Wednesday, November 28, 2007
"Last night fans that live near Doctor Who's filming locations got photographs of what must be the biggest surprise return to the show: Billie Piper is back.
After the fans' gossip was picked up this morning by UK newspapers, the BBC announced that it's true, adding that Billie "will star in three episodes of the drama, reprising her role as the Doctor's companion, Rose Tyler".
From the Radio Times: Billie Piper shock for Doctor Who
Oh, or on the BBC Website too.
Sunday, November 18, 2007
Cranford has a stellar cast - including Judy Dench, Imelda Staunton and Michael Gambon. The writer is Heidi Thomas, who wrote a nice adaptation of I Capture the Castle in 2003.
I liked the adaptation of North and South that was on a few years ago, and hope this is at least as good. Elizabeth Gaskell is a great author, and her work deserves to be adapted well.
Friday, November 16, 2007
Well, that's not entirely true. Going in for a couple of things in the next month or so, but I'll no longer be a student!
Anyway, graduation was a bit strange but a good day all told. Went for lunch in David Banns, a very nice vegetarian restaurant in town, then headed over to the festival theatre for the ceremony. There were only a dozen of us there from class, but we were a nice group so it was all good. Got official photos taken this time, as it was something I wish I'd done for my first degree - hope they come out ok! The reception at a different campus afterwards was a bit muddled, but drinks at the Filmhouse in the evening went down well.
Such a long day has taken it out of me after feeling wonky for so long, and I'm fair tuckered out today. Am looking forward to watching the Doctor Who special on Children in Need later, and we rented Taladega Nights for the evening. I'm sure it will go down well with beer and homemade pizza!
Happy Friday, all :-)
Update: Taladega Nights did NOT go down well.
Thursday, November 15, 2007
Some of you may have seen this already, but if not take a few seconds to have a look!
There's a vocabulary game on the site. For every word meaning that you guess correctly, 10 grains of rice are donated to the United Nations World Food Program. The rice is paid for using the revenue generated by the online advertising.
It's a nice way of expanding your vocabularly whilst donating a little bit. You can play as much as you want - and it's actually fairly addictive.
On another note, we graduate today. Woo!
Monday, November 12, 2007
Not this tide.
'When d'you think that he'll come back?'
Not with this wind blowing, and this tide."
*** Spoilers head ***
I watched My Boy Jack on ITV last night, and am glad I did. I wasn't alone, according to Broadcast, with about 5.7 million other viewers tuning in too.
The plot started just before the outbreak of World War I, with a fiercely patriotic Kipling certain that war was on its way, and trying to persuade others of the same. His son Jack is eager join the Navy, but fails the test due to poor eyesight. At home, Jack's mother Carrie keeps a gloomy house, mourning the loss of a daughter some 14 years deceased. Frustrated by his stifling home life and, at the outbreak of war, desperate to join the armed forces, Jack reluctantly allows his father to pull some strings, eventually gaining him a commission.
So went the first hour of the programme, and I felt it was structured nicely, with scenes well paced and things well set up for the next hour. I had tried to work out where the main story beats were going to be in advance, and they were mainly where I thought - which was nice.
The second half of the drama followed Jack as he learned to be a soldier, leader and a man on his own, and then cut back to his family trying to deal with the knowledge that he is missing in action, presumed injured. Their reaction to the news and his parents - particularly his mother's - refusal to accept the possibility that he could have died drives the rest of the action, as the family search for information on their son until they uncover the tragic truth.
The core cast members were all fantastic. David Haig was on top thespian form as Rudyard Kipling, Kim Cattrall was measured and restrained as his wife Carrie, and Daniel Radcliffe was on good form as Jack. I hadn't realised that the wonderful Carey Mulligan was in this as Elsie Kipling, Jack's sister, which was a pleasant surprise. Some of you may remember her as the fab Sally Sparrow in Blink, my favourite Dr Who episode, or from other big name productions such as Pride and Prejudice, Bleak House etc.
The attention to detail in the production was great, with the costumes really standing out for me. There was a scene which showed Jack lacing up his shiny new army boots that I found particularly moving - knowing what the precious new boots would soon be walking on.
David Haig wrote this as a stage play first, then adapted it himself for the screen. It feels like a lot of love and care has gone into the piece, and he's polished it to a high standard. This was his first writing credit for the screen, and I will be interested to see what he does next.
