Doctor Who? The Second Doctor

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At the end of the second serial of the Fourth Series William Hartnell bowed out of the titular role submitting the mantle of the Doctor to Patrick Troughton.

The Second Doctor

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The Second Doctor

The second Doctor was a different beast all together, where the First Doctor was quietly confident with a rigid and dignified bearing, the Second Doctor was a flapping, over excited little man who was almost a sort of cosmic hobo in appearance, sporting un-ironed shirts, a tailcoat that was 3 sizes too big, a tie that was always askew, trousers fastened with safety pins and a fur coat that was held together with a piece of string.   And whilst the First Doctor was more at home with the quiet of a good book, the Second would endlessly annoy his companions with unintelligible renditions on his trusty recorder.

After regenerating before the eyes of his companions Ben and Polly (A sailor and secretary from swinging 60’s London) the Doctor and his friends find themselves involved in an adventure pitted against the Daleks while Ben and Polly and sceptical of this new man claiming to be the Doctor. After defeating the Daleks and regaining the trust of Ben and Polly, the trio where travel to Scotland following the Battle of Culloden (1746), where they are Joined in their travels by Jaime McCrimmon an 18th Century clan piper. They go on to Cybermen on the moon, The Macra, The Daleks again and are introduced to the Yeti and The Ice Warriors of Mars, as well as the man who will become the Doctors closest and most long lasting friend Brigadier Alistair Gordon Lethbridge Stewart, the founder of U.N.I.T.

After the departure of Ben and Polly and the introduction of astrophysicist Zoe Heriot in the serial wheel in space the Doctor, Jaime, and Zoe went on to fight the Kroton’s, the Cybermen and Ice Warriors once more and even the Master of The Land of Fiction, The company meet a foe that even the Doctor cannot best, A renegade Time Lord know as the War Chief, who is abducting human armies from various points in time, and making them fight in order to gain the ultimate army to conquer any point in time and space. The Doctor (a fugitive himself) contacts the Time Lords surrendering himself to return the captive humans to their rightful homes.

The Time Lords who are sworn never to interfere in the affairs of other races place the Doctor on trial, he defends himself saying that he has only interfered for good and to save innocents. Agreeing with this the Time Lords see that earth is most vulnerable to attack from outside influences, so as punishment for the Doctor’s crimes he is exiled to earth, with his knowledge of time travel erased from his mind, and a new regeneration forced upon him, the Doctor agrees and his companions are sent back to their rightful places in time and space and the Doctor begins his exile.

Troughton stared in 118 episodes (21 serials) from 1966-1969 with three subsequent appearances during his lifetime, Troughton possibly had the hardest time of any Doctor, how do you replace the original (look at new coke) but Troughton managed to bring his own uniqueness to the role, he didn’t try to simply play a younger version of William Hartnell, but was his own man, and the show was the better for it, this is why it is such a shame that much of the Second Doctor’s run was junked by the BBC and now only exists in dribs and drabs with only 6 out the 21 serials existing intact, and whilst audio recordings and animated reconstructions exist, something is of Troughton’s original performance and chemistry is lost.

Stand Out Serials 

  1. The Enemy Of The World: A sick and twisted dictator who rules the world, but is seen by many as noble saviour, who also happens to look like The Doctor? What could be better, the Doctor and friends work with rebels to take expose the corruption of the evil Salamander, the only bad part of the serial is Troughton’s teensy bit racist mexican accent.
  2. The Web Of Fear: This serial introduces us to the Brigadier, a stalwart of the whole series, it also marks the second appearance of the Great Intelligence and the Yetis, this time in the London underground,.
  3. The War Games: Whilst I feel that this serial could have been shorter (whilst not the longest, a 10 part serial is still a lot to take) it sheds the most light on the Doctor, mentioning for the first time his race and introducing yet another meddlesome Time Lord, in the War Chief, who I feel was a precursor to the more villainous and long lived Master. It also marks Patrick Troughton’s last regular appearance as the Doctor before being replaced by Jon Pertwee

Dishonourable Mention 

  1. The Questionable Relationship Between The Doctor And Jaime: It really is the first time that the Doctor seems to actually love one of his companions, he has definitely cared for companions in the past, even though he did leave his own granddaughter in a nightmarish dystopia with only one shoe, but with Jaime it seemed something more, from eccentric hand holding to tender embraces, the Doctor’s relationship with Jaime may be innocent and it may be my sick mind reading something that isn’t there, but you tell me.

