Monthly Archives: October 2008


NCIS series 6 episode 6 What’s a witch to do when it’s the 31st of October, if not watch this week’s NCIS? It was probably as close as they could get to Halloween this year, and the blood and gore may have seemed appropriate. It was one of those tense, race against time, kind of themes. Add a little Psycho, and you’re almost there.

It’ll be a longer wait for the next episode. I understand they have something else going on in the US next Tuesday, which somehow is considered more important.


(Photos © CBS)

No more David Tennant!

Oh, no! What will all the Doctor Who fans do? David Tennant is stepping down after the episodes to be filmed next year.

Realistically most fans will be happy with the replacement. After all, it’s what the Doctor Who role does. All of a sudden he looks a little different. But for the newest batch of fans there has only been one change, and according to Daughter that was a change for the better.

I suppose we will now have to go and watch Hamlet on the stage, or something. (Yes, I know it’s sold out.)

Two castles and a restaurant or two

Culture has been thin on the ground for the last week. Yesterday we had the rock star style event of cult author Neil Gaiman wowing his Edinburgh fans. I’m sure that if he gave up writing books, he could just tour anyway, chatting to his fans.

On the way to the Neil Gaiman venue, the witch passed Edinburgh Castle, fully floodlit and looking magnificent, rising up out of the dark. And before this, Julie Bertagna and I had dined at Centotre, which is an Italian restaurant housed in a former bank. So far I’ve escaped old banks, but I can see now that they make for a really impressive setting for a meal out. The food was good, and so was the service. And it’s the first restaurant I’ve been to with Italian language lessons in the toilet.

Tonight it was the turn of Stirling Castle, and while it wasn’t quite so brightly lit up, it’s a rather nicer castle. It, too, floated about somewhere high up in the dark, on my way out to dinner, again. It’s tough with all this eating out, but I can handle it. My Glaswegian author dinner companion was replaced by nine family members and at long last I was taken to the Sheriffmuir Inn, up in the wilds above Dunblane. I’d heard of it before, but had never been. Lots of tartan, but nicely done, and very good food and service. And their toilets offered individual towelling hand towels.

It’ll be back to tins of baked beans tomorrow. And no castles.


Will the latest double episode of the Sarah Jane Adventures cause the country’s children, and some adults, to develop a clown phobia? I’ve never felt that way inclined, so didn’t mind all that much, but I can see that if you make the baddie a clown, then screaming children will be next. Maybe.

Now that I think about it, I did have a recurring nightmare as a child, which actually featured clowns. It was only in the nightmare, though, and whereas I’m not a clown fan (they are a little boring, aren’t they?) I’ve not feared them either.

To get back to Sarah Jane; why, oh why, do they have to make the Mums so stupid all the time? We’ve just lost lovely Maria and her stupid, or maybe I should say cunning, Mum. And now they give us Rani, another pretty girl, who also has a stupid Mum. How do these girls become so nice and intelligent around women like these? If the Mums have to be out of the action, why not just make them high flying executive types, who are too busy to be home?

That grin

Borrowed from Special Ops, here is that grin.

The Gibbs happy grin

It will be a while, I guess, until we see a smile like that again.

More NCIS, again

2 x Gibbs and car So far, so good. That’s four episodes of NCIS series 6, and they are doing well. This week it was the much publicised story of Gibbs going back to his roots. I had thought that resurrecting the father he had claimed was dead, was a bit much, but in the end I loved it. Gibbs sr What I’d like to know is whether Gibbs lied when he said his father was dead, or did the scriptwriters simply forget? A very nice bonus was to find that the young Gibbs was played by the young Harmon. Suppose that’s likely with both parents being actors, and Sean is old enough now not to be kept out of the limelight. Young Gibbs and Shannon

(Photos © CBS)

John Barrowman

I’m really very surprised to be sitting here writing about John Barrowman. I have quite liked his Captain Jack, but without becoming a fan. But just as you inherit insanity from your children, a little bit of fascination can rub off when you’re subjected to John Barrowman this and John Barrowman that. Often. I even put his album on the iPod, and I enjoy some of the tracks. (But he’s no Roger Whittaker, I can tell you.) I volunteered to go to his concert in Manchester in the spring, and it was surprisingly good. I’m still trying to make sense of all the female fans over a certain age, who scream when they see him. Why, ladies?

Where was I? Oh yes, John Barrowman in Cheltenham. We almost overdosed on John on Sunday, sitting through both his sessions. The one with Russell T Davies I got out of the way yesterday, so let’s concentrate on the other one here. The one with his sister Carole. They were in Cheltenham to talk about John’s autobiography Anything Goes, which Carole wrote with him.

