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Happy Birthday, You-Know-Who! November 23, 2017

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Today is one of those days when something remarkably good and life affirming comes along.

Today is a birthday, but not just of any one person, but of a special tv series.

On this date, November 23rd, 1963, the BBC debuted the first episode of a brand new science fiction television programme called… Doctor Who. Entitled “An Unearthly Child”, that first episode (which aired when I was 8 years old, and the memories I have of it still to this day…) starred William Hartnell as the Doctor (referred to always as Dr. Who or Doctor Who) and introduced the world to this mysterious traveller and his incredible time machine known as the TARDIS.

The episode also featured Carole Ann Ford as Susan (Foreman), Jacqueline Hill as Barbara Wright and William Russell as Ian Chesterton. The story began when two school teachers shared their concerns about one of their pupils – Susan. She’s brilliant in some subjects but bizarrely out of kilter in others. To assuage their curiosity, they follow her home, but discover ‘home’ is a blue police box in an old junk yard. Once they enter the box their lives, and television history, would never be the same.

I still have fond memories of the travels of William Hartnell’s Doctor and his companions – the planet Skaro, and those creatures called Daleks, and then having the Daleks show up on Earth!; visiting with Marco Polo; a terrifying trip in time to visit the Aztecs; the planet Marinus, and its denizens, the Voord; the Doctor and his companions being reduced to tiny versions of themselves and having to survive in a world of giants; a visit to the Crusades, and meeting Richard the Lionheart; the planet of the Menoptera and the Animus; and so many more – and grew up with the series in those early years. I remember being shocked and startled at the regeneration of William Hartnell’s Doctor into the younger Patrick Troughton, but still loved the Doctor, and revelled in the newness and different feel that Troughton brought to the role. So many good memories of the early Doctor Who series. And of the continuing history of the show with different actors taking on the persona of the Doctor over the years. This show pretty much sparked my interests in both history (some time periods more than others!) and time travel, and gave me a different view of how tv and movie science fiction could be (as did Star Trek later on).

What it comes down to is this: Doctor Who has been a part of my life for 54 years (!!), and that battered blue box is still transporting the Time Lord known as the Doctor (who’s been through a few bodies!) and his various companions to worlds of wonder and adventure. And whole new generations of children got to discover the Doctor with the Chris Eccleston, David Tennant, Matt Smith, and Peter Capaldi interpretations of the characters. And now, a whole new era for the series begins with the first woman, Jodie Whitaker, about to take on the role of the Doctor. I’m looking forward to it, believe me. But for me, William Hartnell and Patrick Troughton will always be *my* Doctors. So…

Happy Birthday, Doctor, and long may you continue your travels through time and space (regardless of what gender you are in any incarnation of the character)!

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Happy Birthday, Ciarán McMenamin October 1, 2017

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There’s a birthday in the Primeval tv series family today.

Happy Birthday to Ciarán McMenamin today!

Ciarán is the talented actor who played Matt Anderson in Series 4 and 5 of the Primeval tv series. Ciarán, who turns 41 years of age today, has a pretty decent set of credits in both television and film (see the link above).

It took me a few episodes of watching Primeval UK Series 4 to come to like the character of Matt, who had all manner of secrets (but don’t most of the characters in the series?), and the last moment of Series 5 made me desperately want to see more of Matt (both of him). Sorry that the series is gone, to be honest, as I’d really come to like his character.

So here’s wishing Ciarán McMenamin a terrific birthday today!

Friday Afternoon Thoughts September 29, 2017

Posted by jkahane in health hut, personal, rpg hut, the dark eye rpg, tv hut.
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Have spent part of the day sleeping in, and part of the day doing a bit of cleaning up around the house (in a very general fashion).

The afternoon has been spent watching a few episodes of stuff on PVR, and just letting my feet have some time off the floor and ground. I’ve also spent a bit of time reading a couple of things for The Dark Eye RPG in preparation for this evening’s session with the Friday night players.

Happy Birthday, Jason Flemyng! September 25, 2017

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There’s a birthday in the Primeval tv series family today.

Happy Birthday to Jason Flemyng today!

Jason is the talented actor who played Danny Quinn in Series 3 of the Primeval tv series, and who reprised the role in Series 4 a couple of times. Jason, who turns 50 years of age today, has a pretty impressive CV in movies and tv, appearing in Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1998), Snatch (2000), Rob Roy (1995), From Hell (2001), and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (2003). He’s done some prominent work in both theatre and television in the UK (check out the link above). He also speaks fluent French. A lot of tv and science fiction fans remember him for his work on Primeval UK, though he’s done a lot of other work, too. One of his more memorable turns of recent years was as the villainous Vadim in The Musketeers (2014).

I can’t say that Danny Quinn was one of my favourite characters in Primeval, but I certainly warmed to him by the end of Series 3, and was sorry to see him depart. His reappearance in Series 4 came as quite a surprise, a pleasant one.

So here’s wishing Jason Flemyng a terrific birthday today!

Happy Birthday, Abigail Spencer! August 4, 2017

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Happy Birthday, Abigail Spencer!

