The Rematerialisation Of A Writerly Icon

The man who saved Doctor Who from obscurity returns to his throne. But how good an idea is that?

Russell T Davies

Russell T Davies is returning to the world of Doctor Who.

This is, to put it mildly, an interesting development. Davies’s absence from the Doctor Who world, after standing down alongside David Tennant back in 2008, has been fairly striking. Other than a brief, and really rather excellent, cameo during the (also rather excellent) The Five-ish Doctors Reboot, he was entirely in absentia from Doctor Who’s 50th anniversary shindigs. While some of that might simply be out of respect for his replacement, Steven Moffat, it’s still noticeable that the person responsible for guiding the show back from the Wilderness Years, and the person who single-handedly turned it into one of the most popular shows on television, was completely absent from the big party. Davies has done nothing for Big Finish at all, a company he claims to have been rather proud to have saved in the early days of the new show by quietly deflecting questions about licencing. And if ever there was a refuge for Doctor Who writers of the past, it’s Big Finish. There’s been the novelization of Rose, and it’s pretty good for what it is, but beyond that? Zip.

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Green Grow The Rashes

For the first time, the Green Party in Scotland have entered power. But what does it mean?

Lorna Slater and Patrick Harvie, co-leaders of the Green party in Scotland

Over the last week or two, there’s been quite the rash of articles about the fact that the Green party have, for the first time in both Scottish and UK political history, gained a modicum of power. That’s in the Scottish Parliament, to be clear, where the party has entered into a co-operation pact with the SNP – not a formal coalition, but an agreed arrangement based on a similar model in New Zealand, whereby the Greens will support the SNP in some things but are free to criticise others . This has seen the two co-leaders of the party, Patrick Harvie and Lorna Slater, appointed cabinet ministers. Specifically, Harvie has been appointed Minister for Zero Carbon Buildings, Active Travel and Tenants’ Rights while Slater has been made Minister for Green Skills, the Circular Economy and Biodiversity. These are non-trivial roles, and their appointment is a non-trivial event. And, rather importantly, they are new cabinet positions.

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Leaves On The Cultural Line – A Doctor Stands Down

A Time Lord exits – but does it matter, and if so, why?

Jodie Whittaker has decided to stand down as the Doctor.

Rather than debating the merits or otherwise of her era, it’s been interesting to see the press reaction to the news that the first female Doctor has decided to leave on a schedule pretty much in line with the previous two Doctors. Sure, there will be fewer episodes in her third season, but there’s a pandemic on – there’s not a lot you can do about that really. Otherwise, though, she’s done her shift and it will be time for a new Doctor (cue much rampant speculation and little-to-no accuracy) and a new showrunner. Still. The news made a few front pages. The Guardian went with the relatively staid and accurate “Jodie Whittaker Quits Doctor Who”. OK. “Time’s Up Already: Jodie Whittaker To Leave Doctor Who” says The Independent. So far, so accurate. “Woke Doctor Who Quits The TARDIS”, says the Daily Telegraph. Hmm. One of these things is not like the other.

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Train Round The Bend

A little North-South difference, by way of the rails.

There’s been a bit of a kerfuffle about trains this week. Now while I realise that might not set everyone’s hearts a-flutter – although it should, because trains are awesome – it’s been fairly revealing. And the thing it’s been revealing about is the differences in approach between how Scotland and England are coping with coming out of lockdown and the relative merits of those approaches. Because while England has had its “Freedom Day” on the 19th July – and in the teeth of scientific advice – Scotland isn’t having further unlocking until at least the 9th August, it may end up being later than that, and our social distancing is being reduced to one meter rather than entirely scrapped, as per things down south.

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Reverse The Polarity Of The Language Flow

A short discussion on how language and its use can be used for good or ill.

Language, it is not a particularly original insight to make, is both one of humanity’s greatest achievements and one of its greatest weapons, and rarely in history have we seen it used more for the second of those than the first. Spluttering headlines about how “YOU… [insert alleged scandal here]” or how “THEY [insert apparent rip-off there]” scream at us from every newsagent, supermarket and even airport gates. It’s tediously inescapable. We live in an era where, at least as far as traditional print media goes, we are rarely informed about the news so much as we are informed of other people’s opinions about the news. And that’s quite a significant deficit.

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I hope you all appreciate the restraint it took not to put the word “fuck” in the headline

(You can assume, for this article, there will be even less of an effort made at objectivity than usual. Yes, really! This article was originally writte in December 2018 and somehow things have gotten worse since then. Well done, everyone…)

What’s Being Covered? Brexit. Why the fuck not? Everyone else is doing it…

What’s It All About, JG? David Cameron’s massively unsuccessful attempt to end Tory in-fighting over Europe, and the catastrophic consequences which have spun out from it. Cameron – an oil-slick poured into a poorly-fitting suit with a questionable attitude to porcine sexual relations – clearly thought he could win a referendum over whether to keep the UK in Europe as a method of getting his grumbling backbenchers to shut up once and for all, misjudged it, and now we’re all fucked.  Having lost, rather than stick around to deal with the consequences he promptly pissed off – it’s not like any of this was going to affect him anyway – which means instead we have the haunted, desiccated soul of Theresa May trying to guide the country through its biggest shake-up since at least the 70’s.

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