The Lost Stories of Classic Doctor Who

Posted in TV with tags , , , , , on April 14, 2013 by bytor

In my last post I looked at what were generally considered to be “classics” of the “Classic” era (1963-89) of Doctor Who. As I have become more familiar with the Hartnell and Troughton eras, it has become obvious that a lot of the lost episodes were at least worth investigating, and some might be considered classics in themselves.

In total 106 episodes are currently missing from the first two doctors’ eras, and it seems unlikely that any more will be recovered. So how can you enjoy them?

Well you need a little dedication and persistance, but here are several ways:

  • First check out which serials are missing here at Wikipedia
  • There are novelisations of all of these stories available from the usual places. Example for “Marco Polo” from the first season.
  • The audio soundtracks from the original TV episodes still exist, and many are available individually as CDs or download (E.g. Marco Polo). There are also 5 boxed sets of CDs containing between them all the missing serials, along with some interesting additional info as data on the CDs e.g. original scripts.

Doctor Who photonovel exampleSometimes, however, you need a visual cue to really engage with the story even in audio form. The official BBC Doctor Who website has hidden away in the “Classic” section, a number of “photonovels” that are basically still pictures with captions to tell the story. Some of them have links to sound effects, but these are clearly from another era, as they are Real Audio links which most broswers no longer accept. These give a surprisingly good feel for the stories.

In addition, the episode guide at the BBC Doctor Who website also gives additional insights into each story. (Example: Marco Polo). Strangely, there is another, separate, episode guide also on the BBC DW site, that contains further different information about each of the old episodes. These often include a picture gallery, and sometimes even video clips. (Example again, Marco Polo).

Finally, there is the synthesis of the soundtracks and available clips and photos, in the form of fan-made “reconstructions” (or recons). These are certainly unofficial, and no doubt infringe BBC copyright, but appear to be tolerated by the Beeb. These are made by various groups of fans, but one of the best collections is by Loose Cannon Productions who have a full collection covering all the missing serials. You can find them from various sources that you might expect, such as their website, on video sharing sites like YouTube. If you really like them, the whole collection is floating about the internet in one big 8GB torrent. It’s not too difficult to find.

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Essential Classic Doctor Who

Posted in TV with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on April 1, 2013 by bytor

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With the 50th Anniversary of Doctor Who taking place later this year, my interest in “classic” (i.e. 1963-1989, before the 2005 restart) Doctor Who has resurfaced. I have scoured various blogs, and websites and taken a consensus view on which are the classics to seek out.

A significant number of the old shows (especially from Patrick Troughton years) are lost forever, but the majority of what exists is available in some form on DVD. (see wikipedia list). Also quite a few are on various online video sites like Daily Motion etc.

Stories that were recommended more than once among my sources, have been marked with an asterisk.

It’s well worth having a look at the source web pages (listed at the foot of this post), to see why the various stories were recommended.

First Doctor (William Hartnell, 1963-65)

*An Unearthly Child

The Edge of Destruction

*The Dalek Invasion of Earth

The Massacre of St Bartholomew’s Eve (unavailable on DVD)

The War Machines

Second Doctor (Patrick Troughton, 1966-68)

*Tomb of the Cybermen

*The Mind Robber

The Invasion

Third Doctor (Jon Pertwee, 1970-73)

*The Spearhead From Space

The Silurians

The Ambassadors of Death

*Inferno

Terror of the Autons

The Daemons

The Green Death

The Time Warrior

Fourth Doctor (Tom Baker, 1974-80)

The Ark in Space

*Genesis of the Daleks

Pyramids of Mars

The Deadly Assassin

The Robots of Death

*The Talons of Weng-Chiang

Horror of Fang Rock

*The City of Death

Fifth Doctor (Peter Davison, 1982-84)

The Visitation

Earthshock

*The Caves of Androzani

Sixth Doctor (Colin Baker, 1985-86)

Trial of a Time Lord series

Seventh Doctor (Sylvester McCoy, 1987-89)

