One foot on the stool-Episode 1

I’ve started a new podcast called ‘One foot on the stool’. Each episode, I’ll be joined with a different guest to discuss issues of mental health.

I appreciate that this post may not be to everyone’s taste, but I’m still building the dedicated website. So it’s going here for the time being.

On this episode my co-host is Podcaster/author Hayden Gribble.

The podcast is available on iTunes, Podbean, Spotify, Tunein and Spreaker.

Check out Hayden’s podcasts Diddly Dum and Podcasters Royale.

Check out his books

Here are some numbers you can call if you’re struggling

I’ve also launched a Patreon, if you’d care to donate.

Who’s he? Podcast episode 322

Phil was kind enough to invite me on his podcast, to present my case that Martha Jones is the most important companion Doctor Who has had.

Martha Jones is a fictional character played by Freema Agyeman in the long-running sci-fi series, Doctor Who. The character would also appear in the spin-off show Torchwood, on TV and BBC audio.

Follow Phil on Twitter-@whos_he_podcast

Review-This Time With Alan Partridge

Aha! Smell my cheese. Alan Partridge returns to the BBC after his exile and two decades on digital and satellite radio. He’s temporarily co-hosting a The One Show-esque programme called ‘This time’. The result is, as you might expect, comedy gold. This is easily some of the best Partridge to date.

‘This time’ is the perfect setting for Partridge, much like ‘The Day Today’ and ‘Knowing Me Knowing You’. This Time’s 30-minute episodes plays out in real time. But unlike those shows, we don’t see much of the full broadcast. Instead, we see Alan’s pre-recorded VT’s and off-air conversations between the shows Co-hosts.

This time Co-host Jennie Gresham (Susannah Fielding) is a perfect foil for Alan, she’s as ambitious as he is and often steals his jokes. The frustration boils in Alan, but he internalises it as he knows this could be his last chance at mainstream broadcasting.

If you’ve never seen Alan Partridge before, then this is a great jumping on point. It has references long-term fans will get, but it isn’t bogged down with 25 years worth of continuity.

This is a six episode series, but I wouldn’t be surprised if this is quickly commissioned for a second series.

This Time with Alan Partridge begins on Monday 25th February at 9.30pm, BBC ONE.

Review-Fighting with my family

The idea for the film came about, when Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson watched a documentary one sleepless night. That documentary was ‘The Wrestlers: Fighting with My Family’. The next morning he called his good friend, The Office co-creator Stephen Merchant and pitched the idea. Merchant loved it and started writing the script immediately.

Paige and her brother Zak (Florence Pugh and Jack Lowden) were born into a wrestling family. They’ve spent their entire lives dreaming about leaving their small town of Norwich and heading to America, to join the WWE. Their parents (Nick Frost and Lena Heady) run a local wrestling club and have raised them to be champions. The pair both get called for WWE try outs, but only Paige makes the grade. She then heads off to Florida for training, whilst Zak is left in Norwich.

Although Stephen Merchant has been writing/directing films and TV for nearly 20 years, this is his first time going solo and he shines. His signature razor-sharp dialogue is present throughout. Fighting With My Family is the first great film of 2019, given that it’s Merchant’s baby, I went in expecting a feel-good, character-based comedy. This is much deeper than that. The laughs come thick and fast, but the film isn’t afraid to tone down the comedic elements, when the story calls for it and it. The dialogue and characters always feel authentic and, it never falls foul to any sports biopic tropes. There’s no unnecessary romantic subplot, even the “mean girls” cliché is wonderfully subverted.

This is also quite possibly the most realistic sibling relationship ever put on screen. Pugh and Lowden are instantly believable as brother and sister, their equal respect and jealously for each other is perfectly balanced.

Merchant has crafted a wonderful film, that excellently reflects the highs and lows that come with chasing your dreams, but it also teaches us that even if you don’t quite achieve what you’ve wanted. It doesn’t mean you’ve failed. This film will appeal to both wrestling fans and those, like me-who’ve never seen a match.

Venom-Blu Ray review

Venom is a bold project for Sony, they’re attempting to launch a Spider-Man universe, without Spider-Man. They want this universe to stand alone, but they don’t want to rule out the chance of a future crossover.

Whilst it’s never stated this is in the MCU (Marvel cinematic universe) they don’t say anything to contradict that it isn’t. Instead of New York, the action takes place in San Francisco.

Tom Hardy plays Eddie Brock, an investigative journalist. Eddie lives with his fiancé Anne (Michelle Williams), a successful lawyer, working for a firm that represents the controversial billionaire Carlton Drake (Riz Ahmed).

