The Invasion

vlcsnap-2014-10-04-09h49m27s71It’s been so long since I’ve seen a missing episode, I’d forgotten that this was one. Episodes 1 & 4 are recreated with animation, time to give that a go.

They materialise and a missile shot at them from dark side of moon, which they have to quickly jump away to avoid. This causes the visual stabilizer circuit to need fixing. The Doctor remembers Professor Travers (YETI stories)should be in London and could help.

They’ve landed right in the middle of compound, tech based and someone tries to help get them out as people are going missing. This seems to be set in the near future, around 1975, so there’s a UNIT timeframe for you. The guy was shot by security, a bit extreme for 60’s Who.

Unable to find Professor Travers who can help fix the visual stabilizer circuit , they find that he has left for America, leaving his home in the care of Isobel Watkins and her uncle, Professor Watkins. This leads them onto investigating why the Prof has disappeared, bumping into John Benton for the first time (Corporate at the moment), and seeing the MD of International Electromatics. All does not seem right to The Doctor and it seems he’s right as the MD reveals alien technology at the end of the episode.

A reoccurrence of The Doctor playing patience whenever he is cornered. Never fear, story moves into proper UNIT territory when after the abduction, they are shown they have been taken by the Brig who explains what UNIT is. Nice unscripted line about the Doctor want Pattacake biscuit.

vlcsnap-2014-10-04-09h48m33s53We get to see Zoe using her future knowledge by ‘talking’ to the unhelpful computer in Algol, sending it into a feedback loop and destroying it.

Mavic Chen, or at least the same actor playing Vaughn, pulls off a great meglomanic performance again with more technobabble Micromonolithis microprocessor etc. The machine recognises The Doctor from Planet 14, where exactly was that?

After being captured again, I love the scene of Jamie going straight thru car, and going into the passenger seat, unscripted too. Much of the time spent trying to get Prof Watkins to continue his work and Travers finding out the TARDIS which he wants. Time to escape again! They trick Packer and escape into the lift, his hair goes a bit haywire in the act. Time for a Die Hard moment with Jamie and The Doctor going all John McTiernan in the lift shaft.

vlcsnap-2014-10-04-09h45m36s124After passing a ‘Kilroy was here’ sign they escape down the fire escape and end up a box with, I’m guessing, a cyberman

As a back up, Vaughn plans  to use the cerebration mentor, their emotions, to control the Cybermen once they have invaded Earth. He threatens The Doctor again who uses the communicator to call upon assistance from UNIT.

The rescue was quite clever and done on a big scale, the actors climbing down a rope ladder to get the two ladies before flying off to UNIT base. This episode certainly sets the scene for Third Doctor format.

The dark side of the moon, flying saucers, the plot thickens for UNIT and The Doctor. I think he starts to get an inkling of who might be behind this and what trouble they might be in.

Realising they seems to be sneaking the cocoons into London, they head off to the London premises in a canoe. Great looking scene, just wish we had the live action not the animation.

vlcsnap-2014-10-04-09h49m00s70Final moments of episode 4, the typical scene of the cycberman, albeit all new looking, through the cocoon.

The Brig has been warned off investigating further and you see that people are being mind controlled in this story, not just cybermen. A few scenes later, there’s a good scene where Isobel suggests using an Infared camera and The Brig suggests this is a job for a man. How very bigoted, but at least it points it out by Isobel saying you ‘man’

Multiple elements in the story which is good. There are cyber transmitter micromonolithic circuits that remind me of ATMOS Sontaran sat nav and Army of Steel. Meanwhile Vaughn tests out the emotion chip on a newly formed cyberman, and turns him a bit mental. Anyone that meets the arms flailing insane cyberman will be destroyed straightaway and we see he at the end of the episode chasing Jamie, Zoe and the policeman on their trail in the sewers.

Jamie spends some of the episode sleeping again, the Doctor analyses the microprocessors while Isobel gets the tea. Everybody has their role.

vlcsnap-2014-10-04-09h45m59s43The final scenes of the cybermen coming out of the drains outside St Paul’s Cathedral are fantastic, one of my favourite of the iconic scenes.

