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Unbreakable: The Mark Pollock Story - Review

Unbreakable The Mark Pollock Story

When you first hear about Mark Pollock, it’s hard not to marvel at the indomitable spirit of the man. After losing his sight at the age of 22, Mark became the first blind man to reach the South Pole in 2009 and completed marathons in the Gobi Desert and North Pole.

Tragedy struck in 2010 when Mark fell from a second story window, sustaining serious head, neck and back injuries. He was left paralysed and doctors warned that he was not reaching the expected recovery landmarks in his first twelve weeks of recovery. Things were not looking good but Mark refused to give up.

Unbreakable: The Mark Pollock Story is the incredible documentary about Mark, his early life, his failing eyesight, his triumphs and the journey he has taken since that fateful fall. Produced with the participation of the Irish Film Board, RTÉ and Rehab and directed by Ross Whitaker (When Ali Came to Ireland), Unbreakable is the story of how one man was by all accounts broken but somehow found the courage to triumph.

Mark Pollock Unbreakable

It is difficult to watch this film and not find yourself tearing up at some point. Unbreakable: The Mark Pollock Story  is life-affirming and inspiring, the ultimate display of what one person can achieve despite seemingly insurmountable obstacles and setbacks in life. It is also the story of Mark’s partner, Simone, and her determination to stand by Mark and honour the wedding vows that they were weeks away from making at the time of the accident.

The importance of this film goes far beyond the feel-good factor. Since the very first days after the fall, Mark and Simone have never given up and have done everything in their power to get Mark back on his feet and to find a cure for paralysis. With the help of robotics and the cutting edge in medical advancement, the couple continue their work to this day.

Unbreakable: The Mark Pollock Story was an unusual choice of film for me. I chose it because of the sporting element and because I thought my other half would enjoy it. I landed up being blown away by this incredible man and his massive achievements.

I give Unbreakable: The Mark Pollock Story a superb five out of five stars and would absolutely recommend this film.

5 Stars

Unbreakable: The Mark Pollock Story is out in cinemas today, 9 October 2015 and will be out on DVD and EST from 23 October 2015.

You can watch the trailer below and you might also like to visit Run in the Dark, a night time runners event and the Mark Pollock Trust who aim to raise €5 million by 2020 to find a cure for paralysis.

Digitally Restored: The Happiest Days of Your Life (1950) on Blu-ray

The Happiest Days of Your Life - digitally restored

Nutbourne College, 1949. They say that your school days are meant to be the happiest days of your life but that theory is tested to the limit at Nutbourne College when the headmaster and teachers realise they are expecting twice as many students as they had previously thought. As they search frantically for a means to accommodate this influx of students, they miss perhaps the most vital piece of information of all: the new students are girls from St Swithin's Girls' School.

Horror of horrors, St Swithin’s has been billeted at Nutbourne College due to a mix up at the Ministry of Schools. With hostilities increasing between the mortified headmaster and headmistress, hilarity ensues and romances blossom. The situation comes to a head when parents and school governors arrive at the school on the same day and the warring heads realise they will have to work together to avert catastrophe.

Margaret Rutherford and Alastair Sim in The Happiest Days of Your Life

The Happiest Days of Your Life is very funny and I loved the reversal of traditional roles. The headmaster and male teachers think the power is in their hands but they come across as hapless in the face of the girls’ school teachers. It was also interesting to see how many allusions there were to popular culture, the best one being a young boy who begs to eat no more of the terrible porridge that the Home Economics girls prepare, a clear nod to Oliver Twist.

Directed by Frank Launder, The Happiest Days of Your Life is one of the most loved of all British comedies and was the precursor to one of the longest running comedy franchises, St Trinian’s. It stars Margaret Rutherford as St Swithin’s headmistress Miss Whitchurch, Alastair Sim as Nutbourne headmaster Wetherby Pond and also features Guy Middleton, Joyce Grenfell and Edward Rigby.

