Category Archives: TV

My comments on the Government’s BBC consultation

At present, the UK Government is running a little-publicised public consultation on the future of the BBC. (That’s the British Broadcasting Corporation for you Americans — our state-owned and funded broadcaster.)


The campaigning group 38 Degrees has provided a simple way to respond online to this consultation, and I did so this morning. Here are the questions and my responses. I urge you to submit your own thoughts, too.

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Oh, Doctor! How are you going to get out of this one? (The Magician’s Apprentice)

Somehow I’d managed to avoid all spoilers. Which is great, because The Magician’s Apprentice took me by surprise, repeatedly. The moment when the boy in the field of hand-mines told the Doctor his name raised the hairs on my arms. I was genuinely creeped out.

Warning: spoilers follow the break.


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Happy Days: mid-season-2 report

I’ve watched Happy Days through season 1, and half way through season 2 — as far as S02E12, Open House. For reasons that I will explain in a moment, this is a good time to stop and take stock.


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Happy Days: not what I expected

I have vague memories of watching Happy Days as a kid — I suppose around the later 1970s to early 1980s, which means it would have been during its original run. I recall it as a frivolous show, a series of undemanding, jocular set-pieces playing on the humour of the Fonz’s being so much cooler than everyone else, almost to the point of it being a superpower.


I’ve recently been watching it from the start. It’s not what I expected at all.

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SPOILERS! In which I whine about Doctor Who again

It’s really not Doctor Who‘s fault at all this time.

But, oh boy, I am annoyed.

For tedious practical reasons, we weren’t able to watch Dark Water, the first part of the two-part series finale, on Saturday night when it came out. So instead we carefully avoided all information about it, and sat down as a family to watch it on Sunday afternoon.

And we thoroughly enjoyed it — the sense of mystery, the truly dark horror, the building tension, the series of carefully calibrated clues, and finally the reveal of exactly what the skeletons in the fishtanks were. A moment of shocking recognition, one of the high-points of the series.

Except that some genius at the BBC decided to use this image as the episode header on the iPlayer, so we all knew what was going to happen.

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But Mike, what do you think of the new Doctor Who?

Briefly (because I do intend to go back and review all this series’ episodes in a few months, when everyone else isn’t already doing it) …

I love Peter Capaldi’s take on the Doctor, I think that Listen is one of the very best episodes ever, and I thought that Series 8 was shaping up to be the very best of the new series (which for me makes it the best ever).

Then this happened.


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Six days to go till the new Doctor!

I’m writing on Sunday night, and full of anticipation for next Saturday, when we’ll see the Twelfth Doctor for the first time. (My family will be camping near Swansea; we and the friends we’re with will all go into a cinema in Swansea to see the new episode as it’s broadcast.)


To help get us all warmed up, here is the chapter Looking Forward from my recent book The Eleventh Doctor — my preview of what I hope the Peter Capaldi era will bring. Enjoy! (And don’t forget to buy the book if you haven’t already!)

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