Sunday, 27 September 2009

Picture of the week: Hinckley Council Offices

A fine example of modern architecture and innovative design.

A proposal for a Moffat era post-series 5 Doctor Who Movie

Given that Stephen Moffat is likely to adopt a darker edge in his production values, I'd envisage an 11th Doctor movie to do the same.


The Doctor & Amy Pond land in Brighton in summer 2011 hoping for a weeks break. However the streets are deserted and no electronic equipment is working. Everyone has vanished.
While searching a deserted bar they stumble across an unconscious Ben Chatham. Reviving, Ben explains to them over a drink that the people vanished two months ago, apart from a squad of UNIT troops & himself who were in UNIT's Hove base inspecting some neolithic artifacts in the science lab. Since then giant rats have appeared in the towns and countryside & killed many troops. The Doctor speculates that the artefacts may contain a clue as to what has happened and they set off for the base in the TARDIS.
Inspecting the artefacts, the Doctor finds a dagger which emits a strange signal only he can hear. He recognises Time Lord technology.

Following a number of encounters with the rats, The Doctor & Ben discover that a utopian organisation called 'The Sons of Tomorrow' is behind the mystery. All people have been shrunk to the size of ants and placed in suspended animation, supposedly to allow the earth to return to its natural state. The plan is then to travel to a new larger planet. However the Doctor discovers that the group's leader is the Master who in actual face plans to place all of humanity in a spacecraft & detonate a bomb on it. Ben tricks the Master into boarding the craft himself and then the Doctor launches it prematurely before the miniturised humans have been loaded. The Master has no choice but to defuse the bomb and turn back for earth where he is placed under UNIT arrest after the Doctor has returned humanity to size.

DVD Recommendation: "The Keys of Marinus"

This underrated story is an absolute must for any Doctor Who fan. Each episode is a story in itself as the Doctor, Ian, Barbara & Susan flit about the planet searching for the keys. The Voord are an excellent mysterious enemy, although rather underused in the story. The support cast are excellent, especially the superb actor playing Athos. There could have been more extras on the DVD, but the story itself is worth the price.

The BBC series 'Merlin'

I watched this last night and it was even worse than I remember the last series being. What on earth are the BBC thinking? The castles and costumes are decidedly late medieval despite King Arthur supposedly being around in the early saxon era. The 'blind casting' I can understand however the general standard of the acting in it is terrible, although I suspect the Royal Shakespeare Company would struggle to impress given the banality of the scripts. The story arc doesn't seem to be going anywhere; there is no sign yet of Uther dying so that Arthur can pull the sword from the stone, no knights of the round table on the horizon; nothing. Rather than the Arthurian legends we just get huge dollops of Lord of the Rings style dragons & the like.
Only worth watching for the eye candy Arthur & Merlin and the amusement value of a Victor Meldrew wizard.

Sunday, 13 September 2009

Audiobook recommendation: Doctor Who: "Hornet's Nest"

I listened to the first CD in this 5 CD series last week, "Stuff of Nightmares" and its excellent. Not only does it feature the return of the 4th Doctor (Tom Baker) & Mike Yates, but also the plot evokes the best of the classic series. It has eccentric English characters and a creepy, original alien menace. An essential purchase. Steven Moffat should consider using this in the TV series.

"ORCHIDS IN JUNE": Act 1 Scene 7

ACT 1: Scene 7

The Inspector & PC Wold rush outside followed by everyone else (onstage the lights dim & the stagehands run on & change the set while a bit of music plays - Mozart)Outside Jethro has dumped a load of manure outside the lane's house with his tractor & trailer (the stagehands empty a couple of wheelbarrows onto the stage)

Rosemary: Oh sugar! How awful. Our patio is covered with filth.

Jethro: Thaaat'l teach your 'usband to diddle me.

Shaun: Remove that **** at once.

Jethro: What about moi computer? Oi waaaant it fixed roight or thaaat stays where oive daaarmped it.

Rosemary: Inspector, please arrest this farmer for vandalism.

Inspector Rigby: I'm afraid this is a civil matter. What concerns me is the murder.

Alistair: This is typical of the police today. Respectable people are at the mercy of criminal activity and the police do nothing. What is to stop all decent people having mounds of cow dung dumped on their doorsteps?

