Tag Archives: 2010

100th Post: Reflecting on Nearly 3 Years

It’s really surprising to see that I started this blog nearly three years ago. And to find that this is my 100th post. Have I really had that many interesting things to say?! Excuse the self-indulgence here, then, as I look back at what’s changed since my very first blog post on 30th April 2010. (In no particular order…)

1. I’m now a freelance writer.
2. I’ve interviewed Matt Smith. (I know; I haven’t said anything about this massive event on this blog yet. But stay tuned!)

Matt and Moffat

3. I launched the Make Mine A Marvel Omnibus site in October 2010.
4. I had my first article printed in Real Travel magazine.
5. I work for the Doctor Who site, Kasterborous.
6. Amy and Rory left the TARDIS last year. (Don’t press me on the matter; I’m still a bit teary.)
7. I have an FdA in Professional Writing. (You can read more about that course here.)
8. Spooks has finished. (Thank God for DVDs!)
9. I’ve started my first novel.
10. I’ve written for the Weston College Higher Education Prospectus.
11. I did the web copy for Lovarzi’s Fourth Doctor Scarf for both their own website and Amazon.


12. As well as doing the official press release!
13. I’ve started my first children’s book.
14. The Amazing Spider-Man reached #700.
15. I’ve worked for Kasterborous’ sister site, CultBritannia (and you can read my first article here.)
16. I’ve learnt how to add videos to my blog!
17. I wrote The British Comedy Guide’s 10th anniversary celebratory article of The Office.
18. I’ve started a few scripts…
19. … And am searching for an agent.

Armstrong and Miller Guide2Bristol review

Armstrong and Miller Guide2Bristol review

20. I reviewed the Armstrong and Miller Tour for Bristol247
21. … And for Guide2Bristol.
22. The latter of which has been quoted on the official A&M website!
23. I copy-edit regularly for Kasterborous.
24. I reviewed the Day of the Daleks: Special Edition DVD for Kasterborous in two parts (here and here).
25. Then reviewed it for ItchyBristol here.
26. I’ve ran two blog advents across December 2011 and 2012.
27. I’ve worked on four Doctor Who ReKapped articles (learn more about that here), with another one in the works.

A Town Called Mercy 3

28. Clara Oswin Oswald has joined the TARDIS (sort of).
29. Neil Armstrong has passed away.
30. And so has Sir Patrick Moore.
31. The Killers have released a new album, Battle Born (and you can read a review of their single, Runaways here).
32. Avengers Assemble! has been released.
33. My review of the Doctor Who graphic novel, The Dalek Project went online here.
34. I’ve contributed two features to the upcoming Kasterborous Magazine (stay tuned for that).
35. Ray Bradbury has died.

The Illustrated Man

36. I’ve joined Twitter!
37. I’ve reviewed the last episode of Sherlock, The Reichenbach Fall, for Cult Britannia.
38. I have worked in a shop, Giggs, during the Christmas 2011 period – a shop which has since gone bust! (Nothing to do with me, I might add.)
39. I’ve read countless books – and you can see my top 10 reads of 2012 here.
40. Two episodes of 1960s Doctor Who have been found!
41. I reviewed Mission to the Unknown for Kasterborous’ Doctor Who@50.
42. The Gunfighters too! (And that’s certainly not the last of my involvement in the project.)
43. I created the Introducing: Doctor Who series for Kasterborous.

The Gunfighters 4

44. Doctor Who Confidential has been axed. (And was voted the best show ever on BBC3. Typical.)
45. I previewed Forbidden Planet’s Doctor Who Fun Day for ItchyBristol.
46. And in a short piece for The Mercury.
47. And finally for Bristol 247.
48. … For whom I also reviewed it.
49. The price of a 1st class stamp has increased to 60p.
50. I reviewed Lovarzi’s Fourth Doctor Scarf.
51. I write a regular column, Bristol Comics Corner, for Guide2Bristol.
52. Death in Paradise debuted on BBCOne.
53. Tuition fees increased, with a cap at £9,000.
54. … Something which I argued against in this Bristol247 article.
55. Brandon Flowers released his first solo album, Flamingo, and I reviewed it here.
56. I was thanked for my article about Jack Vettriano’s Bristol exhibition.

