23 April 2016

The Curious Incident of the Companion in the Half-Time Break

So, after ten minutes of seeing Gary Lineker auditioning for the Master with his goatee and discovering just how bald Alan Shearer is these days, we got a two minute video introducing the new companion:

Pearl Mackie; when I looked her up on IMDB after watching this, she didn't even have a photo. She's arguably a bigger unknown than Matt Smith was, so she hasn't got any 'baggage' or 'typecastness' to get away from.

As for 'Bill', which I strongly suggest is a contraction of something, I wasn't overly impressed on the first watch of the video, but I liked her more on the second. I think she'll definitely grow on me as a companion.

Also, she can beat Twelve in an eyebrow contest... and all the companions in the hair department. Mind you, the afro won't be easy to get into a space helmet.

That's just a small problem. Welcome to the show, Pearl Mackie!

21 April 2016

Prince Rogers Ferguson 1958-2016

The flamboyant musical superstar has died aged 57.

Rest in Peace, Prince. The music you produced was legendary and you'll be deeply missed.


The Queen at 90

I would like to wish Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II a very happy birthday indeed.

20 April 2016

Vote Leave's attempt to have its cake and eat ot

Vote Leave, the official 'Brexit' campaign, wants us to have all the benefits of the EU without 'paying' for it, i.e. not contributing towards the budget and not allowing freedom of movement.

Do you honestly think that the EU will allow a 'free rider' in their single market? I don't.

Victoria Wood 1953-2016

The British comedian has died aged 62

Another real loss; she was very good in what I did see her in and 62 is really no age to go. Especially from cancer.

Rest in Peace.

19 April 2016

Stopping reviews

I've decided that, with some exceptions, namely the Star Trek reviews and some films, that I won't be doing any further reviews here. They're very time consuming and it actually diminishes my enjoyment of a show having to think about doing a review for it.

Also, the news about Castle has put me off the idea of doing a planned review for that and I don't plan to watch any Season 9.

14 April 2016

Gareth Thomas 1945-2016

The actor best known for the lead role in 'Blake's Seven', the 1978-1981 BBC science fiction show has passed away. 

I don't tend to post obituaries on the Phoenix blog but his role as freedom fighter Roj Blake was a big part of the show's success and the show was a big influence on me growing up. This dystopian work inspired the name of the character Sue Ling and indeed was the topic of the very first feature article in the site newsletter.

The galaxy is a sadder place today. 

Rest in Peace.

06 April 2016

The Panama Papers

The leaking of 11 million files from a Panamanian law firm has already cost one national leader his job; the Icelandic PM was doing something pretty dodgy.

However, a thought occurred to me; aren't all these rich people doing exactly what others would do in their (hand-made) shoes - trying to preserve as much of their wealth as possible? In my country, the top rate of tax is currently 45% - and it's been higher recently - at just over £150,000.

If I was earning £300,000 a year as a self-employed person, I would pay £129,530.20 a year in tax and Class 2 National Insurance contributions. At three million, I'd lose nearly £1.4m to HMRC.

Is it any surprise therefore that people want to avoid that? They should be honest about it if they are of course; which is the bigger issue here.

31 March 2016

Ronnie Corbett 1930-2016

I'm having to write a lot of these posts at the moment because we're losing so many legends; this is the sixth one I've written so far in 2016 and we're only a quarter of the way through.

Ronnie Corbett had a long and truly excellent career in comedy; his gags have truly stood the test of time and remain funny today; there are very few of his overall quality (not to mention accessibility to a family audience) out there at the moment.

Many people will be lighting metaphorical candles in his memory tonight... four of them of course.

Rest in Peace.

Things what I have watched - March 2016

I would like to apologise for the short one last month - this was due to me being pretty busy at the time. I will aim for at least five each month.

DC's Legends of Tomorrow

With Arthur Darvill as a lead (he actually comes second in the credits to the excellent Victor Garber) working for an organisation called the Time Masters, the Doctor Who comparisons become inevitable, although Rip Hunter actually first appeared in Showcase #20 in 1959, pre-dating that show by four years. At any rate, it's not that show - with a lot more violence by the crew of Darvill's time ship.

Agent Carter

This is looking likely to be axed after two seasons; Hayley Atwell has been signed up for another pilot on ABC (where she will probably use her excellent American accent) and Marvel are likely to move forward with the Lance Hunter/Bobbi Morse spinoff that wasn't ordered last season. It would be a pity as this is an enjoyable show, with both Atwell (who is a popular suggestion for a female Doctor) and James D'Arcy delivering strong performances with excellent British humour in them. That said, it might be best not to let this run on for too long.

Line of Duty

The third series of this police drama opened in rather different style in which we clearly see that the subject of their investigation is clearly guilty of murder... but then pulls the metaphorical rug out from under us by having

Happy Valley

Definitely one of the best dramas in recent years and proof positive that a sojourn in Weatherfield (especially behind the bar of the Rovers Return) does not mean you are a bad actor; Sarah Lancashire was superb, as was Katherine Kelly. Wouldn't be surprised to see this get an American remake.

The Night Manager

I was already a fan of Tom Hiddleston due to his Marvel work previously, but he's just got himself a much bigger fan base, probably because he keeps mislaying his shirt in this. If he becomes the next Bond, I won't be surprised. The demonstration sequence in Episode 5 featured some truly impressive explosive work (costing a million quid just for that sequence) even if Tom Hollander causing Thor problems in a fight isn't entirely realistic.


This Welsh set comedy drama isn't exactly the most realistic drama around with coincidences and general silliness galore, but I sincerely hope that Ivan Schloss packed lunch. An eight hour ride in a two-car Sprinter to Middlesbrough...