Rosemary moves to the front of the stage and addresses the audience poigniantly. A single tear appears in her eye

Rosemary: Oh that this too too solid flesh would melt,
thaw and resolve itself into a dew.
To be or not to be a respectable middle-class person,
that is the question.
Whether it is nobler in the mind to put up with the rising tide of crime in Brown's Britain,
or to slash your wrists up and die,
entering that undiscovered country,
where unto the breach we go.
Out, out brief candles,
and yet, what light from yonder window does break?
It is the light of hope,
that the police will arrest all hoodies, druggies and oddball farmers,
and chuck them in prison.

Estelle: Well said darling!

Alistair: That was beautiful mother.

Jethro: What about moi computer?

........... to be continued

"ORCHIDS IN JUNE" Act 1 Scene 6

OK, here is scene 6:

ACT 1: Scene 6

PC Wold gathers everyone into the lounge

PC Wold: The Inspector is on his way. This is a serious matter. I have acertained that the last thing the deceased did was to eat a fondant fancy.

Amy: *sobbing* This is like so unfair.

Alistair: I baked those fondant fancies myself earlier. I vouch for them.

Shaun *to PC Wold* Are you seriously implying that one of us fiddled with my son's fondant fancies?

PC Wold: Yes. I suspect poison.

Amy: *sobbing* This is like so.... *sob* like....

Rosemary: What will the neighbours think? This is a respectable area.

There is a knock on the door and it opens. Estelle elegantly glides in.

Estelle: Evening darlings *notices atmosphere* Why what has happened? You all look so displaced.

Rosemary: A drug-addled yobbo has been poisoned by one of Alistair's cakes.

Estelle: Oh darling how utterly awful for you.

Offstage the sound of a car drawing up is heard. Inspector Rigby enters

Inspector Rigby: Hello hello. Whats been going on here. Nobody move. I'll inspect the body.

He goes offstage into the other room. Then he comes back.

Inspector Rigby: He's definitely dead. Nobody move.

Cuthbert: Can I please go to the boys' room lovvie. I'm simply bursting.

Inspector Rigby: Stay where you are until you have been searched.

Cuthbert: You can search me anytime you want luvvie *winks*.

Inspector Rigby: *to PC Wold* Constable, give that man a good feel all over in case he has a concealed phial of deadly poison.

Rosemary: You can't seriously suspect any of us. We are respectable people.

Inspector Rigby: I suspect all including you.

Alistair: *flicks floppy hair back defiantly* Now look here. I'm going to have my say. This thug has clearly died as a result of drug abuse. How dare you imply that mother could be a suspect. You are just a minor public servant.

Cuthbert: Well said Alistair dear.

Inspector Rigby: Until I have got to the bottom of this you are all suspects.

Suddenly there is a loud thud outside


Followed by a rumbling sound


.............. to be continued

Saturday, 12 September 2009

Gordon Brown's apology regarding the treatment of Alan Turing

Well said and long overdue. An excerpt:

"Thousands of people have come together to demand justice for Alan Turing and recognition of the appalling way he was treated. While Turing was dealt with under the law of the time and we can’t put the clock back, his treatment was of course utterly unfair and I am pleased to have the chance to say how deeply sorry I and we all are for what happened to him. Alan and the many thousands of other gay men who were convicted as he was convicted under homophobic laws were treated terribly. Over the years millions more lived in fear of conviction.I am proud that those days are gone and that in the last 12 years this government has done so much to make life fairer and more equal for our LGBT community.
This recognition of Alan’s status as one of Britain’s most famous victims of homophobia is another step towards equality and long overdue.But even more than that, Alan deserves recognition for his contribution to humankind. For those of us born after 1945, into a Europe which is united, democratic and at peace, it is hard to imagine that our continent was once the theatre of mankind’s darkest hour. It is difficult to believe that in living memory, people could become so consumed by hate - by anti-Semitism, by homophobia, by xenophobia and other murderous prejudices - that the gas chambers and crematoria became a piece of the European landscape as surely as the galleries and universities and concert halls which had marked out the European civilisation for hundreds of years. It is thanks to men and women who were totally committed to fighting fascism, people like Alan Turing, that the horrors of the Holocaust and of total war are part of Europe’s history and not Europe’s present.
So on behalf of the British government, and all those who live freely thanks to Alan’s work I am very proud to say: we’re sorry, you deserved so much better.

Gordon Brown"

Sunday, 6 September 2009

"ORCHIDS IN JUNE" Act 1 Scene 5

Anyway, here is the next scene in this major stage play:

ACT 1: Scene 5

Alistair ushers everyone back into the house and pours the drinks

Rosemary: *taking glass*Thankyou darling. I don't know what I'd do without you. If only your father were so understanding.

