Views from the Stalls and Views from the Sofa - My reviews and thoughts on all things theatre and television. Follow me on Twitter @LikeTheMonth_

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Doctor Who - The Wedding of River Song - Series 6 Episode 13 Finale

What’s the Story?

Steven Moffat returns to pen the Series 6 finale. We all know events must return to Lake Silencio, Utah for the Doctor’s death but the big question remains, how will Moffat get out of this one?

What’s the Verdict?

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Doctor Who - The God Complex - Series 6 Episode 11 - Review

What’s the Story?

The Doctor, Amy and Rory find themselves in a replica of a 1980s hotel where the walls move, the corridors stretch beyond them and behind each door lies someone’s biggest fear. They are not alone however, and trapped with another group of poor unfortunate souls they must face their fears and escape from the beast that is picking people off one by one…

What’s the Verdict?

Doctor Who - The Girl Who Waited - Series 6 Episode 10 - Review

What’s the Story?

On a visit to Apalapucia (thank you subtitles) the second most popular travellers destination in the universe (who wants to go to ‘The Planet of the Coffee Shops’ anyway), Amy finds herself trapped in a faster time stream on a planet where a deadly plague has broken out. With the Doctor confined to the Tardis lest he be infected it is left to Rory to find Amy and rescue her from the Handbots, robots designed to administer medicine, a medicine that will kill human Amy. When Rory finds his wife however, she is not quite how he left her…

What's the Verdict?

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Doctor Who - 'Night Terrors' - Series 6 Episode 9 - Review

What’s the Story?
 Mark Gatiss returns to Who to script this creepy standalone story, where the Doctor hears the distressed call of a boy called George, terrified of the monsters in his bedroom, or more specifically his wardrobe where his parents have encouraged him to lock away all his fears. With George’s Dad Alex (guest star Daniel Mays) not knowing where to turn to help his son, The Doctor warns him that ‘monsters are real’…

What’s the Verdict?

Doctor Who - 'Let's Kill Hitler' - Series 6 Episode 8 - Review

What’s the Story?

 Doctor Who roars back onto our screens when Amy, Rory and their childhood friend, Mels, crash land in 1938 Berlin and inadvertently save the life of one Adolf Hitler. They encounter the Teselecta, a shape shifting robot hunting down war criminals and are stunned to discover the truth about Mels…

What’s the Verdict?

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Eureka - 'Clash of the Titans' - Episode Review

What’s the Story?

When Titan Rover, Tiny, explodes on return to Eureka (RIP Tiny, perhaps she will get a Deputy Andy style rebuild?), Carter heads the investigation into the explosion and the dispersal of poisonous methane gas across the town. Meanwhile, a Department of Defense ‘Auditor’ (Wallace Shawn) arrives to assess Jack and Allison’s relationship, Fargo and Holly grow closer (or do they?) and Henry and Grace plan their wedding, with added ‘help’ from Jo.

 What’s the Verdict?

Friday, 19 August 2011

Warehouse 13 - Season 3 Episode 6 - 'Don't Hate The Player' - Review

What’s the Story?

Eureka’s Fargo (Neil Grayston) guest stars in Warehouse 13 for the second time, when his latest ‘Fargames’ concept puts him into a life threatening situation. To help him, Pete and Claudia have to go inside the videogame Fargo has created, ‘Fortress 13’, where things seem very familiar…. Meanwhile Artie and Steve are called out by Agent Sally to investigate an apparent suicide.  

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Eureka - 'Omega Girls' - Episode Review

What’s the Story?

Allison Blake herself, Salli Richardson-Whitfield, makes her directing debut with this tense and dramatic episode of Eureka. Carter realises something is not quite right with Allison but by the time he has established the cause Beverly Barlowe has taken control of Global Dynamics and rendered the citizens of Eureka unconscious. It comes down to Jo and the visiting Zoe Carter to save the day and stop Beverly before she escapes with all of Eureka’s secrets.

What’s the Verdict? Read on after the jump...

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Warehouse 13 - Queen For A Day - Season 3 Episode 4 Review

As I reviewed Eureka earlier today (here), it seems only right that I should review Syfy stablemate, the equally entertaining Warehouse 13, another show I’ve watched since it’s inception and another I believe is getting better and better. Read more after the jump...

Eureka - 'Up In The Air'- Episode Review

Things finally float in Eureka!
Season 4, or 4.5 as it is known, of fun Syfy drama Eureka has recently (/finally!) resumed showing on the channel, a show I have watched since the very beginning. I loved the Season 4 ‘reboot’ but with such a long wait for 4.5 to be shown I think I forgot just how much I enjoyed watching the show and the adventures, or more appropriately misadventures of its genius inhabitants.  Read more after the jump...

Monday, 20 June 2011

Jekyll & Hyde - UK Tour - Review

Review of the matinee performance on 15-06-11 at The Kings Theatre, Glasgow.

Frank Wildhorn and Leslie Bricusse’s musical version of Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde is currently touring the UK in a new production starring Marti Pellow as the title character/s.

The action takes place in Victorian London, as Dr Henry Jekyll works in his lab to find a solution that will separate the good in a person from the evil, thereby enabling him to eradicate all evil in the world. Mocked by local dignitaries however, Jekyll shuts himself away from society and from his fiancee, Emma, and decides that he must be the participant in his own experiments and Edward Hyde is born.

I find the story intriguing and as a lover of Victorian melodrama, the show certainly held appeal, but I was largely unfamiliar with the music previously. The score is ballad-heavy, a little too ballad-heavy in my opinion (it very much seems to have the idea that ‘All Songs Must End In A Big Note Held As Long As Possible‘), but thankfully there is more variation to be had in the ensemble numbers. The ensemble in this production are very strong and it is a pleasure to be able to sit in the stalls and pick out each voice in songs such as ‘Façade’ and ‘Murder, Murder’. Similar ensemble numbers ‘Bitch, Bitch, Bitch’ and ‘Bring on the Men’ bring literal and metaphorical colour to Act One and are very well executed.

Bricusse’s lyrics are disappointing however, rhyming couplets (or sometimes triplets!) are very much the order of the day here, you will undoubtedly be able to guess the rhyme before the sentences end and this comes across as unimaginative and dare I say it, a bit dull. Sweeney Todd this is not.

One performance in particular stands out as adding some vital spark and energy into proceedings and that is the performance of Sabrina Carter as London prostitute, Lucy. Undoubtedly the best character in the show, Carter relishes her moments to shine, she is feisty where required but has a vulnerability and yearning that the audience immediately empathise with . As Dr Jekyll’s fiancee Emma Carew, Sarah Earnshaw is also impressive and it is a shame that her character is not able to develop more. Both Carter and Earnshaw have terrific voices, that combine to make their duet ‘In His Eyes’ my personal highlight of the show.

I’m sure you have noticed that I am yet to comment on the performance of Pellow as the dual personalities and the simple reason for that is that I’m not sure I ultimately have the heart to be a critic! It is a shame, but Pellow is simply not up to the job of what is a very complicated role. It did not bode well when his delivery of his opening lines ‘Goodbye, Father’ made me involuntarily giggle and it was not the only unintentionally funny moment in the show. For the first forty-five minutes as Dr Jekyll (timing is an estimate, it honestly could be anything!), Pellow was wooden and sadly didn’t inject any personality into the Dr at all. I enjoyed his performance as Hyde much more, because at least it felt like he was making a genuine effort, but I never felt he acted through the songs. He seemed to struggle with his breath control and diction and it is no coincidence that the most ‘pop’ style song, 'This Is The Moment', was his strongest number, although it was sung as if in concert rather than in character.

If the point of his casting was to bring in the crowds, Pellow certainly did so, and those standing at the end of a near sold-out matinee would certainly attest to his appeal. If that is his sole purpose, then his casting has been a success. I do think Pellow is a likeable guy and the way he deferred to Carter and Earnshaw at curtain call indicates he is well aware who saves this show.

