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IanM73

IanM73
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Member since: 14.12.2005

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      13.07.2008 13:12
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      Good DVD with lots of special features to choose from

      What I am reviewing is the Doctor Who DVD "The stones of blood" which is the third part of the key to time series.

      Ratio 4.3
      Sound Dolby Digital
      Running time 181 minutes

      First broadcast 28 October - 18 November 1978


      Doctor Who had been creeping up to it's 100th story very quick and it was to be right in the middle of the key to time series.
      The stones of blood were to be that story with a mixture of druids in the modern day and also some episodes set on a space station.
      The programme knew that this story would be talked about and the BBC knew it was onto a huge amount of ratings.

      Tom Baker and Mary Tamm were looking forward to this story and finding theirselfs in the programmes history books after this story had finished.
      As Romanas character had now been well established and her aquantance with the Doctor she could now be her own character and was much more independent. After all it is Romana who always has the locater of the key to time on her and enthusiasm to collect them all.
      This new story was to be set at Boscombe Moor in the present day where they look for the key.
      This was to be a nice tranquil setting which shows the nine travelers (a bit like the stones at stone henge) with ancient mysticism. Also with a setting like this the story involved modern day druids with sacrifices on the stones.
      As this was the 100th story this was also set to include a space station, but there had to be a very good plotline from this moderen day druid story to that of the space station.

      It was decided that while the Doctor and Romana were looking for the third segment of the key to time they were to be involved with the druid sacrifices and the stones were actually creatures from another World that survive on blood.
      This now could give the story the twist it needed and keep viewers guessing about what was going to happen next.
      The story on the space station was also set to include more characters that the Doctor accidently releases from their hold on their way to another planet, and they are not very happy about being disturbed.



      Story :

      The Doctor, Romana and K-9 are sent by the locater to modern day Earth to look for the third segment of the key to time.
      They find theirselfs on Boscombe Moor and find the nine travelers. They know that this was used in the past for sacrifices and those days have long gone. But unknowing to them there are some modern day druids still practicing and are after them.
      Our friends get involved and try to stop what's going on, and during this they find out the truth about the nine travelers and the secret behind Vivean Fay who is assumed to be just a friend of a lady who lives in a cottage.

      There is much for the Doctor, Romana and K-9 to do, and when trying to stop creatures from another World they are transported aboard a space station where more awaits them ....



      Special Features :


      Commentray 1
      This is with Mary Tamm and Darrol Blake (Director) who give their thoughts and opintions on the story.

      Commentary 2
      This is with Tom Baker, Mary Tamm, Susan Engel (Vivian Faye), and David Fisher (writer)

      Getting blood from stones
      This is a feaurette about the making of the stones of blood and has input with most of the cast and crew of this episode.

      Hammer horror
      This featurette gives you information on how Hammer horror influenced some of the programmes stories and gives you clips of some of them.

      Stones free
      Mary visits the stones from the story and gives you explanation about how they effected people in the past.

      Deleted scenes
      This shows you two minutes of deleted scenes from part two.

      The model World of Robert Symes
      In this programme from 1979 it gives you clips and shows you model shots of some of the stories in Doctor Who.

      Blue Peter and nationwide


      Continuities
      This shows you trailers from BBC1 before and after every episode that was show.

      Radio Times billings
      This shows you the clips from the Radio Times with listings, and articles abut the story. This can be viewed on DVD-ROM only.

      Coming soon trailer
      This shows you the trailer for the release of "Planet of evil"


      Photo gallery
      This shows you photos of the stones of blood. It has location shots, actor shots, model shots, and making of.

      Production subtitles
      With this option you can view the story with the subtitles giving you various bits of information about that story at a particular moment.


      What I thought :


      Having not seen this story for ages and now having watched the first two stories of the Key to time I couldn't wait to see this one as it appeared different. I couldn't remember in all of the stories before anything about druids, there might have been some here and there with the older Doctors but it also included a space station in the second half of the story and therefore making it seem like different stories under the same theme.
      I thought this was a good idea and it was now apparent that Romana and the Doctor had indeed got used to each others company very well and knew what their mission was.

      I liked the way that the setout was made with the nine travelers to make this more seem like a Hammer horror sort of layout on the moor with the dark sky overhead and night scenes.
      I thought Mary Tamm done great in this story as Romana as she seemed to come out of herself and was a lot more independent than in previous stories.
      Tom was again on top form in this story and has a lot of input in the special features with Mary which is a good touch.

      The special effects were done very well for 1978 and it is explained about the stones and how they got them to move.


      With the special features the two commentarys were good and I preferred the one with Mary, Tom, Susan and David as there is much more information going around and a great deal more of sharing their experiences and what it was like for their characters in the story.
      The Hammer horror featurette was done well and it tells you how some of the stories in Doctor Who have been infuenced by Hammer and shows you clips of previous stories.
      The featurette with Mary was good as she takes you through the stories of the moor and the stones of the druids.

      All of the rest of the features are worth a good look but I like those ones in particular.
      The picture was good crisp clean quality and you can tell that there has been a lot of time and effort cleaning up the picture for it's release onto DVD.
      The sound with Dolby Digital I have got to by now does make so much difference when watching these to that old Mono sound. I think you can pick up more, and it sounds very clear.



      If you like the Doctor Who adventures of Tom Baker and Mary Tamm then do give this story a watch as it was a milestone for Doctor Who being the 100th story of the show.



      © IanM73 2008

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        09.07.2008 12:27
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        Great 3 disk set with 10 episodes to enjoy

        I am reviewing the three disk DVD set of the first series of Dempsey and Makepeace.

        4.3 ratio
        Mono sound
        Running time 550 minutes
        12 rating


        It was in 1984 that LWT decided that it was time to do another police show. This was to be one with a difference though and they had to think their way around it.
        It was to be based in England and mainly in London and as American shows were doing well over here it was to run along the same sort of an action based drama series.

        The idea was to take a New York cop and put him into the force over in London. He was to be paired up with a female.
        The ideas were very good and soon they had names for the characters and the way they would work out their plotlines.
        Then there was a search for the actors to play the roles. Glynis Barber was to play Seargent Harriet makepeace after she was seen in one of her first roles on TV as Soolin in Blake's 7 and knew she would be perfect for the role.
        Michael Brandon was to be cast as Leitenant Jim Dempsey after LWT were impressed by his roles in his films and TV shows he had done, including Goodbye Columbus (1969) Lovers and other strangers (1970) A legend in his own time (1976) and the series Emerald point N.A.S.
        Another main character was to be Dempsey and Makepeace's boss Chief Superintendent Spikings who was to be played by Ray Smith who had worked on around 28 films and shows since 1961.

        The way the show was going to run was with an hour long show for ten weeks of each series, but first the pilot had to be made. The broadcast was to start on 11 January 1985, so there was time to see if this show was going to work.

        Dempsey and Makepeace was to be a special branch of the police that nobody had heard of called SI-10 and top secret. There were only going to be a handful of people working there to go undercover and stop all various kinds of robberies, murders, and drug smuggling.
        Jim Dempsey was the first to appear in the pilot episode where he finds out about the corrupt goings on in his precinct in New York and narrowly avoids being killed. He lies low and gets transferred to London until the heat dies down in New York.
        Harriet Makepeace is a Cambridge graduate of an English lord and wanted to do something with her life other than live in her fathers lifestyle manner.



        Episodes :

        11/1/85
        Pilot - Armed and extremely dangerous :
        After killing his partner and finding out corrupt information about the precinct he is working in Jim Dempsey is reassigned to London to SI-10 a special undercover unit that fights all various sorts of crime.
        He is partnered with Harriet Makepeace, and although they do not like each other at first they pull together to face their first case together.

        18/1/85
        The Squeeze :
        A security van with half a million in it is hijacked and it is up to Dempsey and Makepeace to investigate the crime and bring back the cash.

        25/1/85
        Lucky Streak :
        While Dempsey is in a casino there is a robbery and murder. Spikings gets the duo on the case as they start to search for a girl with a rare antique necklace.

        1/2/85
        Given to acts of violence :
        Frank Egan a notorious gang leader plots a crime with a crafty way to hide the money. When the robbery takes place Dempsey and Makepeace have to change their identities. Makepeace has a chance to fly a plane...

        8/2/85
        Hors de combat :
        Two underworld gangs set a test for Dempsey and Makepeace. Dempsey gets pulled into gambling where he finds extortion, drugs, and kidnapping are part of these two gangs games. Has Dempsey got in too far ?

        15/2/85
        Nowhere to run :
        A terrorist group smuggles guns into the country in order to break free one of their group from prison. SI-10 send in Dempsey and Makepeace to find out what is going on and stop the terrorists.

        22/2/85
        Makepeace, not war :
        A simple warehouse robbery turns up more than the duo have bargained for as it involves putting them on the trail of a drug smuggling ring.

        1/3/85
        Blind eye :
        High level corruption gets revealed with a kidnapping, and it's up to SI-10 to investigate and find out whats going on and who's behind the buisiness.

        8/3/85
        Cry God for Harry :
        A priceless jade is stolen from Makepeace's father and as they go to investigate the killings start and they have to defend theirselfs with any means possible.

        15/3/85
        Judgement :
        Makepeace's best friend is murdered and she has got to find out who did this. She gets the help from Dempsey who shows a different side to his character.


        Special features :


        Commentarys on Armed and extremely dangerous and the squeeze by Glynis Barber and Michael Brandon :
        Glynis and Michael give a lot of their thoughts on the series looking back, and talk about their characters and what the show meant to them.
        They give their memories of the show and talk about their collegues who also starred in the show.


        An interview with Glynis and Michael :
        A short interview with the stars of the series. They tell you how the series started, the background behind their characters, and thoughts about how the show went.


        What I thought :


        I had fond memories of watching this series when I was growing up and had always wanted to see this again. I remembered the titles and music very well, but couldn't remember how they met of any of the plots.
        I seemed to remember it wasn't on for that many years but it was a gripping cop drama for '85 and something different on TV.
        It wasn't very often you got an American man paired up with an English woman in a cop show.

        Watching this again I immediately recognized the theme tune and title sequence and was great just watching this again after all these years.
        As I couldn't remember the plots it was just like watching these all new which I loved because I had remembered all of the characters and especially had a soft spot for Makepeace !
        Watching the pilot episode of armed and extremely dangerous I found it good to see how it all started with Dempsey in New York facing a corrupt precinct and being transferred to London to get out of the situation until the heat dies down.
        When the two met for the first time I found it was funny as Makepeace was undercover at a bar as a waitress wearing a short skirt and a thick cockney accent.
        However it was good when the two finally met properly and started to get involved in their work.

        The rest of the episodes were great for me and good memories to watch them again as I remembered a few bits here and there but nothing major.
        The length of the episodes were about 50 minutes because of the advert breaks.

