Sunday, 30 March 2014

Resurrection of the Essex Whovians

Sixty Whovians packed into Loughton Library for a great Essex Books Festival interview session with Mark Campbell, author of Doctor Who: The Complete Guide. Mark had some really interesting answers to my questions — we had comfy chairs and a microphone, so it almost felt like Parkinson — including his views that Jon Pertwee was brilliant and his Carnival of Monsters was filmed partly on the Essex marshes, Matt Smith has become a caricature of himself and The Day of the Doctor was great but The Name of the Doctor was a huge disappointment.

We also learned that Campbell projected images of Doctor Who on to his house in March 2005 when the new series returned after 16 years, and that his marriage somehow survived after his wife forgot to record the last episode of The Curse of Fenric. The audience was a mixed age group with both Peter Capaldi-age and teenage Whovians, and it was great to see so many interesting t-shirts (Time Traveller from Gallifrey, Daleks, Rose and even a renegade Star Trek one) and hear kids defending Colin Baker and Attack of the Cybermen. Lots of interesting questions in the Q&A session too (silence did not fall when the question was asked) and a nice anecdote from the man who said none of his schoolmates would go to the shops after Spearhead From Space was broadcast and those shop dummies came alive. And thanks to my wife Nicola and daughters Lola and Nell for attending. Despite being 'not-we' Nicola even discovered that she understood a lot of what people were talking about through a curious process of Whovian osmosis.

Good signing session afterwards where my book The Joy of Essex was also on sale, complete with Doctor Who references in the Colchester chapter. Doctor Who: The Complete Guide is a great tool for any Whovian, covering all 26 classic seasons and new Who Series 1-7. Having watched every episode of Doctor Who ever made, Mark is now starting again and is currently up to William Hartnell's The Rescue. Now there's a man who knows his timestream…

Thursday, 27 March 2014

Doctorin' the Tardis in Loughton

Whovian dad and daughter at the Excel 50th bash
Looking forward to interviewing Mark Campbell author of Doctor Who: The Complete Guide at Loughton Library at 2.30 on Saturday, March 29. He's watched every Doctor Who episode ever made and is currently rewatching them again. He's not afraid to be controversial either. Accepted classics such as Blink, The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances, The Green Death, The Ark in Space and The Caves of Androzani get ten out of ten, but Genesis of the Daleks only gets eight out of ten, The Daemons only gets six, and The Evil of the Daleks gets four. Other low scores include David Tennant’s New Earth and Matt Smith’s Let’s Kill Hitler, which both get one out of ten. Clearly he's set out to debunk some myths. We'll also be discussing his childhood spent recording Jon Pertwee episodes on his cassette player and later life travelling round the country looking at power stations that were once used in Inferno and indeed some Who locations in Essex. Should be a great afternoon, click on the link for details.

Friday, 7 March 2014

Billi gets flipping with Andy

Lots of loved-up pictures on Billi Mucklow's Instagram site of the Towie star with West Ham's Andy Carroll. She's included a picture of the pair tossing pancakes, which at least proves that she and Andy knows the difference between Shrove Tuesday and Sheffield Wednesday. Do hope she goes easy on our Andy though and bearing in mind his injury record doesn't insist on him playing too active a role in the kitchen. Even WHU gaffer Big Sam managed to crock himself on a granite worktop last season and you do fear the damage a carelessly tossed hot pancake landing on Andy's foot might do…

Monday, 3 March 2014

The Essex Liberation Front lives!

Enjoyed listening to Ian Sansom's Essex, My Essex on Radio 4 on Friday. Loved the section on the Essex Liberation Front, a spoof revolutionary organisation formed by Richard Edwards, Phill Jupitus and myself ("three blokes in the pub" was my description to Sansom) back in 1990. Its aim was to restore culture back to Essex - all very prescient post-Towie

The documentary managed to dig out the BBC South East coverage of the ELF's press conference and broadcast an ancient recording of our classic demands from 24 years ago, including an economy based on Tiptree jam and a younger version of this Essex Man shouting "self-determination for Essex!" Though if Vladimir Putin is reading this, you don't need to worry about us too much, as we're still in the process of annexing the county.

Other highlights of the half-hour show included posh limerick-writer George Courtauld, the the Vice Lord Lieutenant of Essex, stopping to shoot a pheasant, as you do, Penny Rimbaud from Crass discussing his open-doored alternative haven at Dial House, the Protect and Survive broadcast in the Secret Nuclear Bunker at Kelvedon Hatch, and Sansom's cousin exclaiming "geezer!' upon Sansom's return to the county from his Northern Irish home. A fine eclectic view of a much-misunderstood county. Click on the link to hear on iPlayer.