April 15th, 2021


Whoniversaries 15 April

i) births and deaths

15 April 1921: birth of David Garth, who played Solicitor Grey in The Highlanders (Second Doctor, 1967-68) and a Time Lord messenger in Terror of the Autons (Third Doctor, 1971)

15 April 1922: birth of Peter Moffatt, who directed State of Decay (Fourth Doctor, 1980), The Visitation (Fifth Doctor, 1982), Mawdryn Undead (Fifth Doctor, 1983), The Five Doctors (Fifth Doctor and friends, 1983), The Twin Dilemma (Sixth Doctor, 1984) and The Two Doctors (Sixth Doctor and friends, 1985). Has any other director directed stories with six different Doctors in them?

15 April 1997: birth of Maisie Williams, who played the recurring character Ashildr/Me in several 2015 stories.

ii) broadcast anniversaries

15 April 1967: broadcast of second episode of The Faceless Ones. Polly and Ben have disappeared; Jamie meets Samantha Briggs; the Doctor is knocked out by gas.

15 April 1972: broadcast of second episode of The Mutants. The Marshall forces the Doctor to work with Jaeger, while Jo is a captive of the Solonians.

15 April 2006: broadcast of New Earth, starting Series 2 of New Who. The Doctor and Rose visit a far-future hospital where they encounter some former acquaintances.

15 April 2017: broadcast of The Pilot, starting Season 10 of New Who, introducing Bill and bringing in Nardole as a regular character. (I remember a fantastic group watch of the episode at Eastercon). The Twelfth Doctor — now living and teaching at St Luke's University on Earth — convinces dinner lady Bill Potts to be his private student. The Time Lord and his companion Nardole soon discover that their new friend has unwittingly made a deal with a prospective girlfriend that threatens their safety in a way that even the TARDIS can't outrun.

(Also NB an earlier Bill and Heather:)

iii) dates specified in canon

15 April 1912: the Titanic, struck by an iceberg late the previous evening, sinks in the early hours of the morning in the North Atlantic with over 1500 lives lost, as seen in the 1979 DWM comic strip Follow that TARDIS!, Kate Orman's 1993 novel The Left-Handed Hummingbird and the 2010 Big Finish audio Wreck of the Titan, also referenced in The Invasion of Time (1978), Rose (2005), The End of the World (2005) and Voyage of the Damned (2007).

15 April 1912: birth date of Charlotte Pollard, companion of the Eighth and Sixth Doctors in many Big Finish audios.

15 April 1980: birth of Samantha Jones, companion of the Eighth Doctor in many BBC-published novels.

My tweets


Foucault's Pendulum, by Umberto Eco

Second paragraph of third chapter:
Quanto a Belbo non era in ufficio. Gudrun mi aveva detto che aveva telefonato dicendo che doveva allontanarsi per motivi di famiglia. Quale famiglia? La cosa strana è che aveva portato via il computer — Abulafia, come ormai lo chiamava — con la stampante. Gudrun mi aveva detto che se l'era messo in casa per terminare un lavoro. Perché tanta fatica? Non poteva scrivere in ufficio? Belbo was away. Gudrun told me he telephoned to say he had to go somewhere for family reasons. What family? The odd thing was, he took away the word processor — Abulafia, he called it — and the printer, too. Gudrun also told me he had set it up at home in order to finish some work. Why had he gone to all that trouble? Couldn't he do it in the office?
I read this soon after the English translation came out, and allowed myself to be impressed in the wake of The Name of the Rose. I am older and more cynical now, and I must admit it did not read as well thirty years later. I was once fascinated by conspiracy theories and even at one point by the cabala, and these days I have put away (some) childish things and no longer find these things quite as interesting. Sure, Eco's target is precisely the people who do take these things seriously, but he and his characters somewhat slip over the boundary. The gratuitous fridging of one of the (slender) women characters at the end jarred when I first read it and still jars now. Though it's a bit redeemed by the laundry list moment. Still, There are certainly three books I have read recently which were a third of this length and from which I got more enjoyment. You can get it here.

This was the most popular book on my shelves that I had not already reviewed on-line. Next in that list is Bridget Jones' Diary, by Helen Fielding.