…I shall come back.
Yes, I shall come back. Until then, there must be no regrets, no tears, no anxieties.
I might get round to writing something else on here sometime, you never know.
Every year, Kryten looks a little (or a lot) different. Let’s have a little look…
(oh, that’s smaller than I thought it’d be. It was a lot bigger on Paint.)
Can’t believe it’s been over six months since I last wrote anything on here. So what’s happened?
Not that much really. Nothing life-changing, certainly. Surprised at how much new music I’ve bought/am buying this year. Bought The Anchoress’s debut album Confessions of a Romance Novelist, which was co-written and produced by ‘my mate’ Paul Draper, of Mansun fame. Then he himself released some long awaited new stuff, EP One arriving in June. Which was nice.
Have preordered new albums by some of my favourites, two of which via crowdfunding sites: KT Tunstall has KIN out in October, a week after The Divine Comedy’s Foreverland is due out. Then, I suddenly realised a day or two ago that I preordered Madness’s new CD, Can’t Touch Us Now, back in May. It’s not out til October.
Speaking of Madness, I went to see Suggs back in May.
Back in January, I was itching to spend my birthday money on a trip to the theatre. I knew my beloved Rocky Horror Show was due in town in June, but, as the show gets bigger and brighter with every tour, and I had a bit of a problem with some of the lighting effects last time, I didn’t want to push my luck and go again, so I reluctantly passed. Still, I got a Suggs ticket instead. Funny enough, Madness are playing in Sheffield later this year, as are The Divine Comedy. I’ll not be going to either gig, though. Can’t afford it. I’ve got other stuff happening, anyway.
Last March, I was in full-on Reeves & Mortimer mode, after buying my ticket to see Vic and Bob on tour in December.
However, come October, Bob was selfish enough to need triple heart bypass surgery, meaning that the first leg of the tour – including the Sheffield date – was cancelled. I was gutted. Before the gig was cancelled, I’d already been moaning about the nine month wait between getting the ticket and the actual show. For it to not go ahead was devastating. Not least because the second was going to go ahead in the new year, and start in fucking Leeds.
The tickets were refunded, and I was extremely unhappy. Had to stop reading Bob’s Tweets because they were all about how good the shows were. I bought a tour programme online, and remained thoroughly miserable, knowing I wouldn’t be seeing them.
But then, come April, new dates were announced. All the gigs that were cancelled were being rescheduled. Of course, because the other tickets had been refunded, we had to buy them all again. My sister had bought all four tickets last time, for her three brothers to pay her back (which we duly did). However, this time, no-one had enough/any money to buy one ticket, never mind four all together. I definitely wasn’t to miss out, so maxxed out my credit card, and bought two tickets, for me and my brother. My sister’s saving to go to Disneyland Paris in October, and my other brother manages to get himself to plenty of gigs through the year, so I figured my penniless brother could go. The show’s in December, it can be his Christmas present.
So…I think that’s it really. Currently looking forward to the new series of Red Dwarf, of course. That’s on in September. That’s a busy month, isn’t it?
So, I guess it’s time for me to wander off again. I might be back at some point in the near future. Ciao for now.
Following on from yesterday’s rediscovery of Is There A Doctor On Board?, I thought I’d share with you the other bits and bobs I found in the folder. Most of them date from between 1997-99, a couple from earlier, a couple later.
First off, there are my individual character portraits of the crew (felt tip pens have never been my friend)…
Then, there’s an early sketch of Rimmer…
And another strip, which I couldn’t decide whether to do it in black and white or colour. Tried both, neither really worked. (The title referred to the fact that I had intended Elvis to turn up at some point)
Assorted ships and machines…
…mechanoids and cast members…
…more Red Dwarf mash-ups with popular culture…
…a magazine article…
…and stuff from the offices of Grant Naylor Productions, signed photos and whatnot. Including a patient response to one of my begging letters regarding being an extra in the Red Dwarf movie.
So there. A few oddities for you all to marvel over.
I don’t live at that address anymore, by the way, so any threatening letters will not reach their intended target.
Longer ago than I care to remember, I had a big bag full of Red Dwarf stuff. All my original copies of Red Dwarf Smegazine, from issue 4 (April 1992) onwards were crammed in there, as well as a number of my doodles and ‘proper’ drawings.
The bag disappeared a few years ago. I still hunt for it occasionally, even though there’s nowhere else in the house left to look. I do have a full set of Smegazines – bought in an auction at a Red Dwarf convention in 2002 – but the rest of the stuff…God knows where it is.
I’ve found the odd scan occasionally, or even a scrap here and there, and shoved most of them on my DeviantArt profile.