Steve: Ere I'm bleeding. I've cut me arm and me soddin arse.

Rosemary: Well that serves you jolly well right for your immoral behaviour earlier. You lack a sense of personal integrity.

Steve: Leave me alone you crabby old bitch.

Alistair: Don't you insult my mother.

Jethro: What about moi computer?

Rosemary: We are not interested in your darn computer. Take it up with Shaun.

As she says this, Shaun emerges from upstairs in his dressing gown, entering stage left.

Shaun: Whats all this noise? I'm trying to sleep.

Jethro: Oi waaaaant you to look at moi computer. That saaaaaaftware you saaaaald me has roight knackered it.

Shaun: Oh shut up you ridiculous yokel. *to Steve* What are you doing in my house?

PC Wold: I suggest we all calm down. Mr Lane, there has been an accident. However its all under control *downs glass of wine*.

Jethro: What about moi computer?

Steve: Shove it up your arse.

Jethro: Roight. If thaaaaats your last word then on your own 'ead be it. Don't say I didn't waaaarn eee. Red skoy in the marnin, shepherd's warnin'. *exits stage right*

Steve: My arse is sore.

Shaun: As said the curate to the Bishop.

Rosemary: Can we all please focus on sorting out our differences in an orderly way. I accept that Steven has done more harm to himself by his clumsy and immoral actions. I suggest we agree to part amicably.

Shaun: Stuff that. This yobbo can pay to replace my window. I go to work. He is a workshy layabout.

Amy: He's not. He's like just between jobs.

Alistair: Would anyone like a fondant fancy? *offers cake*

Steve grabs a cakeThere is a knock on the door and Rosemary opens it. In walks Cuthbert Leeman, the sixtysomething next door neighbour

Cuthbert: Sorry to intrude on you darlings but I just had to join you as I adore conversation. Mmmm fondant fancies, how delicious *takes a cake and gives Alistair's bottom a feel*.

Suddenly Steve keels over and makes a choking sound

Steve: *choke* the.... cake......can't ..... throat burning......

He goes silent. PC Wold inspects him

PC Wold: What have we here then? He's dead.

Amy: Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeek!

PC Wold: Nobody move! I suspect foul play.......

...... to be continued.

"ORCHIDS IN JUNE" Act 1 Scene 4

ACT 1: Scene 4

Rosemary and Alistair rush outside. They see that Steve has tripped up and fallen through the side of the greenhouse. Amy is pulling him up

Amy: Relax and let me pull you

Steve: Pull harder babe

Rosemary: You thug! You've knocked over two orchid pots and squashed my husband's tomatoes

Alistair: This is outrageous. We are decent people. I'm phoning the police *fiddles with his mobile*

A middle-aged man opens the gate and walks up the path

Jethro: *to Rosemary*Do you be Mrs Lane?

Rosemary: *lighting a cigarette* I am. What do you want?

Jethro: Oi waaant to speak to your 'usband.

Rosemary: What on earth about at this hour? He's in bed.

Jethro: Oi waaant to speak to im about moi computer. Eeee sold me some saaaaftware to record moi faaaarm sales ahn. An its roight buggered it up. Oi was entering moi sheep an it crashed on I.

Rosemary: You mean to say you've come round here about a work matter? See him at his office. How did you get this address?

Jethro: Oi sees all an oi says nowt

A police car arrives. Offstage, flashing lights are shone onto the stage. A policewoman enters

PC Wold : Hello. I understand that there has been an incident here.

Rosemary: Yes. This yob has thrown a brick through our window and then proceeded to break the greenhouse while trying to molest my daughter.

Steve: Ere I haven't toutched her tonight ... yet. However I could really do a three in a bed sesh with 'er and you in that uniform.

PC Wold: Watch it or I'll nick you right now. *to Amy* Is your mother correct?

Amy: Dunno. Whatever.

Jethro: What about moi computer.

Alistair exits stage left and returns with a bottle of wine and five glasses.

Alistair: Let us partake in refreshment while we iron out these problems........

....... to be continued

"ORCHIDS IN JUNE" Act 1 Scene 3

ACT 1 : Scene 3

Rosemary & Alistair enter the downstairs lounge and see the broken window

Alistair: What a ghastly mess. Who could have done this to us.

Rosemary: What will the neighbours think?

There is a snigger from outside & Steve's face appears learing through the hole in the glass

Steve: Ere it looks like someone's bruck yer ****in winder ***** - ha ha ha

Rosemary: You've done this. We had every right to report you to the police for dealing drugs to my daughter.

