“I thought we might need a gang,” says the Doctor in ‘Dinosaurs on a Spaceship’. “Never really had a gang before. It’s new.”
He’s totally lying, of course. The Time Lord has been fond of having a gang around him right since the very first episode back in November 1963 and, while he seems to favour just having one companion in general, he’s put together a number of collectives over the years.
With its unique brand of humour, Liverpool is a renowned bedrock of comedy.
Consequently, it has been the setting for some memorable sitcoms, some more successful in capturing the Scouse spirit than others…
The Wackers (1975)
Produced by London based Thames Television and written by Mancunian Vince Powell, The Wackers set out to be the ultimate scouse comedy. It turned out the ultimate stereotype.
Billy and Mary Clarkson (Ken Jones and Sheila Fay) are a couple of Merseyside mixed marriage. Not only half catholic and half protestant, but half Everton supporters and half Liverpool.
Having come out of a stretch in prison, Billy has to adjust to a changed family. His eldest son Tony (David Casey) speaks in an Oxbridge acquired accent his father detests. Daughter Bernadette (Alison Steadman) is a flirtatious, self-styled “Sex symbol of Scouse land” who – in one controversial scene – is eyed up by her own grandad (Joe Gladwin).
The Clarksons live in an outside lavvie terrace where Billy struggles to stay out of prison, while his Mary Ellen wife is rarely out of hair curlers. Mounting complaints about the show’s exaggerated portrayal of Liverpudlians led to it being pulled just short of its final episode and never seen again.
Or perhaps the problem lay with the conceit. A Liverpool family half catholic, half protestant? Well, maybe. But half Everton, half Liverpool supporters? Oh, go ‘ed!
Three unemployed 19 year olds are willing to help anyone who offers work. Tex (Stephen McGann), forever optimist, Lenny (David Albany) philosopher and poet with his Grade 4 CSE English Literature, and Davva (Jake Abraham) rumoured to be Merseyside’s first brain-transplant donor.
Each episode opened with the trio meeting in a park shelter to make plans for the day, then closed at the same location with the …
2016 has been another stellar year for Young Adult literature!
As the year comes to a close, we’ve picked out five of our favourite new YA books for your Christmas list…
‘The Diabolic’ by S. J. Kincaid
S.J. Kincaid burst on to the YA scene in 2012 when her debut novel, Insignia, was shortlisted for the Waterstones prize. Following its hit sequels, Vortex and Catalyst, she now returns with a brand new adventure, The Diabolic.
What’s it about?
Nemesis is a Diabolic, a humanoid teenager created to protect a galactic senator’s daughter, Sidonia. The two have grown up side by side, but are in no way sisters. Nemesis is expected to give her life for Sidonia, and she would do so gladly. She would also take as many lives as necessary to keep Sidonia safe.
When the power-mad Emperor learns Sidonia’s father is participating in a rebellion, he summons Sidonia to the Galactic court. She is to serve as a hostage. Now, there is only one way for Nemesis to protect Sidonia. She must become her.
As the Empire begins to fracture and rebellion looms closer, Nemesis learns there is something more to her than just deadly force. She finds a humanity inside her that is true and pure. Amidst all the danger, action and intrigue, her humanity just might be the thing that saves her life – and the empire.
What did the critics say?
‘Epic and electrifying’ – Maximum Pop!
‘Game of Thrones meets The Hunger Games’ – The Bookseller
‘Nemesis is my kind of strong female character…But is she human?’ – Sally Green, author of Half Bad
Buy the book on Amazon here.
Who’s it by?
Following the hit Mortal Instruments series, Brooklyn-based author Cassandra Clare is back with the first novel …
Broadchurch returns to ITV later this month for a final season.
David Tennant and Olivia Colman are back as DI Alec Hardy and DS Ellie Miller, this time investigating a serious sexual assault in the Dorset community.
Buy the Season 1-2 box set on Amazon here.
Order Season 3 on DVD on Amazon here.
Season 3 begins at 9pm on Monday 27 February on ITV.
Here the show’s creator Chris Chibnall chats about what’s coming up…
“Welcome back to Broadchurch, and our third and final story.
