Posted in films & DVD, Television

Doctor Who and the Silurians

The new series of Doctor Who does not start until autumn, so I have decided to watch classic episodes until then. The latest of which is Doctor Who and the Silurians The first episode which was broadcast 31January 1970 The Silurians are a fictional race of reptile-like humanoids and The species first appeared in Doctor Who in the 1970 serial Doctor Who and the Silurians, and were created by Malcolm Hulke. The first Silurians introduced are depicted as prehistoric and scientifically advanced sentient humanoids who predate the dawn of man; in their backstory, the Silurians went into self-induced hibernation to survive what they predicted would be a large geological upheaval caused by the Earth capturing the Moon. The 1972 serial The Sea Devils also by Hulke introduced their amphibious cousins, the so-called ‘Sea Devils’. Both Silurians and Sea Devils made an appearance in 1984’s Warriors of the Deep. After Warriors of the Deep, the Silurians did not appear in the show again before its 1989 cancellation. Heavily redesigned Silurans were reintroduced to the series in 2010, following the show’s 2005 revival, and have recurred frequently since then.Commonly called Silurians, the creatures have also been referred to by other names. The terms “Silurians” and “Eocenes” are human misnomers, as the creatures predate those times. The name Homo reptilia is first used to describe the creatures in a novelisation of Doctor Who and the Silurians by Malcolm Hulke, and is first used in the series proper in the episode “The Hungry Earth”.

The story starts at An experimental nuclear power research centre built into a network of caves in Wenley Moor which has been experiencing mysterious power drains and mental breakdowns amongst staff. UNIT is called in to investigate, and the Third Doctor (Jon Pertwee) and Liz meet Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart (Nicholas Courtney) at the plant. While exploring the caves, one of the workers at the centre is found dead with giant claw marks on his body, and his companion’s mind has been traumatised. Lawrence, the Director, resents UNIT’s presence and feels that it will interfere with the working of the plant, which is trying a new process to generate nuclear electric power. Dr Quinn, the Deputy Director, and Major Baker, the security chief, believe there is a saboteur in the centre, and the Doctor discovers that the logs of the nuclear reactor’s operation have also been tampered with. When the Doctor makes his way into the caves, he is attacked by a dinosaur-like creature.

The Brigadier decides to explore the caves with armed men. Baker fires at a creature he spots in the caves and is attacked by another. The Doctor returns to the centre with Baker, taking samples of the blood from when he fired at the creature. Examining the blood, the Doctor finds similarities to “higher reptiles”. In the meantime, the creature reaches the surface and stumbles into a barn to hide where it is discovered by a farmer and his wife and attacks them. The farmer dies but the wife survives and identifies her attacker. While investigating the barn, Liz is knocked unconscious by the creature and it flees. She tells the Brigadier when she awakes, and he orders a manhunt across the moor just as Quinn appears. The Brigadier and the Doctor follow the creature’s tracks, then The Doctor goes to Quinn’s cottage, and notes that it is remarkably hot, like a reptile house. Quinn asks the Doctor to leave , who then finds a globe that depicts the Earth’s continents as they were 200 million years ago, and notes on the Silurian era of Earth’s history.Back at the cottage, Miss Dawson tries to persuade Quinn to tell the Doctor everything, but Quinn is adamant that he will keep the wounded Silurian captive until he is given the advanced scientific knowledge he wants. When the Doctor goes to the cottage to try to reason with Quinn, he finds him dead in his chair. The Doctor discovers the Silurian, but it escapes. Baker, goes exploring the caves and is soon captured by the Silurians and interrogated about the strength of humans. The Doctor and Liz follow his route and gain access to the Silurian base, where they discover Baker in a locked cage. He tells them that they must warn the surface. The Doctor and Liz leave undiscovered, but not before the discover the reason for the energy drains that the reactor has been experiencing.