Overall, despite my criticisms, it was an enjoyable show, made so by the performances of the two leading ladies and the quality of the ensemble. Pellow’s performance was enjoyable too in some ways, although perhaps not the ways in which he intended. Jekyll & Hyde is yet to have a truly successful production on these shores, and though this tour may be a commercial success it will go down in my eyes as a bit of a missed opportunity. 

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Doctor Who - Series 6 Part 1 - Review

With us Brits now suffering a wait for the rest of Series 6 of Doctor Who, the show having gone all American on us and taken a mid-series break, I thought this would be a good time to look back on the past seven episodes, what they have given us and where they have left us. Spoilers naturally will be forthcoming!


It is hard to compare this series to the last, when you consider we are only half way through and splitting the series like this has required a restructuring of the usual formula. It has certainly felt like the show has been moving at a much faster pace this year, with the story arc taking more prominence early on to build to a mid-series cliffhanger. This has meant less stand-alone stories with only ‘The Curse of the Black Spot’ and ‘The Doctor’s Wife’ thus far. And how different could two episodes be? The Doctor’s Wife was a wonderful story, taking the simple conceit of ’What if The Doctor could meet the Tardis?’ and weaving what turned out to be a quite magical love story, with just the right amount of sentiment and a fantastic performance from Suranne Jones that ensured we will never view the Tardis in quite the same way again. Black Spot was the only, well, er…black spot (sorry!) on the opening episodes and even then it wasn’t actively bad, just not as good as we’ve come to expect from the show. Despite it’s faults (and you can’t deny those) Black Spot was at least a good old fashioned adventure story, and I’m sure some children and adults alike enjoyed the break from the series arc and appreciated an episode that excited purely to act as a fun diversion.

Personally however, the series arc is where the real drama lies and thus I have enjoyed the fact the episodes have felt more interconnected and the stories more intricate. The opening two parter, The Impossible Astronaut and Day of the Moon got the series off to a better start than I could have imagined, with a brilliant supporting performance from the always fantastic Mark Sheppard and of course the unthinkable, the death of the Doctor.

Of course we know that the Doctor will not really die there, we know there is a twist to come but there is plenty of fun to be had in thinking up ways out of it. Amy’s story arc was creepy and genuinely shocking, I certainly did not see the end of The Almost People coming at all and it proved that this show can consistently surprise and show a degree of originality and risk-taking that few other shows demonstrate.


Everything about Series 6 has felt very confident and assured, the monsters have been scarier, the stories clever and compelling. Of course this has led to some branches of the media arguing that the show has become ‘too scary’ or ‘too complex’. This is nonsense. It is beyond ridiculous that those self same parents who reminisce with great fondness about ‘hiding behind the sofas’ from the Daleks (a notion I heard about so much growing up in Who’s wilderness years) then try to attack the show for scaring their own children. Besides, the children I know that watch Who have not been dissuaded from watching it. Yes, they have been scared at times (of The Silence in particular), but they want to watch every week, they still go online and watch the behind the scenes videos and prequels, they still want to chat about the show or play games based around it. If we had to witness a difficult and traumatic birth scene then perhaps there would be reason to complain, but the show knows its limits and instead we were shown the situation and then the aftermath.

The criticism that the show is ’too complicated’ is also unfounded and is a criticism I have only heard from adults or newspaper reviewers that get so many facts wrong in their write-ups that they clearly have not been paying proper attention anyway. Yes, Moffat’s Who in particular and his love of ’timey-wimey’ plots, does require you to listen carefully, to think about the information you’re given, to pay attention. However, this is a show about a time-traveller, how can anyone complain that there is ‘too much’ of it? I for one am pleased to see someone embracing the possibilities that time travel creates, but people far too often confuse ’complicated’ with ’unexplained’ and thus I have no doubt this argument will resurface every year.


What I have loved most of all about Series 6 so far however, even beyond the strength of the stories and the atmosphere created, is the cast and the characters they portray. Arthur Darvill as Rory Williams has really started to come into his own, he is no longer just Amy’s ‘Other Half’ but a fully rounded, interesting character in his own right. The poor soul has been through a lot on the show and I would like to see his 2000 year-old memories explored more in the latter half of the series, however Darvill has embodied Rory with such a likeability that surely every girl would like a Rory of their own and the husband/wife team have provided a different dynamic in the Tardis.

I have also grown to love Amy Pond this year, not that I disliked her last year, but this year she has really matured as a character. She is brave with a touch of recklessness, with a great sense of humour and although Moffat likes to toy with us, Rory is definitely the man for her. Amy has become everything I would want in a companion and Karen Gillan has been excellent this year as Amy has faced some of the darkest moments in the show.

My love of these characters and this Tardis Team does make me worry about how Series 6 will end. One of the things I have always enjoyed about these companions is that I feel we know so much more about them than we usually do. Amy can never just be a girl that travels with the Doctor for a while and then goes. Due to the superb introduction in The Eleventh Hour, we know that Amy has waited for the Doctor her entire life, you get the sense he has always been her best friend, even in those absent twelve years. I’ve always thought it would take something special for Amy to leave the Doctor and now we may just have that in Melody. It feels a little like Amy and Rory’s tenure in the Tardis is coming to an end and surely everything will depend upon what happens in the latter half of the series and if they get baby Melody back. Of course, River presumably knows how she spends her childhood, but she will never tell…! Unless The Silence got to her of course….

I think the main reason the Amy/River reveal worked for me, is that I have always enjoyed watching the relationship between the two. Amy could occasionally be stroppy or petulant in Series 5, but there was never any hint of jealousy of River, this mysterious woman who waltzed into her life with The Doctor and seemed to know everything about him. Instead, Amy was intrigued and there always seemed a genuine affection there, they appeared to warm to each other instantly, they shared conspiratorial glances about The Doctor and have the same sense of humour. The ‘fez’ scene always stood out as showing the connection between them, Amy throws it as River automatically shoots it. It is brilliantly seamless and so it makes sense to me that there should be a natural connection between them. It leads me to wonder just how long Moffat has been planning this reveal, I suspect from The Eleventh Hour. I think it was always going to go this way and that is why we have seen such a warm relationship develop between them. Hopefully when it is all over, Moffat will tell all about how much of a plan he has had all along!

Anyone that thought River’s story would end when her identity was revealed was wrong, she continues to grow as a character and there is so much we are yet to learn about her. Alex Kingston is fantastic and she ensures we look forward to every appearance from River. Of course, the more we learn about her, the more tragic her story seems and re-watching her death scene now is heartbreaking, although an utterly perfect way for the character to go (so please writers, don‘t change it!). River’s flirtations with the Doctor have been extremely entertaining to watch and of course there is nothing to say they do not go on to have a relationship in the future, with Amy as the Doctors future mother-in-law! Finally I think there is a character that I can genuinely see being a match for the Doctor and Kingston works so well with Matt Smith they are a real joy together on screen.

And so to the man himself, who has surely silenced any lingering doubters whether he was up to the job of replacing David Tennant. In my opinion, Matt Smith has surpassed everything Tennant and in fact all others have done before, cementing his place as my favourite Doctor with never less than brilliant performances that capture every essence of the Time Lord. Smith captures the weariness in the Doctor; he truly seems like he has lived hundreds of years and yet at the same time he has a boyish charm, an eccentricity and excitement about the world that is so endearing to watch. With perfect delivery, Smith wrings every drop of humour out of each script, creating by far the funniest Doctor. Yet The Doctor’s sadness or anger is equally believable and you just have to sit up and take note when Smith delivers one of the Doctor’s great speeches.

I’d love this Tardis crew to remain for at least another full series, it really feels like we have got to know each person and it is nice to see how the relationships develop and strengthen over time. It is hard to imagine Eleven with another companion and hard to imagine such a creative way of introducing a replacement. It feels like this crew has become more involved in the Doctor’s life than almost all of those that have gone before, leaving them behind and just starting again with a new companion seems odd and unlikely.