Vettriano on the Bristol247 homepage

Vettriano on the Bristol247 homepage

57. I previewed the Slapstick Festival in 2011.
58. I created my own website, using Moonfruit…
59. Then deleted it, as I wasn’t happy with the inability to update.
60. The Dandy ceased publication. (Read my article on that here.)
61. I’ve submitted an article to the Doctor Who book, Celebrate, Regenerate.
62. The Doctor Who Experience opened in London –
63. – Then moved to Cardiff.

JLC dress and Dalek

64. I reviewed Mack the Life, Lee Mack’s autobiography, for The British Comedy Guide.
65. I interviewed comic writer and artist, Jerry Holliday.
66. The Ice Warriors have been confirmed to return in the second half of Doctor Who, Series 7.
67. The world didn’t end on 21st December 2012. (Always a good thing, I find.)
68. The Bristol Comic Expo returned to Brunel’s Old Station.
69. I previewed the 2012 Expo here.
70. And reviewed it here.
71. The James Bond film franchise hit the big 5-0.
72. My former tutor, Marc Leverton, who’s a freelance writer, has written a guest blog post about his experience of publishers.

How To - Journalism

73. A review of his book, How to work as a Freelance Journalist, can be read here.
74. Steven Moffat has left Twitter. (Again, nothing to do with me!)
75. I’ve seen Steven Moffat at the Doctor Who Experience!
76. Sherlock burst onto television in July 2010.
77. I’ve helped Kasterborous begin their 50th anniversary celebrations with monthly Introduction articles.
78. January’s was Frontier in Space.
79. And this month’s is Vengeance on Varos.

Frontier 3

80. Tying into this, my editor called a second Frontier in Space piece I wrote one of the best articles the site has ever published. A massive compliment. You can read The World Behind: Frontier in Space here.
81. I reviewed Lee Mack’s Going Out live tour for Guide2Bristol
82. … And Bristol247!
83. I’ve visited the National History Museum for the first time.
84. Colin Baker appeared on I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here!
85. My article, Room with a View?, was the most-viewed article on Kasterborous in 2012!
86. I’ve begun work on a number of non-fiction books – but researching is a long task!
87. I reminisced on the anniversary of Matt Smith’s debut as the Doctor, Karen Gillan as Amy and Arthur Darvill as Rory here.
88. And celebrated Matt’s Doctor here.

The 11th Doctor

89. I’ve started a short story collection.
90. My jewellery article, With This (Time) Ring…, was surprisingly popular, making the Kasterborous top 10 list of the most-viewed articles of 2012.
91. I looked at the top 10 guest stars in the Tenth Doctor era here and here.
92. I’ve started reading the Sherlock Holmes novels by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
93. T4 On The Beach (held in my hometown) has been cancelled.

David Tennant

94. I’m working on a particularly-exciting documentary idea – though it’s only in development in my head at the minute!
95. I’ve seen Peter Kay live at Manchester’s M.E.N. Arena.
96. Parts of Doctor Who: The Snowmen were filmed in Bristol, as were bits of Night Terrors.
97. I previewed tours by Micky Flanagan, Ed Byrne and Stewart Francis for my local newspaper, The Weston and Worle Mercury.

Micky Flanagan Mercury preview

Micky Flanagan Mercury preview

98. I’ve seen the asteroid, 2012 DA14!
99. I’ve added a new section to my blog: Testimonials.
100. I’ve written 100 posts!

But don’t go anywhere. This is just the start.

Thanks for sticking with me this long.


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Doctor Who ReKapped!

ADVENT DAY ONE: Christmas. It’s not long away. And to celebrate advent, new content will be added to this blog every day in the countdown to the big day. You’ll see reviews, opinion pieces, links to some of my other work, videos – maybe even a short story! Remember to check back every day (in between the mad rush of packing presents, getting the freezer stocked up and watching Home Alone on repeat).

Earlier this year, I was involved with a new project for Kasterborous: running alongside the new series of Doctor Who, we recapped each episode in prep for the next one.

Pond Life

Of course, this meant a surprising amount of work: rewatching episodes and creating a scene-by-scene breakdown, noting down important dialogue and making sure the final piece doesn’t take 45 minutes to read!

Here are all the reKaps (with a K!) – and remember that you can buy Series 7: Part 1 on DVD and Blu-ray.