Meanwhile, Masters, the Permanent Under-Secretary in charge of the centre, arrives for a personal inspection, and The Doctor decides to tell them all about the Silurians in the caves, urging a peaceful contact instead of the Brigadier’s proposed armed expedition. However, this falls on deaf ears . The Doctor goes to warn and reason with the Silurians, but they imprison him. He then learns that the Silurians retreated underground when they saw the Moon approaching Earth millions of years before and have been in hibernation until they were disturbed by human activity. Soon The Brigadier and his men are released, but  Baker gets infected with a virus  the Doctor, obtains a sample of the virus so he can discover a cure. The Doctor reaches the centre, and he warns everyone to stay away from Baker, who collapses with the virus. Masters, however, decides to return to London, unaware that he has also been infected. Baker is taken to a local hospital and dies there The Brigadier prevents Baker’s doctor and nurse from leaving to avoid spreading the virus while the Doctor returns to the centre. The Brigadier and Liz try to warn London, while all of the centre’s staff are inoculated with a stopgap vaccine, except for Lawrence, who refuses. Masters, meanwhile, has reached London undetected. Soon the virus begins to spread and the deaths begin. The Silurians decide to clobber the Doctor before he finds a cure so they attack him and kidnap him.But not before he manages to discover and write down the cure which is discovered by Liz, and it is soon being mass-produced and distributed.

Despite this setback The Silurians decide to use a weapon to destroy the Van Allen Belt and make the Earth’s environment hostile to humankind, and coerce the Doctor to help. UNIT troops are lured into the caves and battle with the Silurians. Meanwhile the Doctor Liz and the Brigadier are taken to the reactor control room where the Doctor, overloads the reactor and tells the Silurians that the area will be uninhabitable and irradiated for at least 25 years. The Silurians disengage from the battle with UNIT and re-enter the caves to hibernate until the danger has passed deciding to return in 50years time and exterminate humanity. The Reactor is repaired and the remaining Silurian realises he has been duped into sending his race back to sleep. on Wenley Moor, the Doctor tells Liz that he proposes to revive the Silurians one by one and try to reach a peaceful compromise between them and humanity. However, the Brigadier decides that far more extreme measures are required, much to the Doctor’s disgust

Posted in films & DVD, Television, Uncategorized

Doctor Who – The Seeds of Doom

The first exciting episode of The Doctor Who story The Seeds of Doom was broadcast on 31January 1976. It starts off  In Antarctica, where British scientists Charles Winlett and Derek Moberley discover a pod buried in the permafrost, and take it back to their camp, where Stevenson, the base botanist identifies it as vegetable-based and estimates it has been buried in the ice for some twenty thousand years. Richard Dunbar of the World Ecology Bureau shows theDoctor photographs  of the pod and he examines the pictures and believes it to be extraterrestrial. He tells Dunbar to contact the expedition. Back at the base, the pod starts growing . In England, Dunbar visits millionaire Harrison Chase who collects plants and considers it his mission to protect the plant life of Earth. Dunbar shows him pictures of the pod, its possible extraterrestrial origin and that it could be a valuable specimen so Chase calls for one of his men, Scorby, telling him to take Keeler along.At the base, Winlett is attacked when A frond-like tentacle whips out and stings his armq. When Stevenson and Moberley find him, Winlett’s face is covered with green hives. The Doctor and Sarah arrive at the base. In the sickbay, Winlett’s body temperature and pulse are dropping rapidly. His face and body are now covered with a green fungus, and its growth is accelerating. The Doctor asks for a blood test on Winlett and examines the remains. Outside the base, the Doctor uncovers another pod. Noting that the pods travel in pairs, the Doctors transfers it to the base freezer. On analysis, Winlett’s blood is found to contain schizophytes instead of blood – microscopic organisms akin to plant bacteria. The Doctor tells Sarah that Winlett is turning into a Krynoid, a kind of galactic weed that settles on planets and eats the animal life.
when The Doctor leaves to check on Winlett, he is attacked by the now mutated Winlett who has Transformed into a Krynoid which escapes and takes shelter in the outside generator hut. Scorby and Keeler  steal the remaining pod and decide to blow up the base and escape in their plane. The Doctor and the others get free, but are attacked by the Krynoid, which kills Stevenson. The Doctor and Sarah flee the base as the bomb Explodes, and after Regaining consciousness in the snow, the Doctor and Sarah are rescued. Meanwhile, Scorby and Keeler return to Chase in England with the second pod.  At the meeting, Dunbar arranges for the Doctor to go to the Botanic Institute and the Doctor and Sarah Jane also visit Amelia Ducat, one of the world’s leading flower artists.  Chase and Keeler (who is also a botanist)decide to experiment on the pod and inject it with fixed nitrogen. Dunbar calls Chase and tells him that the Doctor and Sarah escaped and may be trying to sneak into the mansion, however they are spotted by Scorby, who capture them. The Doctor and Sarah are brought before Chase and, the Doctor asks Chase grimly to hand over the pod. Chase refuses: He has the greatest collection of plants in the world, and when the pod flowers, it will be his crowning achievement, Chase decides to show the Doctor and Sarah around the mansion, and his plant laboratory. Keeler notes that the pod is growing, so Chase tells Keeler to inject more nitrogen into the pod. Scorby escorts the Doctor and Sarah into the gardens to kill them, but they manage to escape and warn Sir Colin. However, Sarah gets captured again. The Doctor makes his way back into the mansion and watches horrified as Chase starts using Sarah Jane as part of his experiment with the Krynoid. The Doctor rescues Sarah and in the confusion, a frond from the pod stings Keeler’s arm. Keeler begs Chase to get him to a hospital, but Chase is more fascinated with the transformative process than saving Keeler’s life. So Chase and Hargreaves take Keeler to the nearby cottage Instead.

