purplecat: The Seventh Doctor (Who:Seven)

Seventh Doctor paper doll with hat and dark jacket

This is, at one and the same time, both exciting and disappointing. Exciting because it is just the jacket, so the trousers are the same ones as for the base doll! So at last we have something that is more an item of clothing and less just another doll stuck over the top of the last one. Disappointing because the question mark umbrella doesn't adequately cover the previous umbrella and I'm not sure it would even if I were not cutting off the white outlines!

The head is odd too - but I think that is inevitable given the top of the hat has to line up with the top of the head underneath given the placement of the attachment tabs.
purplecat: The  First Doctor (Who:One)
I first saw The Gunfighters at a WhoSoc meeting in the early 90s. Back then it was still renowned as the Doctor Who story with the lowest ratings (though Wikipedia tells me this is a myth, though it is apparently the Doctor Who story with the lowest audience appreciation score). Since then its been through a bit of a re-assessment where people seemed to like it, and then gone back to being, if not widely derided, at least generally considered a bit sub-standard.

I rather liked it back then, and was somewhat anxious that I would like it less this time around.

To be honest, I mostly like the song - which itself seems to have been re-evaluated and then re-evaluated again. The song, The Last Chance Saloon appears both within the story, various characters sing it in the saloon, and at various moments in the soundtrack acting as a chorus to the action. I think it is a great conceit, though in the first episode - where the Song mostly reprises the refrain "There'll be blood upon the sawdust in the Last Chance Saloon" - it edges towards becoming tedious. However later episodes change up the words a bit and I found I wasn't getting tired of it at all.

The Gunfighters is a Donald Cotton script which means, more or less, that it's a comedy with an alarmingly high body count. It isn't as out-and-out funny as bits of the The Myth Makers, and that may be part of its problem. It's comedy is at the level of "makes you smile from time to time". The cast seem to be having fun, but that's not quite translating itself to the screen. There's some nice stuff with Steven and Dodo acting as if they are in a theme park Wild West rather than the real place - which admittedly makes them both seem pretty stupid but I don't think that's a problem just with this episode, they are both very child-like in the preceding story as well. The sympathetic characters: broadly speaking Wyatt Earp, Bat Masterson, Kate and (to a lesser extent) Doc Holliday all have slightly divergent but understandable motivations - and again, there are nice bits where Earp demonstrates that he's the person who is the expert in managing the situation and the Doctor had better do as he's told.

That said, it's also quite confusing: neither Tame Layman, nor I, know much about the Wild West, and the story assumes a familiarity with the characters and background to the O.K.Corral that we didn't really have. We'd more or less sorted out who everyone was by the end (I think) but there were moments in the middle where we were quite confused... and of course, its a Donald Cotton story so its relationship to historical accuracy is probably tenuous at best.

The novelisation chooses to place the Doctor himself in the action at the O.K. Corral - having him press-ganged by the Earps into walking up the street with them (and makes a point of how dangerous his rather erratic control of the shotgun they've given him is). It came as a surprise, therefore, that he is actually completely absent from the denouement; as is Steven, while Dodo appears randomly from nowhere to get in Doc Holliday's way. One of the problems Doctor Who often has in depicting history is figuring out how to actually involve the Tardis crew in the action. It looks like Cotton just gave up trying when he got to the final episode.

All that said, The Gunfighters is an interesting beast. The attempt at a comedy historical, with the deliberate framing of the song, and the attempt to nevertheless ground out some of the humour in the tragedy of the deaths of people's loved ones may not quite work but, insofar as its a failure, it's an interesting and well-intentioned one. Given I went into it with some trepidation and a fear that the memory had cheated, I was pleasantly surprised.
purplecat: The Tenth Doctor (Who:Ten)

The original Sally Sparrow (illustration to Moffat's story in the 2006 Annual by Martin Geraghty)
purplecat: The second Doctor reading his 500 year diary. (Who:Books)

Fury from the Deep book cover.  An oil rig in the background with bright green seaweed in the foreground.  The writing proclaims this is a classic adventure of the second doctor now a bumper volume!

Given all the moving of books currently taking place, this was the most accessible Target novelisation when the random picture generator said "Target Book Cover". I feel it has the potential to be quite an atmospheric image but the seaweed is a little unconvincing.
purplecat: Graham and Ryan from Doctor Who. (Who:Graham/Ryan)

Graham and Ryan from Doctor Who.  Grey splodgy background. Graham and Ryan from Doctor Who clutching each other. Graham and Ryan from Doctor Who in the sunshine. Graham and Ryan from Doctor Who. Graham and Ryan from Doctor Who.  Graham in his witch-hunting hat.