One night, Eddie makes a bad decision and ends up losing his job, his relationship and his apartment.

Cut to six months later. Eddie has given up on himself — but when Dr. Dora Skirth (Jenny Slate), a scientist who works for Drake, tells Eddie that Drake is sacrificing homeless people in mad experiments, Eddie decides to leap back into action to expose him. Whilst exploring the lab, Eddie gets bonded with an alien, that calls itself Venom.

All of a sudden we’re in a slapstick/buddy comedy. Invoking the obligatory talking alien mechanical baritone, Venom at first barks out primal commands such as “HUNGRY!” and “FOOD!”, but soon he’s commenting on Eddie’s romantic life and opening up about how he was considered a “loser” on his home planet.



The movie is a strange beast, it never truly settles on an identity. It’s unevenly dumb, part superhero movie, part horror/comedy and it doesn’t really do either well. It is funny? Yes, at times. I’ll admit I laughed. But, not always at the times the film wanted me to.

According to Hardy his favourite bits of the film, are the 40 minutes that ended up on the cutting room floor. He’s also said in interviews, that he mostly improvised his scenes. Which could explain some of the choppy editing, or inconsistencies in characters motivations.

The film wants us to want Eddie and Anne back together, but they’ve put her in a relationship with Dr. Dan, probably the nicest/most understanding man in the universe. Venom feels like it fell through a time vortex, this is like a pre-MCU superhero movie. Something akin to 2003’s Daredevil.

The special effects are underwhelming. The CGI is terrible and the fight scenes are predictable and murky at best. The villains — human and extraterrestrial — are forgettable. And neither the ordinary guy nor his alter ego is particularly compelling to watch.

This film cerments Tom Hardy, as the British Nicholas Cage.

Blu-ray Disc Exclusives

  • Extended Post Credit Scene and Deleted Scenes
  • PLUS over an hour of extras including
  • Venom Mode: Trivia Track
  • The Lethal Protector in Action
  • The Anti-Hero
  • Venom Vision
  • Designing Venom
  • Symbiote Secrets

*AND MORE

Also includes

  • Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse Sneak Peek
  • Eminem Music Video

Blu Ray review-Reign of the supermen

Six months after Superman (Jerry O’Connell) sacrificed himself to defeat Doomsday, the world has been introduced to four new versions of the man of steel; Superboy, Steel, Cyborg-Superman, and the Eradicator. Each one of them is very different in their personalities and crime-fighting style compared to the original Man of Steel; leaving the world questioning which one, if any, is the true Superman.

At 87 minutes, this is one of the longer DC Universe Animated films. But the extra length enables it to achieve a number of things, such as continuing threads that were set up in ‘The Death of Superman’. We also get a great amount of character development, not only do we see some really touching moments between the Kents and Lois Lane (Rebecca Romijn). We also see Lois develop a friendship with Wonder Woman (Rosario Dawson). Lex Luthor also plays a very active role in this story-excellently voiced by Rainn Wilson. It also allows for the film to set up the wider DC animated universe.

Let’s just say, DC’s animation department has done it again. Reign of the Supermen is a triumph. Despite being based on a comic book from 1993, writers Tim Sheridan and Jim Krieg-along with director Sam Liu, manage to keep the film feeling fresh and engaging. They understand just how much the original comics mean to fans and expertly adapt them for the screen.

This is the kind of movie I wish DC’s live-action department were making. It’s got a darker/edgy tone, the heroes actions have consequences. But, it doesn’t take itself seriously. There’s a lot of fun to be had here.

REIGN OF THE SUPERMEN is available now on Digital Download, Blu-ray™ and DVD

The Blu Ray special features include;

Lex Luthor:The greatest nemesis

Sneak peak at Justice League vs The Fatal Five

From the vault-two bonus cartoons.

Book review-Doctor Who:Scratchman

Roughly 40 years ago, one Thomas Stewart Baker sat in the pub with his Doctor Who co-star, Ian Marter and started writing a Doctor Who movie, Doctor Who meets the Scratchman.

Ultimately, it never secured the required funding and the un-produced film became the stuff of legend. Tom Baker later had to apologise, after kids started sending their pocket money to the BBC. After he joked that fans could fund it.

Over the years, you’d hear a rumour here and there at fan gatherings and meet ups. Some people even claimed they’d read it. It sounded bonkers, the fourth Doctor going up against the devil and at some point, pinball would be involved..

Now, after years of speculation and “what ifs” Tom Baker- with the help of James Goss, has adapted the screenplay into a novel.