Ultimately, though some sections of the media may like to create a sense of impending doom around Doctor Who, with Matt Smith on board and the quality of Steven Moffat’s writing, I believe the show is in fantastic shape. I can’t wait to hopefully have that claim proven in the final six episodes of Series 6!

Doctor Who - Series 6 Episode 7 - A Good Man Goes to War - Review

What’s the Story?

With Amy and her new-born daughter imprisoned by Madame Kovarian at Demons Run, Rory and The Doctor call upon the help of a few old friends to stage a rescue. It soon appears however, that The Doctor is walking into a trap. After a battle is fought and lives are lost, River reappears and finally reveals her true identity….

What’s the Verdict?

After last weeks stunning cliffhanger, anticipation could not be higher for Doctor Who’s mid-series finale and ‘A Good Man Goes To War’ delivers a rollercoaster of an episode that answers some questions but poses so many more.

The pre-titles sequence really set the scene and Arthur Darvill made a great impression as Rory, dressed as a Roman once more, standing alone before a group of Cybermen delivering a message, angrier than ever before. The absence of the Doctor meant that when he did appear it became more of a spectacle, taking on a room of soldiers armed only with his sonic and his wit.

Smith really seems to thrive on these moments and we were shown many different sides to the Doctor in this episode. He was charming, affectionate and funny at times but overconfident, disconsolate and angry at others. His taunting of and disdain for ‘Colonel Runaway’ was a standout scene of the episode, Smith has always excelled at switching between the humour and tragedy of the Doctor and allowing the anger to overcome him in this way showed just how far he would go to protect his friends.

This certainly felt like a ‘kitchen sink’ episode, with everything thrown in and the action moving at a frenetic pace. There was a lot to love about it; THAT ending (which I’ll come to later!), Amy and Rory’s joy at parenthood, sharp and witty dialogue and a great selection of supporting characters. Some of these were given more opportunities to shine than others; we had Sontaran Commander Strax, crime-fighting lesbian Silurian Madame Vastra (someone give that reptile a spin off!) and Lorna Bucket, who we were made to feel like we knew in a remarkably short space of time, rendering her death all the more poignant.

However, with the relentless pacing of the episode it sometimes felt like there was just too much in there; it would have been nice to explore some of the moments and characters a bit more. We learnt that Amy was taken sometime ‘before America’ and that she remembered the adventures of her Ganger, but it was such a brief scene that could have given more information, although that may of course be still to come. Similarly, we did not get to know much about Frances Barber’s Madame Kovarian, other than that she wanted baby Melody to use as a weapon against the Doctor. I never really felt like the Doctor ‘fell further than ever before’, it’s a nice line but it doesn’t feel accurate given the adventures we have seen in the past.

My favourite episodes are those that tell an intricate story, this is why I loved ‘The Big Bang’ last year, and so from my perspective A Good Man Goes to War felt like a bit too much action and not enough plot. This is a personal preference of course and if the intention was to set up the latter half of the series, then Moffat certainly achieved this. My personal favourite parts of the episode however were the smaller, character moments. Karen Gillan was absolutely fantastic throughout, giving without doubt her best performance in the series to date. You really felt that she had bonded with baby Melody and it was utterly heartbreaking to watch the baby turn to Ganger Flesh in her arms. Amy, Rory and The Doctor standing over Melody was quite enchanting and the Doctors conversation with Melody funny and charming. The dialogue in this episode was fantastic, with some wonderfully poetic character monologues from River, Amy and The Doctor and plenty of sparkling one-liners.

There was always a sense however that everything was just a preamble to what was about to come, that the episode was building to a conclusion that would change everything. Personally I felt the ending to ‘The Almost People’ was more of a cliffhanger, this more of a revelation. We finally found out the identity of River Song; Melody Pond, part time lord, Amy and Rory’s daughter. With the mystery of her true identity spanning three years now, every possible theory has been discussed, so it is unlikely this reveal came as a huge surprise to anyone. Plus of course, she may still go on to marry the Doctor, who knows?! I’m sure there will be some that hated this development, but I think it is interesting and original and I for one am prepared to go with it and see what it leads to. I’ve always really enjoyed watching the relationship between Amy and River, they seemed to like each other instantly and it makes sense that there is a natural connection there. It fits with everything we know about River too and leads me to suspect Moffat has had this twist in mind since The Eleventh Hour (surely not before that? Surely?!).

As a whole, A Good Man Goes To War felt like a good but not great episode, sprinkled with moments of brilliance that really elevated it onto another level. I have no idea whatsoever where it is going to go from here, it seems as if Amy and Rory may be coming to the end of their time in the Tardis, a thought which makes me realise how much I have grown to love this set of companions. Although billed as a finale, we still have six episodes of Series 6 to go and it really feels like the possibilities are endless. First, ’Lets Kills Hitler’ shall we? (Best. Episode. Title. Ever!)

Best Scene

Again, there’s only one real contender here, and after three years of build up, the reveal of River Song’s identity was always going to be something special. The question was, whether it would be a disappointment or a triumph. As a scene, I thought it was executed superbly, keeping you guessing right up to the moment River said the words, ’I’m Melody’. As she and the Doctor gazed at his cot, there were still a few options open and their dialogue was wonderful, drawing out the mystery but confirming the truth all at once. Smith and Kingston have a great chemistry together and the Doctor’s reactions were perfect. Incredulity, happiness and then brief concern, as he looked back at Amy and Rory and realised he’d been kissing their daughter! Amy and Rory’s stunned expressions were the right place to leave it, but with the Doctor’s departing full of joy, rather than despairing for the characters loss, we can go into the break feeling that things will all work out in the end.

As a scene therefore it was perfect, we now know River’s identity and how she knows the Doctor’s name. Revealing River’s identity could have ended her mystery and thus made her redundant as a character, but in fact, it has only created more questions and ensures we keep looking forward to her appearances.

Best Lines

River  :  Demons run when a good man goes to war. Night will fall and drown the sun when a good man goes to war. Friendship dies and true love lies. Night will fall and the dark will rise when a good man goes to war. Demons run but count the cost; the battle's won but the child is lost’ - River does make wonderfully poetic speeches doesn’t she?

Thin One  -  But what's he like, The Doctor?
Lorna -    He said, "Run"

Thin One  -  Just "Run?"
Lorna  -   He said it a lot.

The Doctor  -  Hello everybody! Guess who?! Please, point a gun at me if it helps you relax.  You're only human. The Doctor: (to Melody) That's okay, she's still all yours. And really, you should call her "Mummy," not "Big Milk Thing."
Amy: Ok, what are you doing?
The Doctor: I speak Baby.
Amy: No, you don't.
The Doctor: I speak everything. Don't I, Melody Pond? (adjusts bow-tie) No it's not, it's cool.

Lorna: Well, how else do you meet a great warrior?
Amy: He's not a warrior.
Lorna: Then why's he called the Doctor?

The Doctor: Well, how would I know? That's all human and private stuff. It just sort of goes on. They don't put up a balloon or anything.
Vastra: Could the child have begun on the TARDIS? In flight, in the Vortex?
The Doctor: No, no, impossible! It's all running about; sexy fish vampires, blowing up stuff, and Rory wasn't even there at the beginning.Then he was dead, then he didn't exist, then he was plastic, then I had to reboot the whole universe. Long story. So, technically, the first time they were on the TARDIS together in this version of reality was on their...
Vastra: On their what?
The Doctor: On… their… wedding nigh

Amy: Rory, no offence to the others, but you let them all die first, ok?
Rory: You're so Scottish.

Strax  -   I have gene-spliced myself for all nursing duties. I can produce magnificent quantities of lactic fluid.
The Doctor: Hello.
: Hello.
The Doctor: But that means!
River: I'm afraid it does.
The Doctor: Oo. But you and I, we've...

River: Yes.
The Doctor: How do I look?
River: Amazing.
The Doctor: I better be.
River: Yes, you'd better be.

