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DOCTOR WHO: The Time of the Doctor / Review

The Time of the Doctor
BBC One HD
25 December 2013, 7.30pm

Your stomach's fit to burst and only until you force down yet another luxury chocolate or another branded bit of confectionary from a selection box do you realise that perhaps you've overindulged at Christmas. Yet, you keep going back for more. You pile into turkey, Christmas pudding, mince pies as if you've never seen such a feast before. But you've seen it and eaten it all before. You do it every year.

Sorry, I was digressing. Just thinking about my Christmas dinner again. Oddly enough, the after effects - flatulence and indigestion - did not abate watching The Time of the Doctor. For an end of era story, featuring a regeneration to boot, it felt as if Steven Moffat was devouring a running buffet of the last three seasons under his auspices. Another bowl of fish custard, anyone? One more slice of turkey?

DOCTOR WHO: The Day of the Doctor / Review

The Day of the Doctor
BBC One HD / Red Button 3D
23 November 2013, 7.50pm

Television anniversary stories in Doctor Who are strange affairs. They have to strike a balance. On one hand they are expected to cram in fan-pleasing moments to acknowledge the rich history of the series, to be fronted by multiple versions of the Doctor and they demand the presence of iconic monsters; and on the other hand they have to have a decent but straightforward plot, a narrative that will appeal to the widest possible demographic and hook the many family generations who enjoy having Doctor Who in their lives. Previous anniversary stories have tackled this balancing act with varying degrees of success.

AN ADVENTURE IN SPACE AND TIME / Review

An Adventure in Space and Time
BBC Two HD
21 November 2013, 9.00pm

Three moments in real and fictional time blend and merge in the opening scene of Mark Gatiss's superb drama An Adventure in Space and Time when a car pulls up in front of a police box on a fog enshrouded Barnes Common. Immediately, associations spring into your mind or, at the very least, into the minds of many long in the tooth Doctor Who fans. Gatiss has already prepared the way with a retro BBC globe, an announcer quoting The Aztecs and telling us that truth and fiction are mutable companions in the retelling of Doctor Who's creation: 'It is important to remember however that you can't rewrite history. Not one line. Except perhaps when you embark on an adventure in space and time.'

SCHALCKEN THE PAINTER - BFI Flipside Dual Format Edition / Review

Leslie Megahey's extraordinary television film Schalcken the Painter finally arrives on Blu-Ray and DVD this month courtesy of the BFI. As with many of the home entertainment releases in their Gothic: The Dark Heart of Film season, Schalcken the Painter has such a reputation it has been on the 'most wanted' lists of many fans of British telefantasy for decades. Here it is and remastered in high definition from the 16mm interpositive held in the BFI Archive and released in the Flipside range of obscure British films.

Writer, director and producer Megahey's career began in BBC radio where, after he graduated from his traineeship, he wrote and produced radio plays for a year. He joined the BBC's Music and Arts department and in 1967, along with other television trainees Tony Palmer, Alan Yentob and Nigel Williams, began making films about painters and writers under the auspices of pioneering television executive Stephen Hearst.

Megahey was as much an inspirational figure himself as Yentob, then a raw recruit, professed: 'Leslie was a little older than me and had arrived at the BBC by much the same route two years earlier. We became close friends and colleagues in the Music and Arts department of the BBC. Leslie's enthusiasm and commitment were infectious. Leslie was endlessly curious and was a great believer in finding inventive ways to tell stories.' (1)

Coming from publisher I.B. Tauris this month is another publication in the 'Who Watching' project, Doctor Who - The Eleventh Hour: A Critical Celebration of the Matt Smith and Steven Moffat Era

Edited and with an introduction from Andrew O'Day, the book is published to celebrate the Doctor's 50th anniversary and provides a valuable record of the current Matt Smith Doctor, who arrived in 2010 and is still travelling in time and space. This first book devoted solely to the Steven Moffat/Matt Smith era is written by experts on the Doctor and includes contributions from Richard Hewett, Frank Collins (that's me), Matthew Kilburn, Dee Amy-Chinn, David Budgen, Simone Knox, Jonathan Bignell, Piers D. Britton, Vasco Hexel, Matt Hills, Brigid Cherry, Neil Perryman, and Ross P. Garner.

Network Distributing debuted a pair of exclusive vinyl soundtrack album releases this week. Focusing on two iconic ITC series of the late 1960s and early 1970s, Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) and Man in A Suitcase, these beautifully designed albums assemble a number of instantly recognisable cues on high quality 180g vinyl pressed by Pallas in Germany.

Network worked with renowned vinyl cutting engineer Ray Staff, whose credits include David Bowie's The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and The Spiders From Mars and The Rolling Stones' It's Only Rock 'n' Roll, to master the albums from the FX Group tape transfers.

Ray joined the legendary Trident Studios, based in St Anne's Court, Soho, in 1970 and he became part of the fledgling Mastering Department. His skill at working on major projects with Bowie and Elton John saw him progress to become Trident’s Chief Mastering Engineer. He is currently one of the chief engineers at AIR Mastering having worked with artists as diverse as Led Zeppelin and Supertramp and most recently on the triple platinum No 1 debut album and single by Corinne Bailey Rae.

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