When the Doctor returns to the empty laboratory, he is captured by Scorby and a guard, meanwhile Amelia Ducat arrives demanding her money and Sarah enters the cottage, seeing Keeler, who has begun Transforming into a Krynoid So She escapes back to the house and while in hiding, asks AmeliaDucat to take a message to Sir Colin. so, Ducat relays SarahJane’s message to Sir Colin And Dunbar,  who realising he has made a terrible mistake, says he will go in and get the Doctor. He tells Sir Colin that, if he does not return in half an hour, to return to London and call UNIT. Sarah  the Doctor. Hargreaves finds that Keeler has now almost completed his transformation, and runs in a panic as the creature frees itself. In the mansion, Dunbar pleads with Chase to abandon the experiment as Hargreaves reports Keeler’s transformation to Chase. Dunbar says that this has gone far enough, and he is going to get help. Chase tells Scorby to stop him. Scorby pursues Dunbar through the grounds meanwhile Keeler Disappears The Doctor leaves to search for the Krynoid. which is now far larger than the Winlett creature was, and no longer even humanoid. Dunbar is clobbered by the Krynoid and thecommotion  attract the attention of Scorby and the guards as well as the Doctor and Sarah, who manage to escape to a cottage and barricade themselves in. The Krynoid speaks using Keeler’s voice, demanding that the Doctor come out and join it. Scorby is more than willing to give up the Doctor until Sarah Jane points out that without the Doctor they have no chance of defeating the Krynoid.

Scorby throws an improvised bomb out an upstairs window and the Doctor makes a run for it. The Krynoid pursues him but the Doctor escapes in the limousine, leaving the Krynoid behind. Scorby tries to find Chase and Hargreaves and they begin barricading the windows in preparation for the Krynoid’s attack. Chase makes his way through the grounds and confronts the Krynoid. The Doctor arrives at the Bureau as Major Beresford warns he can’t do anything without evidence. The Doctor warns the Krynoid can channel its power through other plants, turning vegetation against humans. He shows them a series of reports of deaths of people near Chase’s estates being killed by plants. He then calls Sarah Jane and tells them Beresford is preparing to attack the Krynoid, but the Krynoid cuts the phone wires. Chase arrives and tells them that it’s the plants’ world, and humans are only parasites, so Scorby, Sarah Jane, and Hargreaves go in to confront Chase and he speaks of how the world will be made perfect. They can’t get through to him as he talks about how he is one with the plants and animals are the enemy. Sarah Jane notices that the plants are closing in on them. The Doctor and a UNIT soldier drive onto the grounds while the plants overwhelm Sarah Jane and the others and start to strangle them.

The Doctor and a UNIT soldier, arrive with chemical plant-killer. They dispose of the plants, saving Scorby and Sarah Jane while the older Hargreaves is dead. Chase runs away and the Doctor and the others make their way into the lab and start removing the plants. But once they’re outside Chase locks the door behind them and they can only gaze in horror as the now enormous Krynoid towers over them. UNIT soldiers arrive and open fire. The Doctor believes that Chase is possessed by the Krynoid and decides to eliminate him., Chase and the others eventually return to the laboratory while the Krynoid tries to break its way in. Scorby starts to panic and wants to run, but the Doctor warns him that every plant on the grounds is under the Krynoid’s control. Meanwhile, Chase puts Henderson in the compost machine, killing him. when the Krynoid renews its attack Scorby panics and makes a run for it, which does not go well. Then The Doctor and Sarah Jane realize that Henderson is also missing so she goes to find him and is confronted by a mutated Chase who explains he’s become part of the plant world thanks to the Krynoid and refers to humanity as parasites, before attacking Sarah Jane. Beresford contacts the Doctor, who warns they have 15 minutes until the Krynoid germinates, spreading its seeds across England. The Doctor tells them to launch an air strike before it’s too late. Chase decides to Dispose of Sarah Jane by feeding her into the compost machine luckily The Doctor arrives and tries to rescue her, but Chase turns the machine back on and Attacks him. Meanwhile The RAF arrive as Beresford and Sir Colin desperately look for any signs of the Doctor and Sarah Jane who are trapped inside trying to avoid being composted and escape past the Krynoid covering the house…

