Month: September 2015

Well Dave? Would YOU?

Corby-Today-programmeEarlier on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn was asked whether he would ever push the nuclear button. He answered in a clear way that is rare for any politician. He simply said, “No, 187 countries don’t feel the need to have nuclear weapons to protect their security, why should [the five who do] need it themselves?” he continued. “We are not in the era of Cold War anymore, it finished a long time ago!”

And the media went mad. Some have called him weak for admitting he would never willingly murder hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of innocent people with a weapon of mass destruction. But what would the headlines read if he’d said yes?! Should we be proud if someone claimed they would press the button? Isn’t it a stronger show of courage and decency for someone to say they wouldn’t, ever?

I think it was a dangerously irresponsible line of questioning from Today and I’m proud that Jeremy Corbyn answered honestly, decently and uncompromisingly. Has any other political figure been asked this question? I’d love to hear David Cameron’s reply! Someone ask him ASAP! And if he says he would then he’s clearly a threat to our security. Nobody with his power should be allowed anywhere near that button.

Since that terrible question is now apparently a valid one get on Twitter, get asking @David_Cameron if he’s push the button! It’s only fair, if the Labour Leader is asked when he doesn’t have that power, that our Prime Minister gives his answer too. Copy and Paste the question below, and just press “Tweet”:

@David_Cameron Since the question is now apparently a valid one, would YOU push the nuclear button? #NuclearButton

Just For The Record, I Love Doctor Who (by Simon Watkins)

Guest Post by Simon Watkins

Earlier, in my conclusion to our Chalk & Cheese review, I said ‘just for the record, I love Doctor Who, I think it’s a wonderful programme – I am a fully fledged bonafide fan. Looking at some of the social networking activity over the last week, you’d think that being a fan was only about being positive about a show. That fans must only say nice things, or according to some, they’re not proper fans. To those less than enlightened individuals I say firstly “sod off!”. And follow this up with; “You don’t get to define what a fan is.”’ It got me thinking…

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An opinion on whether an episode of a TV show was any good, or whether it entertained me, is involuntarily anyway.

It says a lot about the state of the things, if people are expected to force themselves to like an episode against their will. Doctor Who is a pretty eclectic show that can’t possibly be all things to all men every week. It can be wonderful one week, then the next it can serve us up rubbish like this, or to quote a famous video blogger; ‘when it’s good it is fantastic, but when it’s bad it’s absolutely terrible’.

doctor-who-600x362Nobody should need to deny this, and it’s important to be true to each of our own honest opinions. I happen to hate the direction Moffat is currently taking the show, that’s if the last 4 episodes is any indication, and to mindlessly and unconditionally heap praise on garbage like The Magician’s Apprentice/The Witch’s Familiar, due to some form of Good Fan duty, is not being a good evangelist for the show – quite the opposite. The entire furore over this episode by the usual weirdos who have been patrolling Facebook and Twitter this last week, slagging off fans for having the audacity to dislike an episode of Doctor Who, smacks of “I demand you agree with me” and nothing good can ever come from embarking down that road. What’s even driving this? Are they in denial themselves anyway? Are they just not well-adjusted enough to tolerate another viewpoint?

I honestly don’t know the answer, but I will say that if you honestly enjoyed these last two episodes, I might not agree with your view, but I’m actually happy for you. And am certainly not going to start demanding you agree with my position, or question your abilities of discernment. But if you didn’t like it, I repeat, don’t be bullied into pretending otherwise.

We’ve Never Had A Better Davros!

I’ve already (sort of) reviewed The Magician’s Apprentice/The Witch’s Familiar with my mate Simon, but I felt the urge to talk more about Davros in this story. So, here goes:

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Davros has been in Doctor Who many times since his first appearance in Genesis of the Daleks way back in 1975, where he was played by Michael Wisher. As the paranoid, disabled, decrepit “creator of the Dalek race” he acted as a more interesting addition to Dalek stories. Most stories featuring the Doctor’s greatest enemies were mainly made up of the Daleks shouting “EXTERMINATE!” a lot in cockney accents while they took over very flat and very smooth planets. Then the Doctor would stop them. The end. Davros was able to chat. He was able to be emotionally erratic. He was able to do those long, winding, poetic speeches about the perceived importance of purity and what not.

I love Davros. I think it’s he, not the Master, that is the Doctor’s Arch Enemy. He provides a reasoned argument for the Daleks existing, beyond “to kill everything else”. He’s wonderful when done right. However he’s fucking awful when done wrong. Most stories featuring Davros tend to hide him behind his Daleks but this is, in my opinion, not how to do justice to the character.

The Magician’s Apprentice/The Witch’s Familiar (and, to a degree, The Stolen Earth/Journey’s End) put Davros slap bang in the middle of the action. They are DAVROS stories, not DALEK stories. And I love them. And you know why? Because Julian Bleach is the best Davros we’ve ever had.

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Bleach brings a nuance to the character that was missing before. Pure evil on the surface, sure. But underneath all that a megalomania fuelled by an absolute and unshakable belief that things he’s doing are essential and just. This is in part down to the writing talents of Russell T Davies and Steven Moffat, but it’s Julian Bleach’s portrayal that sells the character to me in a way that fits with this new, emotive incarnation of the show.

Take Davros’ exchange with the Doctor – during a plot to trick him into a compassionate gifting of regeneration energy – in The Witch’s Familiar, where the Doctor and Davros chuckle together. Two old, dying men (or so they both think) – mortal enemies – looking back over their shared blood-soaked past. A beautifully played scene that turned the expected on its head. Davros’ happiness at the Doctor having found his people again – although it’s all a lie – makes Davros a relatable figure; manipulative, clever, almost human. No longer the half-man-half-Dalek pantomime figure of old, but a living, breathing, thinking, feeling monster of a man.

I love him. Davros. He’s definitely my favourite Doctor Who baddie. And this Davros? Wow. I want more and more and more of him. Bleach and Capaldi playing off each other, Davros and the Doctor dancing around the truths neither of them are prepared to reveal. The last, unbastardised, uncompromised members of their peoples. Joy.