Steve: I'm gonna slash yer up

Alistair: Go away and leave us alone *flicks floppy hair back defiantly*

Amy enters

Amy: Oh like hi Steve. Fancy a shag?

Steve: Yeah babe

Amy rushes out to him & Rosemary screams

Rosemary: SCREEEEEEEEAAAAAAAAMMMM. I don't know what is happening to my life. I can't understand it.

Alistair: Don't upset yourself.

Suddenly there is a loud crash outside

CRASH...... be continued


ACT 1: Scene 2

Rosemary and Shaun are in the bedroom.

Rosemary: I know you are seeing that Carrie who works in your office. There is no point in denying it. *she flings a photograph at him* There!

Shaun casts a cursory glance at the picture

Shaun: So? We were engaged in a software discussion. And who took that picture? Have you been following me?

Rosemary: I've hired a private detective. I want to discuss our marriage in a full and proper way Shaun.

Shaun: Look love. You have a nice home & two nice kids. I give you plenty of money so stop whinging. If you don't like it you know where the door is.

Rosemary: *crying* Why are you being like this Shaun?

Shaun:*aside to audience* Methinks the daft trout is in need of some buttering. *To Rosemary* Look love, you know I really appreciate you. *Breaks wind* Now for some kip.

Suddenly the door flings open. It is Alistair

Alistair: Its awful, absolutely ghastly. How can I go on. *begins to sob hysterically*

Rosemary: Ally, what has happened?

Alistair: The Ensemble I booked for the Mozart recital on Saturday have pulled out. I may dash my brains out.

Shaun: Its time you got yourself a proper bloody job instead of doing voluntary work at that arts centre.

Rosemary: Don't shout at him Shaun. He's upset *moving over and cradling Alistair's head in her arms* my baby.

Shaun: Pass me the sick bucket

Suddenly there is a bang downstairs. Amy rushes in

Amy: Someone's like lobbed a brick through the window.

Shaun: Oh? I thought it was the toaster exploding. It just shows that you can't always recognise sounds. Anyroad, you deal with it . *turns over & goes to sleep* be continued.

"ORCHIDS IN JUNE" A Play for the Theatre

"ORCHIDS IN JUNE" : A play for the theatre.

OK, taking a short break from Doctor Who/Ben Chatham fiction, I will post my play which is intended as a post-modern satire which blends elements of farce with straightforward drama.

Main characters:

Rosemary Lane: A mid- 30s suburban housewife
Estelle Hampson-Clark: Her friend , Oxbridge educated and the daughter of Viscount Reevesdale
Shaun Lane : Rosemary's husband, works for a computer software firm
Amy Lane: The Lanes' 17 year old daughter
Alistair Lane: Their 19 year old son
Bob Ware: the plumber & odd job man
Steve Crabbs: A drug-dealing hoodie with a grudge against the Lanes

Act 1 : Scene 1

In the Lanes' kitchen, Rosemary is chatting to Estelle and arranging orchids and roses in a vase.

Rosemary: Well what do you think? I do hope the colours of the roses don't clash with anything in this kitchen.

Estelle: Darling the whole arrangement is misconcieved. One simply should never mix orchids with other flowers and certainly not roses. It simply oozes vulgarity and the ignorant pretentions of new money. Orchids need subtelty and space. And that vase must go.

Rosemary: Oh but why? It was very espensive.

Estelle: It utterly reeks of John Lewis or some similar establishment. It lacks exclusivity and uniqueness. One feels it insults the orchids.

Rosemary: *tears welling up, dabs eyes with hanky* I never seem to get things right. No wonder Shaun is playing around with his secretary.

Estelle: Oh darling, we don't know this for certain yet. The private detective hasn't reported any findings yet has he?

Rosemary: Not yet.But I still know. I can tell when my husband is playing away. He eats more and doesn't fidget in bed.

The door bangs open and in walks Bob Ware the plumber

Bob: Hullo, I've come to look at your taps

Estelle: *gives his backside a squeeze* One simply adores a man with his shirtsleeves rolled up. Let me show you the upstairs bathroom....

They exit leaving Rosemary looking perplexed. In walks Amy:

Amy: I need money, like now

Rosemary: What for?

Amy: I need it now bitch. Just ****ing give us it

Rosemary: Ok darling *hands Amy £60 and Amy flounces out*.

Rosemary starts rearranging the orchids in a different vase.......

....... to be continued