Getting to use Zoe computational skills to plan the knocking out of the invasion force. It worked, knocking them all out. This is model work pretty well, and as a consequence Vaughn is no longer in charge and they will destroy the human race.

Cybermen appears on the TV screen almost made me jump. This really was a great era for the Cybermen. Lots of explosions, missiles and even rocket launchers are used so a fully stocked army arsenal for the final episode. Love the shots of The Doctor jumping when explosions went off as he was running across the roof.

We finish off with an invisible TARDIS in the field. Overall, a great script that’s just a little long but a standout story.

Rating: 7/10

The Mind Robber

Due to problems with the fluid link, yes that again, an emergency fluid link is used taking them out of all time and space into nothing.

vlcsnap-2014-09-14-17h55m30s179Quite interesting to have a terror in the mind type episode,which has left me thoroughly enthraled. I’m really looking forward to the rest of this, especially after the moment the TARDIS blew apart – WOW, what a moment.

That hope didn’t last long, odes of the Celestial Toymaker come to mind. In the info text, I note Jamie got chicken pox so was away for three weeks so there is a stand in for him (a more Glasweigian accent is present). The emergency person was ingeniously brought in when the Doctor has to do a photo fit and gets the wrong face. This is quite an ingenious element to bring to the story.

vlcsnap-2014-09-14-17h55m59s17It always refers to the Master being in control in these episodes, you are confusing us those with comments Mr Troughton.

After a replacement actor replaces Jamie, it’s good to see him back in episode three, interesting way to remove him by The Doctor getting the face wrong in a jigsaw. Nice to see he figures out some of the problems, Zoe has a go but still doesn’t provide much apart from being in a sparkling jump outfit that can be shot from some odd angles.

A wide range of stories and fictional characters involved in the story – Unicorn, Toy Soldiers, Gulliver, Rapunzel, Medusa (with stop motion!!!), Karkus (seemes to be based on Batman), Cyrano, D’Artagnon, Blackboard, Lancelot and Minataurs. Quite a lot to fit in which became a little terdious after a while (Karkus though, the was fabulous).

vlcsnap-2014-09-14-17h56m59s107A big shock having Karkus in the story, a strip cartoon from yr 2000 character seemingly based on Batman. Zoe actually beats him up (or makes him dive in an The Avengers type way). He has a Germanic twang to make him more fearful.

The person under the Master’s control writing the stories it seems was writing Jack Harkness (or Billy Bunter magazine). Seems the Master wants The Doctor to replace the old fellow as the new writer. Can’t see Jack making a reappearence with a name like that. There’s a great ending to one of the episodes with Zoe and Jamie being sealed in a book.

vlcsnap-2014-09-14-17h58m16s101The Doctor falls for the trap laid by the now book form Jamie and Zoe, interesting effect when he gets trapped in the TARDIS.

The battle of wits commences just like in the Celestial Toymaker.
The studio executives thought this was a great idea, but audience opinion was a lot more mixed. I’m with the audience on this one, scrapping a slightly better than Celestial rating.

Rating: 4/10

The Dominators

The DominatorsSeason 6 already. We see the main protagonists at the start landing on the planet followed by some tourists off for a jaunt, much like in Midnight. This time however, they are off to the Island of Death. Living up to it’s name, three of the travellors meet their death with a nifty burning film type effect.

When the TARDIS arrives, it looks a little battered as they apparently arrive for a holiday – The Doctor’s been here before and the people were lovely! A sure fire recipe for disaster. Zoe remarks that the abandoned ‘war museum’ looks like it has atomic damage and the Doctor looks a little bemused as this was such a quiet good meaning planet. The end of the episode sees a new robot monster, the Quark (it won’t catch on as a replacement for the Daleks who were off to America). After reading up on the quart, it may have worked but nobody gave it the time/money it deserved. After many a disagreement, the writers took their name of the story and it was made one episode lighter – knock on effect, next story quickly rewritten to make it one longer.

