Out of Time 2 – The Gates of Hell is the second in a trilogy of specials, that sees David Tennant’s Tenth Doctor on a farewell tour before he regenerates. In the first audio, he bumped into Tom Baker’s Fourth Doctor. This time around, he’s paired up Peter Davison’s Fifth.
The story kicks off with The Fifth Doctor in Paris in 1809, he’s travelling sans-companion and decides to take a tour of the catacombs. It’s here that he bumps into a Time Agent Tina Drake (Shelley Conn), who for a very brief moment. I thought was Peri. Was that just me? Anyway, Tina is on the trail of a temporal paradox. Whilst in the catacombs, the duo trigger a trap, that sees the Doctor frozen in time. In 1944, the Tenth Doctor is evading Nazis, in occupied Paris. Looking for a hiding spot, he finds himself in the catacombs, where he encounters his former self. When they return to the surface, they find Paris is overrun with Cybermen.
I was a huge fan of Out of Time and I think it’s safe to say, that this was my most anticipated release of the year. Not only are we getting a multi-Doctor story, but we’re also getting a Time Crash reunion and we’re getting an outstanding script from David Llewellyn.
The story is structured brilliantly and moves along at a swift pace. Whilst Llewellyn’s love for the Fifth Doctor shines through, this feels very much like a David Tennant era adventure. Ken Bently’s direction is smooth and matches the pacing beat for beat. Whist Howard Carter’s music and sound design help elevate the adventure even more.
The two leads have natural chemistry and bounce off each other well, there’s a lot of fun interplay between them. I had a smile on my face the whole way through this, Lewellyn’s script is peppered with humour, call-backs and historical facts. This is quintessential Doctor Who.
Doctor Who: Out of Time 2 – The Gates of Hell is available on CD and download from Big Finish.
Let’s be honest. None of us saw this coming. This time last year, we’d have thought the announcement was a cruel joke. It seemed so unlikely. But Sixteen years after his thirteen episode run reignited the Doctor Who franchise and brought it into the consciousness of a new generation. Christopher Eccleston is back and it’s about time.
The Ninth Doctor Adventures – Ravagers, written and directed by Nicholas Briggs, is the first in a four-volume set of audio adventures.
I’ll admit, that I’ve struggled with this review. On one hand, Ravagers is an impressively ambitious set. Eccleston’s return is arguably the biggest coup Big Finish has achieved since Tom Baker returned in 2012. Billie Piper once said that when she was last in Doctor Who, she spent 3 hours looking in a mirror unable to find Rose. Eccleston doesn’t have that problem, he slips right back into character. It’s an utter joy to hear him back in the role that made me a Doctor Who fan. It’s like he’s never been away. The supporting cast is all outstanding, especially Camilla Beeput and Jayne McKenna as Nova and Audrey. Dan Starky puts in a fun performance as Marcus Aurelius Gallius. The music and sound design are flawless and match the pace of Briggs’ excellent direction. His love, passion and enthusiasm for this era of Doctor Who absolutely shines through. However, the biggest flaw is the plot. It’s a really decent 45-minute episode, stretched to 2hrs 30mins. On the bonus disc, Briggs talks about how he entered “several blind alleys” whilst trying to write this. What we end up with, is an amalgamation of various stories he couldn’t get off the ground and I think it shows.
We join the Ninth Doctor in the middle of an adventure and we work backwards, which I think is a risky move. Big Finish excels at non-linear storytelling, they do it a lot. But for many people, this would have been their gateway to the world of Doctor Who on audio. I consume a lot of Big Finish, (at least two full box sets a day) and even I, at times, struggled to keep up with the convoluted non-linear narrative. I found myself constantly rewinding a minute or two, just to see if I had missed something. At one point, I even thought I had started the wrong episode.
Overall, Ravagers is a bit of a mixed bag. I enjoyed the set, but I’d have prefered if they had gone with three individual stories. I’m excited for the future of this range.
Following last year’s festive specials, we’re back in Scatterbrook accompanying Worzel Gummidge on another madcap adventure. As with the last two, ‘Saucy Nancy’ is written and directed by Executive Producer Mackenzie Crook.
Worzel is rich, for a scarecrow. He’s found £20 and the money is burning a hole in his pocket, he wants to buy a door. So he enlists ‘the chillun’ Susan (India Brown) and John (Thierry Wickens) to help him find one. Whilst at a salvage yard, he stumbles across his old foul-mouthed friend, Saucy Nancy (Shirley Henderson). The sea is calling Nancy and she wants to get back to it, our trio of heroes vow to help her.