Remembrance of the Daleks

Ghost Light

*The Curse of Fenric

Sources: (thanks to each)

http://io9.com/5939314/old+school-doctor-who-episodes-that-everyone-should-watch

http://www.guardian.co.uk/tv-and-radio/series/the-best-doctor-who-episodes-of-all-time

http://www.geeksofdoom.com/2011/04/18/new-to-who-10-classic-doctor-who-adventures-worth-checking-out

http://flavorwire.com/380883/11-classic-doctor-who-episodes-for-fans-of-the-reboot

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/3674193/The-10-greatest-episodes-of-Doctor-Who-ever.html

http://theoncominghope.blogspot.co.uk/2011/10/5-best-classic-who-episodes-for-newbies.html

Fun for obsessives! – Organizing your media with PlexApp

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on March 16, 2013 by bytor

I would like to tell you about PlexApp, a fantastic service that helps with all your digital media needs.

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Basically it is a media server that runs on MacOSX, Windows and linux, and has a multitude of clients (some third party) e.g. mobile devices (iOS, Android) and hardware set-top boxes like Roku, but importantly for me there is a native app for my Samsung D6530 TV.

There are two things that PlexApp does really well, better than any other similar service I have tried. First, it actually works as a server over wifi. I have tried a few: AllShare, Serviio, Windows Media Player, Twonky, but none of them seemed reliable. Either they wouldn’t always connect, or the PS3 would see them but the TV wouldn’t, or vice-versa or they could be seen, but the video wouldn’t play correctly or some other hassle.

PlexApp (so far) has worked every time. There is a great looking and surprisingly fast and slick app which is downloadable to the TV, and it has a great interface. It always connects with the server (my Windows laptop) and lets me stream HD video easily.

This is what it looks like on the Samsung TV:

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The second thing PlexApp does really well is something that all obsessives like me will love. It organizes you meta data and thus organizes your media in a logical and standardized way, and does this almost automagically. I have a Freesat PVR (discontinued model) but unfortunately its hard disk (500GB) is bulging to bursting point and I am constantly fighting to delete stuff. I have a bunch of video stored on a large 2TB external HDD which is attached to my laptop. The sources of the video are varied: downloaded from the internet, some ripped off DVD, BBC iPlayer (you must get Get_iPlayer it is a godsend), and now I have discovered that I can export the recorded video from my Freesat PVR. There is a USB connection on the machine and you can connect a flash stick or portable HDD and export files fairly easily. Transfer is a bit slow, and the native export format is not compressed very much (=large files) but the important thing is you can do it.

I export files from the PVR and then re-encode them to a more compact MP4 file using Handbrake. Once you have decided your preferred settings, it is a simple drag and drop process although the actually re-encoding can take some time so best left as an overnight task.

Now the PlexApp magic can begin! You are forced to adhere to a strict folder and naming structure (great for us obsessive compulsives ), but if you comply, PlexApp has “agents”, software pixies that go out onto the internet and pull down the relevant metadata for your movies and TV shows. This includes cover/poster art, titles, info about actors, directors etc. and even theme music for TV series. It gets this right most of the time, although you may have to occasionally “nudge” it with a manual correction.

What you are left with is a beautifully organized and annotated collection, which is on your external hard disk, but which can be easily and reliably streamed to you big screen TV over your home wifi network. You can search by genre, title, actor, director and many other ways. Just beautiful.

If you haven’t got an LG TV (which apparently have PlexApp built in) or a Samsung like me, you can use your PS3 or XBox 360 as a client box which then can throw the video at your TV.

 

Follow @PlexApp on twitter

BBC Big Science season

Posted in science, TV on October 20, 2012 by bytor

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The BBC is currently showing a number of programmes under the banner of “Big Science” although they seem to be keeping very quiet about it. There is not even a separate page on their website collecting all the details, and promoting it, although if you go to any one of the individual programmes pages, it will try and direct you to the others.

Anyway here is the list (If I have missed any please let me know). Most are still on iPlayer or are upcoming

Tails You Win – The Science Of Chance

  • Broadcast BBC4 18th Oct 2012
  • iPlayer
  • Programme site
  • Upcoming repeats – BBD HD 21st Oct 7pm, BBC4 22nd Oct10:55pm

The Final Frontier? A Horizon Guide to the Universe

Order And Disorder

  • Broadcast BBC4 16th Oct 2012 (episode 1 of 2)
  • iPlayer (episode 1)
  • Programme site
  • Upcoming repeats 20th Oct BBC HD 8pm; BBC4 11:45pm
  • Episode 2 – Tue 23rd Oct BBC4 9pm

Seven Ages Of Starlight

Voyager: To The Final Frontier (I’m not 100% sure this is officially part of the Big Science season, but it fits in!)

