Posted in Fantasy, films & DVD, Science fiction, Television

Jon Pertwee

Best known for portraying the Third Doctor in the science-fiction series Doctor Who between 1970 and 1974, and starring as Worzel Gummidge, the English actor, entertainer and cabaret performer John Pertwee sadly died in his sleep from a heart attack in Connecticut on 20 May 1996, at the age of 76. He was born 7 July 1919. Pertwee was educated at Frensham Heights School, an independent school in Rowledge, near Farnham in Surrey, at Sherborne School in Sherborne in Dorset, and at some other schools from which he was expelled. After school, he went to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA), from which he was also expelled after he refused to play a Greek “wind” during one of the lessons, feeling it was a waste of both his time and his father’s money. He was also accused of writing graffiti about the tutors on the lavatory walls.

During the Second World War, Pertwee spent six years in the Royal Navy. He was a crew member of HMS Hood and was transferred off the ship for officer training shortly before she was sunk by the German battleship Bismarck, losing all but three men in May 1941. Later, he was attached to the highly-secretive Naval Intelligence Division, working alongside future James Bond author Ian Fleming, and reporting directly to Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, and Deputy Prime Minister, Clement Attlee. Teaching commandos how to use escapology equipment, compasses in brass buttons, secret maps in white cotton handkerchiefs, pipes you could smoke that also fired a .22 bullet.

After the war, he made a name for himself as a comedy actor on radio in Waterlogged Spa, alongside Eric Barker, and Puffney Post Office in which he played a hapless old postman with the catch-phrase “It doesn’t matter what you do, as long as you tears them up.” On 15 November 1948, at the Wood Green Empire, he was billed as ‘The Most Versatile Voice in Radio. He also appeared in the Radio Shows “Merry-go-Round” and “Up the Pole”‘. From 1959 to 1977, he had a long-running role as the conniving Chief Petty Officer Pertwee in The Navy Lark on BBC Radio. He was known as a Danny Kaye look-alike, Whom he impersonated in the film Murder at the Windmill (1949).In 1953, he played Charlie Sterling in Will Any Gentleman…?. Alongside Future Doctor Who actor William Hartnell as Inspector Martin.

On stage, he played the part of Lycus in the 1963 London production of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum with Frankie Howerd and appeared in the smaller role of Crassus in the 1966 film version. He appeared as Sidney Tait in the comedy film Ladies Who Do (1963). In 1966, Pertwee starred alongside Donald Sinden in the West End production of There’s a Girl in My Soup and also appeared in four Carry On films: Carry On Cleo (1964, as the soothsayer), Carry On Cowboy (1965, as Sheriff Earp), Carry On Screaming! (1966, as Dr. Fettle), and Carry On Columbus (1992, as the Duke of Costa Brava). In 1967 Pertwee had been producer David Croft’s choice for the role of Captain George Mainwaring in Dad’s Army.

His television career had started off with small parts in children’s shows featuring Richard Hearne’s Mr Pastry character. Later he made an appearance in The Avengers episode ‘From Venus With Love’ (1967) as Brigadier Whitehead, and in the 1970s, he guest-starred as a vicar in The Goodies’ episode “Wacky Wales”. In 1969, Pertwee was selected by outgoing producer Peter Bryant and the series’ next producer Derrick Sherwin to take over as the Doctor from Patrick Troughton in the television series Doctor Who. Pertwee had asked his agent to apply for the role for him and was surprised to find he was already on the shortlist. In a departure from the Doctor’s first two incarnations, Pertwee played the character as an active crusader with a penchant for action and fancy clothes, even while the character was exiled on Earth and serving with UNIT. He played the Doctor for five seasons from early 1970 to mid-1974, a longer stint than either of his predecessors in the role, William Hartnell and Patrick Troughton, although the Pertwee era of Doctor Who ‘only’ had 128 episodes compared to the Hartnell era having had 134 episodes, as the BBC relaxed its shooting schedule from 39–45 episodes per season to 25–26 episodes per season at the start of Pertwee’s tenure as Doctor Who. He stayed until 1974, When he retired as the Doctor to resume his stage career in The Bedwinner.

The main reason for his departure was the death of his good friend and co-star Roger Delgado (The Master) and the departures of co-star Katy Manning and producer Barry Letts. His last full-time appearance in the series was in the story Planet of the Spiders in June 1974, which finished with Tom Baker replacing him in the role. He also starred in The House That Dripped Blood (1971) as an arrogant horror film star named Paul Henderson, who meets his doom thanks to a genuine vampire cloak. In 1973, Pertwee endorsed the Co-op’s Baking Your Cake and Eating it, a recipe book written by Sarah Charles. Pertwee later reprised his role as The Doctor in the 20th anniversary story The Five Doctors and the Children in Need story Dimensions in Time, in two radio adventures and on stage in Doctor Who – The Ultimate Adventure. On 14 April 1971, Pertwee was the subject of Thames Television’s This Is Your Life.between 1974 and 1978 Pertwee was the host of the murder-mystery game show Whodunnit?,

Pertwee then took the starring role in Worzel Gummidge, based on the books written by Barbara Euphan Todd. First aired in 1979 on ITV, the series saw Pertwee as a scarecrow, and continued until 1981. In 1987 Worzel Gummidge Down Under aired until 1989 and was screened in the UK on Channel 4. In 1995, Pertwee played the role one last time in a one-off special for ITV, which celebrated 40 years of the channel. Pertwee played the title character in Worzel Gummidge, the musical, book and lyrics by Keith Waterhouse and Willis Hall, music by Denis King, which opened at London’s Cambridge Theatre in December 1981, co-starring Una Stubbs and Geoffrey Bayldon. Pertwee also recorded an album, Worzel Gummidge Sings, as well as a Christmas single. In 1976, Pertwee voiced and appeared in the television advertisement which promoted the Green Cross Code and also starred with Australian actress Julie Anthony in a West End production of the musical IRENE playing the camp fashion-designer “Madame Lucy”. Pertwee also features on the cast recording album. He also voiced the character of “Spotty” in the 1980s cartoon series SuperTed and in 1985 he starred in Do You Know The Milkyway? Portraying Dr. Neuross and another nine characters. In 1995 Pertwee also had the key voice of Death and other voice characterisations in the PC and PlayStation renditions of “Discworld”. And also played General Von Kramer in the Young Indiana Jones Chronicles episode “Attack of the Hawkmen”. In 1975 he portrayed The Colonel’ in “One of Our Dinosaurs is Missing .

He returned to the role of the Doctor in the 1983 20th anniversary television special The Five Doctors and in the 1993 charity special Dimensions in Time for Children in Need. He also portrayed the Doctor in the stage play Doctor Who – The Ultimate Adventure. He made a guest appearance in the “Lords and Ladies” episode of the BBC Radio 4 comedy series Harry Hill’s Fruit Corner, playing a Time Lord and also spoofed the role in the Radio 4 comedy The Skivers. He also presented the Doctor Who video releases The Troughton Years. In 1993, Pertwee was featured in the unofficial 30th anniversary release of Doctor Who entitled 30 Years of Time Travel and Beyond. Pertwee portrayed the Third Doctor in two further audio productions for BBC Radio, The Paradise of Death and The Ghosts of N-Space. In April 1995, he appeared in Devious, an amateur video drama set between the second Doctor’s trial at the end of The War Games and before the start of Spearhead From Space. Pertwee’s final film role was in a short film entitled Cloud Cuckoo and also appeared on Cilla’s Surprise, Surprise, in 1996..

He was survived by his wife Ingeborg Rhoesa, and two children who had followed him into the acting profession, Sean Pertwee and Dariel Pertwee. Many Doctor Who actors payed tribute including Tom Baker and Colin Baker His body was cremated at Putney Vale Crematorium with a toy Worzel Gummidge affixed to the coffin, following the instructions in his will. His death came six days after the American broadcast of the Doctor Who television film, which used a logo based on the one from his era of the television series and featured a dedication to Pertwee at its end. Pertwee’s voice was used in the 40th Anniversary Doctor Who audio drama, Zagreus, as the TARDIS helps a corrupted Eighth Doctor (voiced by Paul McGann). Pertwee also wrote two autobiographies: Moon Boots and Dinner Suits and the posthumously published Doctor Who: I Am the Doctor – Jon Pertwee’s Final Memoir. In 2000, Jon Pertwee: The Biography by Bernard Bale (was published by André Deutsch, and included a few chapters by Pertwee’s widow Ingeborg.