        The sound and picture quality could have been better though as I found when watching it that the picture had not been cleaned up for the digital transfer and still had a few scratch marks on it. Also the sound was not available in Dolby Digital only Mono.
        However much I would have liked this to have been cleaned up it didn't spoil the fun of Dempsey and Makepeace's adventures.

        There were not many special features on these disks but what there were of them was good to watch and listen to.
        I liked the commentarys and wanted to listen to more of them.
        Also the interview was quite interesting.


        So if you liked the series and want a trip down memory lane then do give this one a chance and before long you will be humming or whistling the theme tune before you know it.
        Others who are too young to remember it give this one a try as this was the best cop show of the 80's.

        © IanM73 2008

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          21.06.2008 14:26
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          Great box set and one of the best drama series made.

          What I am reviewing is the 15 disk DVD box set of Sharpe.
          Ratio 4.3
          Dolby Digital sound
          Region 2 format


          After watching the Hornblower box set and found liking that so much I heard about Sharpe as it was set only a few years after Hornblower and instead of it being set at sea this was all about a Seargent who rose from the ranks when he saved Wellingtons life and focused around the British army between 1809-1815 with Sharpes unit the Rifles.

          I found the idea of this quite appealing and seeing as it was set around the same time and getting into these drama series I thought I would give it a go when I bought it from what was the Virgin for £29. Not bad at all for a 15 disk box set !
          It was packaged in a design that had a wooden case on it and had pictures of Sharpe on each side. This was easily slid out to reveal the DVD's.
          Each case contained two disks with two different stories of Sharpe taking you through from 1809-1815.
          The sleeves had information on them about the episodes, just a few paragraphs to tell you a little of what the plot was going to be in the story.
          Each case had the DVD's special features listed and tells you a little about it. Also there are photos and also running length of the stories.

          When you open the box there is also a map showing Sharpes battles and a booklet with lots of interesting information about the series, the actors, shooting the series, the battles, and producer and director of the series.


          In 1992 the BBC saw the success of Hornblower and this time wanted to concentrate on the British Army in the Napolean years.
          This worked out to be a fourteen story series and would take you through the years from 1809-1815 with a company called the Rifles.
          The leader of the rifles was to be Sharpe, a Seargent lifted from the ranks to become an officer after saving Wellingtons life from three Frenchmen.
          The star was to be Paul Mc Gann but weeks after shooting in Ukraine Paul was injured in a football match and could not continue with the work.
          Within eight days the series had found another actor to play the role, Sean Bean.

          Other actors to join the series were Daragh O'Malley (Harper), John Tams (Hagman), Jason Salkey (Harris), Michael Mears (Cooper), Lyndon Davies (Perkins), David Troughton and Hugh Fraser (Arther Wellesley/Duke of Wellington) Pete Lostlewaie (Obadiah Hakeswel) Assumpta Serna (Teresa) to be the main characters in the show as well as some special guests for every episode. You have Elizabeth Hurley, Alice Krige, Emily Mortimer, Caroline Langrishe, Abigail Cruttenden, and Cecile Laoli as the women for the adventures of Sharpe.

          Each episode was to be a different year for Sharpe and different battles as he became more ambitious with his trusty Rifles behind him.
          This was to start off in 1809 in the episode Sharpes Rifles where he meets his new regiment but doesn't go quite according to plan as they want a propour officer and not Sharpe as he has risen from the ranks.
          His mission is to go behind enemy lines to find James Rothchild, an undercover agent who has gone missing. The Rifles come into contact with the Spanish partisans led by Teresa.

          Sharpes Eagle is the next and this episode is about Sharpe given command of the South Essex regiment into a disciplined fighting force the day before a battle.
          Meanwhile Simersons leiutenatns do not like Sharpe and want to cut him down to size as they do not class him in the same league as them.
          After the colours are taken in battle Sharpe wants revenge and sets off to capture a French Eagle...

          Sharpes company :
          New officers arrive from England and Sharpe finds himself demoted of his Captaincy. Also his enemy Obediah Hakeswell has turned up and is out to get Sharpe through any means that he can.
          Sharpe and his rifles are soon emersed into battle but what will happen with Obediah's plans ?

          Sharpes enemy :
          Napoleans spy Major Ducos is preparing a secret invasion for which the British are not expecting and are totally unprepared for. Meanwhile Sharpe has to rescue two English female hostages and bring them to safety.

          Sharpes honour :
          Sharpe is falsely accused of forcing himself on a woman he has never even met.
          He is forced into a duel and after it is cut short his opponent ends up dead in his tent and found the next day.
          Sharpe is blamed and is set to be hanged. Who is behind this and what will happen to Sharpe ?

          Sharpes Gold:
          A young Irish woman and her mother come in search of her missing Father who has dissapperared on the hunt for the Aztec Gold which is believed hidden in the mountains.
          They are related to Wellington who doesn't want them to go any further on their quest. But the women have other ideas and it is up to Sharpe and his rifles to sort things out.

          Sharpes Battle :
          French forces led by Guy De Loup are burning villages and killing families. Sharpes orders are to stop them. He and his rifles set out and also with him are an inexperienced unit of who Sharpe has to turn into an elite fighting force.

          Sharpes Sword :
          A French officer is on his way to assassinate one of Wellingtons best agents. Sharpe has to find this assassin before anything happens. But it is Sharpe who is wounded badly and left for dead...

          Sharpes Regiment :
          Sharpe and Harper go back to England after the truth as the South Essex are to be disbanded. They find assassins, bad officers, deceit and corruption leading to Lord Fenner...

          Sharpes Siege :
          While out fighting in a mission to capture a fort in France Sharpes wife catches a deadly fever that has swept through the British camps. Sharpe has to stay and fight and can only hope things are ok when he gets back to camp.

          Sharpes Mission :
          Sharpes orders are to join Colonel Brand on a mission behind French enemy lines. However outgunned and outnumbered Sharpe finds that there are enemies on both sides..

          Sharpes Revenge :
          The war is over but Sharpe has been framed by Ducos and accuses him of stealing Napoleans treasures. Sharpe must go and find out what has happened and also deal with what is happening in his personal life.

          Sharpes Justice :
          The peninsular war is over and it is time for Sharpe to return to his hometown. He finds the place poverty stricken, and the people there could revolt at any minute.
          His orders are to take charge and keep the peace.
          He is torn between his hometown people and his orders to King and country..

          Sharpes Waterloo :
          As Napoleans news of his return from exile come in Sharpe and his rifles meet up again to join the fight in Waterloo....

          Sharpe the legend :
          This is a tale from Coopers point of perspective. In it he tells you stories from Sharpes history, when he first met him, and all the battles he has been together with him in.


          There are also special features on these disks which include Photo gallerys from every episode, behind the scenes features, documentarys, fact files, and music from the series.

          The special features aren't really on for that long so I will not go into that much greater detail about them. The documentary is the longest at 25 minutes but there is the fifteenth disk that is not actually a story "Sharpe the legend" tells of all Sharpes adventures from one of his Rifles and takes you though the start to finish of the series with excerpts from each episode and about his life.


          What I thought :

          From watching the first episode I found myself hooked. As I had watched Hornblower previously I expected it to be similar and was not disappointed.
          Going through the stories I thought they were all very good going into a lot of detail about the Napolean years and how Arthur Wellesley got his Lordship to become the Duke of Wellington.
          I liked the way in which the stories went through actual battle stories of the time that took place and how it would have seemed to the British Army.
          It was good watching Sharpe go from a Seargent and work his way through the officer ranks with that helping hand from Wellington and how he comes to bond with his rifles.

          These stories were made very believable and had the music to go with it. There was Hagmans singing to keep everybodys spirits up and the series went with instrumentals rather than with other modern music otherwise it would not have worked. This had a good feel to it and went along very well with each story.

          The wardrobe I found was brilliant. There was so much work that went into this series as everything was found out and researched into as to what certain regiments, officers, civilians, French and Spanish were wearing at the time.
          Even the ladies from Sharpe were dressed exactly as they would have been according to the research done into the series.

          I have found that each episode is about 100 minutes long and for me is better than watching a film as this continues throughout the whole series and you get to know all of the characters. This may seem like a long time for an episode but this is well set out and things are not rushed all at once. A lot was worked out with the production and I feel they could have even gone to a two hour episode for each one if they had wanted as they had so much good material with the stories.

          The music set the tone for the series and was what you would expect. It had lots of instrumentals and brass band sounds that you would have heard from an Army being told to play. And the beat sounded just like an Army's on the march as you will see when you watch the series move along.
          The singing from Hagman was also very good and yet again worked very well with each episode. One song was Over the hills and far away, which became the tune at the end of nearly every espisode.


          I liked the design of the box set and they way it had extras in like the booklet and map showing all of the battles that actually took place and were shown in the series.


          If you like good TV dramas and especially ones that take you back to the 1800's then do give this box set a try as it is fantastic.

          © IanM73 2008

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            07.06.2008 15:11
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            Good DVD with a decent selection of specail features

            What I am reviewing is the Doctor Who DVD "The Pirate Planet"

            Ratio 4.3
            Dolby Digital sound
            Running time 272 minutes

            First Broadcast 30 September - 21 October 1978


            As the Key to time series moved on The Pirate Planet was the second story of the series.
            This followed on after The Ribos Operation which had had very good viewing figures in the UK when it was broadcast.

            Before the filming began on this one Tom Baker was messing about with a friends dog and seeing it do tricks he held a biscuit in his mouth for the dog to jump up and take, but alas for Tom the dog bit him leaving blood pouring from his mouth.
            Tom was taken to accident and emergency to be fixed up.
            Nothing was permenant and would heal up but there was still a bite mark and filiming was due to begin that day !
            Gareth Williams the producer and Pennant Roberts the director had to come up with a way that Tom could still film and explain the mark.
            The way they got around it was with the Doctor and Romana squabbling around the easiest way to materialize the TARDIS and with the Doctor hitting himself on the panel and leaving a mark. Problem sorted for the time being.

            Now this story was to be set on a huge space station so there was no location filming. This was all done at BBC studios who built all the sets for this story.
            It had to have a flight deck for the Captain, corridors and underground passages leading to the depths of the ship.
            Whilst the sets were made the costume for the Captain was to be different than expected. Actor Bruce Purchase was in the role as the captain and his costume was to have a robot arm, and half of his face covered with robotic machinery so he could see from his left eye. He wore a brightly coloured red suit that stood him out from the rest on deck.
            He also had a robot parrott who he commanded to kill people when they got the worse in him.

            Mary Tamm had a change of costume as she would for every story and would cleverly blend in with the story at the time. She wore a light pink top in this one so not to show up too much while on the deck as this was the captins territory.
            Tom was still fighting fit and ready to go with his performance after his situation with the dog.
            K-9 was to play a part in this story and it was to be the first fight between to robot animals in the series, K-9 versus the Captains parrot !