River -  
Except they don't have a word for pond. The only water in the forest is the river. The Doctor will find your daughter. And he will care for her, whatever it takes. And I know that. It's me. I'm Melody. I'm your daughter.

Most of the questions we’ve had all series still apply but now we can add lots more…Who kills the Doctor and how does he presumably survive? Who is Madame Kovarian, is she working for someone or alone? How did she know to take Amy’s baby? Will Amy and Rory get Melody back (you know, to maybe take some photographs?!)? If Melody is the girl in the spacesuit does she shoot the Doctor and has she always spent her life away from her parents? If she is the girl in the spacesuit, did River remember as she watched the Doctor be shot? How did Melody/River spend her childhood? How strange must Amy and Rory feel knowing River is their daughter?! There always seems to have been ‘something about Amy’, is there more to her? Are The Silence still around and if so what are they plotting? Will we perhaps meet Lorna Bucket’s younger self, given that River must have spent time in the Gamma Forests in order to take the name River Song? Ultimately, just how much more tragic and heartbreaking does River’s death seem knowing what we know now?
I can’t wait to see just how many of these questions are answered in the second part of the series…
Rory  -  'Would you like me to repeat the question?

Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Scott & Bailey - Episode 1 - Review

ITV’s new cop drama ‘Scott & Bailey’ kicked off on Sunday night, according to this article from Digital Spy , with a whopping 8.2 million viewers. There is clearly an audience for this style of show then and the pairing of Suranne Jones and Lesley Sharp as the eponymous detectives clearly proved a big draw.

And so it should. Jones and Sharp produce consistently great performances, the presence of one of these actresses in a show will encourage me to watch it and so with both together I had high expectations.

Unfortunately, those expectations were not met, not through the fault of their performances, but because of a cliché-laden script with plot holes galore and some horribly clunky dialogue that really let the programme down.

In this opener, the detectives were investigating the murder (oh, sorry, apparent suicide) of a young, pregnant, Turkish woman. They quickly discovered her husband was having an affair and set their detective noses after the ‘other woman’. Meanwhile, DC Rachel Bailey (Jones) had just been dumped by boyfriend Nick Savage (played by Rupert Graves, who seems to be ever-present at the moment). In case you hadn’t guessed by the use of the surname ‘Savage’, it turned out Nick was A BAD GUY, with Bailey discovering her two year relationship was built upon lies and Savage had another life with a wife and children. Much of the episode was then spent on following Rachel’s turmoil as she decided whether she wanted to take revenge, to tell the wife, before she eventually settled for a little blackmail instead. You see the parallels between her life and her case there? I’m pretty sure you couldn’t miss them. Although lots of shows use this device by relating ‘case of the week’ scenarios to the characters lives, the best scripts integrate them a whole lot better than this did.

Openers are of course notoriously hard to get right for any television show, so a few teething problems are to be expected. Perhaps it was my expectations and my preconceived ideas about what a ‘buddy cop show’ was that clouded my view of the show. I fully expected the two detectives to be polar opposites of each other, (which proved correct,; Bailey the headstrong, feisty, rule-bending one and Sharp’s DC Janet Scott, the calm, detached, rule-book abiding one), I fully expected them to both have dysfunctional and different private lives that impacted upon their cases. I expected these things and I was ok with that. I did however, expect Scott & Bailey to share a friendship that extended above and beyond everything else and an easy banter that was endearing and fun to watch. Whilst watching the episode however, I couldn’t shake the feeling that far from being best friends, Scott & Bailey barely seemed to know each other at times, and barely seemed to even like each other during certain conversations. Scott’s cold ‘You’ve been had, haven’t you?’ speech the moment that stood out as the most bizarre.

Of course, this was a first episode, and some things had to be given more time than others. Lesley Sharp had less screen time to really make an impression with her character and perhaps in the coming weeks the relationship between the two will be shown to grow. I hope so, as despite my criticisms here, I really am willing the show to succeed. I like the idea of a female buddy cop show and Sunday night seems like the perfect place for it, an enjoyable and entertaining hour of television that brings the weekend to a close.
I will stick with the show and if the rest of the 8.2 million viewers on Sunday night do too then we have a sure fire hit on our hands, regardless of any complaints. I just hope that the scripts in the coming weeks do justice to the talents of the two leading actresses, who together could form a fantastic pairing.

Ultimately, with Jones and Sharp on board, Scott & Bailey has potential and plenty of it, but the next few weeks will determine whether the script, direction and performances can all come together to form a top cop drama.

Watch Scott & Bailey, Sunday nights at 9pm on ITV1

Sunday, 29 May 2011

Doctor Who - Series 6 - Episodes 5 & 6 'The Rebel Flesh' & 'The Almost People' - Review

What’s the Story?

The Tardis is caught up in a solar tsunami and lands on an island monastery, where human workers are creating their own ‘doppelgangers’ to do the risky work for them, from a secret programmable matter called The Flesh. As the storm worsens however, the ’Gangers’ come to life without needing their human counterparts, and with the exact same personalities and memories the Humans and Gangers go to war to determine who will survive. As The Doctor tries to maintain peace, the story concludes with a dramatic revelation that changes everything we thought we knew…

What’s the Verdict?

Matthew Graham, writer of ‘The Rebel Flesh’ and ‘The Almost People’, has previously brought us the much maligned David Tennant episode Fear Her and the much loved cult tv favourite Gene Hunt in Life on Mars and Ashes to Ashes. So where do these two episodes fit within the spectrum of his past work? The answer seems to be somewhere in between.

After the wonderful ‘The Doctor’s Wife’, ‘The Rebel Flesh’ had a lot to live up to and probably wisely adopted an entirely different tone. This episode took it’s time to stoke up the atmosphere, slowly building a dark and creepy thriller with hallmarks of many sci-fi programmes and movies that have gone before. For the most part this worked, we had time to get to know the characters and their backstories, but at other points it felt a little too ponderous and too light on action.

The ‘Gangers’ were intriguing ‘villains’ and I was impressed by the creepy visual effects creating the rubbery facial features, if less so by the head of Jennifer upon an elongated snake-like neck, which erred a little too far to the silly side. I love the name ‘Ganger’ (surely someone has used it before?) and it created an interesting morality tale. Rory was given the chance to branch out on his own and it was interesting to see the dynamic between Rory and Amy shook up like this.

My main problem with ‘The Rebel Flesh’ however, was that it all felt just a little bit too predictable. Cleaves was the obvious choice to be the one to break the already fractious peace and we have seen this plot device many times to create a war in Who and many other programmes and movies. The Ganger Doctor likewise was signposted from the moment he touched The Flesh, and the whisperings of ‘Trust Me’ throughout the episode only served to confirm it. Again the visual effects were nicely done however and seeing Matt Smith in Ganger form was still a highlight even if it was expected.

It is virtually impossible to judge a two-part episode on the first part alone and this is why I have chosen to review both together, as after ‘The Almost People’, the events of both episodes take on a far greater significance. I’ll try and think about the episode without THAT ending first…

Matt Smith produced another of his finest performances to date (although it is possible to say this every week) and the Two Doctors were a lot of fun to watch. Hearing the catchphrases of previous Doctors was a lovely touch and the dialogue sparkled between The Doctor and his Ganger.

It felt like the ‘monster’ of this story took a back seat to the morality play, sometimes this was a bit heavy handed (I think we all got the ‘humans are the villains’ angle) and I can’t help wondering if the episode needed a monster at all. Especially as the CGI work again looked more silly than scary (the concept art displayed on Confidential, looked scarier than the real thing, perhaps they needed to give the creature Jennifer’s features without just plonking the whole head on the end!).

The Jennifer-Ganger and Doctor-Ganger switcheroos were again a bit predictable, not because of any physical clues, more because ‘It’s The Sort Of Thing They Do’. It did provide an interesting way to explore the Doctor and Amy’s relationship and a nice way to really prove that Gangers and their human counterparts cannot be differentiated (*FORESHADOWING ALERT*).