Archival footage of Pertwee has been used several times in the revived Doctor Who. Including “The Next Doctor” when the Tenth Doctor shows Jackson Lake an infostamp about himself, “The Eleventh Hour” when the Eleventh Doctor rhetorically asks the Atraxi how previous alien invasion attempts were stopped, “The Name of the Doctor” and “The Day of the Doctor” which shows the Third Doctor assisting his other incarnations in sending Gallifrey to an alternate universe to protect it from the Daleks.

Posted in films & DVD, Science fiction

George Lucas

American Producer screenwriter, director and Entreprenuer George Lucas was born May 14th 1944 in Modesto California. He is best known as the creator of the space opera franchise Star Wars and the archaeologist-adventurer character Indiana Jones and is one of the American film industry’s most financially successful directors/producers.Lucas grew up in Modesto and his early passion for cars and motor racing would eventually serve as inspiration for his USC student film 1:42.08, as well as his Oscar-nominated low-budget phenomenon, American Graffiti. Lucas originally wanted to be a race-car driver. However, a near-fatal accident on June 12, 1962, changed his mind and he attended Modesto Junior College instead and got accepted into a junior college where he developed a passion for cinematography and camera tricks.After George Lucas graduated from USC in California he met an experimental filmmaker who toured local coffee houses and screened the work of underground, avant-garde 16 mm filmmakers. Lucas regularly went to San Francisco to hang out in jazz clubs and find news of these screenings. Already a promising photographer, Lucas became infatuated with these abstract films and transferred to the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts. where he became very good friends with fellow acclaimed student filmmaker and future Indiana Jones collaborator, Steven Spielberg. Lucas was also deeply influenced by the Filmic Expression course taught at the school & saw many great films, which inspired him to make many 16 mm nonstory noncharacter visual tone poems and cinéma vérité concentrating on camerawork and editing, defining himself as a filmmaker as opposed to being a director.

Star WarsAfter graduating with a bachelor of fine arts in film, Lucas re-enrolled as a USC graduate student in film production. and directed the short film Electronic Labyrinth: THX 1138 4EB, which won first prize at the 1967–68 National Student Film Festival, and was later adapted into his first full-length feature film, THX 1138. Lucas was also awarded a student scholarship by Warner Brothers.Aside from the nine short films he made in the 1960s, he also directed six major features. His work from 1971 and 1977 as a writer-director, which established him as a major figure in Hollywood, and consists of just three films: THX 1138, American Graffiti, and Star Wars. Lucas acted as a writer and executive producer on another successful Hollywood film franchise, the Indiana Jones series.

In addition, he established his own effects company, Industrial Light and Magic (ILM), to make the original Star Wars film. Lucas also co-founded the studio American Zoetrope with Francis Ford Coppola—whom he met at Warner Brothers, and then created his own company, Lucasfilm, Ltd. His new-found wealth and reputation enabled him to develop a story set in space – Star Wars, which quickly became the highest-grossing film of all-time, displaced five years later by Spielberg’s E.T.the Extra-Terrestrial. Due to the overwhelming success of Star Wars George was able to finance the sequel “Empire Strikes Back” himself.Since Star Wars, Lucas has worked extensively as a writer and/or producer, on the many Star Wars spinoffs made for film, TV, and other media, and was also executive producer for the next two Star Wars films as well as as executive producer and story writer on all four of the Indiana Jones films.

For the 20th anniversary of Star Wars, Lucas was able to enhance the trilogy and add certain scenes using newly available digital technology, which were released as the Star Wars Trilogy: Special Edition. In 1994, Lucas began work on the prequel Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, which was released in 1999, beginning a new trilogy of Star Wars films. Lucas also directed Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones and Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. In 2008, he also reteamed with Spielberg for Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. The American Film Institute awarded Lucas its Life Achievement Award on June 9, 2005, shortly after the releaseof Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, and On June 5, 2005, Lucas was named among the 100 “Greatest Americans” by the Discovery Channel,and was also nominated for four Academy Awards: Best Directing and Writing for American Graffiti, and Best Directing and Writing for Star Wars.

He received the Academy’s Irving G. Thalberg Award in 1991. He appeared at the 79th Academy Awards ceremony in 2007 with Steven Spielberg and Francis Ford Coppola to present the Best Director award to their friend Martin Scorsese. In 2006, the Science Fiction Hall of Fame inducted George Lucas and three others and On August 25, 2009, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver announced that Lucas would be one of 13 California Hall of Fame inductees in The California Museum’s yearlong exhibit. Then On September 6, 2009, Lucas, along with the the Pixar team was presented with the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement at the 2009 Biennale Venice Film Festival.

George Lucas was also involved in Star Wars episode VII The Force Awakens, directed by J.J.Abrahams and starring Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Adam Driver, Harrison Ford, and Carrie Fisher and Episode IX The Rise of Skywalker the final part of the Star Wars saga which also stars Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Adam Driver, Harrison Ford, and the late great Carrie Fisher.

Posted in books, films & DVD, Humour, Science fiction, Television

Douglas Adams

Best known as the author of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, the English author Douglas Adams sadly died 11 May 2001. He was born 11th March 1952 in Cambridge, England, and attended Primrose Hill Primary School in Brentwood. At nine, he passed the entrance exam for Brentwood School, an independent school whose alumni include Robin Day, Jack Straw, Noel Edmonds, and David Irving. Griff Rhys Jones was also a year below him. He attended the prep school from 1959 to 1964, then the main school until December 1970. He became the only student ever to be awarded a ten out of ten by Halford for creative writing, Some of his earliest writing was published at the school, such as reports or spoof reviews in the school magazine Broadsheet He also designed the cover of one issue of the Broadsheet, and had a letter and short story published nationally in The Eagle. in 1965, he was awarded a place at St John’s College, Cambridge to read English, Which he attended from 1971, though the main reason he applied to Cambridge was to join the Footlights, an invitation-only student comedy club that has acted as a hothouse for some of the most notable comic talent in England. he graduated from St. John’s in 1974 with a B.A. in English literature.

After university Adams moved back to London, determined to break into TV and radio as a writer. The Footlights Revue appeared on BBC2 television in 1974 and also performed live in London’s West End which led to Adams being discovered by Monty Python’s Graham Chapman. The two formed a brief writing partnership, earning Adams a writing credit in episode 45 of Monty Python for a sketch called “Patient Abuse”, which plays on the idea of mind-boggling paper work in an emergency, a joke later incorporated into the Vogons’ obsession with paperwork. Adams also contributed to a sketch on the album for Monty Python and the Holy Grail. During this time Adams also continued to write and submit other sketches elesewhere, though few were accepted. In 1976 his career had a brief improvement when he wrote and performed, to good review, Unpleasantness at Brodie’s Close at the Edinburgh Fringe festival.Some of Adams’s early radio work included sketches for The Burkiss Way in 1977 and The News Huddlines. He also wrote the 20 February 1977 episode of the Doctor on the Go,television comedy series, with Graham Chapman, and later became the script editor for Doctor Who.

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy was a concept for a science-fiction comedy radio series pitched by Adams and radio producer Simon Brett to BBC Radio 4 in 1977. Adams came up with an outline for a pilot episode, as well as a few other stories (reprinted in Neil Gaiman’s book Don’t Panic: The Official Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy Companion) that could potentially be used in the series. It started life in 1978 as a BBC radio comedy and a after the first radio series became successful, Adams was made a BBC radio producer, working on Week Ending and a pantomime called Black Cinderella Two Goes East. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy was also developed into a series of five books that sold over 15 million copies in his lifetime, a television series, several stage plays, comics, a computer game, and in 2005 a feature film. Adams’s contribution to UK radio is commemorated in The Radio Academy’s Hall of Fame.