Snagging is free. Credit is appreciated. Comments are loved.

Textures in the first by [livejournal.com profile] erniemay and in the last two by [livejournal.com profile] simpleandclean.
purplecat: ARC badge from Primeval (Primeval:ARC)
I visited Surrey Space Centre last week and it so happens that the building used as the ARC in Primeval is directly on the route between Guildford Train Station and Surrey Space Centre. Obviously I took selfies, though I wish I'd remembered to smile!!

Me squinting outside the ARC with bonus extra finger obscuring part of lens

More photos under the cut )
purplecat: Peter Davison as the Fifth Doctor (Who:Five)
Warriors of the Deep is an oddly schizophrenic Doctor Who story remembered chiefly for one disastrous special effect and its closing line: "There should have been another way". Which in a way simply highlights its tendency to lurch from the sublime to the ridiculous.

Well, sublime may be stretching things a little, the nuts and bolts of the narrative have all the ingredients necessary for a gripping base under siege style tale, and some of the production looks competent to good. It is well documented that studio filming on the story was drastically curtailed due the announcement of a General Election and the Myrka monster is the most obvious casualty of this. Before it appeared I was hoping it was going to prove not quite as bad as fan memory would have it.

"Oh look!" said Tame Layman within seconds of its appearance. "It's a pantomime Myrka."

So, yes, the Myrka is that bad. It's impossible to know, as I believe the puppeteers inside it have claimed, that if they had had a little rehearsal time it would have looked much better. Certainly as a static costume there isn't much wrong with it. It's just every time the dratted thing moves it looks deeply ridiculous.

However the rest of the sets and the costumes are pretty decent, if a little 1980s. Tame Layman even commented on the effectiveness of the white scaffolding like frameworks for creating levels in the sets, though he also laughed at the bubble wrap bed sheets.

It's not documented that the script was written in a hurry, though writer Johnny Byrne (so Wikipedia tells me) complained about Saward's rewrites - including increasing the body count (so much, so Eric Saward). However it feels like a script in need of another draft. A major sub-plot revolves around the human antagonists gaining mind control over the base's sync-operator Maddox - only for them to use it entirely to get him to trash stuff, rather than actually operate the base's missiles which, presumably was the reason why he, as the only person with access to the system, was targeted. Meanwhile the Silurians and Sea Devils slowing invade the base. It was quite nice to have a base-under-siege story that didn't involve endless capture and re-capture of the base instead focusing on the invaders' remorseless advance. I'm sure this was, in part, a side-effect of only needing to fill four episodes where Troughton base-under-siege tales generally had to fill six or more. On the other hand the Myrka as well as being a terrible costume seemed to have little purpose. The Sea Devils were clearly far more effective at taking the place over than the Myrka.

It's a shame in lots of ways. I think Warriors of the Deep could have been a solid, gripping story that would been held in high regard. It's let down by a script that has all the right elements but hasn't quite assembled them together neatly enough and, well, by one truly appalling special effect.
purplecat: The Tardis against a spiralling clock face motif. (Who:Tardis)

Russell Davies holding a tin decorated as a Tardis - though I'm not sure you can tell it is a tin from the photo.

The Tardis Tin concept (in which DWM interviews a Doctor Who luminary by getting them to pull random questions out of a Tardis Tin) has had surprising longevity. I can see it's easy to prepare (after all the questions already exist) and I wonder if the guests like it - after all generic random questions are unlikely to throw up anything too searching or embarrassing.

I have a Tardis Tin somewhere but I can't quite recall the context in which they were produced. I don't recall it having anything in it (e.g., sweets) on the other hand I don't think I was ever sufficient a completist to have bought an empty Tardis tin. I wonder if a VHS set of some description came in it? It occurs to me that I have enough back issues of DWM that I could probably go through and reconstruct the set of random questions and then put them in the tin, though to what end I can't quite imagine.
purplecat: A much younger me in a vaguely piratical outfit, holding a tankard (General:Larp)
30 years ago I came back from my first term at university (admittedly this merely involved walking half a mile up the road) and caught up with miscellaneous school friends. Among these was one who, in his first term at university, had discovered Live Roleplaying and, specifically the Fools and Heroes society. Over the course of the next year a branch was formed in Oxford, not without a certain amount of drama. Back in those days there were a number of "long-standing" society members* about whom one mostly heard through rumour and we were impressed by the status and importance of these people. A lot of the drama involved in the set up of the branch, in retrospect, derived from a certain amount of gatekeeping from these long-standing members. I've never unpicked entirely the root causes of this drama, and I'm fairly sure there was a certain amount of factionalism within the "in-crowd" which exacerbated the situation.

