series Ltd

image credit Courtesy of Ben Blackall/© Anthony and Cleopatra Series Ltd


Now you decide. Take our poll and have your Valentine’s Day say!





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BBC America logo

It’s official. I have cancelled my cable subscription to BBC America! No more Kitchen Nightmares, Top Gear or Star Trek: the Next Generation marathons. No longer must I roll my eyes when the featured movies have little or no connection to the UK. The Terminator, Weird Science, and Escape from New York, really?

I will not feel nostalgic about the abundance of commercials; blocks of adverts so long that by the time the show comes back you’ve already started to forget what just happened. I was bombarded so often during Broadchurch that I usually drifted off to sleep from the boredom.

The BBC original programming was rarely ever engaging for me. I probably wouldn’t have chosen to watch a Canadian sci-fi series or an American post Civil War police drama on any other cable network so I certainly wouldn’t seek it out on BBC America. Orphan Black held my attention for awhile, but Copper was never something I was going to get interested in. Even Intruders which starred John Simm, one of my favorite British TV actors, failed to impress. None of it was British enough for my expectations.

Cast of Intruders

Cast of Intruders image credit BBC America


When they did acquire actual British shows, BBC programmers rarely found anything in my genre wheelhouse. Fantasy like Merlin and Atlantis; paranormal tales such as In the Flesh and Bedlam; or espionage “thrillers” like Spies of Warsaw left me cold. I’m sort of ashamed to admit I’m not a fan of nature programs either so Earth Night Tuesdays were no good to me.

Reading this may make you wonder if I really like British television at all. (I really do by the way.)  For example, I will miss watching Doctor Who episodes only hours after they air in the UK which is the main reason I got the channel in the first place. But for $40 less a month on my cable bill I can live with the wait for Netflix or whatever streaming service has rights at the moment. Or perhaps I can find some “timey wimey” method of watching it sooner…


Some other fine dramas have made it to BBC America – The Hour, the aforementioned Broadchurch and currently they are airing Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell. But these series are few and far between.

I’m sure from time to time I will pine for The Graham Norton Show, but I’ll get over it, especially since the couch has about a three Americans to one Brit guest ratio these days. Graham grovels at the feet of stars like Meryl Streep and George Clooney and the obligatory British comedians are ignored until a joke is required. The fact that BBC America seemed to abandon any dedicated comedy programming (once called The Ministry of Laughs) and felt Graham Norton was enough was a very grave miscalculation in my opinion.

Besides, there’s barely time for classic Red Chair stories anymore!


I wish BBC America well and if you are a satisfied customer, more power to you! It just wasn’t a good fit for me. I am at peace with my decision to break-up with this channel. It didn’t fulfill my British TV needs and so it had to go. I look it as more money for my trip to the UK where the truly good telly is!!!

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Any Gary and Miranda kiss is heartwarming. image credit BBC

image credit BBC

The internet tells me it’s National Kissing Day. This senselessly manufactured day of swapping spit prompted me to devise a list of cheer worthy TV smooches. You know, the kind that take forever to actually happen and warm your heart when you finally witness them. For example, any kiss that ever transpired between the constantly on again off again Miranda and Gary.


So without further ado, here are a few more telly kisses you might remember fondly…

Caroline and Mac proposal kiss – Green Wing



2.  Mark and Sophie first kiss at a wake – Peep Show



3. Tim and Dawn Christmas party soulmate kiss – The Office



4. The Doctor and River Song first and last kiss – Doctor Who


Which kiss will you try out on your loved one today?

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Peter Capaldi as the 12th Doctor  image credit BBC America

Peter Capaldi as the 12th Doctor
image credit BBC America

Peter Capaldi’s debut as the 12th Doctor is less than 24 hours away and I know there are still a few of you out there who are concerned about how a more mature actor will make the role his own. I have no advance knowledge of series 8 of course, but I’m here to say our beloved Time Lord is in good hands.

It has been highly publicized that Peter is a life-long Doctor Who fan so it’s reasonable to assume that this character is obviously very important to him. Capaldi comes to the Doctor Who franchise as an acclaimed actor and director of an Oscar-winning short film.