Adams also wrote Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency (1987) and The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul (1988), and co-wrote The Meaning of Liff (1983), Last Chance to See (1990), and three stories for the television series Doctor Who. A posthumous collection of his work, including an unfinished novel, was published as The Salmon of Doubt in 2002. Adams sent the script for the HHGG pilot radio programme to the Doctor Who production office in 1978, and was commissioned to write The Pirate Planet . He had also previously attempted to submit a potential movie script, which later became his novel Life, the Universe and Everything (which in turn became the third Hitchhiker’s Guide radio series). Adams then went on to serve as script editor on the show for its seventeenth season in 1979. Altogether, he wrote three Doctor Who serials starring Tom Baker as the Doctor: The Pirate Planet, City of Death and Shada Adams also allowed in-jokes from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to appear in the Doctor Who stories he wrote and other stories on which he served as Script Editor. Elements of Shada and City of Death were also reused in Adams’s later novel Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency, Adams is also credited with introducing a fan and later friend of his, the evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins, to Dawkins’s future wife, Lalla Ward, who had played the part of Romana in Doctor Who.

Adams also played the guitar left-handed and had a collection of twenty-four guitars when he died in 2001 and also studied piano in the 1960s with the same teacher as Paul Wickens, the pianist who plays in Paul McCartney’s band (and composed the music for the 2004–2005 editions of the Hitchhiker’s Guide radio series). The Beatles, Pink Floyd and Procol Harum all had important influence on Adams’s work. Adams included a direct reference to Pink Floyd in the original radio version of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, in which he describes the main characters surveying the landscape of an alien planet while Marvin, their android companion, hums Pink Floyd’s “Shine on You Crazy Diamond”. This was cut out of the CD version. Adams also compared the various noises that the kakapo makes to “Pink Floyd studio out-takes” in his nonfiction book on endangered species, Last Chance to See.

Adams’s official biography shares its name with the song “Wish You Were Here” by Pink Floyd. Adams was friends with Pink Floyd guitarist David Gilmour and, on the occasion of Adams’s 42nd birthday (the number 42 having special significance, being the Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe and Everything and also Adams’s age when his daughter Polly was born), he was invited to make a guest appearance at Pink Floyd’s 28 October 1994 concert at Earls Court in London, playing guitar on the songs “Brain Damage” and “Eclipse”. Adams chose the name for Pink Floyd’s 1994 album, The Division Bell, by picking the words from the lyrics to one of its tracks, namely “High Hopes”.

Gilmour also performed at Adams’s memorial service following his death in 2001, and what would have been Adams’ 60th birthday party in 2012. Douglas Adams was also a friend of Gary Brooker, the lead singer, pianist and songwriter of the progressive rock band Procol Harum. Adams also appeared on stage with Brooker to perform “In Held Twas in I” at Redhill when the band’s lyricist Keith Reid was not available. Adams was also an advocate for environmental and conservation causes, and a lover of fast cars, cameras, and the Apple Macintosh, and was a staunch atheist. Biologist Richard Dawkins also dedicated his book, The God Delusion, to Adams, writing on his death that, “Science has lost a friend, literature has lost a luminary, the mountain gorilla and the black rhino have lost a gallant defender.

Posted in films & DVD, Science fiction, Television

Doctor Who season 14 BluRay

Doctor who season 14 is out on Blu Ray. It features the following episodes Talons of Weng chiang, the Robots of Death, the Face of Evil, the Deadly Assassin, Hand of Fear, Masque of Mandragora

THE HAND OF FEAR

The Doctor (Tom Baker) and Sarah Jane Smith (Elizabeth Sladen) arise aboard the TARDIS at a working Quarry on Earth and after nearly being blown to smithereens & buried under tons of rock. Sarah Jane then finds what appears to be a fossilised human hand wearing a Blue stone ring near where She is buried and starts behaving very strangely indeed after picking it up.
Sarah Jane, apparently in a trance, then heads off with the hand to a nearby Nuclear research and Development centre, where the hand soaks up radiation and starts coming to life, gradually regenerating into a complete being Who at first seems rather pleasant however things are not what they seem and is hiding a big secret…

MASQUE OF MANDRAGORA

The Doctor shows Sarah some of the TARDIS interior, and they come across the secondary console room. Suddenly they encounter swirl of intelligent living energy called the Mandragora Helix. Meanwhile In 15th century San Martino in Italy, a peasant revolt is violently put down by Count Federico and his men, led by Captain Rossini. In a palace, Federico’s brother, the Duke of San Martino, lies dying, attended to by his son Giuliano and Giuliano’s companion Marco. The Duke’s death had been foretold by Hieronymous, the court astrologer, but Giuliano, a man of science, does not believe in such superstition. In fact, Hieronymous is working for Federico, and the Duke of San Martino’s eventual death was more to do with foul play than astrology.

The TARDIS materialises in a field near San Martino, and when the Doctor and Sarah exit along with an energy fragment From the Mandragora Helix. Sarah wanders off and is kidnapped by a group of men in hooded robes. The Doctor tries to rescue her but is knocked out by the Count’s men and arrested. At the court, the Doctor meets Federico who thinks the Doctor is a seer, like Hieronymous. Federico orders the Doctor to be executed as a spy. Meanwhile, Sarah is brought before a purple robed priest and told that she is the foretold sacrifice to Demnos, the Roman god of moonlight and solstice. However The Doctor escapes and finds his way into catacombs beneath the city and encounters the Brethren of Demnos who reside in those passages just as they are about to sacrifice Sarah Jane to the god Demnos. The Mandragora Helix also appears. Meanwhile Giuliano discovers the body of a guard that was killed earlier. The Doctor and Sarah are found by palace guards.

The Helix appears In the temple, and promises the purple-robed figure undreamed-of powers provided he carry out its will on Earth and become the planet’s supreme ruler. Meanwhile Hieronymus is up to no good. Elsewhere the Doctor reveals his fears concerning Federico to Giuliano. Meanwhile Federico discovers that Giuliano has invited several nobles to San Martino to celebrate his succession to the Dukedom. Angered, Federico demands Hieronymous take action against Giuliano. Soon after the Doctor suddenly realises hat the Helix chose 15th century San Martino because the 15th century was the transition between the Dark Ages and the dawn of the Renaissance and that the Helix could gain control of the Earth through Heironymous and the Brethren of Demnos

Sarah Jane is also hypnotised by Heironymous Into clobbering the Doctor. Heironymous also warns Guiliano that his life is in danger, however Guiliano is suspicious and banishes Heironymous from the city. Later members of the Brethren start gathering on the streets and moving towards the temple where Hieronymous summons the Helix, which begins infusing him and his followers with power, however the Helix may not be as benevolent as it seems. Hieronymous Then announces that the Brethren will take over the city during a forthcoming Lunar eclipse and it is up The Doctor, Guiliano, Rossini and the guards to infiltrate the temple stop the Helix and the Brothers of Demnos and rescue Sarah Jane before it is too late…

