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September 29, 2003

Who's back!

Ah yes, it's really happening: Doctor Who is returning to UK TV! HalleluJah! Praise "BOB"! This is the best TV news I've had in years, and something which could revive my faith in the medium after the vacuous flood of reality TV shows and "docu-soaps" that have defiled our screens for the past few years. Oh, happy day!


As you may be aware, I am a bit of a Doctor Who fanboy, having grown up with the sonic screwdriver wielding time-traveller. As a result, I have a great deal of interest in who will play the Doctor this time round. The other day, someone posted this list of bookie's odds on just that question to (void):

8-1 Alan Davies
14-1 Richard E Grant
16-1 Sean Pertwee, Patrick Stewart
20-1 James Nesbitt, Jonathon Price
25-1 Hugh Grant, Nicholas Lyndhurst, Ross Kemp, Alan Rickman,
Sean Bean, Ray Winston, Stephen Fry, Mark Strong, Timothy Spall
33-1 Tim Roth, Linus Roche, Leslie Grantham, Art Malik, Lenny Henry,
Andrew Lincoln
40-1 Jimmy Nail
50-1 Ian McKellen
66-1 Michael Caine
100-1 Don Cheadle

Let's take a look at some of these chaps one at a time.

Alan Davies
I can see why Alan Davies is the favourite: he's got the shambolic demeanour, to some extent the Doctor "look" and he's already best known for a role which involves sharp lateral thinking, a trait Jonathan Creek shares with the Doctor. However, I feel that he's just not right for the role. The Doctor has a unique blend of gravitas and mischievous humour as demonstrated by the greatest Doctor of them all, Tom Baker. This is why Colin Baker was a crap Doctor. Davies certainly has the humour, what with being a standup comic once upon a time, but I just don't feel he can bring the authority and intellectual weight that is needed to the role (he wasn't that convincing a genius in Jonathan Creek, either).

Richard E. Grant
At first glance, Richard E. Grant would be a good choice for the Doctor: he's shown he can display the personal qualities of the Doctor which have made us love him so. A toned-down Withnail played as less of a wreckhead would be a very entertaining riff on the character. Casting Grant would also be a nice counterpoint to that execrable 1996 TV movie with Paul McGann. However, I reject Richard E. Grant as a potential Doctor because I don't want the Doctor played by anyone who'd choke down Argos' corporate cock in as craven a way as Grant does. It's just pathetic.

Sean Pertwee
I can see no reason to cast Sean Pertwee outside the fact that his dad once played the Doctor, and that, frankly, is just not good enough. What is this, Last Of The Summer fucking Wine?

Patrick Stewart
Now, this is a bit more like it. Patrick Stewart has the potential to make a bloody good Doctor Who. He's definitely got the presence and authority and he's used to the science fiction genre (the movie Dune and that TV program about going baldly etc). However, I'm concerned that he may not be able to bring the light-hearted, sometimes flippant side of the Doctor's character to life, and that perhaps it'll be difficult for viewers to see past the character of Jean-Luc Picard. Still, the front runner so far, by miles.

James Nesbitt
Ummmm ... not sure really. One the one hand he'd bring a bit of cheek to the role, but on the other hand he's Irish, and in my mind, the Doctor is quitessentially English, despite being from Gallifrey. Just look at the cricket paraphenalia sported by Peter Davidson's Doctor and the accents and foibles of all the Doctors so far. On top of that, Nesbitt is one of those actors who always plays the same character, whether it's an undercover cop or some thirtysomething prat in Cold Feet and the Doctor has to be more than another role for a limited actor. Besides, as I say, Nesbitt was in turgid drivelfest Cold Feet.

Hugh Grant
Too pretty, no authority, annoying affected stutter. Nah, Hugh Grant can fuck right off for playing the Doctor (plus I bet he'd cost too much).

Nicholas Lyndhurst
TV Plonker Rodney as Doctor Who? They're taking the piss.