Margaret Rutherford in The Happiest Days of Your Life

The Happiest Days of Your Life is the latest classic film to benefit from a full digital restoration and is part of the Vintage Classics collection which showcases iconic British film and delivers brand new extra content that has never been seen before.

The Happiest Days of Your LifeAvailable on Blu-ray, DVD and EST from 5 October 2015, The Happiest Days of Your Life extras include interviews with Margaret Rutherford’s biographer Andy Merrimen, Ronald Searle expert Martin Rowson and author journalist Michael Brooke.

The digital restoration itself is superb. Despite being in black and white, the quality of the picture and sound is excellent. I could barely believe that I was watching a film that was made in 1950. Both The Happiest Days of Your Life  and The Third Man, which I reviewed in July, are released by StudioCanal and the quality of these releases is really kindling an interest in old films for me.

I give the digital restoration of The Happiest Days of Your Life a superb five out of five stars and recommend it to both fans of the original film and those, like me, who are fairly new to the idea of watching classic films.

5 Stars

You can buy the digitally restored version of the film on Blu-ray from Happiest Days Of Your Life [Blu-ray].

TV Review: Doctor Who - Under the Lake

Doctor Who continued this week with an explosive episode and an unexpected cliff hanger. Well, I’m sure that there are those people who were paying attention and knew this week was the first part of a two-parter but I certainly wasn’t expecting it. What I was expecting was very creepy ghosts and “Under the Lake” certainly didn’t disappoint.

The episode kicks off at The Drum Underwater Mining Facility in Caithness, Scotland, 2119. The T.A.R.D.I.S. is not happy and it doesn’t take us long to realise why when we meet a Killer Bunny Rabbit Ghost in a Top Hat (that’s what he looks like to me, anyway).

Of course, The Doctor confidently tells us that ghosts don’t exist, until they do of course and then they are real and they are hell bent on killing everyone else at the facility.

This recap won’t be as full of spoilers as the previous two reviews but if you haven’t seen the episode, I would still proceed with caution.

*** Spoiler warning. Mild spoilers ahead: proceed with caution if you have not watched Doctor Who – “Under the Lake” ***

The Doctor and Clara in Under the Lake

What I Loved

I knew from the minute we saw the teaser at the end of “The Witch’s Familiar” that I was going to love the baddies in “Under the Lake”. Despite his resemblance to a killer bunny rabbit, I loved Prentis (Paul Kaye), the ghost in the top hat. We find out that he is from the planet Tivoli, revealed in “The God Complex” as the most conquered planet in its galaxy, so we have to wonder what turned him from being so welcoming and lovely to becoming a killer.

I loved the genuinely scary way Prentis rose from beneath the floor, materialising without warning and the menacing way in which the ghosts were hanging vertically from the walls in the cafeteria scene.

The Empathy Cards were such a fantastic idea and further evidence of how far The Doctor is straying from the Timelord he had come to be under Christopher Eccleston and David Tennant. Interestingly enough, the Doctor we met in 1963 was completely devoid of human empathy and understanding. I loved that even with the help of the cards, he couldn’t get it right!

The concept of the coordinates and the dark (of space), the sword (of Orion), the forsaken (and abandoned ship) and the underwater temple was simply brilliant. I also loved the idea of words that couldn’t be translated by the T.A.R.D.I.S. and the idea of magnets. I loved that writer Toby Whithouse (Being Human) created an intricate puzzle of clues and took the audience along on his journey of discovery.

In fact, I loved the whole of Toby Whithouse’s script and was thrilled to see so much banter and witty one liners in “Under the Lake”. I thought we were going to miss Missy but it turns out we needn’t have worried.

Arsher Ali, Morven Christie and Steven Robertson in Doctor Who Under the Lake

There were some fantastic guest stars in this episode. I loved Steven Robertson in his role as Pritchard. The last time we saw Robertson was in his role as Mr Rook in Being Human – "War Child". I also liked Morven Christie in her role as O’Donnell and loved the inclusion of deaf actress Sophie Stone. Stone is a fine actress with an incredible range of expressions.