Asylum of the Daleks

The first episode was recapped by my fellow-contributor, Scott Varnham. The experiment obviously worked well, so as Scott was busy the following weeks, I happily volunteered for the next four episodes. (Fingers crossed I get to continue writing them at Christmas and beyond!)

Asylum of the Daleks ReKap

Dinosaurs on a Spaceship

I feel that there are a few important things to get across in each rekap. Firstly, it has to be enjoyable, which is quite a challenge when what you’re essentially doing is retelling a story in basic terms, with little speech. Secondly, it has to be understandable – quite a task considering that many don’t really ‘get’ the complex narratives of many-a-tale by Steven Moffat! And lastly, it has to reflect the tone of the story.

Dinosaurs on a Spaceship has a wavering tone (that’s not a criticism; I loved this episode), ranging from funny – cue Rory’s dad, Brian – to the serious (mostly due to Soloman). It wasn’t tough to show, really; the serious side seeped through, just noting down the grim sides of the tale, like the Silurians being ejected out of the air locks.

Dinosaurs ReKap

The funnier/sillier sides of the story are mainly shown through paraphrasing: you can’t put words into their mouths – but it’s not just a transcript throughout.

A Town Called Mercy

A Town Called Mercy ReKap

A surprising highlight of the series for me, focussing on a town cut off by the cyborg Gunslinger. It’s bookended by narration, and I used that as an introduction and conclusion to the piece. The rest of the tale was all about morals, laced with typical-Toby Whithouse dry wit. Again, this was achieved through paraphrasing; for example, when Kahler-Jex tells Amy that the Gunslinger probably won’t fire if someone else is with him, she replies, “Oh, well, colour me reassured.” This translated into:

“Jex pulls a gun on Amy, intending to use her as a hostage in order to escape: the Gunslinger’s programming won’t let him harm innocents unless absolutely necessary (and Amy is coloured reassured!).”

The Power of Three

Power of Three ReKap

Due to the very nature of the ‘slow invasion,’ the structure of The Power of Three is quite disjointed, flitting between the everyday lives of the Ponds and their travels in the TARDIS. But it also maintains a sort of linear narrative. Again, this had to be reflected in the rekap, which was pretty tough.

It was made even harder as many of the scenes in previous episodes could be cut; not that they were unimportant, but little details could be skipped or incorporated later on. But most of the scenes in The Power of Three were important for either character development (the main thrust of the episode) or the threat of the cubes.

It had also become apparent how popular and likeable Brian is, so I tried to incorporate some of his quirks more, like calling him Brian “Diligence” Williams.

The Angels Take Manhattan

By far the hardest rekap to write: a fantastic story, naturally – but one which confused many and had to be a satisfying goodbye for Amy and Rory… and a whole era of Doctor Who.

Angels Take Manhattan ReKap

Once more, the narrative zig-zags between time zones, and I had to reflect certain aspects of the story’s tone and especially sadness. The best way to tell the story of The Angels Take Manhattan is, it occurred to me, how River Song told the story: in a book.

Obviously, a whole book would’ve been over the word limit by just a little bit – so instead, I split the action into chapters, utilising the headings from River’s novel, The Angel’s Kiss: A Melody Malone Mystery. It was quite a task, considering those particular chapter titles don’t fit entirely with the on-screen happenings!

Still, it worked out quite nicely, with a few friends saying that it cleared up some confusion.

Matt Smith had previously said that the end tied into 2010’s The Eleventh Hour, and I can proudly say that I correctly predicted that it was Amelia waiting in the garden – then the noise of the TARDIS engines. In fact, that scene had been niggling at me for a while. I even wondered if it was metaphorical or maybe that Amy was dreaming when the TARDIS wakes her! Thanks to Mr. Moffat for clearing it up.


So then it was down to the business of Amy and Rory’s farewell. I found myself relying on the dialogue to get the emotion across, as, hopefully, the reader would start hearing their voices.

Of course, I then got to the afterword – and I just had to transcribe it.

It may have been difficult to do, but I’m really happy with the finished article.

Finally, there’s that last chapter, not in River’s book, but vital to relate back to: what started it all, and a favourite of not just me but so, so many others:

The Eleventh Hour.


