Tag Archives: John Barrowman

Who on earth expected us to like that?

Is Steven Moffat taking us for granted? I found myself watching the Christmas episode of Doctor Who with mounting surprise. ‘Is this it? Whatever happened to the idea of a special something for Christmas?’

The 50th anniversary episode a month earlier was so very, very good that I somehow imagined they knew what they were doing. Perhaps they used up every ounce of great ideas for that, and now there was none left. My loyal in-house Whovian pointed out there were some nice in-jokes. Maybe there were. Maybe the hardcore fans always get more out of an episode than the mere spectator. But even idiot viewers should be given some fun, while the experts chuckle over the cleverness of whatever they’ve come up with.

If I was Peter Capaldi I’d sue for getting such a crap entry to what should be a fantastic new job. If I was Matt Smith I’d sue for getting nowhere near the kind of exit David Tennant had. I was just sitting there willing it to be over. Die and let’s see this new Doctor and then we can all go and watch Downton Abbey.

I’m gladder than ever that I watched the 50th shebang in November. It made me pleased to ‘be part of it.’ (So for the sake of clarity; I had nothing to do with the Christmas failure. Not the 50th either, obviously, but, you know…)

My in-house fan then showed me the Peter Davison half hour programme about the other former Doctors who – supposedly – weren’t part of the 50th show. That was terrific! I could happily watch it again.

Thankfully Doctor Who won’t be back for a while. They will need time to write something we will want to watch.

The Eccleston reign

Would fish fingers and chips – bunged in the oven – have made a difference, I wonder? I’ve been informed this is how mothers coped with Saturday dinners in the olden days of Doctor Who. Because it’s astonishing quite how many episodes I never watched as the Doctor returned to the home screens eight years ago.

I think I plonked Offspring down in front of the box to watch, because it was what you did. Generations of British children watched the Doctor and the Daleks from behind their sofas. I don’t think I really expected to watch. I had no proper upbringing that led me to want to do it. So I probably watched a couple of episodes to keep people company. And I caught glimpses of the Tardis and stuff as I dashed in and out of the room.

I have long been under the impression that I watched every other episode of season one. Now I know better. I didn’t. Not by a long shot. I ‘met’ Captain Jack Harkness only by hearing him talk soothingly to Rose, as she sailed across the London sky. I have a lot of weird, half-fake memories. Sat through the ‘are you my mummy’ episodes to keep Daughter calm. But they were creepy.

In fact, I didn’t care that Christopher Eccleston stopped Doctoring, because I simply didn’t know the man well enough to miss him. And he was followed by the lovely David Tennant, so was easily forgotten by me.

Luckily the lapses of yesteryear have been rectified. I have just watched every single episode of season one, up to and including the Christmas one where David Tennant mostly slept on the job. They were pretty good, on the whole. And I’m beginning to see why some fans moan these days. They really did write them better before. They just did.

Never mind who was the Doctor. It’s who wrote the script that matters.

Christmas 2012

Christmas card - John Barrowman

Have a Barrowman Christmas!

It’s 45 candles on the cake for John Barrowman

Happy 45th birthday to John Barrowman!

John Barrowman and parents

Hardly surprising John is like he is with such crazily fantastic parents. Good thing they gave up on the idea of throwing him out for being a noisy baby. (Although he is still pretty noisy at 45.)

(Photo Helen Giles)

John Barrowman – the book interview

In my infinite generosity I have decided to share last week’s book interview with John and Carole Barrowman with my CultureWitch readers on the grounds of John generally being a culture kind of celebrity. He sings and he acts, but he certainly doesn’t write books.

I know, it’s confusing isn’t it? He gets his sister Carole to write books for him. This time it’s Hollow Earth, which is a children’s adventure novel, and that is why I went to Glasgow a week ago to speak to them.

Carole and John Barrowman

They are crazy, and very nice. The interview is a little crazy too. It sort of rubbed off.

and John

By very strange coincidence I appear to have processed another television hero in the book business. My photographer and I travelled to Glasgow on Monday to witness the book signing for Hollow Earth, the new children’s book by Carole Barrowman and her baby brother John.

I thought it’d be a profound sort of thing to interview John and Carole on their old home ground in Glasgow, although I quite forgot to ask them to switch to a Scottish accent. But we had a great deal of fun anyway, and I’m sure they’ve never encountered the concept of acting their age.

Carole and John Barrowman

There is no doubt about John’s popularity. As the two of them walked down the stairs at Waterstones in Argyle Street they were greeted like like superstars by the fans, many of whom had queued for four hours.