All in all, I'm glad I watched it. The end would have been particularly moving had my boyfriend not come in the room to tidy the dishes away, sniggering weirdly at a podcast as he did... :-)
Sunday, November 11, 2007
Anyway, the good TV starts this afternoon. We have The Remains of the Day on Five, an excellent adaptation of one of my favourite books. ITV are continuing their Star Wars Sundays with Return of the Jedi, which was my favourite Star Wars film as a kid - my dad even made us an Ewok village. BBC1 marks Remembrance Day with a documentary about the legendary Wilfred Owen. I suspect this will be the programme I opt for, as it seems a fitting tribute. The Radio Times gives it a good write up, and Owen was the first poet I found genuinely moving in school.
Tonight on BBC1 we have Learners, written by and starring Jessica Hynes. Despite it also starring David Tennant, I'm not drawn towards it in any way. No idea why this is! I mean, I love Spaced so much, I think she's a good writer. If anyone does watch it you have to let me know what it's like.
Instead, I'll be watching My Boy Jack on ITV1, written by and starring David Haig, with Daniel Radcliffe in the titular role as Roland Kipling's only son, killed in World War I. I know it will have me reduced to tears, but it sounds excellent. I'm also intrigued to see Kim Cattrall in such a serious piece. This week's Radio Times had a really good interview with Daniel Radcliffe about the programme - as a Harry Potter fan I sometimes find it hard to forget that he's an articulate young man now, not a 12 year old!
Of course, if war or driving lessons don't appeal, then you can always drool over Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt in Mr. and Mrs. Smith on Channel 4!
Saturday, November 10, 2007
Feels a bit strange blogging this. I'm only doing so because some of you wonderful people (I'm looking at you, David, Lucy, Jason, Ali, Barry, Edda, James, PB, et al) read through earlier drafts of my screenplay and gave me invaluable feedback, and I thought you would like to know.
I'm under no illusions as to the level of competition, and quite honestly don't expect to get any further. Would be lovely to find out how many other people are at this stage though - 200? 100? Eek.
Red Planet is the first screenwriting competition I've entered, and it's also the first time I've done something outside of University with my script, so it's a nice - but scary - feeling, anyway.
Off into town to buy something for graduation on Thursday. Like David, I've simply nothing to wear. Graduation is turning into a very expensive day!
Friday, November 09, 2007
Still ill, and feeling somewhat drained of creativity at the moment, so I ;ve been spending my time doing a bit of website maintenance. Added all my RSS writing feeds into my links on this blog (why haven't I done this before?) which took yonks. If I've left you out comment and tell me!
Also redesigned my website using my scanty knowledge of HTML and CSS. Used the above photo, which I think is kind of cool, actually. I just need to work out what CONTENT to put on the thing. It's like a kid's website just now, all "I did this" and "I did that". Need to funk it up a bit.
Thursday, November 08, 2007
Pfft. Nanowrimo, as the title suggests, ain't going so well. With a two day trip away, a funeral, 2 busy days at work and now my 344th cold of the year, I'm a bit of a mess.
Was trying to write a far more articulate blog post earlier but the words weren't coming.
I'm going to fail at this novel in a month lark. I don't want to though! At least I'm managing a blog a day, which was my other goal for the month.
PS out of shot is my hot water bottle. Ahhh. Also, just read Talking Heads by Alan Bennett - which was AMAZING. Can't wait to watch the DVD my friend loaned me.
Wednesday, November 07, 2007
Tuesday, November 06, 2007
The challenge: write five things that other people consider lame about me, but that I am secretly proud of.
1. I don't swear. Never have. When all you cool kids were doing it at school, I resisted. Wondering how this will fit into a screenwriting career - can I WRITE swears?! I do like the occasional amusing cussword, but not proper swears for me.
2. The first film I ever bought myself was Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. And I LOVED it. I watched it every day for about a year. Couldn't get enough of Christian Slater, or the boy in it. Weird watching it now, as I remember him being so OLD compared to me. I watched the video so much I actually wore it out. I remember my Dad telling me that it was £13 I would regret spending. No siree!
3. I wrote in to Big magazine and asked to meet the aforementioned boy from Robin Hood. Did not get a reply. I was wearing a shell suit jacket in the photo I sent in.
4. I can't tell my left from my right without really having to think about it. It's a family misfortune, seems to run from my granny's side. My third cousin actually has his hand tattooed to help him in the quandry. Fortunately Dad is the only person in the family with the affliction who drives. I quite like having a useless family trait like this.
5. I found the voice of Disney's Robin Hood very attractive as a child. I'm not alone in this.
I tag the world back, as so many people have done this already.
Monday, November 05, 2007
*** spoilers ahead ***
After getting all excited about it in advance -and making a point of reading the book for the dozenth time a few weeks ago - I found ITV's A Room with a View a disappointing affair.
