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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.

doctor-who-scarf-4

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 Series 6 Quiz Answers!

ADVENT DAY TWENTY-THREE: To celebrate advent, I’ll be adding new content to this blog every day in the countdown to Christmas; reviews, opinion pieces, short stories… that sort of thing! So make sure you pop back in between shopping, packing presents and nursing a headache.

A couple of days ago, I posted a Doctor Who series six quiz. If you missed it, you can find it here.

I won’t leave you in suspense any longer; here are all the answers…

1. What type of alien was Nephew?

An Ood.

2. What’s the name of the orphanage in which Amy and Canton found the Silence and the spacesuit?

Greystark Hall Orphanage.

3. Where did Lorna Bucket come from?

Gamma Forests.

4. What buttons were there to choose from at the Two Streams Facility?

Green anchor and Red Waterfall.

5. The Minotaur in The God Complex was a distant cousin of what creature from Classic Who?

The Nimon.

6. Daniel Mays played Alex, George’s dad, in Night Terrors. But who did he play in series three of Ashes to Ashes?

DCI Jim Keats.

7. Closing Time is the sequel to which series 5 episode?

The Lodger.

8. What natural phenomenon caused the Gangers to gain sentience?

A Solar Tsunami/ Solar storm.

9. The Curse of the Black Spot scribe, Steve Thompson, has worked with showrunner, Steven Moffat and fellow writer, Mark Gatiss on which other hit series?

Sherlock.

10. What was the name of the pyramid which housed the Silence in The Wedding of River Song?

Area 52.

Bonus question:

Who directed a new series record of five Doctor Who episodes in a row, from 2010’s The Pandorica Opens to series 6’s Day of the Moon?

Toby Haynes.

There we go! Let me know how you did, if you enjoyed taking part, and if you want to see more in the comments section below. Thanks!

 
 

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Doctor Who Series 6 Quiz!

ADVENT DAY TWENTY-ONE: To celebrate advent, I’ll be adding new content to this blog every day in the countdown to Christmas; reviews, opinion pieces, short stories… that sort of thing! So make sure you pop back in between shopping, packing presents and nursing a headache.

2011 has been a good year for Doctor Who, with one of the strongest series so far. Ratings have remained at their usual high standard (despite what the papers say), and we finally found out the truth about River Song… possibly.

To celebrate, here are ten questions for the Who fan in us all. It’s just for fun though – no prizes, or whatnot – and the answers will follow in a few days time. And remember to pick up this month’s Doctor Who Magazine for their annual quiz; even I’ll admit it’s sooooo difficult.

  1. What type of alien was Nephew?
  2. What’s the name of the orphanage in which Amy and Canton found the Silence and the spacesuit?
  3. Where did Lorna Bucket come from?
  4. What buttons were there to choose from at the Two Streams Facility?
  5. The Minotaur in The God Complex was a distant cousin of what creature from Classic Who?
  6. Daniel Mays played Alex, George’s dad, in Night Terrors. But who did he play in series three of Ashes to Ashes?
  7. Closing Time is the sequel to which series 5 episode?
  8. What natural phenomenon caused the Gangers to gain sentience?
  9. The Curse of the Black Spot scribe, Steve Thompson, has worked with showrunner, Steven Moffat and fellow writer, Mark Gatiss on which other hit series?
  10. What was the name of the pyramid which housed the Silence in The Wedding of River Song?

Bonus question:

Who directed a new series record of five Doctor Who episodes in a row, from 2010’s The Pandorica Opens to series 6’s Day of the Moon?

 
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Posted by on December 21, 2011 in Blog Advent - 2011, Unpublished work

 

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The Doctor, the Widow and the Wardrobe Synopsis!

ADVENT DAY EIGHT: To celebrate advent, I’ll be adding new content to this blog every day in the countdown to Christmas; reviews, opinion pieces, short stories… that sort of thing! So make sure you pop back in between shopping, packing presents and nursing a headache.