            Plot :

            The Doctor and Romana are getting signals to where the second key is located in time and space. The control of the TARDIS shows up with the planet of Zanak after the locater has traced it and they go on their way to find it.
            After a few squabbles about the easiest way to materialize the TARDIS they land to find that the streets are covered with priceless gems that have precious minerals to other planets of the galaxy and known only to be located on them.
            The Doctor is puzzled by this and as they ask around about the planet they get little response. Romana has some luck and they find out that somebody called the Captain is running the place and promises a prosperous time for all.

            However all is not as it seems, what has actually happened to the planet, why are there precious gems everywhere and why do people never say no to the Captain ?
            There are some other humanoids who make their presence felt to the Doctor, but who are they and what is unraveling in front of our time travelers ?


            Special Features :


            Commentary 1 :
            Tom Baker, Mary Tamm and Anthony Read (script editor) give their comments and memories on the Pirate Planet with some great insights.

            Commentary 2 :
            Bruce Purchase and Pennant Roberts take you through the story giving their input.

            Parrot fashion :
            This is a thirty minute documentary about the story and has input from Tom Baker, Mary Tamm, John Leeson, Bruce Purchase, Anthony Read, and Rosalind Lloyd.
            This also has an interview with writer Douglas Adams.

            Film inserts, deleted scenes and outtakes :
            This gives you a chance to see deleted scenes from the story, inserts and some funny outtakes.

            Weird science :
            This is a spoof school sci fi programme that was broadcast in the 70's and covers the key to time series.

            Continuities :
            This gives you the chance to see before and after each episode with a voice over and TV listings before and after each episode from 1978.

            Radio Times billings :
            This shows you all of the Radio Times listings for The Pirate Planet with articles, pictures, and time listings.

            Coming soon trailer :
            This shows you a clip of the upcoming DVD release Planet of Evil

            Photo gallery :
            This shows you photos of the making of, actors shots, model shots, and set designs.

            Production subtitles :
            With this option you can see the pop up details of what was happening at that certain time of the episode and gives you facts about the story.


            What thought :

            As I did have vague memories of this one from 1978 it was good to watch it again to see how much I actually did remember of the story.
            From the moment I put it on and selected episode 1 I did remember watching this which was great.
            I found the relationship with the Doctor and Romana now getting much better as a lot of the groundwork had been done to introduce them in the previous story "The Ribos Operation".
            Also it was good to see the continuation in search of the key to time as this was bringing all of the stories together quite well so far in the series whilst giving each story a good storyline to follow.
            The inclusion of a space station in was a lot better than some of the others I found as it had a certain character on the bridge of the Captain who was a good villain for that story and found that his character was well set out and the costume was done very differently. Also the inclusion of another robot animal, this time being a parrot was good viewing and I found myself waiting for the showdown between the parrott and K-9.

            The settings were good and had lots of detail especially on the bridge to make it believable. There was lots going on and it was set out very colourful to make it stand out more.
            I found that some old oil refineries were used in a certain part of the story and I remembered them from a couple of episodes of Blake's 7. That way I found there was a lot more room for the actors and it took you down into the depths of the station.

            The acting was good all round and while Tom and Mary play their parts great so did some of the others and Bruce Purchase (The Captain) really stood out for me in the story giving a great performance. I found he was a lot like Brian Blessed with the loud voice and shouting, which worked well for this story.

            The picture was crystal clear much more than I actually remembered it from the last time I saw it and it looked as though it had only been made yesterday.
            I thought this was very well cleaned up before digital transfer as I did with the sound as well. This was very clear and made a lot of difference being Dolby Digital rather than mono sound.

            With the special features the commentaries were as good as ever with Tom and Mary I their element discussing this story and remembering well even though it was quite a few years ago when it was made now.
            Bruce Purchase and Pennant Roberts made a good go of the second commentary making it a good listen to find out what they thought of the story.
            Parrot fashion was a good documentary to watch giving a lot of details and making of about the story.
            The outtakes were funny with all of the cast forgetting their lines at one time or another, and funny to watch Tom and Mary doing this.
            The added scenes and deleted scenes are a good extra feature with some of the deleted scenes being rescued from old VHS tape.


            I found this a good second story to The Key to Time theme and well intergrated with the first story.
            This one is certainly worth a watch and has decent extra features.

            © IanM73 2008

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              01.06.2008 13:45
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              Great DVD with lots of extras and very good story.

              What I am reviewing is the Doctor Who DVD "The Ribos Operation"

              4.3 ratio
              Dolby Digital sound
              Running time 280 minutes

              First broadcast 2-23 September 1978


              In 1978 with the departure of Louise Jameson who played the Doctors companion Leela, it was up to the director and production crew to find a replacement for the upcoming series.
              In their searching they came up with actress Mary Tamm who had previously trained at RADA before moving onto film such as Tales that witness madness (1973) and The Odessa File (1974)
              There was also to be a new outline for the series and for the first time in the programmes history a theme to the new series sixteen.

              Mary was to be cast as Romana the Doctors new companion who was also a time lord from Gallifrey.
              In this she was going to be the Doctors equal, very intellectual about all things which was such a different change of pace from all the other Doctors companions in the past.

              This new series was to involve the Key To Time which would evolve with the Doctor, Romana, and K9 travelling time and space for the six segments to make up the key to Time for the white guardian, as these couldn't fall into the wrong hands.
              Graham Williams the new producer wanted to try out something different with this series and had all the facts he wanted into place to make this stand out from previous stories and to keep the viewer watching to see if out time travelers could complete their quest.

              The first to be in line was the story "The Ribos Operation" which would introduce the new character of Romana to the series.
              It was a good idea to choose another time lord as this hadn't been done in the past and would make interesting viewing with a time lady from Gallifrey and her relationship with the Doctor.
              Also if the actress left and the character became very popular she could regenerate like the Doctor.

              Tom Baker was well and truly in the role of the Doctor by now and he knew his character inside out.
              This series was also to be a challenge for him and a whole series involving one element would be completely different and unique to the programme.
              K-9 also hade a make over, sprayed with metallic grey paint and fitted with a quieter motor for the new series.


              Plot :

              The Doctor is summoned by the White Guardian who wants the Doctor to go on a quest for the six segments of the key to time which could resemble anything and scattered all around in time and space.
              When these are together they can balance the universe while making sure not to get into the hands of the Black Guardian who is also after the key to time for his own personal gain to control the universe.
              The Doctor agrees to this and is given a new assistant Romanavalatralunda (Romana for short) who will help him on his quest with his robot dog K-9.

              Their first stop is on planet Ribos to try and locate the first segment.
              However there are other people on the surface trying to steal a pecious stone from the Prince and the Doctor and Romana are caught up with all that is going on.
              What will happen on the planet Ribos ? and will the Doctor and Romana get out of their situation unscathed ?


              Extras :


              A matter of time :
              A 60 minute documentary that takes you through the whole of the key to time series sixteen with contributions from Tom Baker, Mary Tamm, Lalla Ward, John Leeson, and new series writer Gareth Roberts.
              This is a well presented extra with a good deal of info on the reason behind the new theme for the series.

              The Ribos File :
              The cast and crew gives their thoughts and memories of the making of this story and take you into the background of it.
              There are also clips from the story from each of the characters in this.

              Season sixteen trailer :
              This gives you clips of the upcoming stories from the key to time series as to what you can expect.

              Continuity compilation :
              This shows you the continuitys before and after each of the episodes so you can actually see what was on in 1978 ! Quite an interesting extra.

              Radio times billings :
              This shows you listings, illustrations from the Radio times. This is on DVD-ROM PC/MAC only.

              Production subtitles :
              With this option you can view subtitles of what was happening at the time with various facts about each sequence of filming of this story.

              Photo Gallery :
              This shows you photos of the story from production, casting, model shots, cast and crew.

              Coming soon trailer :
              A trailer for the Doctor Who story "The Planet of Evil"

              Commentary :
              This is done by Tom Baker and Mary Tamm
              They take you through the story and point out various facts about the filming, their memories of making this story and Mary of being the new companion at the time and what it meant to her.


              What I thought :

              As hadn't seen this story for ages I was lucky enough to get this boxset containing all six stories of the key to time which is now very hard to come by as there were only a limited number available. My one comes from Australia and has the same features as the UK one and same packaging.
              However I am reviewing the first story and not the box set all in one.

              When I took the Ribos Operation from the box it had a good cover with the segment in the middle with Romana and K-9, the Prince on the left and the jewel thief on the right.
              It had details of the special features on the back to make it easy to skip through and a short story detail which is always a nice touch if you haven't a clue what the story is about.
              The broadcast date is on the back which I always like to see as I can remember most from 1977 onwards and is always good to think back to when I first saw the story.

              Inside is the disk with a good print of the first segment of the key to time on it.

              The DVD menus are east to navigate and they are all have parts of the story showing behind the menus.

              With the story I found Romana I to be a very good new character for the show and with this story it gets behind the background of the character of Romana and the Doctor and a little more about their history. As I found that this is not action all the way through it was a good touch to know more about the time lords in this story.
              Mary Tamm plays her part very well and it's a shame she was only in the series for the sixteenth series and did not stay any longer.

              Tom plays the part of the Doctor great and is quite funny when he first meets Romana as she is very intellectual and is his equal.
              The planet Ribos was very well set out especially the snow effect as listning to the commentary when it was actually humid on those days !

              The special features are great with a various selection that will not disappoint you.
              It's good to hear Mary Tamm and Tom Baker doing the commentary as I have never heard Mary doing one before and this is the first time she has done this. It was great hearing on how she felt as the new companion and how her character clashes with Tom's !

              All of the making of's are very well done and does give you a lot of detail about the story and also the upcoming ones of the key to times series.
              The trailers, photos, and continuities are good to browse through.

              I found that the picture had been cleaned up so much from old video recordings and truly stands out in this story. As this was 1978 the image was so clear it could have been made today, that is the way I felt the picture was so good.
              The Dolby Digital sound was fantastic and gave it that modern feel to it.

              This I found was an excellent opener of the Key To Time series sixteen for the show and the DVD itself is faultless and gets a very good write up from me.

              If you get the chance to see this story then it is certainly worth it.
              I have found you can get the story separate on places like Ebay and Amazon for about £10 and will just be the Region 1 US versions. The UK and Australian versions are the seven disk Key To Time boxsets which are quite a bit of money now. The UK ones go for about £150 but I found this set for £40 from an Australian site DVDCrave if anybody is interested.

              © IanM73 2008

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                22.05.2008 17:14
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                The new incarnation of the 8th Doctor on DVD with a few special features.

