Archive for the ‘BLOG EXCLUSIVES’ Category

Peter and Verity

Wednesday, November 28th, 2007

The sudden deaths of two significant names in Doctor Who fandom last week merit more attention – even local attention, than has perhaps been given. Any fan will be able to tell you that Verity Lambert was the series’ first producer, the BBC’s first female producer and held both titles at a relatively tender age (27) in what was itself a young industry. The series’ popularity and formula, BEMs included, owe an insurmountable debt to her influence and guidance.

Bereft of a genuine female Doctor, Verity Lambert is- was, the programme’s elder stateswoman. In a way she never truly left the series; for like the Doctors who followed Hartnell and reprised their roles in various guises, her connection with Doctor Who was concreted by fandom, fan press and fan conventions and media. But fandom, as we all know, carries its own memory, some of it false and some of it selective. While we can issue forth the Received Knowledge of identities like Verity Lambert solemnly and with a little authority, it doesn’t get us any closer to who she was before and after the series, how it influenced her, and the true legacy she leaves behind. Make the time and read some of those obituaries outside of the DW blogs and websites and rediscover a remarkable woman who not only produced the first ever Doctor Who with no series bible, heritage or fan audience, but also ventured into sitcoms, crime thrillers, whodunnits, soap opera and film. Who also resurrected Quatermass and launched the careers of Lynda la Plante and Sam Neill, and who for her sins, gave the world Eldorado.

The Times and The Guardian give great kudos to Lambert’s contribution to television especially without dwelling on the Who hagiography, but for a change of pace Janet Street Porter’s personal memories of Lambert as printed in The Independent offer something quite diferent and quite worthwhile. Who knew the series’ original guardian angel to be so prickly and obstinate? A testament to her early success, one can imagine – and more than likely, to the Doctor’s also.

The passing of Who biographer Peter Haining may have been felt more keenly several years ago while his works were still very much in circulation. As it is one would be hard-pressed to imagine the likes of The Key to Time or The Time-Traveller’s Guide on bookshop shelves now amid the multiple garish ‘official’ series guides. It’s true that even in the early works Haining’s books appeared alongside those by Jeremy Bentham, Howe Stammers and Walker, and of course John Nathan Turner; but to a good number of fans of a certain age, Haining was the big name, and his books were the gateway into fandom – especially for those not readily able to engage with other fans. My first and only Haining book is 25 Glorious Years which I saw advertised, saved up for and ordered from an Oamaru bookshop, and pored over intently during the series’ silver jubilee year, comparing what little I’d seen of Colin Baker to the photos inside, and wondering what the new Doctor, Sylvester McCoy would be like. As other creative fans have doubtless done I studied the artwork within and attempted to equal Colin Howard’s still masterful pointillistic portraits, and whole fanzines could be filled with the hand copied images of rare or destroyed episodes from an age when there was no Internet, no Wikipedia, no Image Archive to draw from.

Haining’s works became decreasingly influential and necessary as new names entered the arena, but those books were the groundwork for what followed, and beyond Who his cult and telefantasy influence was felt in similar regular guides to the canons of Sherlock Holmes, James Bond and Dracula, and a reliable run of classic ghost stories. As regular and reliable as the typeface titles on those volumes, Peter Haining was fandom’s collator before fandom took over the job and improved on the format, and his presence in the pages of a plethora of fanzines – New Zealand ones included, is a truth seldom acknowledged.


Jono English 3

Friday, September 21st, 2007

Here’s Jono. In front of a TARDIS. Outside at night (Earl’s Court?) 


Jono English 2

Thursday, September 13th, 2007

Fresh off the interwebs today…

Pure evil distilled, the enemy of all that is right and good. Pictured here with John Simm.


Jono English

Friday, September 7th, 2007



Well apart from the worst tube strikes in a decade, all is well in Ing-Ge-Land.

jonoben1.jpgOnly been here four days and have done much! Seeing John Simm in a Westend (well… Whitehall) comedy tomorrow which should be good – been getting rave reviews.
A few pics attached, including one from Hamleys – super Who section.


Impatient to see ‘Ice’, it came to him…

Sunday, July 15th, 2007


Tragedy at Zeus Blog Terraces. ‘Parapangi’s Rose’ felled in home accident.