The Doctor, Harry and Sarah Jane Smith arrive at a remote Scottish island, when their holiday is cut short by the appearance of strange creatures – hideous scarecrows, who are preying on the local population. The islanders are living in fear, and the Doctor vows to save them all. But it doesn’t go to plan – the time travellers have fallen into a trap, and Scratchman is coming for them.

With the fate of the universe hanging in the balance, the Doctor must battle an ancient force from another dimension, one who claims to be the Devil. Scratchman wants to know what the Doctor is most afraid of. And the Doctor’s worst nightmares are coming out to play…

Baker and Goss have taken full advantage of the novel medium. There’s a sense of freedom here, that a film probably wouldn’t allow. The story takes its time and feels like the fourth Doctor era, but it’s also clearly influenced by the big sci-fi/horror films from the 70’s. Mostly John Carpenter’s work, but I also got hints of Wicker man and the Omen. This blend makes for an intriguing read.

The first half reads very much like a standard Doctor Who story, it’s the second half that gets whacky, outlandish and high-concept. I don’t want to spoil it. It’s a bit far-out and some may feel it makes the book a bit disjointed. But it worked for me.

This is the most fun I’ve had with a book for years. Tom Baker claims this will be his last time writing a Doctor Who book, if that’s true then he’s left us with an entertaining read. However, I’m hoping he can be talked into another.

Trailer-John Wick 3

In John Wick, he came back to seek revenge. In John Wick: Chapter 2, he was forced to repay a debt. And now, after grossing a combined total of nearly $300 million at the worldwide box office, The Boogeyman returns for JOHN WICK: CHAPTER 3 – PARABELLUM.

In this third instalment of the adrenaline-fueled action franchise, super-assassin John Wick returns with a $14 million price tag on his head and an army of bounty-hunting killers on his trail. After killing a member of the shadowy international assassin’s guild, the High Table, John Wick is excommunicado, but the world’s most ruthless hit men and women await his every turn.

Returning to the John Wick universe are Keanu Reeves (The Matrix Trilogy, Speed) as the eponymous John Wick; Laurence Fishburne (Boyz n the Hood, The Matrix Trilogy); Lance Reddick (White House Down, American Horror Story); Tobias Segal (Sneaky Pete, Mindhunter) and Ian McShane (Deadwood, American Gods).

They will be starring alongside new cast members Halle Berry (Monster’s Ball, The X-Men franchise); Mark Dacascos (Brotherhood of the Wolf, Only the Strong); Asia Kate Dillon (Orange Is the New Black, Billions); Jason Mantzoukas (The Dictator, The Lego Batman Movie); and Angelica Huston (The Royal Tenenbaums, The Addams Family).

John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum is directed by Chad Stahelski (the John Wick series), written by Derek Kolstad(the John Wick series), and produced by Basil Iwanyk (Sicario, The Expendables) and Erica Lee (Sicario, A Private War).

JOHN WICK: CHAPTER 3 – PARABELLUM will be seeing you in cinemas across the UK on 17 May 2019 by Lionsgate UK. 

Trailer-Torchwood: God among us volume 2

Big Finish has released the story details, cover art and trailer of the sixth series of Torchwood: God Among Us 2.

Norton Folgate rejoins Torchwood, Andy and Yvonne get very close indeed, and the world is truly going to hell…

Norton Folgate’s come from the 1950s to warn Torchwood it’s the end of the world. He might have a point – there’s an alien god wandering the city, and a sinister force manipulating events behind the scenes. Where are all the homeless people going? And why doesn’t it stop raining?

1. Flight 405 by Lou Morgan

Flight 405 went missing over 60 years ago, but tonight the plane finally lands. Norton Folgate is a Torchwood agent from the 1950s and he swears Flight 405 contains the secret to the end of the world, but can Torchwood trust him?

2. Hostile Environment by Ash Darby

An app’s been launched that allows you to tag the homeless. People think they’re doing a good thing and helping out. It does seem a remarkable success. After all, since it’s launched, there are a lot less homeless people on the streets – so it must be doing some good, mustn’t it?

3. Another Man’s Shoes by Tim Foley

Yvonne wakes up in Andy’s body – and both have difficult days ahead of them.
Meanwhile, Norton’s making himself very much at home in Tyler’s body, much to Tyler’s alarm, and Ng is worried she knows what’s going on.
Someone’s playing a terrible trick on Torchwood. But who will win?

4. Eye of the Storm by David Llewellyn

An alien power station is sending out waves of lethal energy, people are turning to stone and the water levels are rising. As Torchwood set out on a desperate mission, god takes tea with someone who has been playing a very long game. Has the time come for Norton Folgate to save the world?