                What I am reviewing is the Doctor Who DVD "The Movie"

                First broadcast 27 May 1996
                4.3 ratio
                Dolby Digital sound
                Feature running time 85 minutes


                In 1995 it was suggested that Doctor Who should reappear on our screens as it had been away from quite some time. What with the American following of our Doctors adventures the US Universal productions and the BBC got together to try and come to some arrangement over what was going to happen here.
                Since this was now going to be broadcast in 1996 the current Doctor Sylvester McCoy hadn't played the part since 1989 story "Survival" and it was time for a new Doctor.
                Sylvester was contacted about bringing back his 7th Doctor for a regeneration scene which he was quite happy to do so.

                Meanwhile the look for the new 8th Doctor came about with the name of actor Paul McGann heavily favoured for the role.
                Needless to say he got the part while the lookout for his companions for this story still went on.
                The villain he would be facing was the Master and the plotline had to involve a new body for him too.

                The BBC and Universal had different opinions when it came to the run of the programme. The BBC wanted to make a series like the last one, but Fox didn't want that but just a full length movie. As Universal had put up some money and it was being set in San Francisco the BBC never really had a choice but to let this happen with the promise of a series shortly after this.

                The other actors were cast with Daphne Ashbrook (Grace Holloway) Yee Jee Tso (Chang Lee) and Eric Roberts (The Master) all set into place.

                This was set to be broadcast on 27th May 1996 and was set to give Doctor Who a new life line to revive the programme...


                Plot :

                The 7th Doctor has been sent to collect the Masters remains to take back to Gallifrey after the Daleks had tried and executed him on Skaro.
                Meanwhile the Masters casing cracks open and oozes out and into the TARDIS controls forcing it down and materializing on Earth, new years eve 1999 in San Francisco.

                Gang warfare is going on in the streets and one gang watch as the TARDIS materializes and the Doctor emerges.
                They shoot the Doctor down and run.
                Chang Lee see's the wounded time lord and takes him to a hospital where Doctor Grace Holloway operates to save his life when he awakens and tells her not to as he is not like them
                Grace cannot save him in her medical way and he dies on the operating table.

                Whilst in the morgue later that night the Doctor comes back to life as he regenerates into his new form...

                The Master meanwhile has found a new body too and his goal is to take the Doctors remaining incarnations and cause havoc around the universe.

                This is up to the Doctor to stop him...


                Special Features :

                Commentary by director Geoffrey Sax :
                This commentary takes you through the whole story as he tells you about the making of and gives you lots of information about the movie.

                On screen production notes :
                With this option on there are pop up boxes with info to read as you watch the film that tell you how certain bits were made and facts about the actors.

                Photo Gallery :
                This shows you photos of the making, publicity shots, design shots, and the actors.

                Music feature :
                This tells you about how the music was created for this story.

                Exclusive footage, cast and crew interviews, behind the scenes featurette :
                Just as the title says these take you behind the scenes of making of this story and give you information about the actors playing the characters of this story.


                What I thought :

                I remembered this very well being shown in 1996.
                I don't seem to recall much press information about it during the time as it could have done with a lot more especially TV adverts.
                Anyway I thought that this was going to be a great revival for the series and was looking forward to another one being made as it had now been a while since the older series finished in 1989.

                I remember watching it right from the credits and thought it was good with the voiceover of Paul saying what had happened with the Master and Time Lords and saying that he was traveling back to Gallifrey to deliver the masters remains.
                Then the music started to kick in which I remembered I thought was very good.

                Watching this then I liked the way Sylvester was brought back for a little while and thought that Paul McGann was very good in the role, but I thought although a good story something didn't feel quite right about it.
                When this had finished and a few months had gone by, there was the news that the TV programme had fell through as Universal didn't want to know anymore as it was not big enough for the US and not generating the money.
                I felt cheated out of this and thought something could have been done surley.

                Watching this again now I still liked the idea of the voice over and the title sequence but when it came to watching it I thought Sylvester and Pauls performances were great but found this too Americanised.
                This is not what I had come to expect of the programme, true it was set in the US but to have all the cast except the Doctor American I thought this was a bit off.
                With the new TARDIS interior though I thought it looked good and was a change from the old style white one with the little console.
                The special effects are good I shall give it that and this is what made this a good story.
                A lot of work had gone into the special effects department and it pays off.

                I found the story to work well but didn't really like it as much as I felt I had in 1996.
                This was again probably of the total change of direction for the programme as it was not geared toward the British audience who had been loyal to the programme since the start in 1963.
                Looking back now I am glad the series never cam about otherwise things might have gone downhill for the series and we might not have had the revival on the BBC in 2005 and be watching it now.

                With the special features I thought the behind the scenes stuff was good to watch as it shows you a lot of detail about the making of this story.
                Listning to the actors comments I thought was a good touch especially as most of them were filmed on the making of this set giving interviews there and then.



                So there you go, this is not a great stand out story but has a good acting performance by Sylvester and Paul and is worth a watch anyway to fill in the gaps from the 7th Doctor to present times.

                © IanM73 2008

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                  18.05.2008 12:54
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                  Good story but no extras

                  What I am reviewing is the Doctor Who DVD "The Five Doctors"

                  First broadcast 25 November 1983
                  4.3 ratio
                  Dolby digital sound


                  In 1983 after the close of season twenty after the story "The Kings Demons" it was announced that there was to be a special later that year as it was the programmes twentieth birthday.
                  This was to be the special of the Five Doctors where all five would meet up against their enemies.
                  The BBC had a lot of work cut out for them, they had to get past and present Doctors and companions together to record this special to make it go down as something special in the programmes history.

                  Well they had a start with the present Doctor Peter Davison and Janet Fielding (Tegan) and Mark Strickson (Turlough). Patrick Troughton (Doctor no 2) and Jon Pertwee (Doctor no 3) were eager to sign up for this as were Elisabeth Sladen (Sarah Jane Smith), Nicolas Courtney (Brigadier Lethbridge Stewart), Carol Anne Ford (Susan).
                  They also had to find a replacement for the first Doctor as William Hartnell had passed away. They found an actor Richard Hurdall who had appeared on stage and other TV performances to play the role as he was so similar to William.

                  However there was a problem with the 4th Doctor. Tom Baker had been given the script and was going to go ahead with it, but at the last minute he changed his mind and did not want to appear in the story as he felt it was too recent since he had left.

                  The producer John Nathan Turner realized he could not replace Tom but had to come up with a way to write him out of the story. It was up to Peter Moffatt the director to sort this out.
                  So they had to start the script of this story.
                  Terrance Dicks the writer had done a marvelous job and had completed it with Toms script inside which now had to be changed as he was not in it.
                  The story that he was working on was that all of the Doctors would be lifted from time and space and put on the death zone on their home planet of Gallifrey and would be pitted against their enemies such as the Cybermen, The Master, a Dalek, the Yeti, and whoever was responsible for bringing them there.
                  Toms doctor was stuck in a time loop while trying to remove him from his place in time, so that solved the matter of his disappearance from the story.

                  The script went according to plan and all the faces from the past of Doctor Who cropped up in this special, even though at the time they didn't want K-9 to appear but did have him in for a little while on Earth warning Sarah that something was going to happen. Also the Daleks were not to have a large part in the story, but just one.

                  Everything was set and the cameras rolled on to make this 90 minute story...


                  Plot :

                  All of the Doctors incarnations are being taken out of space and time with some of his companions to the death zone on Gallifrey to play the game of Rassilon.
                  The Doctor has some help from his companions on the way but is faced with some of his villains along the way. The cybermen are transported there, as are the Yeti.
                  Also to try and help the Doctor the Time Lords have sent the master to help him telling him he can have a free pardon from all of his deeds in the past.

                  The Doctor has to try and find out who is behind all of this, whilst defeating his enemies to get to the tomb of Rassilon...


                  What I thought :

                  I remembered this story very well since it was first broadcast in 1983.
                  In 1983 not that many people had videos so you could not see any of the older Doctors or companions if you hadn't seen them before. So this was a great chance to see Doctors and companions past and present with a handful of his enemies thrown in to the mix.

                  I remembered watching it then and thought it was marvelous as I had never sent his in the entire history of watching Doctor Who myself, my earliest memory being in 1977 when was only 4 years old !
                  I recall wanting Tom Bakers Doctor to appear but he never did which I was disappointed about a lot after watching him from a young age, but feeling this was a great story anyway with whoever was in it.
                  I liked seeing Doctors that I had never known and found it very interesting as I recall so did all of my schoolfriends.

                  Watching it now, I still think that this is a great story and will always have a special place in my memory after those memories of it came flooding back just after the opening sequence with Willam Hartnell speaking to open up the to the title sequence.
                  Being 1983 I thought that this story was remarkably done well as the settings on Gallifrey, the tomb of Rassilon, the Tower, and how they all got to be there with the black triange thing taking them all off from wherever they were to transport them all there.

                  As I had now seen all of the Doctors by now I knew what they were all going to act like, so it was with no great surprise that Patrick and Jons Doctors were always arguing with each other, which was great to see but all pulling together to work things out.
                  I felt though that the companions never actually done that much in the story and were not used enough which was quite unfair, especially to Janet and Mark who were the current companions and had some very good stories behind them. Janet had "Kinda" and "Snakedance" while mark had the Black Guardian trilogy.
                  Even Elisabeth Sladen had been with the Doctor for years during Jon Pertwee and Tom Baker and really didn't have that much in line with the story.

                  However this was a very entertaining story and worth of a twentieth celebration. It was good that Peters Doctor took the lead as he was the current Doctor.

                  I found that the sound was Dolby Digital which made a difference and the picture had been updated with all scratches and colour fading taken out and all digitalized.
                  This gave the picture a very clear image and the sound stand out very well.

                  However there are now two copies of this DVD, this special edition that I am reviewing and the recently released 25th Anniversary edition which is far superior and has two disks.
                  This special edition that I am reviewing is a bare bones disk with nothing on it apart from the story itself.
                  As this was released in 1999 surely they could have done a better job then ad put a few bits and pieces on such as making of, deleted scenes and suchlike but nothing for a story like this is very bad for this DVD.

                  I shall rate this as the DVD as a whole and not just the story which I would give a very good mark anyway.

                  If you enjoy a great piece of Doctor Who history then it's certainly worth a watch, although try and get the 25th Anniversary edition as it is so much superior and has lots of features on.
                  If you just rent from a site then it doesn't matter which version it is as it's a great story.

                  © IanM73 2008

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                  • datingdirect.com / Internet Site / 54 Readings / 47 Ratings
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                    16.05.2008 20:42
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                    One of the worst dating sites out there.