If you’ve watched Christmas telly over the past six years, you’ll know that Doctor Who is a big part of BBC’s Christmas Day schedules – and this year is no exception!

This year’s Christmas special, The Doctor, the Widow and the Wardrobe, once more features Matt Smith as the Doctor, alongside Claire Skinner as Madge Arwell, Alexander Armstrong as Reg Arwell, and Maurice Cole and Holly Earl as their children, Cyril and Lily. The story, written by Steven Moffat, will follow in the same vein as last year’s A Christmas Carol, loosely based on the Narnia novel, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.

Here’s the official synopsis:

It’s Christmas Eve, 1938, when Madge Arwell comes to the aid of an injured Spaceman Angel as she cycles home, in this year’s Doctor Who Christmas Special, starring Matt Smith as the Doctor.

He promises to repay her kindness – all she has to do is make a wish.

Three years later, a devastated Madge escapes war-torn London with her two children for a dilapidated house in Dorset. She is crippled with grief at the news her husband has been lost over the channel, but determined to give Lily and Cyril the best Christmas ever.

The Arwells are surprised to be greeted by a madcap caretaker whose mysterious Christmas gift leads them into a magical wintry world. Here, Madge will learn how to be braver than she ever thought possible. And that wishes can come true…

The Doctor, the Widow and the Wardrobe is due for broadcast on BBC1 at 7pm, Christmas Day.

 
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Posted by on December 8, 2011 in Blog Advent - 2011

 

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Doctor Who: The UNIT Files Preview!

ADVENT DAY SEVEN: To celebrate advent, I’ll be adding new content to this blog every day in the countdown to Christmas; reviews, opinion pieces, short stories… that sort of thing! So make sure you pop back in between shopping, packing presents and nursing a headache.

In January 2012, two Classic Doctor Who stories, Invasion of the Dinosaurs and The Android Invasion, are coming to DVD, comprising The UNIT Files boxset.

Freaky happenings in The Android Invasion...

BBC Classic Doctor Who YouTube channel has been updated with a few videos previewing the upcoming releases, including this look at the Kraal costume from The Android Invasion:

Unfortunately, Invasion of the Dinosaurs is best known for its dodgy dinosaur models and – like many tales from the Pertwee years – some bad CSO. It’s a shame that these eclipse the story to some degree, but you can see what I mean here:

It’s still dramatic, tense and exciting though, so hopefully, everybody can see past the wonky T-Rex! Obviously, CGI can now achieve amazing things, so it’d be great to see some more dinosaurs on screen soon…

 
 

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Day of the Daleks

I don’t normally get the Classic Doctor Who DVDs immediately after they come out. As a student, with limited funds, I tend to wait until they’re a tenner over at HMV, but when the Doctor Who Appreciation Society offered Day of the Daleks for £20 – signed by three of its cast! – I just couldn’t help myself.

And I’m so glad I got it so quickly.

Firstly, it’s a great story. Nestled at the start of series nine (1972), it’s a timey-wimey tale of a group of guerrillas arriving from a bleak future to assassinate a delegate at the second World Peace Conference – in order to stop a Dalek invasion!

Secondly, alongside the original transmitted version, there’s a Special Edition, with brand new effects, scenes, and Dalek voices by Nick Briggs, voice of many-a-modern-day Who monster!

The Special Edition is amazing, really adding to the strong performances and plot.

And finally, it gave me the chance to write some reviews for Kasterborous and ItchyBristol.

Here’s the ItchyBristol one, which had to be relatively short to fit in with its surroundings. Even so, I think I managed to get in quite a bit of detail, and I’m pleased with the final piece:

http://www.itchycity.co.uk/article.cfm/25/9579/City-City-Guide/article/Day-of-the-Daleks-Special-Edition-DVD

One of the big benefits of Itchy is that the by-line is, in fact, a link… to this very blog! So if you’ve been directed here by that – Hello, and thanks for reading my work!