And while we’ve all probably heard about how Capaldi was cast as a W.H.O. doctor in the Brad Pitt zombie flick, World War Z,  you may not realize how often our newest Time Lord has played a doctor of one kind or another in the past.

For example, he played a medical doctor (albeit a quite unhinged one) in the dramedy Fortysomething. Dr. Ronnie Pilfrey was concerned with the business side of medicine and had something of an obsession with his colleague’s wife, but you’ve got to admire his energy and willingness to commit no matter how ridiculous the premise. Surely these are qualities required of  the newest Doctor.

Most of you are probably well acquainted with Malcolm Tucker, the spin doctor extraordinaire from the political satire series The Thick of It. Malcolm is an artist with words and though they are often quite naughty ones, his verbal dexterity is a skill that transfers well to being a time and space traveler. You never know when you might need to talk yourself out of a jam.

On the other hand, Dr. Pete from the mini-series The Field of Blood is an alcoholic old hack with the soul of a poet. I’m not certain how soulful this Doctor’s meant to be but he usually has a sensitive side for those who are oppressed or abandoned.

*Additionally after watching The Field of Blood in its entirety, I learned that Dr. Pete is so called because he has a doctorate in divinity. Spirituality and the Doctor? The dozen or so hits on the internet that discuss the theology of Doctor Who would indicate there’s at least a passing connection.

Last but not least Capaldi played the Therapist in Big Fat Gypsy Gangster. That skill set should come in handy when confronting angry aliens with Oedipal issues.

Peter also played a psychiatrist in Getting On but he was more an object of desire for Dr. Pippa Moore than a healing character. On second thought, female adoration is something the Doctor has had dealings with on more than one occasion.

So fear not my Whovian friends, all will be well. We have a professional Doctor stepping up to the plate this evening… or at least he’s played one on TV.

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As Sirs Stewart and McKellan prepare to take their leave of the Big Apple, they have apparently tweeted out over a dozen photos that will save the NYC Tourist Board a fortune in advertising.  They’ve traveled from Wall Street to Coney Island, enjoying the total out-of-towner experience, corny poses and all.


And while I’m glad everything has gone so smoothly for these acting legends during their run on Broadway, there are some notable exceptions that should make British buddies think twice about traveling to the island of Manhattan.

Who remembers when the ladies of Ab Fab went to New York for Fashion Week?


If I recall correctly, Eddie and Patsy were accidentally joined in marriage by Whoopi Goldberg and, when sufficiently under the influence, the pair proceeded to set a bar on fire. This resulted in the obligatory arrest of the best friends and, one would assume, their deportation back to Britain.

But when has there ever been anything subtle or sober about Patsy Stone and Edina Monsoon?

Then of course, this trio of companions decided to take an uncomplicated mini-break to relax in Central Park…


And unfortunately two-thirds of them didn’t make it back to Old Blighty.

The beginning of the Weeping Angel invasion of New York image credit BBC

The beginning of the Weeping Angel invasion of New York
image credit BBC


If you ask me, the Doctor’s not been the same man since he came back from that trip.

What lesson should my British readers take from this? If you plan on traveling to New York with your BFF, drink in moderation, skip the illegal substances and for God’s sake, don’t blink!



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After the presents have been unwrapped and the delicious dinner consumed, what will you and yours be doing for the rest of Christmas Day?  Setting up your complicated new gadgets, going to church, playing board games, snoozing perhaps?

I can tell you what most Americans won’t be doing this evening and that’s watching television.  After checking over the network TV schedules, I see there will be re-runs of Kelly Clarkson and Michael Buble’s Christmas specials, episodes of fan-favorite sitcoms like Modern Family and your run-of-the-mill police detective dramas.  And of course there’s the annual 24 hour marathon of The Christmas Story broadcast on cable.  Boring!

I can tell you there will be nothing near as adventurous and exciting on offer as this:


Or as tender-hearted as this:


Or as grand and theatrical as this:


In the UK, Christmas (and Boxing Day) programming is actually exceptional and highly anticipated.  For example, this year’s Doctor Who special will be a fond farewell to the 11th Doctor and an introduction to the 12th.  Really major stuff.