“It’s been an extraordinary journey: from tiny beginnings inspired by a walk in 2011 along the Jurassic Coast where I live, to a global success in 180 territories, with two international remakes, a novel adaptation and Broadchurch walking tours that take a similar route to my first walk. It’s been quite a ride. We’ve kept a lot of secrets, had a lot of fun and hopefully given people another reason to stay in on Monday nights.
“The world we live in now feels some distance from the world I was writing about when we started. The state of the country and its preoccupations are different. Each story has deliberately tackled a new area. For the final story, Ellie Miller and Alec Hardy conduct a new investigation, into a serious sexual assault.
“We’ve spent the time since the series was last on air researching and developing this story. Myself and Script Executive Samantha Hoyle have worked closely with support organisations in the Dorset area who work with victims of sexual assault. We’ve spent time with the amazing support workers who run referral centres.
“We’ve developed relationships with and talked in depth with Independent Sexual Violence Advisors, as well as police who investigate these crimes, and survivors of these crimes. These extraordinary people have advised …
Peter Capaldi recently announced that, as of the end of 2017, he’ll no longer be the Doctor – and the search for the next incarnation of the Time Lord is on.
Here’s one suggestion as to who could take the TARDIS keys – Game of Thrones actress Natalie Dormer. This fan-made trailer casts Dormer as the thirteenth incarnation of the Doctor…
A hugely talented actress, Natalie Dormer would be a perfect choice to play the first female Doctor.
She hasn’t ruled out the part, either; when asked, she said she “would do any role if I thought the script was fantastic. For me it’s always about the script. It has to be real human beings, contradictory, flawed, complex multidimensional characters. It can’t just be concept.”
The first female Doctor offers a chance for an entirely fresh perspective on an age-old story; every aspect of the show that has, up until now, felt so familiar will change entirely – giving the show a whole new unpredictable energy once again.
It’s a change that offers untold potential – potential that Doctor Who has never tapped before. It’s an exciting prospect to say the least.
“When was the last time you had your eyes opened?” asks Natalie Dormer’s Doctor at the end of the trailer. It’s not just a reference to the eye-opening experience of travelling in the TARDIS – the question is whether you’ve opened your eyes to a female Doctor. Have you?…
There hasn’t been a Wallace & Gromit animation since 2008’s A Matter of Loaf and Death movie, and yet even after 5 years off our screens (not counting the repeats that TV law commands must be shown every Bank Holiday), the man and dog duo are as popular as ever with kids and adults – as was demonstrated earlier this month when an auction of 81 Gromit statues in Bristol raised £2.3million for charity.
But for those who can’t afford a giant dog, there’s Wallace & Gromit: The Complete Newspaper Strips Collection, which collects 312 of the three-panel strips of Wallace & Gromit’s adventures – amounting to 52 self-contained stories – as serialised daily in The Sun newspaper.
They’re short and amusing tales of bonkers inventions and mechanical malfunctions, as the two get up to such japes as stopping a runaway cheese in a Dambusters parody (‘The Edam-Busters’), running a limo service, and foiling a monkey who’s cheating at conkers. There’s even the return of penguin criminal mastermind, Feathers McGraw, using a variety of hilarious disguises similar to his rubber glove in order to pass himself off as other animals.
Each story is packed with jokes and puns so delightfully cheesy (in every sense of the word), that you could spread them on a cracker with a dab of chutney. ‘Gouda grief!’ you’ll exclaim as you read, ‘I Camembert anymore of these Brie-lly terrible puns!’, but you’ll still find yourself turning the page to see what the next wacky adventure will entail. And though each story is brief the small gang of writers and artists creating the strips have captured the full flavour and spirit of the films perfectly.
A perfect gift for young and old fans of Wallace & Gromit (Christmas is just round the corner…), you don’t …
The X-Men franchise is a strange, haphazard juggernaut with a continuity that’s impossible to explain, but there’s always been a few constants amidst the chaos.
Chief among them is Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine, who’s clocked an appearance of some kind in every single X-Men movie since the series began in 2000. No other actor has played a comics character for anywhere close to as long as Jackman’s 17 years. Suffice to say, there were plenty of expectations riding on his swansong, Logan.
It delivers. After the confounding mess of X-Men: Origins was followed up by The Wolverine, which delivered a strong character arc and keen eye for influences only to capitulate into formula at the last gasp, Logan completes that upward swing in quality.