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Spotlight: Karl Pilkington

Love or loathe them, Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant introduced the world to a comedic genius. The last few years have been spent trying to increase his public profile, and now his name is associated with record-breaking podcasts, the seven wonders of the world and… oranges.

“What are those things in Gremlins called?”

An Idiot Abroad

Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you… Mr. Karl Pilkington.

You might have noticed he’s Mancunian, he has a deadpan delivery and his head is perfectly spherical.

But Karl is very funny. I’m not sure he means to be. But some people think he’s a comic creation; that he’s, in fact, an actor called Graham. But I’m not sure anyone could create anything like Karl Pilkington.

“I have learned that my brain isn’t as interested in stuff as I am.”

Gervias, Merchant and Pilkington have presented and co-produced The Ricky Gervais Show, a record-breaking series of podcast-come-TV series based on their various ramblings. But he’s perhaps best-known for his travel series, An Idiot Abroad, in which he visits the Seven Wonders of the World and shares his thoughts on them. Of the Great Wall of China, he said: “I mean, it’s long, but then so’s the M62.”

The Ricky Gervais Show

But he also writes books, a few of which are based on his diaries, including The World of Karl Pilkington, Happyslapped by a Jellyfish, and Karlology. One of Karl’s strengths is his deadpan delivery, and he gets this across in his text with an informal, chatty style. “You’ve got 204 pages to fill,” he says. “Dawdle all you want. Ramble away. I mean, there’s times when I wish I had a stutter, just to get the word count up.”

Okay, so why do I like him so much?

Well, first of all, everything he does is of a very high quality. Writing a book that is as funny as its TV counterpart is – frankly – genius.

Secondly, he’s normal. He speaks his mind and has gut-reactions to everything. He’s inoffensive, has his timing worked to a tee, and – though some of his ideas are bizarre and utterly mad – you can still, somehow, relate.

“Jellyfish are 97% water or something, so how much are they doing? Just give them another 3% and make them water.”

“It would be spiteful… to put jellyfish in a trifle.”

Finally, he got one GCSE; an ‘E’ in History. He failed to register for the rest, so got no other official grades. So why’s this a reason to like him? Well, it’s spurred him on. Far from any idiot you meet down the local, he wants to learn more. Yes, he’s ignorant of a lot, but so is everyone. At least he’s trying to better himself.

Oh, and he’s very, very funny.

And if you’re still not convinced… Karl is at Chichen Itza, in Mexico, where Mayans performed sacrifices. And if you don’t like him after this, you probably never will.

Karl Pilkington: Just can’t get enough.

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Posted by on April 11, 2011 in Unpublished work


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Review: Brandon Flowers: Flamingo

While The Killers take a break, lead singer and songwriter, Brandon Flowers decided the draw of the studio was too much, and produced Flamingo, his debut solo album, which wades through the genres and carefully selects the very best to coalesce.

Flamingo: Deluxe Edition

Opener, Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas is exactly what it says on the tin; a stirring introduction to the bright-lights-even-bigger-city album. This salute to Flowers’ hometown weighs up the city of “dreamers, harlots and sins” with a fantastic, elating song which fizzes with tension and explodes in a joyous chorus. Vegas is a main theme of Flamingo: gambling, religion and love.

Oh, and rock ‘n’ roll!

Most notably, Jilted Lovers and Broken Hearts has the feel of a casino; tense and fast, with allusions of underhandedness. It indulges in its genre, but not to the same extent as Playing With Fire. Teaming up with Killers drummer, Ronnie Vannucci, it harks back to the classic rock era, and it’s pretty heavy – but likable – stuff. Was It Something I Said balances it out, if you ignore its sad theme.

Magdalena continues its upbeat tone, with a fast rhythm with twangs of country music. Based on the story of a crusade, it feels like a journey to the exploding chorus and final verse.

Hard Enough – a duet with Jenny Lewis – is gentle and sweet; the two have beautifully complimenting voices that bring out strong emotion.

Crossfire is, quite simply, beautiful; enough to give anybody goose bumps with its mix of fairytale and rock. The second single released is Only the Young, a perfect candidate. Memorable lyrics and strong beat lends itself to the charts, as does its current, electro-pop backing.

