Doctor Who: Tin Dog Podcast
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TDP 242: The Daemons

During a storm that whips through the village of Devil's End in Wiltshire, a dog gets away from its owner. He pursues it into a graveyard, only to encounter something unseen and die. The local doctor says that it was a heart attack, but Olive Hawthorne, the local witch, insists that the man died of fright. She has cast the runes, and there is evil afoot.

Near the village, an archaeological dig is excavating the infamous Devil's Hump, a Bronze Age burial mound. The dig is being covered by BBC Three. The interviewer, Alistair Fergus, speaks to the cantankerous Professor Horner, who claims that the Hump holds the treasure and tomb of a warrior chieftain, and that he plans to open the tomb at the stroke of midnight on April 30, the pagan festival of Beltane.

The television coverage is being watched by the Third Doctor and Jo at UNIT. While the Doctor scoffs at Jo's notions of the coming of the Age of Aquarius and the supernatural, he feels that something is wrong with the dig. On the television, they see Olive go to the dig to protest, warning of great evil and the coming of the horned one, but she is dismissed as a crank. The Doctor tells Jo that Olive Hawthorne is right — the dig must be stopped, and they start off to Devil's End.

Olive returns to the village, and a strong wind whips up out of nowhere. She raises her hands to dismiss it, not knowing that the local constable, PC Groom, has gone into a trance behind her and is about to strike her with a stone. The wind dies down as she chants, and PC Groom regains his senses before he lands the blow. Olive then goes to see the vicar, but he has been mysteriously replaced with a new one, Rev. Magister. Magister — actually the Master — tries to assure her that her fears are unfounded, but his hypnosis fails to overcome Olive's will, and she says she will find someone who will believe her.

The Doctor and Jo, driving to Devil's End, get lost when a wind spins a signpost and points them in the wrong direction. Over at the Hump, tempers start to flare for no reason. When the Doctor and Jo stop by the village pub to get directions, one of the villagers goes and informs the Master of the Doctor's presence. The Master tells him to get dressed for the ceremony.

On the way to the Hump, the Doctor's car, Bessie, is blocked by a fallen tree. Unable to budge it, the Doctor and Jo rush to the mound on foot. The Master, dressed in ceremonial robes and with a coven of thirteen acolytes, starts a summoning ritual in the church catacombs. As his chanting grows more frenzied, the Doctor and Jo reach the mound and the Doctor rushes inside to stop Horner, but it is too late. The tomb door opens and icy gusts of wind rush out and the ground begins to shake, toppling the camera crew and even the coven in the catacombs. The Master laughs triumphantly and calls the entity's name — Azal, and the eyes of a gargoyle, Bok, flare with a reddish glow. Jo enters the mound to find Horner and the Doctor motionless, covered with frost.

Horner is dead, and the Doctor seems dead as well. The Master uses a knife to indicate a stone covered in ritual markings as the "appointed place", dismissing the coven. Back at UNIT, Captain Mike Yates and Sergeant Benton were watching the end of the broadcast as it went dead. They try to find out what's going on while attempting to contact the Brigadier, who had earlier gone for a night at the opera. Meanwhile, the village doctor discovers that the Doctor may not be entirely dead after all, but is puzzled when he hears the beating of two hearts. Jo telephones Yates, who tells her he will be there by helicopter in the morning, just as the line is cut off from the outside. The Master prays in the church as Jo watches over the still unconscious Doctor in the pub. At the dig, the ground shakes and the constable on duty sees something gigantic with heavy footsteps, and falls.

In the morning, Yates and Benton fly by helicopter to Devil's End, and see burn marks on the fields before the village that resemble enormous footprints. Once in Devil's End, Benton decides to look around the village while Yates finally manages to contact the Brigadier, who is not pleased that Yates has commandeered his helicopter, and calls for a car. Benton, looking around in the church, finds Olive trapped in a cupboard, where the Master's verger, Garvin, had locked her. Down in the cellar to hide from Garvin, she tells Benton about Magister. Garvin comes down with a rifle, and Benton tries to disarm him. In the ensuing fight, Benton falls on the marked stone and seizes up. Garvin holds both of them at gunpoint and moves them outside, just as the ground starts to shake. Garvin fires up at something gigantic, but is engulfed in a fireball. The heat wave extends even into the village, knocking Jo and Yates down, just as the Doctor awakens with a start. Olive and Benton make their way back to the pub, and the Doctor discusses the incident with Olive, who says that she saw the devil, 30 feet high and with horns. The Doctor is told of the new vicar, and realises who is behind this, as "Magister" is Latin for "Master".

The Brigadier finds himself unable to enter the village, as there is a barrier surrounding it that causes anything trying to enter to heat up and burst into flame. He contacts Yates and is briefed on the situation while the Doctor and Jo return to the dig, an act the Master seems to be able to sense. They find the constable dead and a small spaceship in the mound the same shape as the Hump. Jo tries to lift it but cannot, as the Doctor explains that it weighs 750 tons. Suddenly, Bok leaps into the tent covering the entrance to the tomb, about to attack.

The Doctor wards him off with some words in a strange language and an iron trowel. The Doctor explains to Jo that it was actually the words of a Venusian lullaby — it was the gargoyle's own superstition that drove it back.