Most of the guest actors were given a chance to shine and they all did so, Mark Bonnar’s Jimmy was particularly moving in ‘The Almost People’, Sarah Smart did a great job with a difficult part(s) (though it was a shame the Jennifer/Rory subplot didn’t amount to more) and Raquel Cassidy and Marshall Lancaster were memorable as Cleaves and Buzzer respectively. Leon Vickers, as Dicken, should perhaps be feeling a bit short-changed through no fault of his own, underused to the extent that I had to check the credits to learn the character name.

Unfortunately, the ending did feel a little too neat. Dicken appeared to exist purely to pointlessly sacrifice himself, leaving one Human and one Ganger version of each person. It might have been more interesting to see how they would have coped with two versions of themselves, but perhaps time didn’t allow for a deeper exploration of this.

The death of the Ganger Doctor surely dispels the theories it is the Ganger Doctor that died in ‘The Impossible Astronaut‘, but with The Doctor’s parting words about molecular memory, it is possible it is not the last we will see of him.

Now we come to THAT final scene, which really puts the events of the past two episodes (and perhaps the whole series) into perspective. With Amy revealed as a Ganger all along, we understand why it was so important to slowly build the story, to learn so much about the Gangers last week. Where it felt ponderous or like being hit over the head with a hammer? Well there was a reason for that. The Gangers aren’t just monsters of the week(s) but in fact so significant to the plot that they have changed everything we thought we knew.

After spending some of this review complaining about the predictability of certain plot points across these two episodes, I have to admit I did not see this ending coming at all (I’m sure some clever people out there predicted Ganger Amy, well done you :-) ). One of the reasons I love Doctor Who is that although this twist knocked me for six, it actually makes complete sense when you look back at what has gone before. Eyepatch Lady specifically said Amy was ‘dreaming’ and we have had two whole episodes about how the Gangers are exact duplicates of the Human. This isn’t a magic pool of light or an ethereal higher power, the writers have shown great skill in signposting the truth while still managing to surprise.

To conclude, I think that without that ending, these episodes would have been viewed as solid, enjoyable if not remarkable episodes of Doctor Who. With a cliffhanger like that however, anticipation for the mid-series finale cannot be higher, although I imagine the wait until the next set of episodes will be tough I'm sure we will be given enough to speculate about in the meantime!

Best Scene

Well, there’s only one contender really here isn’t there? As The Doctor, Amy and Rory stepped into the Tardis, we knew something pivotal was about to happen. Matt Smith switches brilliantly from the humour and flippancy of his Doctor to the serious resolve, and seeing the hard look of resolution upon his face here, the sadness tinged with anger; it was clear to Amy and to the audience what he was about to do. Karen Gillan gave a fantastic performance also and you could really feel her fear and bewilderment, the two men she loves most in the world backing from her. Amy seeing that look in the Doctors eyes, knowing what he was about to do and confessing that she was frightened; it was a gripping and heartbreaking moment and one of the stand outs of the series. And then the Doctor kills her. And then she wakes up. A mind-bending but completely gripping cliffhanger that leaves me with genuinely no idea at all about how events will go in the finale. Just the way I like it. :-)

Best Lines

From 'The Rebel Flesh'

Jennifer - ‘I thought I was going to die’
Rory - ‘Welcome to my world’ - surely this confirms we are being toyed with over Rory’s frequent ‘deaths’.

 The Doctor - ‘Human lives are amazing, are you surprised they walked off with them?’
The Doctor - ‘Has anyone got a pair of shoes I could borrow? Size 10. Though I should warn you I have very wide feet’. - it’s all in the delivery!  

The Doctor - ‘Eeeeee byyyyyy baaaaah gum’
Ganger Cleaves - Oh great, you see that is just so typically me’

From ‘The Almost People’

Doctor 1 - ‘Is that what you were thinking?’
Doctor 2 - ’ Yes it’s just so inspiring to hear me say it’.

Doctor 1 - ‘I’m starting to get a sense of just how impressive it is to hang out with me’
Doctor 2 - ‘Do we tend to say Yowza?’
Doctor 1 - ’ That’s enough, let it go, we’re under stress.’

The Doctor - ‘Tough old Sexy’ - I was particularly pleased to hear this line, as I felt a pang of horror seeing the Tardis sinking into the acid last week and thought at the time The Doctor would have reacted more than he did, turns out he wasn’t worried!

Rory - ‘I’ll break out the big guns’
Jimmy - ‘I look quite handsome from this angle’ - ah humour in death, so very Doctor Who!

 Amy - ‘You’re twice the man I thought you were’
The Doctor - ‘Given what we‘ve learnt I‘ll be as humane as I can, but I need to do this and you need to STAND AWAY.
*Rory lets go of Amy‘s hand*
Amy - ‘Doctor, I am frightened. I’m properly, properly scared.
The Doctor - ‘Don’t be. Hold on. We’re coming for you, I swear, whatever happens, however hard, however far, we will find you.’
Amy - ‘I’m right here’
The Doctor - No you’re not. You haven’t been here for a long, long time’
*The Doctor steps away. He points his sonic at her*
Amy - ‘Oh no’
*The Doctor sonics Amy and she disappears*’

Oh so many questions! When was Amy switched? (and is this why she has been wearing the same shirt!!??) We first saw Eyepatch Lady in Day of The Moon so was it before then? How long has The Doctor known? Who is she giving birth to (the regenerating child?) and who is the father (if there is one as such!)? What happens now The Doctor knows he will die? Or has he always known that too? Who has kidnapped Amy and why her? The Silence? Or someone else entirely? Oh yeah, and on top of that we still have the small matters of who kills The Doctor, how does he (presumably) survive and the old favourite, who is River Song? It is highly unlikely we will get the answers to all of these next week, we may not even get the answer to one, but regardless of whether we end the episode with answers or just more questions, it is shaping up to be an absolute cracker!

Friday, 6 May 2011

Kerry Ellis & Brian May - 'Anthems The Tour', The Sage, Gateshead - Review

The Sage, Gateshead  -  5th May 2011

West End singing sensation Kerry Ellis and legendary Queen guitarist, Brian May, brought their combined talents to a sell-out audience at The Sage, Gateshead this week in their touring version of hit album ‘Anthems’. 
It may seem an odd combination, a musical theatre star with a member of one of the biggest bands in the world, however they have a long history of collaboration, beginning when May picked Ellis to star in his new West End musical, ‘We Will Rock You’.   Fast forward nine years and Ellis has a large fanbase of her own following her starring role in the musical ‘Wicked’ in the West End and on Broadway. 
If you have made your way to read this however, chances are you know all this already, and what you really want to know is how their ‘Anthems’ CD translates to the stage.  The answer is, of course, brilliantly.   
Ellis and May, along with an excellent live band, perform almost all of the CD tracks (the only omission I noticed was ‘You Have To Be There’, unless I had a complete black out for three minutes!) with added Queen classics, ‘Somebody To Love’, ‘We Will Rock You’ and ‘We Are The Champions’. 
Kerry's theatre background shone through as she acted many songs, the emotional intensity in her rendition of ‘No-one But You’ was probably my personal highlight, heralding an impromptu standing ovation and though some remained seated, a quick glance around indicated it was because they were too busy drying their eyes!  