I was highly amused when The Doctor assured Clara that he would simply go back in time and save the day. The thing is, he lied. He doesn’t go back in time at all well and has never been able to hit the mark in terms of accuracy (just ask Amy Pond about that).

Finally, I was completely blindsided by the unexpected ending as I was not expecting a cliffhanger. I can’t wait for next week’s episode now.

Peter Capaldi is The Doctor in Under the Lake

Notable “Under The Lake” Quotes

I thought that we were going to miss Missy and all of her witty one liners but there was no shortage of quotable quotes in “Under the Lake”.

“Right, I didn’t expect that. Hands up, who expected that?” – The Doctor


“So who’s in charge now? I need to know who to ignore” – The Doctor


“I’d like to take a look at that spaceship but what about those things that aren’t ghosts?” – The Doctor

“No, it’s okay. They only come out at night” – Alice O’Donnell


“Death was the one thing that unified every single living thing in the Universe and now it’s gone” – The Doctor


“Wait a minute, you just raved about ghosts like a kid who’s had too much sherbet” – Clara


“I’m fine by the way, in case any of you were worried” – Clara [I was]


”The dark, the sword, the forsaken, the temple” – The Not Ghosts


“Surely just being around me makes you cleverer by osmosis?” – The Doctor


“Clara – why don’t I have a radio in the T.A.R.D.I.S.?” – The Doctor

“You took it apart and used the pieces to make a clockwork squirrel” – Clara


“Trust me, don’t you Clara”? – The Doctor

Peter Capaldi and Jenna Coleman in Doctor Who Under the Lake

Doctor Who returns with “Before the Flood” next Saturday evening 10 October 2015 at 8.25pm on BBC One.

All images © BBC

Film Review: Convenience (2015)

When Shaan (Adeel Akhtar) inadvertently enters a strip joint, he honestly just wants to find somewhere quiet to read his book. Somehow, he manages to ring up a £8,522 bill instead and finds himself being chased down the street at midnight by angry Russians when he can’t pay up.

Deciding that it would be a fantastic idea to lead his pursuers straight to his front door, Shaan heads home and lands his roommate and best friend Ajay (Ray Panthaki) right in the middle of his predicament.

Running for their lives, Ajay and Shaan decide to opt for convenience in solving their money woes and rob the local Megaoil 24 hour shop.

Adeel Akhtar and Ray Panthaki in Convenience

One night. Two men. Three hostages. No clue.

They get far more than they bargained for however when they realise the safe is on a 6 hour delay and store clerk Levi (Vicky McClure) is anything but intimidated by the pair. Why not hang around for the night and pretend they work there?

Convenience is a BAFTA Cymru Award-winning film directed by BAFTA Winning Keri Collins, produced by Ray Panthaki and written by Simon Fantauzzo. The film was shot on a budget of £80,000 and filmed over 18 nights in a functioning petrol station in Wales.

Featuring cameo roles from Anthony Head (Buffy The Vampire Slayer) and Verne Troyer (Austin Powers), Convenience is a film about trust, loyalty and really rather wishing you didn’t know certain things. It takes place over six hours in a convenience store and gives an insight into the somewhat surreal clientele who frequent 24 hour shops in the wee hours of the morning.

Vicky McClure is Levi in Convenience

Convenience is very funny, highly improbable and surprisingly touching at times. Vicky McClure gives a standout performance as store clerk Levi and Adeel Akhtar and Ray Panthaki are a great comedy duo.

Highly recommended for fans of fresh British comedy, Convenience will be released in cinemas nationwide on Friday 2 October 2015 and will be available on DVD and on demand from Monday 5 October 2015. Four out of five stars.

4 Stars

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TV Review: Doctor Who: The Witch's Familiar

It would have been difficult to follow up the success of last week’s explosive Doctor Who season opener “The Magician’s Apprentice” and in some ways, I was expecting to be disappointed with “The Witch’s Familiar”. I expected sloppy writing and convenient resolutions but was ultimately quite pleased with the episode. It was utterly grim in many ways and for a long time I thought it was going to sink in sentimentalism but it redeemed itself in the end and I have very few complaints.