Posted in music

Never mind the Sex Pistols here’s Johnny Rotten

John Lydon, A.K.A Johnny Rotten vocalist with The Sex Pistols was born 31st January 1956.  formed in London in 1975 The Sex Pistols were responsible for initiating the punk movement in the United Kingdom and inspiring many later punk and alternative rock musicians. Although their initial career lasted just two-and-a-half years and produced only four singles and one studio album, Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols, they are regarded as one of the most influential acts in the history of popular music, and the album is regarded as a classic by many.

They evolved from “The Strand”, a London band formed in 1972 with working-class teenagers Steve Jones on vocals, Paul Cook on drums, and Wally Nightingale on guitar. According to a later account by Jones, both he and Cook played on instruments they had stolen. vocalist Johnny Rotten joined soon after In August 1975, when he was spotted wearing a Pink Floyd T-shirt with the words I Hate handwritten above the band’s name and holes scratched through the eyes. The line-up was completed by guitarist Steve Jones, drummer Paul Cook and bassist Glen Matlock, who was replaced by Sid Vicious in early 1977.

Under the management of impresario Malcolm McLaren, the band provoked controversies that captivated Britain. Their behaviour, as much as their music, brought them national attention and their concerts repeatedly faced difficulties with organizers and authorities, and public appearances often ended in mayhem. Their 1977 single “God Save the Queen”, attacking Britons’ social conformity and deference to the Crown, precipitated the “last and greatest outbreak of pop-based moral pandemonium”.

Since the spring of 1977, the three senior Sex Pistols had also been returning to the studio periodically with Chris Thomas to lay down the tracks for the band’s debut album. Initially to be called God Save Sex Pistols, it became known during the summer as Never Mind the Bollocks. In January 1978, after a turbulent tour of the United States, Rotten left the band and announced its break-up. Over the next several months, the three other band members recorded songs for McLaren’s film version of the Sex Pistols’ story, The Great Rock ‘n’ Roll Swindle. Vicious died of a heroin overdose in February 1979. In 1996, Rotten, Jones, Cook and Matlock reunited for the Filthy Lucre Tour; since 2002, they have staged further reunion shows and tours. On 24 February 2006, the Sex Pistols—the four original members plus Vicious—were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Posted in locomotives, steam locomotives

Tribute to George Jackson Churchward

3440_CityofTruro7Best Known for designing GWR 3440 City of Truro, which held the unofficial record for the first steam locomotive to travel at over 100 miles per hour, British railroad engineer George Jackson Churchward was Born 31st January 1857. Apprenticed in the Newton Abbot works of the South Devon Railway in the GWR’s Swindon Works, he rose from draughtsman through several positions, including Carriage Works Manager, and in 1897 was appointed Chief Assistant to William Dean. After 5 years as Chief Assistant, he succeeded Dean as Locomotive Superintendent. In the 19th and early 20th century, railway companies were fiercely competitive. Speed meant revenue and speed was dependent on engineering. Churchward delivered to the GWR from Swindon a series of class-leading and innovative locomotives. Arguably, from the early 1900s to the 1920s the Great Western’s 2-cylinder and 4-cylinder 4-6-0 designs were substantially superior to any class of locomotive of the other British railway companies. On one occasion, the GWR’s directors confronted Churchward, and demanded to know why the London and North Western Railway were able to build three 4-6-0 locomotives for the price of two of Churchward’s “Stars”. Churchward allegedly gave a terse response: “Because one of mine could pull two of their bloody things backwards!”