John Barrowman 2011 tour

This is the sort of thing I like best; blogging merrily away when I’ve not had to do a thing. (Other than wait up by the phone to hear that Daughter returned ‘home’ safely after gallivanting all over Scotland for John Barrowman’s concerts.)

John Barrowman

This year was hard. Not as bad as when I delayed buying tickets and we ended up not going, but when the tickets went on sale in the spring she had no idea where she’d be once the concert dates came round. So with a shortlist of favoured university and insurance university, she bought more than one ticket.

John Barrowman

And just to be safe (hah!) she bought tickets for both the Scottish venues. Luckily it was the Scottish ones she could use. Trouble is the country is larger than it looks and fitting in travelling between lectures and things was no easy feat. But she did it, and I can now blog off her efforts.

John Barrowman and Jodie Prenger

The fact that she’s been asleep in today’s lectures (only joking!) doesn’t matter. Apparently the Scottish concerts are the best, because John allows himself to be Scottish, rather than American. And in Glasgow last night the audience linked arms and joined him in the singing, making him cry. Fitting end to a tour finishing in John’s home town.

Firth of Forth

And what could be nicer than the sun rising over the Forth railway bridge on a sunny November morning?

The end of the miracle

Was it going to be the end of Torchwood? It was hard to decide until very close to the end of the last Miracle Day episode last night. Some people died. Others didn’t. And I did suspect that one of the ‘surprises’ in the last minutes was about to happen.

It’s been fun, and quite exciting, but it’s not been Torchwood as we know it. It was just that little bit (!) too American, but I guess that was unavoidable. It was only ever Gwen and her family and her devoted former colleague who carried the Welsh side of the affair.

Torchwood - Miracle Day

There was some unpleasant government behaviour, but I suppose not even Russell T Davies could have predicted how close to our present reality it would end up being. Not all episodes were written by the same people, and it shows. Some are a lot better than others.

The mole is suitably sinister in her trusted role, but most of the other baddies aren’t terribly bad. That was left to the politicians, who are real pros. I can’t help wondering if they sailed too close to WWII for some viewers. And what is it with gay sex scenes, now that their entertainment value has been ‘discovered’ and apparently cleared with the guardians of all that’s decent? I don’t mind, but it seems somewhat one-sided.

We can have more Torchwood. The question is, will we?

Touch wood

He had to pay for the bridge. They’re funny – those Americans – whether the CIA or any other part of the alphabet. The agent who should be dead, but is instead driving across the Severn Bridge to a seemingly separate Wales. And Captain Jack Harkness who should be anything but ‘dead,’ is not feeling so great.

Although, Jack sounds much more British, now that he’s in the company of real Americans. Strange that they are letting Gwen and Rhys get away with being so very Welsh in what is now a fun and exciting, but very American, television show.

We liked it, but it’s not Torchwood as we know it, more Men in Black with some Holby City thrown in.

All over the world people are not dying. That’s not as good as it sounds. But whether it calls for the CIA is a different matter. And the amusing gags work because they are poking fun at the differences between the two countries involved. I hope Wales will win, but suspect it won’t be allowed to.

Gwen Cooper and baby

Gwen and Rhys have done a good job of disappearing along with Torchwood, and an even better job of stashing their cupboards full of weapons for when the ramblers come calling. She should have shot them. Then Gwen wouldn’t be running around with baby in one hand and gun in the other. Cute baby, and far too amenable to this secret agent existence.

But you know how you should be careful what you wish for? Well, maybe Jack is finding out that immortality wasn’t so bad after all.

And how reassuring to find ourselves on the wrong side of the Atlantic yet again. It’s only natural that the US should get to watch anything at all before us poor cousins in the UK.

A tribute to Sarah Jane

The return of a new season of Doctor Who is all very well, but we were mostly thinking of Sarah Jane. The short tribute programme on CBBC after the first episode of Doctor Who had the witch family in tears. You sort of know you are sad that Elisabeth Sladen has died, but some things are better than others at bringing it home.

Elisabeth Sladen

Nice comments made by her recent, and some less recent, co-stars is only what you expect. Old clips from when she was the Doctor’s companion were interesting to me, but possibly more meaningful for all those, like David Tennant and Russell T Davies, for whom Lis was the companion.  There was Jo Grant who followed Sarah Jane as the Doctor’s companion.

Sarah Jane, Rani, Clyde and Luke

Good to see the civilian versions of Rani, Clyde and Luke. Daughter had somehow imagined Luke would be a brain-box in real life as well.

But it was some of the more recent clips that did for us, especially the one with David Tennant at the end.

(It’s about 1minute 30 seconds in that hankies are needed. You have been warned.)