Saturday, April 26, 2008

Doctor Who: Live Blogging

Apparently there are sports blogs where the writer is not at the match, he or she is just plonked in front of a telly.

I mock these people.


I think I've just done the same. For the first time, my Radio Times Doctor Who blog has gone live the moment the show finished airing, and I know this because I put it live.

I have to be conscious that Helen Raynor writes a cracking hour's TV and I do - hang on, counts on fingers - 433 whole words, but I'm not comparing, I'm celebrating. When Doctor Who works now, it's a hurricane and I love it. The exuberance in it, there can't be a harder show to write.

Mind you, I learnt a lesson tonight: if you or I ever get to write one, we need to comb our hair and dress smartly: Helen is the first writer this series, besides Russell T Davies, to get interviewed on camera for Doctor Who Confidential.


Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Bloody hell

I'm going to be annoying now: I'm going to tell you half a story and refuse to reveal the rest. But it's only a small thing, and I'm just bursting to tell you how huge it is.

There's this writer, okay, someone whose work I've admired pretty much forever: he's cropped up in the Radio Times On This Day malarky more times than I can count, I can be fairly certain you rate him too. Mr Anonymous has just read a script of mine and so has his wife, who'll have to be Ms Anonymous, and I spoke to them both a second ago.

Their quick, overall summary: "Worthy of Patricia Highsmith."

If you don't know her work, I honestly think you're missing out: Strangers on a Train? The Ripley books?

And here's a thing. I've been re-reading a lot of Anthony Minghella's scripts lately and in his introduction to one, he recounts how this very same Mr Anonymous had once described a work of his as having shades of Patricia Highsmith. Minghella had never heard of her before, but thought he'd best check her out. And you see what that led to? The Talented Mr Ripley.

'Course, I'll get notes and all the buts/ands/howevers presently but just for tonight I'm rocked.


Monday, April 14, 2008

New Doctor Who blog is up

And you can reach it here at

If you're one of the people who commented on RT about the last one, under assorted suspicious names like Helena Handcart - surely a member of the Handbasket family who's been through Ellis Island - then thank you.

Page impressions are one thing, comments are disproportionately helpful. Especially disagreement: honestly, get in there and tell me what a daft prat I am, I'll love you for it. Though, please, no swearing: this is a family show.

But anyway, watching Doctor Who for money: what would my teenage self have thought of that?


PS. I don't know why this bothers me especially today, when it's always bothered me, but if you read that Who blog of mine you will see a certain police box spelt as Tardis. It's just wrong. It's the TARDIS, it always has been. But that's Radio Times style. I see the point, all-caps jolt out of the page: I once wrote a PC-DOS manual and sometimes the page would swim with those capitals, but still, this is the TARDIS!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Just wonderin'

Why are there birthday cards with lines like "What is a sister?" If anyone doesn't know, they're unlikely to be the buyer or the receiver.

Why is Microsoft Word so fantastic at recovering documents? Can't the team who did that move over to the one trying to stop Word losing documents in the first place?

A local protest group was filmed carrying banners that read "Save Are School". Was that a clever argument for their cause or the reason the school is giving up?

How can there be an Encyclopedia of the Unexplained?

Why was the first word my first girlfriend first said to me, "Security!"?

Why do Hollywood actresses always look extraordinarily bad in TV ads for beauty products?

Why will my iPhone, currently the greatest piece of industrial design imaginable, suddenly appear as rubbish as the rest of them when iPhone 2 comes out?

Is there anything else I can do to postpone thinking of what to write in this week's Doctor Who blog on Radio Times?

Monday, April 07, 2008

Support your local Who blogger

As I said to you, I'm not 100% sure the world really needs another Doctor Who blog right now, but does and it's got mine.

And they told me that so long as I was willing to bare my soul a bit, I could also have a whole paragraph analysing the script. To delve, to really think about television drama, so very important to me, and all for the price of admitting to my boyhood crush on Nyssa. It's a bargain.

I won't pretend this is anything more than one writer's thoughts, but I am proud I was hired and I think you'll like it too: it's an unqualified hymn of praise for Partners in Crime, and that's how it should be.

The blog's even got a more memorable address than I expected: Doctor Who Weekly.

Would you mind having a look? And checking back several hundred times? I need the ratings!


Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Becoming Who-man

Presuming that all goes well with various other plans for Doctor Who coverage on the website, next week sees me starting my very own Who blog on the site.

You're thinking that this is what the world needs, another Doctor Who blog. Ah, but is it in fact what RT needs? The idea is I'm to coo about what I like in each episode (presuming that I do, which is never guaranteed but looking at the form the series has, is a bit bleedin' likely) and then a conversation can hang off the end of it with readers saying yay/nay/exterminate* (*delete as applicable).

I'll put up a link here if it all goes ahead; I'd greatly appreciate your nipping off to read it and proving to RT that I am the Who-man that they appear to think.

I would actually say that I'm Drama-man, but you won't believe me, you'll think science fiction geek because: I've just heard BBC Radio 4's Journey into Space and really enjoyed it. It's the Saturday Play in a week or two. And it's written by Charles Chilton, the man who wrote the original ones starting 50-odd years ago. He's apparently 91, still working, and I'm told he still has a handshake that can crush a walnut.