Anyway one of these long-standing members was Dave le Page, who played Hastrel, the leader of one of the in-game churches. Though, once I knew him better, I'm pretty certain he'd stayed out of most of the drama which us newcomers associated with that crowd.

I think I briefly met Dave that autumn at my first weekend fest but he was about to retire the character. His next character was Fabius T. Clattersmode who he intended as a comedy mage. He spent a lot of time getting spell-castings wrong, and acting slightly naive. During the course of this, in part as a joke, I think, he asked my character to marry him. If memory serves I had sent him an in character letter about something, and Fabius was so overcome by this that a marriage proposal was the only option. My character said no, Fabius persisted, eventually the two characters go married. Fortunately/unfortunately Dave had a deeply competent streak and his comedy mage quite rapidly ended up in charge of the guild of mages. He was fun to play along side of, he kept enough of the character's air of naivety to allow him to cut through a lot of nonsense and attempts to add moral complexity to situations. He could be relied upon to do something funny if things needed lightening up or were getting a little dull. He was also generally extremely competent and level-headed when it mattered.

My character died some time later. It was pre-arranged because I wanted to try something else, though it wasn't quite the exit I would have chosen. I think Dave retired Fabius a few months after that and left the society around the same time. We kept vaguely in touch via Christmas cards and met up once when he was passing through Oxford, but that gradually tailed off. In the age of Facebook we briefly reconnected but Facebook wasn't really his thing. He surfaced about 5 years ago to ask if I could find anyone who might take his larp kit off him. I gathered he wasn't well and hadn't been for some time and had given up any hope that he would ever live-roleplay again.

On Monday a mutual friend, another "long-standing" player from 1989 posted to Facebook that he had died in hospital on Sunday.

I've been looking for photos of him, or letters our characters exchanged, and have found a strange hole in my memorabilia. A lot of my F&H stuff seems to have gone AWOL, including several yearbooks, which I know I had a few years ago since I was archiving a lot of it online at the time. But even so, I'm not sure how much of Dave there was there. It's like there is a kind of blank where he should have been in everything I have kept.

He was a good man, with generous amounts of both good humour and good sense and I'm sorry I let him drop out of my life so completely.

* long-standing in this context meaning about three years. From the perspective of thirty years later this is pretty amusing.
purplecat: The Sixth Doctor (Who:Six)

Sixth Doctor Doll in his blue cape from Revelation of the Daleks.  Plus fluffy hair from Trial of a Time Lord.
I know I should have put the floofy hair with last week's outfit. I wasn't concentrating. I shall claim it is because I do not rate Colin Baker's floofy hair even though I rate Peter Capaldi's floofy hair (though even that I thought was a bit too floofy at the very end).

Yaz Icons

Feb. 24th, 2019 01:39 pm
purplecat: Yasmin Khan from Doctor Who. (Who:Yaz)

Yaz smiling Yaz looking puzzled Yaz in her police hat Yaz from Demons of the Punjab.  Side view with flower in hair. Yaz outside the Tardis looking shocked.

Not 100% happy with any of these to be honest. I may need to give it another go some time.

Snagging is free. Credit is appreciated. Comments are loved.
purplecat: A pile of hardback books (General:Books)
Reading: What Jane Austen Ate and Charles Dickens Knew recommended a long time ago on [community profile] primeval_denial as a source for Victorian details. It's an odd assortment of "stuff about Britain for Americans", random rather list-y facts, and some stuff I find genuinely interesting. I think I've warmed to it as its gone on, but I can't help a niggling doubt that its not really written by an expert and so some of its facts may be suspect.

Listening: I've quite enjoyed the first two of David Tennant's podcasts (with Whoopi Goldberg and Jodie Whittaker respectively). Twitter tells me that Jodie is wrong to refer to Doctor Who fans as Whovians. I admit it's not my favourite word but I had somehow thought it had nevertheless entered the lexicon. Apparently not. Or at least not if you are a Doctor Who fan on Twitter.

Watching: Comfort watched two episodes of Brooklyn 99 with G. who was stressed following teenage shenanigans. Given I'm not much of a fan of the sitcom as a genre, they were remarkable watchable.


purplecat: Hand Drawn picture of a Toy Cat (Default)

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