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Non-Review Review: Pride

Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners is an oft over-looked chapter in the history both the labour and the gay rights movement. Based around the fundamental principle that oppressed groups have a great chance of achieving their goals standing side-by-side (or shoulder-to-shoulder) than they would ever would apart, the alliance forged during the 1984 coal strikes went on to have a lasting and important influence on both the mining community and the gay community.

Pride is perhaps a little bit too whimsical and twee for its own good, going for any number of easy feel-good smiles and affectionate chuckles, but there’s something quite compelling about this tale of two different groups forging an unexpected and unprecedented alliance in pursuit of a common good. Pride is a light and charming “opposites unit” story with enough wit and soul to win over even the most cynical audience members.

Labour of love...

Labour of love…

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Doctor Who: Tooth and Claw (Review)

To celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the longest-running science-fiction show in the world, I’ll be taking weekly looks at some of my own personal favourite stories and arcs, from the old and new series, with a view to encapsulating the sublime, the clever and the fiendishly odd of the BBC’s Doctor Who.

Tooth and Claw originally aired in 2006.

I want her to say “we are not amused.” I bet you five quid I can make her say it.

Well, if I gambled on that, it’d be an abuse of my privileges of traveller in time.

Ten quid?

Done.

– Rose and the Tenth Doctor are “cute”

There’s something quite interesting at the heart of Tooth and Claw, which might be the best  “historical celebrity + monster” mash-up of the Davies era. It’s a wonderful pulpy genre hybrid run-around with Queen Victoria, ninja monks and a werewolf, but it’s also a quite interesting vehicle to explore the way that the show deals with historical characters. After all, Queen Victoria is a British icon, a monumentally important part of the British Empire. It would be tempting to reduce her to a bunch of catch-phrases and a stiff upper lip. It’s a testament to Davies as a writer that he can flesh her out a fully-drawn character.

However, there does seem to be something quite strange about a show that opens with a cheap shot at Margaret Thatcher only to wallow in the iconic status of Queen Victoria.

This year's Bad Wolf is in Torchwood...

This year’s Bad Wolf is in Torchwood…

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Non-Review Review: The Iron Lady

Margaret Thatcher is a complex character. She’s certainly a divisive political figure, but I think that her detractors and her supporters would both admit that the woman isn’t a two-dimensional pop psychology case. The biggest problem with The Iron Ladyis the way that it attempts to offer a simplistic analysis of Thatcher, presenting her as a failure of a wife and a mother who compensated by running her cabinet and her country like a stern matriarch. While Streep gives a solid performance, and director Phyllida Lloyd tries her best to make the movie visually engaging, it feels a bit cheap and shallow. It doesn’t help that the movie trots out the familiar Oscar-baiting bio-pic clichés as if it were assembling an IKEA cabinet. Whatever you may think of Thatcher, she deserved more nuance and complexity than The Iron Lady affords her.

The Broad(bent) strokes...

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Edge of Darkness (BBC)

Keeping with the theme of nuclear annihilation that began with Doctor Strangelove yesterday, I’m taking a look at Edge of Darkness, the BBC serial which was recently remade into a (reportedly disappointing) Mel Gibson film. Directed by Martin Campbell, who would go on to save Bond twice (with GoldenEye and Casino Royale) and is directing the upcoming Green Lantern, Edge of Darkness was something of a phenomenon in British television during the eighties. Originally broadcast on BBC 2, it was popular enough that it garnered a repeat on the parent station (BBC 1) within days. That’s something practically unheard of. And, yes, it’s just that good.

How does Detective Craven bear the loss of his child?

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