The two specials last year were undoubtedly the highlight of the festive period. This year is no different. This is a well-written and well-directed family adventure, bursting with heart and humour. Once again, Brown and Wickens feel like brother and sister and the entire cast have such natural chemistry, that a walking talking scarecrow seems like the most normal thing in the world. Shirley Henderson is an absolutely wonderful addition, in all her (scarecrow) sweary ways. There’s also a great turn from Venessa Redgrave as “Peg”.
Steve Pemberton and Rosie Cavaliero take more of a back seat in this, as Mr and Mrs Braithwaite, but they’re both still excellent in their respective roles. Mr Braithwaite has even softened to the kids “these two are different, they’re keepers” he tells his wife.
After the year we’ve had, it was extremely comforting slipping back into the innocent world of Worzel Gummidge. This show is about love, hope and trust, which is what we could all do with right now.
Mackenzie Crook has once again proved, that he is more than a worthy successor to Jon Pertwee. Ten Acre Field is in very safe hands.
Worzel Gummidge: Saucy Nancy – airs tonight at 5:55pm on BBC One.
As of November 2020, there are approximately one million podcasts and this number is growing daily.
I’ve been podcasting for over a decade and I’m often asked for advice about equipment and editing software. So, I thought I’d write an article about starting a podcast in 2021.
Planning is King.
This is a very overlooked part of the podcasting. You need to plan. Some would argue that Bad Wilf sounds like we just hit record and riff, but even our impromptu episodes are planned to an extent. We’re a film and TV review show. So, if we take a trip to the cinema, we know there’s a good chance we’re going to record sometime after seeing the film. Planning is where you should spend most of your time. I recommend getting an A4 note pad or a whiteboard, to put up near your recording space. These will enable you to make notes or write down topic points for your episode.
Choose A Subject.
You want a subject matter you’re passionate about. We started our life as a Doctor Who podcast, but a few months in we really found our interest fading. So we switched to covering other TV shows and Film, something we were both passionate about. We still cover Doctor Who, but it’s just one of many things we talk about. For example, rather than start a podcast about lawnmowers, I’d recommend starting a podcast about all aspects of landscape gardening. With lawnmowers being one of the things you cover.
Co-host or no co-host, that is the question.
Honestly, you’re the only one that can answer this. I’m not the type of person who talks a lot. I talk when I have something to say, but I’m quiet the rest of the time. The premise of our show is that we’re all just mates having a chat in the pub. So, I needed a co-host. I asked my best friend to join me. I’ve found that having a co-host keeps things sounding more natural and conversational. However, having one or more co-hosts can have its drawbacks. You all need to be committed for the long-haul and scheduling can be an absolute nightmare.
You’ll need a name. We went with Bad Wilf, as we launched as a Doctor Who podcast and we felt it was a clever wink and a nod towards the show. If you check the Apple Podcast charts, you’ll see a wide variety of names. Some are very descriptive, some not so much. We were lucky that our name is just a reference to Doctor Who and doesn’t rely on Doctor Who. Say you wanted to launch a podcast about the Toy Story franchise, I’d steer clear of calling it ‘The Toy Story Podcast’. This could lead to getting a letter from Disney, or leave you stuck with a name you no longer want when you decide you want to cover Pixar’s other films. Instead, I’d recommend calling your Toy Story podcast ‘infinity and beyond’. People will know what it means and it gives you the flexibility to cover more subject matters. You also no longer need to add the word ‘podcast’ to your podcast title, we had to as it helped iTunes list them back in the day.
Get a website.
If you want to look professional, then the importance of having a website can’t be overestimated. When we branched out and decided we wanted to interview people, the first thing we were asked by their representatives was “do you have a website?”. Believe me, telling people “Yes, badwilf.com” is easier than saying “Well, we don’t have a website per-say, but our podcast host site is www.thebadwilf.libsyn.com”. Having a website makes you look legitimate. You can find advice on website building on YouTube, I recommend using WordPress.
I’ve seen a lot of “experts” say that podcasts shouldn’t be shorter than 45 minutes because that’s the average commute to work. We went for a running time of 30-45 minutes because that’s how long my commute to work was. But in reality, it doesn’t really matter. Again, if you check the Apple Podcast charts you’ll see they all vary in length. Some are 6 minutes long, some are 6 hours. Some of Joe Rogan’s shows break the 4-hour mark. If you’ve got a great show, people will listen.
This isn’t something I can really help with. That’s entirely up to you. I would steer clear of having too many people on an interview-style show though, you, your co-host and a guest should be fine. But you, your co-host, guest plus others can sound incredibly crowded to the listener.