Ross Kemp
No, sorry, I take that back. NOW they're taking the piss.

Alan Rickman
Interesting. Setting aside the probabiltity that he'd be too expensive (that's the Beeb's problem, not mine), Rickman certainly has the range to play the Doctor. However, I'd much rather see Rickman in the role of the Master, a role to which I imagine he'd bring the same hammy relish that he did to Gruber in "Die Hard", Professor Snape in the Harry Potter films and his performance as the Metatron in Kevin Smith's "Dogma". Yeah, Alan Rickman for the Master not the Doctor. Probably be affordable for the Beeb that way 'n'all.

Leslie Grantham
Not unless in the new series the Doctor will be battling a ruthless race of taxi drivers bent on galactic domination.

Sean Bean
I like Sean Bean, I think he's a good actor, but I don't reckon he's right for the Doctor. Bean is mostly known as an on-screen hardman, best suited to action roles and I think that with him in the central role the temptation might be to write plots that play on those qualities. Doctor Who is not an action star; it is very rare that the Doctor uses violence to solve the problems that he encounters, preferring quick wits, technical know-how and cunning diplomcay instead. Sort of McGuyver meets Jean-Luc Picard. Sean Bean is too macho to play the Doctor.

Ray Winstone
Yeah. Doctor Who as a cockney hardman. Right. See Ross Kemp.

Stephen Fry
Now, Stephen Fry'd make a great Doctor Who, in my humble opinion. He's quirky enough and has the intellectual weight to be believable as an intergalactic genius. Plus, he has that seemingly-establishment-English-but-not-quite air that is so difficult to explain to non-Doctor Who fans. Let's just hope that the Doctor doesn't come up against a race of evil theatre critics bent on the destruction of the earth. Imagine how hard it'd be to find him if he had the entire spacetime continuum to hide in after a couple of bad reviews.

Jimmy Nail
Spender meets Doctor Who! Could The Doctor be played by a dour geordie with a face like a slate-layer's nailbag? The Doctor could develop a new catchphrase under Nail's stewardship: the writers would have to try and work in the phrase "she's lyin'" into every episode. On balance, that's a silly idea. Sorry Jim, but no.

Michael Caine
Even though the idea of Michael Caine as Doctor Who is patently ridiculous, it does hold a peverse appeal to me. It would be the meeting of two enormous British institutions and while likely to result in a horrendous miscegenation, it could possibly create something beautiful. Just imagine:

"Stop firing. Those bloody lasers. At me!"
"You're only supposed to blow the Tardis doors off!"
"You're a big cyberman but you're out of shape."

Ah, but sadly it will never be.

Posted by Jonah at 1:00 PM | Comments (12)

September 25, 2003

Headline of the week

Plaudits to whichever BBC sub-editor is responsible for this gem of a headline:

Posted by Jonah at 12:14 PM

September 18, 2003

Health Kick Shocker

Well, who'd have thought it? For some reason I seem to have embarked on a health kick as part of my relentful drive towards self-improvement. I have actually given up smoking. I've not had a fag now since the 26th of August. I haven't mentioned it before now in case it turned out to be a flash in the pan like the last three times I've tried. to give up.

It was after that Tuesday's swimming session that I made the decision to give up smoking. I was just sick of the gunk coming out of my lungs and the 10-minute hacking fits every morning. It's all well and good trying to attain a basic level of fitness through something like swimming but it's no use if you're filling your lungs with catarrh every hour or so. I didn't just give up smoking, I decided to give up smoking.

That distinction is key for me. I didn't just think that I ought to give up smoking - I decided that I was no longer going to smoke. I think this could be the key to my failure the last few times: all of the time I still had a hankering to be a smoker as well as for the cigarettes themselves. This time however, I genuinely don't want to be a smoker, which makes the cravings a lot easier to deal with. Doesn't help with the shitty moods, though, as my very patient peer group will tell you (sorry folks).