On the Floor has been likened to gospel a couple of times, unnecessarily negatively. At worse, it’s a gentle interlude, but at best, it’s both sad and joyous. Continuing its upbeat nature, Swallow It has a strong beat, with elements of classic pop-rock. It might feel like an abrupt ending, though, so…

Now to the bonus songs, exclusive to the deluxe version.

The Clock Was Tickin’ dips even deeper into country music, but is surely one of the best of the whole album. It has an appreciative nature, telling the story of one man’s life. The fast pace finally gives way to a slow sadness, as his sweetheart dies. Like much of Flamingo, its main message is to enjoy life.

Jacksonville is promising from the get-go; a heavy drumbeat welcomes us in, as layers of tensions build, while I Came Here To Get Over You contains further elements of rock. Drums and guitar bounce off each other wonderfully, as a whisper of electro-pop is introduced into the background.

As the album’s final song, Right Behind You is fantastically understated, but is actually quite elating in its message and values. Fading with a honky-tonk piano, Flowers makes it clear that it’s not all bright lights; the little things are what’s important.

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Posted by on February 28, 2011 in Unpublished work


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Mack A-Mania

Well, it’s been a while. But I have been busy. Promise.

I went to see my favourite comedian, Lee Mack, in November, and loved every second. So I quickly knocked out a couple of reviews and the kind folks at Bristol247 and Guide2Bristol deemed them suitable for publication! You can find them here:

Lee Mack Bristol247 Review

And here:

Lee Mack Guide2Bristol Review

But that’s not all. I seem to have fallen into a comedy niche; quite accidental, but very enjoyable anyway. I found myself previewing the Slapstick Festival in Bristol, which can be found at:

Slapstick Festival Bristol247 preview

Plus, I’ve been lucky enough to have a preview of Micky Flanagan’s new tour – ‘Out Out’ – printed in last week’s Weston Mercury (dated 10th February 2011). Here’s a photocopy of the article, which can be found on page 47:

Micky Flanagan Mercury preview

I have a couple of other comedy-related articles in the mix at the minute, so I’ll keep you updated on that.

Come back soon for more updates on a few websites and a bit of social networking!

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Posted by on February 18, 2011 in Published work


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P-P-P-Published pieces

These last three months have flown by.

The much-anticipated Professional Writing has returned for a second year, and I’m finding it as fun as the last (but don’t tell anyone). The enthusiasm from my class has prompted more pitches, and a brand new blog. A niche, a flight of fancy, an indulgence; call it what you will, but do take a look:

I’ll be posting news and info up as much as possible, so don’t get rid of your internet connection, will you?

Isn’t technology wonderful? Mmmm, but who can beat a good ol’ magazine? So why not pick up Real Travel magazine this month (issue 57; dated December 2010) to see an article I wrote in the Summer? The piece is ‘Have you ever… had a failed plane landing?’ and can be found on page 22. Go on; take a look!

In September, I went to the opening night of The Armstrong and Miller Show Tour – my favourite double act – and loved every second. Well… almost every second; I sank into my chair when the two picked on the audience. The pair still deserved the massive applause (and then some) so I swiftly knocked out some reviews, which can be found here:

Armstrong and Miller Guide2Bristol review

Armstrong and Miller Guide2Bristol review

And here:

Armstrong and Miller Bristol247 review

Armstrong and Miller Bristol247 review

And you think that’s it, don’t you? I can tell by the look in your eye. Well, you’d be wrong, my friend. On Monday (22nd November), my absolute favourite comedian, Lee Mack, returns to Bristol, this time to the Colston Hall. And guess who’ll be there…

I went to see Messer Mack in February and begged for an action replay. He (happily, I assume) obliged. So here we come. And what, you may ask, has this got anything to do with p-p-p-published pieces? Well…

Lee Mack: Going Out Mercury preview

Lee Mack: Going Out Mercury preview

I know I’m gonna love his show – and accompanying DVD – and can’t wait ‘til Not Going Out returns. Now if I could just get to work for his PR team and slowly rise through the ranks…

In other news:

  • Kudos to the brilliant Karl Pilkington, who has – and will continue to – entertain me with An Idiot Abroad, and his exceptional books. Long will I remain a fan.
  • I’m obviously looking forward to the next Doctor Who, A Christmas Carol, which looks to be just mind-blowing. The Sarah Jane Adventures have fed my obsession, with some fantastic storylines and acting, as have Classic Who DVDs and a convention that came to Weston. I met Sarah Sutton and saw Wendy Padbury again; really lovely people, who I’d love to interview someday (if you’re reading this…?).
  • But not all is well. I’ve just seen a Dolmio advert that rips off the “intruder window” joke from Doctor Who and has taken all of the credit. Feel free to form a protest. I’m trying, y’know.