FACE OF EVIL

The Fourth Doctor, travelling alone in the TARDIS, arrives on a jungle planet and encounters Leela, a savage from the local tribe, who denounces him as the Evil One of fable among her people. She has been exiled from her tribe, the Sevateem, for profaning their god Xoanon who is kept prisoner by the Evil One and his followers, the Tesh, beyond a black wall. He speaks to them through the tribe’s shaman, Neeva. The Doctor finds a sophisticated sonic disruptor, which creates the force field that keeps creatures from attacking the village. The Sevateem will launch an attack on the domain of the Tesh to free their god, led by the combative Andor who suspects Neeva of being a false prophet.
In Neeva’s holy tent, the Doctor inspects the ancient tribal relics, artifacts from an Earth survey expedition. He finds a transceiver used by Neeva to hear the commands of Xoanon. It speaks with the Doctor’s own voice, conveying exhilaration on hearing the Doctor that “At least we are here. At last I shall be free of us.” The Doctor tells some of the tribe the Sevateem are the descendants of a “survey team” which left a Starfall Seven Earth colony ship.
The Doctor and Leela arrive at a clearing beyond where carved into a mountain nearby is an impression of the Doctor’s face, who cannot recall why his face is depicted so. They notice a figure in a space suit in the “mouth” entrance and follow it through a projection of a wall. Beyond is a rocket, which the Doctor recalls as belonging to the Mordee Expedition, his memory of earlier events now returning. Xoanon has detected the Doctor nearby, and when he reaches the ship the god-creature is both ecstatic that “We are here” while also manically pledging that “We must destroy us.” The Doctor and Leela meet three representatives of the Tesh, who serve and worship Xoanon. The Doctor deduces both Sevateem and Tesh are descendants of the same crew from the Mordee Expedition, with the Tesh (or technicians) involved in the same deadly eugenics exercise as the Sevateem (or survey team). The invisible creatures that attacked the Sevateem are part of the same deranged scheme: Xoanon is a computer, designed to think independently. The Doctor had once repaired Xoanon but forgot to wipe his personality print from the data core, leaving the computer with a split personality. The Doctor, speaking as Xoanon with the communicator, instructs Neeva to tell Calib, who is now tribal leader, to lead the Sevateem survivors through the face in the mountain. With Leela keeping guard and holding the Tesh at bay, the Doctor ventures into the computer room of the ship to confront Xoanon. When Xoanon refuses to shut itself down, it channels a vicious mental assault at the Doctor, causing him to collapse, while Xoanon booms: “Who am I?”
The Tesh come under attack from Calib, Tomas and the survivors of the Sevateem, who now reach the spaceship too. This diverts the Tesh while the Doctor and Leela return to the computer room, where Xoanon briefly takes control of Leela’s mind. Most of the Sevateem come under the telepathic control of the computer too. The Tesh and Sevateem soon converge on the computer room too and interrupt the Doctor as he tries to repair Xoanon, realising the computer has now triggered the countdown to an atomic explosion. Elsewhere in the ship Neeva is alone but crazed, his faith in Xoanon shattered. The shaman uses the disruptor gun against one of the images of Xoanon/the Doctor projected through a wall. The ensuing blast kills Neeva but also interrupts Xoanon’s control of its subjects, allowing the Doctor to resume and complete his repairs. Xoanon’s circuits explode, knocking the Doctor out.
Two days later the Doctor wakes up to find himself aboard the spaceship in the care of Leela. She explains Xoanon has been quiet and he interprets this as success for his extraction experiment. They visit the computer room and find Xoanon’s identity and sanity restored. The computer confirms it was running a eugenics experiment and thanks the Doctor for his repair work. The Doctor then contacts the survivors of the Tesh and Sevateem and tells them Xoanon is now cured and able to support their new society. Leela then jumps aboard the TARDIS.

Talons of Weng Chiang

The creepy and atmospheric Doctor Episode Talons of Weng Chiang begins When the Doctor and Leela arrive at a Victorian musical theatre in London. Performing at the Palace Theatre is the stage magician Li H’sen Chang, On their way to the Palace Theatre, the Doctor and Leela encounter a group of Chinese thugs who have apparently kill a cab driver. They attempt to silence the Doctor and Leela but are frightened away by the distant whistle of an approaching policeman. All but one escape, and he, the Doctor and Leela are taken to the local police station. At the station, Li H’sen Chang is called in to act as an interpreter. The Doctor, upon a brief examination of the body, finds a scorpion tattoo—the symbol of the Tong of the Black Scorpion, devout followers of an ancient god, Weng-Chiang.
The body is taken to the local mortuary, along with the body of the cabbie which had just been found floating in the river. There they meet Professor Litefoot, who is performing the autopsies. The cabbie is Joseph Buller, whose wife Emma has mysteriously vanished. It transpires that Buller had recently blackmailed Chang shortly before he was found dead. Chang also knows a chap named Magnus Greel, an evil despot from the 51st century who fled from the authorities in a time cabinet, and is now masquerading as the Chinese god Weng-Chiang. However the Zygma Energy he used to escape has taken its toll on him and he now has to resort to draining the life essences from young women to keep himself alive. He is acompanied by the evil Mr Sin, the Peking Homunculous.
The Time Cabinet was given by the Imperial Court to Professor Litefoot’s parents as a gift. However Greel steals the time cabinet. The Doctor traces Greel to the sewers underneath the Palace Theatre, aided by the theatre’s owner, Henry Gordon Jago. However something rather unpleasant is also lurking in the sewer. While the Doctor and Leela try to find Greel’s new hideout, Jago comes across a bag of future technological artefacts, among which is the key to the time cabinet. He takes it to Professor Litefoot’s house. Meanwhile, the Doctor and Leela discover Chang in an opium den, and learn of Greel’s current location. The Doctor and Leela return to Professor Litefoot’s house to confront Greel and The Doctor makes a bargain Concerning Litefoot and Jago’s release. Unfortunately this goes wrong. Leela, Then confronts Greel. However she is also captured and it is up to the Doctor to escape, defeat Greel and save Leela.

ROBOTS OF DEATH



The Doctor (Tom Baker) and Leela (Louise Jameson) arrive on an inhospitable and Barren planet where, a huge sandminer vehicle, Storm Mine 4, is slowly scraping the surface in search of precious minerals. The sandminer is manned by a crew of nine humans led by Commander Uvanov, Dask and Poul who work alongside numerous robots – black ‘Dums’ that cannot speak, pale green ‘Vocs’, and a silver ‘Super Voc’ who control all the ‘Dums’ and ‘Vocs’ who perform all the hazardous tasks aboard the Sandminer which would be too dangerous for humans to do. However The peace is shattered when one of the crew members is found dead. Tension mounts and Accusations fly as the two new arrivals are suspected of murdering the deceased crew member and incarcerated. However the Doctor has a completely different theory and suspects something else may be happening. Then the Mineralogist is found dead, and the Driver of the Sandminer is also found strangled. Then the controls of the Sandminer are sabotaged and it starts running out of control endangering the lives of everyone onboard.

The Doctor eventually convinces The crew that he is not responsible for the murders, and they ask Him for help, so he suggests that the robots are responsible and that somebody may be reprogramming the Robots in order to clobber people. However the disbelieving crew reject the idea citing Asimov’s first Law of Robotics which states that “No robot shall kill a human being”. So the Doctor suggests they may be malfunctioning and agrees to help before more rogue robots start running amok clobbering people.
The Doctor then discovers that One of the robots, D84. and Poul are in fact undercover agents for the mining company, who were placed on board the miner as a precaution after learning of threats of a robot revolution by a Mad scientist called Taren Capel who was raised by robots and dislikes the way Robots are treated as slaves by humans and has decided to end Robot servitude and maltreatment at the hands of human beings and free them, so that they can rule the world.



