Posts Tagged With: k-9

Have I Got Whos For You (Winter Warmer Edition)

I mean, I made this one weeks ago, the last time it happened, but it seems fairly topical right now.

You have to feel a little bit sorry for Theresa May. She inherited an absolute dog’s breakfast, a situation that no one was going to be able to resolve because the concept of government in this country (and, indeed, in many democracies) is far more about the acquisition of power than it is about getting things done. No one had a clue how to pull out of the EU, and from what I can see we still don’t. And as Forrest Gump would say, “That’s all I got to say about that.”

Talking of Brexit:

You will have your own suggestions: please leave them in the usual place.

Brexit is having an effect on the economy, of course, with yet another great British retailer headed firmly down the tubes.

Actually I haven’t been in an HMV for years – well, specifically the last time I was in London alone, which would be for the ‘Twice Upon A Time’ press screening back in December 2017. I’d tried unsuccessfully to buy my mother gloves (no suitable gloves – in Oxford Street!) and wandered in; I’d been briefly tempted by a bobble-headed John Hurt, but in the end had left empty-handed. The unfortunate truth is that I don’t really like the place very much. It’s expensive, unless you’re multi-buying, which is what I used to do – come away with five CDs for £30, or two or £15 if it was the newer stuff – and they would sit on my shelves and never get played, another contribution to the great accumulation of stuff. Just before Christmas we had a big clearout of stuff, and the local charity shops were seeing me almost daily. I feel as good about it as I did a year back when I got rid of all my Doctor Who DVDs. (They’re still here digitally, of course, but hard drives are much easier to store.)

I once passed out in the Reading branch of HMV; did I ever tell you that? It was a hot summer’s day over two decades ago, and I was temping at the civil service, earning a little cash to see me through university. I’d while away the lunch breaks wandering the shops and would often find myself casually re-filing all the CDs that punters had left in the wrong places, only to have other customers assume that I worked there – at least that’s what I assumed, seeing as they were asking me to direct them to the Classical section. On this one particular Tuesday I dropped off in a dead faint not far from the video section and awoke as I was being shepherded down the escalator by two paramedics. I spent the afternoon in hospital. The next day I was back, moving Bob Dylan back to the D’s.

Moving on to other matters, there’s been drama over at Sandringham this week.

I was in an Oxford leisure centre yesterday when I overheard two elderly gentlemen remarking that “Young people have accidents too” – a sentiment I would not in any way disagree with. The remarkable thing about this was that I had genuinely forgotten that Prince Philip is standing there with his TV doppelganger, although Smith only plays him in the first two series, with Tobias Menzies taking over for series 3. The question of who they’ll get to play him in later series, as the televised queen approaches middle age, is still open to debate. Timothy Dalton, perhaps?

That episode was almost a decade ago. Can you believe it?

Yes, well, I can.

<giggles>

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The Great Doctor Who Party: 2016 edition (part two)

We’ll start with this.

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Well, he’s nine years old, right?

This is a simple sponge cake covered in icing. A notable exception is the head, which is made from Rice Krispie bars – we couldn’t have supported a sponge head with that neck (we couldn’t anyway, but we’ll get to that). Here’s the exoskeleton shot.

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Things went a little awry with this one. Emily had prepared (and iced) the head the night before, much the same as the one you can see in the top photo, simply to give her less to do on the day. Which was fine until we got to the next morning and discovered that the grey icing had turned dark green overnight, leaving the poor old dog looking rather like a disembodied zombie. Emily hastily constructed another layer – “but I’m not happy with it,” she said.

“No one will notice,” I replied. “And if it makes you feel any better, the original K-9 had several different models, and they were all slightly different.”

The other problem we had was the fact that the new, heavier head – consisting as it does of two layers – was now too heavy for the neck to support it, so Emily hastily constructed a glowing sculpture out of Lite Brix. You may accordingly insert your own head canon explanation of exactly what he’s choosing to rest his chin upon.

While all this was happening, Edward was watching Wallace and Gromit, having developed something of a fascination for it in recent weeks. It’s curious, of course, that the co-writer for most of the stories is none other than Bob Baker, something that would eventually become significant during their last animated film, A Matter of Loaf and Death, which opens with the murder of a local man who goes by the name of Baker Bob.

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They really should have had him baking a K-9 cake. Or at least a TARDIS. That would have worked.

Anyway, let’s get a look at the buffet.

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If you want to know what all these are, you’ll find them on the entry for the 2012 edition. We didn’t change very much – even the labels are the same – and the only addition was ‘Party Rings of Akhaten’ – it’s an episode that’s unfairly maligned, and it’s such an obvious joke. (Party rings, by the way, hold the record in our house for being the only snack food to vanish from the table faster than the barbecue Pringles.)

In the meantime, here are some close-ups. You will note that the Angel has its face covered, as a concession to Daniel, who finds them terrifying and who had to leave the room during the Lego Dimensions playthrough. (Needless to say I have yet to stick him in front of ‘Blink’.)

