Friday, 31 August 2012

Date With History: 1997

Diana, Princess of Wales died, aged 36, at 4 am on Sunday August 31st, as a result of injuries sustained in a car crash in the Pont de l'Alma road tunnel in Paris. Her partner, Dodi Fayed, and the driver, Henri Paul, also perished. Bodyguard Trevor Rees-Jones was the only survivor.

Thursday, 9 August 2012

The Genesis of Doctor Who: An Adventure In Space And Time

Back in February, rumours began that writer and actor, Mark Gatiss, was to pen a TV biopic that examined the genesis of Doctor Who (see here). Well, today a press release announced that a BBC Two drama has been commissioned to mark the programme's fiftieth anniversary. 
Indeed scripted by Gatiss, An Adventure in Space and Time will chronicle the origins of the show, akin to The Road to Coronation Street which aired on BBC Four for the soap opera's own 50th birthday in 2010.  The writer said "This is the story of how an unlikely set of brilliant people created a true television original. And how an actor - William Hartnell - stereotyped in hard-man roles became a hero to millions of children. I've wanted to tell this story for more years than I can remember! To make it happen.. is quite simple a dream come true."
The single 90-minute drama is co-produced by Caroline Skinner and current showrunner Steven Moffat, who said: "The story of Doctor Who is the story of television - so it's fitting in the anniversary year that we make our most important journey back in time to see how the TARDIS was launched."
The production and transmission schedule will be confirmed next year, and much speculation already surrounds the casting process.

Thursday, 2 August 2012

Pet Shop Boys: 'Elysium'

The Pet Shop Boys website this week officially confirmed the release of the band's new studio album, Elysium. Both CD and vinyl formats are issued by Parlophone/EMI on September 7th in the UK, and the iTunes version contains extra features. Produced in Los Angeles by Andrew Dawson, Elysium features cover artwork from Farrow, and the tracks are listed thus:

1. Leaving
2. Invisible
3. Winner
4. Your early stuff
5. A face like that
6. Breathing space
7. Ego music
8. Hold on
9. Give it a go
10. Memory of the future
11. Everything means something
12. Requiem in denim and leopardskin

Brian Bress' video for the song, Invisible was released online in June (view here via Vevo). The new single, Winner is issued on August 6th, and includes a cover version of the Bee Gees' I Started a Joke.

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Review of 'The Candle Man' by Alex Scarrow

I first encountered Alex Scarrow's excellent body of work two years ago. His titles are highly recommended (read my review of October Skies here), and I was pleased to discover his latest thriller, The Candle Man (Orion).
 I really tried to enjoy this book because I loved the writer's previous work and the novel offers so much to the Ripperologist in me.
The narrative begins promisingly on RMS Titanic, just after her rendezvous with the iceberg, then transports us to London's 'Autumn of Terror' in 1888.
And I really wanted Scarrow to proffer his own, original approach - unfortunately we are presented with yet another re-hash of the 'Royal conspiracy'.
This criticism is not detrimental to the novel however, which is as evocative as any worthy piece of Victoriana, and one of the author's many strengths lies in his (almost Holmesian) attention to period detail. I suspect that Scarrow - like many other writers since the 1970's - relishes in an admittedly compulsive and entertaining theory. Also akin to other proponents of this particular 'final solution', this novelist allows the final canonical victim, Mary Kelly, to escape her true destiny too.
Granted, this is a fictional account of the Whitechapel Murders and the historical minutiae is as accurate as you'd expect from Scarrow, but it's hard to forgive his most glaring error - the 'Double Event' occurs here two days later than documented (and I'm sure that the cover artwork depicts the Lusitania, not Titanic).
The story ends back onboard the sinking liner, and the mystery of Jack the Ripper is solved. Despite my negative opinions, The Candle Man remains a good read, and I look forward to Alex Scarrow's next title.