I’ve further explored the DVD for Kasterborous, and huge thanks must go to Christian, my editor, for giving me the chance to delve deeper into the tale. I felt that I needed to include as much detail about the serial and special features as possible, especially as Kasterborous has such a loyal following that its readers want that sort of depth. They know Doctor Who intimately. So it’s imperative to cater for this.

Though it was quite a challenge, I really enjoyed fully reviewing all aspects of the DVD, and I’m very pleased with the two articles, which can be found here:

Part One:

http://www.kasterborous.com/2011/10/day-of-the-daleks-special-edition-1/

Part Two:

http://www.kasterborous.com/2011/10/day-of-the-daleks-special-edition-2/

I hope you enjoy them. As always, any feedback is always appreciated.

And don’t forget: it’s Day of the Daleks Month over at Kasterborous (http://www.kasterborous.com/2011/11/day-of-the-daleks-month/), so if you want to discuss the story or any elements of it, get over to their forum now.

 
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Posted by on November 11, 2011 in Published work

 

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Save Doctor Who Confidential!

As you may know by now, Doctor Who Confidential has been axed.

For any Doctor Who fan, this is terrible news, but it also affects those interested in the television industry. Confidential has been going since 2005, and has provided us with hours and hours of entertainment, but is also hugely informative, adding an extra layer to the BBC1 flagship programme – the perfect companion to the best TV show ever.

What’s worse, there’s no reason for its axing.

The BBC has released this statement:

“Doctor Who Confidential has been a great show for BBC3 over the years but our priority now is to build on original British commissions, unique to the channel.”

This actually means nothing. Confidential is an original, British show, and is also unique to BBC3. Furthermore, recent plans released by the BBC have revealed that BBC3 and BBC4’s main job, from now on, is to support the shows on BBC1 and BBC2. Confidential does exactly this.

BBC3 have such a bad reputation, so it’s absurd that they decommission the one show that draws a significant audience. In recent editions, a voiceover begged Confidential viewers to carry on watching BBC3 after the programme finished!

This move feels less like a cost-cutting measure, and more like the new BBC3 Controller, Zai Bennett, throwing his new-found weight around and axing for axing’s sake.

Okay, so what can you do about it?

Firstly, please feel free to email the BBC to complain about this awful decision here:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/complaints/forms/

It’s a simple process, but hopefully will be effective. Loyal fans have also set up an online petition, which they’ll send to the BBC this Friday:

http://www.petitionbuzz.com/petitions/savedwc

All you have to do is add your name. And maybe the names of all your family and friends (obviously after asking them!). It’s that simple.

But please, do it before Friday 28th October 2011. The aim is to get 50,000 signatures by then, and they’re on 47,513 as I write this. 28th October is Save Doctor Who Confidential Day… as well as Matt Smith’s Birthday!

You can also follow the Save DWC Twitter account here:

http://twitter.com/#!/SaveDWC

Later in November, Zai Bennet, who made this terrible decision, will appear on Points of View. Feel free to inundate the show with your complaints too.

Even though he shouldn’t, Steven Moffat, Doctor Who showrunner, said in the current issue of Doctor Who Magazine:

“It seems hard to grasp. All shows have their time, and all shows end, but not, in all sanity, while people still watch and love them. And going by the numbers and the outcry, this show was watched and loved everywhere.

“I’m not supposed to say it, but I’m going to anyway: bad day, bad decision. I know these are straitened times. I know we’re all at sea and the night is colder – but you don’t start burning the lifeboats to keep warm.

“Or to put it another way, you might want to think about the future if you’re planning to
live there.”

And he’s 100% right.

Please BBC. Don’t do this.

Thanks for reading and doing your bit. I really appreciate it. If just one more signature results from this blog, then it’s worth it.

And remember: you’re the license fee-payer. Tell the BBC what you want doing with your money!

 
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Posted by on October 24, 2011 in Unpublished work

 

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