                    What I am reviewing is the site DatingDirect.com


                    In 2003when I was in Milton Keynes after the break up of my ex I decided that I wanted to meet somebody to settle down with and finding it easy to meet her I had a look in the MK Citizen that had some adverts in it. They had one that I liked the look of straight away. It was Dating Direct.
                    They had a website and also an introduction service which stated unlimited introductions in Milton Keynes.
                    I kept the paper and called them the following day. They stated that they would make me a profile and send my picture out. This cost around £60 for a period of time, I think it was six months.
                    So I paid them and waited, and waited, and waited. Nothing. I kept calling them and they said that nothing matched in my profile what I wanted in a woman !! I found this impossible to believe as I didn't have anything I never liked and just wanted to meet somebody.
                    The months rolled on and on with no introductions whatsoever, all throughout my membership there.

                    Looking back on that one, if that happened now I would take them to small claims court after the lie of unlimited introductions in the paper.

                    So that started off my bad experience with DatingDirect. But worse was yet to come....


                    Now for the website..

                    The following year I decided to give that a go as I still hadn't found anybody after various other sites and agencies.
                    I signed up for a year at around £50 I think, this was in 2004 so prices might have changed since, I shall tell you later.
                    Anyway I downloaded my photo and made my profile. This is quite hard when you don't know really what to put in it, so I was as truthful as I could ever be.
                    I stated all my likes and dislikes and who I wanted to meet.
                    I stated where I lived and what age range I was and would like to meet, also there were questions about your hobbies, place you lived, if you had transport, if you had kids, and more blank spaces to fill in more about a short description of yourself.

                    Anyway with this all done I started looking at ladies profiles in my area.
                    There were quite a few on there, lots without pictures, but that didn't matter to me as I like to get to know somebody without judging them on their picture first which is what happens when a lot of you ladies out there judge us men by just the pic and not looking at the profile...
                    Anyway I started typing out a few messages, three the first day, then eagerly checking my inbox the next day, and guess what, nothing.
                    This went on and on and I had no responses whatsoever no matter how many messages I typed out.
                    I soon became very frustrated with this after years of getting nothing from this dreadful company and paying them cash all the time.


                    How this website is stated to work :

                    It says that DatingDirect have a huge success rate of couples getting together through this and gives you pictures of them. I think these are fabricated and the people look like models and film stars, anyway it tells you on the site about meeting on the site and so on after one or two meetings !

                    There is a link telling you how the sire was formed and how good they rate theirselfs compaired to all the other dating sites out there.
                    There is a list of contact if you need help setting up your profile or to pay more cash to them when your membership expires.

                    You have your home page which when logged in goes to your profile and you can check to see what messages you have sent or received and your recent searches. This will be in search pattens, for example a lady in Buckinghamshire age range 25-35.

                    If you want to search then this is easy to do on the site, this gives you drop down menus and you can choose county, age, male or female. Then hit search and it will find the matches of people you have chosen.
                    If you like their profile then it is easy to send them a message, just write one in the box provided down below and just hit send.

                    This shows you pictures of the latest members who have joined on the front page, but you pay extra for that. They do say that your profile stands out more and you will receive lots of messages.



                    My thoughts :

                    Well I have told you a bit of the background story behind this and when I first joined their personal introduction service I found I was getting nothing and when I tried to call them the office hours were between 9-12.30 and were constantly engaged or when you did get through I was hung up on.
                    This was a total waste of money and proves that there was not an unlimited supply of introductions in Milton Keynes as I did not receive a single one.

                    With the Dating site itself I found it easy to set up and sort out my picture and profile and also easy to write out messages. The profile page had all of your details on to update and was easy to find out your own details.
                    However I did not want to date myself, and although I sent out countless messages I did not receive a single one back in all of my membership. I seriously doubt if all of these profiles were genuine that I sent messages to.

                    Also I did find out that a lot of ladies do not read your profile but just glance at the picture and if they don't like it they move on to the next one.
                    This is a very nasty attitude to have, and I found that they all seemed to be like that on the site and never wanted to get to know you or chat.
                    I did try another county, my home of Essex, but guess what ? that was the same too ! No replies and a complete waste of my time, effort and throwing countless amounts of money down the drain without anything to show for it.

                    This I can say has been the worst dating site I have ever had the misfortune of being on and I am sure I have had the bad luck of everybody in the country combined !


                    Well, I gave up the search after various other sites and no longer worry about it, but just one chance would be good from somewhere.
                    Still, I'm saving money !

                    Please take my advice and do not join these as all you will get is a lot of grief and annoyance.
                    Hope this has been of some help.

                    © IanM73 2008

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                    • More +
                      10.05.2008 12:17
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                      Good DVD with a few special features to enjoy

                      What I am reviewing is the Doctor Who DVD "Resurrection of the Daleks"

                      Broadcast 8-15 Feb 1984

                      Ratio 4.3
                      Mono or Dolby Digital sound
                      Running time 100 mins


                      Well it had to happen sooner or later, the current Doctor has to face his old enemies the Daleks.
                      Peter Davison was nearing his end of his reign as the Doctor as were Janet Fielding and Mark Strickson as his two companions Tegan and Turlough.
                      There had to be something about this new Dalek story that would keep people watching, mind you they were due a good welcome back to TV having not been seen since the Tom Baker story "Destiny of the Daleks" in 1979.
                      It was decided to set the story in present day London with the TARDIS landing in the deserted docklands (this was in 1984) and the TARDIS forced to land there after being trapped in a time corridor.
                      Davros, the creator of the Daleks was also set to return in this story as his character had been very popular of the years, but there had to be some difference in the storyline other than Davros commanding the Daleks. It set the scene for two fractions of Daleks looking for their leader and destroying anything in the way.
                      There was also the time corridor to feature in this story, so people and Daleks could enter from the future and be sent to present day Earth.

                      This story was the last to feature Janet Fielding as Tegan. She was contracted to finish when Peter did but it did not seem right for them to leave at the same time but to get a new character in for the new sixth Doctor Colin Baker.
                      Mark was set to leave in the next story that introduced Nicola Bryant playing Peri "Planet of Fire"

                      During filming of this story there was a huge amount of publicity in the news and people had to be kept off where filming was taking place.


                      Story :

                      The TARDIS is trapped in a time corridor and forced to land on present day Earth 1984. However the Doctor and companions are not the only ones to come through this. Two fractions of Daleks are looking for their leader Davros and will destroy anything that gets in their way.
                      The Doctor must meet up with the rebel forces that have come through the corridor from the future to try and stop the Daleks before they reach the populated areas of London, and where is Davros while all this is happening ? and what do the Daleks want with him...


                      Special Features :


                      Commentary by Peter Davison, Janet Fielding and Matthew Robinson :
                      This gives you the option to listen to the commentary with the actors giving their own experiences of the filming of the story and input into this.

                      Resurrection of the Daleks on location :
                      Director Matthew Robinson, producer John Nathan Turner, and writer/script editor Eric Saward go back to where the filming of this story was set and give their views and memories of it.
                      Sadly producer John Nathan Turner died six weeks after recording this story, and on this DVD he gives his last interview.

                      Deleted scenes :
                      A number of deleted and extended scenes from the story are here to look at.

                      Breakfast time features :
                      This is from the BBC's early morning programme which had regular features on it.
                      These are with John Nathan Turner and Janet Fielding discussing Tegan's character and Brian Hodgeson and Malcolm Clarke discuss how the music was used in this story.

                      BBC1 trailer :
                      This is the original trailer from part one of this story.

                      Music only option :
                      You can listen to the soundtrack from the whole story by using this feature.

                      5.1 sound mix :
                      You can choose from the original mono soundtrack or the new Dolby digital mix which has been chosen for this DVD.

                      Photo Gallery :
                      This shows you photos of the story from location shots, studio shots, cast and crew and model shots.

                      Production subtitles :
                      This gives you the option of all of the production filming of this story and tells you what was going on at the time.

                      Tardis cam no 4 :
                      This shows a brand new model sequence.


                      What I thought :

                      I remembered the publicity for this story well, especially as it was set in London 1984. I remember it being in the newspapers and the news on TV, so it was with great joy that I looked forward to seeing this story again.
                      I always had liked Dalek stories in the past and nothing had changed.
                      I thought that the location setting with London was a good move as everybody could identify it with England and where the series has started. Well it did start in Totters yard in London, but the Docklands was not that far away.

                      Watching this again a lot came flooding back to me and it was good to see this story again with London being the backdrop.
                      This I felt was a strong performance all round with Peter Davisons departure along with Janet and Mark quickly approaching.
                      This was Janets last story and I felt that she should have really have gone out another way as the departure for her character didn't really do Tegan justice, after all she had been in the show since Tom Bakers reign ended in 1981.

                      The Daleks and Davros was as I remembered them. It was good to see them again and to me it seemed quite recent. (I know it was a few years ago now though !)


                      With the special features it was good to hear Janet and Peter in the commentary and hearing about their characters in the show. It seems as though that they do have a good time doing these commentarys which you can tell by what they are saying.

                      The on location featurette was a good watch and taking you back to where the London scenes were filmed. It makes you wonder if they could do the same now in the Dockands !

                      The rest on here was not that much as some of the other DVD's but worth a look anyway. The trailer I actually remembered from 1984, but found it interesting to watch breakfast time.


                      So if you liked Peter Davisons doctor or the Daleks then this one is a good story to see. It may not have all the action of Genesis or Destiny of the Daleks but it's in London which is a bonus and has that modern approach to it.

                      © IanM73 2008

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                        29.04.2008 19:34
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                        Great DVD with lots of nice features

                        What I am reviewing is the Doctor Who DVD "The Keeper of Traken"

                        Broadcast 31 Jan - 21 Feb 1981
                        4.3 ratio
                        98 mins feature
                        Mono or dolby digital sound


                        Before Tom Bakers departure in the next story "Logopolis" a few things needed to be done. A new companion was to be added in this and the next story and also the Master was set to return.
                        Since the Master hadn't featured in a story since the 1976 Deadly Assassin things were done to bring back this popular villain. The actor to play his was Anthony Ainley who had been in dramas such as upstairs downstairs and Nicholas nickelby. John Nathan Turner decided that time was right to bring back the Master and The Keeper of Traken seemed a great opportunity to do so.
                        Aslo with the regeneration of the doctor looming he would need some new companions.
                        Sarah Sutton was set to play Nyssa of Traken and was only meant to join for one story but as she done so well and was asked to stay.
                        Matthew Waterhouse was still to play Adric and these stories showed him and the Doctor talking a lot more as Romana had just left and stayed in E-Space with K9.

                        It was a hard decision to get rid of K9 but the show was about the doctor and K9's popularity was growing very strong so it was decided to axe him from the series but give him his own TV show "K9 and company" in 1981.