The Master, in the meantime, hypnotises the squire, Winstanley, as Olive and the Doctor debate about whether it is magic or science that is at work here. The Brigadier discovers that the heat shield is dome shaped, centred on the church, with a radius of ten miles out and one mile high. The Doctor shows the others pictures of various horned gods and demons from Olive's occult and history book collection, and explains that the creature Olive saw was an extraterrestrial, one of the Dæmons from the planet Dæmos, 60,000 light years away, who came to Earth one hundred thousand years before. The small spaceship's actual size is 200 feet long and 30 feet across, and the heat and cold waves they have been experiencing are the result of the energy displaced when the ship shrinks or grows. The Doctor further explains that the Dæmons have influenced Earth throughout its history, becoming part of human myth, and see the planet as a giant experiment. The Master has called the Dæmon up once, and right now, it is so small as to be invisible. The third summoning, however, could signal the end of the experiment, and the world.

The Brigadier contacts Yates and says he is about to try attacking the heat shield from the air. The Doctor warns him not to, saying that it would only strengthen it, and suggests they use a diathermic energy exchanger. When UNIT technician Osgood fails to understand what the Doctor is getting at, he says he will come out and explain. When he does so, Tom Girton, one the villagers working with Master, hijacks the UNIT helicopter and uses it to attack the Doctor. The Doctor manages to swerve Bessie out of the way and the helicopter explodes against the heat shield. As the Doctor relates his instructions to Osgood, who protests that it goes against the laws of physics, the Master summons Azal again. A heat wave and an earth tremor once again sweeps through the village as Azal curses the Master for daring to summon him again.

The Master tries to dismiss Azal with an iron candlestick holder, but it does not seem to work. He demands that Azal give him the power that is his right, but Azal warns him that he is not the Master's servant. Azal also senses the presence of another like the Master, and wants to speak to the Doctor to see if he is worthy to take over the world. Azal says on his third appearance, he will decide if Earth deserves to continue existing. If so, he will give it to the Master. Azal then vanishes in another heat wave.

After explaining the process of creating the exchanger to Osgood, the Doctor returns to the village. However, the Master's agents are at work, and he is soon captured by a mob of villagers and tied up to a maypole, about to be burned alive. Olive goes to the mob and tells them that the Doctor is a mighty wizard, and with some help from Benton's silenced Pistol and a remote controlled Bessie, convinces the mob that the Doctor does indeed have magical powers. Jo and Mike, meanwhile, have returned to the church cellar and watch, hidden, as the Master gathers his coven to summon Azal one last time. Jo tries to interrupt the ritual, but it is too late.

With another rush of heat, Azal manifests himself and Jo and Yates are taken prisoner. Outside, the Doctor explains that to the now calmer villagers that his "magic" was due to science, and so is the Master's trickery. The rituals are merely used to focus the psychokinetic energy of humans that the Master needs to summon the Dæmons. As Jo is prepared as a sacrifice to Azal, the exchanger finally works and UNIT forces go through the gap created in the heat shield, but the gap only lasts a few minutes and the exchanger soon overloads. Mike manages to escape and tell the Doctor about Jo, but Bok is guarding the entrance to the catacombs. The use of the exchanger momentarily weakens Bok and Azal, and the Doctor manages to rush by the gargoyle. He makes it down to the cellar, where the Master is expecting him.

Outside, UNIT troops start firing at Bok, who can disintegrate objects and people with a wave of his hand, but he is also bulletproof. Even a bazooka does not work, as the pieces of the gargoyle reform almost instantly. Inside the church, the Master makes his case to the Dæmon that he will rule the Earth experiment's people for their own good. The Doctor argues that Man should be given a chance to grow up. Azal finally decides to give his power to the Master, and fires electricity at the Doctor to kill him. However, Jo, steps in front of the Doctor, asking Azal to kill her instead. This act of self-sacrifice does not make sense to Azal, and the confusion sends him into an agony. He shouts for all of them to leave as he is dying. Bok reverts to his stone form, and as everyone runs out of the church, it blows up. The Master tries to escape in Bessie, but the Doctor's remote control brings the car back, and the Master is taken into custody, to be put in maximum security.

Olive Hawthorne hears the sound of bird songs and the smell of flowers once again, as the Earth is reborn each May Day. Olive takes Benton to dance around the maypole with the rest of the townsfolk, while Yates and the Brigadier go off to the pub for a drink. The Doctor and Jo join the dance, as the May Day celebrations continue and the Doctor remarks to Jo that perhaps there is magic in the world after all.

Continuity

  • The television news programme filmed at Devil's End was depicted as broadcast on a fictional channel called BBC Three. Since 2003, BBC Three has been an actual digital BBC channel.
  • The Doctor uses the words of a Venusian lullaby to ward off Bok. He uses the lullaby again in The Curse of Peladon & The Monster of Peladon, singing the words to a tune which is actually the Christmas carol "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen". Venusian Lullaby is the title of a 1994 Virgin Missing Adventures novel by Paul Leonard featuring the First Doctor.
  • In the 2007 episode "Utopia", two sound clips from this story ("Destroy him!" & "Then you will give your power to me!") were used when professor Yana prepares to open his fob watch.
  • Fan myths associated with this story include the rumour that there was a sixth episode where the Master escaped from UNIT, recalled Azal, and killed everyone in Devil's End including the Doctor. This was actually an April Fool's Day joke in the fan magazine DWB.
  • Guy Leopold, who is credited with writing the story, is a pseudonym for Robert Sloman and Barry Letts.[1]