Matt Smith will regenerate into Peter Capaldi tonight

Matt Smith will regenerate into Peter Capaldi tonight

On the day after Christmas,  a classic and well-loved sitcom, Open All Hours, returns after almost 30 years for a exclusive holiday episode, Still Open All Hours.

Still Open All Hours will air the day after Christmas

Still Open All Hours will air on Boxing Day


This is a phenomenon I remember only happening once on American TV in my lifetime – the classic and very cheesy, A Very Brady Christmas.


Christmas Day is reserved as must-see TV in the UK while across the pond it’s a throwaway day since I guess everyone is ostensibly spending quality time with family.  I would contend that some of the best quality time I’ve had with my family has been taken place gathered around the telly.  Perhaps I’m spending Christmas in the wrong country?

As I conclude this series please let me wish all of you a very Happy Christmas!  I look forward to a new year full of new shows and lots of telly talk in 2014!

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I am, without a doubt a Doctor Who fan and would rate my level of enthusiasm for this institution of entertainment at a five out of ten. I place myself in the mid-range of fandom for several reasons. My familiarity with the first eight Time Lords is quite superficial and I have next to no interest in getting to know more about them. I’m not likely to dress up as a Doctor Who character, but I can’t ignore a TARDIS-themed merchandise display.  I don’t differentiate between the models of sonic screwdrivers nor do I care that the Slitheen family come from the planet Raxacoricofallapatorious. My mind gets in muddle when they start talking about the danger of crossing time streams; nevertheless, I’ve come to accept that I don’t always know what’s going on and I just enjoy the ride.

I like the stories, I like the characters, and I like the twists that make your mouth drop open just a bit when the reveal happens.  I LOVE the heartfelt moments and I’m not ashamed to admit I’ve shed a tear on more than one occasion. I am a fan, not a fanatic. Therefore the recent 50th anniversary inundation has presented me with a bit more Who than I require in most situations.

In the States, BBC America proclaimed this past week Doctor Who Takeover Week.

Time Lord Montage


Marathons of all three Doctors’ episodes from the rebooted series were broadcast non-stop – even Christophter Eccelston’s meager one series run despite the fact he couldn’t be bothered to participate in the 50th anniversary festivities.  Various other specials premiered including one where physicist Brian Cox explained how time travel and other Doctor Who concepts might be scientifically possible (I have a feeling it would have been more entertaining if the actor Brian Cox had been there instead, but oh, well)…




Friday night I did enjoy the bits and pieces I was able to catch of An Adventure in Space and Time.  This TV movie tells the story of the beginnings of Doctor Who including  the casting of William Hartnell (played brilliantly by David Bradley) as the show’s inaugural cranky time traveler. We get to see dramatizations of behind the scenes stories about how the sets were designed, why regeneration became a part of Time Lord canon and the many fights producer Verity Lambert (Call the Midwife’s Jessica Raine), the first female producer for the BBC, had to wage to give her show a fair chance to become the legend it is today.



Unfortunately I was in the midst of making Fish Finger cookies (chocolate wafer cookies rolled in graham cracker crumbs and baked until golden crispy) for my 50th anniversary Time Lord Trivia Tournament at work the following day. Some of you  may remember my post from last year – How to Put on a Doctor Who Extravaganza in Six Not So Easy Steps.  What I did this year was basically an upgrade of the original – I swapped out about 75% of my old questions for new ones, my co-worker Mary came up with a Tardis bookmark craft to replace the River Song diary and we had included food this time – the aforementioned Fish Fingers and custard.  This photo actually demonstrates the incredible popularity of this snack as at the beginning of the event, this tray was completely covered in faux fish fingers.


Fish Finger Cookie and Custard image credit Lauri Frashure

Fish Finger Cookie and Custard image credit Lauri Frashure


I’m happy to say that this program drew twice as many participants as last year.  I can’t take the credit for all the success as I had support from my co-workers Jordan, Kathleen and Fabian.  And it must be said, all the 50th anniversary hubbub did much of my advertising for me.  Stick a life size TARDIS replica in your lobby for a week and it will recruit a healthy crowd.  No mere flyer can do as much!