But at Christmas, I got a laptop. I finally got a laptop of my own for the first time. And my sister wrung out her hard drive to gift me every folder, file and document I’d ever saved on that there laptop of hers. And amongst a folder named “Old Red Dwarf Gubbins”, I found the whole of my “Is There A Doctor On Board?” strip, intended for The Red Dwarf Fan Club magazine Better Than Life. Two and a half pages are over at DeviantArt, but here is the whole lot (Well, all of what I completed – I never got round to drawing the last couple of panels).
All this, of course, was written before the 2005 return of Doctor Who. So this was actually one of the first times I drew the TARDIS.
I started it in 2001, and scanned what I had in 2003 and put it on a Geocities Website. That stuff was archived a long time ago, and proved impossible to find. I did obviously manage to find those first couple of pages, that I put on DeviantArt, but finding this lot this evening has made my day.
Last week saw the tenth anniversary of Doctor Who‘s triumphant return to Saturday night TV.
In the run-up to the re-birthday on 26th March, websites aplenty did their bit to mark the occasion, most of them involving Top Ten episode lists of some kind.
I figured that, to find my own Top 10, I need to rate the whole lot. 118 episodes creating 96 stories between 2005 and 2014. Rather than setting at all 96 in one big lump, I rated each series seperately, to gradually integrate the lists (combining the s2 list with the s1 list, s3 into that list etc.) to create one glorious whole. Actually, I came up with an RTD-era list, and a Moffat-era list, and then combined those two to create my list. And finally, I just managed to Tweet my Top 10 on the anniversary, at five minutes to midnight.
And now, I’ve finally got round to posting my list on here.
It was important to me that the episodes at the top were the ones that I like, the episodes that I enjoy watching the most. Not necessarily the important ones, the gamechanging ones, the landmark episodes, the iconic episodes…just the ones I like. So there’s going to some surprising omissions. Some unusual inclusions.
And so, with all that in mind, the non-important, unchanging, iconic landmark episode that tops my list is…
THE DAY OF THE DOCTOR.
I was almost embarrassed to place that top, given what I juat said, but it is terrific. The three moments that give you goosebumps and make the hairs on the back of your neck stand on end. Watched it again at the weekend. Brilliant.
So, my full Top 10:
1. The Day of the Doctor
2. The Girl Who Waited
4. Human Nature/The Family of Blood
5. The Eleventh Hour
6. Mummy on the Orient Express
7. Silence in the Library/Forest of the Dead
8. Bad Wolf/The Parting of the Ways
9. The Pandorica Opens/The Big Bang
Which I think is pretty accurate (for me).
My Top Twenty continues like this:
11. The End of Time
13. The Doctor’s Wife
14. The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances
15. The Impossible Planet/The Satan Pit
17. Turn Left
19. The Unicorn and the Wasp
20. The Stolen Earth/Journey’s End
I know there’s some in there that others wouldn’t agree with, maybe even one or two that might be placed at the other end of the table, but this is my list, so tough.
I’ve put the rest of the 96 stories in this order…
21. The Crimson Horror
22. Partners In Crime
23. School Reunion
24. The Power of Three
25. The Time of Angels/Flesh and Stone
26. The Christmas Invasion
27. The Unquiet Dead
29. Utopia/The Sound of Drums/Last of the Time Lords
30. The Runaway Bride
31. The God Complex
32. Vincent and the Doctor
33. The Girl in the Fireplace
34. Army of Ghosts/Doomsday
35. Asylum of the Daleks
36. Cold War
37. The Caretaker
39. Last Christmas
40. Amy’s Choice
41. The Snowmen
42. Dark Water/Death in Heaven
44. The Next Doctor
45. The Time of the Doctor
46. Kill the Moon
47. The Name of the Doctor
48. The Waters of Mars
49. The End of the World
50. The Angels Take Manhattan
51. Voyage of the Damned
52. Tooth and Claw
53. The Doctor’s Daughter
54. Robot of Sherwood
55. The Impossible Astronaut/Day of the Moon
56. Planet of the Ood
57. A Good Man Goes to War
58. Let’s Kill Hitler
59. Smith and Jones
61. The Fires of Pompeii
62. The Lodger
63. Time Heist
64. Into The Dalek
65. A Town Called Mercy
66. Night Terrors
67. The Wedding of River Song
68. Planet of the Dead
69. The Idiot’s Lantern
70. New Earth
71. The Sontaran Stratagem/The Poison Sky
72. The Shakespeare Code
73. Boom Town
74. The Lazarus Experiment
75. The Bells of Saint John
76. Dinosaurs on a Spaceship
77. Victory of the Daleks
78. Rise of the Cybermen/The Age of Steel
79. Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS
80. The Vampires of Venice
81. A Christmas Carol
82. Fear Her
83. Aliens of London/World War Three
84. Father’s Day
85. In the Forest of the Night
86. Nightmare in Silver
87. The Beast Below
88. The Long Game
89. Love & Monsters
90. Curse of the Black Spot
91. Closing Time
92. The Rebel Flesh/The Almost People
93. The Doctor, The Widow and the Wardrobe
94. The Hungry Earth/Cold Blood
95. Daleks in Manhattan/Evolution of the Daleks
96. The Rings of Akhaten
THE RINGS OF fucking AKHATEN. I cannot stand it. I’ve tried. But it just makes me cringe. So much of it is similar to The Beast Below (which I’ve never been a big fan of, anyway), and the stuff with the spacebike…just, no. And taking the Worst Story crown from Daleks In Manhattan is no mean feat.
