Episode 221: Orphan 55/ Nikola Tesla’s night of terror

BENNIIIIIII!!! In which your dynamic trio discuss two episodes of Doctor Who. Chris liked Nikola Tesla’s night of terror, Martyn didn’t. Sam hasn’t seen it. Can Chris convince him to watch it, can Martyn convince him to skip it? Listen to find out.

“Orphan 55” is the third episode of the twelfth series of Doctor Who, first broadcast on BBC One on 12 January 2020. It was written by Ed Hime, and directed by Lee Haven Jones.

“Nikola Tesla’s Night of Terror” is the fourth episode of the twelfth series of Doctor Who, first broadcast on BBC One on 19 January 2020. It was written by Nina Metivier, and directed by Nida Manzoor.

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Opinion Peter Capaldi IS leaving Doctor Who

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.

How to improve Class

In this video, I look at 4 ways the Doctor Who spin-off can be improved.

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‘Turtles’ reboot series previews at MCM

The self-published, 1984 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comic book brought artists Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird intense interest from media, movie studios, television and toymakers. Since then, the comic has continued with no end in sight and new rightsholder Nickelodeon intends the slew of animated series, toys and films to continue in force.

Eastman and a sneak preview of the latest CGI-animated series (illustrated at right) came to Britain’s largest genre event, the MCM London Expo this weekend. Also present was Rich Magallanes, a senior VP at Nick focussed on the series’ writing.

‘It comes from a sincere place’ was a phrase used more than once by Eastman. As an artist, he was also struck by the series’ extension of his classic New York skylines into ‘twenty city blocks’ and the re-introduction of the logo design he did back in the ’80s.

Another throwback to the original Turtles is their best human pal, April O’Neil.  Once more it’s she who names the turtles and she’s back in a laboratory instead of being reimagined as yet another plucky girl reporter.

Always controversial has been the direction of the original, violent parody toward a younger audience. ‘We’re trying to touch the whole family,’ says Magallanes, who notes that although ‘they’re not busting heads’ the turtles are still ‘world defenders,’ laying the smackdown upon a variety of inhuman baddies. Nevertheless, ‘they want to be teenagers first, playing around with each other and having fun.’

Magallanes considers the comic and films ‘extensions of the core series’ but both men are keen to allow the comics to remain true to their origins. Peter Laird is taking a much-needed break from the franchise but Eastman is working with IDW on issues of new and reprinted stories. Meanwhile, a fifth Turtles film is currently in production, by Transformers director Michael Bay.

When Bay described the turtles as ‘aliens’ recently instead of mutated Earth turtles, many fans went ballistic. As the movie is in a much earlier stage than the TV series the outcome of this controversy is unclear, although Eastman appreciates the fact that the famous ‘ooze’ that mutated the turtles in the first place can be considered alien in origin. Eastman: ‘Michael Bay’s heart is in exactly the right place.’

Like the film, the TV series will begin its story afresh. ‘We want to reset it and grow it even bigger,’ says Magallanes. He feels the story of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles lends itself to extended storytelling. ‘We get to live with it.’

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles premieres this autumn on Nickelodeon.

Review-Dirk Gently at Home

Dirk’s former clients are turning up dead in the finale of this new trio of episodes. Inspector Gilks finds Dirk at home and what a home it is. The Holistic Detective’s war with his cleaner is evident throughout the house and it’s a good job this trips up Gilks and his men.

None of this troubles Gently, who’s too busy courting his latest client, an attractive blonde lady who has come to the agency to track down her stalker. The receptionist Janice certainly won’t be showing her in and Macduff can barely get a word in edgewise, which is a pity as he’s trying to resign from the partnership.

This episode has all the hallmarks of a finale, with more peril set upon the regular characters than even Dirk himself can provoke gangs in unmarked vans, suspicious drug paraphernalia, knife throwing and even Bible study. The fundamental interconnectedness of all things may have sealed our heroes’ fate this time, but it’s a laugh finding out. Sherlock’s kooky cousin has an unfair advantage in its use of comedy but you can’t keep the new classics down.

Episode three airs on BBC4 tonight, Monday, 19 March at 9 pm. See clips of all three episodes at the page for Dirk Gently at BBC Four.

Pics from ‘My Murder’

The BBC have issued some images from the upcoming drama, My Murder.

My Murder tells the true story of Shakilus Townsend, a 16-year-old boy who was led to his death by the 15-year-old he thought was his girlfriend. She was dubbed “the honey trap killer” and the case dominated front pages for weeks.

