For some reason I decided to watch the TV Movie - mainly as I reckon I'd not seen it this century. Like all ming-mongs do, I decided to go back and watch it, well, because it's Doctor Who.
Obviously I didn't watch it without listlessly browsing the internet at the same time, so I live tweeted it. I got a bit of feedback form Hellyer, so there's the occasional bit of interplay.
However, it's mainly what I thought of it - what occurred to me at any given time during the 90-odd minutes of running time.
How does it hold up? Well, very very badly is the answer. Praise the Lord that there wasn't a resulting series, because if you've seen the calvacade of dross produced by various writers employed by Philip Segal it will have you running into the arms of Chris Chibnall.
Incidentally, Philip Segal's role is an interesting one to ponder at this time. Even though some of instincts were correct and others woefully off-kilter thanks to years - at a guess - of working on dross like SeaQuest DSV, it's fairly clear that he was pretty much the only one looking out for Doctor Who and believing in the series in those wilderness years. I'd buy him a beer.
What works? Well, McGann has some good moments, as does Eric Roberts. Geoffrey Sax has some deft touches too and Mathew Jacobs manages to salvage a few nice lines from the group-thunk nonsense that was left after the BBC, Amblin, Fox, Universal, ABC, NBC, WWE, WCW, NASA, BNFL, ITV and Gary Frigging Russell had their way with it.
Overall, however, I think Daphne Ashbrook does best in the TVM. No doubt Big Finish will be commissioning a 400-disc box set written, produced, scored, directed and staring Barnaby Edwards and Nick Briggs soon. And I might even listen to one or two.
Caves and Twins - the TVM
I'm watching the TV Movie. What can possibly go wrong? It's a request my brother should never have granted.
THAT MUSIC'S FUCKING AWFUL #TVM
Who sniffs a Jelly Baby before eating it? And with a cup of tea?
The bit where Sylv is frantically pushing TARDIS buttons console is so good it made up most of the TV trails for the TVM. And little else
Ah, a gun fight between San Francisco triads. If that doesn't scream 'Doctor Who' I don't know what does
Why - apart form idiotic exposition and 'injured' acting would the Doctor be saying 'timing malfunction to a hoodlum he's only just met?
That's a lovely introduction for Grace, though. Wonderful cleavage too.
'I need a beryllium atomic clock!' Uh-huh. I know this is inviting scoff, but Sylv is absolutely terrible in this. Is he even acting?
That scream is pretty amusing though. All Docs should do that just before they regenerate. #tvm
Surely Bruce the ambulance driver should have been called Seth Terma or something? #tvm
Will Sasso being a comedy fattie. Actually bits of this are OK. Oh, Frankenstein - is there a really subtle metaphor I've missed here? #tvm
Walking down the corridor humming Puccini is nice - and the mirrors in the old wing of the hospital. But Who Am Argh! is crap #tvm
Lee going through the Doc's belongings is nice. And someone is going to a fancy dress party as Tom Baker? #tvm
Great murder by The Master. They should have played is Dudley Simpson leitmotif though #tvm
Ah, the American health system. Evil through and through. This would never happen under Obamacare #tvm
@james_hellyer [Eric Roberts] gets it in the same way that Graham Crowden and Paul Darrow did
I really hate the thing about the Doctor knowing everyone's future and/or their deepest desires. He just comes across as a sex pest #tvm
And now it looks like he's trying to take his trousers off in the back of Grace's car #tvm
Grace Holloway drives a Range Rover. And Bruce owns a pair of aviators and a massive leather trench coat #tvm
The nurse doesn't see anything odd about Bruce peeling off his finger nail and flicking it onto her work? Ridiculous #tvm
I also hate it that the Doctor goes around moodying famous figures from history, like some desperate time-travelling starfucker #tvm
Murray Gold must have been taking notes when watching this. Bad 'magical' Hollywood-lite music #tvm
McGann's really short. #tvm
I really dislike that 'these shoes fit perfectly' stuff. It just comes across as try-hard kookiness. #tvm
Why would Lee be bothered about who Genghis Khan was? Or this weird backstory The Master concocts? Didn't he just threaten to kill him? #tvm
Well, at least the cloister room doesn't have a fucking pterodactyl or vortisaur in it #tvm
Oh dear, the plot's kicking in. Things are about to take a turn for the worst. #tvm
So, TARDISes are designed to open their power source when a human eye looks into a blinding beam of light hidden beneath a staff? #tvm
