Tag Archive: British


RIP Rik Mayall

Drop Dead Fred

Comedy genius and actor Rik Mayall passed away today at age 56. I’m sure most people have no idea who he was and I probably would’ve been the same about 10 years ago. I actually first discovered him in the corny, bizarre, but really funny 1991 film Drop Dead Fredthough I had no idea it was him until years later. In fact, I for some reason always confused him with Aussie comedian Yahoo Serious. I didn’t really appreciate him until I saw him in the BBC Comedy Blackadder from the 1980s, where he played the outrageous and hilarious Lord Flashheart in the second Elizabethan-era season of the show, as well as in the fourth season as WWI flying ace for the RAF. He’s such a great character because he only appears for a short amount of time but is always more popular and steals the ladies from the main character Blackadder (masterfully played by Rowan Atkinson). Mayall is quoted as saying this after being offered the part of Flashheart, “I was surprised when they asked me. Very honouring that they asked me. ‘Alright,’ I said, ‘I’ll do it as long as I get more laughs than Rowan.'” Mayall is one of the reasons season two of Blackadder is my favorite one. He’s also really famous for the alternative comedy shows The Young Ones, The New Statesman, and Bottom. He will be missed. To see more of his best work, check out this article from The Independent. Below is my favorite clip of his:

I’ve been bad about posting poetry so far this, even though I have been thinking about posts nearly every day. I’ve been a bit distracted as my husband has pneumonia/flu and has been out of commission since Friday. Last night was the first night I’ve gotten good sleep in about a week. I intend to resolve that discrepancy by posting today about William Wordsworth.

William Wordsworth

This Romantic-era poet was born April 7, in the year 1770. He is credited with helping to found the Romantic Movement in English poetry, which he did with the help of fellow poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge. His parents died when he was very young and he and his four siblings grew up with different relatives. His love of nature developed early, and is evident in poems created throughout his life. He really started up writing poetry when he was at Cambridge University, during a European tour of Switzerland and France. He became very vocal about his beliefs in the ideals of the French Revolution. According to the BBC, “In 1795, Wordsworth received a legacy from a close relative and he and his sister Dorothy went to live in Dorset. Two years later they moved again, this time to Somerset, to live near the poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge, who was an admirer of Wordsworth’s work. They collaborated on ‘Lyrical Ballads’, published in 1798.” This collection was not well-received by critics.  In 1799, Wordsworth and his sister Dorothy moved to Dove Cottage in Grasmere (in the Lake Country). In 1802, he married a childhood friend, Mary Hutchinson.

“His political views underwent a transformation around the turn of the century, and he became increasingly conservative, disillusioned by events in France culminating in Napoleon Bonaparte taking power.In 1813, Wordsworth moved from Grasmere to nearby Ambelside. He continued to write poetry, but it was never as great as his early works. After 1835, he wrote little more. In 1842, he was given a government pension and the following year became poet laureate.Wordsworth died on 23 April 1850 and was buried in Grasmere churchyard. “

The first poem is the only one I really know of his, and I like it, so I decided to include it. The second and third ones, I just liked the language of them. I have included a link to the interpretation of the third poem.

The Daffodils

  by William Wordsworth

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the Milky Way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced, but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A Poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed—and gazed—but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.

 

It is a Beauteous Evening, Calm and Free

by William Wordsworth

It is a beauteous evening, calm and free,
The holy time is quiet as a Nun
Breathless with adoration; the broad sun
Is sinking down in its tranquility;
The gentleness of heaven broods o'er the Sea;
Listen! the mighty Being is awake,
And doth with his eternal motion make
A sound like thunder—everlastingly.
Dear child! dear Girl! that walkest with me here,
If thou appear untouched by solemn thought,
Thy nature is not therefore less divine:
Thou liest in Abraham's bosom all the year;
And worshipp'st at the Temple's inner shrine,
God being with thee when we know it not.

The Solitary Reaper

  by William Wordsworth
Behold her, single in the field,   
  Yon solitary Highland Lass!   
Reaping and singing by herself;   
  Stop here, or gently pass!   
Alone she cuts and binds the grain,
And sings a melancholy strain;   
O listen! for the Vale profound   
Is overflowing with the sound.   
  
No Nightingale did ever chaunt   
  More welcome notes to weary bands 
Of travellers in some shady haunt,   
  Among Arabian sands:   
A voice so thrilling ne'er was heard   
In spring-time from the Cuckoo-bird,   
Breaking the silence of the seas
Among the farthest Hebrides.   
  
Will no one tell me what she sings?—   
  Perhaps the plaintive numbers flow   
For old, unhappy, far-off things,   
  And battles long ago:
Or is it some more humble lay,   
Familiar matter of to-day?   
Some natural sorrow, loss, or pain,   
That has been, and may be again?   

Whate'er the theme, the Maiden sang
  As if her song could have no ending;   
I saw her singing at her work,   
  And o'er the sickle bending;—   
I listen'd, motionless and still;   
And, as I mounted up the hill,
The music in my heart I bore,   
Long after it was heard no more.