Production

Serial details by episode
EpisodeBroadcast dateRun timeViewership
(in millions)
Archive
"Episode One" 22 May 1971 25:05 9.2 PAL D3 colour restoration
"Episode Two" 29 May 1971 24:20 8.0 PAL D3 colour restoration
"Episode Three" 5 June 1971 24:27 8.1 PAL D3 colour restoration
"Episode Four" 12 June 1971 24:25 8.1 PAL 2" colour videotape
"Episode Five" 19 June 1971 24:04 8.3 PAL D3 colour restoration
[2][3][4]
  • Working titles for this story included The Demons.
  • Much of the serial was filmed on location in Aldbourne, Wiltshire.[5]
  • The last episode of the story contains footage of a model church being blown up, the scene was realistic enough to lead many viewers to believe that the BBC had actually blown up a church as part of the filming. The BBC received a number of letters complaining about this.[5]

Cast notes

Outside references

  • The clip of the Brigadier's helicopter blowing up as it crashes into the heat shield is borrowed from the James Bond film From Russia with Love.[6]
  • Many have noted the similarities between this story's plot and that of the 1958 BBC serial and 1967 Hammer film Quatermass and the Pit. Both involve the unearthing of an extraterrestrial spaceship, an alien race that has interfered with human evolution and is the basis for legends of devils, demons and witchcraft, and places with "devilish" names - Devil's End in this case, and Hob's Lane in Pit.
  • The Master actually (and possibly deliberately) misquotes the occultist Aleister Crowley at one point saying "To do my will shall be the whole of the law". Crowley is famous for the similar "Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law."
  • The incantation that the Master uses in summoning Azal is actually the nursery rhyme "Mary Had a Little Lamb" said backwards.
  • The Doctor is briefly given the alias of "the Great Wizard Qui Quae Quod." This is actually the masculine, feminine, and neuter nominative forms of the relative pronoun "who", in Latin.
  • At one point the Doctor refers to the laws of aerodynamics proving that bumble bees should be incapable of flight, which is an urban legend.[7][8]

Broadcast and reception

The story was repeated on BBC One as a condensed omnibus edition over Christmas 1971 (28/12/71 at 4.20pm). The omnibus's opening credits gave the title as Doctor Who and the Dæmons. The closing credits used were for those of episode 5, necessitating the BBC1 continuity announcer naming the cast and crew from earlier episodes.[9]

Of the original 625-line PAL colour videotapes as an example of 1970s Doctor Who, all except Episode Four were wiped for reuse. However, a converted 525-line colour NTSC version recorded off-air from an American broadcast was made available to the BBC. This version was abridged and unsuitable for transmission as it was not of broadcast standard (the original US recordings were made on a domestic Betamax VCR). In 1992 the colour signal from the NTSC tapes was used as the basis for restoring the colour to the 16mm monochrome telerecordings of episodes one, two, three and five. These versions were subsequently repeated on BBC2 on consecutive Fridays in November/December 1992 (20/11/92 to 18/12/92 at 7.15pm).

Jon Pertwee stated numerous times over the years that this was his favourite Doctor Who serial. In 1993, Pertwee, along with several members of the cast and crew including Nicholas Courtney, John Levene, Richard Franklin and director Christopher Barry returned to Aldbourne for the Reeltime Pictures reunion documentary Return to Devil's End. Nicholas Courtney titled his 1998 volume of autobiography Five Rounds Rapid after a line from this story:

Jenkins. Chap with the wings there. Five rounds rapid.

Reviewing its DVD release, Ian Berriman of SFX was more critical of the serial, giving it three and a half out of five stars. He derided it for being an "awful mess" with a plot that "doesn't make a shred of sense". Despite praising the "magnificent" characters of Hawthorne, Horner, and Fergus, he thought that other characters including the Doctor and the Master were "continually acting in a completely absurd way".[10]

In print

Doctor Who book
Book cover
Doctor Who and the Dæmons
Series Target novelisations
Release number 15
Writer Barry Letts
Publisher Target Books
Cover artist Chris Achilleos
ISBN 0-426-10444-7
Release date 17 October 1974
Preceded by '
Followed by '

A novelisation of this serial, written by Barry Letts, was published by Target Books in October 1974. There have been Dutch and Portuguese language editions. An unabridged reading of the novelisation by author Barry Letts was released on CD in August 2008 by BBC Audiobooks.

VHS and DVD releases

  • The final episode of this story was also issued as a b/w film recording on the VHS release The Pertwee Years, along with the final episodes of Inferno and Frontier in Space
  • In 1993, the episodes with restored colour (see "Broadcast and reception", above) were released on VHS.
  • A DVD of the serial was released on the 19th March 2012.