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Join again soon for more on the wonderful worlds of The BBC’s Doctor Who.

This is the Second in a series of posts relating to the BBC’s long running show Doctor Who.

Book Review: Harry Potter And The Cursed Child

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Until about a week ago I had never read any of JK Rowlings  Harry Potter books, I’d seen the films, but I had never bothered with the books. I don’t really know what spurned me on to pick up the entire series but I did, and in less than a week I had managed to read all seven novels which I thoroughly enjoyed, there is such a depth that you don’t get with the films and it really expands the whole mythos of the Boy Who Lived. So after I put down my copy of the Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows, I almost immediately picked up my new copy of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (pausing only to refresh my drink).

Straight up I have to say it isn’t a novel its a script. Many other reviewers (especially on amazon) seem to not understand that its a script for a play not, a novel. Being a script does mean a few things however, firstly, that you lack the depth of a novel, not that the script is lacking in depth of character, but just that you could tell that were it a novel it would be a lot longer, which brings me to the second point, that I managed to get through the thing in about three hours, again this is down to it being a script, not a novel.

So the story starts nineteen years after the battle of Hogwarts and the death of He Who Must Not Be Named, and focuses on the unlikely duo of Harry Potters second son Albus and his best friend, Draco Malfoy’s son, Scorpius. Both kids are misfits who are both haunted by the legacies of their fathers, and both are content to just sit back and coast through school with their heads down. For Albus Hogwarts is not the magical place that feels like home that it was for his father, its a cold and unforgiving environment where his actions will always be judged on his fathers.

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Its really a story about children trying to gain the love of their fathers and that pretty much is what sets this whole story into motion, is that Albus and Scorpius are trying to pay for the sins of their fathers. Its an interesting story about why the past should really be laid to rest, and shows that those that don’t learn from history are doomed to relive it over and over again.

The writing is a little hard to gauge, mainly because its a screenplay, but there are parts where it feels like its bad fan fiction rather than official canon, especially as it seems that everybody in Harry Potter world is married to the person they were dating in high school, (a horrific thought if applied to the real world), but other parts do feel as though J.K Rowling had a hand in them, for instance the main positions of power (Minister of Magic and Hogwarts Head) being filled by female characters.

Whilst it isn’t a patch on the original novels it is an enjoyable enough read and a nice revisitation  to the world of Hogwarts and the Ministry Of Magic, but I wouldn’t hold my breath for a film adaptation any time soon, but if you do have a hour of three to kill why not give it ago, if only to see how some of your favourite characters age.

Book Review: Kull- The Shadow Kingdom

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I’ve oft written about my love of fantasy, sci-fi and sword and sorcery as a genre, one of my favourite authors being Robert E Howard who was behind the creation of such lasting characters as Conan the Barbarian and Solomon Kane. I was aware of, but had never actually read many of his other works, so I decided to dip my toe in and try Kull The Exile of Atlantis. Before his tragic suicide in 1936 Howard wrote 13 Kull storeis (10 of which were published posthumously), and you can start to see that the character was really a sort of drawing board that when fleshed out sort of morphs into Conan. Many reviewers and critics of Howard’s work have all drawn comparisons between the characters , most agreeing that Kull served as a precursor to the more successful Conan.

Moving back to the story at hand, The Shadow Kingdom, serves as an introduction to Kull and his world. We soon discover his origins, his ambitions and his motivations and learn that uneasy is the head that wears the crown. There is a pertinent lesson that could apply to many leaders today, and that’s that it may be easy to get into power, but once you’re there, chances are that you wont have a clue what your doing, and asking would be akin to ripping of your fingernails whilst in a shark tank.

In the story our hero Kull has to form uneasy alliances and navigate the worlds of statecraft and palace intrigue, all while trying to save his own neck, cement his rule over the newly acquired kingdom of Valusia and combat the steep learning curve that comes with crowns. Oh did I also mention snake priests, yes that’s right, half man, half snake, all priest.

It was a good read, and because of its age I was actually able to find it free on wikisource, and its short length made it an excellent choice in bedtime reading. I’m probably going to read the rest of Kull’s adventures over the coming weeks so look out for more reviews coming your way.

My Favourite Fantasy Authors

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Here’s a little look at some of my favourite authors and the worlds which they have created.