DEADLY ASSASSIN

The Fourth Doctor (Tom Baker) has a precognitive vision about the President of the Time Lords being assassinated. The Doctor goes to Gallifrey to stop the assassination. At the Panopticon, a Gallifreyan quasi-ceremonial chamber, he notes a camera stationed on an unguarded catwalk. He also spots a sniper rifle next to the camera. The Doctor fights his way to the catwalk, warning that the President is about to be killed. However unbeknownst to the Doctor, the assassin is among the delegates and shoots the President dead. However, the crowd sees the Doctor on the catwalk with the rifle and assumes he is the killer.
Under interrogation, the Doctor maintains that he has been framed. Eventually, Spandrell starts to believe him and orders Engin to assist him in an independent investigation. To delay his possible execution, the Doctor invokes Article 17 and announces that he will run for President, which guarantees liberty for those running for office during the course of an election.
During the course of the investigation, the Doctor realises that it was the Master who had sent the Doctor the premonition of the assassination through the Matrix, a vast electronic neural network which can turn thought patterns into virtual reality. He decides to enter the Matrix to track the Master. In the Matrix, the Doctor confronts an assassin who eventually reveals himself as Chancellor Goth. The Master, realising that Goth has been effectively defeated, tries to trap the Doctor in the Matrix by overloading the neuron fields. Engin gets the Doctor out of the Matrix, but Goth is fatally burnt.
The Doctor and Spandrell, accompanied by soldiers, make their way to the chamber where the Master and Goth were accessing the Matrix. They find the Master without a pulse and Goth dying. Goth reveals that he found the Master, near death, on Tersurus. The Master was nearing the end of his final regeneration. Goth went along with his schemes mainly for power: he knew the President had no intention of naming him as a successor, but if a new election was held, Goth would be the front-runner. Before he dies, Goth warns that the Master has a doomsday plan.
Attempting to piece together what the Master and Goth were planning, the Doctor inquires as to what becoming the President entails. He is told that the President has access to the symbols of office: the Sash and Great Key of Rassilon. As Engin plays records that describe how Rassilon found the Eye of Harmony within the “black void,” the Doctor realises these objects are not merely ceremonial. He also realises that the Master injected himself with a neural inhibitor that mimics a deathlike state and is still alive.
The Doctor, Spandrell, and Engin arrive at the morgue to find that the Master has revived. The Master seizes the Sash from the President’s corpse and traps the three in the morgue. The Doctor explains that the Eye is actually the nucleus of a black hole, an inexhaustible energy source that Rassilon captured to power Gallifrey; the Sash and Key are its control devices. The Doctor deduces that the Master was planning to steal this energy to gain a new cycle of regenerations; however, if the Eye is disrupted, Gallifrey will be destroyed and a hundred other worlds will be consumed in a chain reaction.
Inside the Panopticon, the Master makes his way to the obelisk containing the Eye. He unhooks the coils that connect it to Gallifrey and is prepared to access the energy. The Doctor makes his way to the Panopticon via a service shaft. The Citadel begins to quake, and cracks appear in the floor. The Doctor and the Master fight, until the Master loses his footing and falls into a chasm. The Doctor reconnects the coils and saves Gallifrey, although half the city is in ruins and many lives have been lost.
The Doctor is now free to return to his TARDIS. He bids farewell but also warns that the Master may not be dead as he had harvested energy from the obelisk before he was stopped and may have been able to channel it. As the Doctor’s TARDIS dematerialises, Spandrell and Engin witness the Master sneak into his own TARDIS and escape.

Posted in Events, Science fiction

International Pixel-Stained Technopeasant Day

International Pixel-Stained Technopeasant Day Takes place annually on 23 April. It was founded by author Jo Walton in response to remarks made by Howard V. Hendrix who objected to Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, who post their creations on the net for free” stating that  “webscabs” are “converting the noble calling of Writer into the life of Pixel-stained Technopeasant Wretch.”

Science fiction (often shortened to Sci-Fi or SF) is a genre of speculative fiction that has been called the “literature of ideas”. It typically deals with imaginative and futuristic concepts such as advanced science and technology, time travel, parallel universes, fictional worlds, space exploration, and extraterrestrial life. Science fiction often explores the potential consequences of scientific innovations

The purpose of International Pixel Stained Technopeasant day, according to Walton, was to encourage writers to post “professional quality” works for free on the internet. The first International Pixel Stained Technopeasant day was  held on April 23 2007, anD Many notable authors contributed to International Pixel-Stained Technopeasant Day 2007, including Chaz Brenchley, Steven Brust, Emma Bull, Debra Doyle, Diane Duane, Naomi Kritzer, Jay Lake, David Langford, Sharon Lee, Beth Meacham, Steve Miller, Andrew Plotkin, Robert Reed, Will Shetterly, Sherwood Smith, Ryk Spoor, Charles Stross, Catherynne M. Valente, Jo Walton, Lawrence Watt-Evans, Martha Wells and Sean Williams.


International and National Holidays and Events happenning on April 23

  • Talk Like Shakespeare Day
  • English Language Day
  • Impossible Astronaut Day
  • International Marconi Day
  • International Nose Picking Day
  • International Pixel-Stained Technopeasant Day
  • Lover’s Day
  • National Cherry Cheesecake Day
  • National Lost Dog Awareness Day
  • National Picnic Day
  • National Zucchini Bread Day
  • Saint George’s Day
  • Take a Chance Day
  • World Book and Copyright Day
  • World Book Night
  • World Laboratory Day
Posted in Science fiction, Television

Impossible Astronaut Day

Impossible Astronaut Day commemorates the date of 23 April 2011 when The Impossible Astronaut” was broadcast. This was the first episode of the sixth series of the British science fiction television series Doctor Who. It starred Matt Smith, Karen Gillanp, Arthur Darville and Alex Kingston and was written by show runner Steven Moffat and directed by Toby Haynes. It also aired in Australia on ABC1 on 30 April 2011. The episode features alien time traveller the Doctor (Matt Smith) and his companions Amy Pond (Karen Gillan) and Rory Williams (Arthur Darvill), and is the first of a two-part story, which concluded with “Day of the Moon” on 30 April.

The Impossible Astronaut features, the Doctor, Amy, Rory and the archaeologist River Song (Alex Kingston). who are summoned together by a version of the Doctor from 200 years in his future. they also meet a man called Canton Evrett Delaware III (Mark Sheppard and William Morgan Sheppard), before travelling to the United States in 1969 where they find discover a scared girl (Sydney Wade) who is trapped inside a spacesuit. Amy, Rory, and River discover the fourth envelope was sent to the Doctor, alive and 200 years younger than the one at the lake.

So The Doctor and his companions travel back to 8 April 1969, where the younger Canton, a former FBI operative, is briefed by President Richard Nixon about a series of phone calls Nixon received from a young girl asking for help. The Doctor arrives in Washington, DC trying to locate the girl. Meanwhile, Amy meets and takes a photograph of one of the leaders of the Silence, a group she also saw by the lake. Canton follows the Doctor and the others into the TARDIS as they depart for Florida. However they encounter more Silence and get a bit of a shock. The episode was dedicated to Elisabeth Sladen, known for playing former companion Sarah Jane Smith, who died from cancer on 19 April 2011.

Posted in books, films & DVD, Science fiction

The Rise of Skywalker

The final instalment in the Star Wars saga “The Rise of Skywalker” is out on DVD and BLU-RAY. The story begins when the Resistance and First Order both discover evidence of an ancient evil stirring, which threatens to take over the Galaxy. Sensing a threat to his position as Supreme Leader of the First Order, Kylo Ren obtains a Sith Wayfinder to investigate. This leads him to the Uncharted planet Exegol where he meets somebody totally unexpected and learns more about Supreme Leader Snoke and the origins of the First Order before discovering the true scale of the threat. Kylo then sets off to locate and confront Rey who is continuing her Jedi training under Resistance Leader Leia Organa. 

Meanwhile Rey, Chewbacca Finn and Poe Dameron BB8 and C3PO travel to the planet Pasaana hoping to find a clue to the whereabouts of the Sith Wayfinder, however Kylo and the Knights of Ren are in hot pursuit waiting to intercept them. With the help of Lando Calrissian Rey and company discover a mystical artefact which is covered with strange ancient text and has many strange powers. They also discover the remains of a Jedi hunter named Ochi and his ship. However The First Order also turn up capture the Falcon, Chewbacca, and the artefact while Rey confronts Kylo. 

Having narrowly escaped the First Order again, Poe makes a suggestion concerning the ancient text and the artefact, so they travel to Kijimi, where they meet a diminutive Andrellan Droidsmith named Babu Frick And the Spice Runners of Kijimi who help them discover the whereabouts of the Way Finder. 

They then set off on a hazardous mission to rescue Chewbacca who is aboard Kylo Ren’s  Star Destroyer and manage to get on board with the help of Zorii Bliss n old Bounty Hunter acquaintance of Poe’s. Rey also manages to recover the artefact but has disturbing visions and also learns something deeply disturbing from Kylo Ren.  Meanwhile Poe, Finn, and Chewbacca are captured however they discover that they have an unlikely ally. The group arrives on a moon in the Endor system, where Rey locates the wayfinder however Kylo is not far behind and Rey confronts Kylo who destroys the Way finder. 

