January 1st, 2021


Whoniversaries 1 January

Second half: This is a repeat of a project I did ten years ago in 2010-11, and it's generally been a fun distraction rather than a chore. This time around I have been ioncluding relevant photographs of actors and TV episodes, which is usually a nice little hunt. The Tragical History Tour website is generally reliable

I do the research for each day's anniversaries on the Tardis Index File (Doctor Who wiki), but rather than just use the individual pages for each date (such as the one for today) I use the list of pages linking to that date (again, such as the one for today) and follow through each link to see if it is worth noting. Actors get listed if they have played a significant speaking role in more than one story. Writers, directors, and senior production team get listed if they have worked on any story at all and their birthdate is known to the Tardis Index File. Broadcast anniversaries always get included; other significant performance and production anniversaries almost always. I may sometimes skip dates supposedly specified in canon if it's a spinoff story I haven't heard of, or worse have actually read / watched / heard but can't remember, but will try and err on the side of inclusion as well.

Last time around I morrored the posts to the doctorwho community, but given how quiet LJ is these days I haven't done that. Instead, I started by crossposting to my own Facebook, and then switched to the main Doctor Who group there. All my LJ entries are tweeted, and every so often I back them up to Dreamwidth.

It would be nice to do this as a permanent publication of some kind, but I don't really have time!

Anyway, on with today: a birth, two deaths, and nine broadcast anniversaries (including a record-breaking three on the same day, 1 January 2007), but no dates specified in canon other than follow-ons from yesterday's rather large crop.

i) births and deaths

1 January 1935: birth of Dave Martin, co-author with Bob Baker of The Claws of Axos (Third Doctor, 1971), The Mutants (Third Doctor, 1972), The Three Doctors (Third Doctor, 1973), The Sontaran Experiment (Fourth Doctor, 1975), The Hand of Fear (Fourth Doctor, 1976), The Invisible Enemy (Fourth Doctor, 1977), Underworld (Fourth Doctor, 1978) and The Armageddon Factor (Fourth Doctor, 1979) as well as four spinoff novels.

1 January 2003: death of Cyril Shaps, who played Viner in The Tomb of the Cybermen (Second Doctor, 1967), Lennox in The Ambassadors of Death (Third Doctor, 1970), Professor Clegg in Planet of the Spiders (Third Doctor, 1974) and the Archimandrite in The Androids of Tara (Fourth Doctor, 1978).
John_Viner[1].jpg LennoxTAOD[1].jpg Herbert_Clegg[1].jpg Archimandrite[1].jpg

1 January 2015: death of Fiona Cumming, director of four Fifth Doctor stories and variously involved in other ways too.
ii) broadcast anniversaries
1 January 1966: broadcast of "Volcano", eighth episode of the story we now call The Daleks' Master Plan. The Daleks realise that the Taranium core is a fake; the Doctor, Steven and Sara encounter the Meddling Monk on the planet Tigus, also passing through Lord's cricket ground and Trafalgar Square for New Year's Eve.
1 January 1972: broadcast of first episode of Day of the Daleks, starting Season 9. Diplomat Sir Reginald Styles is under attack by mysterious guerrillas from a Dalek-dominated future.
1 January 1977: broadcast of first episode of The Face of Evil. First appearance of Louise Jameson as Leela. Leela is exiled from the tribe of the Sevateem for blasphemy; the Doctor finds that the Evil One has a familiar face. I remember it very well.
1 January 2007: broadcast of Invasion of the Bane, the first episode of the new Sarah Jane Adventures. Sarah, her young neighbour Maria, and Maria's annoying friend Kelsey (who is never seen again) team up to discover that the alien Bane are behind the new Bubble Shock! soft drink; Sarah adopts the human boy at the centre of their plan.

Also 1 January 2007: broadcast of Captain Jack Harkness (Torchwood), the one where the team get timeshifted back to 1941 and Jack falls in love with his namesake.
Also also 1 January 2007: broadcast of End of Days (Torchwood), the one where the big demon thing kills both Rhys and Jack but they come alive again.

1 January 2010: broadcast of The End of Time Part Two, the last regular episode for the Tenth Doctor. The Time Lords return; the Master is persuaded to blast them back into the Time War; and the Doctor rescues Wilf, at the cost of his own life. And the new Doctor yells, "Geronimo!!!!"

1 January 2019: broadcast of Resolution. A long-buried creature is beginning to stir. The most dangerous creature in the universe, and it will stop at nothing to claim the Earth. Conquest in 9376 rels.

