Thursday, 11 September 2014

Innovation

Innovation






Oh, Hello, I wasn't expecting guests, but do sit yourselves down, maybe with some tea! that would be splendid with a lovely biscuit wouldn't it....
The early 60's saw many Innovations,  The 1964/1965 New York World's Fair would be a place where the future was exposed to the public with all it's wonders... The Flying Car!! "Wow it's coming!" was one such boast. 
This is a true story of life in the 60's as I remember it... But the words may have changed to enhance the reading experience, so strap in, kiss your toes, as we use my cerebral  time and space manipulation machine to take you back with me, to a time of Black and White.

This is an exciting age, man is on the brink of space exploration... And the Moon is the goal for man to take his first giant leap forward. 
But before all of that we had toys to keep a child's brain busy for hours, not only that! They were education too! So picture this as we   Approach the Early 60's 
As soon as we land you with notice the buzz of excitement coming from a crowd as they look for inspirational gifts for their children at Christmas, in Woolworths. 

My Aunt Molly is front of the queue, because she wants the best for her growing family, and what she was about to be shown was the latest innovation for children of the new age. 
"So what is it exactly?" She asks the young salesman at his display stand... 
"What is it? I'll tell you what it is Madam, it's the latest thing for a child's 
 Mental Development, Made! I might add in the latest high tensile plastics man can afford." 
"Really?"
"I wouldn't lie to you madam, I can see by your demeanour you're a very shrewd lady, this I can assure you is it! You are going to Wow your young child, may I ask his or her name?"   
"It's Richard and Jackie." There will be another child to come, but at this point and time Jane isn't even a twinkle in the eyes... And me being a scruffy kid have no idea of what I just said means. 
"That's a Strange name." said the man
"Its two names, I have a little girl too!"  
"Ah, two names madam... Would I be right in thinking Richard is a Boy?" 
"Of Course he is." Molly replied with some bewilderment.
"I'm just checking madam you can never be to sure or take things for granted at this Exciting Age of Invention!!" At this point there was a clap of Thunder!

Now intrigued Molly bends forward and enquires again. 
"Madam if you leave this store with this Wonderful gift, the joy and love in your young sons eyes at Christmas will be your just reward."  
"But you still haven't told me what it is?" 
"What it is?... What it is, is a Static Technological Interactive Cultural Knackish." 
"What?"
"Oh excuse me madam I know it's a bit of a mouthful so we call it a Stick for short!" And with that he delicately places  the Static Technological Interactive Cultural Knackish, on the green felt covered table."
"But that's a Stick!!" Molly blurted out.
"Oh My Word, madam you learn fast! That's Exactly what it is!"
"But it's a Stick.... I mean just a stick." 
"Ah.. Now don't be fooled by it's familiar appearance madam, this isn't just a stick, made from the strongest polymers...You can bend it, slap it, throw it and it will always keep it's shape! ... Why just imagine young Richard running along next doors fence with this little technological beauty... It would sound like a machine gun..he will be the envy of the school yard, .That alone is hours of fun... Young Richard will never be ignored with one of these.... Because he can poke his friends with it to get their full attention!" 
"I'll have it." Said Molly knowing a bargain when she saw it, and she was looking at one right now. 

Just As we accept computer technology  today, we know all innovation never stands still for long, and within weeks the next improvement is available.
My Mother June... Headed for The City, she sat on the No18 Bus, blot upright, and full of pride, as she gripped her handbag on her lap, excited by the  knowledge gained through her Sister-in-law that the latest Thing! Was a stick. And she, being a fair and loving mother intended to buy all three sons this marvellous technological breakthrough in children's educational toy development.    
As soon as the bus stopped at Southampton Central Bus Station, she was off like sugar off a shovel, and heading to Woolworths, ready to bash anyone with her handbag if they got between her and the Sticks. 
"I'll have three of your finest sticks please." June demanded from the nearest stand...
"Oh God Bless you Madam I can see your a caring Mother, so for a further half crown I can add the latest innovation to The Stick! ... It's a Planetary leviathan .... Oh but let's cut to the quick madam... It's a Plate! 
"You want me to pay Seven and six for three plates? Are you Mental?" My mother said indignantly, eyes blazing.
"It's the latest Thing Madam... A plate on a Stick... Soon you won't be able to buy them as we are selling out  rather fast." 
"I see.... So what's so good about this latest addition then?" 
"It's full of mystery and magic your children have only seen On Television... They will learn through perseverance, and practice, how to balance a plate on a stick... It's a spinning sensation."
So not wanting to be out done my Mother brought all three of her Sons a Plate on a Stick that very Christmas. 

So now you know why Children Born in the 50's and Early 60's are always excited by Christmas.... Because after a you've experience a plate on a Stick, the whole of technology opens up to you.. 

In this story the boys of June are played by the real life characters of my Brother Steven, my Twin Michael and of course I play Paul the Gorgeous one with the puppy eyes. 