It’s Abigail Spencer’s birthday today. The talented actress who was born in Florida turns 36 years old today.

I’m a huge fan of Abigail’s portrayal of Lucy Preston on the Timeless tv series (which will be back for a second, or is it a third season?, hooray!), but also know her from her work on Rectify (fabulous show, go watch it!), Suits and Mad Men. And she’ll be appearing in a multi-episode story arc this fall on Grey’s Anatomy, in addition to her continuing work on Timeless.

Here’s wishing Abigail Spencer a wonderful birthday. May the Goddess bless you with good health, happiness, prosperity, and a long run on Timeless! 🙂

R.I.P. Deborah Watling (1948-2017) July 21, 2017

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Sad news in the world of Doctor Who.

Deborah Watling has died. The actress played companion Victoria Waterfield during the Patrick Troughton era of the show

Deborah Watling, Doctor Who Companion, Dies at 69

I really only knew Deborah Watling through her work on Doctor Who, where she took on the role of Victoria Waterfield from “The Evil of the Daleks” (1967) through “Fury From the Deep” (1968). After leaving the show, she appeared in numerous TV roles including Danger UXB (1979), Rising Damp: Hello Young Lovers (1978), and Doctor in Charge (1972) as well as doing a lot of work in the theatre.

My favourite moment with Victoria from the Second Doctor’s period is this bit from “The Tomb of the Cybermen”:

Rest In Piece, Deborah. Your memory will live on when I close my eyes. Goodbye.

R.I.P. Martin Landau (1928-2017) July 17, 2017

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I heard this morning that actor Martin Landau died yesterday.

Oscar-winning Actor Martin Landau Dies at 89

Actor Martin Landau has over 177 acting credits to his name, but to be honest, I remember him best as Rollin Hand from Mission Impossible (1966-1969) and Commander John Koenig from Space: 1999 (1975-1977). I saw him in various other roles over the years, but these two were the most memorable for me, to be honest, and I loved his performance in these roles very much. Another of his memorable roles came in his Oscar-winning performance as Bela Lugosi in Ed Wood (1994).

Rest In Peace, Martin Landau. Moonbase Alpha salutes you.

And the New Doctor Is… July 16, 2017

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The BBC and the Doctor Who offices (with Chris Chibnall in charge) have announced who the new, 13th Doctor will be for the Doctor Who tv series.

Jodie Whittaker (or the Wikipedia entry instead) will be the first female Doctor in the history of the show, and I say…good for her! Jodie is a brilliant actress, whose work I first saw in Attack the Block (2011) and she really excelled at the role of Beth Latimer in the three series of Broadchurch (2013-2017), but I’ve also seen her in other roles as well. Chris Chibnall, the incoming showrunner for Doctor Who following the Christmas Special, has made a bold choice and taken a risk in bringing in a female Doctor to the show.

There has been a very large backlash about the hiring of a female Doctor, mostly from fanboys who don’t have positive, future thinking or who are still living in the past. But Doctor Who has to evolve, has to stay fresh, and to be honest the ground has been laid for a female Doctor, even before the Master became Missy.

I don’t know what to expect from Jodie Whittaker in the role, to be honest, but I’ll give it a chance regardless. She’s a great actor, and will excel in the role as long as Chris Chibnall has a firm grip on the series and the writing on the show excels. Because it was the latter that plagued Peter Capaldi’s entire run of Doctor Who, and if Jodie doesn’t get some good writing, well…

In the meantime, Doctor Who fandom, give her a chance. We have a new Doctor. And it’s lucky 13. 🙂

Happy Birthday, Laila Rouass! June 22, 2017

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Today is the birthday of Laila Rouass, one of my favourite British actresses of the current day.

Born of Moroccan and Indian parents, Laila’s been making a lot of tv and stuff – Footballers’ Wives, roles in British soaps Family Affairs and Hollyoaks, the ninth series of Spooks, the Holby City series, The Royals series, and most recently Stella. She also has a good resumé in the movies, making films that have strong messages and meanings. Of course, I am fondest of her as Dr. Sarah Page in the Primeval tv series.

While I understand her reasons for leaving the Primeval tv series, I still love her as an actress, and watch her appearances in tv and film whenever I can.

Happy Birthday, Laila! Hope you are having a marvellous birthday today, and that you have a terrific year ahead of you!

R.I.P. Stephen Furst (1955-2017) June 17, 2017

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Sad news in the entertainment industry once more today, especially for fans of the Babylon 5 tv series and movies.

Animal House Actor, Stephen Furst, Dead at 63

Actor Stephen Furst, has died of complications of diabetes. He was 63. While many knew him best as Flounder in Animal House (1978), I was better acquainted with the actor through his role as Dr. Axelrod in St. Elsewhere (1982-1988) and his role as Vir Cotto on Babylon 5, though he also had a myriad of roles in other tv shows, movies, and the like.

R.I.P. Stephen Furst. A toast to absent friends, in memory still bright. Farewell, on behalf of a grateful Centauri Republic. May you sleep in light.