References

  1. ^ Howe, David J.; Walker, Stephen James (1998). "The Dæmons". Doctor Who: The Television Companion. London: BBC Worldwide. p. 211. ISBN 0-563-40588-0.
  2. ^ "The Daemons". Outpost Gallifrey. 2007-03-31. Archived from the original on 2008-05-18. Retrieved 2008-08-31.
  3. ^ "The Daemons". Doctor Who Reference Guide. Retrieved 2008-08-31.
  4. ^ Sullivan, Shannon (2008-08-31). "The Daemons". A Brief History of Time Travel. Retrieved 2008-08-31.
  5. ^ a b p196, Peter Haining, Doctor Who - A Celebration, W.H. Allen, 1983
  6. ^ "The Daemons". Doctor Who Classic Episode Guide. BBC. Retrieved 22 October 2009.
  7. ^ John H. McMasters (March/April 1989). "The flight of the bumblebee and related myths of entomological engineering". American Scientist 77: 146–169. cited in Jay Ingram (2001). The Barmaid's Brain. Aurum Press. pp. 91–92. ISBN 1-85410-633-3.
  8. ^ See also Bumble bee#Myths.
  9. ^ Doctor Who: The Daemons (2012). BBC Warner DVD. ASIN: B0072BNJGC
  10. ^ Berriman, Ian (17 March 2012). "Doctor Who: The Daemons Review". SFX. Retrieved 6 April 2012.

External links

Reviews

Direct download: 242_TDP_242__The_Daemons.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 9:22am UTC

TDP 241: Curse of Davros - Big Finish main Range 156

156. The Curse of Davros

Synopsis

It's been a year since Philippa 'Flip' Jackson found herself transported by Tube train to battle robot mosquitoes on a bizarre alien planet in the company of a Time Lord known only as 'the Doctor'.

Lightning never strikes twice, they say. Only now there's a flying saucer whooshing over the top of the night bus taking her home. Inside: the Doctor, with another extraterrestrial menace on his tail – the Daleks, and their twisted creator Davros!

But while Flip and the fugitive Doctor struggle to beat back the Daleks' incursion into 21st century London, Davros's real plan is taking shape nearly 200 years in the past, on the other side of the English Channel. At the battle of Waterloo... 

Written By: Jonathan Morris
Directed By: Nicholas Briggs
Cast

Colin Baker (The Doctor), Lisa Greenwood (Flip Jackson), Terry Molloy (Davros), Ashley Kumar (Jared), Jonathan Owen (Napoleon Bonaparte), Rhys Jennings (Captain Pascal), Granville Saxton (Duke of Wellington), Robert Portal (Marshal Ney), Christian Patterson (Captain Dickson), Nicholas Briggs (The Daleks)


Direct download: TDP_241_BF_156_CURSE_OF_DAVROS_1.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 7:40am UTC

TDP 240: Dirk Gently - BBC 4

Dirk Gently (TV series)

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Dirk Gently
Dirk Gently titlescreen2.jpg
Titlescreen of series 1, based on Gently's painted whiteboard.
Genre Comic science fiction/Detective fiction
Created by Howard Overman
Douglas Adams (novel)
Written by Howard Overman
Matt Jones
Jamie Mathieson
Directed by Damon Thomas
Tom Shankland
Starring Stephen Mangan
Darren Boyd
Composer(s) Daniel Pemberton
Country of origin United Kingdom
Language(s) English
No. of series 1
No. of episodes 3 (+ pilot) (List of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s) Howard Overman
Saurabh Kakkar (ITV Studios)
Brian Minchin (BBC)
Eleanor Moran (BBC - Pilot)
Jamie Laurenson (BBC - Pilot)
Producer(s) Chris Carey
Editor(s) Matthew Tabern
Cinematography Ole Bratt Birkeland
Camera setup Single-camera
Running time 60 minutes
Production company(s) ITV Studios
The Welded Tandem Picture Company
Distributor BBC Cymru Wales
Broadcast
Original channel BBC Four
BBC HD (repeats)
Picture format HDTV 1080i
Audio format Stereo
Original run 16 December 2010 – 19 March 2012
Chronology
Related shows The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
External links
Website

Dirk Gently is a British comedy detective drama TV series based on characters from the Dirk Gently novels by Douglas Adams. The series was created by Howard Overman and stars Stephen Mangan as holistic detective Dirk Gently and Darren Boyd as his sidekick Richard MacDuff. Recurring actors include Helen Baxendale as MacDuff's girlfriend Susan Harmison, Jason Watkins as Dirk's nemesis DI Gilks and Lisa Jackson as Dirk's receptionist Janice Pearce. Unlike most detective series Dirk Gently features broadly comic touches and even some science fiction themes such as time travel and artificial intelligence.

Dirk Gently operates his Holistic Detective Agency based on the "fundamental interconnectedness of all things", which relies on random chance methods to uncover connections between seemingly-unrelated cases. He claims that he follows the principles of quantum mechanics, and although the majority of his clients suspect he may be a conman he often produces surprising results. With the help of his assistant, Richard MacDuff, Dirk investigates a number of seemingly unrelated but interconnected cases.

An hour-long pilot episode loosely based on plot elements from Adams' 1987 novel Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency was broadcast on BBC Four on 16 December 2010 and was watched by 1.1 million viewers. Critical reception was generally positive.[1] A full series of three one-hour episodes was subsequently commissioned in March 2011 and was broadcast on BBC Four in March 2012.[2] The series is the first continuing drama series produced for the digital channel.[3][4]

The series is produced by ITV Studios and The Welded Tandem Picture Company for BBC Cymru Wales and shot in Bristol. The pilot was written by Howard Overman and directed by Damon Thomas. The full series was written by Overman, Matt Jones and Jamie Mathieson and directed by Tom Shankland. The series along with the pilot episode was released on DVD on 26 March 2012 by ITV Studios Home Entertainment.[5] An original television soundtrack album featuring music from the series composed by Daniel Pemberton was released by 1812 Recordings on 5 March 2012.[4]