This review will not be as laden with spoilers as last week’s episode but I’d certainly not recommend watching unless you’ve seen it so here is your 3 second spoiler warning.

*** Spoiler warning. Close this webpage now if you have not watched Doctor Who – “The Witch’s Familiar” ***

Doctor Who and the Daleks in The Witch's Familiar

What I Loved

I really liked the opening scene with Missy and Clara on the hill and Clara hanging upside down. I hadn’t wanted their supposed extermination to be the end of the world for Missy and Clara and was pleased with how it was handled. I liked the idea of Missy sharpening a knife and could almost imagine her cooking Clara over a fire – it displayed her carnal nature and reminded us that she is dangerous by nature.

What Was Utterly Disgusting

With the notable exception of Bones, it is rare that a TV episode will turn my stomach but many aspects of this episode were quite grim. It starts off with what I thought would be the most disgusting thing I could ever see and I’m pretty sure I won’t be able to erase the image of (half of) Davros lying discarded, his wires and innards spilling over the floor. Of course, that sickening visual was replaced less than a second later with The Doctor in a Dalek tin can.

It turns out, that was nothing. Moments later, Clara and Missy are in a sewer and the walls are positively oozing with snot-like organic matter. As I type this, I’m taking a long, deep breath to try settle my tummy because that was bad enough before Missy informs us that this is a Dalek graveyard.

Minutes later it turns out that Snakeman Colony Sarff is back and we’re treated to him swallowing up The Doctor. It is really like one grim, disgusting concept after another and I loved it!

The pinnacle was Missy pulling a dead Dalek carcass out of a tin can – it really is a credit to this show that all of this has such a strong effect on the viewer and I’m certain I wasn’t the only viewer going “eew”.

There was more to come though. There was the sight of Davros’s watery, rheumy eyes; the idea of him being deep and meaningful and, worst of all, Davros smiling. It was simply horrendous.

Missy and the Daleks in Doctor Who The Witch's Familiar

What I Thought I Didn’t Like

For a large part of the episode, I really didn’t like the sentimentalism and the idea that Davros and Missy were acting entirely out of character. I was bored with Davros moping on about dying and was just wishing he’d get it over and done with when The Doctor himself asked him to get on with it. 

The scene with Davros’s eyes and eyeball-curdling smile was even worse when he asked if he was good. I found myself yelling at the TV “the &%$£ you’re a good man!”

I was therefore as thrilled as could be when Davros began stealing The Doctor’s regeneration energy and a little part of me danced when Missy began acting like an evil little troll.  Of course she’d try get The Doctor to inadvertently kill Clara because she thrives on chaos!

I thoroughly enjoyed Michelle Gomez in her role as Missy and I certainly hope this isn’t the last we’ve seen of her.

Michelle Gomez is Missy in Doctor Who The Witch's Familiar

What I Really Didn’t Like

Which neatly brings me to what I really didn’t like – Missy’s line “tell him the bitch is back”. Firstly, this is a children’s show and I didn’t like it when Molly Weasley used it in Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows and I liked it even less here.

Secondly, no. No Moffet, no. Don’t ever call a woman a bitch you misogynistic piece of crap. That word is so problematic and no matter Missy’s motives and reasons, you don’t reduce her thoughts and actions to one slur.

That’s all I have to say on the matter – feel free to disagree.


That problem aside, I enjoyed the episode and was pleased with the ending. I didn’t like the idea that The Doctor would hurt a child and was glad that he rescued our blue-eyed little boy Davros.

I’m also thrilled that The Doctor got his T.A.R.D.I.S. back but really, really hope that he gets over the idea of wearable technology and sonic sunglasses soon. They are nasty!

One final thought – you’d have to have been listening closely to catch it but when Missy handcuffs Clara, she’s waxing on about dark star allow and says:

  It’s pretty, though, isn’t it? Got it in the olden days on Gallifrey. The Doctor gave it to me when my daughter…

At this point you should be asking yourself what daughter? I really hope there is more to come because this would be an incredible storyline.Peter Capaldi is Doctor Who in The Witch's Familiar

Notable “The Witch’s Familiar” Quotes

As always, the one liners and quotes made the episode and these are some of my favourites.