How long was the Doc kissing Grace for? Why did he remember who he was or know the Master's plans? ACK! The crippling exposition! #tvm
The Doctor drinks tea. BECAUSE HE"S BRITISH. #tvm
Midnight huh? Neat dramatic coincidence. 'By 4.37pm next Friday this planet will be pulled inside out' #tvm
'...always seeing patterns in things that aren't there'. The Eighth Doctor is obviously a climate-change denier with that comment #tvm
Eric Roberts is great in that bit I'll give him that. The transference line and 'I don't like it!' - Ainley would've done it better tho #tvm
All of the bike cop bit is quite well done by all concerned too. "He's British" explains everything. #tvm
I prefer the ambulance chase in Spearhead From Space. And the bit where the Doc is strapped to a table in Mark of the Rani #tvm
I finally meet the right guy and he's from another planet? Where on Earth did that come from? Apart from a different draft. #tvm
The constant supply of coincidences is surely a record - the clock; the guest list, the ambulance - even in Doctor Who #tvm
They tell cock jokes on Gallifrey? Quite a good line though. That professor dude looks like a paedophile #tvm
The Master has jizzed on those security guards? 'Liven things up' is another Doctorish thing though. #tvm
Phew. It's one of those 'slow release' fire hoses. Thanks God for that. #tvm
The universe hangs by such a delicate thread of coincidences. That's a stroke of fucking luck, eh Doc? #tvm
That's a really crapulous Scooby Doo bit of throwaway, desperate attempted humour. The pseudoscience bit quite good tho #thebikebit #tvm
'are you any good at setting alarm clocks?' Eh? Scary black-eyed Grace is good though. #tvm
Yes, I can't see anything wrong with buddying up with this green-eyed, possessing, sadomasochistic pervert #tvm
Bit of a design flaw, that. #onlyhumanscanopengallifreyantimecapsules #tvm
There's some nice directorial touches here by Geoffrey 'Tenor' Sax in the back-and-forth between the Master and Doctor #tvm
Lucky Grace know how's to rewire a time machine #tvm
McGann sounds a bit like Colin Baker there. Wouldn't it have been fun if he'd been recast? #tvm
It would've been great if Pertwee / Delgado or Davison / Ainley had had a punch-up #tvm
[replying to Hellyer's observation that the Doctor doesn't try too hard to rescue the Master form the Eye of Harmony] Yeah, his hearts aren't in that. At least he doesn't cry like Captain Emo #tvm
Be great if the TARDIS brought back the Master as well. Big fat reset switch. Better get used to it. #tvm
That punch of the TARDIS console is McGann's best moment #tvm
The music swell, the fireworks, the kiss. I expect it rankles because I'm a sad fanboy who's never had sex, rather than it being shit. #tvm
Oh no, not again. Well, quite. Chances are I'll never watch that again. #tvm
Never seen this before - and never actually knew it was publicly available. This seems a little unfair to McGann, but hey ho.
There are a few things of interest here: McGann's reading is very still, very focussed – but there's an odd distance to him too. It's very alien, very Doctorish and rather more unsettling than his rather more excitable portrayal in the utterly appalling TV movie.
There's a flash of the excitable Eighth Doctor when McGann is told to be more excitable – and it;s recognisable from his sole TV portrayal and Big Finish efforts, which I've never really warmed to.
What's also noticeable is the script he's reading, a lot of which will be familiar to anyone who's had the misfortune to come across the Leekey Bible – Philip Segal's manual for the Universal/BBC that, thankfully, never was.
To borrow an epithet from Tom Baker, Id call it undiluted whippet shit. It's hard to listen to and McGann does well not to start laughing out loud at how terrible the whole thing is.
The Master is the Doctor's brother; the Doctor is half-human, borne of an earth woman and a Gallifreyan adventurer called Ulysses. It's a car crash of a dozen hackneyed sources with a few Doctor Who references thrown in for good measure.
That McGann got through the audition is one thing; that he still wanted the part is scarcely believable.
So that was Series Five. Or Series 31. Or Series One. Or Series Chin, whatever you want to call it.
The stakes were high, with news that filming was overrunning horribly, Matt Smith was crap and kept forgetting his lines, Karen Gillan was 'wooden' and Phil Collinson had been called back in to sort the whole mess out.
We won't reveal our sources, although it seems entirely likely that pretty much everyone in fandom knows where they came from, but let's just say there was an element of fear going into Series Fnarg.