After the big rock numbers, an acoustic section provided an interesting change of pace, peeling back the layers to just a voice and a guitar and some audience participation, which was by far the most tuneful I’ve ever heard and sounded quite lovely as the voices reverberated around the auditorium. 
On this night I felt there were perhaps more Queen fans in than Kerry fans however I am sure she will be winning more admirers at every venue they visit.  The show does a good job of balancing the interests of both the theatre fans and the Queen fans; as a fan of the former I would naturally have loved more theatre tracks ('Anthems' and of course 'Defying Gravity' were other highlights) but it is impossible to complain when the Queen tracks are so universally crowd-pleasing.  Turning and seeing the entire audience on their feet, arms waving and singing along to ‘We Are The Champions’ was quite a spectacular sight and I’m sure was even more so for the performers. 
I distinctly remember the first time I heard Kerry Ellis; it was her performance of ‘The Wizard & I’ from Wicked on ITV’s Loose Women which I am sure is familiar to many of you reading (and I know, still a bit late to the party!).  I loved the character of Elphaba and of course that fantastic voice, but I was also struck by how surprised she seemed to be by the rapturous audience reaction.  It was very endearing and despite all the acclaim that has come her way since, watching ‘Anthems’ I still got the impression that Miss Ellis doesn’t quite realise how good she is.  She occasionally seemed genuinely overwhelmed by the reactions she received and it remains as endearing as ever. 
It was wonderful to see Kerry Ellis the person, dancing across the stage and truly having fun, as herself, rather than a character.  Her voice is incredibly powerful and she has wonderful control, effortlessly hitting notes most singers would never even attempt. Ellis has a real stage chemistry with Brian May, and they form a great partnership, both commanding the stage and knowing every riff and beat of the music. 
With the whole audience on their feet regardless of whether people had attended primarily for Ellis or May, everyone was united in their praise by the end of the show and left on a high, ears possibly ringing slightly, but having certainly had a great time!  How welcome it was also to have the opportunity to see the show at The Sage, for us Northerners that struggle to get to London as often as we would like.  ‘Anthems’ is a fantastic opportunity to see two unique talents sharing the stage and should the tour be coming to a town near you, I recommend going along!    

Monday, 11 April 2011

'The 39 Steps' - Criterion Theatre, London

2nd April 2011
This Olivier Award winning comedy is in its fifth year in London’s West End and is a show everyone should see at least once.  It is difficult to say too much about it without spoiling the many surprises within, but it is safe to say, it will not be what you expect! 
This stage version of John Buchan’s classic novel stays true to the original story and that of the 1935 movie by Alfred Hitchcock, telling the story of protagonist Richard Hannay, wanted for murder and embroiled in a story of spies and secrets.  With a cast of only four playing 139 characters between them however, it becomes a farce that is gloriously inventive while never mocking its source material. 
Rufus Wright is likeable, charming (and really rather handsome!) as Richard Hannay, rarely off stage for the entire performance and is ably matched by Laura Rogers as his three romantic interests, German Annabella Schmidt, Glaswegian Margaret and the prim and proper Pamela.  Rogers switches between characters and accents with ease and she and Wright form a strong partnership, getting every inch of humour out of the script. 
The rest of the characters were played with crowd-pleasing aplomb by Sean Kearns and on this occasion, understudy James Hurn; switching between sinister spies and Scottish hoteliers, heroes and villains, males and females with what looks like remarkable ease but I imagine is in fact very well practised. 
Indeed, much of the charm of the show comes from its shambolic, amateurish execution and yet it is in fact extremely clever, with everything from timing and delivery to the use of props and lighting effects very well thought out. 
If you are familiar with the original or the Hitchcock movie, you will love seeing how they manage iconic scenes such as the chase across the Scottish moors, Hannay & Pamela’s handcuffed escape and the train journey from London to Scotland.  Hitchcock fans will be able to spot the titles of some of his other works and even a cameo from the man himself.   Indeed, the show is best viewed as a very entertaining homage to the original. 
I do not want to spoil any aspect of the show, so will not say any more, other than that if you want to see a fun, endlessly amusing show with a very talented cast, you cannot go wrong with The 39 Steps.  Gloriously daft from beginning to end, you will definitely leave with a smile on your face!  
The 39 Steps is booking until October 2011, check out for more information and to book. 

'Betty Blue Eyes' - Novello Theatre, London

2nd April 2011 - Matinee performance

Entirely on a whim and knowing little about this show in advance, I decided to catch a matinee of new musical ‘Betty Blue Eyes’, with music and lyrics by George Stiles and Anthony Drewe and based upon the film ‘A Private Function’ by Alan Bennett (which I have not seen).    
It is 1947 and the impending marriage of Princess Elizabeth to Prince Philip is the only event the malnourished locals have to look forward to, with a banquet arranged to celebrate and a pig, Betty, reared illegally to provide the feast.   However, local chiropodist Gilbert Chilvers (Reece Shearsmith) is not only not invited to the celebration but is also cruelly stopped from achieving his dream of a ‘shop on the parade’. In retaliation he and wife Joyce (Sarah Lancashire) devise a plan to steal the pig and hilarity ensues.
No, really, it does.  On paper, this show does not sound like a hit, however the performances are so strong and the music so catchy that I fail to see how anyone can leave without a smile on their face.  Sarah Lancashire is feisty and funny as piano teacher and social climber Joyce, showcasing such wonderful comic timing and a strong singing voice that will no doubt surprise fans of her television work.  She stops the show with her Act One number ‘Nobody’, a song with all the hallmarks of a classic that has the potential to become an anthem for anyone that has ever felt condescended or patronised, doing for middle aged women what Defying Gravity does for teenagers!  Reece Shearsmith is similarly wonderful as the downtrodden Gilbert, infusing his performance with such charm and heart that you root for him from his very first line.  His solo number, ‘The Kind of Man I Am’, is the polar opposite of ‘Nobody’ yet equally as memorable and genuinely moving. 
The supporting performances are equally as strong, with Ann Emery a real highlight as Mother Dear (‘she’s eighty-four!) and a misunderstanding near the beginning of Act 2 allows her to really shine in ‘Pig No Pig’, the most laugh out loud number of the show, superbly executed.  ‘Painting by Heart’ allows recent Best Actor Olivier winner Adrian Scarborough to give a bit more depth to the law-abiding Inspector Wormwold, in a very different role he seems to be having lots of fun with.  Jack Edwards is sweet and funny as Henry Allardyce and his love affair with Betty is more touching than perhaps it should be!
There is certainly not a weak link in this cast and while it is true some songs are more memorable than others, you will be humming title track ‘Betty Blue Eyes’, the Act 2 opener ‘Another Little Victory’ and recurring track ‘Magic Fingers’ for weeks.  Stiles & Drewe have really captured the essence of the period, with catchy music and witty lyrics.  You may be able to guess some of the rhymes before they have been uttered, but rather than seeming predictable, this only adds to the charm of the piece.  If you live in London, you will just get the songs out of your head before you see a poster on the tube or on the side of a bus and you will be transported right back into the theatre!  
The book, by Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman, is warm-hearted and witty and allows time to get to know each of our main characters.  It seems quintessentially British and so it was a genuine surprise to find the writers are in fact American.   The set is simple by design; utilising stage revolves to good effect without ever being spectacular.  However the choreography by Stephen Mear makes great use of the stage, particularly in ‘The Primrose Ballroom’. 
But what of Betty Blue Eyes herself?  Those expecting a real pig should not be too disappointed with this animatronic alternative, complete with fluttering eyelashes and realistic snorting!  I was close enough to see her in good detail and she is certainly a scene-stealer!  She is not on stage for as long as the advertising may suggest, however I believe it is just the right amount of time for the audience to anticipate her next appearance without becoming bored. 
Overall, I was extremely impressed with this show and would recommend it to anyone.  There is some mild swearing those wishing to take children should perhaps be aware of, but ultimately it is certainly a show that has a wide appeal and can be enjoyed by all ages.   I saw a preview performance and yet it felt very slick, with little work to be done.  It is quaint, old-fashioned and eccentric but none of these are a bad thing as coupled with the wit, charm and heart of the tunes and performances everything comes together to create a truly excellent new British musical.  It is refreshing to see an original show in the West End and I truly wish it every success.  Go see! 
N.B. Thanks to a helpful lady in the Box Office, I saw this show from a Box, for the first time in my life.  It is at the side, so you cannot see the full effect of the staging from the front and you do occasionally get a glimpse backstage of what is about to happen, however if like me you enjoy being close enough to the stage to see expressions and feel involved, at only £25 a seat (during previews at least) I would recommend the boxes.  We did get a surprise in Act 2 though!
Betty Blue Eyes is at the Novello Theatre, London and is booking until 22nd October 2011.  Check out for more information.