"Can I have a stick too?” – Clara

“Make your own stick” – Missy


“Because if Clara Oswald is really dead, you’d better be careful how you tell me” – The Doctor


“You keep saying that, but you keep not dying. Can you give it some welly?” – The Doctor mirroring my thoughts exactly.


"My Daleks are afflicted with a genetic defect” – Davros

“What defect?” – The Doctor

“Respect, mercy for their father” – Davros


“Is this the conscience of a Doctor or his shame?” – Davros


“Compassion… grows strong and fierce in you like a cancer” – Davros


“You’re my secret favourite, don’t tell the others” – Missy to the entire Dalek hive mind


“It wasn’t me who ran, Doctor. That was always you” – Missy


“Dalek Supreme, your sewers are revolting” – Missy


Doctor Who returns with “Under The Lake” next Saturday evening 3 October 2015 at 8.25pm on BBC One. The monsters look incredible and I simply cannot wait for this episode! 7 more sleeps.

Film Review: Man Up (2015)

Lake Bell and Simon Pegg in Man Up

What would you do if a rather lovely man mistook you for his date underneath the clock at Waterloo Station? Would you own up and walk away? Thirty-four year old Nancy (Lake Bell) is about to do exactly that when said man wins her over with a quote from her favourite film, Silence of the Lambs. Thinking she has nothing to lose, she decides to just go with it.

Right time. Right place. Wrong date.

What follows is a crazy, eventful evening in which Nancy and Jack (Simon Pegg) share a meal, bare their souls, play several rounds of drunken bowling and escape from the stalker-like advances of Nancy’s former high school classmate. They laugh, they argue and they share an epic dance to Duran Duran’s Reflex and all the while, Nancy’s deception hangs over them.

Lake Bell in Man Up

Taking place in just one manic evening, Man Up is a story about taking chances, being yourself and learning to trust yourself again. It is directed by Ben Palmer (The Inbetweeners Movie) and also stars Rory Kinnear as Stalker Sean, Olivia Williams as Jack’s cheating ex-wife and Ken Stott as Nancy’s father.

I’m infamous for not having a sense of humour so I tend to avoid comedies but I like Simon Pegg and if I had to choose, I’d choose British comedy over American. I was certainly not disappointed with Man Up and enjoyed every minute of it. It is nostalgic and uplifting, a story about redemption and putting back together the pieces of your life when it has all gone a bit pear-shaped. There are a lot of laugh-out-loud moments in the film and one of my favourite scenes was Jack sprinting down the street to Whitesnake’s “Here I Go Again”.


What I liked the most about Man Up is how realistic it was. Nancy is socially awkward yet secure in herself, Jack is angry yet not down and out. There isn’t a hint of Bridget Jones or Love Actually’s Natalie here and Nancy and Jack just behave like any two people might behave on meeting (and deceiving each other) for the first time.

Man Up is the must-see British romantic comedy of the year. With its nostalgia, pop culture allusions and uplifting storyline, it is definitely one of those films to watch again and again.

I give Man Up an excellent four out of five stars and would recommend to fans of Love Actually and Notting Hill

4 Stars

Brought courtesy of STUDIOCANAL, Man Up will be available to own on DVD, Blu-ray and VOD from 28 September 2015. The DVD extras include interviews with Lake Bell and Simon Pegg, blooper reel and “The Seven Beats of Man Up” featurette.

Book Review: The Suffering by Rin Chupeco

The Suffering Rin Chupeco

When avenging spectre Okiku defended teenager Tarquin against the ghost who haunted him, no one could have anticipated the bond that would form between them. At the end of Rin Chupeco’s The Girl From The Well, Tarquin was finally freed from a lifetime of terror but his life certainly did not return to some semblance of normality.

