The Wanderer Returns

Oh dear look at the all the dust in here, man it has been a while since I wrote a proper post isn’t it? So how are things in the world of the Sandman? They are going reasonably well with a few trips to the cinema, work ticking over reasonably well and on the whole nothing unusual to report.

I have probably been spending a bit too much on Amazon but never mind, as a consequence I have completed my collection of the Target Novelizations of the 7th Doctor in one form or other, a few of the novels I bought when they were published (Remembrance of the Daleks, Paradise Towers and Curse of Fenric), two are talking books (Greatest Show and The Happiness Patrol) but the rest I acquired recently and most of them are in very good condition, Ghost Light has a few crinkles on the cover as does Survival but still in good nick.
To go on my 7th Doctor role I decided to rewatch his first story Time and the Rani which was broadcast in 1987 and not only was it the first adventure of the 7th Doctor it was also the first story to use computer graphics and computer generated title sequence and the first to have Andrew Cartmel credited as Script Editor, although he wasn’t overly involved in the writing or editing having been appointed later in the day due to extensive behind the scenes problems. It was also a time when the series really needed a relaunch after a fall from grace and was in need of a solid, boisterous punch to the audience to prove it was back in business.
So what it is the verdict? In short, it is Awful!
From the botch job of filming the regeneration (Colin Baker refused to film the scene because he was pushed out of the role, so they got Salves McCoy to wear Colin’s costume and a poorly fitting blonde wig and threw some wobbly effect to hide his face) which should have been omitted and they just start with the new Doctor in Colin’s costume, to the cringeworthy pratfalls by McCoy in the opening scenes (fortunately he improves greatly by the time of his second story), the weird idea of Kate O’Mara pretending to be Bonnie Langford and a story which makes no sense make even less sense by the change of the depiction of the world, how does one become indolent from bountiful resources when your world is a clay pit, the original script specifies a lush bountiful jungle- a garden of Eden type which would at least give credence to the people’s laziness. There are a few saving graces: some good visual effects such as the sphere traps and the make people have done a good job on giving the cast an alien look, but it’s not enough to redeem the story. Still things could only get better…. There is marked improvement from the outset in Paradise Towers although the execution still isn’t quite up to speed.
I purchased the final Quatermass which has been remastered and restored for Blu-Ray, so I have a spare copy of the original DVD release going spare if you want it, and a few other bits and pieces. Two more productions from the pen of the late great Nigel Kneale: Beasts which was and an anthology series and The Stone Tapes which was a modern day take on a ghost story. Continuing the ghost story theme I purchased a six disc collection the BBCs Ghost Stories for Christmas series which contains productions back from the late 60s to a more or less the present day. Finally The Nightmare Man which was a four part serial from the early 80s based on the book Children of Vodyandi by David Wiltshire (no I haven’t heard of it either) adapted for TV by Robert Holmes and directed by Douglas Camfield. No doubt you will get a low down in future posts.

On Friday I went Up North and visited my good friend Kerry which was originally scheduled for the week before but health issues for both of us prevented this from occurring. After some research I decided it would be much simpler to go by train and it was piece of cake getting there… getting back not so much due to a cancelled train and as such I had to change at both Crewe and Shrewsbury.
We met outside the train station (well sort of) and headed for lunch at a great Mediterranean restaurant which was located in a little mews in Preston city centre which were it not for the rain the night before could have been a nice spot to eat outside. Kerry had a Pimms Cider to drink and a lack of proper beer lead me to drink a pint of Becks, we ordered a pizza each and some cheesy Garlic Bread to share. I had a meaty pizza while Kerry had a Hawaiian Pizza and they were some of the best Pizzas I have ever tasted, I strongly recommend the place, pity I never caught the name of the place. Once we left we discovered an old fashioned sweet shop where we purchased a selection of old school sweets including Strawberry Sherbets, nom. The plan was to have a coffee or two before seeing Ms Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children but there was a wait on the taxi so we had new plan, one I can honestly say I agreed on whole heartedly: go to the Pub! It was a favourite place of Kerry’s which was run by a pair of Scousers (no the walls were not decorated which a collection of hubcaps from over the years) and was quite a nice venue with an Alice in Wonderland theme to the décor, Kerry had a Bailey’s while I had a pint of a Pale Ale brewed by Marston’s.
Soon it was movie time and I will freely admit it has been a while since I last saw a movie in 3D so I can’t really relate as to how effective it was in comparison to others, but the film itself was very good and had that dark edge you expect from a Tim Burton film. In many ways the set up of the house was like a twisted take on Narnia and to hammer that point home there was even an obnoxious kid called Eustace leading a major role, although it is never quite set up how the logic of the time loop around the house works nor why they keep a dead body in one of the rooms. For a kid’s film it is surprisingly gruesome with the villains feasting on extracted eyeballs and a moment where we see the monsters feed on someone and the dark puppetry of the animated human cadaver, but then again have a think about a lot of the Roald Dahl books or even Grimm’s Fairy tales.
After the film we went to the near by Mexican restaurant for a drink before I had to return to the station for my long trip home, Kerry had a Pina Colada and me being the cocktail king when I was on Holiday in Cuba and Margarita, had a London Pride, which had been kept in a fridge. And then offered ice for it. It was a damn good day out and I had lovely company, looking forward to seeing her again soon.
That’s all for now folks, I’ll do a separate post to go into details of not only Ms Peregrine but also Suicide Squad and the remake of the classic Western The Magnificent Seven.

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