                        Since all of these new actors were in place this story had to be set very well and have a good plotline. The Kepper of Traken didn't fail. This was more of a darker story than the earlier stories and went well with the last series that Tom had done.
                        The planet of Traken had to be made, well a courthouse and outside with an old statue of a strange being.
                        It was time for filming ....


                        Story :

                        The Doctor has a summons from the Keeper of Traken who ruled for a thousand years and makes sure his subjects are looked after and cared for.
                        Something is wrong on Traken, there is a strange force of evil that cannot be explained on the planet.
                        The Doctor and Adric land and take a look around. But the evil presence knows the Doctor very well...


                        Extras :

                        Commentary with Anthony Ainley, Sarah Sutton, Matthew Waterhouse and writer Johnny Byrne
                        A very good commentary and Anthonys last one before he died in 2004. This is very good with Anthony,Sarah, and Matthew discussing their characters relationships and everybodys involvement in the story.
                        Johnny tells you what it was like writing this story and seeing it brought to life.

                        Being nice to each other : A documentary looking at the making of The Keeper of Traken
                        A 30 minute documentary with Sarah Sutton, Shelia Ruskin, Geoffrey Beavers, John Black, Johnny Byrne, and Christopher H Bidmead.

                        The return of the Master :
                        A talk about the return of the Master after all those years absence from the show.

                        Swap Shop :
                        Noel Edmonds interviews Sarah Sutton on her role as Nyssa from an episode in 1981.

                        Music only option :
                        You can watch the whole story with just the music only option to hear all of the soundtrack from the story.

                        Trailers and continuity announcements :
                        This has a few BBC1 trailers from 1981 and announcements all about The Keeper Of Traken. Some of these are quite old now and the picture might not be 100% perfect but are still worth a look.

                        Radio times billings :
                        This has the Radio times lists for the story and can be viewed on the PDF-DVD-ROM format.

                        The Doctor Who annual 1982 :
                        This has the whole annual you can have a look at on the PDF-DVD-ROM format.

                        BBC enterprises literature :
                        Again on PDF-DVD-ROM this has information about the BBC

                        Photo Gallery :
                        This shows you lots of photos from the story. It has studio pics, cast and crew pics, making of, and publicity pics.

                        Production subtitles :
                        With this option this shows you subtitles with information about the making of the story in various parts of the story.

                        Digitally remasted picture and sound :
                        The sound has been remastered to include Dolby Digital and picture remastered and crystal clear.


                        What I thought :

                        I did remember watching this story when I was younger, especially with the Master who I had never seen before and was captivated by it.
                        Now watching it again I found it interesting on how the Master was brought back and a good plotline with the planet of Traken and it's inhabitants.
                        Nyssa was always one of my favourite companions and it was also good to see her making a start on her journeys with the Doctor.
                        I felt that this story led very well into the next one "Logopolis" which in turn led to the new Doctor. This series and the 1980 one was much darker than Tom's other ones and led with a slight change in the character. He became more moody but had very good storylines to pull it off with.
                        The connections between the new characters went very well and as Nyssa fitted in with the crew of the TARDIS the Master came about once more.


                        With the special features there was not really anything I never liked, mind you I never accessed the BBC literature an had a glancing glimpse at the radio times listings.
                        As before I have said about the commentaries but with this one there was lots of interaction between everybody talking about the story with their characters which was great, especially with the new starters of Sarah and Anthony.

                        The documentarys were good and found the time went by very quick while watching these.


                        The picture was crystal clear and sound was good either way, you could hear no scratches or noises you weren't meant to.
                        The disk had a good printing of the Doctor on with a background of Traken.
                        The inlay cover had a good bit of information and artwork was well drawn out on the front.

                        A good story leading up to Tom Bakers last story.

                        © IanM73 2008

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                        • More +
                          26.04.2008 12:33
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                          2 part Tom Baker Doctor Who story

                          What I am reviewing is the Doctor Who DVD "The Sontaran experiment"

                          Broadcast 22 Feb - 1 Mar 1975.
                          4.3 ratio
                          Main soundtrack mono
                          Optional Dolby digital
                          49 minutes feature



                          In 1975 when Tom Baker was making his mark as the Doctor after Robot and The ark in space there was set to be a new story coming up involving the Daleks but as the ark in space was originally meant to be a six part story instead of four there needed to be padding between ark and genesis. Producer Philip Hinchcliffe took the chance in doing this as it would be better for the long run.
                          It was decided to bring back the Sontarans, a villain not seen since Jon Pertwee's story The time warrior in 1974.

                          As this was a two part story there could not be too many of them or a really long script with that many plotlines. Also as the BBC was cutting back on it's budget this was filmed entirely on location. All of this was filmed at Hound Tor on Dartmoor, Devon.
                          This story was to feature Tom Baker, Elizabeth Sladen and Ian Marter.
                          It's other cast was going to play a group of shipwrecked Galsec colonists while there was to be only one Sontaran.
                          This Sontaran was going to be called Styre and his mission was to carry out experiments on humans.

                          During filming Tom Baker broke his collar bone and had to have a replacement stand in doing the stunt scenes. However as Tom was a professional he went through all the rest of his scenes resting whenever he could.

                          This was to be the first two part story in years of the show and when it was televised it went down very well and was good padding for the upcoming story.
                          This was to be the last two part story until Peter Davisons Black Orchid in 1982.



                          Story :

                          Having transmitted from Nerva Beacon, the Doctor, Sarah and Harry find themselves on Earth in the future that has long since been abandoned by humans.
                          However they are not the only ones on the planet. There are a group of shipwrecked Galsec colonists who are going missing by the day.
                          They have seen a creature but not sure what it is and are sure that it is taking them.
                          Sontaran Styre is conducting experiments on the humans to see how they cope.
                          What can the Doctor do to stop this, and will he stop a Sontaran fleet ?


                          Extras :

                          Commentary with Elizabeth Sladen, Philip Hinchcliffe (Producer), and Bob Baker (Writer)
                          This is a good opportunity to listen to this as they all give their own memories, experiences, and the making of this story.

                          Built for War :
                          This is a documentary about the Sontaran race throughout the series and has clips of the srories that they have been in with input from the actors of the different stories to give their own opinions.

                          Photo Gallery :
                          This shows you photos from the making of, location shooting, and cast and crew shots.


                          Production subtitles :
                          A good option to have on as it brings up facts and figures of the production of this story which tells you a bit more of info and facts behind this.

                          Digitally remastered picture and sound :
                          As always for the DVD release this picture has been made crystal clear and sound also included is Dolby Digital.



                          What I thought :


                          As I was too young to have remembered this story, I saw it briefly in 1994 on UK Gold. I enjoyed it then but when watching again I found the picture a lot clearer than I had before. Also as I didn't really remember the story all that well was good fun to watch again.
                          I liked the idea of a location shooting over just two episodes and with just a single Sontaran made the story flow better than it probably would have done with more of them.
                          I found the story good with the Doctor trying to stop these experiments, and it seemed more of a one on one battle when they met with Tom in his element as the Doctor.
                          I found that Sarah and Harry never really done that much in this story, Sarah captured and Harry just about here and there.
                          I found it entertaining but wasn't my favourite story.

                          With the special features I liked the documentary as it had all the stories that the Sontarans had been in, and even clips like that showed some work had been put in to make this. It was good listing to the different actors from the decades gone by talking about their experiences as their characters going up against the Sontarans.

                          I always find commentarys good and I like listening to the actors opinions and memories of the making of the story.
                          The photo gallery was worth a look at as there are quite a few pictures on there.

                          The inlay cover and disk were as to be expected, the inlay cover has a good bit of info on it about the story and the disk is nice and printed with a big picture of Sontaran Styre on.

                          The picture and sound were great throughout and inclusion of Dolby Digital on these disks make all the difference.



                          If you are a Doctor Who fan then do have a look at this one if you haven't seen it, but if you are just inquisitive then maybe this one isn't for you.

                          © IanM73 2008

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                          • Rice & Pasta Dishes / Recipe / 37 Readings / 35 Ratings
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                            23.04.2008 12:45
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                            2 nice dishes

                            Here are two pasta and rice dishes you might like to make.
                            One Mum makes quite a bit which is the pasta dish and I threw a few ingredients together to make the rice dish...
                            I am working on two people per dish.


                            Pasta with tomato, peppers, bacon, onion, and mushrooms.

                            What you will need :

                            200g pasta
                            1 green pepper
                            1 small onion
                            1 pack of bacon/smoked or unsmoked
                            A tin of tomatoes or four large tomatoes
                            A handful of button mushrooms.


                            What you need to do :

                            You need to cook the bacon first, so gently heat in a frying pan for about five minutes.
                            While you are doing that the pasta can go into the saucepan to boil until soft which should take about 9-11 minutes.
                            The tomatoes can be chopped as well as the pepper and onion.
                            When the bacon has cooked take out of the frying pan and trim off the fat and cut the bacon into small pieces.
                            By now the pasta should be nearly bolied and nice and soft.
                            Drain the pasta, then put back in the pan mixing all of the other ingredients together.
                            Let this heat through for about five minutes while stirring.

                            You can take out and enjoy !



                            Rice surprise...

                            You will need :


                            150g rice - you can use any kind
                            A packet of four Frankfurters
                            A handful of peas
                            A handful of corn
                            Salt and pepper for seasoning.


                            What you need to do :

                            Put the rice on to boil for about 5-8 minutes until it's done. Meanwhile cut up the frankfurters and make sure that the peas and corn are defrosted.
                            Drain the rice and place in a large wok adding some sunflower oil at the bottom so the rice won't stick.
                            Add the rest of the ingredients, sprinkle with a touch of salt and black pepper and stir well.
                            This should only need heating through for about a couple of minutes and should be ready to eat.


                            There you go, two nice easy dishes for you to make.

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                            • General / Discussion / 41 Readings / 32 Ratings
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                              22.04.2008 12:06
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                              100 questions

                              hought I would do this 100 questions as it seems a bit of fun but a long time to read though. Hope you are sitting comfortabley....

                              1 - First Names :
                              Ian
                              ~~~~~
                              2 - Pseudo(s) ?
                              None that I know of
                              ~~~~~
                              3 - girl or boy ?
                              Boy
                              ~~~~~
                              4 - Towns ? (birthplace and living town)
                              Born at Rochford hospital in Essex, spent most of my life living on Canvey Island.
                              ~~~~~
                              5 - Size ?
                              About 5'11
                              ~~~~~
                              6 - Age ?
                              34
                              7- Hair colour
                              Dark brown, getting a few grey hairs now though
                              ~~~~~
                              8 - colour of the eyes ?
                              Blue
                              ~~~~~
                              9 - Employment / current occupation?
                              Senior data control clerk for NatWest/EDS
                              ~~~~~
                              10- astrological and Chinese sign:
                              Saggitarius and Ox
                              ~~~~~
                              11 - I like/love ?
                              - Mum and Dad
                              - American Football
                              - Travel
                              - Lager and lager products
                              - Wine
                              - Cinema
                              - DVD's
                              - Cats
                              - Eastenders

                              ~~~~~
                              12 - I don't like ?
                              - Selfish, unreliable, untrustworthy people
                              - getting up in the mornings
                              - Celery
                              - Not having enough money
                              - loans
                              ~~~~~
                              13 - If you can meet one person of your choice, dead or alive, known or not, who would this be?
                              I would love to chat to my one of my old Grandads again as it's been a while since they passed away.