The standard format we use is;
Teaser (An out of context clip from the episode) Intro Main feature Ads (If we have them) Call to action (rate us on Apple Podcasts etc). Outro.
Introduce yourselves clearly at the start of every episode. Ever episode you put out, will be someone’s first episode. You’ll have new listeners and repeat listeners. New listeners will want to know who you are, repeat listeners won’t mind sitting through a couple of seconds of introductions. Especially if you make them fun. I’ve heard so many podcasts over the years, where the hosts are very clinical and don’t even introduce themselves.
Show notes. Use them.
Show notes are important, you can write a break down of everything you spoke about. If you reference a good book, you should link to it. Provide a service for your listeners, if you mention a book I think sounds interesting. I might order if you link to it in the show notes. I can order with one click. If you don’t, I either have to order it the moment it’s mentioned or, remember whereabouts in the episode you mentioned it, so I can go back and listen again for the title. That’s a hassle, your listeners will appreciate links. You can also use show notes to link your social media. I can’t tell you how many podcasts I’ve wanted to follow on Twitter, but can’t because they don’t put the link in the show notes.
People do judge a book by its cover.
Your cover art is almost more important than your content, it’s the listener’s first impression of your show. Decent cover art can get you noticed, it also helps you stand out and climb that charts. If you’re somewhat artistically gifted, you can make some pretty decent cover art in something like Canva. If not, you could always pay someone to do it on a service like Fivver.
Get a decent microphone.
With every actor now launching a podcast, people have become accustomed to a professional sounding podcast. However, most of us aren’t backed by professional producers, nor can we afford studio time. The best most of us have is our bedroom or living room. Fortunately, you don’t have to spend thousands of pounds on a decent setup. Most smartphones are as good as a medium budget mic. We currently use Rode podmics, that are connected to a Rodecaster Pro. But you could get a decent sound from a £15 XLR mic and a £30 audio interface. Approximately 100 episodes of Bad Wilf, were recorded on an £80 Zoom H1 or a £30 USB mic from Maplin (RIP).
Acoustically treat your recording space.
Most of us won’t have bedrooms or living rooms that are acoustically treated. Wooden floors and concrete walls will cause an echo. Now, you could spend a few hundred on soundproof foam and completely kit out your recording area, you could buy a Kaotica Eye Ball or a cheaper alternative. I record in my living room – I rent so I can’t stick foam panels to the wall. I used to have one of those Kaotica eye ball alternatives, but my current mic isn’t suited for them. Instead, I’ve taken to surrounding my recording area with duvets. I hang one duvet up on the curtain pole. This stops the reverb of my voice and reduces traffic noise, I hang another duvet on the Kallax unit behind me and, a third on a washing airer just to my side. This works spectacularly well. It doesn’t make the area soundproof, but it softens the reverb of my voice. I also have hard wooden floors, so I’ve placed a rug under my microphone.
Recording and editing.
Every episode of Bad Wilf has been edited using the free to use software, Audacity. There is some paid editing software out there, such as Adobe Audition. They’re all good. But honestly, there’s no real need. Audacity has worked incredibly well for me. More recently, I’ve started using a service called Descript. Descript transcribes your audio into text, with an 85% accuracy. You then edit the audio, by deleting the text. It’s £12 ($15) a month for the basic package, but it enables you to auto-delete filler words such as “um” and “errrr”. This is an absolute time-saver, you can also programme in filler word/phrases like “like” and “y’know”. I do the very basic edit through Descript, but I still use Audacity for the main edit.
In the good old days, Bad Wilf was recorded mostly in-person. I’d take my trusty Zoom H1 to my co-hosts house. We’d hit record and chat. We then graduated to two XLR mics running into a Zoom H5. In a post-Covid world, nearly every episode is recorded remotely. I use my Rodecaster Pro for this. It enables me to basically run the podcast, like a live radio show. If you don’t have a Rodecaster Pro, you and your co-host can record your own sides of the conversation, then Dropbox to whoever is editing. Alternatively, you could use a Skype recorder. There are drawbacks to these however, they mostly tend to be sound related. A Skype recorder works by recording what is coming out of the earphone jack, that can lead to a drop in quality. I’ve used Ecamm in the past, which I found to be the best of the bunch. It was a one-off £15 payment. Ecamm also allows you to split the tracks into two. The benefits of this are that if your co-host coughs whilst you’re talking, you could silence it on their track. The downside to this is, if you have more than one guest, all guests appear on one track. Before getting my Rodecaster Pro, I’d taken to recording with Zencastr. You don’t have to download any software. What makes Zencastr different to a Skype recorder, is rather than taking the sound that’s coming out the headphones, it takes the sound that’s going directly into each users microphone. It also records each user in a separate track, which is a Godsend when it comes to editing. If one co-host is moving around whilst the others are talking, this can be silenced in editing. Zencastr has two tiers, a free service which allows users up to two guests an episode and 8hrs of recording a month, or a paid version which allows unlimited guests and unlimited monthly recordings, for $20. However, during the Corona outbreak, Zencastr has lifted the restrictions on the free tier.