Following these events Rey starts to despair, however she is encouraged to face and destroy the enemy by an unexpected arrival so she leaves for Exegol. Kylo/Ben also decides to change his allegiance. When she arrives on Exegol Rey gets a shock when she discovers that the ancient enemy has a sinister plan concerning her future and having Rey confronting him is just what he wants. Meanwhile the Resistance Led by Lando Calrissian and bolstered by reinforcements from across the galaxy, including Jannah, a fellow defected stormtrooper, follow Rey to Exegol and battle the First Order. Kylo/Ben confronts the Knights of Ren.  The Resistance fleet is then attacked,  and Rey and Kylo/Ben confront the ancient evil In an exciting final show-down during which Kylo/Ben makes the ultimate sacrifice…

Posted in Fantasy, films & DVD, Science fiction, Television

George Takei (Star Trek)

Best known for his role as Hikaru Sulu, helmsman of the USS Enterprise in the 60′s television series Star Trek and numerous Star Trek Movies Amercan Actor George Takei was born 20th April 1937. Takei began his career in Hollywood in the late 1950s, His first role was providing voiceover for several characters in the English dub of Japanese monster films such as Godzilla Raids Again and Rodan, followed by an appearance in the Emmy award winning television series Playhouse 90 and Perry Mason The Case of the Blushing Pearls.He originated the role of George in the musical Fly Blackbird!, but when the show traveled from Los Angeles to Broadway the west coast actors were forced to audition and the role went to William Sugihara instead. Eventually Sugihara had to give up the role and Takei closed out the show’s final months.Takei subsequently appeared alongside such actors as Frank Sinatra in Never So Few (uncredited), Richard Burton in Ice Palace, Jeffrey Hunter in Hell to Eternity, Alec Guinness in A Majority of One, James Caan in Red Line 7000 and Cary Grant in Walk, Don’t Run. He featured in a lead role in “The Encounter” (1964), an episode of The Twilight Zone He had an uncredited role in the film PT-109 (1963) and also guest-starred in an episode of Mission: Impossible (1966). He also appeared in two Jerry Lewis comedies, The Big Mouth and Which Way to the Front? In 1969 Takei narrated the award winning documentary The Japanese Sword as the Soul of the Samurai.

In 1965, producer Gene Roddenberry cast him as Hikaru Sulu in the second Star Trek pilot and eventually the Star Trek television series. It was intended that Sulu’s role be expanded in the second season, but Takei’s role as Captain Nim, a South Vietnamese Army officer, alongside John Wayne’s character in The Green Berets meant that he only appeared in half the season, with Walter Koenig as Pavel Chekov substituting for him in the other episodes. When Takei returned, the two men had to share a dressing room and a single episode script. Takei also appeared in the first six Star Trek motion pictures, and today he is a regular on the science fiction convention circuit throughout the world. He has also acted and provided voice acting for several science fiction computer games, including Freelancer and numerous Star Trek games. In 1996, in honor of the 30th anniversary of Star Trek, he reprised his role as Captain Hikaru Sulu on an episode of Star Trek: Voyager, appearing as a memory of Lt. Tuvok, who served on the USS Excelsior under Sulu, during the events of Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. He appeared alongside Shatner on the 2006 Comedy Central Roast of William Shatner in which the two mocked each other in good humor and embraced, Takei is also one of six actors (the other actors being Jonathan Frakes, Kate Mulgrew, Michael Dorn, Avery Brooks and Majel Barrett) to lend his voice to Star Trek: Captain’s Chair, reprising his role of Captain Hikaru Sulu when users visit the bridge of the original Enterprise in the computer game. In 2007, Takei also reprised his role of Sulu in the fan-made Internet based series Star Trek New Voyages: Phase II.

Aside from his film and television career with Star Trek, He also has a lengthy record of public service through his involvement with organizations such as the Japanese American Citizens League and the Human Rights Campaign.He is a proponent of gay rights and active in state and local politics as well as continuing his acting career. He has won several awards and accolades in his work on human rights and Japanese American relations, including his work with the Japanese American National Museum. In 2004, the government of Japan conferred the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette, which represents the fourth highest of eight classes associated with the award. This decoration was presented in acknowledgment of his contributions to US-Japanese relations. George Takei also has an Asteroid named after him.


Andy Serkis

English Actor, Director and Author Andy Serkis, was born April 20th 1964. Serkis is known for his performance capture roles comprising motion capture acting, animation and voice work for such computer-generated characters as: Gollum in The Lord of the Rings film trilogy (2001–2003) and The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012), King Kong in the eponymous 2005 film, Caesar in Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011), Captain Haddock in Steven Spielberg’s The Adventures of Tintin (2011) and Snoke in Star Wars the Force Awakens.

Serkis’ film work in motion capture has been critically acclaimed, earning him recognition from many associations that do not traditionally recognise motion capture as “real acting”. Serkis has received an Empire Award, a National Board of Review Award, two Saturn Awards and a Screen Actors Guild Award for his motion capture work. Serkis also earned a Golden Globe Award nomination for his portrayal of serial killer Ian Brady in the British television film Longford (2006); and he was nominated for a BAFTA Award for his portrayal of New Wave and punk musician Ian Dury in the biopic Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll (2010). Serkis also reprised his role as the villainous Gollum in Peter Jackson’s three part Tolkien film adaptation “The Hobbit” – An unexpected Journey, The Desolation of Smaug and “The Battle of Five Armies”.

Posted in Uncategorized

David Tennant

Best known for his roles as the Tenth Doctor in the British television series Doctor Who, Alec Hardy in Broadchurch, Giacomo Casanova in the TV serial Casanova, Kilgrave in Jessica Jones, and Barty Crouch, Jr. in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Scottish actor and voice actor David Tennant was born 18 April 1971 in Bathgate, West Lothian. He is the son of Alexander “Sandy” McDonald (1937–2016), a minister who served as the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, and Helen McLeod. He grew up with his brother Blair and sister Karen in Ralston, Renfrewshire, where his father was the local minister. Tennant’s maternal grandfather, footballer Archie McLeod, met William and Agnes’ daughter Nellie while playing for Derry City FC. McLeod was descended from tenant farmers from the Isle of Mull.

At the age of three, Tennant told his parents that he wanted to become an actor because he was a fan of Doctor Who, but they tried to encourage him to aim for more conventional work. He watched almost every Doctor Who episode for years, and he spoke to Tom Baker at a book-signing event in Glasgow. Tennant was educated at Ralston Primary and Paisley Grammar School.He acted in school productions throughout primary and secondary school. Tennant also attended Saturday classes at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama;at 16, he passed an audition for the Academy, one of their youngest students, and studied there between the ages of 17 and 20, taking his stage name from the Pet Shop Boys frontman Neil Tennant after reading a copy of Smash Hits magazine. Tennant had to legally change his name to Tennant to meet Equity and Screen Actors Guild rules.

Tennant made his professional acting debut while still in secondary school. When he was 16, he acted in an anti-smoking film made by the Glasgow Health Board which aired on television and was also screened in schools. The following year, he played a role in Dramarama. Tennant’s first professional role upon graduating from drama school was in a staging of The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui costarring Ashley Jensen. He also made a television appearance in the Scottish TV sitcom Rab C Nesbitt as a transsexual barmaid called Davina. In the 1990s, he appeared in several plays at the Dundee Repertory Theatre. Tennant’s first major TV role was as the manic depressive Campbell in the Scottish drama series Takin’ Over the Asylum. Where he met comic actress and writer Arabella Weir with whom he lodged in London for five years and became godfather to her youngest child. He has subsequently appeared with Weir in spoof television series Posh Nosh, in the Doctor Who audio drama Exile and as panellists on the West Wing Ultimate Quiz. Weir later guest-starred on Doctor Who itself after Tennant left the series). One of his earliest big-screen roles was in Jude (1996), in which he shared a scene with Christopher Eccleston, (Who also appeared in Doctor Who) playing a drunken undergraduate who challenges Eccleston’s Jude to prove his intellect.