John and Carole Barrowman

Having just read Anything Goes, it’s quite interesting to see John’s route to Doctor Who. I probably have less patience with the showbiz stuff, because it’s not my scene, but the growing up and living and working in two countries I find fascinating. And it can be fun to look into people’s private lives, up to a point.

With my interest in languages, and having had to change accents myself, I really like the way the Barrowman siblings can switch between Scottish and American. They call themselves bidialectical, which is a good made up word. They had some problems with it on Sunday as they speak Scottish with each other, but American with others. So, what do you speak when you’re on stage talking both to your sibling and to the interviewer and the audience? And then there are the things you can only say in one accent.

There’s the Glaswegian sense of humour, too, which thankfully has not been removed by the American Midwest. Carole and John behave much as brothers and sisters do, with friendly arguing and lots of laughs. It appears there was very little to shock Carole when writing the book and discussing her brother’s life with him, although on occasion they had to stop and say “eugh” in unison, before continuing.

John Barrowman, signing

They related a supposedly true account of the night before Cheltenham, when John seemed to think he was having a heart attack in the early hours of the morning, while Carole assumed the shouts and moans originated from something entirely different, and felt the need to inform John that his walls are too thin. It made for good entertainment when retold, but maybe John should see a doctor? The GP variety.

(Photos by H Giles)

Keith Who?

Nah, I don’t think so. Nice try by Russell T Davies yesterday in Cheltenham, but I don’t think Doctor Who is called Keith. Anyway, how would he know? He didn’t invent Doctor Who. And who borrowed a pair of Cyberman’s legs and lost them?

Russell T Davies

The event with John Barrowman and Russell T Davies was a popular one, which is hardly surprising. Did you know that John and David Tennant have farting competitions while filming together? There is a limit to what I actually want to know about people, and this comes very close. David’s smells the most apparently, and I think I’ve just lost all respect for these boys now. (Only joking. Maybe.)

David is John’s favourite Doctor, but otherwise John is everyone’s favourite. Caitlin Moran, who talked to Russell and John, suggested that the screamers in the front row get it out of their system by having a good long scream to start with. Seems to have done the trick. Russell likes John, too, and there was a lot of patting of bottoms and hands on knees and things. 

There was some innuendo, but not too much, as “there were children present”. I think this also prevented some questions from being asked, which may have been a good idea. I was there with my “child”. In fact, that was the only reason I was there, and I understand it was a very satisfactory event for the diehard fan.

There is a new series of Torchwood on the way, upgraded to BBC1, and with five one hour episodes to be shown on five consecutive nights. That will be hard work to watch…

Caitlin Moran, Russell T Davies and John Barrowman

(Photos by H Giles)

Roger Moore in Cheltenham

I didn’t know that Hjördis Niven was quite so awful, until Roger Moore mentioned it this evening. It doesn’t feel like a nice thing to say, but since he told two thousand of us or so, it can’t be considered a secret. He hastened to add that he doesn’t dislike all Swedes, which came as a relief both to the witch and to his wife.

Roger Moore

Having liked Roger since the days of Ivanhoe, through The Saint and all the rest, it was good to be able to hear him talk about his life, although we didn’t have time for quite everything from his 81 years in just over an hour. But he is 81! He doesn’t look it. He does come over very slightly doddery at times, but covers it up magnificently with that voice and all his charm.

We veered off topic a few times, but all in all it was an enlightening evening with Sir Roger. And he does a good Sean Connery impersonation.


(Photo by H Giles)

Pulp Fiction

I’m a late developer. I have only just watched Pulp Fiction, which the rest of the world discovered a long time ago. I blame my lack of early knowledge with the fact that the film coincided with the baby/toddler stage for Offspring, and I noticed nothing until The Lion King came along.

Pulp Fiction

Have to admit I didn’t know what to expect. The title doesn’t inspire confidence in middle age, but reading up on the film led me to feel I might like it. And I felt left out after an NCIS episode, where Abby refers to the film, and I hadn’t a clue. So, in the interest of self education the witch recorded Pulp Fiction when it was last on television.

The verdict is, I don’t know. I think I understood the film, unlike the Resident IT Consultant, who went off to make tea more frequently than usual. Daughter is doubtful, but is satisfied she at least knows what it’s like. And Son, well if you ever watch this, when it gets to the OD scene, I suggest you hide behind the sofa for a few minutes. It’s what sofas are for.

Lots of swearing, lots of violence, and some funny bits. The concept is vaguely amusing, but I can’t say I actually enjoyed any of it. And Travolta somewhere between Grease and Hairspray is not the loveliest sight in the world. Bruce Willis was OK, and Harvey Keitel was good.

Not sure I have a favourite film, but it won’t ever be Pulp Fiction.

Can anyone tell me what’s in the attaché case?