Contents

Production

Background

The novel Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency has its origins in the incomplete 1979 Doctor Who television serial Shada, featuring Tom Baker as the Fourth Doctor. Location filming in Cambridge had been completed, but a studio technicians' dispute at the BBC meant that studio segments were not completed, and the serial was never transmitted.[6]

As a result of the serial's cancellation, Adams reused a number of ideas from this script and his other Doctor Who scripts as the basis for a new novel, Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency, published in 1987. Adams published another, The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul in 1988 and at the time of his death in 2001 was working on a third installment to be titled The Salmon of Doubt, fragments of which were published posthumously. Each novel features new characters and scenarios, although Dirk (real name Svlad Cjelli), his "ex-secretary" Janice Pearce and Sergeant, later Inspector, Gilks recur in each.[7]

The first Gently novel had previously been adapted into a stage play, Dirk and a BBC Radio 4 series by Above the Title Productions which was first broadcast in October 2007 and featured comedian Harry Enfield in the title role.[8][9][10] According to James Donaghy, Douglas Adams was frustrated that his Dirk Gently novels were never adapted for the screen.[1]

Announcement

During Hitchcon - a Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy convention - Ed Victor, a literary agent who represents Adams's estate announced that a television adaptation of Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency was in production. Stephen Mangan was announced to be playing Gently, with Darren Boyd as MacDuff and Helen Baxendale as Susan. It is the first television adaptation of Adams' Dirk Gently series, although characters from the books had appeared in a 1992 episode of The South Bank Show.[11][12]

Shooting on the pilot commenced early in October 2010 in Bristol.[7] The director was Damon Thomas and the producer was Chris Carey. Although it was commissioned by the BBC, it was produced by ITV Studios with The Welded Tandem Picture Company. The pilot was first broadcast on BBC Four on 16 December 2010 and was repeated a number of times during the next month.[13][14]

The pilot gained a commission on 31 March 2011 for a three-part series of one hour-long episodes broadcast on BBC Four in March 2012.[3][4] The series is the first continuing drama series commissioned by BBC Four.[3]

Adaptation

The screenplay of the pilot by Howard Overman is not a direct adaptation of the novel, but uses certain characters and situations from the novel to form the basis of a new drama centred around Dirk.[15] Speaking about his interpretation, Howard Overman stated in an interview with Benji Wilson "I'm not even going to try to adapt the book: you can't adapt this story. Especially not on a BBC Four budget. We made the deliberate decision not to do a straight translation of the books. If we'd done that the fans would have felt badly let down, because you can never portray that world on the screen as well as it's been done in people's own imaginations...If you just do a straight adaptation like The Hitchhiker's Guide film, people are always going to be quite brutal about it because it's never going to live up to their expectations."[16]

Dirk drives an old brown Austin Princess in the production.

Stephen Mangan, writing a BBC blog on the programme stated "In my opinion, Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency and The Long Dark Tea-Time Of The Soul are unfilmable as written...too much happens, there are too many ideas".[17]

The pilot concentrates on two relatively minor plot strands in Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency: the disappearance of a cat, and the simultaneous disappearance of millionaire Gordon Way. Although time travel is involved in the solution, the novel's entire St Cedd's College / Electric Monk / Coleridge strand is omitted, although key words relating to these elements do appear on Dirk's whiteboard when it is first seen, though they are never subsequently referred to.[1][16][18] Other elements from the book, such as the trapped sofa, are also absent and the setting is updated to 2010, with email and voicemail replacing the answering machine messages in the book. There are changes to the characters too, one notable one being that Susan is Gordon's ex-girlfriend rather than his sister.[18]

Several additional elements from Adams's novels, in particular St Cedd's College, were later to appear in the full series. Interviewed about the series, Stephen Mangan noted that "All three episodes are very different in tone and you get a different Dirk with each one...He's on the run from the police in one of them and in another there's a bit of romance in the air, which for Dirk is a surprise because he's probably the most asexual character on TV... There seems to be a vogue for dark, realistic, gritty detective series, apart from perhaps Sherlock. Dirk has so much humour in it. How many other detectives mix detection with quantum mechanics or drive a 30-year-old brown Austin Leyland Princess?"[19]

Each episode of series one was written by different writers, who are mostly known for their contributions to science fiction and fantasy programmes; series creator Howard Overman also created Misfits and has written for Merlin, Matt Jones has previously written the Doctor Who stories "The Impossible Planet"/"The Satan Pit" and Jamie Matheson wrote the film Frequently Asked Questions About Time Travel and has written scripts for Being Human.[20]

Cast

Stephen Mangan, best known for his role in the television series Green Wing, and subsequently Episodes, was cast in the main role as holistic detective Dirk Gently. Mangan already knew the novel and the author's works, stating in a press release "I've been a fan of Douglas Adams ever since the Hitchhiker's radio series which I used to record as a child and listen to over and over again in my bedroom. It's such a thrill to now be playing one of his brilliant characters. Dirk is a chaotic, anarchic force of nature with a totally unique take on the world. He is described as 'lazy, untidy, dismissive and unreliable'. I've absolutely no idea why they thought I'd be right for the role."[15] Cast alongside him were Darren Boyd and Helen Baxendale, both of whom had previously worked with Mangan in Green Wing and Adrian Mole: the Cappuccino Years respectively.[7] Darren Boyd and Helen Baxendale returned for the full series, with the character of Richard MacDuff becoming Dirk's "partner/assistant" for each of the episodes.[19] Other regular cast members are Jason Watkins as Detective Inspector Gilks and Lisa Jackson as Dirk's secretary Janice Pearce.[21]