1 January 2020: broadcast of Spyfall Part One. The head of MI6, C, enlists the Thirteenth Doctor and her team to investigate former agent spy Daniel Barton to see if he's been turned against them. Meanwhile, an alien threat that can pass through walls, even those of the TARDIS, known as the Kasaavin is wiping out spy organisations all over the planet. Can former MI6 agent "O" help them, or is he not who he claims to be?

1 January 2021: broadcast of Revolution of the Daleks.

With ten broadcast anniversaries, 1 January has more than any day except 25 December. (Though only six are Doctor Who rather than spinoff shows, and there are a couple of days in the spring with more than that.)

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What's this all about, then?

This is my blog on Livejournal, which I have been running since the spring of 2003. Since late 2003, I've also been using it as a record of (almost) every book that I have read; I read a lot (in non-plague times, I have a long commute) and wanted to keep a good note of what I read. At 200-300 books a year, that's over 4000 books that I have written up here. (These are the most recent.)

As the twentieth anniversary of my bookblogging comes closer, I've also been revisiting each month of reviews every six days or so, so you'll see some less recent reviews mentioned.

As well as books, I have been going through the films that won the Oscar for Best Picture in sequence and the films that won the Hugo or Nebula for Best Dramatic Presentation or equivalent.

And during the COVID-19 pandemic, I've been trying to keep discipline and write something about it every ten days.

Also used for occasional commentary on other stuff, but you'll find my Facebook and Twitter are more live.

I am sticking with Livejournal for now out of inertia. Dreamwidth is similar (and I'm mirroring this there) but it lacks some of the key features I like here (post-dating posts, decent image management). Some day I will bite the bullet and go with Wordpress.

Comments welcome, though sometimes quicker to email me at nicholas dot whyte at gmail dot com.
doctor who

290 days of plague: New Year, New Who

Well. When I did my first ten-day update on 27 March last year, it seemed then that we would have a grim few weeks and then be back to normal by late summer. Obviously, that did not happen. And it seems somehow appropriate that 40 weeks after that Friday at the end of the first full week of lockdown, it's New Year's Day and we are as uncertain as we ever were about the end of all of this.

The numbers in Belgium are actually fairly encouraging right now (unlike in some other countries, alas). Confirmed new cases are down 30% in the last seven days, and hospital admissions down 20%. At that rate they will be below the official targets for relaxing the restrictions in two and three weeks respectively. So I may even be back in the office by the end of this month.

I'll be back at work on Monday after a quiet Christmas holiday. I repeated the Christmas dinner menu from five years ago, but made life a little easier for myself by just having quails' eggs as a starter (dipped in salt and pepper) rather than grilled figs, and new potatoes instead of mămăligă as the main course carbs. I also made a Christmas cake uing this Northern Irish recipe - I don't have an especially sweet tooth usually, but somehow this seemed necessary for the times we are in.

And we managed the traditional family walk, this time at Het Vianderdomein. I took a dozen selfied and there was one where everyone was looking in roughly the right direction with reasonable facial expressions.

I suspect that for you as for me this was not a big gift-giving year, but if you want to do something a little extra, can I point you towards the Nuk Je Vetëm online counselling for vulnerable young people in Albania, run by the Foundation Together Albania of which I am a trustee?

I saw in the new year last night in an online fandom party, where I think I was one of two or three people in a Zoom room of several dozen for whom the time zone was right. I made everyone watch the Brussels light show. It was good.

And this evening we had the latest New Who. Given that it was filmed before the current crisis, I thought the message of resistance to a non-human threat was timely. Unfortunately the deranged American millionaire with political ambitions did not completely get his comeuppance. And the departure of Graham and Ryan is only the second time that New Who companions have left voluntarily - Martha is literally the only other example, Rose stuck in a parallel universe, Donna brainwiped, Amy and Rory timeshifted, Clara and Bill both killed off. It was much more balanced in Old Who (involuntary departures: Susan, Katarina, Sara Kingdom, Dodo, Jamie, Zoe, Sarah Jane, Adric, Kamelion, Peri; voluntary departures: Ian, Barbara, Vicki, Steven, Ben, Polly, Victoria, Liz, Jo, Harry, Leela, K9, Romana, Nyssa, Tegan, Turlough, Mel; unclear: UNIT, Ace). I though the whole thing was done emotionally convincingly, and the Daleks' combination of body-horror and racial purification may be not quite what Terry Nation had in mind in 1963, but it's a reasonable evolution.

Anyway. We tried a new Indian food delivery last night, and it was delicious, but once I eventually got to bed I slept very badly with weird dreams. So I'm off to bed now, and we'll be back to the usual book and film reviews tomorrow. Good night. Stay well.