Christmas Issue 2011
Doctor Who Christmas Special
n BBC Children in Need night we were treated to a special preview clip of ‘The Doctor, the Widow and the Wardrobe’. The trailer looked brilliant! They’ll be four special guests: Claire Skinner, Bill Bailey, Arabella Weir and Alexander Armstrong. Alexander is best known for his role as Mr Smith in the Sarah Jane Adventures. The trailer showed Doctor Who arguably at its best; featuring plenty of twists and turns. It’s hard to say at the moment definitively what this episode will be like. My guesses are based on the fact that Steven Moffat is writing, which means that it could very involve a “timey wimey” element. What I saw in this trailer left me insatiable for the Christmas Special! Two criticisms of this particular episode (from what I’ve seen so far) is that it relies a lot upon the plot of C.S Lewis’s ‘The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe’ and also that it’s set in World War 2, which will make it the fourth time the series has visited this particular time period; by means of Steven Moffat most of the time. The alien species (i.e. the Doctor’s enemy) in the special are, at the moment, unknown but guesses are they are the monsters who look like trees. They could be either the “wood people” (which in my opinion resemble the weeping angels) or the special
guest stars, who are dressed in armour. We’ll just have to find out on Christmas Day! It’s been recently announced that David Yates is making a Doctor Who film (he is known for directing the final four Harry Potter films). There are no real clues as to what the film will be about as of yet. All we know so far is that it is unlikely to feature any of the Doctors who have appeared in the series on the BBC and that Russell T. Davies or Steven Moffat are unlikely to be asked to help with the film. Yates said that "Russell T Davies and then Steven Moffat have done their own transformations, which were fantastic, but we have to put that aside and start from scratch," he also said that the film would be “quite a radical transformation” from the latest series. The Doctor Who film won’t r e a c h cinemas for several years yet, and as far as we know there is no script, cast or production crew
in place. So we are in the dark as to any of the real details. At the moment the film is set to be split up over two years. There is no news, as yet, about the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who. I’m looking forward to more details about the Doctor Who film and the seventh series!
Originally the thought of watching 16-17 year olds destroy my favourite television programme by being young and incompetent filled me with dread. I really believed that their adolescent urges and young person hormones would take over and I could expect tantrums and hook ups galore, and while this would be comedy genius for the first couple of episodes, I would no doubt get bored and crave Stuart Baggs and Raef. So you can imagine my surprise when I realised that not only did I enjoy the Young Apprentice but I am now addicted. In fact as I am writing this part of me wonders why I haven’t sacked it off to get my latest YA fix. The thing about the Young Apprentice is that it doesn’t differ too much from the original. The staple tasks such as buying the listed items for the smallest price, the food production and marketing tasks and the task which require the contestants to shoot their own advertisements are pretty much all the same. In fact,
other than Lord Sugar being more scripted than usual and the obvious age difference, I can see no real difference. The prize for the determined young mind is £25,000 and so far Lord Sugar has ejected six of his 12 young hopefuls. And if, like me, you have been following intently you will agree that most of the fired contestants so far deserved it. I cannot express my anger at the general incompetence of Lewis Roman and his redundant question however even he didn’t tick me off as much as Mahamed Awale who has just won the title of my least favourite Apprentice contestant ever. But the less said about both of them the better. Ones to watch this series are Harry Hitchens and James McCullagh both of whom have shown that they have at least one brain cell so far, I might even go so far as to say they have impressed me. But don’t let me decide for you, check it out Monday at 9pm. I can guarantee you won’t be disappointed.
The Mess Factor
hake-ups happen all the time in TV nowadays, and this year, ITV’s hit talent show The X Factor was no exception. With music mogul Simon Cowell having hopped across the Atlantic to remodel the show for the States, Dannii Minogue’s commitments to Australia’s Got Talent and Cheryl Cole being snubbed left, right and centre, an almost entirely new line-up of judges and tweaked format injected some much-needed excitement into a show which had, without doubt, become a little bit repetitive. However, perhaps the producers of The X Factor could have done with listening to that old adage, ‘if it’s not broke, don’t fix it’, since the eighth series has been hit by controversy, in-house fighting and ratings sinking faster than a stone in water. The new line-up of judges was most likely the first pitfall. Two in particular have, for me, stuck out like a sore thumb on the show. Some may say Tulisa Contostavlos (from RnB group N-Dubz), never quite seemed the most likely candidate for a judge, and hasn’t quite paid enough of her dues in the music business to judge. Gary Barlow appeared to slot into Cowell’s “Mr Nasty”
role quite well, though perhaps too well. Part of Simon Cowell’s charm was that despite his (often harsh) criticism, he was always fair, something Barlow has failed to grasp. His near-constant slating of contestant Janet Devlin borders on plain mean, and his catty “Amelia [Lily], I felt you shouted your way through that” following her sing-off against his own contestant Craig Colton came across as unprofessional and bitter. The only original judge left standing, Louis Walsh, has almost become that tatty pair of jeans that don’t quite fit, yet you can’t bring yourself to throw away. However, since the fiasco that was Jedward, many have questioned his musical judgement, fuelled by the fact that he has not had an act win the competition since Shane Ward in the second series. Newcomer Kelly Rowland seems to be the only judge who has fitted the mould this year, bringing to the table a fresh sass and constructive, informed and fair criticism, and being very entertaining to watch. For me, unlike Barlow, the success of Destiny’s Child and her own solo career has not gone to her head, and her down-to-earth attitude reflects that of Cheryl Cole and Dannii Minogue before her. The series has had its fair share of controversies, too. Inhouse feuds between Kelly and Tulisa mirror the tension between Sharon Osbourne and Dannii Minogue in season 5. Louis Walsh has continued to tease the other judges, with spats regularly breaking out across the panel. One member of boy band The Risk walked from the competition, to be replaced by another boy band member who lost out at the judges houses, and Little Mix were forced to change from their former name, Rhythmix, following copyright issues. The biggest controversy arose over the sudden departure of contestant Frankie Cocozza. After weeks of glamorising binge drinking and promiscuity and performing in a lacklustre, under-rehearsed fashion, the contestant was spectacularly given the boot after apparently boasting about taking cocaine. He was then
replaced by former contestant Amelia Lily (ousted by Kelly Rowland in the first week under a judge’s vote) in a slightly messy turn of events. The truth is, as a viewer, this has started to bore me. The talent of the contestants is very often overshadowed by pantomime antics of producers, judges and a few contestants alike, who appear to be there to do little else than cause a stir. All considered it’s quite apparent why The X Factor’s once steely grip on Saturday night ratings has started to weaken. This year even saw viewer figures falling below that of BBC arch-rival Strictly Come Dancing at times, for the first time in years. Perhaps this year’s facelift was one shake-up too far, and as interest in the series begins to wane (I myself, a life-long fan, have struggled to get into it at all), and boss Simon Cowell reportedly unhappy with the series per-
Louis Walsh, has almost become that tatty pair of jeans that don’t quite fit, yet you can’t bring yourself to throw away. formance, you can only wonder how much longer the show will go on. With its star quickly fading (and all of Cowell’s efforts seemingly being poured into the new US version of the talent show), it remains to be seen whether any measure of shake-ups can salvage anything from wreckage of this car-crash series.
Published on Dec 2, 2011
This is the December 2011/12 issue of Seren, Bangor Univeristy's English Language Newspaper. Produced by students for students.