My Murder is a raw portrait of young people’s hopes and fears as they struggle to grow up on our streets. 1×60 mins from BBC Current Affairs. It stars Attack the block’s John Boyega.

Click on the image to enlarge.

Thanks to BBC pictures

TV review: Dirk Gently on Campus

With Macduff at his side, Dirk returns to St Cedd’s College Cambridge, from which he was expelled years ago. He’s been invited back by Professor Jericho (Bill Paterson), who may have been the only man to ever truly believe in our clever con artist. Lights go out. Security cameras fail. The professor’s experimental robot vanishes.

This second episode of the series focusses more on its single campus setting versus the dizzying array of urban locations seen previously. It remains full of ideas, nevertheless: online gaming, artificial intelligence, internet protocols and microchip implants are just some of what’s in store.

After an episode’s absence, Helen Baxendale is back as Susan Harmison, GP and girlfriend of Richard Macduff. It’s a credit to actor and production that Susan is realised as well as she is; there’s an undergraduate whimsy to Douglas Adams’ writing and his female characters often suffered at the hands of time, space, causality and drunken male camaraderie. Televised Dirk Gently is fun for the whole campus.

For the Dirk novels, the late Mr Adams reused a few elements of Shada, his unbroadcast script for Doctor Who. Most notable among these are the St Cedd’s college setting and its surprising professor. Showrunner Howard Overman deftly avoids the strictly Doctor Who elements in his adaptation of the books and this episode’s writer, Matt Jones, lends a rather personal touch to the zaniness. The result is another cracking episode: it takes the series into virgin territory and shows that this team can succeed Douglas Adams instead of merely honouring him.

This episode airs on BBC4 Monday, 12 March at 9 pm. There’s a clip here: Dirk Gently at BBC Four

TV review: Dirk Gently Returns

Aired just before the start of 2011, the late Douglas Adams’ novel Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency – and its sequel – were adapted as a television pilot. A number of liberties were taken but all served to drop a twenty-first-century freshness into the eighties stories. Steven Mangan’s intense, goofy performance of the dishevelled, slightly suspect detective was at the centre of this success; the programme’s outing on BBC Four earned itself a follow-up series handily.

With the novels entertainingly adapted, Howard Overman (creator of Misfits) set about spinning Adams’ franchise into a trio of fresh new mysteries. The first of these is more rewarding than many cinema films.

A certain Mr Edwards believes The Pentagon is trying to kill him. Not the building, of course, just some of the people who work there. Suddenly it’s spy satellites, earpieces, breath mints and dark glasses all over the place and Mr Edwards is dead before Dirk and his poor pal Macduff can get a word with him. Hm? Yeah, breath mints.

Doctor Who fans will find a refreshing take on the classic sidekick in Richard Macduff, played by Darren Boyle. Although Macduff is tasked mainly with reacting to Dirk’s manic crusading, Boyle makes an art of it and is given the chance to move from there into some rather amusing power struggles with his dodgy business partner.

The Fundamental Interconnectedness of All Things is a genius notion set inside a detective story and it’s part of why this series continues to delight. Once again we’re presented with a constant stream of bizarre nonsequiturs and its down to Dirk to put them together and perhaps get paid this time.

Dirk Gently returns tonight, Monday 5 March at 9 pm on BBC Four.

Star Steven Mangan has written an article on The Making of Dirk Gently.

Doctor Who Promo Pic

Filming has just started on Series 7 of Doctor Who in Cardiff. This series will see the last days of the Ponds as Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill return for their final, rollercoaster voyage with The Doctor.

Amy and Rory have been at the Doctor’s side for more than two series but what will he do after their heartbreaking departure? On returning for his third series as the Eleventh Doctor, Matt Smith says: “It’s thrilling and exciting to be back and working with two of my closest friends.” Karen Gillan adds, “It’s just brilliant to be back on the TARDIS with Matt and Arthur for our craziest adventures yet.”

New guest stars so far confirmed include David Bradley, Rupert Graves and Mark Williams. Series 7 will then see a dramatic turn of events when The Doctor meets a new friend.

Prepare yourselves for thrills, adventures and dramatic surprises as the show builds towards its enormous, climactic 50th anniversary year. Fourteen big, blockbuster-movie episodes – each a brand new epic adventure featuring new monsters and some familiar foes as you’ve never seen them before.

Doctor Who is a BBC Cymru Wales Production for BBC ONE.