October 11th, 2020


Whoniversaries 11 October

i) births and deaths

11 October 1986: death of John Crockett, who directed "Wall of Lies", the fourth episode of the story we now call Marco Polo (First Doctor, 1964) and all four episodes of the story we now call The Aztecs.

11 October 1988: death of Roy Herrick, who was the counter-revolutionary Jean in the story we now call The Reign of Terror (First Doctor, 1964) and Parsons, a space medic in The Invisible Enemy (Fourth Doctor, 1977)

11 October 1960: birth of Nicola Bryant, who played the Fifth/Sixth Doctor companion Peri (Perpugilliam Brown) from 1984 to 1986 and continues to appear in (and also direct) Big Finish audios.

ii) broadcast anniversaries

11 October 1975: broadcast of episode 3 of Planet of Evil. The Morestran ship cannot escape from Zeta Minor; Salamar prepares to eject the Doctor and Sarah into space...

11 October 1980: broadcast of episode 3 of Meglos. Much confusion of identity, and the Doctor is prepared for sacrifice to the Dodecahedron...

11 October 1986: broadcast of episode 2 of Mindwarp (ToaTL 6). Confusing stuff about Peri being captured by the Mentors; the Doctor thinks it is not true.

11 October 1989: broadcast of episode 2 of Ghost Light. The Doctor finds Control; Control releases Light.

11 October 2010: broadcast of episode 1 of The Nightmare Man (Sarah Jane Adventures), the first story of the fourth and penultimate series of the show. Luke, setting off to Oxford, is haunted by the Nightmare Man...

11 October 2011: broadcast of episode 2 of The Curse of Clyde Langer (Sarah Jane Adventures). After some pretty gut-wrenching drama, the curse is lifted. One of the great stories.

11 October 2014: broadcast of Mummy on the Orient Express. The Doctor and Clara investigate the deaths of passengers on board a space-bound train, who claim to have seen a mummy that is not visible to others prior to their deaths.

My tweets


Beren and Lúthien, by J.R.R. Tolkien, ed. Christopher Tolkien

Second paragraph of third chapter:
Barahir is driven into hiding, his hiding betrayed, and Barahir slain; his son Beren after a life outlawed flees south, crosses the Shadowy Mountains, and after grievous hardships comes to Doriath. Of this and his other adventures is told in The Lay of Leithian. He gains the love of Tinúviel 'the nightingale' — his own name for Lúthien — the daughter of Thingol. To win her Thingol, in mockery, requires a Silmaril from the crown of Morgoth. Beren sets out to achieve this, is captured, and set in dungeon in Angband, but conceals his real identity and is given as a slave to Thû the hunter. Lúthien is imprisoned by Thingol, but escapes and goes in search of Beren. With the aid of Huan lord of dogs she rescues Beren, and gains entrance to Angband where Morgoth is enchanted and finally wrapped in slumber by her dancing. They get a Silmaril and escape, but are barred at gates of Angband by Carcaras the Wolf-ward. He bites off Beren's hand which holds the Silmaril, and goes mad with the anguish of its burning within him.
Christopher Tolkien, who died at the start of this crazy crazy year, published this when he was 92. To be honest, I don't think there was much new here - most of the material is in The Book of Lost Tales vol 2 and The Lays of Beleriand, published in 1984 and 1985 and which I read in 2011. The Beren and Lúthien story was of huge personal significance to his father - it's interesting to me that Tolkien, whose name had seven letters ending with -ien, found forbidden love with Edith Bratt, whose name had five letters starting with B. And as presented here, we see Tolkien's story-telling skills mature in the different versions of the tale. In the final version, in fact, Lúthien ends up as rather a kick-ass character who rescues Beren and challenges both Morgoth and her father. (This was largely edited out for The Silmarillion; a big mistake.) I think as presented here it's a bit more digestible than in the 1980s books, but if you already have them you can probably skip this. Otherwise you can get it here.

This was my top unread book acquired in 2018. Next on that list is Greybeard, by Brian W. Aldiss.