Last Return – December 2009


Well here we are then. The last summing up of an arbitrary period of days and weeks within what might loosely be described as a month in a year in arrears.

So let’s kick off in traditional style then: how was your Christmas?

It may have come to your attention over the past week that the last special Christmas story of the Russell T Ennant era began. Part two is tonight/tomorrow/once enough ‘seeds’ go up on Bit Torrent or whatever the young people do on their iPods these days, but in case you did miss it (and I did, hence the stalling), here are a couple of other Xmas-related Doctor Who things of the past month you may have also missed:  

1. The BBC Christmas ident. Possibly the greatest moment of Time Lord Victorious. Witness the bending of time to a single man’s will as several reindeer tow the TARDIS across the sky and make a corporate logo.

2. Death in Blackpool. Yes, you heard me – Death. In. Blackpool. This is how Big Finish resolves the Lucie Miller as companion story arc and wishes its susbcribers (“Subscribers Get More… with Big Finish” – ‘more’ being followed by ‘depressed’, one assumes) a happy festive season. At least it’s summer here.

3. Hive of Horror. This is more like it! The anti-Big Finish if you will as Mad Tom, Mike Yates (ret’d) and novelty curmudgeonette Mrs Wibbsey round out Paul Magrs’  Hornets Nest story with a cracking Christmas feast in darkest Sussex. Okay, so you may wish to hear the previous installments of the story first – yes, even if very little happens in them all the while. But at least you won’t be able to say you’ve heard the likes of it before (muttermutterPlagueoftheDaleksmuttermutter).

2009 - A MIXED BAG
But looking back on a lean year Who-wise there was still a fair bit to please the average punters. An improving DWM (the December issue is a wee cracker, making up for the moment for the inevitable price hike), no outrageous story leaks from der press to spoil Christmas, some new stories for Old Tom Baker and some old stories for Old Colin Baker. Of course those were a bit of a mixed blessing, offering new sounds and familiar ones, but you could understand some slavering de-vo-tees being a little nonplussed with the results. Tom returning as a finer amalgam of the fictional Doc and the fictional Tom (the Little Britain/Tui beer ads one), Colin in stories from the 80s that sound and plod like… stories from the 80s. A lesson there in being careful what you wish for. Nostalgia’s a fickle beast, but on the whole we’re better for having these stories around than not, right?


Benjamin Cook lines up another back page triumph

Benjamin Cook lines up another back page triumph

Speaking of the latter Baker years, silly us – we thought 2007 had the best curmudgeonly DWM back pages interview of them all with the triumphant party poop of a distinctly un-Joyboyish Clive Swift’s putdown, but NO! 2009 saw a pretender to the throne when from out of the bushes came Nabil Shaban with some terrific moments in locomotive catastrophe.  Utterly bonkers, and a little bit scary (he’s been banned from YouTube!) Confessions of “loony leftism”, pot-shots at Bush and Blair, the Beeb (they’re all in on it you see) and to crown it off “And they’ve never invited me back!”. Move over Swifty, there’s a new show in town!


Yeah it is a worry, what with there not having been much on the telly of the new series and precious little of the old, whether we’re doing enough to educate the ‘new’ fans of the show that it didn’t begin in 2005 and that the series’ long and noble history isn’t anything to do with the granddaughter of Wilfred Mott. Thankfully there are a few tools of the trade out on the tubes to help us in that quest. First, and a cracking read it is, an article in The Independent by Matthew Sweet. THE Matthew Sweet, you ask? Writer of the rather splendid Magic Mousetrap for Big Finish? I like to think so. It’s not just the existence of the new series that Sweet covers, but the phenomenon of new fandom claiming the show as their own, arguably in ignorance of what groundwork was actually laid down in the last years of the old show, plus of course the not inconsiderable contribution that the show has provided the BBC in terms of viewers and ratings. For all the nudging and asides over the last five years it’s something to ponder; in the not too distant future wise heads will note that just as a long break gave Doctor Who a new energy, direction and audience, so too did the Time Lord save Auntie.

If your charges over the break are lacking in attention spans and in need of a good belt of past to present series education as part of good parenting/guardianship, then look no further than Babelcolour’s Guide to the series. Stupendous! And with Farmergeddon having produced pretty much fanny allen on YouTube in recent years (but look out for his handywork inthe extas for  The Twin Dilemma), we may have an heir apparent.