J.R.R Tolkien 

What I love most about Tolkien’s Middle Earth is the depth the author gave to his creation, no just in terms of the Hobbit and The Lord Of The Rings, but in terms of the shear scale of his world. I mean who else could have a 13 book series dedicated just to the history of their fictional world, this is on top of the eight epic length novels that were already published. And whilst the majority of this work was published posthumously, it does go to show the real love for this world that was poured in by its creator.

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Sir Terry Pratchett

Sir Terry Pratchett’s Discworld took all the best parts of fantasy and science fiction, shook them all up and then dropped them on its head, it has wizards that know that the true course of power is forming a committee and witches that ardently practise not using magic, it points out the absurdity of fairy tales and does it all in an entertaining way. With over 40 novels published, not to mention the mountains of tie in publications its safe to say that it was the books of Sir Terry that actually made me want to read books.

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Stan Nicholls

Stan Nicholls’ Orc’s books did the unthinkable for fantasy, it made Orcs the heroes, this was something that had never been done before, in a world where multiple species live together (but by no means coexist) Stan Nicholls manages to shine a light on the orcs place in the world, whilst battling there own kind, every other fantasy race you can think of, and some puritanical human beings who seem hell bent on scouring the world of Maras Dantia of all races who don’t follow their one god whose symbol is oddly enough an inverted X.

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Robert E Howard 

Robert E Howard’s Conan The Barbarian is the archetype of fantasy stories, there are swords, there’s sourcery , there’s magic, there’s snake men, there’s loin cloths and there’s a little too much muscle going on, whenever I read one of those stories I always think of desert palaces and evil grand viziers who’ve made some questionable deals with elder gods. It may seem like its every cliche in the fantasy book, but this is where they came from, this is the original, this is pulp heroism at its best.

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George R R Martin 

A Song Of Ice And Fire is epic peak of epic fantasy with a wealth of story and a wealth of characters to call upon George R R Martin has created something truly marvellous (also incredibly scary and pretty damn twisted at times)  you start with clear heroes and villains, but over the course of the five books (so far) you find the heroes becoming the villains and the villains becoming the heroes, and I think that, in part at least, by narrating chapters from different points of view you begin to realise that everyone is the hero of their own tale and this is why the twists you wouldn’t see coming, that no other author would be brave enough to try, fit right in in Westeros. And this may make me no friends whatsoever, but I’m willing to wait for the next novel, even though it has been about 6 years, I say unto Mr Martin, take your time, as a fan all I demand of you is your best work, whether that takes 7 years or 17.

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Those are some of my favourites.Who are some of your favourite fantasy authors?

The Science Of A Magic Carpet Ride

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Earlier today I watched Disney’s Aladdin while taking my daughter to visit my parents. What first struck me, was how racist and culturally insensitive parts of the film were. The second thing that struck me was how fantastic the late great Robin Williams was as the Genie. Then the third thing that struck me was that during the magic carpet ride Aladdin and Princess Jasmine started in the Middle East, fly through Greece (or a country sporting Grecian architecture) before ending their evening watching fireworks in China. Not only this but during the course of the magic carpet ride a couple of loop the loops are performed. How both parties don’t fall off is a little beyond me, but my main theory beyond it plainly being magic is that this is an example of centripetal force.  Centripetal force is a force that makes a body follow a curved path, a good example is lifting a coin into a cup without touching it.

How they got from the Middle East to Greece to China and back in one night is something that I am having trouble explaining. Most commercial jets will fly at about 550 miles per hour (210 miles per hour above the speed of sound)  now it would take about four hours to fly from Turkey to Greece one way, and given that Greece is in the opposite direction to china that’s eight hours of travel to begin with, then add on that the 10 hours that it would take to get from Turkey to China and that makes 28 hours of travel time at over 200 mph over the speed of sound, with no protection from the elements whatsoever. In order to do that journey in one night (12 hours at most) they would have had to fly at approximately 1500 mph or mach 2. Without protection, travelling at that speed would, undoubtedly, have caused sever internal injuries, or even death.