Well, that’s all for now, but come back soon, won’t you…?

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Posted by on November 20, 2010 in Published work, Unpublished work


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Summer Daze

Everyone is supposed to think summer is marvellous. Yet all those I talk to dislike it. I completely concur, by the way.

Aside from anything else, it’s far from productive. The sun seems to pop up, birds sing, flowers bloom, and I look away in disgust. No, that’s not quite true. I like the jovial nature of summer; it’s the inescapable heat that drives me to distraction. I’ve not been a typical lazy student (I do so hate stereotypes), but I probably should have done a bit more than I have. At least it’s given me more time to indulge in my other loves. For instance…

I’m absolutely loving, loving, loving Brandon Flowers’ Flamingo album. Well done to him on that masterpiece. And here’s to the next The Killers album.

My comic and graphic novels collection has grown once more (though this will never be exclusive to summer), picking up massive omnibuses as often as I can. I’m currently working my way through the brilliant Brubaker/Lark run on Daredevil, in case anyone’s wondering. My find of the summer is probably the complete Man Without Fear miniseries by Frank Millar and my favourite artist, John Romita Jr. Near mint, cheap and off eBay. Never thought I’d say that. I’ve had a couple of comic-related surprises creep up on me too. X-Force: Sex and Violence had the perfect coupling of brilliant writing by Craig Kyle and Christopher Yost, and beautiful art by Gabriele Dell’Otto. One Month to Live is based on a lovely, deep concept; Hawkeye and Mockingbird is lively and clever; while Daredevil: Black and White has been the best read all season. All this and I still haven’t had time to read Shadowland and its many tie-ins.

For you non-comic fans out there, this has been the summer of ideas. I’ve had a lot. That’s not bragging; a lot have been awful. But I’ve hand-picked a few I’m actually quite happy with. Many are still in development, but at least they’ve been picked from the ether. My tutor, Marc, has convinced me to write ideas down, so there are a couple of scribbles in a notebook somewhere. I’m not used to it, really. Writers actually writing?! It’s all a bit alien to me.

Quirky, comical, serious, factual. Ideas just everywhere, and some development on something that began festering about two years ago. Hoping to complete that by next summer.

I’ve begun writing down comic storylines, in case Marvel suddenly beg me to write for all of their characters. I’m prepared. I’m making some progress on an ongoing Daredevil storyline that I’m pretty pleased with; which is also true with a Deadpool plan that’s been brewing. You won’t know any details until Marvel really do beg me for work. So don’t hold your breath.

Where do ideas come from? Well, anywhere. A recent idea for a trilogy of stories (based on OAPs, like all the best ones) emerged while watching Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit. Best not to ask at this stage.

I haven’t just been sitting in an idea-stew though. I’ve written… things! A couple of features, many-a-review, and scripts (comics and otherwise) ’til they’re coming out of my ears. Now and again, I find myself watching my beloved Coach Trip, thinking, “AREN’T I SUPPOSED TO BE PITCHING STUFF RIGHT NOW?!”

Television hasn’t been very inspiring over the summer. Summer telly is infamous. I find myself in a state of despair every time I see the likes of Big Brother (it’s not George Orwell’s fault, you know) and The X-Factor (of course it’s all staged, you goon!). A couple of gems have stood out, however; Agatha Christie’s Marple: The Pale Horse was excellent, as always; Sherlock was genius and inspirational; The Deep was mostly superb; and Doctor Who (which just nuzzled the edge of summer) was, of course, the best. But best not to look at the rest of the schedules.

Ah well. At least Spooks is back.

Summer: it’s been a mixed bag. But I think I’ll remember the good stuff.

(PS. I, also, have some exciting news, but that’s going to have to wait until I get everything sorted out. So come back soon, won’t you?)

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Posted by on September 20, 2010 in Unpublished work


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