Monday, 29 September 2014

Harwich Radar Tower: No one likes us we don't care…

Essex has won the title for the least visited tourist attraction in Britain. The Independent reports that the Radar Tower at Harwich, known as Beacon Hill Fort, attracted a total of just six visitors last year. It was built to detect German E boats in World War Two. It's a not very attractive hexagonal lump of concrete, but does have 21-foot scanners and has been fully restored by the Harwich Society. Would like to offer a bit more background information, but I haven't been there either… Still, if you do fancy a visit click on the link.

Thursday, 4 September 2014

Doctor Who in Essex

My new e-book Whovian Dad: Doctor Who, Fandom, Fatherhood and Whovian Family Values is now out, and there's quite a few references to Doctor Who in Essex. The final chapter is on my interview with Mark Campbell, author of Doctor Who: The Complete Guide, held at Loughton Library as part of the Essex Book Festival. We discussed some of the Essex connections in Doctor Who and Mark mentioned the Matt Smith episode The Lodger being set in Colchester, but filmed at Cardiff. The department store that the Doctor and Craig shop in is surely meant to be Williams and Griffin, which has a crashed Cyberman spacecraft underneath it, in case you didn't know. The same story reveals that Amy and Rory had gone to live in Colchester. 

Mark Campbell also revealed that one of his all-time favourite stories, Jon Pertwee’s Carnival of Monsters, was filmed on Tillingham Marshes. While in the 1964 William Hartnell story The Keys of Marinus, companion Ian Chesterton looks at the Tardis scanner showing the sandy planet of Marinus and declares: "Well, it doesn't look like Southend!" Another possible Essex reference is in the David Tennant story Planet of the Ood when the Doctor asks Donna Noble where she learnt to whistle and she answers, "up West Ham!' With so many Essex references in Doctor Who it would be no surprise to find that Trenzalore is a suburb of Basildon… Whovian Dad can be downloaded for £2.48 via the link above.