Quite like the play acting between the Doctor and Jamie, playing primitives from the planet Dulkis. Troughton is almost too convincing ;-) They convince the Dominators that they are no threat. Meanwhile, we seem to be getting a fashion parade  of what to wear that summer, thankful I wasn’t born around then.

The Dulcians when caught and looked at seem to have two hearts, wonder if that’s mentioned elsewhere in the story of Doctor Who.

There’s a very passive style about them, very hippy 60’s. Nice take on the time of the day and what will happen if it goes too far. Seems we would all stand around listening to a not scary robot or discuss things in meetings all day.

Hard to believe the Dominators are “Masters of the Ten Galaxies”, there’s only two of them but they bicker all the time.

The set is so well lit up at times, that the cloth hung over the walls to look like sky is clearly visible and very creased.

Jamie “known as the other stupid one” gets a few nice action scenes/lines when destroying another quark, “Take that you wee tin kettle”, while Zoe is proving to be useful too, coming up with ideas why the Dominators want materials from the island. Makes a change from women just screaming in these stories.

The final episode shows the poor design of the eventual design of the quarks, being tripped over easily and being unable to get up. Their original design was said to be much better with inter-changable tools, a key marketing gimmick. Shame we never got to see them, and probably one of the reasons why this episode falls flat somewhat.

Ooh, we get to see another role for the sonic screwdriver, some sort of almost laser. They obviously decided last series that this was a great device to use going forward in the story.

For a change, the story ends in comedy rather than starts with it. I could see what the initial premise of the story was, but unfortunately the troubles with the story and rewrites, the poorly realised quarks, and unbelievable ‘dominators’ means this season opener as a bit flat.

Rating: 5/10

Switzerland to Italy

9 Aug – Free Spirit Lodge

Free Spirit Lodge Interesting toilet at the lodgeBeep beep, it’s 6am, time to get up! After taking so long to get to this place yesterday, we have a longer drive today and want to get there a little earlier than last night. Free Spirit Lodge is a nice looking place, with an outdoors area looking back up at the mountainside. The cheesy toilet seat and shower/kitchen with no door is a little interesting but I’m sure many will like the place.

DSCN1055 That's a happy looking churchThe main road up to the lodge was fine (closed in winter), but the next section was a little more perilous, thinner roads zig zagging through the mountains down to the bottom. Cue testing moment for Sue. In the end it wasn’t too bad with some great views of Swiss homes, lakes and many a cow bell being heard.

Reichenbach Falls

The local town has many memorials to celebrate Sherlock Entrance to the Reichebach falls by the funicularA few surprises were included in my route, and this place (plus the following mountain passes) determined our accommodation for the previous night, somewhere within 50 miles of here. Due to the early start we could ride the ‘funicular’ up to the falls when they opened at 9am. After a few cobbled sentences in English, Sorrel (charged at adult rate but whats €2) and myself set off up the hill. Scene of the famous death fall of Sherlock and Moriaty before Sir Arthur Conan Doyle brought him back, it’s an impressive yet slightly misty, looking waterfall. We were the only ones up in the misty shadow of the mountain, and we were able to use the ‘selfie’ stick to get a few shots in the obligatory Sherlock cutout. The whole town nearby is set up for tourism around Sherlock with museums, statues, hotels, roads you name it, they have it. It was only fourty minutes out of the day, but well worth the trip.

ReichenbachfallHe's pushing me overOne intriguing thing about Switzerland, what language do they generally speak. You hear it’s a mix of German and French and it seems this would be correct. We picked up breakfast from the town’s Coop and the person on the till said goodbye to us in German. Preparing myself to use the same words minutes later in the petrol station, I was halfway through saying danke schön when they said au revoir. Now that’s just weird, how are we supposed to cope.

Next stop, pretty mountain passes.More to follow


Travel to Free Spirit

7 Aug

wpid-wp-1407426184165.jpegWe have free accommodation tonight-the inlaws. For our first night we are lucky enough to be able to stay in Kent, and a fairly early start the following day for Dover is easily done.