Sunday, 9 March 2014

My Doctor Who Memories


A Story of Doctor Who, My Memories by @BestDrWho




In 1963 I was just a Scruffy Kid a month into my 7th Birthday.
I remember 1963 for two things, one being the first time I encountered deep snow; playing outside in this was wonderful stuff for a kid living in England on one of the early council estates built in the late 1950’s, I still have a clear image in my mind, of looking down at my feet and only seeing snow up to my knees, my friends and I even found that the pond formed by a bubbling spring in the woods had frozen solid, so skating, probably more on our backsides than legs, was a joyous event had by all.

The second and most important thing for you readers was the first episode of Doctor Who. William Hartnell was like my Grandfather, thin and grumpy haha, so I already related to him as a grandfather figure, this was brilliant stuff too, a time travelling grumpy old granddad, who you just knew would tell you, you were not chewing your food forty times before swallowing.


The opening scene was like a Dixon of Dock Green episode (Google it) with a policeman and his flashlight (these were also alien communicators to a seven year old, but you had to hold it under your chin and talk in a deep spooky voice) the policeman seems to be checking everything is locked up for the night, and the name of the junkyard is suddenly lit up, 76 Totter’s Lane. Are you excited yet? You just knew something was going to happen in that yard, but what?

Something else that needs to be remembered is that these programmes were recorded live, there was no editing. Any mistakes would mean the whole scene would need to be recorded again from the beginning, So it would have to be a major cockup, or the camera was left to run. I don't think any actor today would fair well in this situation, but the men and women working in these pioneering days of TV were made of sterner stuff, this was their bread and butter.

It does all fade a bit with time but I remember Susan being followed by two of her curious and worried teachers, she enters the junkyard and both are not far behind. Police Boxes used to be a common sight in those days, so to see someone go inside one wasn't at all strange, but this one buzzed and vibrated from the inside.

The rest is history as far as An Unearthly Child goes, so I wont bore you with all the details, we talked about the programme at school and imagined how brilliant it would be to go back in time and see a Dinosaur or be a Cowboy, bang bang, you're dead, if you didn't play dead when you were shot at, you were a dirty little cheater.

My favourite time for Doctor Who for me was the regeneration of the Doctor, although  they called it renewal back then, Patrick Troughton was now the Doctor and he was Brilliant. I’m now ten years old and very impressed, he was mischievous, funny , witty and clever, with a childish sense of wonder at all things new (Matt Smith has took this aspect of Pat’s Doctor) Patrick was the Uncle you wish you had, because you knew he’d give you a jelly baby even if you’d been naughty and had a sweetie ban slapped down on you to put you straight, My Great Grandmother was like that, she loved me and would give me Jaffa cakes even though I was in the dog house. And the dog wasn't best pleased either.


So again, with the feeling I had for another member of my family, I could relate to this Doctor.
When Jamie joined the crew things really took off, Frazer Hines and Patrick Troughton were a perfect combination, I was too young to appreciate Zoe’s assets and contribution to the crew because she was a girl errhhh!
 I couldn’t bear to watch Patrick’s Doctor end, or in his case the change of his features so I never watched The War Games right to the end. , people also should be aware that this was NOT a regeneration. I never saw the change, and I quickly found I didn’t like Jon Pertwee’s Doctor, mainly because he wasn’t Pat, although I do appreciate his portrayal now  I’m older. 
The BBC also ruined the show for me at this time by making Jon’s Doctor time locked on Earth, all because someone wanted to save the cost on set designs. he seemed more like a Quatermass characterisation to me, rather then the Doctor I knew, and they seemed to be filmed at the same quarry every week. That put aside I know Jon did a lot for the programme and led the way to Doctor Who conventions.

My favourite episode of Jon’s era was of course The Three Doctors to see Billy and Pat back was just pure joy to me, as I'm now a teenager, it was Christmas and Birthday's all rolled into one and it produced a great show, this was now the format to celebrate The Doctor Who series, and it would bring all the former actors into play. 
The Three Doctors is also where we hear Pat say. "I can see you've been doing the TARDIS up a bit, I don't like it.” 
Jon Pertwee was very much his own Doctor.

Tom Baker was a wonderful and funny Doctor, and it's true to say his voice became the Voice of the Doctor for many years to come. 

His episode Robot was my favourite as it's here we see the comical Tom for the first time, and just like Pat he hand a bag of sweets in his pocket, I believe he took this idea from Pat as Patrick would pull out the white paper bag full of Jelly Babies, or lemon Sherbets.
So I think it's wrong to give the credit to Tom.
It now seemed that every new Doctor followed Jon, would taken on some aspect of Pat’s performance, let’s face it if it wasn’t for Patrick Troughton, being accepted as the Doctor, the programme would have stopped with him, so he has more than earnt the right to be the Best Doctor of them all.

I enjoyed Peter Davison’s Doctor, he had that venerable Doctor who cared more for others lives than his own.