Churchward preferred locomotives without trailing wheels, to maximise adhesion on the South Devon banks of Dainton, Rattery and Hemerdon on the West of England mainline to Plymouth, then the Great Western’s most important route. Due to the weight and dimensional restrictions required to pass over all the GWR’s lines, he designed narrow fireboxes, but with good circulation. Combining high boiler pressures with superheating made efficient use of the high calorific-value steam coal from the mines in South Wales. Other refinements included feed-water distribution trays beneath the top-fitted clack boxes to minimize boiler stress and large bearing surfaces to reduce wear.

Churchward also made advancements in carriage design. He introduced the GWR’s first steel-roofed coaches and is also credited with introducing to Britain several refinements from American and French steam locomotive practice. Among these were the tapered boiler and the casting of cylinders and saddles together, in halves. His choice of outside cylinders for express locomotives was also not standard in Britain for that time. Many elements of British practice were retained, of course. His locomotives for the most part used British plate frames, and the crew was accommodated in typical British fashion. The selection of a domeless boiler was more common to Britain than to the U.S. In 1922 Churchward retired, and C. B. Collett inherited his legacy of excellent, standardised designs. These designs influenced British locomotive practice to the end of steam. Major classes built by the LMS and even British Railways 50 years later are clearly developments of Churchward’s basic designs. The LMS Stanier Class 5 4-6-0 and the BR standard class 5 are both derived from his Saint class early examples of which date to 1902.

The first class of locomotives with which Churchward won success and worldwide recognition was the 4-4-0 ‘City’ class, which soon became one of the most famous class locomotives in the world at the time. One of them, City of Truro, became the first engine in the world to haul a train at 100 miles per hour in 1904 (although unauthenticated). He went on to build the ‘County’ class and the ‘Star’ class. Number 3440 City Of Truro is a Great Western Railway (GWR) 3700 (or ‘City’) Class 4-4-0 locomotive, designed by George Jackson Churchward and built at the GWR Swindon Works in 1903. (It was rebuilt to a limited extent in 1911 and 1915, and renumbered 3717 in 1912). It is one of the contenders for the first steam locomotive to travel in excess of 100 miles per hour (160.9 km/h). City of Truro was timed at 8.8 seconds between two quarter-mile posts whilst hauling the “Ocean Mails” special from Plymouth to London Paddington on 9 May 1904. This timing was recorded from the train by Charles Rous-Marten, who wrote for The Railway Magazine and other journals. If exact (Rous-Marten’s stopwatch read in multiples of 1/5 second), this time would correspond to a speed of 102.3 mph (164.6 km/h), while 9 seconds would correspond to exactly 100 mph.Its maximum speed has been the subject of much debate over the years.

Posted in music

Marcus Mumford

Marcus Mumford, the lead singer with the incredibly lively folk rock band Mumford and Sons was born 31st January 1987. The earliest memories of the band performing together are within the close confines of a rehearsal room in Putney, and street-side jamming sessions on the pavement ahead of a show. It was a scene already common to the band as musicians falling in and out of bands of each and every genre. Band members Ben Lovett and Marcus Mumford were already working on songs together from their school days, but those songs didn’t realise their full potential until Winston Marshall (armed with a banjo and dobro), and Ted Dwane (double bass, but with a penchant for being a multi-instrumental marvel) gave these songs new arrangements, and injected them with a real ‘band’ dynamic. Within a few months, Mumford & Sons released their eponymously named debut EP,which featured the first, self-produced recordings of ‘Roll Away Your Stone’, ‘Awake My Soul’, and ‘White Blank Page.

Mumford and Sons Debut Album “Sigh no More” was released in October 2009 to much critical Acclaim and rave reviews  and won the band a UK Brit Award in 2010 (Best Album), and was nominated for the prestigious Mercury Prize Award in the same year. Outside of Britain, Mumford & Sons also picked up two Grammy nominations (Best New Artist, Best Rock Song), and performed alongside Bob Dylan covering Maggie’s Farm at the awards themselves.

They also toured relentlessly in support of Sigh no More, The live shows in London sold-out instantly and were rammed to the rafters and this was soon replicated across the whole of the UK and The British and Ireland shows were selling out rapidly with each and every passing tour. A second EP was released, ‘Love Your Ground’, which featured the band’s own recordings of ‘Little Lion Man’ and the firm live favourite, ‘Feel The Tide’. This was followed by more touring, round Europe and They also had a ten-day live adventure across India, and also played to sold-out arenas in America and Australia. They also made an awesome appearance at Glastonbury 2011 and their second album “Babel” was released in 2012