March 22nd, 2021


Whoniversaries 22 March

i) births and deaths

22 March 1950: birth of Mary Tamm, who played the first Romana in 1978-79.

ii) broadcast anniversaries

22 March 1969: broadcast of third episode of The Space Pirates. Clancey and the Tardis crew evade General Hermack and arrive at the pirate base on Madeleine's plant.

22 March 1975: broadcast of third episode of Genesis of the Daleks. Sarah has failed to escape from the Thal dome, but Harry and the Doctor arrive to rescue her - and the Doctor is electrocuted.

22 March 1983: broadcast of first episode of Time-Flight. A Concorde is kidnapped and the Doctor, Tegan and Nyssa investigate.

22 March 1985: broadcast of first episode of The Twin Dilemma, first full episode for Colin Baker as the Sixth Doctor. The new Doctor is behaving strangely; meanwhile the Sylvest twins have been kidnapped.

22 March 2003: webcast of "The Child, Part 3", the seventh episode of Death Comes to Time.

22 March 2010: broadcast of Oroborus, eleventh episode of the Australian K9 series. K9 notices a change in behaviour in his friends and discovers time itself is being disrupted. Small chunks of time are being eaten away. A Time Snake has invaded the mansion and Starkey makes a discovery about his own parents that means he alone can face the Oroborus. He offers himself as a meal to defeat the creature.

iii) date specified in-universe:

22 March 2011: setting of most of the Torchwood: Children of Earth episode Rendition. Jack and Gwen are unwillingly transported to America, and Jack survives poisoning.

My tweets


370 days of plague

A year and five days since the first lockdown; just under a year since the first of these posts; just over a year since the first of my lockdown videos.
We had no idea then of how long this was going to go on. On 27 March last year, I was already missing the office; I still miss it, even more now perhaps. A new colleague joined us today who is actually an old friend of mine; in normal times I'd have taken her out for lunch, or at least a drink, and it sucks that we cannot have that sort of interaction any more.

Right now we're looking once again at a surge of COVID numbers in Belgium, for no particular reason except that the weather is getting better, I guess, and perhaps people are mixing more, and perhaps new and more infectious variants are now circulating. The EU and UK are snapping more and more at each other; I'm frankly not interested enough to follow the details, except to form the impression that both sides are now at the behaving badly stage. My good friend Dave Keating did such a deep dive into it on Twitter over the weekend that I will refer any future queries to him. (NB that when other European countries were fretting about the Astrazeneca job, Belgium asked for more if there were any spare!) More locally, B and U had their second vaccinations last week.

Outside work and family, the story of the baby in the park reached a conclusion for now. That still leaves plenty of genealogical rabbit holes to disappear down. In particular, I've signed up to yet another site,, only to find that one of my younger cousins is already there. This is actually really helpful, because we have the same grandfather but different grandmothers; any mutual connections must therefore be Murrays or Dineens, rather than Stewarts or McIlroys.

And this year's Hugo nominations have closed. Unlike last year, we were able to adapt the counting software we'd previously used in 2017 and 2019 to process the votes, and it made the process very swift indeed. For various reasons we won't be able to announce the final ballot until 13 April; some lucky people will be hearing very soon that they are going to have to keep a big secret until then. So it's nice to be able to bring people a bit of joy in the dark times.

Edited to add: I can't believe I forgot to mention that today is the fifth anniversary of the 2016 terrorist attacks in Brussels! Partly it's because local media started the commemoration at the end of last week, so it felt a bit like yesterday's story. But it isn't, and the effects are still with us.