So, anyway. That’s that. Feel free to let me know what you think I’ve got wrong, and I’ll do my best to ignore you. ;)
Cast your minds back, if you can, to 2006. BBC2 were broadcasting a new science fiction sitcom, with many wondering ‘is this the new Red Dwarf?’
That sitcom was Hyperdrive. And no, it wasn’t the new Red Dwarf. But, despite what many of my friends within Red Dwarf fandom – and indeed, what a fair few people all over the place – thought (and still think), I actually rather enjoyed it.
Hyperdrive was the creation of comedy writers Kevin Cecil and Andy Riley, and starred Nick Frost, Kevin Eldon and a pre–Miranda and Call The Midwife Miranda Hart.
You can read all the details on Wikipedia – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hyperdrive_%28TV_series%29
Under the guise of ‘Captain Helix’ (the name of a fictional character within the Hyperdrive universe), I ran a (somewhat basic, admittedly) fan site devoted to the show named after the sitcom’s setting, the HMS Camden Lock.
Writers Kevin and Andy gave me a lot of support, giving me a couple of exclusives, and gifting me with a signed copy of the series 1 & 2 DVD boxset.
They also pointed me in the direction of means of getting interviews with cast members.
Although I received a phone call from Nick Frost’s agent offering me the chance to have a chat with Nick himself – which, unbelievably, I turned down (!) due to my not having the equipment to record a telephone interview (what the Hell was I thinking that day?), I did manage to secure an email interview with Miranda Hart, who very kindly agreed to answer my twenty or so questions.
The artwork and detailed episode guides I produced for the site are long gone, but here, in it’s entirety, is my EXCLUSIVE interview, from early 2006…
I understand that before the series was made, a pilot was made with Omid Djallili and Mark Gatiss as Henderson and York. Were you involved in this?
Yes, a pilot was made in December 2003 with Mark Gatiss as York and Sanjeev Baskar as the Commander. And I played Teal in that. Steve Evans and Dan Antopolski also did the pilot as Vine and Jeffers.
How did their portayal of the characters differ to Nick’s and Kevin’s? And how did the show – the plot, the characters, the production – differ to what we saw in the final series? Any major changes?
Mark and Sanjeev were naturally very different to Nick and Kevin because they are totally different performers and people. But the essence of gun happy York and hapless Henderson was there. It was just a ten minute, non broadcast pilot – more of a taster tape than anything else so at that stage we didn’t see much script or get to know the plots and characters in depth, but the outline of all 5 characters were there. Although Sandstrom didn’t exist at that stage. It was filmed at Ealing Studios and a space ship was built but it was much smaller – less corridors and lower quality MDF.
What attracted you to Hyperdrive in the first place? How did you get involved?
It was a run of the mill audition at the BBC for the pilot – I didn’t know much about it before I went to the casting. I am not sure how many people when up for the part at that stage, but I am delighted to say they still wanted me for the series as I just fell in love with the character of Teal.
How would you describe Teal? And do you think you’d get on with her in real life?
Teal is a conscientious, slightly prudish, home counties girl. She sticks to the rules and regulations and her efficiency and organisation mean she is seen as the school swot of the team. She is much better at her job than at social interaction – and doesn’t really understand how to flirt or to relax socially.
If I met Teal in real life (bizarre idea!) then I would probably not dislike her, but she wouldn’t be on top of my list to go to the pub with. She wouldn’t be quite as free and silly as I would like a drinking companion to be. She’s a bit too uptight for me.
What are the main differences and similarities between Teal and yourself?
We both have a middle class, forces upbringing but Teal continues to enjoy and live by the regimented, emotionally uptight elements of that background, whereas I have shun from that and am much more informal and slobby than Teal.
Do you have a favourite episode? Favourite moment or scene?
I am pushed to think of a particular favourite but I did love filming the Queppu banquet for Episode 2 and loved watching York and the leader of Queppu squashing fruit and the commander dancing with the beautiful alien much to Teal’s disgust.
Can you recall any funny moments or stories from when you were recording the show?
The whole thing was a total nightmare from beginning to end.
Which actor’s the most fun to work with? Who’s most likely to make you giggle at inappropriate times? And who’s most prone to corpsing?