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We mentioned party bags in the previous installment – while the kids were eating, Emily went to fill them. We’d got lucky: the books turned up in a charity shop a matter of days before the event. Oh, and the paper bag’s full of jelly babies. Obviously.

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So it all went swimmingly, but I have a feeling that this won’t be the last Doctor Who themed party we’re asked to do. It won’t be for a year or two, but Daniel is likely to be next. I’m already half-planning the games, and Emily has probably had vague thoughts about the cake. Maybe we can persuade him to have a Weeping Angel.

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K-1

Years before the events of ‘The Invisible Enemy’, Professor Marius’s early prototype for K-9 was a resounding failure.

K-9

 

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Fish finger interlude

A review of ‘Hide’ will follow when I get round to watching it. In the meantime, here’s something Thomas produced over dinner.

K-9

“Look, Daddy!” he exclaimed. “It’s K-9!” And, of course, it was.

 

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Dogs and birds

I will, at some point, be talking about ‘The Invisible Enemy’, and all its sub-par Fantastic Voyage / Prisoner rip-off silliness. But before I finish the photo manipulation I wanted to mention K-9. Largely because it’s the first time we’ve seen him in the classic run, and already I hate him. He clatters around the medical facility annoying everyone with his high-pitched voice and crapping little ball bearings all over the place. The concept of stealth, or indeed quietness in general, does not exist for him. In the midst of this story I remembered I once had a K-9 ice lolly back in the early 1980s – it was orange flavour, and almost as imposing and unpleasant on the palate as Leeson’s insufferable tin dog was on the rest of my senses the other evening.

I mentioned this sense of irritation to Gareth, who sent a note of reassurance, and after that our conversation (somewhat restructured and slightly edited) went more or less like this…

Gareth: K-9 gets better when he’s used more sparingly. He’s also better the following season when he gets a quieter motor.

Me: Yes, although I gather that he then became something of a get-out clause, which is why they ultimately wrote him out. He’d become what the sonic screwdriver eventually became.

(My father refuses to read Lord of the Rings, despite my best efforts. He enjoyed The Hobbit, but basically has a problem with fantasy as a concept. It’s not so much the other world aspect as the use of magic, as he puts it, as a quick fix for any insurmountable problem – i.e. if they’re stuck in a dangerous situation they can use a spell to escape. I grant that this is almost certainly the case for a number of instances of bad writing, but I’ve never really found it a problem in Tolkien (apart from bits of The Hobbit). Nothing I say will convince him otherwise!)

Gareth: This is never a problem in LotR! Now if you’d talked about the Eagles…

Me: I know! I should get on at him again. I can sort of forgive the Eagles at the end of LoTR because ultimately it’s the destruction of the ring that turns the tide of the Black Gate battle. But he uses the same trick twice, and it feels a bit cheap.

Gareth: Twice in LotR, and once in The Hobbit! And yet the answer to “why don’t the Eagles just fly the Ring to Mount Doom in the first place?” isn’t in the book. Silly!

Me: Tolkien called them “a dangerous machine”. Practically there would have been difficulties. They’d have been seen, and the Nine would have attacked with their big dragon-type beasts – this would have been known from the start. It would have been a suicide run. Because of this, and also because of the fact that the eagles are simply quite lofty creatures, they’d probably have refused.

Gareth: I know the reasons! They’re also the servants of Manwe, and Manwe would probably regard such matters as trifling internal affairs of Middle-Earth.

Me: Oh yes, I’d forgotten the Manwe connection.

But all you needed for this was a paragraph of explanation, in which Gandalf says “Yes, we thought about doing an airdrop, but Gwaihir really doesn’t want to, and anyway I used up all my favours at the Battle of Five Armies”. And then another paragraph at the siege of Minas Tirith in which Gandalf sends a scout (“A scout!”*) to the eagles to ask for help, and then we don’t hear anything else until the end of the book, when they arrive to assist at the Black Gate. That would have been just about plausible: the idea that they had to be convinced, just as the Ents did in the film (and yes, I know that’s wrong, but it works as a dramatic device).

* Sorry, that’s only funny if you’ve played Aragorn’s Quest.

Gareth: Indeed. Something in the Council Of Elrond would have done. “We tried getting Eagles to carry the Ring, but the pesky birds turned invisible. And since Eagles navigate by tracking their shadows on the ground, the stupid things kept crashing into trees. One even got wedged in an Ent’s ear. His ear!”

Me: Couldn’t they have got the elves to take it with them to the undying lands, and then drop it in the ocean on the way? That’s a pretty sure way of losing it for a couple of millennia. Or, you know, they could have stuck it on the top of the shelf where I keep my CD markers. Then it’s guaranteed that no one will ever see it again.

Gareth: But it would still exist, and Sauron was growing powerful already. The Ring needed to be destroyed to break his power.

Me: I am going to blog this, by the way.

Gareth: Really? Is it worth it? We haven’t said anything that hasn’t been said hundreds of times before.

Me: Yes, but that’s what the internet is *for*.

Really it’s about how our Who discussions take us in all sorts of weird directions.