The programme pilot featured appearances from Doreen Mantle, Anthony Howell, Miles Richardson, Billy Boyle. Episode one saw guest appearances by Paul Ritter, Cosima Shaw, Ken Collard, Colin McFarlane and Miranda Raison. Episode two featured roles for Bill Paterson, Sylvestra Le Touzel, Lydia Wilson, Andrew Leung, Will Sharpe and Bethan Hanks. Episode three features Lisa Dillon and Tony Pitts.[21]

Filming

Although the series is set in the London boroughs of Camden Town and Islington, the series was shot entirely in Bristol. Areas and buildings featured in the programme included the Guildhall, the Bottle Yard, St Thomas Street and the Greenbank area.[22][23] The second series episode also featured extensive filming around the University of Bristol, with Wills Hall doubling as the fictional Cambridge College St. Cedd's.

The production's location manager, Rob Champion, noted that each location had to be chosen carefully to avoid featured giveaway clues to Bristol, in particular any building made of the local building material, limestone.[24] He noted that "Episode 2 was the greatest challenge as it included two days material in a Robotic Laboratory. Bristol has such a thing...a joint venture between the two universities, with a very helpful professor, but its landlord was an American corporation with the most unimaginably anal restrictions on access. They basically didn't want us there and took the best part of two weeks to say so...We eventually settled upon a brand new building at the Bristol-Bath Science Park where they could not have been more helpful. All this on a BBC4 budget."[24]

Music

The series's soundtrack was composed by Daniel Pemberton. In creating the distinctive sound for the main titles and incidental music, Pemberton made use of a Marxophone, a zither which is a cross between a hammered dulcimer and a piano. These instruments were produced in America between 1927 to 1972.[25] The soundtrack also mixes in a harpsichord, synth, bass guitar and drums.[26][27] A soundtrack album featuring music from the series was released by 1812 Recordings on 5 March 2012.[4]

Plot

Dirk Gently (real name Svlad Cjelli) operates a Holistic Detective Agency based on the "fundamental interconnectedness of all things". To solve cases, Dirk relies on random chance methods for example "Zen navigation" (following people or vehicles who look like they know where they are going, in the hope that they will lead somewhere you want to be) or throwing a dart at a board of words to select the direction of his detection. By following up on apparently random occurences and whims, Dirk discovers connections between seemingly unrelated cases and often produces surprising results. He claims that he follows the principles of quantum mechanics (although it is implied when he speaks to an expert in these fields that he doesn't really understand them); most people suspect he is just a conman and he rarely gets paid by clients and is therefore in almost permanent financial difficulty.[16][28]

In the pilot episode, Dirk bumps into a former university friend, Richard MacDuff, who has been made redundant from a job at an electricity board, and takes on a case for him. During the course of his investigation, Dirk hypnotises MacDuff and persuades him into investing his £20,000 redundancy money in his failing detective agency. MacDuff therefore becomes Dirk's partner in the business and "assistant" on investigations.[28] Richard MacDuff's girlfriend, Dr Susan Harmison, was also at university with the pair and is deeply sceptical about Dirk's abilities. Also present at the Agency is Dirk's receptionist Janice Pearce, whom Dirk has not paid for years and who therefore refuses to do any work.[28]

Episodes

No.TitleDirectorWriterViewing figures[29]Original air date
0 "Pilot" Damon Thomas Howard Overman 943 000 16 December 2010
When Dirk Gently sets out to solve an apparently simple and harmless disappearance of a cat from an old lady's house, he unwittingly uncovers a double murder which, in turn, leads to a host of even more extraordinary events. 
1 "Episode 1" Tom Shankland Howard Overman 844 000 5 March 2012
Dirk discovers the connection between two unrelated cases - a client who believes the Pentagon are trying to kill him and another whose horoscopes appear to be coming true.[2] 
2 "Episode 2" Tom Shankland Matt Jones 561 000 12 March 2012
Dirk is called back to his old university to protect a valuable robot but within 24 hours it has been stolen and a dead body discovered, with Dirk and MacDuff the prime suspects.[2] 
3 "Episode 3" Tom Shankland Jamie Mathieson 592 000 19 March 2012
Dirk’s old clients are being randomly murdered with Dirk as the only link. Rather than talk to the police, Dirk elects to leave the country but is waylaid by a series of seemingly unconnected events.[2] 

Reception

Pilot

Stephen Mangan plays the titular holistic detective in the series.