Tennant developed his career in the British theatre, frequently performing with the Royal Shakespeare Company. His first Shakespearean role for the RSC was in As You Like It. He later portrayed playing Antipholus of Syracuse in The Comedy of Errors and Captain Jack Absolute in The Rivals, Romeo in Romeo and Juliet. Tennant also contributed to several audio dramatisations of Shakespeare for the Arkangel Shakespeare series, Antipholus of Syracuse in The Comedy of Errors, Launcelot Gobbo in The Merchant of Venice, Edgar/Poor Tom in King Lear, and Mercutio in Romeo and Juliet. In 1995, Tennant appeared at the Royal National Theatre, London, playing the role of Nicholas Beckett in Joe Orton’s What the Butler Saw.

In 2000 Tennant appeared in the first episode of Reeves and Mortimer’s revamped Randall and Hopkirk Between In 2004 and 2005 he appeared in a dramatisation of He Knew He Was Right, Blackpool, Casanova, and The Quatermass Experiment In film, he appeared in Bright Young Things and later that same year appeared as Barty Crouch Jr. in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. In 2005 Doctor Who was revived starring Christopher Eccleston as the Ninth Doctor. Tennant replaced him as the Tenth Doctor in the episode “The Parting of the Ways” He also appeared in a special 7-minute mini-episode shown as part of the 2005 Children in Need appeal. His first full-length outing as the Doctor was in “The Christmas Invasion”. Tennant had fulfilled a childhood dream by becoming The Doctor. In 2006, readers of Doctor Who Magazine voted Tennant “Best Doctor” over perennial favourite Tom Baker. While In 2007, Tennant’s Doctor was voted the “coolest character on UK television”. Writer Russell T Davies made the decision not to use Tennant’s own natural Scottish accent for the character . However he used his own accent in the episode Tooth and claw masquerading as “Dr Jamie McCrimmon” of Edinburgh. He also had a small role in the BBC’s animated Doctor Who webcast Scream of the Shalka. He has also appeared in several audio plays based on the Doctor Who television series by Big Finish Productions. He appeared in the Seventh Doctor audio Colditz, portraying a Nazi lieutenant guard at Colditz Castle, he also appeared in Dalek Empire III as Galanar, a young man who is given an assignment to discover the secrets of the Daleks and UNIT: The Wasting for Big Finish, appearing as Brimmicombe-Wood from a Doctor Who Unbound play, Sympathy for the Devil alongside Nicholas Courtney, who reprised the character of Sir Alastair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart.

He also played an unnamed Time Lord in another Doctor Who Unbound play Exile. He also played the title role in Bryan Talbot’s The Adventures of Luther Arkwright, recorded The Stone Rose by Jacqueline Rayner, The Feast of the Drowned by Stephen Cole and The Resurrection Casket by Justin Richards. He made his directorial debut on the Doctor Who Confidential episode that accompanies Steven Moffat’s episode “Blink”, entitled “Do You Remember The First Time?” He also appeared with Peter Davison’s Fifth Doctor in a Doctor Who special for Children in Need, entitled “Time Crash” and also performed alongside Davison’s daughter, Georgia Moffett (as “Jenny”) in the 2008 episode “The Doctor’s Daughter”. Tennant featured as the Doctor in an animated version of Doctor Who in The Infinite Quest, and also starred as the Doctor in the animated six-part Doctor Who series, Dreamland. Tennant guest starred as the Doctor in a two-part story in Doctor Who spin-off The Sarah Jane Adventures. He played the Doctor in four special episodes in 2009, before his final episode aired on 1 January 2010, where he was replaced by the eleventh doctor, portrayed by Matt Smith. In 2013 Tennant and Billie Piper returned to Doctor Who for the 50th anniversary special, “The Day of the Doctor” alongside Matt Smith and John Hurt and also appeared in the one-off 50th anniversary comedy homage The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot.

Tennant portrayed the Tenth Doctor alongside Catherine Tate as former companion Donna Noble in three new stories from Big Finish which also Strax actor Dan Starkey, former Davros actor Terry Molloy, and many veterans of Big Finish, including Niky Wardley, who portrayed Eighth Doctor companion Tamsin. Tennant was also in the ITV drama Secret Smile. His performance as Jimmy Porter in Look Back in Anger at the Theatre Royal, Bath, and Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh, was recorded by the National Video Archive of Performance for the Victoria and Albert Museum Theatre Collection. In 2006, he portrayed Richard Hoggart in a dramatisation of the 1960 Lady Chatterley’s Lover obscenity trial, The Chatterley Affair. In 2007, Tennant starred in the BBC Drama Recovery, Portraying Alan, a self-made building site manager who attempted to rebuild his life after suffering a debilitating brain injury. His costar in the drama was friend Sarah Parish, with whom he had previously appeared in Blackpool. He also starred in Learners, a BBC comedy drama written by and starring Jessica Hynes (another Doctor Who costar, in the episodes “Human Nature”, “The Family of Blood” and “The End of Time”), in which he played a Christian driving instructor who became the object of a student’s affection. Tennant had a cameo appearance as the Doctor in the 2007 finale episode of the BBC/HBO comedy series Extras with Ricky Gervais. In November 2008, Tennant played Sir Arthur Eddington in the biographical film Einstein and Eddington, In 2009, he worked on a TV film version of the RSC’s 2008 Hamlet for BBC Two and hosted the Masterpiece Contemporary programming on ABC And appeared in Rex Is Not Your Lawyer, playing Rex, a Chicago lawyer who starts to coach clients to represent themselves when he starts suffering panic attacks.

In 2010 he starred as Dave, a man struggling to raise five children after the death of his partner, in the British drama Single Father. For which he was nominated as Best Actor at the Royal Television Society Programme Awards 2010. In 2011, he starred in United, about the Manchester United “Busby Babes” team and the 1958 Munich air disaster, playing coach and assistant manager Jimmy Murphy. In 2011, he appeared in a guest role in one episode of the comedy series This is Jinsy, and also started filming True Love. In 2012, Tennant played lead in a one-off drama The Minor Character for Sky Arts and filmed Spies of Warsaw, an adaptation of Alan Furst’s novel The Spies of Warsaw, portraying Jean-François. In 2012, he started filming the 3-part political drama series The Politician’s Husband for BBC Two, playing an ambitious cabinet minister who takes drastic action when his wife’s career starts to outshine his. In 2012 Tennant appeared in the ITV detective series Broadchurch and also presented the new comedy quiz show Comedy World Cup. Tennant also appeared in The Escape Artist portraying a talented, junior barrister who is yet to lose a case. In 2014 Tennant filmed the US remake of Broadchurch, re-titled Gracepoint and a second series of Broadchurch during summer 2014. Tennant also portrayed the villainous Kilgrave in Jessica Jones. He is currently filming Mad to be Normal (previously titled Metanoia), a biopic of the renowned Scottish psychiatrist R. D. Laing. Tennant ALSO appears in writer/director Daisy Aitkens’ first feature film, You, Me and Him, co-produced by Tennant’s wife, Georgia. Tennant also portrays Cale Erendreich in the film Bad Samaritan.

In 2008 David Tennant joined the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC), to play Hamlet with Patrick Stewart and Berowne in Love’s Labours Lost and appeared at the Courtyard Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon as Hamlet, In 2011, a photograph of Tennant as Hamlet featured on a stamp issued by the Royal Mail to mark the RSC’s fiftieth anniversary. In 2012, Tennant was appointed to the Royal Shakespeare Company board, on the selection committee interviewing and choosing the new artistic director. In 2013 Tennant returned to the RSC portraying the title role in Richard II at Stratford-upon-Avon and the Barbican Centre in London. In 2016 Tennant reprised his role as Richard II in the RSC’s ‘King and Country’ cycle at the Barbican Theatre in London and the Brooklyn Academy of Music in New York.