                              ~~~~~
                              14 - What do you like to do, generally, during the weekend???
                              Relaxing at home, going out with friends, having weekends away abroad.
                              ~~~~~
                              15 - The town/country that you want to visit or even live in ?
                              I would like to visit Boston, Japan, Australia. I would love to live in Dusseldorf as I go there every year and love it more each time.
                              ~~~~~
                              16 - The first thing you do when you come back from school or work
                              Sit down and relax for a while.
                              ~~~~~
                              17 - Style of music or radio that you prefer ?
                              I like the 80's, David Bowie, Doro, Evanescene, The Zutons
                              ~~~~~
                              18 - The most beautiful song which exists for you?
                              I don't have one that I would consider beautiful
                              ~~~~~
                              19 - The singer, or band that you prefer?
                              As question 17 above...
                              ~~~~~
                              20 - The real TV show that you prefer?
                              The only one I watch now is the X-Factor.
                              ~~~~~
                              21 - the advertising that you prefer ?
                              Flights
                              ~~~~~
                              22 - Are you single ?
                              Yes
                              ~~~~~
                              23 - If no, are you happy ?
                              N/A
                              ~~~~~
                              24 - if yes, are you happy ?
                              No, I hate it. Any offers out there ??
                              ~~~~~
                              25 - Have you ever known an unhappy love affair ?
                              Yes, all of them !
                              ~~~~~
                              26 - How many Harlequins' collection (books) do you have ?
                              I don't think I have any, Mum might have some of mine in the loft though.
                              ~~~~~
                              27 - Have you ever read "NOUS DEUX" (to make the bond with England, "Nous deux" is a tabloid) ?
                              No
                              ~~~~~
                              28 - The magazine which you never miss?
                              I used to read DVD review a lot but haven't for while
                              ~~~~~
                              29 - Your book of bedside ?
                              Gordon Ramsays playing with fire.
                              ~~~~~
                              30 - The novel of which you would have liked to be the author?
                              "Christine" by Stephen King
                              ~~~~~
                              31 - Your society game (or console) favorite?
                              I very rarely play games as I have so little time.
                              ~~~~~
                              32 - The dish which you prefer?
                              I love cooking my crispy duck pancakes !
                              ~~~~~
                              33 - What do you buy when you go to the faire when you are hungry?
                              Can't even remember the last time I went, it was probably candy floss though.
                              ~~~~~
                              34 - Drink preferred?
                              without alcohol : Coffee, it wakes me up !
                              with alcohol : Stella Artois, Schlosser Alt, or many other Belgium or German beers I could mention. For wine I prefer Hardys Australian.
                              ~~~~~
                              35 - colour preferred ?
                              Blue
                              ~~~~~
                              36 - fetish number ?
                              Never heard of one ?
                              ~~~~~
                              37 - The quotation which you prefer?
                              When there's always biscuits in the tin, where's the fun in biscuits ?
                              ~~~~~
                              38 - Film counterpart which you prefer ?
                              Deuce Bigalow !
                              ~~~~~
                              39 - cult movies ?
                              Get carter
                              Pulp Fiction
                              Death Wish
                              ~~~~~
                              40 - Preferred series?
                              Torchwood
                              Doctor Who
                              Eastenders
                              Blakes' 7
                              ~~~~~
                              41 - Your more beautiful quality?
                              reliable.
                              ~~~~~
                              42 - Your worst defect?
                              Forgetfulness
                              ~~~~~
                              43 - Your worst nightmare ?
                              being on my own for the rest of my life
                              ~~~~~
                              44- The worst shame of your life?
                              Being with my last Ex for so long before I realized what she was really like..
                              ~~~~~
                              45 - The most beautiful thing which one made for you by love?
                              When I was seeing my ex before it all went wrong, her little boy made me a brightly coloured hat from his playschool
                              ~~~~~
                              46 - The thing of which you are proudest?
                              Mum and dad always supporting me.
                              ~~~~~
                              47 - A fairy lends his magic wand to you for a wish: what you make?
                              I want £££££££££ and an endless supply of wishes !
                              ~~~~~
                              48 - The first thing you do in the morning ?
                              Wish it was Saturday
                              ~~~~~
                              49 - what do you think when you are not able to fall asleep the evening?
                              That I should have drunk more alcohol !
                              ~~~~~
                              50 - What will you bring with you on a desert island?? (5 max) ?
                              A BBQ
                              Boxes of matches
                              A book on how to survive on a desert island
                              MP3 player
                              Any woman willing to go !
                              ~~~~~
                              51 - If you have to buy a handbook of survive, that would be which?
                              As above
                              ~~~~~
                              52 - Your bedroom catches fire (or is flooded, it depends of the place), what do you rescue at first?
                              wallet, phone and car keys
                              ~~~~~
                              53 - Quelle(s) peluche(s) partagent ton lit ?
                              What ??
                              ~~~~~
                              54 - What do you have on the wall of your bedroom???
                              I have a signed NFL shirt, my DVD racks, and my TV
                              ~~~~~
                              55 - pets ?
                              had four cats growing up, one at a time though, but none now.
                              ~~~~~
                              56 - You with your parents hear to you well?
                              I get on with them great.
                              ~~~~~
                              57 - with your brother and sister ?
                              Don't have any
                              ~~~~~
                              58 - Which is the cartoon which you preferred child?
                              Tom and Jerry
                              ~~~~~
                              59 - And now ?
                              Family Guy or Futurama
                              ~~~~~
                              60 - Which is the job which you dreamed to have child?
                              Vet I think
                              ~~~~~
                              61 - Why the lady is big of her belly ?
                              What ??
                              ~~~~~
                              62 - Tell us your more beautiful memory of childhood
                              Seeing the first Star Wars at the cinema in 1977 when I was 4 with all my family with me
                              ~~~~~
                              63 - Were you already scandalmonger (to say evil of people behind their back)?
                              When they deserve it.
                              ~~~~~
                              64 - You have the possibility of saying your four truths to the person whom
                              you hate more in the world, that you would say to him?
                              Not really sure on what the question means
                              ~~~~~
                              65 - The insult which you say more?
                              It would have a lot of swearing in it !
                              ~~~~~
                              66 - The word or expression which too often returns in your language?
                              Have it
                              ~~~~~
                              67- Do you speak another language that english?
                              Three years of German from nightschool
                              ~~~~~
                              68 - Have you already gone in a foreign country?
                              Been to, Germany, italy, France, Belgium, Spain, New York, Ireland, Amsterdam, maybe more

                              ~~~~~
                              69 - The area (or the place) of England which you do prefer?
                              South east
                              ~~~~~
                              70 - You have the possibility of making the farm celebrity, do it you? So yes which activity would prefer you to make?
                              Never seen it.
                              ~~~~~
                              71 - If one day you become hyper famous, in which field you famous you ?
                              Writer or a film
                              ~~~~~
                              72 - What you would make if you gained with the lotto?
                              Buy a house
                              Buy a new car (maybe Ferrari)
                              Make sure all my friends and family were ok

                              ~~~~~
                              73 - Where and How do you see you in 2010 ? In 2040 ?
                              in 2010 not much change, and 2040 retirement
                              ~~~~~
                              74 - One makes it possible to you to use a "Stargate" (cf Stargate
                              SG1), which planet visits you of first?
                              I suppose Mars, never really thought about it
                              ~~~~~
                              75 - The Earth is destroyed. You have time to flee, where you go?
                              Well, seeing as other planets are inhabitable there's not really an option is there.
                              ~~~~~
                              76 - The Earth will be destroyed. You do not have time to flee. Which is
                              the last thing which you make ?
                              To the nearest pub to make myself drunk !
                              ~~~~~
                              77 - How many children do you want ?
                              I want to find someone first !
                              ~~~~~
                              78 - How you call them?
                              Son or Daughter
                              ~~~~~
                              79 - With which resemble you?
                              Haven't thought that far ahead
                              ~~~~~
                              80 - If you can change a part of your body, Which one do you choose?
                              Perfect sight
                              ~~~~~
                              81 - You dye yourself the hair. Which colour you choose?
                              I don't dye it. It's getting a bit thinner by the day anyway
                              ~~~~~
                              82 - If you can have a tattoo, what?? And Where??
                              I hate them so I would never get one !
                              ~~~~~
                              83 - Are you beginning, intermediary or expert when it acts of Internet?
                              expert, been on here a while now
                              ~~~~~
                              84 - What there is on your carpet of mouse?
                              At work I have a New York one.
                              ~~~~~
                              85 - Which is your bottom of screen on your ordi?
                              Dooyoo, play.com, CD Wow
                              ~~~~~
                              86 - What can we find under your bed ?
                              Nothing, I have built in draws that touch the bottom of the floor. Probably dead spiders underneath them.
                              ~~~~~
                              87 - How many times a week do you come on Internet? How many hours?
                              Every day from maybe 4ish for 30 mins or so.
                              ~~~~~
                              88 - What do you think about the breedings virtual on internet ? (like kochonland, dadavalley, ...) ? Are you register ?
                              Not sure I have heard of any of that
                              ~~~~~
                              89 - What was your resolution on the new year ?
                              It was to probably save more money and pay off a loan.
                              ~~~~~
                              90 - Do you do it ?
                              Nearly yes.
                              ~~~~~
                              91 - The best gift that somebody offer to you ?
                              Mum and dad to help pay for things in my old place when I couldn't afford everything on my own
                              ~~~~~
                              92 - The worst gift that somebody offer to you?
                              Probably years ago when somebody got me a pack of blank video tapes for my birthday with the price of £2.99 left on them !
                              ~~~~~
                              93 - Somebody offer to you a house. You choose an igloo, an Indian tipi, a African box, the same house as your parents, a farm ?
                              Same house as parents without question
                              ~~~~~
                              94 - kilos to be taken ?
                              Don't know kilos
                              ~~~~~
                              95 - kilos to loose ?
                              Not sure, but a few now.
                              ~~~~~
                              96 - the best teacher did you have?
                              Mrs. Smith
                              ~~~~~
                              97 - the worst teacher did you have ?
                              Mrs. Mead, I hated her
                              ~~~~~
                              98 - Dedication this questionnaire with somebody?
                              Mum and Dad probably
                              ~~~~~
                              99 - What do you think of this questionnaire ?
                              Good bit of fun
                              ~~~~~
                              100 - You will advise it? If so, which message you would give?
                              Yes, it's good to know a little about other people. Can be an insight into others.