Monday, 28 March 2011

Being Human Series 3 Fan Awards - The Results!

You have spoken.  After two weeks of voting here are the characters and moments you voted for as the best of Being Human Series 3!  Drumroll please……………….
Favourite Partnership
1.       37.38%  -   George & Mitchell

2.       24.3%     -  George & Nina
3.       16.82%   -  Mitchell & Annie
4.       14.95%   -  McNair & Tom
5.       5.61%     -  Annie & Nancy
6.       0.83%     -  Other (Herrick & Mitchell)
George & Mitchell  -  With both George and Mitchell becoming closer to the women in their lives this series, less screen time was allotted to everyone’s favourite bromance, but boy were their scenes together memorable,  culminating of course in their heartbreaking final moment.  With one line; ‘I’m doing this because I love you’; George & Mitchell’s friendship was both ended and cemented and I have no doubt that it was this scene that won the duo this award. 
Favourite One Ep Wonder
1.       30.84%  -  Sasha

2.       23.36%  -  Adam
3.       18.69%  -  George Sands Senior
4.       13.08%  -  Wendy
5.       11.21%  -  Edgar Wyndham
6.       2.8%      -  Vincent
Sasha – ‘Like the Beyonce album’ – may not have been around long but clearly made a massive impact, triumphing in a tough category here.   With a great performance from Alexandra Roach, Sasha went through her own journey in her episode, Type 4, causing madness and mayhem on the streets and in the clubs of Barry before her genuinely moving exit.   Who would have thought a zombie Welsh chav would prove such an inspired idea?!
Favourite Recurring Character
1.       48.62%  -  Herrick
2.       33.03%  -  McNair
3.       13.76%  -  Tom
4.       3.67%    -  Lia
5.       0.92%    - Nancy
Another tough category here but despite a strong showing from newcomers McNair and Tom, there was only ever going to be one winner and the baddest bad guy on the box convincingly took first place.   After his resurrection at the end of Series 2, we were all waiting for the moment Herrick would make his appearance and although the beginning of Series 3 was strong, it still felt like the show stepped up a gear on his return.  His amnesia was unexpected but provided a genuinely gripping source of tension as the show progressed, before his inevitable return to his old self, with Jason Watkins simply mesmerising both as the confused and terrified ‘Uncle Billy’ and the vengeful, sadistic Herrick.  Is there a better TV villain?
Favourite Series 3 Episode
1.       34.23%  -  Episode 7 – Though The Heavens Fall
2.       21.62%  -  Episode 8 – The Wolf-Shaped Bullet
3.       16.22%  -  Episode 5 – The Longest Day
4.       9.01%    -  Episode 3 – Type 4
5.       8.11%    -  Episode 4 – The Pack
6.       5.41%    -  Episode 1 – Lia
7.       3.6%      -  Episode 2 – Adam’s Family
8.       1.8%      -  Episode 6 – Daddy Ghoul
The penultimate episode, wonderfully titled ‘Though The Heavens Fall’ proved most popular (and has by far the most hits of all my reviews), superbly bringing together all plot threads of the series so far and ending with a truly shocking final ten minutes.  After this episode, anticipation for the series finale could not have been higher and it seems most of you agreed this was a particularly stunning hour of television. 
Series 2 of Being Human was often criticised for being too dark, yet it is interesting to note here that no matter how enjoyable they may have been at the time, the more outright ‘comedy’ episodes of Series 3 have proven the least popular in the overall vote.  This is not to say that people disliked these episodes, however it appears that this year the darkness of the series has been embraced perhaps more than previous years and that the series has perhaps finally found the balance between comedy and drama. 
Favourite Series 3 Regular
1.        57.89%  -  Mitchell
2.       21.05%   -  George
3.       14.91%   -  Nina
4.       6.14%     -  Annie
In the most emphatic victory of them all, Mitchell is voted your favourite regular character with what can definitely be described as a ‘landslide’ vote.   It is undeniable that Mitchell behaved erratically throughout the series, in turns scared and scary as he struggled to deal with the repercussions of his past actions.  There were frequent glimpses however of the Mitchell we all love and his relationship with Annie allowed him to show his charismatic, caring side.  After his final act of redemption, nothing will ever be the same again and with Mitchell’s story coming to an end it is a fitting victory for a character that has taken his place in so many hearts over the past three years. 

Favourite Scene  - WINNER  - The Final Scene
Despite a wide variety of suggestions encompassing all episodes, one scene clearly took the lead.   As Mitchell returned to the house in the final episode he made one final devastating request of George and I defy anyone to watch the scene without at least welling up.  I could hardly bear to watch and yet could not look away and with two simple words (‘Stand up’),  George broke the collective heart of Being Human viewers everywhere.   In a series where the characters struggle to retain their humanity, this was in many ways the most ‘human’ scene of them all and if Mitchell had to leave, I can think of no better way to go.  Watch again, if you can bear it! 
2nd place : This is shared between the final moments of ‘The Pack’, with George, Nina and Tom forced into the cage at full moon & the montage at the end of ‘Lia’, with Annie’s accompanying monologue.  
3rd place: This is also shared between Mitchell and Annie running towards one another and hugging after he rescues her from purgatory  & Herrick and Mitchell in the car together in the final episode, before Mitchell eventually stakes Herrick.   
Obviously as these were open questions there were so many possibilities and so many brilliant suggestions.  Answers were wide-ranging, from the dramatic (Mitchell is arrested, Mitchell and Lia on the train), the romantic (Nina reveals she is pregnant, Mitchell & Annie kiss for the first time) to the daft (George watches Titanic with George Snr)! Suffice to say, there are so many highlights from each episode this award could be given to any number of scenes.    
Funniest Line/Moment 3 JOINT WINNERS
Annie merging from Auden to Cheryl Cole -  I think the clip says it all.
 I’m already dead! I’m already dead! I’m already dead! ’ – a typical Annie moment  from Episode 3 – Type 4.  (I have no link to the exact clip, so if anyone does, let me know and I will post it here!).  
Chicken Envy – a brief moment, proving that sometimes no words are needed to provide a genuinely hilarious moment.  Here it is, depicted in screencaps!

2nd place : George’s arrest for dogging and Nina’s subsequent rescue (and amazing facial expressions) mid-transformation. 
3rd place: ‘It can’t happen like this. Not here. Not in Wales!’  - Mitchell’s cry upon being arrested in Episode 7;  looks like it wasn’t just me that found that bizarrely hilarious in the moment!
Again, there were so many suggestions that it was very entertaining for me just to read back through some of the hilarious moments this series.  Honorary mentions go to Annie’s excuse of ‘ventriloquism’ in The Pack and George’s ‘I thought we were supposed to be the scary ones’ in Type 4.  Plenty of other hilarious one-liners were mentioned of course, particularly from Nina (‘George, you’re chitchatting…with a gimp’; ‘well it’s better than Norge’) and the master of the one-liner you-think-perhaps-you-shouldn’t-laugh-at-but-you-do, Herrick (‘Even Seth knew that and he used to point at planes’,’Sorry about these two, it’s clearly dress down Friday’).   It is impossible to mention all the moments voted for but suffice to say Series 3 was certainly as hilarious as we’ve come to expect from the show!