In 2007 David Tennant was the “Star in a Reasonably Priced Car” on Top Gear and also appeared in Derren Brown’s Trick or Treat. Tennant also appeared the radio series Nebulous (a parody of Doctor Who) in the role of Doctor Beep, during the 2008 episode “Holofile 703: Us and Phlegm” And voiced the character of Hamish the Hunter in the 2008 English language DVD re-release of the 2006 animated Norwegian film, Free Jimmy, alongside Woody Harrelson and Simon Pegg. In 2009, Tennant narrated the digital planetarium space dome film “We Are Astronomers” commissioned by the UK’s National Space Centre. In 2009, he presented Red Nose Day 2009 with Davina McCall and joined Franz Ferdinand onstage to play the guitar on their song “No You Girls” on a special Comic Relief edition of Top of the Pops. Tennant also appears in St. Trinian’s II: The Legend of Fritton’s Gold and he co-hosted the Absolute Radio Breakfast Show with Christian O’Connell.

Tennant also provides all the character voices for the audio book versions of the Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III stories by Cressida Cowell such as How to Train Your Dragon, including the Norfolk yokel of Norbert the Nutjob, the broad Glaswegian of Gobber the Belch, the hissing and whining Cockney of Toothless the Dragon and the sly insinuations of Alvin the Treacherous. He also played the role of Spitelout. In 2010, he also appeared as George in a one-part BBC Radio 4 adaptation of Of Mice and Men and also appeared with Catherine Tate in the Shakespeare comedy Much Ado About Nothing at London’s Wyndham’s Theatre as Benedick for which he he won the BroadwayWorld UK Award for Best Leading Actor in a Play. Tennant also voiced a character in the Postman Pat film. In 2011, Tennant started shooting the semi-improvised comedy film, Nativity 2: Danger in the Manger in Coventry.He played dual roles: the main character, put-upon teacher Mr Peterson, and his “golden boy” twin brother and rival. He appeared in a multi-million-pound campaign for Virgin Media. Tennant starred opposite Rosamund Pike and Billy Connolly in a BBC/Origin Pictures film, What We Did on Our Holiday, a semi-improvised comedy from the writers of the popular BBC sit-com Outnumbered.He is the narrator on Xbox One video game Kinect Sports Rivals. In 2015, Tennant appeared on the Radio 4 panel show Just a Minute, becoming the show’s most successful debut contestant. During 2017 Tennant is appearing in Patrick Marber’s Don Juan in Soho at the Wyndham’s Theatre.

Tennant was named “Coolest Man on TV” of 2007 in a Radio Times survey. He won the National Television Awards award for Most Popular Actor in 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2010. He was voted 16th Sexiest Man in the World by a 2008 Cosmopolitan survey. Tennant was ranked the 24th most influential person in the British media on 9 July 2007, according to MediaGuardian. He appeared in the paper’s annual media rankings in 2006. In December 2008, he was named as one of the most influential people in show business by British theatre and entertainment magazine The Stage, making him the fifth actor to achieve a ranking in the top 20. He was voted the third best dressed man in Britain in GQ reader’s poll for 2013. In the expansion EverQuest: Seeds of Destruction for the game EverQuest, a character was introduced called Tavid Dennant, named after David Tennant. In 2008, Tennant was voted “Greenest Star on the Planet” in an online vote held by Playhouse Disney as part of the Playing for the Planet Awards.In 2008 he underwent surgery for a prolapsed disc. He is a supporter of the Labour Party and appeared in a party political broadcast for them in 2005; in 2010, he declared his support for then-Prime Minister Gordon Brown. In April 2010, he lent his voice to a Labour Party election broadcast. In 2012, he introduced Labour Party leader Ed Miliband at the Labour Party Conference. In 2015, he also lent his voice to a Labour Party General Election broadcast. He is a patron of Worldwide Cancer Research.

In December 2005, The Stage placed Tennant at No. 6 in its “Top Ten” list of the most influential British television artists of the year, citing his roles in Blackpool, Casanova, Secret Smile, and Doctor Who.In January 2006, readers of the British gay and lesbian newspaper The Pink Paper voted him the “Sexiest Man in the Universe”. A poll of over 10,000 women for the March 2006 issue of New Woman magazine ranked him 20th in their list of the “Top 100 Men”.In October 2006, he was named “Scotland’s most stylish male” in the Scottish Style Awards.

Posted in books, Science fiction

Isaac Asimov

Prolific Russian-American author and professor of biochemistry at Boston University, Isaac Asimov, sadly Died 6 April 1992. He was born January 2, 1920, and is best known for his works of science fiction and for his popular science books. Isaac Asimov was one of the most prolific writers of all time, having written or edited more than 500 books and an estimated 90,000 letters and postcards. His works have been published in all ten major categories of the Dewey Decimal System (although his only work in the 100s—which covers philosophy and psychology—was a foreword for The Humanist Way).Asimov is widely considered a master of hard science fiction and, along with Robert A. Heinlein and Arthur C. Clarke, he was considered one of the “Big Three” science fiction writers during his lifetime.

Asimov’s most famous work is the Foundation Series; his other major series are the Galactic Empire series and the Robot series. The Galactic Empire novels are explicitly set in earlier history of the same fictional universe as the Foundation Series. Later, beginning with Foundation’s Edge, he linked this distant future to the Robot and Spacer stories, creating a unified “future history” for his stories much like those pioneered by Robert A. Heinlein and previously produced by Cordwainer Smith and Poul Anderson. He wrote many short stories, among them “Nightfall”, which in 1964 was voted by the Science Fiction Writers of America the best short science fiction story of all time. Asimov wrote the Lucky Starr series of juvenile science-fiction novels using the pen name Paul French.

Asimov also wrote mysteries and fantasy, as well as much non-fiction. Most of his popular science books explain scientific concepts in a historical way, going as far back as possible to a time when the science in question was at its simplest stage. He often provides nationalities, birth dates, and death dates for the scientists he mentions, as well as etymologies and pronunciation guides for technical terms. Examples include Guide to Science, the three volume set Understanding Physics, Asimov’s Chronology of Science and Discovery, as well as works on astronomy, mathematics, the Bible, William Shakespeare’s writing and chemistry. Asimov was a long-time member and Vice President of Mensa International, albeit reluctantly; he described some members of that organization as “brain-proud and aggressive about their IQs.” He took more joy in being president of the American Humanist Association. The asteroid 5020 Asimov, a crater on the planet Mars,a Brooklyn, New York elementary school, and one Isaac Asimov literary award are named in his honour.

Most of Asimov’s robot short stories are set in the first age of positronic robotics and space exploration. The unique feature of Asimov’s robots are the Three Laws of Robotics, hardwired in a robot’s positronic brain, which all robots in his fiction must obey/follow, and which ensure that the robot does not turn against its creators.The stories were not initially conceived as a set, but rather all feature his positronic robots — indeed, there are some inconsistencies among them, especially between the short stories and the novels. They all, however, share a theme of the interaction of humans, robots, and morality.

Some of the short stories found in The Complete Robot and other anthologies appear not to be set in the same universe as the Foundation Universe. “Victory Unintentional” has positronic robots obeying the Three Laws, but also a non-human civilization on Jupiter. “Let’s Get Together” features humanoid robots, but from a different future (where the Cold War is still in progress), and with no mention of the Three Laws. The multiple series offer a sense of completeness, because they all are interconnected in some way.The first four robot novels The Caves of Steel (1953), The Naked Sun (1955), The Robots of Dawn (1983), and Robots and Empire (1985) make up the Elijah Baley (sometimes “Lije Baley”) series, and are mysteries starring the Terran Elijah Baley and his humaniform robot partner, R. Daneel Olivaw. 

They are set thousands of years after the short stories, and focus on the conflicts between Spacers — descendants of human settlers from other planets, and the people from an overcrowded Earth. “Mirror Image”, one of the short stories from The Complete Robot anthology, is also set in this time period (between The Naked Sun and The Robots of Dawn), and features both Baley and Olivaw. Another short story (found in The Early Asimov anthology), “Mother Earth”, is set about a thousand years before the robot novels, when the Spacer worlds chose to become separated from Earth. Because many of the Robot novels were written prior to 1962, they were not eligible for science fiction awards, such as the Hugo, which only arrived on the scene after that year. However Robots of Dawn was nominated for both the Hugo and Locus Awards in 1984, and Robots and Empire was shortlisted for the Locus Award for Best Science Fiction Novel in 1986