I’ve lost count of how many “professionally” produced podcasts I’ve stopped listening to after the first 3 minutes because they’re just too damn quiet. I’ve run every episode of Bad Wilf through free software called ‘Levelator’. It basically levels out all your audio to be exactly the same. Now, it’s not a magic wand, it can’t fix all audio problems, but it’s served me well for over a decade.
Launch the thing.
To launch your show, you’ll need a podcast host. There are many out there. But I’ve always used Libsyn. They’re reasonably priced and they’re pretty fair. I would advise steering clear of any podcast host that offers their service for free. Read the small print, because they could end up claiming your show and/or all content you make.
Research these, there are a lot out there. The big ones are obviously Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music, Spotify, Player FM etc. But there are some very niche directories out there that may cater more directly to your audience. 52% of listeners consume their podcasts from Apple Podcasts, so even if you only submit to one service, make sure you’re on Apple Podcasts.
Post to your website.
Make sure you embed your podcast episode on your website and you should put some accompanying text above the embedded player. This could be just a copy/paste of your show notes. I’d also recommend listing and linking to everywhere people can listen.
So, you’ve recorded and edited your show. You’ve uploaded and submitted it to all the podcast directories you can find, you’ve embedded it on your website. Now you want to shout about it on Twitter. Great. But, remember, in this day and age we’re being sold to 24/7. So if you launch a Twitter account specifically to promote your podcast, be wary of only posting to promote your show. Think about it like this; would you have any interest in following someone who only ever posted about the fact he was giving guitar lessons? Instead, you should give-give-ask. Provide a service, build a community. Give a solution, then ask people to listen.
I hope this has been helpful to you, if you have any further comments or questions, then please tweet me.
In which I look at the recent speculation that Peter Capaldi is leaving Doctor Who.
Peter Capaldi is a Scottish actor, writer and director. He portrays the twelfth incarnation of the Doctor in Doctor Who and Malcolm Tucker the spin doctor in The Thick of It, for which he has received four British Academy Television Award nominations, winning Best Male Comedy Performance in 2010. When he reprised the role of Tucker in the feature film In the Loop, Capaldi was honoured with several film critic award nominations for Best Supporting Actor.
It may seem hard to believe now, but there was a time when Henry Cavill was widely regarded as the unluckiest man in Hollywood. He often made it to the final rounds of consideration, for major franchises. He was so infamous, that I knew about him before I even knew his name.
With the news that Man of Steel 2 has been put on hold until WB get their next slate of movies out. I thought I would take a look back at the five roles Henry Cavill almost had before he represented the house of El.
James Bond-Casino Royale(2006)
After die another day received a critical mauling, Pierce Brosnan was forced to retire his Walther PPK. Which meant Bond had to be rebooted.
Producers Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli managed to whittle down a list to two suave actors to play 007. Those actors were Daniel Craig and Henry Cavill.
Cavill has said in interviews:
“I came very close.”
Ultimately at 22, they decided Cavill was just a bit too young for the role and they instead went with Daniel Craig.
Batman – Batman Begins (2005)
Whilst Cavill states that he didn’t actually test for this, he has confirmed that his name was on a shortlist of actors which included; Joshua Jackson, Eion Bailey, Hugh Dancy, Billy Crudup, Cillian Murphy, Jake Gyllenhaal and, of course, Christian Bale.
Superman – Superman Returns(2006).
You may remember that before Brian Singer helmed Superman Returns, it was set to be directed by McG.
When McG left the project Brian Singer gave Henry Cavill the old tin-tac and he was replaced with Brandon Routh.
Green Lantern/Hal Jordan – Green Lantern (2011)
Cavill’s third unlucky attempt at a superhero movie happened in 2011, with Green Lantern. When casting began in 2009, his name was listed alongside Bradley Cooper, Justin Timberlake, and of course, Ryan Reynolds.
Edward Cullen – Twilight (2008)
Twilight creator, Stephanie Meyer has previously stated that she based the Vampire on Henry Cavill, she even tried to get him cast in the role. Ironically, two short years after he was told he was too young to play Bond, he was told he was too old to play a 200+-year-old vampire and the role went to Robert Pattinson.
Times have sure changed for Henry Cavill. He now has multiple franchises under his belt.
