Episode 278: Doctor Who-Eve of the Daleks

Martyn, Chris and Sam discuss the latest New Year’s Day special of Doctor Who, Eve of the Daleks. 

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Artwork by Penny Smallshire.

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Spoiler-Free Review: Cobra Kai series 4

This weekend, fan-favourite Cobra Kai returns to Netflix for its fourth series.

In this series, we see Johnny Lawrence (William Zabka) pair up with his long-term enemy, Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio). The duo has put aside their differences and merged their classes, in order of giving their students a chance at winning the tournament against the Cobra Kai dojo, now managed by John Kreese (Martin Kove).
This was never going to be an easy match, especially now that Kreese’s old war buddy, Terry Silver (Thomas Ian Griffith) has returned. Everyone is on the edge and unsure of what to expect.

This series returns to a more character-driven narrative, that some fans may have felt was missing from series 3. Thomas Ian Griffith is clearly having the time of his life, playing a complete psychopath and he’s exactly what the show needed. Johnny’s estranged son, Robbie (Tanner Buchanan) has joined Cobra Kai and is teaching them everything he learned from Daniel and Miyagi-Do. Samatha (Mary Mouser) has fully embraced Johnny’s “strike-first” attitude.

There are some twists and turns that I won’t spoil here. We also get to see a lot more of Daniel’s son, Anthony LaRusso (Griffin Santopietro). This is nice, as he’s mostly just been in the background for a lot of the show. We’re also introduced to a new character, Kenny (Dallas Dupree Young).

It’s a fantastic set of episodes that move the story forward and set up the future of the franchise. I came away from this extremely excited for series 5. However, the first eight episodes do sometimes feel like they’re just treading water until the tournament in the last two.

Series 5 has already been greenlit, so I can’t wait to see where they take this franchise next.

Cobra Kai returns to Netflix on New Year’s Eve.

Film review-The King’s Man

The King’s Man is a prequel, to the two previous films in the franchise. It attempts to provide a backstory to please Kingsman fans, but it primarily feels like it’s addressing questions nobody asked.

On the verge of World War One King George of England, Kaiser Wilhelm of Germany, and Tsar Nicholas of Russia are three cousins who find themselves as rulers of three European and Eastern mega-powers (all played by Tom Hollander).
Meanwhile, dark forces commanded by Erik Jan Hanussen (Daniel Brühl) lurk in the shadows, attempting to infiltrate the three leaders’ trust and launch a world war, beginning with Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria’s assassination.
With his intimate relationship with Wilhem, Hanussen shatters the trust between cousins, while manipulative monk Grigori Rasputin (Rhys Ifans) rips into the Tsar, all while a secret mole runs rampant in King George’s circle of influence.

The action is directed incredibly well, there’s an absolutely breathtaking skydiving sequence and, Rhys Ifans steals every scene he’s in. However, the screenplay by director, Matthew Vaughn and Karl Gajdusek (The Last Days of American Crime) — adapted from Mark Millar’s comic —leads The King’s Man into being a very disjointed film. It’s a part-historical drama and part-action adventure. It starts with a serious anti-war message but quickly turns into a parody.

It’s difficult to pinpoint exactly where The King’s Man has gone wrong, but, despite a clever early twist, it all feels ploddingly predictable in a join-the-dots-of-history and Kingsman origin-tale kind of way, even the “shock” post-credits set-up for another instalment is rather head-slappingly obvious.

The King’s Man is out in the UK on Boxing Day.

Review-The year of Martha Jones

The Master has won. He has stolen humanity’s future and imprisoned his nemesis, ruling the Earth with an army of deadly Toclafane.
But Martha Jones escaped, and now walks the Earth, telling stories of the Doctor. Above all else, humanity needs hope. And Martha will carry that hope across the world.

Something we never saw on Doctor Who is a big component of Martha Jones’ companion narrative.
During a time of death, destruction, and turmoil, she spent a full year on her own.
In the shows third series (Nu-Who), the Master and his army of Toclafane took over Earth and rendered our favourite Gallifreyan hero unconscious and looking like a cross between Yoda and Dobby.

Martha was entrusted with a monumental responsibility by the Doctor.
We know she succeeded because she is the best companion the modern series has had, but we didn’t see how she did it.

The Year of Martha Jones is a unique blend of great storytelling, humour and action. Much like The Doctor, Martha has become a mythological and contentious figure. People across the world murmur her name.
Some see her as a ray of hope. Others think she’s overrated, and her stories are nothing more than fairytales in the middle of constant conflict. They are perplexed by Martha’s genuine objectives and wonder if she has a plan to assassinate the Master.

At her core, Martha is just a human being trying her best to maintain emotional and mental stability in the face of an overwhelming challenge. She’s witnessed horrific tragedies and struggles with loneliness and paranoia all the time, unsure of whom she can trust in the world.