This is it. The final end. I’ve redecorated, and it feels different this time – where there’s life the moment has been prepared for. And with that, this is the last posting for Zeus Blog. Four pretty good years – that’s longer than most New Zealand fanzines managed apart from a few venerable notables, and longer than the original Zeus Plug four times over. It’s been fun, but it’s been work too, at times, and there’s so much more I’d like to do outside of this blog and I can’t wait to get started.

A huge thanks to those who stuck with the blog, encouraged me and it, and posted regularly, especially to Foo, Dave, Jono and Jamas, who provided content as well as backup, and to Alden for the space to host this rather idiosyncratic corner of the Web, and the know-how to stop it falling over, or prey to the spam wolves.

That just leaves me to say “A Happy New Year to all of you at home and on holiday!” Enjoy 2010 and all ports beyond. Enjoy fandom, and share it wherever you are.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, somewhere the tea’s getting cold…

Peter A

3 Responses to “Last Return – December 2009”

  1. Foo Says:

    Well, I for one would like to say how much I have enjoyed this blog, it’s been a lot of fun and I appreciate all the work that has gone in from Jono, Jamas, Al, Dave, Alden and Timb…have I missed anyone out? Sorry!!! Hang on. Ah yes, Mr Adamson – your dedication to the cause is amazing and some might say worrying, but you truly are a gentleman and a scholar. Your hard work is noticed and I’ll be writing a glowing report card for you as soon as I can find my pen.

    At this stage, it looks like I’ll be back in NZ in the second half of next year and look forward to catching up with y’all. I also am very aware of how backwards my personal blog is, but I will be updating it with the remaining three Doctor Who exhibitions I attended…it will happen – maybe not overnight, but one day I shall update it, until then go forward in all your beliefs and prove to me…ah, don’t worry. Just google ‘The Foo Files’ and you’ll find it!

    One another note – yes, didn’t Nabil Shaban come across as completely bat$hit bonkers! I then had to look up the Clive Swift interview and my mouth hung open as I digested his words of wisdom. I kept thinking he was just taking the pi$$ but he ends up coming across as a right twit. I suppose when you get to a certain point (age) you no longer have to care what others think, but wow.

    Anyway, 2010 will be a great year with a new Doc to boot. Hope this year is brilliant, fantastic and whatever Matt Smith’s catch phrase will be.

    Thanks for the fun!


  2. Foo Says:

    Oooops, when I say ‘second half of next year’ I mean second half of this year. Damn confusion with changing of years! :-)

  3. Al Says:

    They said it couldn’t be done, that running episodes on consecutive days over summer, with so much else on, would be a disaster. But instead, the final series became a critical success and a ratings hit, farewelling this spin-off in style. Well done, Peter – the 12 days of Christmas was an absolute cracker, providing us all with very welcome Festive fandom cheer (with no contenders on the fanzine front) and ending the ‘Son of Zeus Plug’ in a blaze of wit, creativity and record responses. (I can only hope that the Tennant era goes out in anywhere near as good a high, although what I’ve seen and heard so far looks far too much like ‘Last of the Time Lords’ for comfort).

    Anyway, this isn’t about your favourite Doctor, but about you – our very own Time-poor Lord, who despite being able to work the word ‘busy’ into every sentence, has still managed to give us all an essential first-stop during our sneaky ‘just-arrived-at-work internet surfs’ for the past 4 years.
    Your cartooning reached astonishing heights with the Monster Mash series of years past – that gorgeous artwork still deserves a wider audience, especially given all the time and effort it must have taken, (although you always make it look effortless). Likewise, the hand-drawn typography you created for banners surely earns a type designer’s licence – seriously, I’d happily pay to use some of those ‘fonts’ (or convince my managers to pay, at least).
    Even your dreaded photoshop banners really hit their stride with the recent ‘12 days’ series – with many providing genuine LOLs which suddenly made those ‘work-time peeks’ less sneaky.

    As brilliant as all this was, it was really only window dressing for a massive enterprise which has kept probably more people than you’ll ever know entertained, amused, informed, challenged and even occasionally wound-up. As light as the tone is, I know that you think and plan it all carefully. I remember you fighting your corner so well when I once pointed out that you may have upset someone with a remark on the blog, that I actually ended up agreeing with you.
    So well done Sir, you should be proud. The Blog arrived and departed with the Tenth Doctor but has given us all so much more, at a time when it’s been near-impossible to enjoy fandom without wading through side burns, trainers and a long coat first.

    And Death in Blackpool. Yes… I listened to it on Christmas Eve and really needed that yuletide alcohol and sugar to revive my Festive spirit from its near-total system shut down. Cheers, Mr Barnes.

    Happy New year everyone!

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