The pilot episode gained 1.1m viewers (3.9% share) on BBC Four, which was over three times the channel's slot average.[3] Critical reception for the pilot was largely positive. Several mentioned that it was only a loose adaptation of the novel, although the general consensus was that the essence of the original was maintained. Sam Wollaston in The Guardian stated "Coming to it fresh, it's a neat story about aforementioned missing cat and time travel, with a smattering of quantum physics and the fundamental connectedness of things. With a lovely performance from Doreen Mantle as the old lady/murderer. Stephen Mangan's good in the title role, too – a teeny bit irritating perhaps, but then Mangan is a teeny bit irritating. So is Dirk Gently, though – it's perfect. Funny too. Quite funny."[30] James Donaghy, also writing in The Guardian stated "Personally I hope Dirk Gently gets made into a full series. The programme shows promising glimpses, has a strong cast and Misfits already proves Overman can write. And a BBC4 adaptation feels like a good fit – Gently being exactly the kind of playground-of-the-imagination curio the BBC made its name indulging."[1]

The Independent published two reviews. Alice-Azania Jarvis was extremely positive, writing "...there wasn't very much you could fault about the production at all. Right down to the quirky camerawork and youthful, poppy soundtrack (who would have thought the Hoosiers could be so right in any situation?), the director, Damon Thomas, got it pretty spot-on. The result was a pleasingly festive-feeling adventure; part Wallace & Gromit, part Doctor Who, part The Secret Seven. And the best thing? There wasn't a Christmas tree in sight. Douglas Adams once claimed that Gently would make a better film character than his more famous hero, Arthur Dent. Based on last night's experience, he may well have been right."[31] John Walsh's review for The Independent was cooler about the adaptation, although he praised Mangan's performance: "Given the talent and style on display, it should have been a scream. In fact it all seemed a little moth-eaten. Though set in the modern day, it was staggeringly old-fashioned...You could overlook these faults, however, for the joy of Stephen Mangan's performance as the titular gumshoe. With his alarmed-spaniel eyes and jutting-jawed stroppiness, his geography teacher elbow-patches and Medusan hair, he radiates mess...His ineptness as a sleuth provided some fine comic moments.[32]

Paul Whitelaw in Metro was also positive, although he noted "At times it felt forced, with a sense of trying slightly too hard when a touch more subtlety would have brought out the essential Adamsian eccentricity."[33] Dan Owen of Obsessed with Film noted that the adaptation played with the idea of inexplicable situations: "Purists may grumble this isn't the Dirk Gently they wanted to see, but it's more accessible and practicable. And while Dirk Gently is certainly another gimmicky detective series (yawn), its details are unique and engrossing enough to shrug off the genre's clichés. In some ways it's a pastiche of whodunits, taking the genre's often tenuous explanations to an outrageous extreme."[34]

Paul Whitelaw in The Scotsman noted that "Although Adams's more ambitious concepts are sidelined in favour of a more prosaic - if nonetheless enjoyable - sci-fi mystery, Overman captures at least some of the wit and whimsy of his distinctive comic voice" going on to suggest "This modestly-budgeted pilot suggests potential for a series, so the deviation from Adams's originals makes sense. It also adds yet another very British oddball to the pantheon currently occupied by Doctor Who and Sherlock.[35]

Series One

Critical opinion to the full series was mildly positive. The adaptation from the Adams' novels was the focus of several reviews. Jane Simon, writing in The Mirror stated "It's just a shame creator Douglas Adams isn't around to see how Howard Overman has ­transferred Dirk to the screen. He'd definitely approve.[36] Mark Braxton in the Radio Times likewise agreed that "Overman has plucked the comic essence of Adams from his novel...and worked it into a digestible, enjoyably eccentric format."[37]

AA Gill writing in the Sunday Times March 11, 2012 wrote 'Who'd have guessed that this would ever get recommissioned?...It has to get a nomination as the greatest waste of the most talent for the least visible purpose or reward."

Others complained that the series was not an exact adaptation of the novels. Nigel Farndale in The Telegraph stated "I struggled with Dirk Gently...It had nothing to do with Stephen Mangan's considerable comedic talents, still less with Darren Boyd who plays MacDuff, the Dr Watson to Dirk's Holmes. It is more to do with my devotion to Douglas Adams, upon whose comic novel this series is based...in Douglas Adams, 90 per cent of the pleasure is in the prose, the narration, the felicities of language."[38]

Tom Sutcliffe in The Independent felt that the programme's qualities were "spread a little too thinly over a nonsensical thriller plot' and that "laughs... were far too widely spaced in a script that could have done with a lot more editing."[39]

Several critics compared the production with the big-budget BBC One detective series Sherlock, the second series of which was broadcast in January 2012. Writing in Metro, Keith Watson said "There's no doubt Sherlock has raised the detecting duo bar on TV...it's more than a match for Sherlock on the dialogue front, neatly catching the surreal humour that was the Adams trademark...but there was no disguising the fact that Dirk Gently was a five-star script being filmed on a one-star budget, making it look like a designer label knockoff when set against the production values lavished on Sherlock.[40] Stuart Jeffries in The Guardian, meanwhile, found a comparison between the tone of the series and 1960s spy/detective capers; "Never since The Avengers has there been anything so unremittingly silly on British television as Dirk Gently...Dainty harpsichord music tells us we're back in an era of TV misrule, in whose glory days John Steed, Mrs Peel and Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) played fast and loose with viewers' intelligences."[26]

The first episode had 737,000 viewers and a 3% audience share[41] but this fell to 415,000 and 2% share for the second episode.[citation needed] Series one, including the pilot episode, was released on DVD on 26 March 2012 by ITV Studios Home Entertainment.[5]