Gareth: It wasn’t that weird!

K9 -> cheap get-out clause
Eagles -> cheap get-out claws

There’s an obvious connection.

Me: What we really need now is some sort of random LOTR connection back to Who.

Gareth:

Me: Thanks, that’ll do it.

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Museum piece

Bromyard is one of those towns my family encounters frequently but never actually experiences properly. It’s situated on the A44, equidistant – or near enough – between Worcester and Leominster (two great examples of English place names that sound nothing like their spelling would suggest they do). It is a place we drive through if we are returning to or from Emily’s parents’ Shropshire abode – assuming we’re going the pretty way (i.e. the route that doesn’t involve tedious, tank-emptying stretches of the M40). The problem with the non-motorway route is that while it saves on fuel it does tend to take longer, particularly on the lengthy A44 stretch, as it is a favourite route of caravans, milk tankers, tractors or slow-moving pensioners, and you can count the number of safe overtaking spots on the fingers of Homer Simpson’s left hand. Normally when I’ve driving through Bromyard I’m either exhilarated that we’re making reasonable time, or drumming my fingers on the wheel, and praying that the slowcoach in front with an upper speed limit of thirty-five miles an hour (including in built-up areas, which really irritates me) is going to turn off soon.

On Easter Monday, however, we stopped here, because there’s a town centre attraction I’ve been wanting to visit for years. You may remember a while back that I posted photos of the Doctor Who exhibition we went to in Cardiff – all bright lights, flashing models and relatively light on actual content. We’d driven through Bromyard and seen signs for the Time Machine museum there a number of times, but had never actually got round to going. Thomas can be a bit highly strung when it comes to stuff like this, and I was blowed if I was going to pay five quid for entry only to have him tear about the place in one of his moments of silliness. So the fact that he was, on this occasion, staying in Shropshire with his grandparents gave us the perfect excuse.

Daniel lasted a minute and a half. It didn’t help that he was tired. It also didn’t help that the moment you walk through the door there’s a whopping great Dalek in the entrance by the TARDIS door, as the Who music loops in the background: effective for conjuring up the spirit of the thing but not so good if you’re a sleepy three-year-old (or near enough) who is discovering lately that certain things frighten him more and more. We had, I think, been lulled into a false sense of security after Cardiff, when – being too young to really understand – he had been taken in by the sights and sounds; if I remember correctly it was Joshua we’d had to reassure and console. But today, Daniel was having none of it. We tried to show him that it was just a bunch of models and that nothing was real, but since Cardiff, he’s actually seen the show, and after five minutes of screaming and head-burying and cries of “I DON’T LIKE IT, IT’S TOO SCARY!” Em and I cut our losses and she took him back to the car, while I walked round with Josh. Then we switched. Daniel dozed on my shoulder while Josh went on his second circuit, gleefully pointing on each occasion at the stuff he recognised and, after coming across an enormous poster of two police officers posing by a Cortina, asking why The Master was in Life on Mars. (I confess I was too busy admiring Sam Tyler’s leather jacket – which I’m still annoyed I didn’t photograph – to give him a proper answer.)

Speaking of photos, these aren’t great, but they do give you a general idea. One of the lovely things about the place is that  it’s stacked full of memorabilia from the show’s golden age – there is plenty of new stuff as well (including a substantial collection of barely-glimpsed alien costumes from the bar scene of ‘The End of Time’, gleefully mounted in every single display case with a sense of glee which frankly borders on overkill) but I was whooping with delight at the sight of Patrick Troughton dolls, old Cybermen and – most thrillingly of all – an actual Zygon. Elsewhere there’s a model Starbug (of Red Dwarf), and plenty of Thunderbirds stuff. It’s not huge, but you can spend a happy hour there looking at everything. I’d have enjoyed it more had we actually had the chance to go round it together, rather than having to work in shifts, but that’s the way it goes.

Those pictures, then…

Daleks! The one front left is the 1966 edition. The gold one on the right hand side is 2005. Note the increased size. Maybe we’re all just getting taller.

‘Earthshock’ Cyberman. I cried. If you’ve seen it, you’ll know why.

The gold outfit worn by Robert Llewellyn in ‘Krytie TV’, Red Dwarf VIII

Starbug!

Ood!

See, there’s always one idiot who has to mug at the back and ruin the picture.

Davros reconstruction

Sycorax warrior

Gene Hunt’s I.D.

Silurian. I’m not sure if this is the 70s or 80s version.

“Seriously, they don’t let me out of here soon I’ll pee battery acid all over the floor of this case.”

Matt Smith’s white tie from ‘The Big Bang’, apparently the only Eleventh Doctor outfit on show in a private collection.

It’s blurry and poorly lit, but IT’S A ZYGON!

It’s still blurry and still poorly lit, but IT’S A ZYGON!

Costumes from ‘The Family of Blood’. Or, as son no.1 put it, “Why does that monster have no arms and no head?”

1967 vs 2006. No contest for scariness. Absolutely none.

Do go, if you get the chance. Just leave the three-year-old at home.

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