On top of all this I've only gone and joined a gym! Yeah, I know, not me at all, according to conventional wisdom. I've committed to it for a year, which may seem overly optimistic to anyone who knows me, but I reckon it'll help with motivation.

I've sworn to go at least once a week, and managed it so far. It's made a little easier by the fact that it's within two minute's walk from my house, so it doesn't have a high barrier to me getting down there. I can scoot in just after work and get sweaty for an hour. I've worked myself out a reasonable program which leaves me knackered and with slightly trembling muscles, but without making me painfully stiff the next day.

Oddly, I've been getting into running on the treadmills, something I've always mocked before due to the fact that you can run on the roads if you want. I think it's because the machine regulates the speed and duration or your run for you, and I'm pants at both of those. Running's the hardest thing I do there: I'm not at all used to cardio-vascular exercise!

Hopefully, I should be less of a wreck this time next year. Fingers crossed.

Posted by Jonah at 11:52 AM

September 9, 2003

"You couldn't make it up"

According to this article, the Conservative Party is proposing isolated offshore processing centres for refugees. Just think, if you combined this with preparation for their "Britishness test" through orientation from Britain's favoutire rabid tabloid then we could create a real-life Daily Mail Island!

Posted by Jonah at 11:56 AM

Watch whose money you pick up

Looky here, you can sell your soul online! We Want Your Soul also do an obligation-free quotation service where they estimate the cash value of your soul. Intriguing ... let's see what they have to say about themselves.

We Want Your Soul, Inc. (WWYS�) is a global private equity firm with nearly 250 million souls under management.
WWYS� generates outstanding returns for its customers by employing cutting-edge proprietary soul extraction, containment and suppression technologies, including but not limited to genetic modification, operant conditioning, and thought control. Our firm's history is long and celebrated, and has allowed us to evolve a global influence in all aspects and at every level of society.

What, is it the Illuminati or the Minions of Hell (TM)? Hey, now that's an even better idea ... We Want Your Soul has just the one bidder for your soul. Maybe there's room for an online soul auction house, a sort of spirtitual ebay where the evil god-things of a thousand mythologies can bid for your eternal essence.

Then again, maybe not. As I understand it, when it comes to souls it's a buyer's market. I think I'll just leave you all with these words from William S. Burrough's "Word of Advice for Young People":

Now, some of you may encounter the Devil's Bargain, if you get that far. Any old soul is worth saving, at least to a priest but not every soul is worth buying, so you can take the offer as a compliment.
He tries the easy ones first. You know, like money. All the money there is. Yeah, but who wants to be that richest guy in some cemetary? Money won't buy it. Not much left to spend it on eh, Gramps? Getting too old to cut the mustard.
How's a young body grab you? Like three card monte, like pea under the shell, now you see it, now you don't. Haven't you forgotten something, Gramps? In order to feel something, you've got to be there. You have to be eighteen. You're not eighteen, you are seventy-eight. Old fool sold his soul for a strap-on.
Well they always try the easiest ones first. How about an honorable bargain? You always wanted to be a doctor, well now's your chance. Why you could become a great healer and benefit humanity? What's wrong with that?
Just about everything.
There are no honorable bargains involving exchange of qualitative merchandise like souls, for quantitative merchandise like time and money. So piss off Satan and don't take me for dumber than I look.
An old junk pusher told me - watch whose money you pick up.
Posted by Jonah at 10:42 AM

September 5, 2003

Mooning Dubya

This feller has a great idea: screwing up George W. Bush's photo ops when he next visits the UK by showing him your arse:

I tell thee, it'd be right satisfying to moon that homunculus simian military-industrial simpleton. I highly recommend we all join in.

Posted by Jonah at 3:06 PM

September 4, 2003

Bond car for £150k

Hey, this looks like fun: a truly amphibious car, with retractable wheels and a jet for travelling in the water.

I could take it up the Huddersfield Narrow Canal!

Posted by Jonah at 11:28 AM