                              Hope you have all enjoyed.

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                              • More +
                                07.04.2008 17:57
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                                Great pub to come and visit

                                I am reviewing one of my local bars called Madsons wine bar.

                                This is situated :

                                Long Road
                                Canvey Island
                                Essex
                                SS8 0JU
                                01268 690960

                                Madsons is a wine bar that has been open for five years now. In 2003 William Ferguson (Bill) set up the wine bar on Canvey Island as there are not that many on the Island, mainly just big chains of pubs.
                                He aquired a place that used to be a bookmakers and had it redeveloped into his new wine bar. This is not a huge pub like the chains but a small local bar that people could get to know each other and make it a very friendly community bar to come to at the end of a hard days work or to join friends at the weekend.

                                Bill had set up Madsons in a row of a block of shops on one side of the street which is directly next to a flower shop, also two Chinese take aways, an Indian and a fish and chip shop if you get hungry !
                                There is another pub near enough next door to it called the King Canute which is part of a big chain, so Madsons has some friendly competition.

                                Bill wanted Madsons to be different from any other sort of pub or bar and this helped a lot with the customers who became regulars over the following years to come.
                                Bill had set out Madsons so when you come in there was a homely feeling with pictures on the wall, and a light coloured wood finish on the walls mixed with a red design. This is on the bottom half of the walls. The rest is a light coloured wallpaper which gives it a more open feel about the place.
                                There is a pool table just as you come inside and has plenty of room for three stand up tables with big bar stools.
                                There is a big black sofa in the middle for those who wish to relax in comfort which the cat who has made the pub his home from across the road normally goes to sleep on !

                                The bar is nice and compact so it doesn't take too much room from madsons and gives customers a lot more space to move around. This is all done in wood and gives off a good impression on how the design was made for Madsons.
                                There are two TV's in two corners with SKY on and a stereo behind the bar with a big selection of CD's. There is always something to taste everyones needs.
                                Outside there are three or four metal tables and chairs for you to sit in if the weather is nice, or for the smokers.
                                There is also free pool from Monday to Thursday which is a nice touch and has gone down well.

                                With the drinks there are a lot of choices and on tap we have Coors, Grolsch, Guinness, Worthingtons, Carling and two fridges at the back with more selections in them such as WKD, Smirnoff, Stella, Magners and many more choices.
                                Behind the bar we have different types of whisky, Bacardi, Rum, Vodka, and on the side there are the after shocks which do give a kick ! There are blue, red and the best of all Black ones.

                                The prices aren't bad down this way with a pint ranging from £2.10 to £2.60 all depending on what you want. Worthingtons is the cheapest and Grolsch the dearest.
                                With the bottles they are much the same price but as the Magners are bigger they cost a little more and are just over the £3 mark.
                                The spirits and aftershocks are about £2 and a double whisky is only about 50p dearer so you might as well have one of those !
                                Obviously there is a selection of red and white wines ranging from the £5 mark to more expensive ones, but this never seems to go over the £10 mark.
                                The crisps are cheap at 40p and have a selection of walkers varieties and also bacon and scampi fries along with good old pork scratchings.

                                There are some very dedicated bar staff here with Sharon and Maria being the main ones. These ladies work very hard and put in long hours. They are very friendly and like a good laugh with the regulars. This gives Madsons a very warm feeling to it as each time you go in you are noticed and get to be known by the staff and other regulars.
                                They are both there for you if you want a chat and always have time for everybody.


                                On my first visit here on Christmas Eve 2005 it was packed and as I went here with one of my friends we were greeted with everybody saying Happy Christmas to us even though we didn't know anybody there then. As we got to the bar Bill gave us a cheery smile and started chatting to us.
                                We had never felt that feeling before when going into a pub as everybody was so happy and cheerfull. So we decided to go back the following week and have been going there ever since.

                                My last trip there was Saturday evening and it's really good going there now and being known by the staff and other locals. There is always a game of pool going on and lots of jokes going around. It was good listing to some of the 80's tracks last night and a big cheer for Sharon as the trip switch went and she had to get the lights on again ! I guess you had to be there for that one though !
                                The cat came in for his usual visit and was made a fuss of all of which he enjoys though.
                                In the years of coming here though I have never found anybody to cause any trouble in the bar and this is very unusual these days and shows how people are here in this little community on Canvey Island.
                                On all of my trips anywhere I have been I have never found a bar as friendly or welcoming as this one. I would recommend any of you to come down this way and have a pint.

                                I end this review on a sad note though. Bill died on 12th March this year. I shall not go into details but he was the best landlord and a good friend to everybody in Madsons and he shall be missed. He has his picture in pride of place on the wall by the pool table as you come in.

                                This review is dedicated to the memory of William Stephen Ferguson (Bill)


                                © IanM73 2008

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                                  26.03.2008 11:01
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                                  Top 10 TV programmes

                                  My top ten TV programmes


                                  I saw this subject and thought about all of those programmes I have watched over the years and it seemed like a good one to do.
                                  But where do I start ? I probably do have more than ten but in this case I shall be going back from whatever I have watched in the past to the present instead of doing all the most recent ones.
                                  You may agree with me on some but I know not all !

                                  10
                                  Allo Allo
                                  This great comedy series was set during the second world war with French café owner Rene Artios not knowing what way to turn. He is married but promises to marry his waitresses as he is having affairs with both of them. On top of that he is with the resistance led by Michelle and is also talking to the Germans about the painting The Fallen Maddonna with the big boobies and other articles of interest. The Leftenant Gruber is attracted to Rene. Herr Otto Flick is in the Gestapo and has big parts in the series.
                                  There are so many characters in this show and it ran for nine series (I think)

                                  9
                                  Family Guy
                                  This funny animated series by Seth Mc Farlane is a lot different from most cartoons. This one is for adults and has that sense of humour with it. Peter Griffin is the dad of the family, Lois his wife, and his kids, Meg, Chris, baby Stewie and Brian the talking dog.
                                  Stewie is bend on world domination and is hatching plans every episode to do something. Peter is a bit of a slob, Lois tries to run the family while Chris is very dimwitted and Meg is always worrying about her appearance. Brian has got brains which you would expect from a talking dog !
                                  The episodes feature something different in every one for example Brian goes to therapy after messing in the house, Meg joins a journalism class and out Luke Perry, while Peter goes on a retreat for women after cracking jokes about them.

                                  8
                                  Millennium
                                  This series centers around retired FBI agent Frank Black who has a special gift to see inside the minds of serial killers. With this he helps to protect and save others.
                                  This is written by Chris Carter who done the X-Files and it is a darker series with powerful storylines.
                                  Frank has a family and is also in a group called The Millennium group which helps solve cases that seem strange.
                                  This was broadcast between 1996-1999.

                                  7
                                  EastEnders
                                  Yes I have watched this since it started in 1985 and is the only soap I watch. I find this to be more realistic than I would any of the others as it's set in London and only a trip on the train for me.
                                  The setting is Walford and most of the soap takes place in Albert Square. The programme has had lots of good characters come and go and I'm sure you have all heard of Dirty Den, Pauline Fowler, Frank Butcher, the Mitchell brothers Phil and Grant and I could go on.
                                  The soap deals with lots of issues such as AIDS, teenage pregnancy, rape, murder, but it also does have lighthearted stories so is not all doom and gloom.

                                  6
                                  Heroes
                                  This is a new series dealing with ordinary people who have picked up super powers. The first series has 23 episodes in and the main story is to stop the explosion in New York in the future. The characters range from cheerleader Claire who can self heal, Policeman Matt Parkman who can read peoples minds, Nikki Sanders who has a counterpart Jessica, Hiro Nakamura who can bend time and space, Congressman Nathan Petrelli who can fly and his brother Peter who absorbs peoples powers.
                                  The episodes go around the saving of New York and each hero has their story to tell.


                                  5
                                  The Sopranos
                                  This series is all about gangsters in New Jersey, a bit like the Mafia. Tony Soprano is head of the family, has a wife two kids and a lot of people working for him in the family.
                                  There are normally 13 episodes in a season and this series run from 1999-2007.
                                  Each episode deals with different things while continuing the story of their lives throughout the six seasons.


                                  4
                                  Red Dwarf
                                  This comedy series started in 1988 aboard a mining ship in space called the Red Dwarf. There was a radiation leek that wiped out the crew apart from the last human alive Dave Lister. Joining him on the ship is a hologram of one of the dead crew Arnold J Rimmer, a creature that evolved from domestic cats, an android Kryten, and the ships computer Holly.
                                  The crew have been through a lot together facing monsters, simulents, and even their future selves.
                                  This series ran for eight series and a film was due to be produced that continued from the end of series eight which sadly never got made.

                                  3
                                  Torchwood
                                  This is a spin off from Doctor Who with Captain Jack Harkness taking the lead role. Torchwood is based in Cardiff and they deal with all alien goings on and strange disappearances. Jack is joined by a team who consist of Gwen, Ianto, Toshiko, and
                                  Owen. They all have their certain way of dealing with things and you get more involved in their characters as the series goes along.
                                  This also deals with real life issues of the team and their feelings.

                                  2
                                  Blake's 7
                                  This is all about freedom fighters. Roj Blake was a figurehead of the freedom fighters and was caught by the corrupt Federation and brainwashed. He is taken to meetings and slowly his memories come back. After the federation find out he is wrongly accused of being a pedophile and is sent on a prison ship bound for the prison Planet Cygnus Alpha.
                                  On the ship though are others who share his views and want to bring down the federation. Blake, Jenna and Avon are sent aboard a drifting ship in space. This is their new home. The ship is the Liberator and soon they have a crew.
                                  This ran for four series and has a change in cast, quite a lot from the second to the third series and ran well without their leading character Blake after the second series.

                                  1
                                  Doctor Who
                                  Well what can I say about this one ? Still going strong since 1963. I have good memories of this series from a child and am glad to see the new series going strong today.
                                  The Doctor is a time-lord from Gallifrey and can regenerate his body twelve times if he is hurt or getting weak.
                                  The Doctor left his home planet as too much evil was happening in the universe and he could not just stand by and do nothing about it as the other time lords just observe.
                                  So he took a TARDIS (time machine) and left with his grand daughter Susan. In his travels he has picked up lots of companions to help him and now is in his tenth body.
                                  He has fought Daleks, Cybermen, Sontarans, Sea Devils, Ice Warriors and many more.


                                  Well there you go, my top 10 TV programmes. It would be good to see other peoples to see where their interests are.

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