I have only seen the Merchant Ivory production once, many years ago, so I really can't call upon it for comparison. I'll have to base my review purely upon the adaptation from book to film.
As a fan of the book, the production failed me in several ways. The most annoying deviation was the previously mentioned new - and wholly unnecessary - ending. In fact, we were treated to the piece as a series of flashbacks, rather than a fluid story, with the new and annoying ending tacked on.
Perhaps, as A Room with a View is one of Forster's most optimistic books, it was felt that it needed to be more dramatic. Some new scenes were added - some good, some bad. I didn't mind the scene with George meeting Lucy in his towel, and I liked the new scene with Cecil and Lucy in Rome - although it did feel rushed. Lucy's sexual awakening of sorts whilst staring at statues in Florence made me think of the superior A Passage to India, which was gifted a similar scene. There was also the hint of romance between Lucy and an Italian driver which made me yell at the TV.
Sounds like I'm a purist, but I'm not really. I really just didn't see the need for the story to be flashbacks, or for there to be a new ending. It was sloppy and weakened the tale for me. The climax of the piece came naturally, and it should have ended well. I was reminded of the annoying multiple endings in Return of the King (which I love, don't get me wrong).
I thought the acting was generally good, but some of the characters behaved strangely. Lucy's journey of self discovery didn't shine through for me, and George didn't help her get there as much as I felt he did in the book. I did like Mark Williams' Mr Beebe a lot, and thought that the work done on his character was beneficial.
It's late and I'm tired, so this is a bit of a poor review. For a far more elequent one, saying many of the things I want to, visit the wonderful Screen Stories.
I'm off to read some Alan Bennett.
UPDATE 12/11/07: OK I re-read this and it's a far harsher critique than I had intended. I didn't hate this, by any stretch of the imagination. I enjoyed it. It looked beautiful, it had a great cast, and most of the script adaptation was just fantastic. I just think the new bookends are totally pointless. If it weren't for them, I would probably have loved this adaptation. 2 hours of drama is a big investment, and I felt cheated at the end - and stayed that way for a couple of days. I'll no doubt buy it when it comes on DVD anyway. Here's a small interview with Andrew Davies about his changes, for anyone interested.
Sunday, November 04, 2007
I do like E. M. Forster's books, and I find this the simplest, most romantic of them to read - though still a sharp critique. Seems like this production has a great cast, and with Andrew Davies writing it should be a cut above normal Sunday night TV. I'm really interested to see Timothy and Rafe Spall as the Emersons - a working class father and son, kindly and passionate. Will be nice see them on screen together for the first time, as I think they're both good actors. I'm also keen to see the wonderful Sophie Thompson sink her teeth into the role of Charlotte.
Shall no doubt post my thoughts on this tomorrow at some point!
PS No Nanowrimo today, was travelling. Terrified I'm going to lose momentum on this...
Saturday, November 03, 2007
No writing today! I'm going on a little holiday to see friends down south.
Am posting a photo of my desk as I want to try and blog every day this month. Am attempting a clean desk policy to help the creative juices flow - and to stop myself from being distracted. Looking at the desk this morning would suggest that said clean desk policy is no longer in force, but I'll fix that for the next day of writing!
Do you like my super spotty cup and saucer? I love them! Filled with peppermint tea, to calm me down...
Friday, November 02, 2007
It was a bit harder today. I knew how I wanted the book to start, so yesterday wasn't too bad, even though I was making it up as I went along. Today though, I had nothing to go on so I've been freestyling it. Also getting some mix-tapes ready for a journey down to England tomorrow, and trying to get other things organised for going away for weekend.
My hands are freezing, though. I need some good fingerless gloves. I have a pair but they are rubbish (and I look like an emo kid in them) - more are required!
I'll need to do some investigating and find other people in blog land who are doing nanowrimo... I put a link to my nanowrimo homepage at the side of my blog, if anyone feels the need to keep track of my words properly. The full functionality of their website doesn't seem to be available yet, so you can't upload your files for them to count, but I promise the wordcount is correct!
Thursday, November 01, 2007
It felt good. I set myself a goal of completing the section by 1pm for lunch, and managed to finish right on time.
I'm a little worried about keeping on track for the next few days as I am away to visit friends for the weekend and won't be able to write anything, but maybe I'll have a super day of 6,000 words tomorrow and it won't matter (haha!).
From reading the emails and website I gather one of the big things about Nanowrimo for lots of people is to just write, not edit. Don't use the delete button, don't correct spelling, etc. Well, it seems I can't turn off my inner editor, so while the story won't be edited as I go my spelling and any funny grammer certainly will be. Doesn't take me much longer, and it would just annoy me if I could see a misspelt word on the page as I was writing...