In the much-anticipated sequel The Suffering, it has been two years since the explosive events in The Girl From The Well. Tarquin now assists Okiku in her work, tracking down those who harm children and wreaking vengeance upon them. Just as Okiku goes one step too far, leading Tarquin to question her morality and stability, they learn that their friend Kagura has gone missing in Aokigahara, Japan’s notorious suicide forest.

Knowing Kagura’s line of work as an exorcist and shrine maiden, Tarquin and his cousin Callie know that they have no choice but to join the rescue efforts and try find Kagura. And so we return to Japan, to the world of exorcists and sorcerers, restless spirits and possessed dolls.

Whereas The Girl From The Well was whimsical and ethereal, narrated by Okiku and representing the liminal passage between life and death, The Suffering is narrated by Tarquin and is far more relatable and fast-paced.

Much of the story takes place in the suicide forest of Aokigahara and author Rin Chupeco does an excellent job of weaving together the three story threads of the history of the forest (including the shocking events that lead to its current status as a suicide forest), the present day disappearance of Kagura and Okiku’s own history and thirst for vengeance.

The end result is that The Suffering is terrifying on every level and delivers a relentless litany of scares. Readers might want to think twice about reading this book late at night because you will have the most bizarre nightmares.

Even though I enjoyed The Girl From The Well, I was a little ambivalent about the book and most of that was due to Okiku’s narration of the book and the rapidly switching points of view. None of that was present in the sequel and I thoroughly enjoyed every single page.

Quite simply, this is the best ghost story I have read since Kendare Blake’s Anna Dressed in Blood and I am quite sad to learn that Rin Chupeco does not intend to write any more books in this series.

I give The Suffering by Rin Chupeco a superb five out of five stars and would recommend to all fans of ghost stories and horror alike.

5 Stars

TV Review: Doctor Who - The Magician's Apprentice

Wow. That was one of the most explosive and most divisive Doctor Who season openers in years. Twitter is exploding as we speak with half the Twittersphere calling it bad fan fiction and the other half lauding it as a streak of mastery.

And me? I really enjoyed it. The episode was full of surprises and a real treat for lifelong fans and newcomers alike. I don't think it will be possible to do a spoiler-free review of the episode and frankly, I'd like to remember the best parts of it. So here you go, here is your spoiler warning.

*** Spoiler warning. Close this webpage now if you have not watched Doctor Who – “The Magician's Apprentice” ***

Doctor Who The Magicians Apprentice The Doctor and Clara

What I Loved

I pretty much loved the whole episode so this section is going to be more of a synopsis than usual and less a few bullet points on what I loved.

“The Magician's Apprentice” opens in a war-torn landscape. A young boy gets trapped in a handmine field and the man who tries to help him is brutally attacked and pulled under the earth. I loved the handmines. At first I was struggling to understand what the actors were saying but it really was 'handmines' and they really were creepy, terrifying and ominous. And the eyes. That is amongst one of the most surreal Doctor Who concepts ever.

Doctor Who The Magicians Apprentice Peter Capaldi is The Doctor

I did not expect to see The Doctor but suddenly he is there, telling the boy he has a one-in-a-thousand chance of survival and to take that chance. And then he asks the boy what his name is and he says it is... (gasp!) Davros!

Following the credits, the next several scenes are all over the place but in a good way. The scene opens to Nick Cave's “Weeping Song” and the terrible Colony Sarff is looking for The Doctor. His search leads him to the Shadow Proclamation and the Sisterhood of Karn. What does Davros want with The Doctor?

Back on Earth, Clara (Jenna Coleman) notices a plane hanging in the air. She urges her class to get online and on Twitter. “Hashtag the planes have stopped” she says and within seconds Twitter goes meta with a real life #theplaneshavestopped.

Soon we realise that The Master Mistress Missy is behind it all and she would very much like to speak with Clara without being executed. The fact that Missy is in fact not dead comes as a surprise to absolutely no one given that the BBC likes to flood us with spoilers and Missy was in just about every season 9 promo photo.

Case in point:

Doctor Who The Magicians Apprentice Missy The Doctor and Clara

Just in case you weren’t paying attention before, I really am going to dig through the whole episode here so if you haven’t seen it yet, this is your second spoiler warning.