References

  1. ^ a b c d James Donaghy "Douglas Adams's holistic detective Dirk Gently arrives on BBC4", The Guardian, 16 December 2010
  2. ^ a b c d Helena Cole, Dirk Gently returns for three-part series, SFX, 17 February 2012
  3. ^ a b c d "Dirk Gently to return to BBC Four", BBC Press Release, 31 March 2011
  4. ^ a b c d Jason Deans, "Dirk Gently to return to BBC4", The Guardian, 31 March 2011
  5. ^ a b http://www.comedy.co.uk/guide/tv/dirk_gently/buy/2802/dirk_gently_dvd/
  6. ^ "Shada", BBC Cult, accessed 19 March 2012
  7. ^ a b c Chris Harvey, "Dirk Gently: Douglas Adams's detective finally cracks TV", Daily Telegraph, 16 December 2010
  8. ^ "BBC - Press Office - Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency opens for business". Retrieved 14 August 2007.
  9. ^ Dirk Maggs News and New Projects page
  10. ^ July 2007 BBC announcement of radio version
  11. ^ Rob Hastings, "BBC set to film Douglas Adams's Dirk Gently novel", The Independent, 6 October 2010
  12. ^ The South Bank Show: Douglas Adams at the Internet Movie Database
  13. ^ Radio Times listing
  14. ^ "BBC News - Stephen Mangan to star as detective Dirk Gently". 6 October 2010. Retrieved 10 October 2010.
  15. ^ a b "BBC - Press Office - Stephen Mangan to play Dirk Gently in drama based on Douglas Adams' novel". Retrieved 10 October 2010.
  16. ^ a b c Benji Wilson, Dirk Gently: The case of the missing electric monk, The Telegraph, 5 March 2012
  17. ^ Mangan, Stephen (16 December 2010). "Douglas Adams' Dirk Gently: How slavishly should a screen adaptation follow the book?". BBC. Retrieved 20 December 2010.
  18. ^ a b Tom Chivers, "Dirk Gently on BBC4: would Douglas Adams have recognised his creation?", Daily Telegraph, 17 December 2010
  19. ^ a b "Stephen Mangan speaks about the return to our screens of Dirk Gently", Northampton Chronicle & Echo, 8 March 2012
  20. ^ Helena Cole, "Dirk Gently returns for three-part series", SFX, 17 February 2012
  21. ^ a b Cast lists, British Comedy Guide
  22. ^ Productions 2011-12, Bristol Film Office, accessed 18 March 2012
  23. ^ News, Bristol Film Office, accessed 18 March 2012
  24. ^ a b Dirk Gently, thecallsheet.co.uk, accessed 19 March 2012
  25. ^ Photograph of recording session, Daniel Pemberton's Twitterfeed, accessed 22 March 2012
  26. ^ a b Stuart Jeffries, "TV review: Dirk Gently; Empire", The Guardian, 5 March 2012
  27. ^ Daniel Pemberton's Twitterfeed, accessed 22 March 2012
  28. ^ a b c Dirk Gently homepage, BBC Four, accessed 19 March 2012
  29. ^ "BARB". BARB. Retrieved 4 April 2012.
  30. ^ Sam Wollaston "TV review: The House That Made Me; Dirk Gently", The Guardian, 16 December 2010
  31. ^ Alice-Azania Jarvis "Last Night's TV: Dirk Gently/BBC4", The Independent, 17 December 2010
  32. ^ John Walsh, "Dirk Gently, BBC4, Thursday", The Independent, Sunday, 19 December 2010
  33. ^ Keith Watson, "Stephen Mangan perfect for Douglas Adams's Dirk Gently", Metro, 16 December 2010
  34. ^ Dan Owen, "TV Review: Dirk Gently", Obsessed with Film, 17 December 2010
  35. ^ Paul Whitelaw, "TV preview: Dirk Gently", The Scotsman, 13 December 2010
  36. ^ Jane Simon, "Douglas Adams would approve of Dirk Gently double act", The Mirror 12 March 2012
  37. ^ Mark Braxton, Radio Times, 5 March 2012
  38. ^ Nigel Farndale, White Heat, BBC Two, and Dirk Gently, BBC Four, review, Daily Telegraph, 9 March 2012
  39. ^ Tom Sutcliffe, " Last Night's Viewing: Dirk Gently", The Independent 6 March 2012
  40. ^ Keith Watson, Dirk Gently has a five-star script filmed on a one-star budget, Metro' 6 March 2012
  41. ^ Ratings roundup, Digital Spy, 7 March 2012

External links

Direct download: TDP_240_Dirk_Gently_from_BBC_4.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 9:00pm UTC

Ive been quite busy but not able to podcast

heres are some text reviews ive done for Starburst.

The TDP will return.

Herokin DVD

http://www.starburstmagazine.com/reviews/dvd-and-blu-ray-home-entertainment-reviews/2457-dvd-review-hirokin-the-last-samurai

Nightmare of eden

http://www.starburstmagazine.com/reviews/dvd-and-blu-ray-home-entertainment-reviews/2222-dvd-review-doctor-who-nightmare-of-eden

Ace Box Set

http://www.starburstmagazine.com/reviews/dvd-and-blu-ray-home-entertainment-reviews/2224-dvd-review-doctor-who-ace-box-set-dragon-fire-a-the-happiness-patrolhttp://www.starburstmagazine.com/reviews/dvd-and-blu-ray-home-entertainment-reviews/2224-dvd-review-doctor-who-ace-box-set-dragon-fire-a-the-happiness-patrol

The Deamons

http://www.starburstmagazine.com/reviews/dvd-and-blu-ray-home-entertainment-reviews/1993-dvd-review-doctor-who-the-daemons

I know itas not the same as a podcast but Im sure you will like them

regards

Michael

Category:Information -- posted at: 7:03am UTC