January 3rd, 2021


Whoniversaries 3 January

i) births and deaths

3 January 1920: birth of Peter Stephens, who played Cyril, the Kitchen Boy, and the Knave of Hearts in The Celestial Toymaker (First Doctor, 1966), and Lolem the high priest in The Underwater Menace (Second Doctor, 1967)

3 January 2017: death of Rodney Bennett, director of three Fourth Doctor stories - The Ark in Space (1975), The Sontaran Experiment (also 1975) and The Masque of Mandragora (1976).

ii) broadcast anniversaries

3 January 1970: broadcast of first episode of Spearhead from Space; first episode of Season 7, first appearance of Jon Pertwee as the Third Doctor, first appearance of Caroline John as Liz Shaw. The regenerated Doctor arrives in England in the middle of a meteorite storm, is hospitalised, and then shot by UNIT as he attempts to return to the Tardis.

3 January 1976: broadcast of first episode of The Brain of Morbius. The Doctor and Sarah land on the desolate planet of Karn. The sinister brain surgeon Solon drugs the Doctor and the mysterious Sisterhood take the Tardis.

3 January 1981: broadcast of first episode of Warrior's Gate. Biroc the Tharil escapes from Rorvik's ship; the Doctor, Romana, Adric and K9 arrive at the intersection between N-Space and E-Space.

3 January 1983: broadcast of first episode of Arc of Infinity, starting Season 20. Two backpackers in Amsterdam are terrorised by the Ergon; the Doctor is attacked by a strange being in the Tardis, goes to Gallifrey and is shot by his own future self's twin.

3 January 2009: Matt Smith is announced as the Eleventh Doctor.

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The Necropolis at Grimde

I took B to a new place yesterday near where she lives, somewhere I've only just found: the Necropolis at Grimde It's a 13th century church which had become very dilapidated by 1914, and was used as a burial place for the Belgian soldiers killed during the German advance in the area. After the war it was done up properly, and apparently is unique in Western Europe as a church which has been completely converted to a war grave.

I have to say that just because it's the only such case doesn't in itself make it all that interesting. The graves are reverently and neatly laid out, with no hierarchy among the dead. I signed the visitors' book on behalf of myself and B; the last people before us to sign it did so on 23 December.

The stained glass windows are the artistic highlight of the Necropolis. All were designed by Maurice Langaskens, himself a prisoner in the first world war. (Click to embiggen.)

A leaflet in English (in plentiful supply) explains the iconography (again click to embiggen).

For B, the main attraction was the shadow of her own hand, starkly defined by the bright and concentrated overhead lights and the lighter floor. She isn't making any particular shape, I think, just enjoying the contrast of light and dark that she is able to create for herself.

If you want to see for yourself, it's open until 5pm in the winter and 6pm in the summer. It won't be crowded. And it's a stone's throw from two other fascinating places in Grimde, the Three Tumuli and the Church of Our Lady of the Stone.