8 Aug

7:45 start and arrival at Dover just after 8:30 for the 9:25 ferry departure time. With a quick crossing and with the plan I have in place, yes it’s in a spreadsheet, we should be in our accommodation a little after 10pm tonight.

DSCN0958Argh, the ferry takes a little longer than I thought so we’ve lost just under an hour. Argh Argh. Lost an hour by going into Europe (thought summer time was same) so we were already two hours behind. So much for planning Bruce!

Ferry trip was really easy to get on to, just turning up at P&O and they give us the place to go without anything said by us. it’s been a while since we last went, so topped up on coffee we spend most of the time on the deck, sprinkled with a light shower at times. One thing that was poor on the Spirit of Britain was getting back down to the car decks – seems to take an absolute age and were a little worse than I remembered.

Leaving the ferry for Belgium and getting straight on the roads were a piece of cake. Trusty car sat nav will show me the way which took about 30mins to programme in all the stops while in Kent.

DSCN0966It’s true what they say about Belgium, there’s not a lot there. Headed past Dunkirk (no time to see sadly) and nearby Brugge (another stop I’d scrapped the previous week) before our first destination, Waterloo. We saw Wellington’s statue in Dublin a couple of months ago, so it was fitting to go here. Damn road works confuddled us, but we got there after various detours in the rain. This was the first supposed to be the first ‘powdering our nose’ stop of the journey. At the entrance to the main site nothing was visible to use, and not having the time, we would have to bypass a full tour. We could see the memorial from where, so a quick photo and we headed off for a nearby WC stop at a service station #exciting.

Lunch was had at a service station (plus that missing pee-pee stop) once back on the main roads.What happened next would be one of the highlights of the trip. While getting back into our car, we saw an old man was kicking off with a woman at the petrol pump pushing her around and swearing in English as last resort. Cue others to join in and help break it up, only for two men in their 30s to be pushed around by him too. Time to leave.

DSCN0982Time to eat up the miles (after obligatory traffic jam), with UK, France, Belgium, Luxembourg, France again, Germany then finally Switzerland our countries to visit today. Sue regularly got the camera out and recorded for posterity the moment we crossed the border, with trumpets blown from the satnav saying we have crossed.

Two toll roads in France were straight forward, passing through the very pretty Strasbourg and suddenly we were in Germany, no trumpets at all from the satnav, the biggest clue were allthe signs in German.

DSCN1006Our first instance of German efficiency was the parking toilets. I got sprayed by the other fellow’s urinal (cleaner not other fellows eblutions!) while the ladies was apparently flooded, how not very German. The roads however, were fantastic. Not all autobahn’s are de-restricted but for certain sections this was. My word, still only two lanes but the least conjested part of the journey despite travelling at 140kph being over taken by everyone.

Entry to Switzerland was at night, with a slight change in the speed limits causing me a few worries, together with the increasingly complex turnings. Cue the tablet being brought out and Co-Pilot satnav being fired up. It showed speeds which was a godsend later on in the trip.

Earlier on, we saw the booking confirmation saying we should arrive by 8. Hmm, with our extra delay at the start, I’ve clawed some of that time back but it’s more likely to be 11pm. I contacted the site owner and luckily he knew English (and German and Chinese – whatever language that is!). Owner will contact the person at the lodge who will be waiting for us, phew.

Going through the vignette lane was again very straightforward with great roads. Quaint villages were passed en route to the lodge we had (I had booked, as I’ll be reminded for ever). The lodge was up a minor road which is inaccessible in the winter and used for skiers in the winter. Cue Sue’s first worries. We got to the town location easy enough but we don’t know exactly wher the lodge is. After driving up a narrow zig zag lane and tight 3 point turns we had to call the owner, no lodge in sight. Twenty minutes later still not understanding the instructions correctly, my daughter spotted a sign for the lodge, thank you!!