50th Anniversary Special2

My husband I finally finished watching the first seven of the new seasons of Doctor Who for the 9-11th Doctors, including the 50th Anniversary Special (pictured above) and the 2013 Christmas Episode. Once you’ve seen the Anniversary Special, which discusses what exactly the War Doctor (the one in between the 8th and 9th Doctors – played by the amazing John Hurt) did, you’ll understand more about the later Doctors, nine through eleven. The War Doctor was the one at the very end of the Time War between the Time Lords of Gallifrey and the Daleks (their sworn mortal enemy) of Skaro.  All of the later incarnations are always feel ashamed or very conflicted about what they did  and whether or not it was the right thing to do. As I’ve not watched a lot of the older episodes, I really had no idea, so it was nice for them to explain it a bit more.

donna4

I really enjoyed watching all the episodes and I definitely gained a new appreciation for Matt Smith, who played the 11th Doctor. I talked about the 9th and a bit about the 10th Doctor in this previous post, both of which I loved watching. David Tennant (the 10th Doctor) is my favorite version. Plus he had my favorite companions, Rose and Donna (pictured above). I actually liked Martha Jones, the 10th Doctor’s companion in-between the other  two, though my husband did not much care for her. FYI all the links to the Doctor Who Wikia above for Rose, Donna and Martha do give away a lot of plot, so if you want to watch the episodes, don’t read all the way through the articles).

Amy, Rory and the Doctor

The 11th Doctor took a little getting used to as he was totally different from the other two, and not just in the fact that the actor himself was quite a bit younger. The 11th Doctor is also brooding, but he gets really angry, while at the same time managing to act very child-like. It’s hard to explain without watching the show, but I think the child-like wonder and curiosity part of his personality is why he got along so well with the women in the show, as they share this trait. He discovered Amy Pond when she was 7, and he is frequently dealing with children throughout the show. He sees River Song when she is a baby and can calm her down no problem. This was also the first show where there was a husband and wife companion team, in the guise of Rory Williams and Amy Pond (pictured above), who the Doctor loved to call “The Ponds”. Rory definitely grows on you, though it did take a season or two. Despite what my husband thinks, I actually like Amy as a Companion, though I much prefer Clara (pictured below). She was more like Rose and Donna – feisty, curious and not taking any crap from the Doctor. Another reason I like Matt Smith’s time as the Doctor is that one of my favorite writers, Neil Gaiman, wrote two of the episodes. I loved The Doctor’s Wife episode as I could totally see the TARDIS behaving like that is she was a real person. In Nightmare in Silver, we saw the two halves of the Doctor, and it was very Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde.

doctor-and-clara3

The only problem with 50th Anniversary Special and a few others during Smith’s tenure, including the last Christmas episode and most of the ones we deemed “too weird” like the one where there are two Amys (The Girl Who Waited), or the last Amy/Rory/Weeping Angels episode (The Angels Take Manhattan) are that they were written by Stephen Moffat. He is the show’s lead writer and executive producer, who took over after the brilliant writer Russell Davies left for Hollywood. You know that gesture where you shake your fist at the sky bemoaning a particular fact. Well my husband and I apply that to Moffat whenever he gives us insanely weird plots or paradoxical endings, like the final non-Christmas episode of Season 7. Despite this, I still think he is a good writer, as he did write for the BBC show Sherlock and the movie The Adventures of Tin-Tin (both of which I enjoyed). Plus I do like the majority of his episodes, and he has written some pretty memorable Doctor Who quotes. I can’t wait to see Season 8, though it sucks that it won’t start until August.

I’ve written a little poem, which describes the show and the different Doctors (nine through eleven once again) and their companions. I don’t get excited to write poetry much anymore, so I’ll take inspiration from wherever I can find it.

Raggedy Doctor and The Destroyer of Worlds
My hubby and I started re-watching
the new Doctor Who series
that started back in 2005,
at the end of last year.
We’ve seen them all before,
or at least through the end of the sixth season,
when my hubby lost interest the first time around.
Now it’s funny
because my two-year old son gets so excited
and can’t wait to watch the show.
Watching them again
has made me start watching
some of the old doctors from the 1960s and 70s.

I can name most of the major villains
including Daleks, Sontarians, and Cybermen.
I know the meaning of the word TARDIS,
and can identify the sound of one landing.
I wish I had a Sonic Screwdriver,
and find that the phrases Allons-y
and Are You My Mummy?
have become part of my Whovian lexicon.
I frequently get the show music
stuck in my head.
I’ve even thought about wearing
a Doctor Who costume
to my local Comic Con.

The Ninth Doctor
sadly only lasted one season.
I loved Christopher Eccleston’s portrayal of the Doctor
because he was so brooding,
probably contemplating his role in the last Time War,
which had occurred not that long ago.
Yet you can see
how much he wants to help people.
The flip-side of his personality was
that he was always saying something cheeky,
making you want to slap him for his impudence.
Rose was his companion,
and we got to see her go from
a loud Chav to a person willing to fight for the people she loves,
and changing the Doctor for the better.

