Compare and contrast:

Alien helmet

A helmet visor reflecting a reddish-orange computer display in Ridley Scott's 1979 classic, Alien.

Helmet Dr Who

A helmet visor reflecting a reddish-orange computer display in last Saturday's Doctor Who episode, Cold War. (I'm not sure why the letters aren't the wrong way round.)

Did you watch Doctor Who this Saturday? It was OK, as far as Alien/Das Boot crossovers go. What was not to like? A scary monster running amok, foreign submariners shouting “ALAAAARM!”, a sonic screwdriver, and a cute new sidekick standing around being wet. Certainly a hell of a lot better that the previous week's frankly shite episode.

Particularly effective for me was the sound editing. I loved the way you could hear the alien scrattling around in the ventilation ducts throughout the show—even over the dialogue, when the human characters were trying to explain what the hell was going on. Nice touch, that, I thought.

Imagine my and Jen's surprise, therefore, when the scrattling sound continued even after our heroes had seen off the alien. It was at this point that we realised we had something scrattling around in our living room ceiling. Bats, Jen reckoned. Could have been rodents, though.

Perfect timing. Very atmospheric. And no licence fee to pay! In yer face, BBC!

(And, no, scrattling isn't a word.)

Stense meets her Waterloo

Top tip, Gruts Gang: BBC1, 8pm, Thursday: Waterloo Road.

No, I've never seen it either. But we all have to watch this week's episode, because it was directed by our mate Stense!

Here's the official trailer (it might not play on control-freak Apple mobile devices, which don't allow Flash, in which case, try here):

(Don't be fooled by Thursday's opening credits, by the way: it really is directed by Stense, but she's using her official stage name, Chesty la Roux, or something like that.)

According to the papers, it's definitely the one to watch this week. Put it in your calendars.

Prime time BBC1. I knew her before she was famous, you know!

☆ ☆ ☆

Postscript (25-Jan-2013):


Or, as one viewer tweeted:


STENSE, Amber': the name is STENSE!

Alternative history

Guardian video: Robert Harris on Fatherland: 'What would have happened if Hitler had won?'

Answer: They would have banned smoking in all public buildings, started monitoring all of our personal correspondence, anaesthetised our brains with vapid television and radio programmes, banned dogs from beaches, and sold us a pack of lies about how we could combat climate change with a few windmills.

But I suppose the trains would at least run on time.

Lip candy

Jen and I recently watched two new, highly acclaimed BBC TV dramas, Great Expectations and Birdsong.

I don't think it would be overstating things to say that our enjoyment of these otherwise excellent series was totally spoilt by the unfeasibly large lips of both of the leading male actors:

Great Expectations / Birdsong

Unfeasibly large lips.

"Who the hell do these pretty boys think they are, with their ridiculous, fat lips: Burberry models or something?" I complained, sounding frighteningly like my dad.

It turns out that both of the actors concerned, Douglas Booth and Eddie Redmayne, have indeed been Burberry models.

I do hope this isn't the start of some regrettable new trend.