If reader/s of Zeus Blog thought things were slow to hit their plasma screens and pub laptops lately, then this weekend’s news will be harder yet to bear. Peter A, sometime logosmith, blogger and ‘zine botherer was the victim of ‘freak localised weather conditions’ at 5:45am Saturday morning when he slipped on a layer of frost on his back deck and broke his arm.  Although it was not his ‘creative’ arm affected, Adamson’s knowledge that the left side of his body is controlled by the ‘artistic’ right hemisphere of his brain has sent shockwaves of guilt through that portion of his already taxed and pre-Windows Vista cerebrum, and a general strike of all creative functions is currently in force throughout his entire nervous system. In good news for motorists, he is also out of action for driving for the next month.

A compulsive doodler and long-time acolyte, this has been a desperate blow to Adamson.

On the other hand (as it were), the blog will probably not be so vague and rambling for a considerable amount of time.   Over to you, Jono…

Spoiler-free Zone

Saturday, June 16th, 2007


Righto. It’s fingers in the ears time for Zeus Blog.

With Utopia broadcasting the first trailer for the final epic two-parter, we here at Zeus Blog are going spoiler-free, so don’t expect any mention of the final episodes for a while. There’ll still be blog posts but we’re resisting the temptation to read anything online about the episodes until we see them. It’s going to be tough - extreme measures have been put into place, including deleting bookmarks for news pages from our Favourites, and keeping well clear of every site except our own. Maybe it’ll be a piece of cake. If we don’t crumble that is…

Oh and steer clear of Outpost Gallifrey and its spoiler-tastic news page… The plot of Episode 13 is there for all to see (admittedly in a spoiler tag, and admittedly I opened it… the temptation was too great!).

See you in 3 weeks!


The Joy of Sets

Sunday, June 10th, 2007


Let’s talk about sets, baby… or more importantly one particular boxset that graced our shores last month. New Beginnings is quite quite brilliant, not only because of the arc of the stories contained within, but also because of the wealth of extras contained within.

Tom! You’re being candid! Like… proper candid! We’ve been waiting for that for ages! Thank you! Matthew! You could have shaved, but how nice that you were asked back! Sarah! Must seem like a long time since talking to Noel Edmonds on Swap Shop! Peter! Please be on every commentary! Even for stories you weren’t in! Janet! Well, it would have been lovely to have seen rather than just hear you but wow – the team back together! It’s superb! Simply superb! Even if Keeper of Traken is a pile of tosh.

But this is more than just a gushy review. It’s a general bravo to the fact that we are now in the fantastic position of finally having extremely well produced quality boxsets like every other TV show. I’ve always been a bit dubious about the single releases, especially for some of the more vanilla titles (both in terms of the extras and the story itself – yes Claws of Axos… I’m looking at you), and as such to have the added value of some of the ‘lesser’ stories coupled with classics makes me a very happy consumer. I’d buy a Season 24 boxset over any of the individual titles, and the idea of the upcoming Timeflight / Arc of Infinity set is much more appealing that having either of the stories by itself on the shelf.

The only negative thing I would say is that in some ways it’s a shame that the classic series was never released in seasons as the current series is. Yes, I see the illogical side of this (Season 5 would be, what, one disc if that?, and no one in their right minds would buy Season 11), but to have each story surrounded by its peers with perhaps an extra disc of special features covering the making of each season would be rather nice. Probably cheaper too.

But I’m happy with the status quo. Well done BBC – you’ve hooked in one happy consumer.


Back Into The Fold

Thursday, May 10th, 2007

Even though the paper version of Zeus Plug has gone the way of Dodo, we’re happy to say that Zeus Blog continues the tradition of a neatly folded read.

Now, thanks to the technical abilities of Mr Enright, some of our longer articles (such as Battle of the Seasons) will be ‘folded’, thus giving the spindle wheel on your mouse a bit of a break.

Zeus Blog – bringing you nice long articles (but not too long).

7 more things to notice about the new trailer…

Sunday, May 6th, 2007


WordPress is in full-on hate mode right now, so no images. But here are the descriptions and questions, so chances are they may play out better in your head anyway :)

1. Re: Girl and balloon

I’m saying this is probably Aphasia – a significant character from the novel of Human Nature. The balloon has very definitely a part to play as well >:)

2. Re: Keys around necks

I’ll stick out mine and say they’re TARDIS keys. is there anything more to comment no other than the Doctor may have anticipated the three of them to be separated at some stage?

