Wednesday, 15 January 2014

RELAUNCHING SOON....WITH NEW STUFF!!!

Oh it's been a long, long time and there have been SO many distractions (not least my commitments to the new Starburst Magazine) but it's nearly time....World of Stuff will be back soon with a new mix of eclectic rambling content. Keep the faith and stick around...

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

DVD REVIEW: DOCTOR WHO - THE ARK IN SPACE (SPECIAL EDITION)

Welcome back; it's been a while. Hopefully a few bits and pieces will be turning up here more regularly in the weeks and months to come - a lot of my time and energy has been devoted to my contributions for the relaunched Starburst Magazine and its associated website - www.starburstmagazine.com. For starters here's the uneditted verison of my review for the forthcoming 'Doctor Who - Ark in Space' special edition DVD...
Tom Baker’s second serial 'Doctor Who' , ‘The Ark in Space’, was a massive and abrupt change of pace for Doctor Who and a huge culture shock for viewers following ‘Robot’, the actor’s first serial which maintained the style and flavour of the era of his predecessor, Jon Pertwee. The show’s firebrand new producer, Philip Hinchcliffe, was keen to move the series away from the plastic maggots, dinosaurs and spiders of the previous era (although ‘Ark in Space’ has its fair share of deadly bubble wrap) and into a darker, more serious and just plain more science-fiction direction and ‘The Ark In Space’ was a hugely-successful statement of intent which sent the series’ ratings soaring and cemented Tom Baker’s position as the Doctor in the eyes of the audience. The TARDIS lands on a deserted space station thousands of years into the future and find the remains of humanity in deep suspended animation following a solar flare cataclysm which has rendered the Earth uninhabitable. They discover that the station’s operating systems have been compromised by invading space insects called The Wirrn who plan to lay claim to the now-habitable Earth by transforming their sleeping human hosts into Wirrn before swarming across the planet.
Despite its shoestring budget ’The Ark in Space’ is a gold plated Doctor Who classic, a ‘base-under-siege’ story in the show’s grand style, with a group of humans trapped in an enclosed environment and threatened by a hostile alien force. But ‘The Ark in Space’ is a bit more realistic and urgent than those which went before; this time the threat isn’t a bunch of stuntmen in big green monster suits, the threat is much more sinister, the threat of bodily invasion and transformation always more disturbing than traditional ‘monsters from outer space’. The Wirrn themselves are space locusts and whilst their realisation might not convince a modern audience they come with all the creepy trappings of insect infestation; there’s a vicious grub on the loose and slime trails across the floor and even some Doctor Who-style body horror as the station’s revived commander, Noah, is transmogrified into a Wirrn courtesy of lots and lots of bubble wrap and a can of green paint. But it’s a taut, well-written tale - Robert Holmes at close to his best - and there’s a stifling sense of isolation and claustrophobia in Roger Murray-Leach’s brilliantly designed sets which actually manage to give a sense of scale and size to the Nerva Beacon despite the pennies available to realise them.
Freed from the show’s familiar Earth-bound trappings Tom Baker flies out from under Pertwee’s shadow and his performance here sees the fourth Doctor at his best; he’s grim and portentous, there’s a twinkling humour coming to the fore and Baker absolutely gets the balance right between the Doctor as the hero and the Doctor as the unpredictable, slightly dangerous alien. Elisabeth Sladen’s Sarah Jane and Ian Marter’s golly-gosh UNIT surgeon Harry Sullivan are comfortable foils for Baker but it’s already apparent that the new Doctor doesn’t really need a young male companion (as the production team quickly, if reluctantly, realised) as Harry doesn’t get a lot to do here except patronise Sarah Jane and get his shoes blown up. ‘The Ark in Space’ absolutely deserves its place as one of the greats in Doctor Who history and its reputation grows with the passing of time. This new DVD release is the latest in the BBC’s current run of ‘special editions’ of early releases in the range, stories revisited because developing technology can improve the image - ‘Ark in Space’ now looks pinpoint sharp - and gives the opportunity for the story to receive the ‘special feature’ treatment of more recent titles. If you‘ve already bought the previous release, this new edition of ‘The Ark in Space’ is a worthy double-dip as, in addition to the optional 2002 CGI special effects sequences, commentary and designer interview which adorned the first release, there’s plenty of new stuff here including ‘New Frontier’, a proper cast and crew ‘making of’ (but with no involvement from Tom Baker which is a shame as this is such an important story in his character’s development) and ‘Dr Forever - Love and War’ which looks at the history of the ‘new’ Doctor Who books which appeared after the series’ cancellation in 1989. ‘The Ark in Space’ was the launch pad for a whole new style of Doctor Who in the 1970s, the UNIT soldiers and rubber monsters of the previous era quickly left behind as the series, for a while at least, became proper science-fiction with slightly higher ambitions than just sending the kids scurrying behind the sofa. Every Doctor Who fan needs ‘The Ark in Space’ in their collection and this brilliant new 2-disc set finally does justice to one of the very best stories in the show’s history. Special features: Commentary, ‘making of’ documentary, history of Doctor Who books documentary, designer interview, footage of Tom Baker visiting Northern Ireland in the 1970s, silent footage from filming of Baker’s debut ‘Robot’, trailers. Doctor Who - The Ark in Space (Special Edition) is released on 25th February 2013 in the UK