DSCN1023After being show around the lodge at 11:20, it looked good. It had a VERY hippy feel about it and took a while to find the toilet which had a mouse and cheese toilet seat. The dreamcatcher was in the wrong place but this lodge was ideal for those in the winter hitting the slopes who wanted a ‘relaxing’ ciggie in the evening! But as we have an early start, 6am alarm, time to find the travel adaptor and plug in the extension lead to recharge everything. This meant me too

Travel to Kent

The day has arrived, time to set of for the continent on our #StokesRoadtrip. Everything had been prepared a day earlier as we were a little excited to say the least!

Morning spent of tidying, dropping off the cats and last minute packing before we set off at 12 on the dot. Twenty minutes later we turned around having realised I’d left my camera and there was still a pan in the sink. Who gets it right first time anyway.

We were staying in Kent so a quick trip down the motorway, with a quick stop off at South Mimms services. The obligatory ‘thing’ to take on the journey this time is the Angry Monkey from Family Guy, his first shot posted at the service station where Sorrel was apparently trying to get out of the shot.


The Wheel in Space

Wheel in Space

Wheel in Space

Time for just Jamie and the Doctor and there seem to be problems straightaway. The screens gone blank, Jamie has to look at the ‘Ford’ indicator and then the TARDIS sends multiple warnings to the pair. The Doctor flicks a few switches to avoid them getting vapourised by the Mercury as the fluid link is broken. The Doctor removes the time vector generator, and without it, the TARDIS returns to that of an ordinary police box.

Jamie is cheered up by being given a Lemon Sherbert to quench his thirst! There are some similarites between this and First Doctor stories, the Doctor needs some Mercury to refill parts of the TARDIS and  a food replicator on board the ship. Bit of an odd scene them sitting down to dinner to eat Sunday Lunch.

From the sound of the episode, it is a reconstruction after all, it’s very Alien or 2001. A robot onboard is not happy with the intruders and blocks off the TARDIS and re-engages the engines causing the Doctor to get a concussion. It then  releases pods which must have some effect on the other ship that’s come into view. Meanwhile, unaware they are under attack, the other ship  think as it’s veered off course, nobody could still be on board, and they fear it might start up again flying towards them. Here comes the cliffhanger, time to blow it up.

Jamie remebers the Time Vortex and signals the other ship who think they must be sabouters. Promted to name his fellow travellor, he gives him the name John Smith, named after a piece of machinery in the office, first reference! Zoe, the parapsychology libriarian is sent to monitor him. Zoe, the future companion, starts off well laughing at Jamie’s femanine clothes as well as tricking him to find out he’s not used to space travel (Jamie turned down a drink of water which is rare). Jamie yet again saves the day, and the TARDIS, by stopping the lazer that was to blow it up with plastic spray. Cybermen it seems are behind ull this at the end of second episode.

Get to see Zoe properly in the third episode as we have the video, my word she’s short.  Future episodes look bright with her in as she’s logical and a bit of a know it all. The Doctor may have some trouble with her, or at least Jamie will.

Cybermats are back and they’re a bit dangerous as they now seem to control/shoot people while destroying the metal. They seem to have trouble with plastic though, one is disabled easily. Sticking a metal panel to the back of the head will apparently stop the mind control from the Cybermen too, a few more weaknesses of the cybermen we’ve now learnt including a “High Current Phased Contrast” can be used.

The end of episode 5 and feeding into the 6th (which there is video) looks like a great cliffhanger, meteorites zooming towards Jamie and Zoe in their spacesuits as they have to go back to the other spaceship, a calculated risk. That must have been an interesting day of filming doing those space scenes trying to make them look authentic. With the plastic being used a weapon, there’s a very surreal shot of the cybermen walking and flapping arms through space onto the wheel before they get blasted into space.

As another ingenious way to get on the TARDIS, Zoe hids in a cupboard. Little did she know she was going to be shown an episode of Evil of the Daleks right at the end to prepare her for travelling with the Doctor.

ANOTHER cybermen story to close off season 5. Hope for a bit more variety next season with Zoe on board but a good story overall

Rating: 6/10