Tag Archives: Dr Who

Kick ass women: President Laura Roslin

I confess to having found myself surprised to be watching Battlestar Galactica (the 2003 NBC mini-series) and even more surprised to be enjoying it. It came about after I’d been watching Jake Yapp’s highly amusing clips about The Apprentice on The Poke and started following him on Twitter. A conversation ensued about how good he thinks Battlestar Galactica is. I raised as quizzical an eyebrow as I could manage over Twitter, but he was clear on the fact that 1) it really is very good and 2) his girlfriend likes it. And so it was I promised to give it a go.

I admit, I was dubious. I enjoy Dr Who, and loved Blake’s 7, but in general, I hate sci-fi and what I view as ‘space tosh’, especially boysy, fight-based intergalactic nonsense, and I feared that’s exactly what this would be.

But not so. The fact that most of it takes place in space is not the point, or at least not all of it. This is quality drama; sexy, dynamic, well-written and highly engaging. And it’s not boysy, at least not in an unbalanced way. There are a wealth of strong, interesting female characters. Impressive, feisty, muscular pilot, Kara ‘Starbuck’ Thrace, is the obvious choice for a kick ass woman. And you really wouldn’t want the terrifying, gorgeous blonde bombshell Cylon Number Six (Cylons being the baddies) as your babysitter.

[Her lover in this, by the way, is Dr Gauis Baltar, played by James Callis, who I knew as the adorable male bezzie mate in Bridget Jones]

But I’m going to plump for Laura Roslin (played by Mary McDonnell) as my top kick ass woman. She starts the mini-series as a slightly mumsy Education Minister who has just been given a diagnosis of terminal cancer. She ends up (after the Cylons wipe out most of the population of Kobol with a nuclear attack) as President of the Twelve Colonies (thank you PF) when all the other 42 in line have been killed. And she steps into this role with calm, compassionate aplomb. She’s brilliant, and is an elegant counterpoint to the rugged masculinity of Commander Adama and chums.

She’s one of the reasons I’d recommend Battlestar Galactica to anyone, and particularly women who are dubious about space-based drama. This is all very human and beautifully drawn.

Now I’m eagerly awaiting the arrival of Series 1.

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Junior MasterChef: just what the doctor ordered

I have to confess I’ve not been keeping up with Junior MasterChef, so I was delighted to tune in today and see that talented Amber has got through to the semi-finals, alongside some other excellent cooks, George, Georgie and Hadra. And if that wasn’t thrilling enough -the second challenge involved climbing into the TARDIS and being transported to the telly studios in Cardiff where Dr Who is being filmed, so the young chefs could cook lunch for Matt Smith and Karen Gillan. I’m a grown woman and I was beside myself with excitement, so the young people must have almost exploded.

Dishes that were cooked were the actors’ favourites and included steak, chips, duck with pancakes, banoffi pie and ginger pudding. Not all went according to plan. The toffee for the banoffi went all floppy. The bearnaise for the steak was too sloppy. But Amber’s ginger pudding and *custard (the first time she’s ever cooked it) looked perfect.

*the first time I tried to make custard, it set like concrete on top of a trifle probably because I used to find the reading of measurements rather baffling

Pauseliveaction and I happened to exchange texts when I was watching it, and she said she was pleased, since she feels that Matt Smith could do with feeding up a bit. He and Karen/Amy were utterly charming. It was all entirely endearing. Even John Torode and Nadia Sawalha donned dashing scarves and looked really thrilled to be on the Dr Who set.

Tomorrow, the kids cook for JLS and Charlie Higson. I’m sure they’ll all be brilliant. But I’m still rooting for Amber!

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Dr Who: Say hello, wave goodbye

Well there we go. The old cute David Tennant-shaped Doctor has checked out and the new cute Matt Smith-shaped Doctor has arrived. And frankly, both shapes are delightful, so nobody loses here. In a two-parter clearly designed for an audience of regular and devoted viewers, at times it was tough for a drop-in irregular like myself to keep up with who was who and what the flip was going on. I lost the plot many times, but I felt I got the big picture, so that’s ok.

Much like an Agatha Christie Special, this was a star-studded affair, and The End of Time began with a manic and cackling John Simm as The Master. Over-acting is hard to call on Dr Who, given the genre, but I can say he had excessive blonde highlights. I liked the way white whooshy power jets shot out of his hands so he could zoom up in the air, it looked like it might have been fun if he wasn’t in constant torment because of the hammer-on-anvil tinnitus and the urge to keep gnawing on whole turkeys.

Anyway. With the help of two bright green pointy cactus-headed creatures (no idea who they are) the Doctor sorted out the bit of local difficulty with the ever fabulous Bernard Cribbins by his side. It’s funny how we age people as children. I thought Cribbins was old when I saw him in the Railway Children in 1970, but he clearly wasn’t, since he’s still in fine fettle.

So it turns out that the entire Time Lord race weren’t really all dead as we’d thought all these years, they were locked in a something or other, and by means of a diamond star jobby, Timothy Dalton (with some disturbing spitting) brought them down to earth along with a giant planet (Galafrey) which was about to squish Planet Earth until the Doctor made a wise choice about what to do with Bernard’s pistol and zapped the machine which got rid of the Time Lords just in time to stop them ending time. Didn’t quite get the fine detail there, but overall, big Phew.

That left the Doctor with a few odds and ends to tie up, involving helping and/or saluting old chums. He dropped in on John Barrowman propping up a bar very similar to the Mos Eisley Cantina in Star Wars and helped him pick up a date. He saved Sarah Jane’s son from being run over, and dropped by with a winning lottery ticket at Catherine Tate’s wedding. A quick chat with Billie Piper before she knew who he was, then it was time to start regenerating. This gave us a teasing glimpse of the lovely Matt Smith, who arrived clutching his endearingly floppy hair saying ‘I’m a girl!’ No, you’re definitely not a girl Mattie. Too early to say what kind of Doctor he will be, because as the music kicked in, the TARDIS was crashing to earth with him screaming ‘Geronimo!’ Bless.

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Lustbox: David Tennant – Dr McDreamy

It’s not actually in Dr Who that I love David Tennant the most. He’s been great as The Doctor of course, but there is too much gurning for my liking. And my love of the programme will never be as intense as when I was eight years old, however much better produced it is now, and well scripted too of course, and for this I doff my cap at the marvel that is Russell T Davies. The problem with David Tennant playing The Doctor is that we don’t get to hear the rich chocolately yumminess of the actor’s Scottish accent. This was recently there for our audible pleasure when he chaired Never Mind the Buzzcocks

I miss Simon Amstell’s vicious wit on the programme, it’s become a more gentle beast now, with the gorgeously, surreally fabulous Noel Fielding (who said of himself that ”I count as a girl anyway’) so it’s still a great show. And having a Dr Who themed special complete with tardis, dalek in one of the line-ups and David Tennant in the driving seat was a lovely treat, especially sparking off the really quite bonkers, but nicely so, Catherine Tate and a splendidly acerbic Bernard Cribbens.

What I like about Tennant is that he appears to lack vanity, pomposity and any indication of a massive ego, despite being mobbed wherever he goes. He maintains an endearing slight air of geekiness and has a lovely cheeky face. He first caught my eye when he played Casanova in the 2005 mini-series. Never mind Colin Firth, I can’t see a frilly white shirt without thinking about Tennant ripping it off. And to be fair, he’s not just gorgeous, he is a very good actor too. He was also delightful on Radio 4’s Chain Reaction interviewing Richard Wilson, which gave us a double aural Scottish treat.

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