And how wrong we all were eh? Chief among this wrongness were the rumours that Smith was crap. In fact, it's hard to imagine this being any further off the mark.
Matt Smith is wonderful, and his gentler, more alien, Doctor is perfect for Moffatt's 'fairytale' Doctor Who. The whole tone of this series feels a more comfortable place for Doctor Who, and the Doctor, to be than Russell T Davies' iteration - which was a series of ever-decreasing circles by the time the excellent David Tennant went, though his Doctor was not highly-liked in these parts.
It seemed almost unthinkable that the series, and Smith, could carry on where RTD and Tennant left off, but a fairly hefty shift in tone and pace and lead character has made it all look rather effortless.
For the first time in quite a while, the series felt much more Who than it had in a long time. Smith may just be the best Doctor... ever.
But while all the big things got sorted out, the parts that made up the whole didn't always feel right. Murray Gold's presence dragged the series back to a RTD vibe, and his syrupy/BOMBASTIC! style took away a lot of the nuances of the new series.
More bizarre still were some of the author/story choices. Toby Whithouse and Chris Chibnall delivered exactly what their previous stories suggested they'd deliver - utterly underwhelming stories that felt like a throwback to a couple of years ago.
Against rather lovely oddities like Amy's Choice, Vincent and the Doctor and The Lodger, they felt jarring in their straight-forward simplicity.
Mark Gatiss' Victory of the Daleks was, by all accounts, rather hacked to death in the editing suites and the end result was, frankly, a mess.
And stepping up to show-runner certainly sapped Moffatt's brilliance, with the slapdash The Beast Below and breakneck incoherence of The Big Bang.
There were no new, interesting monsters. In fact, the closest thing we got were the rubbish new Daleks. We had to put up with CGI thing hiding inside humans on at least three occasions, and the limits of the budget were evident in The Pandorica Opens when it turned out the Fucking Sycorax and the Fucking Weevils were in on the intergalactic plan to put the Doc away for good.
Still, Moffat handled the Autons and the Cybermen ten times better than RTD ever did - another subtle difference to the approach the two brought to the series.
And yet, funnily enough, it didn't really matter to me. The series felt fresh and fun. The Doctor seemed like, well, The Doctor. And Amy was breath of fresh air; a believable, volatile girl who didn't love her favourite Time Lord.
She may have had a slightly less healthy obsession with him, but inter-personal angst was banished from the TARDIS forever - 'I'm not that clingy!' seemed like a great riposte to the years of Marf and Wose.
Arthur Darvill's Rory eventually eclipsed the 'emasculated male' cipher that's been the default setting for most recurring male characters in the new series to become a rounded companion in his own right.
And, always at the centre of it, was Matt Smith. It's interesting to note that most new Doctors come into the role praising Patrick Troughton, and Smith took it a step further.
Watch him running - it's a straight lift from the Second Doctor. And he's always doing something with his hands - First Doctor? There's a bit of Four, Five and Eight in there too by our reckoning.
Not that The Eleventh Doctor is a pastiche; Smith has brought something new to the role again, and emphatically made it his own. He's a perfect choice.
So, series thingummy. A hearty slap on the back from us, and the best TARDIS crew in ages. No doubt tweaks will be made for next season.
Probic Vent demands Zygons and Yeti and the Dream Lord and a past Doctor and The Brigadier. And a remake of The Horror of Fang Rock. Simple enough eh? Oh yeah, and STOP RUINING OLD MONSTERS!
• Here's an end-of-season C&T for the series.
The Eleventh Hour - Fresh, fun and firmly established Smith as something new and interesting
Time of Angels/Flesh and Stone - A home run from Moffat, with plenty of twists and turns and great monstering
Amy's Choice - Offbeat and enjoyable - an episode that seems unthinkable under RTD.
Vincent and the Doctor - Intriguing, if cloying
The Lodger - Would have been horrible with Tennant. Good with Smith.
The Pandorica Opens/The Big Bang - Absolute gibberish, but wins points for not having thousands of cloned Sontarans invading the Taj Mahal and Eiffel Tower. Magic Light and Power of Love notwithstanding.
The Beast Below - Too many elements that didn't seem to add up.
Victory of the Daleks - A horrible mess, and shit new Daleks. Almost saved by performances, but not quite.
Vampires of Venice - Dull filler
Hungry Earth/Cold Blood - Dull Chibnall filler that fluffed one of the most interesting premises in Who mythology.
• Caves and Twins? What are you dribbling on about?
Go here: Caves and Twins