Another explanation is that Aladdin and Princess Jasmine were away for several days, which would also explain the negative reaction from the Sultans forces upon their arrival back in sunny Agrabah

The Lazy Ramblings Of A Lazy Guy (On Being In Love)

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I was recently introduced to the Idle Thoughts Of An Idle Fellow by Jerome K Jerome. The book consists of 14 essays on 14 topics

  1. ON BEING IDLE.
  2. ON BEING IN LOVE.
  3. ON BEING IN THE BLUES.
  4. ON BEING HARD UP.
  5. ON VANITY AND VANITIES.
  6. ON GETTING ON IN THE WORLD.
  7. ON THE WEATHER.
  8. ON CATS AND DOGS.
  9. ON BEING SHY.
  10. ON BABIES.
  11. ON EATING AND DRINKING.
  12. ON FURNISHED APARTMENTS.
  13. ON DRESS AND DEPORTMENT.
  14. ON MEMORY.

Jerome K Jerome is pretty much me down to a tee. He’s lazy and just writes whatever comes to mind. He doesn’t care who he offends, and I often felt that he may have been somewhat high when he picked up the pen. But Mr Jerome has inspired me, so I am going to be writing a series of posts on the topics that Mr Jerome turned his hand at. (I know I’m ripping the guy off, but quite frankly I don’t care)

On Being In Love 

Have you ever seen someone and known that they would be a terrible distraction to your life. That was how I would describe it, that feeling of knowing that this person is going to really change your life. That knowledge that this is going to be massively inconvenient.

That’s how it all begins then you slip into it, the early days are all wine and dinner and flowers and dancing, but then comes the big pants and netflix, the cups of tea, the farting and the lack of make up, if you can get through that, that is true love. The enduring real world version of the thing.

Foreigner wanted to know what love is, well its two people who have decided to just give up and settle with each other because they find the other person somewhat less detestable than the rest of humanity, that my friends is love.

This is the second in series of posts ripping off the work of Mr Jerome K Jerome and his seminal piece The Idle Thoughts Of An Idle Man.

 

The Lazy Ramblings of A Lazy Guy (On Being Idle)

 

The Man Down My Local (1).pngI was recently introduced to the Idle Thoughts Of An Idle Fellow by Jerome K Jerome. The book consists of 14 essays on 14 topics

  1. ON BEING IDLE.
  2. ON BEING IN LOVE.
  3. ON BEING IN THE BLUES.
  4. ON BEING HARD UP.
  5. ON VANITY AND VANITIES.
  6. ON GETTING ON IN THE WORLD.
  7. ON THE WEATHER.
  8. ON CATS AND DOGS.
  9. ON BEING SHY.
  10. ON BABIES.
  11. ON EATING AND DRINKING.
  12. ON FURNISHED APARTMENTS.
  13. ON DRESS AND DEPORTMENT.
  14. ON MEMORY.

Jerome K Jerome is pretty much me down to a tee. He’s lazy and just writes whatever comes to mind. He doesn’t care who he offends, and I often felt that he may have been somewhat high when he picked up the pen. But Mr Jerome has inspired me, so I am going to be writing a series of posts on the topics that Mr Jerome turned his hand at. (I know I’m ripping the guy off, but quite frankly I don’t care)

On Being Idle

Laziness is both a blessing and a curse, there is nothing more satisfying than spending a day lazing about on the sofa, especially when you know that there are plenty of more important things that you could be doing, and therein lies the curse. Having to put aside that bliss, can prove difficult and indeed a real hardship and can even lead to outright resentment. Or at least this is how I feel. I’ve now reached the point where I actually hate to have to do things. When people interrupt my doing nothing I really do get a little bit angry about the whole thing.

Since the advent of the internet the whole staying in thing really has taken off, with the world of online streaming services and takeaway foods that you don’t even have to speak to people to get, the world of insular laziness has actually become more and more of a easy thing to achieve.

Laziness and indeed idleness itself is a state of mind, its where you sacrifice any sort of social life just to achieve the pleasure that comes from doing nothing. It’s hard to get into the head space required to want to do nothing but watch Game of Thrones in your pants while eating cereal straight from the box.

There are some people who couldn’t be lazy if their lives depended on it. They just lack that lack of drive. They have too much motivation, too much determination to just get things done. The world would stop without those people, without them we wouldn’t have anything. But thanks to those people the rest of us, those lazy fellows can enjoy the things those great enablers have given us. Thanks to them we can vegetate until we fuse to with our sofas, until bed sores set in and until we have to wash ourselves with rags on sticks.

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The world takes a dim view of laziness, but to those who say this is say to you…meh I’ll tell you later.

 

This is the first in series of posts ripping off the work of Mr Jerome K Jerome and his seminal piece The Idle Thoughts Of An Idle Man.