The Tenth Doctor is my favorite.
David Tennant just brought so much curiosity,
quirkiness, and passion to the role,
as well as a real love of all things Whovian.
Rose really fell in love with this version of the Doctor,
and was devastated
when she was trapped in a parallel universe
without him.
Martha Jones was his next companion,
and she really grew into her own with him,
as an independent woman and as a doctor,
though she had to leave
because of her unrequited love.
Donna Noble was his last companion,
and in my opinion the best.
“Donna Noble has left the library;
Donna Noble has been saved,”
was one of the most memorable lines
during her time as a companion.
Though a bit daft,
she could hold her own with him,
and would always tell him her opinion.
She was one of the few women
who could travel with him
and not fall in love.
Sadly, he had to leave her behind,
with her memory erased.

The Eleventh Doctor,
Matt Smith,
really helped to mainstream
and popularize the show
in the US.
Amy Pond’s Raggedy Doctor
first shows up
when she is seven years old,
and shows up again twelve years later.
She is reluctant to go with him,
and will only do so
if he returns her in the morning.
She is engaged to goofy Rory,
who loves her more than anything,
but you can’t help but wonder at first
if she is settling,
because the Doctor wasn’t there.
My hubby believes
Rory is the most annoying person
on the planet,
and at one point
made a drawing of him
being blown up by Daleks.
He is the reason
my husband stopped watching
the first time around.

There is a crack in the universe
that manifests itself on Amy’s bedroom wall,
and this allows her to become an anomaly
in regards to space and time.
This becomes especially apparent
when Rory is erased from space and time,
but comes back as the last centurion,
Someone every woman wishes she had,
the man who waited for 2000 years
for his true love.
Amy and Rory are the first wife-husband team
to travel with the Doctor.

River Song should be mentioned
in this ode to Doctor Who
even though she’s not technically
his companion.
She’s the badass archaelogist
with enough spunk
and knowledge of the TARDIS
to impress anyone.
Ican’t give too much more away,
because that would be “Spoilers”,
as she likes to say.
She’s my favorite character on the show.
Sometimes I wish they would do
a spin-off show,
where we can see more of her adventurous hijinks.

Clara is the last companion
of the eleventh Doctor,
and she is one of my favorites.
She,
like River, Donna, and Rose
have the most personality.
She is someone I would want
in my corner
if I was ever in a bind.
The Doctor can’t figure her out,
as he keeps meeting up with her
throughout history.
This conundrum
is eventually explained,
But finding out,
definitely keeps you on the edge of your seat,
until the answer is finally revealed.

Christopher Eccleston and Doctor Who

DOCTOR WHOChristopher Eccleston as Doctor Who with Billie Piper as Rose, his Companion

I am a huge Doctor Who fan. It has been on for 50 years, from 1963 – 2013. Ok, yes I was late to the series, having only started watching it in 2005 when they redid the series, but I still consider myself a true fan. I hope to one day be able to watch the series from the beginning, though I think it might be a little like early Star Trek episodes, aka so corny and bad, they are hard to watch. If you have never watched the show, I recommend checking out this article that was posted for the 50th year celebration. It is meant to be corny and a bit low-budget, so don’t let that turn you off. It has a really great story and some creepy villains.

Season 1 Doctor Who commentTaken from “The Empty Child” episode 9, Season 1

I stopped watching it during Season 7. The BBC since finished Season 7 and about to start Season 8 now that they’ve announced the newest Doctor, Peter Capaldi who will start on the Christmas Special 2013. Although I personally liked Matt Smith as the 11th Doctor for Seasons 5-7, my hubby (who always watched it with me) did not and him plus Rory (one of the main characters of the show and a secondary Companion) equaled a boring time in my hubby’s eyes. So I stopped watching it. That is, until we discovered the first seven seasons of the show are on Netflix. We’ve started watching them again and I must say that although David Tennant will probably always be my favorite Doctor, Christopher Eccleston is really quite good and I’m sad that he only stayed on the show for a year. Yes, he is not the most attractive Doctor, but if you look back on the early Doctors, they weren’t either. Eccleston’s Doctor seem more expressive, pained, and conscientious of his actions (really more human which is ironic as he’s a 900 year old alien). He fights liking Rose from the beginning and pretends to be disinterested, but despite his best intentions, by the end of the 1st Season you can see how much love they share for each other. Plus he’s a bit of a cheeky bugger and that makes me like him even more. The show was just better when Russell T. Davies was still writing for the show, as he did from 2005-2010. Plus the first season is when we are introduced to Capt. Jack Harkness (played by the wonderfully campy John Barrowman), who later has a spin-off show in Torchwood, which is also a great show to watch. He is my favorite non-Doctor character on the show.

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