3. Re: Saxon’s other ring

Check out also the gold band around Saxon’s left hand. Is there a Mrs Saxon? Maybe Brad is right – and Aaronn! Perhaps Kate O’Mara’s at home right now, cooking up a casserole for her man about the House?

Or is it Martha?

You didn’t mention the ’sound of drums’ theselves Jono. It looks like folk have been quick to declare that the rhythm is that of the series title music (as also lampooned in the Doctor Who Night Pitch of Fear skit. But maybe it’s just a martial (or execution?) drum beat and we’re hearing patterns that aren’t there? The best theory I’ve read to come out of that is that the ‘dat-dat dat-dat’ rhythm of both relates to a double heartbeat. I like it! Even moreso than (was it Lance Parkin’s?) the suggestion that the ‘wwoooeeooooo’ of the title music is the sound of the Vortex opening up.

Whatever, it’s a bloody sinister image. Simm just looks for all the world like Evil, biding its time…

4. The upstairs room blowing up

It’s the modern day! Is it the Doctor or Jack in the foreground? Is it Martha’s family home blowing up? Of note though is the taxi – the self same one as seen in The Runaway Bride and Rose!

5. The Doctor’s dressing gown

 Not the same kit as in The Christmas Invasion, but rather like Clark Kent’s signature colour clothing in Smallville (the clothes are always a combination of blue or red, no matter what), the colour scheme in brown ‘overcoat’ and blue ‘shirt’ underneath is reassuringly that of ‘our’ Doctor – even if, like Superman in the chief inspiration for Human Nature, Superman II, he’s not quite himself.

6. Derek Jacobi’s choice of telly

Is lovely and retro, reminiscent of The Idiot’s Lantern (is it a Magpie model?) and… the TV Movie TARDIS scanner!

7. The Doctor’s bright eyes (burning like fire)

There’s not much I can add to this – it’s an arresting image and brings to mind Bonnie Tyler’s Total Eclipse of the Heart video, but I’m sure RTD has his heart in the right place. So, is the Doctor possessed, or is it time energy leaking out again? Or are his contacts really starting to get to him?


9 Things about the New Trailer

Sunday, May 6th, 2007

It’s just over a minute long, but there’s loads to take in during the latest trailer, previewing the last 7 episodes of Series 3. Here’s a few notes that we’ve come up with:


FROM: Most likely, given the timeframe, Human Nature / The Family of Blood

Cool! World War One action! Having been down the WWII road in Series 1, it looks like we’re in for barbed wire, trenches and gunfire aplenty.


FROM: Either Human Nature / Family of Blood or Blink

The rumour going around that Blink is shot from the point of view of the monster leads us to think that this might be from that episode. Who’s the girl, and is the balloon significant (let’s face it, probably not!)?


FROM: No idea…

BUT we do love this shot and the preceding shot of the Doctor as the colour grading is really cool, making the scene look very filmic. Nice work!


FROM: Utopia (?)

The ending of Torchwood made out like the TARDIS had landed inside the Hub, but given that RTD says that Jack has the best entrance ever of a companion, perhaps it instead lands upstairs, and Jack has to do a flying leap to catch it? This seems even more likely given that the TARDIS sound effect runs over this scene.


FROM: No idea

This season’s ‘Emergency Protocol’-hologram scene?


FROM: Human Nature / The Family of Blood

Surely the oddest-looking villain for a while. We love the way he says ‘RUUUUUUUN’. Sea-horse powered guns though?


FROM: Final episode?

Action shot – what are the keys around their necks for?


FROM: ???

Forum speculation already has this being the reforming of Gallifrey, though we doubt it (even if that’s one of our predictions for the year). Whatever is out there has some shape – a piece of machinery perhaps? What we want to know is… where’s Martha in all of this? Pete’s convinced that Martha and the Doctor get separated before the season is out. Will we have a companion-less finale?


FROM: The Sound of Drums

The coolest image from the trailer, bar none. There’s at least two dead (or drugged) people in the room, with Mr Saxon breathing through a gas mask. It’s the same room as in Aliens of London (the Cabinet Room), so we presume that this is Downing St. Check out the ring as well – the same markings that were present in The Lazarus Experiment, and which bear some resemblance to…


Thanks to Freema Agyeman’s fansite for the screen caps above