I would say I am probably the worst at corpsing. If at the end of a scene the director didn’t shout cut straight awa,y we would improvise and I would always be the first to laugh. Mr Nick Frost would often make me laugh – just the way he looked at me sometimes when I was trying to flirt with him (as Teal and Henderson I should say!) would set me off.
Are writers Andy Riley and Kevin Cecil on set when you shoot, and are they open to improvisations? Any last minute rewrites?
Yes they are on set every day which is great. A real help. They are making minor adjustments right up to the last minute and are very open to suggestions and lines that come out of improvisations and rehearsals. It is a genuine pleasure to work with such generous writers.
Are there any running gags from on-set which you think will still be going strong when you get together for series two?
I am sure my kind and loving nicknames Queen Kong and Big Truck will stick – a couple of those got in the show, which really made me laugh.
Hyperdrive‘s been described as ‘the new Red Dwarf‘. How do you stand on that? Are you a fan of Red Dwarf, and what’s your opinion of Science Fiction in general? Any favourites?
Oh, I don’t know! I know NOTHING about science fiction. NOTHING! I approached Hyperdrive as a sitcom that happened to be set in space and often have to ask the boys about the sci-fi references. As for Hyperdrive being the new Red Dwarf – I think they are totally different shows and should be viewed as such.
What do you like, comedy wise? Favourite comedians or shows?
I am quite an old fashioned traditionalist comedy wise. My favourite comedian is Eric Morecambe and I can watch him over and over again. Peter Cook, Joyce Grenfell and Ronnie Barker also. I like simple, silly, eccentric bold character comedy rather than dark, surreal, edgy or stuff that’s too clever. Although I loved Nighty Night and you can’t get much darker than that. But the characters in that were big and silly and that’s why I could laugh. If its too underplayed and too clever I get confused. I am more of a BBC 1 and 2 watcher than BBC 3 put it like that!
Who/what are your influences?
Joyce Grenfell was who I watched when much younger and who introduced me to the concept of being alone on stage doing comedy – I knew that’s what I wanted to do when I watched her. Then of course Victoria Wood and French and Saunders were massive influences. Because they were the women in the comedy lime light when I was in my influential teenage years.
What were your ambitions growing up? And there is there anything you haven’t done, either personally or professionally, that you’d still love to do?
I have always wanted to be a comedy actress. That has and still is my dream. There is SO much I would still love to do. I feel like I am just at the beginning of my career really (although its been a ten year struggle to get to the start of it – I am exhausted already). I would like to do more sitcoms – other characters, I would like to make my West End debut in a comedy play, I would like to write my own stuff, I would like to do a film, more radio – SO MUCH! As for personally – the list is even longer. It’s a cliché but swimming with dolphins is on the list, a long with being able to cook, going to see Polar Bears in the wild and winning the Ladies Singles Championship at Wimbledon.
Have you found elements of the show creeping into your day to day life?
Categorically not! That would be too weird.
What would you like to see happen in the next series? Any suggestions for storylines?
I would like to see Teal happy in a relationship with someone who loves her and gets her. I don’t think it will happen!
What are the best and worst jobs you’ve ever had?
Aside from Hyperdrive of course, the best job I have had to date was the 2nd series of Nighty Night; I had a very small part but was in Devon (where it was filmed) for a couple of weeks. It was beautiful weather, amazing location, and I had the most wonderful company in Georgie Glen, Julia Davis, Mark Gatiss and Ruth Jones – we just laughed constantly. The worst job was cleaning student flats when I first left University. One flats sink was blocked and they were doing the washing up in the bath. Oh yes..
How did you get started in this business they call show? Any amusing anecdotes along the way?
Loads of anecdotes yes, but they are for showing off at dinner parties only. No, I fear being a luvvie at the best of times so certainly wouldn’t shower you with stories – sorry. As for getting started in the business. It was a question of writing and performing my own character comedy shows (which I still do) and writing embarrassing letters to important people to persuade them to come and see me (which I still do). I do feel exhausted before my career has really begun – it was a long hard battle trying to get a foot in the door for me. No easy breaks. It took 7 years after University to get my first agent for example. But I think dreams are better achieved with a fight – in retrospect of course!
What are you currently working on, and what projects do you have coming up?
I am currently writing. I shall be doing a play in the summer, but no other plans as yet.
For our Truly Trivial Trivia Page, can you tell us one thing you’ve never told anyone before? (The weirder the better!)
Never told anyone – that’s an ask. Ummm… I dislike Trinny and Susannah. There, I said it. Why can’t we just wear what the **** we like frankly. Oh, and I want to be the British Tennis hope and win Wimbledon.
And finally (at last!), could you please give us a quote about the site (http://www.freewebs.com/camdenlock) for the front page?
Cool. I like the moving stars the best.
So there. One exclusive Hyperdrive based 2006 interview with Miranda Hart. Hope it was worth it.