*** Spoiler warning. Close this webpage now if you have not watched Doctor Who – “The Magician's Apprentice” ***

It turns out this is The Doctor’s second-last day on Earth and he has sent his will and testament to Missy. But how is a Time Lord meant to die, Clara wants to know. With meditation, repentance and acceptance, says Missy ominously.

Suddenly we are in Essex in 1148AD and in perhaps the most bizarre sequence of all time, we meet ZZ Top Doctor. What the…? And then The Doctor is hugging Clara, hiding his face and giving the shifty-eyed look that so many of us associated with Tom Baker’s Fourth Doctor. Remember, hugging is just a way to hide your face.

Doctor Who The Magicians Apprentice ZZ Top Doctor and Clara

This is followed by the appearance of Colony Sarff and the genuinely disturbing visual of him unravelling like a snake. Ewww. Some things you wish you could unsee. It turns out he has found his target and The Doctor will meet with Davros. And so, it seems, will Clara and Missy.

For a moment there, it felt almost poignant that Davros and The Doctor would be together at the end of the former’s very long life. But we now know why The Doctor is there and the twisted causality that lead the Twelfth incarnation of The Doctor to betray Davros and bring down an era of war and suffering.

There was another audible gasp from behind the sofa (it might have been me) as we realised that we were on Skaro and that we’d come full circle. How on earth do you explain to people who have only watched since Christopher Eccleston that we are where it all began 52 years ago in An Unearthly Child?

And suddenly Missy and Clara are exterminated and I can’t believe my eyes. There is utter and complete silence in the room as my mind rapidly embarks on a cycle of bargaining and denial. I refuse to process it and imagine that yes, this will be continued next week.

What I Don’t Get

Doctor Who The Magicians Apprentice The Doctor and Missy

I’m willing to ride with it and see where it goes but I don’t get Missy’s attitude to The Doctor. Sure, The Master is mischievous and likes to play games but ultimately he/she is a brutal sociopath who lets nothing and no one stand in the way in of universal domination and total power.

Which neatly brings me to my next point. I’m sure from the wording of my sentence above, it is clear that I don’t believe we’ve seen the end of The Master or Clara for that matter. I’ve been wrong before and tend to err on the side of denial and naivety when it comes to the loss of fictional nemeses (or favourite characters) who have been around since the dawn of time but I’m kind of hoping and wishing that they aren’t really gone.

Then again, the prevailing message that Doctor Who has taught us over the years is that an event like the extermination of Clara and The Master probably creates a fixed point in time and there is probably no coming back from it.

If this is it, if that is the end of the story for these two characters, then you can imagine a bit of a diatribe a little further along the line because I don’t like it. I’ve never really been a fan of Clara’s but The Master / Missy is the ultimate nemesis and deserved a little better than that.

Notable Quotes

Doctor Who The Magicians Apprentice Michelle Gomez is Missy

Most of the notable quotes in this episode come from Missy (Michelle Gomez). She really is the most witty, delightful, psychotic character and gets all the best lines.

“I’m just a passer by. I was looking for a bookshop. How do you think I’m doing?” – The Doctor to a young Davros


“We can’t just find The Doctor and bleat. He’ll go Scottish” – Clara


”Not dead. Back. Big surprise” – Missy 


“A friendship older than your civilisation and infinitely more complex” – Missy


“Hang on. Davros is your arch enemy now? I’ll scratch his eye out” – Jealous Missy


“A mutant in a tank that would ever, ever stop and they never did” – The Doctor


“Davros made the Daleks but who made Davros?” – The Doctor


“Hunter and prey held in the ecstasy of crisis. Is this not life at its purest?” – Davros

The Verdict

I really enjoyed The Magician’s Apprentice and cannot wait for The Witch’s Familiar which will air next Saturday 26 September 2015 on BBC One at 7.45pm. I’m really enjoying Peter Capaldi’s Twelfth Doctor and am hoping they give him some decent storylines this season.