With the MCM expo fast approaching, I thought I would compile a handy guide to help you survive a London comic con.
1. Arrive Early
Parking fills up quickly and public transport gets exceedingly busy. I recommend arriving at 8:30 AM and going for breakfast at a local restaurant. You’ll then have plenty of time to queue, before the doors open at 10 AM.
This will also give you time to check out the schedule to see what you would want to do for the day.
2. Virtual queues
A lot of the big-name (most expensive stars) will have a deli ticket style virtual queue. Hit all the big-name stars first, then come back at your allocated time.
3. Go For Comfort
Wear Comfortable shoes and clothing – you will be doing a lot of walking, standing and sweating.
Even in the winter, it will be exceedingly hot in the venue, so shorts are ideal.
Nobody likes a smelly fan, so double spray/roll the amount of deodorant you would normally, I’d also recommend carrying some in a backpack.
4. Take a backpack
Bring a small backpack for your snacks and memorabilia.
Also, think about your phone battery too, a portable charger will set you back about £15.
5. Bring Your Own
Bring water and snacks with you. Con prices for food and drink are ridiculous.
I normally take three small bottles of water, a caffeinated drink, and a couple of bananas.
6. Schedule a Break
If you get tired, there are tables to sit at, but these fill up pretty quickly.
I recommend finding a pub a short walk from the venue.
The best way to make your time at a con enjoyable is to plan out a strategy on how to spend your day. Check out the timetable online before the event and mark what you really want to go. Also, make an alternate list in case you can’t get in or don’t want to wait in a long line. If you’re only going for one day – check the programs and find the booths/celebrities you would be most interested in and check those out first, then check out the other fun stuff.
Now, I am currently suffering the flu and am whacked out on flu medication so, this may be crazy talk. But, something hit me like a bolt of lightning earlier today. The entire 10-year run of Friends was a social experiment set up by Doctor’s Niles and Frasier Crane. I haven’t quite figured out what that social experiment is, but I’m assuming it’s something to do with memory loss and post-traumatic stress.
First off, none of the friends really know anything about their own life’s.
In one of the early episodes, Joey and Chandler offer to take Ross to a hockey game for his birthday, and the date in that is said to be October 20th. He says, “my birthday was 7 months ago,” which would place his birthday in March, yet in the episode where Ross tries to punch Joey and breaks his thumb, they fill out his details, Ross says “you know my birthday!?” And Joey says “May-tem-ber???” And Ross says “OCTOBER 18”!
Ross’ age is a bone of contention across the whole series. He stays 29 for three whole series whilst the other friend’s age.
In the episode where Ross and his girlfriend Julie are getting a cat, Monica talks fondly of their childhood cat and even has his old toys. In the very next episode, when Monica is tasting the Fistachio product she says she’s allergic to cats and is for the rest of the shows run.
Phoebe often talks about her hard life living homeless on the streets, yet lived with her loving grandmother. She is fluent in French, yet in a later episode doesn’t speak a word of it.
The spelling of Rachel’s last name changes every year sometimes it’s ‘Green’ then ‘Greene’ then back to ‘Green’.
Chandler and Rachel met 4 times before the first episode is set and they don’t remember each other, she saw him get his toe cut off, you remember seeing someone get their toe cut off.
In the first episode it’s established that Ross and Carol split up a year prior to the episode, yet later that series Carol turns up 8-months pregnant. We’re also told that Carol was the only woman Ross slept with, but it later turns out he slept with an older woman in college.
Joey and Chandler’s apartment number changes from 4 to 19, whilst Monica’s changes from 5 to 20 without any of them realising. A whole episode set up the fact that Chandler has never cried, yet the previous series showed Phoebe make him cry.
Phoebe claims her dad left before she was born, yet later he walked out when she was 7.
Along with “get a life!” I hear you say “but Frasier and Niles were never in friends”.
No, they were never in friends. But, they did exist in the same universe. Phoebe’s twin sister, Ursula was a character in Mad about you, the characters from mad about you appeared in Friends. Chandler appeared in an episode of Caroline in the city. Caroline appeared in an episode of Friends, who else appeared in Caroline in the city?
Joey’s intelligence also takes a drastic knock over the years. He started out as an average guy then got dumber and dumber as the years went by.
What do you think? Does my theory hold any weight?
I’m likely to add more to this as further inconsistencies pop into my head.
I also think there’s something to the same people popping up with a new identity. Phoebe and Monica’s old Friend Amanda was later Joey’s agent, Bobby and Chandler’s psycho roommate Eddie, was Joey’s sister’s childhood boyfriend, Jimmy.
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