Scariest Moment – WINNER
We have a clear cut winner once again, with almost half of the votes in this category, it is the moment Herrick appears in the kitchen, back in police uniform and stabs Nina.  
Having been waiting for Herrick to return to his old self, the moment he did became a classic scene of the series.  Jason Watkins and Sinead Keenan were both brilliant and the tension was almost unbearable as Herrick toyed with Nina and simultaneously us as the audience, as we wondered whether or not he was going to do it.  Of course, this is Herrick we are talking about, and there was only ever one outcome.  If you can stand to watch again, here is your winner….
2nd place : Herrick appears at the bathroom door, then enters and becomes drawn to Nancy’s neck  as we wonder whether he will bite. 
3rd place: A good old-fashioned scare as Sasha suddenly appears at the door in Type 4.
Honourable mentions to the ‘will they won’t they’ element of the final scene and every appearance of the cage.  As the cage was scattered throughout the series, people have voted for different instances in particular, for example, Herrick & McNair’s flashback, the wolves trapped at full moon and Annie and Mitchell inside with the wolves circling.  If all mentions of the cage were clubbed together it would have come in at 3rd place, but it is clear that it provided many memorable moments of Series 3. 
Favourite Music Choice – WINNER – ( click on song titles for links)
-           Herrick leaving ‘Uncle Billy’ behind was always going to be a huge moment in the series and needed a brilliant soundtrack to accompany it.  Who would thought a bit of Shirley Bassey would be so perfect? 
-           As the wolves prepare for their next transformation, this very appropriate choice of track provided a brilliant accompaniment to a montage that was both funny and dramatic.   
-           Also in Episode 7, as things are getting biblical………
4th place  Death In Vegas -Dirge

-           A perfect accompaniment as Herrick shows Nina the journal at the end of Episode 5, this track encompassed Nina’s feelings of bewilderment and horror as she discovered what Mitchell had done.
It has to be noted that there was a lot of love also for the recurring themes used throughout the series, particularly in the final scene.   The music of Richard Wells has been a real highlight this series, capturing the changing dynamics and the emotional core of the show.   The influence of the soundtrack really can’t be underestimated and he has done terrific work this year. 

Favourite Series
1.       49.04%  - Series 3
2.        35.58% - Series 1
3.        15.38% - Series 2
Finally, I asked you to vote on how this series compared to the previous two and almost half of you voted Series 3 as your favourite yet.  To top the very popular and groundbreaking Series 1 is a huge achievement but is well deserved after a very strong third series, that balanced the humour and drama perfectly with an overarching story arc that was never less than gripping.  Series 3 took big themes and tackled them in a mature, compelling way whilst never losing sight of what made the show special, the characters and their interactions with one another.  Personally I believe the third series has set a new standard not just for Being Human but for British drama in general, and from this vote it looks like a lot of you agree.  Here’s hoping the quality is as high in Series 4. 
 My Picks
Ok, I did say I would let you all know my personal highlights and seen as I made you choose it is only fair that I choose myself! 
Favourite Partnership – George & Nina/Gina/Norge   -  This was an easy one for me as I believe George and Nina have grown to form such a warm and solid partnership, with Russell Tovey and Sinead Keenan bouncing off one another so well that they have created a realistic couple it is impossible not to root for.   I love the way George softens Nina and Nina makes George stronger, the two appear very different and yet complement each other perfectly.  Their decision to go back and save Adam in Episode 2 is a perfect example of how united they have become and what with their little hairy baby on the way I am looking forward to seeing how this relationship develops in Series 4. 
Favourite One Ep Wonder  -  George Sands Senior  - Although I would perhaps have moved the episode ‘Daddy Ghoul’ to  earlier in the series I was very impressed with the performance of James Fleet as George’s father.  He very subtly took on the mannerisms and speech patterns of George and it is a sign of a great performance when you can so readily and so easily believe a duo to be father and son when seeing them for the first time.   We have been spoiled in Being Human with such strong guest stars that always make a massive impact on their respective episodes and I hope this tradition continues in Series 4. 
Favourite Recurring Character – Herrick – A tough choice this one as I loved both McNair and Tom and it’s a shame I couldn’t justify giving them a category of their own!  They certainly made a huge impact upon the series and I’m sure most of us would welcome seeing them again, but in choosing my favourite recurring character I have to pick William Herrick.  I stated in a previous review that I cannot think of a better screen villain and I find Herrick fascinating to watch as he switches from charming and charismatic to malevolent and violent in an instant.  His incarnation as ‘Uncle Billy’ gave the character a different dimension, resurrecting him in an unexpected way that was very interesting to watch and even almost garnering sympathy for the villain before returning him to his murderous state.  Jason Watkins has been terrific and I will miss his threatening presence in Series 4!
Favourite Episode – Episode 7 – Though the Heavens Fall -  I chose along with the majority here, picking the penultimate episode as my personal highlight.  This was an instance where everything came together, plot, direction, acting and music, to create a gripping hour of television that tops anything I have seen recently on British TV.  This is an episode I could watch repeatedly and never get bored. 
Favourite Regular – Nina – I think the results of the main poll prove how popular a character Mitchell is/was, however I am going to go against the grain here by choosing Nina.  I can understand the criticisms of Nina as being judgemental etc. but have to admit I don’t agree with them.  I have avoided ‘the blame game’ all series but I believe that every decision a character made can be understood if you look at events from their perspective.   In her first full series I felt Nina made the biggest impact, fitting in perfectly to the extent that at times I struggled to remember what it was like without her.  Nina made me laugh probably more than any other character this series, with fabulously deadpan one-liners, but she also provides a counter to Annie’s occasional ditziness.  Sinead Keenan has proven herself to be fantastic at both the comedy and drama elements of the show, forming an excellent double act with Russell Tovey and I believe the introduction of Nina as a regular has made George a better character.  I hope some of her strength and attitude can rub off on Annie in Series 4.   
Favourite Scene – The Pack – The Return to the Cage – After much deliberation I eventually plumped for this final scene from Episode 4, with George, Nina and Tom forced into the cage to transform.  I loved this scene because it was so unexpected and felt genuinely unpredictable and allowed McNair and Mitchell to put their differences aside to stage a rescue.  For a mid-series episode, the level of tension was almost unbearable, the direction and music adding to the frantic atmosphere.  I love the final scene too, but for me personally, this was the moment I realised Being Human was taking things to a whole new level in Series 3 and for that reason stands out as my favourite of the series. 
Funniest Line/Moment – Nina’s exasperation with George Snr in the park -   Eventually I had to choose this scene as I could not stop laughing as I watched this scene unfold.  Nina’s growing exasperation at having to deal with not one but two George’s was brilliantly played, culminating in the line ‘you’re a bit…rapey…now’. Which may not be particularly politically correct but was certainly bloody funny ( and accurate! ).    In a very close second place for me is this line from Herrick in Episode 5; ‘If you don’t mind me saying old son, I think you’re a bit touched with the simple stick’.  Of all the lines this series, this is the one that I have most used myself in conversation!  Neither of these moments were actually picked by anyone else in the vote at all incidentally, which I take to indicate just how many hilarious moments there were this series, rather than that I am just weird and the only person to find them funny!
Scariest Moment – Herrick enters kitchen in police uniform and stabs Nina – Concurring with the majority here, this scene is the very epitome of an ‘edge of your seat’ moment. I’ve talked in more detail earlier but realising Herrick was back, coupled with not knowing what was going to happen made this the scariest moment of the series for me. 
Favourite Music – Propellerheads feat. Shirley Bassey – History Repeating  - Again, agreeing with the majority here, I eventually picked this track, probably because I love the song anyway and had never imagined it could be used so effectively in Being Human.  With this, Hungry Like The Wolf and Gods Gonna Cut You Down, all used in Episode 7, voted the most popular of the series, this perhaps shows just how important a good soundtrack is to creating memorable drama. 
Favourite Series – Series 3 – Yep, in case you haven’t guessed by now from reading this piece and from my previous reviews, I loved Series 3!

So, with that, I shall bring this incredibly long blog post to a close.  Thank you to all that voted in these awards, I hope you have enjoyed reading the results and that it has been interesting for you to see how opinions measure up to yours.  A massive thank you to those that have read my reviews, I am very new to this and so seeing people were actually reading was a massive boost to me and really encouraged me to continue. 
I hope you will all join me here again for Series 4, but for now, here endeth the Being Human Series 3 blog posts!