Her hope is still in the Doctor, and she always emphasises his great characteristics in her stories, but reality weighs heavily on her heart.
She is the only one in this unexpected and tough scenario.

The audio quickly finds its footing, thanks to a combination of great writing and performances from all involved.
Freema Agyeman and Adjoa Andoh, who plays Francine Jones, have great and natural chemistry together, it’s revealed in the extras that even Freema’s real-life mum, thinks of Adjoa as her second-mother. Freema calls her “Mamma Adj”.

We also meet a number of new interesting characters, such as Ewart James Walters as Tucker and Serin Ibrahim as Holly, an old college friend, who has a shaky relationship with Martha.

The Year of Martha Jones is a fascinating insight into human resilience, there are no bombastic over the top moments like you’d expect from the David Tennant era. Instead, this is a quiet and reflective story, that focuses on the little victories Martha is able to win on her journey. Scott Handcock’s direction is flawless and is beautifully accompanied by Howard Carter’s music and sound design.

It’s also easily Freema Ageyman’s best performance as the character. Over the years she has grown and evolved as an actress. I really hope this isn’t the last we’ve heard from Miss Jones.

The Year of Martha Jones is available to buy from Big finish.




Review-Torchwood: The Red List

The pandemic may have stalled plans for the official seventh series of Torchwood, but producers James Goss and Scott Handcock haven’t just rested on their laurels this year, like the rest of us. In the past 12 months, they’ve given us Torchwood tales about mould, coffee shops and Sontarans. We’ve also seen the return of Yvonne Hartman, Zachary Cross, Billis Manger and, Adam Smith. I’ve barely managed to take the bins out and these guys have continued giving us the best version of Torchwood on any medium.

This month’s release teams up Mr Colchester with a modern-day version of Ace AKA Dorothy McShane, for an adventure set in South America. The duo is both independently there to investigate a revolution but are stuck in a hotel under quarantine.

Mr Colchester, who is played as brilliantly as ever by Paul Clayton, begins the storey with a monologue.
This works as a great way to convey information to the audience, without feeling unrealistic or forced. I think we’ve all probably spoken to ourselves this year. Clayton is clearly having a great time, reprising his role as fan-favourite Colchester and it’s great to hear Sophie Aldred play an older version of Ace, it just goes to show how much work she puts into her performance as a younger version of the character on the main range. As the two versions are so clearly different.

The two leads have great chemistry and play on the mundanity that comes with a lockdown.
They’re supported in this adventure, by Xavier, a hotel technician played by Manuel Pacific. Xavier is there to receive the brunt of Colchester’s complaints and Pacific does a tremendous job, with such a small role.

Scott Handcock, as always, is a fantastic director who is able to get real genuine and believable performances from the three cast members. Steve Foxon’s sound design is flawless and perfectly encapsulates the Latin ambience and compliments Blair Mowat’s music incredibly well.

It’s difficult to review this audio fully, as it’s impossible to do so without spoiling. So I will say, it’s a lot of fun and features the best-written characters from both Torchwood and Doctor Who. It ends on a cliffhanger and I for one, hope this isn’t the last we’ve heard from Colchester and Ace.

Torchwood: The Red List is available to purchase from the Big Finish site and goes on general release on the 31st January 2022.


Episode 273: Last night in Soho/ Ghostbusters: Afterlife

It’s an original recipe special this week, as Martyn and Gerrod sit down to give spoiler-free reviews on Last night in Soho and, Ghostbusters: Afterlife.

The podcast is available from all good podcast services, such as but not limited to Spotify, Amazon Music, PodchaserPlayer FM, Stitcher, and Apple Podcasts.

We also have a Smartlink.

Artwork by Penny Smallshire.

We sound familiar can be found here.

More than just an impression can be found here.

Comedians talking about football can be found here.

Sam’s YouTube channel can be found here.

If you’d like to support the show, then please shop via our Amazon link. A small percentage goes our way, at no extra cost to you. We also have a Ko-Fi.

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Episode 266: Returning T Davies

As nobody else on the internet is talking about it, Martyn, Sam and their friend Antoni felt duty-bound to tell that world that legendary screenwriter Russell T. Davies, who was was responsible for reviving Doctor Who in 2005. Has announced that he will be returning to helm the show once again.

Davies was the showrunner for the first five years and oversaw the ninth and tenth iterations of the Doctor, played by Christopher Eccleston and David Tennant. During his tenure, he also launched two spin-offs ‘Torchwood’ and ‘The Sarah Jane Adventures.’

He will be coming back to the series for the 60th anniversary and beyond. He’ll be taking over from current showrunner, Chris Chibnall, who is leaving the series. Chibnall has been showrunner since 2016 when he took over from Steven Moffat and has been a very divisive showrunner amongst Doctor Who fans. He and Jodie Whittaker announced that they will be leaving the show together.

