December 24th, 2008

doctor who

The War Machines, again

I watched the video-tape version of this story almost exactly two years ago, and then bought the DVD when it came out a couple of months back. My review of the VHS version was pretty positive; I am even more enthusiastic about the DVD, and I think it is now one of those Who stories which you could show someone who had never seen the series before to try and get them to understand what it's all about.

Sure, it's unusual in that it was the first ever story set entirely on contemporary Earth (with the regular cast the right size, that is); it's decidedly odd in the casual discarding of Dodo as a companion (when one remembers the angst associated with more recent departures!); it has a significant weakness in that the actual War Machines themselves are a bit crap (though far from the worst robotic monsters ever seen on Who, and salvaged a bit by good directing).

But despite these weaknesses, it remains a generally well-written, well-acted, well-made and likeable story, and the restorers have done a fine job of injecting more life into it. . On the DVD, the informational sub-titles are informative. The Blue Peter extracts (make your own Post Office Tower!) are fun. The film of Tony Benn revisiting it forty years on is almost moving (as is the famous restaurant). The commentary/gossip between Michael Ferguson (director) and Anneke Wills (Polly) is not terribly deep, but they deliver just about enough to justify their fees.

One point they make about Hartnell is that he would sometimes vary his lines. This may explain the slight oddness of his his final exchange with Dodo; I wonder if it is an improvement on the original line from the script?

Anyway, warmly recommended.


The overnights meme

List the towns or cities where you spent at least a night away from home during 2008. Mark with a star if you had multiple non-consecutive stays.

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I also had a day trip to the Netherlands, and passed through/changed planes/changed trains in Luxembourg, Turkey, and Germany, so my number of countries visited in the year is a solid 16 (those four plus Albania, Austria, Belgium, Cyprus [both sides of the Green Line], France, Ireland, Italy, Montenegro, Slovenia, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America). Less than last year! Though I think next year will be a busier one.

PS - if anyone wants to join dopplr, drop me a line.