Monday, October 22, 2007

Little Lost Reviews

[or some short reviews of Who-related things, snipped from their various draft versions on my Blogger Posts page]

Reading Between Designs - Piers Britton and Simon Barker

Not a subject I'm familiar with or had ever given much thought to prior to reading this book, the Who section of Reading Between Designs (it also covers "The Avengers" and "The Prisoner") turns out to be considerably more interesting than a more mainstream guide to the show is ever likely to be. Covering the impact that design work has on a television show may in fact be the sole remaining new angle to take in an analysis of Doctor Who, so it's fortunate that it's both so well done and so accessible even to those who have never considered the subject before.

The book covers the entirety of the pre-RTD show and rarely flags in spite of the lengthy timeline thus contained. I didn't agree with everything the authors said, but there's some fascinating stuff on June Hudson's costumes for Romana in Season 17 that had me dragging out the City of Death dvd, while the section on Ace reminded me of something I'd entirely forgotten - that Aldred is authentically dressed like a teenager in the late 1980s, even if she talks like a middle-aged man's idea of how teenagers talk and is clearly in her mid twenties. Britton and Barker even managed to have me rethinking my stance on Tom Baker's season 18 'costume', which I'd always vaguely disliked as a concept, but which makes far more sense when placed into the appropriate context.

The subject matter may not be for everyone, but for those looking for something other than yet another programme guide, RBD is well worth a read.

TARDIS Model making Kit

This, on the other hand, is the most abysmal rubbish. Unclear instructions and flimsy card make for a disappointing and frustrating time, particularly as the kit is presumably aimed at children. It comes in a very nice folder which can be used for other things, so it's not a complete loss, but otherwise avoid at all costs.

Supermag Cyberman

The boys quite liked this though. Satisfyingly chunky, the construction is pretty simple and even quite small kids should have little difficulty in slotting the various balls and limbs together. Plus it actually stands up without problem, which is rare enough for any toy, I've always found.

Damaged Cyberman

Whereas this is a joke, surely? I know it was a Comic Con exclusive, but isn't that effect just as easily achieved by buying a complete cyberman and giving it to any five year old for ten minutes?

Doctor Who and the Daleks Audio Book

This audio book, read beautifully by William Russell is - to employ an over-used description - simply fantastic. For a start, this is David Whittaker's alternative opening to the series, with scientist Ian Chesterton stopping on Barnes Common to aid private tutor, Barbara, following a car crash, as she searches for her mysterious lost pupil, Susan English. More broadly, though, this is Doctor Who as turn of the century scientific romance, complete with gorgeous blond haired goodies and evil and physically repellant alien baddies, bookended by a burgeoning romance between the two human leads.

The sound work on this cd is equal to Russell's superb reading and in many ways the audio book is smoother and more enjoyable an experience than actually watching the television episodes.

Russell also reads the other two original novelisations, The Crusades and The Zarbi, both of which I'm looking forward to immensely.
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Blogger IZP said...

Reading Between Designs rocks. It should be one of the set Who Studies texts.

9:58 am  

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