Upon returning home after orchestrating this exhausting adventure, I settled down with some Chinese food to watch the encore showing of “The Day of the Doctor.” (See, if I was a true TARDIS-blue Whovian,  I would have cancelled my program at work and stayed home to witness the global simulcast on BBC America at 2:50 ET.)  I enjoyed seeing David Tennant back in the pinstriped suit and converse “sand shoes”. I liked John Hurt’s performance and his fauxhawk . Billie Piper didn’t annoy me as much as she usually does, but then she wasn’t truly Rose in this episode so at least I know it’s Rose Tyler, the character, I don’t like rather than just Billie Piper the actress and her amazingly equine-like mouth that bothers me so.

And dear Matt Smith, I’m missing the 11th Doctor already…



Three Doctors in one place, the potential to change Gallifreyian history, nods to Doctors past and future – what more could you ask for?  Well, what I was most anxious to see was two Doctors on a couch answering (or not answering) the questions of Whovians perched precariously on a certain red chair…



Not only was the entire Doctor Who segment of the Graham Norton show great fun, but it illustrates my initial point.  I am a fan, not one of those delightfully eccentric people we just witnessed getting flipped over by a their heroes in something approaching a comfy torture device.  (I know you’re thinking it, “No one expects the Spanish Inquisition!”).  Though when I think about it, that last tattoo guy got to not only meet David Tennant but also got to touch him when the 10th Doctor autographed his arm.  Perhaps, I’m ignoring the fast track to fan girl glory?

The anniversary of any TV show that can draw a fan base for fifty years is an achievement to be celebrated for sure, but I’m happy to say the overwhelming wave of Doctor Who is over for now, or at least until Matt Smith’s farewell episode is aired this Christmas.



Until then I plan on recovering from my Doctor Who fatigue by avoiding reruns and staying away from time machines of all sorts.  Anyone else experiencing a Time Lord hangover or is it just me?

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Chances are no matter where you live, at some point this summer, you have endured some pretty oppressive heat and humidity. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, dog days refers to the period between early July and early September when the hot sultry weather of summer usually occurs in the northern hemisphere. The canine reference alludes to the heliacal rising of the Dog Star (Sirius) at this time of year.

So in order to help get your mind off your wilted, sweaty condition, I have gathered a collection of British telly “dog stars” for you to cuddle and adore, in that computer Facebook oohing and ahhing sort of way, of course.


Gromit – Wallace and Gromit

Tolerant of but noticeably brighter than his owner, Gromit is a multi-talented beagle, a Renaissance dog if you will.  He’s even good at sport:


GremlinDoc Martin

Dr. Ellingham abhors dogs and makes no secret of that fact.  (Ironically, Martin Clunes who plays the good doctor is a well-known dog lover.)  Dogs, however take a shine to him no matter how many times he turns them out from his house, car or just shoos them from his general vicinity.  Perhaps he unknowingly releases canine pheromones…


Gremlin, the loyal and persistant  image credit kcet.org

Gremlin, the loyal and persistant
image credit kcet.org

Gremlin, pictured above, was the Doc’s constant and unwanted chaperon for the first three series of the show until he passed away.  And though his replacement, Dodger, is undeniably adorable, Gremlin will always be my favorite as he reminds me of my Riley, a beloved dog I lost almost ten years ago.


Wee JockHamish MacBeth

A tenacious West Highland Terrier, Wee Jock was the steadfast companion of police officer, Hamish MacBeth.  The perfect combination of alarm dog and devoted friend, this pup was known to all in the village of Lochdubh.


Alas being the sidekick of a copper has its dangers and poor Jock was taken from his master in a hit and run accident.  A very sad day, especially for any dog lover.