There are some unavoidable flaws here, but Jackman has completed his stint by finally delivering the definitive Wolverine movie.
WARNING: SPOILERS FROM HERE ON…
It’s deeply surprising to see just how intimate and minimalist Logan is in tone. It’s a movie primarily set in barren, scorched deserts and plains on the fringes of a quietly crumbling society represented in a border area cracked by unarticulated tensions or in a shiny environment of blaring advertising and utter self-absorption, rather than the glossy cityscapes of most comic book movies.
It’s no wonder that the most conventionally futuristic imagery in the movie are the flashing billboards. The only things at threat are the survival of a handful of mutant children who are escaping from their oppressors, and it’s all the better for it.
At its heart, Logan is a story of decay and renewal. Especially in the first act, it doesn’t shy away from the uncomfortable details of the former, painstakingly illustrating the crumbling of body and soul in once mighty heroes.
Doctor Who actress Jenna Coleman stars in ITV’s epic new drama series Victoria this autumn.
Victoria (Coleman) comes to the throne at a time of great economic turbulence and resurgent republicanism – and died 64 years later the head of the largest empire the world had ever seen, having revitalised the throne’s public image and become ‘grandmother of Europe’.
The first season of Victoria, written by Daisy Goodwin, will tell the story of the first years of the reign, beginning with the moment of the Queen’s accession in 1837, following her first faltering steps from capricious, hormonal teenager with a weak grasp on her duties and responsibilities to her marriage to Albert.
Order Victoria on DVD on Amazon here.
The cast also includes Rufus Sewell (Parade’s End) as Lord Melbourne, Tom Hughes (The Game) plays Prince Albert, Eve Myles (Torchwood) as the Queen’s senior dresser, Alex Jennings (The Lady in the Van) as Leopold I, King of Belgium, Peter Firth (Spooks) as the Duke of Cumberland, Catherine Flemming (No Place to Go) as the Duchess of Kent, Paul Rhys (Being Human) as Sir John Conroy, Adrian Schiller (Suffragette) as Penge, Nichola McAuliffe (Coronation Street) as the Duchess of Cumberland, Daniela Holtz (Phoenix, Der Verdacht) as Victoria’s governess and confidante Baroness Lehzen, Nell Hudson (Outlander) as Miss Skerrett and Tommy-Lawrence Knight (The Sarah Jane Adventures) as the hall boy, Brodie.
Episode 1: ‘Doll No.123’
Read our review.
When eighteen-year-old Victoria becomes Queen, her mother the Duchess of Kent, led by her advisor, Conroy, circle around the young monarch, itching to seize power. Hating Conroy and exasperated by her mother’s dependence on him, Victoria shuns them both.…
What an almighty hassle it must be, being such a subject of public scrutiny every time you feel a little barfy in the middle of a music performance – and indeed, the sense of tension and unease is captured beautifully in this episode’s opening scene. Turns out Vic and Bert made babies!
Speaking of mums: we’re reminded again of just how insufferable so many of the old farts surrounding the poor queen are, including her mother. Way to remind your terrified kid that her cousin died in childbirth! Grade A parenting skills, right there. Such parental, very nurture, wow.
But it seems the queen mum isn’t the only person preoccupied with the (I suppose in these days very real) possibility that Victoria won’t survive the making of her very first prince or princess – some people are very unhappy with the prospect of Albert being named as regent to the little ‘un if Vicky kicks the bucket, but doesn’t it stand to reason that she’d pick the baby daddy? Come on, people.
There’s much to love about this episode: Staffordshire, puppies, Albert the expert marksman – heart, sigh – factories, and railways. It really goes to show just how much of a time of massive and turbulent technological change Victoria’s reign was.
It also goes to show just how much of a massive nerd Albert was. That little smile of his when Sir Robert Peel – whom I’m really starting to like, in no small part due to the warmth in Nigel Lindsay’s performance – takes him on his very first locomotive ride is absolutely precious.
Indeed, we feel a palpable tension here between Bert and Vicky, where of course he wants to be have some measure of influence and to be able to support ventures that …
Strictly Necessary Cookies
Strictly Necessary Cookie should be enabled at all times so that we can save your preferences for cookie settings.
If you disable this cookie, we will not be able to save your preferences. This means that every time you visit this website you will need to enable or disable cookies again.