Saturday, 11 August 2012

Movie recommendation: Cockneys Vs Zombies....31st August

I recently had the pleasure of popping down to That London to attend a movie press screening for Starburst Magazine; the film's 'Cockneys Vs Zombies' and it's co-written by James Moran who's penned episodes of 'Spooks', 'Torchwood', 'Primeval' and 'Doctor Who' over the last efw eyars as well as the 2005 horror 'Severance'. 'No, not more zombies' - I can almost hear your wail of despair. But wait, this is different, this is good, this has got a different take on what's now become a threadbare horror genre. Fast, funny, furious and full of f******g swearing, it's a hoot and half and hits cinemas in the UK on 31st August. It comes highly recommended so Go See It! Here be the trailer: be warned - bad words are used.

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Torchwood's back!! Read all about it...

After the lukewarm response to last year's fourth 'Torchwood' series, 'Miracle Day', you'd be forgiven for thinking that we might have seen the last - for now, at least - of the indestructible Captain Jack Harkness, Gwen Cooper and co. Apparently not though - the franchise lives on in book form and this new novel, written by Jack-tor John Barrowman and his sister Carole (they previously collaborated on a well-received children's book, 'Hollow Earth', itself in the frame for a TV series next year) is on its way. It certainly evokes the 'global conspiracy' style of the last two series of the TV show... It starts with a series of unexplained events. Earth tremors across the globe. People being driven insane by their heightened and scrambled senses. And the world is starting to notice – the number one Twitter trend is #TheLoco. Governments and scientists are bewildered and silent. The world needs Torchwood, but there’s not much of Torchwood left. Captain Jack has tracked the problem to its source: a village in Peru, where he’s uncovered evidence of alien involvement. Back in Cardiff, Gwen Cooper has discovered something lurking inside the Torchwood software – something alien and somehow connected to Jack. If the world is to be restored, she has to warn him – but she’s quickly becoming a victim of the madness, too! Torchwood: Exodus Code is released in hardback in the UK next month.

Friday, 3 August 2012

The Daleks...like you've never heard them before!

Now this borders on genius. Or madness. Or both. Some enterprising Doctor Who fan - or someone with far too much time on their hands (which may be the same thing) decided it might be interesting to remove Roy Skelton's familiar Dalek voices from the 1979 Doctor Who serial 'Destiny of the Daleks' and replace them with the same actor's voices - Bungle and Zippy and co - from the 1970s lunchtime kid's series Rainbow. This was the result...

Look, Who's back....soon....

You've seen it a dozen times or more by now, of course you have, but this is the sort of thing that always bears reblogging. The Doctor's back in his first run of new adventures since last year's forgettable Christmas special. Matt Smith is the Doctor in his third series of Doctor Who, expected to commence on BBC1 on August 25th for an initial five-week run...

Coming soon to cinemas and DVD - The Dinosaur Project

Dino fans of all ages - especially the kids - will be thrilled to learn of a new prehistoric monster movie on its way to cinemas in the UK for a limited theatrical run on August 10th before hitting DVD/Blu Ray on 27th August. This exciting found footage-style movie...wait, don't run away...tells of the exploits of a group of Sky News reporters who travel to the Congo following rumours of the existence of dinosaurs in search of the fabled Mokele Mbembe to find out the truth once and for all... 'World of Stuff' brings you this exclusive clip from the movie...