If you’re wondering where to visit next, why not try 12 contenders to replace Jenna Coleman as Doctor Who's next companion.

All images © BBC

New Music Friday: Joykill Collective - Battle Cry

Joykill Collective - Battle Cry

If you look back on the rebel songs of the past, tracks like U2’s Sunday Bloody Sunday and Peter Gabriel’s Biko, you might be mistaken in thinking we’d reached peace on earth simply by virtue of the dearth of political content in music today. In fact, it is very rare that a band will cite political activism as one of their primary reasons for forming.

That’s why it was refreshing to encounter “Battle Cry”, the debut single by Northampton band The Joykill Collective. Citing a “dissatisfaction with the prevalent right wing politics and media”, The Joykill Collective is a brainchild of a group of likeminded musicians, writers, poets and filmmakers who have banded together to deliver their message.

It is a powerful message indeed, formulated in response to what they observe as the “devastating political situation that is fast developing” in Britain. Citing Biffy Clyro as their main influence, their debut track sounds more like a modern day Alice in Chains. With distorted vocals drenched in layers of reverberating guitars, there is a sense of dissociation from the mess of society punctuated by a desperate and angry battle cry.

“This is our battle cry… It’s a disaffected call to arms but it’s ours”


The Joykill Collective are Leif (vocals, production, guitar); Jakob Loveless (guitar, backing vocals, noise); Lewicius (drums, backing vocals, guitar, bass, percussion); Ricky (bass); Ben (writing) and Andy (visuals).

The band are currently working on their debut album so look out for their next single “Liberty Taker” which will be released on 1 December 2015.



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Waiting Patiently for Arcade Fire's The Reflektor Tapes

Win Butler - Arcade Fire

Something unusual happened to me about a year ago. I’d never really paid Arcade Fire any attention, believing my friend Grainne when she said that they were over-rated. But then I heard a great track on the radio and decided to Shazam it (‘Shazam’ is so a verb, right?). It was Arcade Fire’s “Reflektor”.

Shortly thereafter, every track I Shazamed  turned out to be Arcade Fire, from tracks on their current album Reflektor to tracks like "Rebellion (Lies)" from Funeral and “Intervention” from Neon Bible. By December I’d bought all their albums and by January Arcade Fire was the soundtrack to my life when I was going though a particularly trying time.

There’s not much else to say – we’ve all been there at the moment we’ve gone from never hearing a band before to it becoming an all-out obsession. Road trips became a new kind of hell for my long-suffering husband as he was subjected to eight straight hours of Arcade Fire and my poor iPod was forced to play “We Exist” for, oh, about a fortnight on repeat.

The good news, in terms of being obsessed and getting my next fix, is that the band are releasing their film The Reflektor Tapes in the UK on 25 September, with previews on the 24th. Suffice to say, this addict can hardly wait…

Will Butler from Arcade Fires The Reflektor Tapes

The Press Release

Directed by 2013 Sundance Grand Jury Prize for Short Films winner Kahlil Joseph,The Reflektor Tapes is a fascinating insight into the making of Arcade Fire's critically acclaimed, international #1 album Reflektor. The film recontextualizes the album experience, transporting the viewer into a kaleidoscopic sonic and visual landscape. It charts the band's creative journey as they lay foundations for the album in Jamaica, commence recording sessions in Montreal and play an impromptu gig at a Haitian hotel on the first night of Carnival, before bringing their breath-taking live show to packed arenas in Los Angeles and London.

With Arcade Fire granting previously unprecedented access to Joseph, The Reflektor Tapes fluidly blends in never before seen personal footage, including interviews, documentation of the recording process and moments captured by the band themselves, to dazzling effect.

In addition to showcasing music from Reflektor and other albums in Arcade Fire’s storied back catalogue, The Reflektor Tapes will give viewers a chance to hear an unreleased track for the first time and features 20 minutes of exclusive unseen footage, filmed only for cinema audiences.

The Trailer

The Poster

Reflektor Tapes poster

The Links

Website: The Reflektor Tapes | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | YouTube

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