Russell T Davies said in a statement, “I’m beyond excited to be back on my favourite show. But we’re time-travelling too fast, there’s a whole series of Jodie Whittaker’s brilliant Doctor for me to enjoy, with my friend and hero Chris Chibnall at the helm – I’m still a viewer for now.”

Chris Chibnall added, “It’s monumentally exciting and fitting that ‘Doctor Who’s 60th anniversary will see one of Britain’s screenwriting diamonds return home. Russell built the baton that is about to be handed back to him — ‘Doctor Who,’ the BBC, the screen industry in Wales, and let’s be honest everyone in the whole world, have so many reasons to be Very Excited Indeed about what lies ahead.”

BBC director of drama Piers Wenger said, “As the 13th Doctor prepares to embark on new and extraordinary adventures, the winds of change are blowing… bringing with them news to delight ‘Doctor Who’ fans across the globe. We are thrilled that Russell is returning to Doctor Who to build on the huge achievements of Chris and Jodie. Thank you to the two of them and the team in Cardiff for all they continue to do for the show and hello Russell, it’s wonderful to have you back.”

Joining Russell on this new adventure will be Bad Wolf. A production company established by former Doctor Who producer, Julie Gardner.

Personally, I think this is tremendous news. Russell T Davies has written some phenomenal drama post-who, so I’m excited to see what he brings to this new era.

The podcast is available from all good podcast services, such as but not limited to Spotify, Amazon Music,PodchaserPlayer FM,Stitcher, and Apple Podcasts.

We also have a Smartlink.

Chris’ books can be purchased here.

Artwork by Penny Smallshire.

We sound familiar can be found here.

Comedians talking about football can be found here.

Equipment used in the creation of this feature was purchased through a grant from Graeae and The Paul Hamlyn Foundation.

If you’d like to support the show, then please shop via our Amazon link. A small percentage goes our way, at no extra cost to you. We also have a Ko-Fi.

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Review-It takes blood and guts

I’m a child of the Britpop era, I remember the summer of Oasis V Blur and all the bands that defined that generation. I was also a huge fan of Skunkanase, in this memoir. The pioneering frontwoman offers a very different take on generation X.

The melodic, passionate rock of Skunk Anansie’s first three albums sold 5 million copies worldwide. Even Rod Stewart covered Weak, on his 1998 album ‘when we were the new boys’.
When Stormzy tweeted that he was the first black British artist to headline Glastonbury, Skin rightfully corrected him. Skunk Anansie had done so in 1999, she also praised Maxim and Leeroy from the Prodigy, who were the headliners in 1997.

It’s safe to say that Deborah Anne Dyer AKA Skin has lived a life, and she accomplishes so much more with her book than simply providing a self-indulgent biography.
She’s analytical, critical, and mindful of her surroundings, as well as being acutely aware of the doors she’s opened for other young black British kids.

The harsh realities of being an openly bi-sexual black woman fronting a hard rock/alt-metal band were not avoided by Skin. She doesn’t shy away from the racism and sexism she’s faced in this capacity. Especially from some US record execs, that just couldn’t wrap their tiny little minds around a black alt-metal band. She also talks about how, with the support of her bandmates, allies, an amazing manager, and high-powered mates, she was able to shatter any misconceptions.

The real joy of this book is the peek behind the curtain we get to this era. Skin praises her friendship with Robbie Williams, who once angrily confronted Russian bouncers who wouldn’t let her in a club. As well as how a visit to her school, by Dame Judi Dench helped Skin find her inner voice.

The book isn’t a perfect read, it’s co-written by Lucy O’Brien, the constant switch between voices is notable. I would have rather had one voice, or maybe a transcript of a conversation between O’Brien and Skin, something akin to watch Benjamin Cook and Russell T Davies did with a writers tale, would have really suited this book.

All-in-all, this is an interesting tell-all about a generation and those who defined it.

It takes blood and guts is released in paperback on, 16th of September, 2021.


Episode 263: Guess the episode from the negative review part VI

You wait months for Bad Wilf, then multiple come along at once.

In this episode, Martyn once again asks Chris and Sam to guess what episode of Doctor Who he is talking about, based on one-star fan reviews. 

The podcast is available from all good podcast services, such as but not limited to Spotify, Amazon Music, PodchaserPlayer FM, Stitcher, and Apple Podcasts.

Sam is taking part in a stand-up competition, in London on the 17th of October. Book tickets here. (He’s on the 5 pm slot).

We also have a Smartlink.

Artwork by Penny Smallshire.

We sound familiar can be found here.

Comedians talking about football can be found here.

Equipment used in the creation of this feature was purchased through a grant from Graeae and The Paul Hamlyn Foundation.

If you’d like to support the show, then please shop via our Amazon link. A small percentage goes our way, at no extra cost to you. We also have a Ko-Fi.

Socials:

Twitter:

Martyn – @BadWilf

Gerrod –@InGerrodsMind

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Sam-@SamJMichael

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Out of Time 2 – The Gates of Hell: Doctor Who-Big Finish review

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.