Peter’s Doctor was also joined by a companion who's assets I was now old enough to appreciate even though she was a girl, as I’m now in my early twenties. 
There used to be a group called Yello in the 80’s and when I first saw Peri that dat dat OHHHH Yeaaaa song was in my head. 
The Five Doctors was the best episode of Peter’s tenure for what should be obvious reasons.

Colin Baker was another Doctor I liked, he had a darker, untrustworthy Doctor going on, Patrick showed these traits but he was so subtle you hardly noticed.

The Two Doctor’s was the highlight because my favourite Doctor and companion combo were back and fully in the driving seat. 
Patrick would steal every scene he played in the Two Doctors, The Three Doctors and even The Five Doctors.
It was rumoured at the time that the BBC wanted to replace Colin and return Pat and Frazer to the series as they believed Colin's portrayal to be unpopular with the fans.
But Frazer was still committed to his role Emmerdale, so had the rumour been true he would never have been able to return as Jamie.

Sylvester McCoy’s Doctor at the time I didn’t like at all, Oh he was funny yes, I never liked the Doctor being called Professor by Ace either, another character I never took to.

For me at the  McCoy’s tenure was the Death Knell to the series, I know other factors such as the writing and scheduling also played a role in this demise and Doctor Who was no more. (I know this will be a controversial view as most fans in their thirties grew up with McCoy’s Doctor.) My favourite episode with McCoy was Remembrance of the Daleks

It's now 1996 and I thought Wow the Doctor is back, I’m now coming up to forty, and a fantastic actor, Paul McGann was going to play the Doctor, but due to America’s none acceptance of the show it died an early death, I feel he would have gone on to be one of the all time greats in Who History.


The rest you all know 2005 saw the return of The Doctor Who series, with a cocky Doctor played by Christopher Eccleston. I liked Chris a lot, but when he left early I wasn’t surprised. My favoutire episode with Chris is The Empty Child.
 So next we see  David Tennant enter the role, and the fun loving Doctor is back taking on the talking to himself side of Patrick’s Doctor, with that same sense of wonder. Tennant was my daughters Doctor, she absolutely loves David Tennant, and yes he was a great Doctor, but this is now the era where lovey dovey Doctor rules. There was no time for kissing in Pat’s day, there were monsters to stop. David’s regeneration went on for far long in my opinion, again lovey dovey diey Doctor. My favourite episode with Tennant was The Girl in the Fireplace
Now Matt Smith is the Doctor and I rate him close to Pat, but if they shared a scene it would be Pat your attention would go to, I’m not a big fan of some of the stories and I’ve said as much on twitter, this again upsets people but I go back to the shows humble beginnings, so I see it from a different perspective to the new fans. If the writing was more about the fight against all evil in the universe rather then the internal anguish of the Doctor and the total dominance of the female characters, the Doctor could be amazing again. But to me the stories have become all about relationships of the characters and the monsters have little or no part in the show.

Let me also add that  other characters have helped this show last in the mind.

The Brigadier (Nicholas Courtney) and Sergeant Benton, (John Levene, who was the first person I met in Newcastle, and remarked how well I dressed in my Replay tweed jacket) 
And another of the actor's I met by chance in the Lanes in Brighton, while I was in my twenties, but I was to polite to bother her while she was shopping, she was Sarah Jane Smith (Elisabeth Sladen) fine fellows all of them. 

Well these are my views and I’m being honest about how I see the show. I think Matt will be remembered as one of the all time Greats, after the Greatest of them all Patrick Troughton. My favourite Matt Episode surprisingly for me was Day of The Doctor due to it's comic content, I don't however believe it to be a great Anniversary episode, as there were many ways the other former actors could have been included, after all Moffat did have three years to prepare.


Peter Capaldi is yet to show us HIS Doctor, but I fear the writing may restrain him for showing us his formidable acting ability.


UPDATE:

As you can see this was written while Matt Smith was still playing the Doctor, so now i will add my opinion of Peter's portrayal.
Series 8 was Terrible only one episode stood out for me as Worthy and that was Time Heist.
I did not like Peter's Doctor AT ALL, he was rude, arrogant, he disliked everything and he was TOO dark, and I never intended to continue watching to series 9, but thankfully I did.
I love Peter's Doctor now, and I believe this is mainly due to his influence to change the character to his liking... The Guitar is a brilliant addition, and I'm sure Patrick would have loved the fact he played an instrument.
Peter is a fantastic actor, and I couldn't understand why I hated his Doctor at first, because I've liked him in everything else that he's played.
And now I believe Peter has Found HIS Doctor and we are all the better off for it, but alas the writing hasn't improved, in some cases it's worse then ever, but it's only the fact Peter is in it makes it worth a look.
I sincerely hope the Sleep No More episode isn't featured again.

thanks to anyone who's  managed to read the rambling of the person now referred to as @BestDrWho.