IsisDownton Abbey

Isis - the epitome of the phrase "man's best friend"

Isis – the epitome of the phrase “man’s best friend”

Whenever I hear the opening strains of the Downton Abbey theme song, I can’t help but picture the wagging tail and hindquarters of a yellow lab walking next to its master – and it makes me smile.  In fact anytime Lord Grantham is at the estate, I take a quick look around for a glimpse of his ever present canine, Isis. With all the stress and chaos swirling around the Crawley clan, she never judges or abandons her master.

As gutting as the unfortunate deaths of Lady Sybil and Matthew Crawley were, the plot line that genuinely worried me the most in all of Downtown Abbey history was when evil footman Thomas temporarily kidnapped Isis in order to get a promotion for “rescuing” her and proceeded to lose track of her all together.


K9Doctor Who

And finally, a dog you don’t have to house break, feed or teach new tricks.  Not very cuddly perhaps but K9 has many other useful  qualities.


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On occasion I’ve shared with you the summer exploits of the Anglophile/expat group I lead at my library.  Well, this year we decided to put on a British car show.

Our parking lot was a showcase of British motor engineering  – Lotuses, Mini Coopers, Jaguars, MGs, a Triumph or two, a Landrover, a Mini Moke and the most rare of all – a 1950 Healey Silverstone.

Our winner received a gift certificate for auto detailing and an almost one of a kind Stig Pincushion Cat.  If you want to buy one for yourself, check out Fat Cat Crafts here.

I was really chuffed with our first attempt.  We attracted 21 area car owners and drew a crowd of about 100 British automobile enthusiasts. We had beautiful weather, but it was the generous assistance of my fellow Anglophiles that made this inaugural event so successful.  From helping with set-up to recruiting car owners, from donating crisps and biscuits to being my cheerful greeting staff, their attendance and participation was key to such a wonderful day. They’re the best!

But as much as I enjoyed marveling at all these unique and sometimes exotic vehicles, when it comes to cars I’m a very practical woman. ( I drive a 1998 Toyota Camry with over 215,000 miles on it after all). So  I thought it might be nice to organize a little virtual cruise-in right here featuring some functional, hard-working, telly automobiles.

Welcome and please enjoy the Working Man’s British Car Show:

1. Ford Cortina TC Mark III GXL   – Life on Mars

Gene Hunt’s beloved Ford Cortina was involved in its share of police car chases in and around 1970’s Manchester.  I think he loved this car more than his wife…who we never did see, by the way.

2.  British Leyland Mini 1000 – Mr. Bean

Mr. Bean’s Mini was definitely an extension of the man himself.  It was quirky and reckless and multipurpose- whether he needed it to be a dressing room or a delivery van.

3.  Reliant Regal Supervan- Only Fools and Horses

Del Boy and Rodney ran their dodgy black market business, Trotters Independent Trading Company, out of their dilapidated Reliant Regal Supervan so it literally was a working man’s vehicle.  Though perhaps they shouldn’t have chosen such a conspicuous color or model if they wanted to avoid the notice of local coppers.

4. The Reasonably Priced Car- Top Gear

Top Gear‘s newest model for it’s reasonably priced car segment was the Vauxhall Astra.  That’s all anyone needs really, even a star like Benedict Cumberbatch.

5. Type 40 TARDIS – Doctor Who

I know. You’re saying hold on, the TARDIS isn’t a car.  But it’s my list, my blog and this classic British mode of transportation is exactly what I would choose if I could find one in working order. Besides they come with a Time Lord chauffeur.

Vote for the People’s Choice award by commenting below.  If you’re not satisfied with the entrants, write-in candidates are welcome.

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Doubtless you are aware that very soon this man will become a grandfather for the first time.

Granddad Charles image credit telegraph.co.uk

Granddad Charles image credit telegraph.co.uk


Very exciting news indeed, but the prospect of a new child round the palace can be daunting. So I went out and found a few examples of  telly granddads who could offer some practical advice and encouragement for the many stages of grandparenting.


No nappies ? No problem – Pramface



Difficult questions call for distraction – Outnumbered



Cash beats “fun” every time –In with the Flynns



No matter where they’ve been or how old they are, always welcome them home with  a big hug – Doctor Who

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