I hope you all enjoy these programmes!

Now, I’m not sure why I would be posting these additional links, but for some reason I feel the urge..

http://linuxcentre.net/getiplayer

http://linuxcentre.net/getiplayer/get_iplayer-pvr-manager

http://www.tunnelbear.com/

http://www.unblock-us.com/

100 Great Guitar Riffs

Posted in Uncategorized on July 8, 2012 by bytor

OK thanks to Laughing Squid, I found a great YouTube video of this guy playing 100 great guitar riffs in one long take. It’s pretty good, and he does it in chronological order to try and do a “history of rock” if you will…

There are captions on the bottom right to tell you which songs he is quoting from, but I thought it would be fun to see how many I could recognize. So, if you want to do the same stick a piece of paper on your screen to cover the captions, and have a listen, and then scroll down to see how you compared to me.

(I think I did OK in the 70-90s but otherwise a bit blank!)

scroll down for my guesses

—-

—-

?
?
?
Chuck berry ?
?
?
?
?
?
Ticket to Ride – The Beatles
?
Satisfaction – Rolling Stones??
Purple Haze – Hendrix
? Since I Been Loving You – Led Zeppelin
?
?
some blues thing
Crossroads – Cream
Communication Breakdown – Led Zeppelin
Paranoid – Black Sabbath
?
?
Immigrant Song – Led Zeppelin
?
Layla – Derek & The Dominoes
?
Smoke On The Water – Deep Purple
Money – Pink Floyd
(forget name ?Jessica) – Allman Brothers Band (theme for Top Gear)
La Grange – ZZ Top
21st Century Boy – T Rex
?
Sweet home Alabama – Lynyrd Skynyrd
Walk This Way – Aerosmith
? (should know this one..)
?
The Boys Are Back In Town – Thin Lizzy
Don’t Fear The Reaper – Blue Oyster Cult
?
punk
?
?
Sultans Of Swing – Dire Straits
Message In A Bottle – The Police
?
Back In Black – AC/DC
Crazy Train – Ozzy Osbourne
Spirit Of Radio – Rush
?
Owner Of A Lonely Heart – Yes
(some heavy metal I really should know…)
?
Eruption – Van Halen
?
?
Money For Nothing – Dire Straits
You Give Love A Bad Name – Bon Jovi
?
Where The Streets Have No Name (or any other U2 song)
Welcome To The Jungle – Guns N’ Roses
Sweet Child O’ Mine – Guns N’ Roses
?
Cult Of Personality – Living Colour
?
Running Down A Dream – Tom Petty
(something else I recognize)
Thunderstruck – AC/DC
(aargh I know this)
?
Enter Sandman – Metallica
?
Smells Like Teen Spirit – Nirvana
?
Even Flow – Pearl Jam
?
?
?
(something else that sounds very familiar)
?
?
?
?
()
?
?
Under The Bridge – Red Hot Chilli Peppers
?
?
Seven Nation Army – The White Stripes
something by Muse
?>
?
?
?
?
?
?
Scooby Snacks?? – Fun Lovin Criminals
?
?
?

So, how did you do?

Tweet me @by_tor to let me know!!!

Progress in videogames

Posted in games on April 25, 2011 by bytor

This is not some hi-falutin’ discourse on how the “art” of videogame design has moved forward over the years. It is, very simply a record of the videogames I have currently “on-the-go” i.e. bought, started but not completed. It is supposed to be a stick to make me adhere to my 2011 New Years’ Resolution – to leave less games unfinished.

  • Super Mario Galaxy 2 (Wii) completed 24/4/11
  • Lost Winds 2: Winter In Melodias (Wii) completed 25/4/11
  • Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess (Wii)
  • Paper Mario (Wii virtual console)
  • Bioshock (PC)
  • Bioshock 2 (PS3)
  • Secret of Monkey Island 2 (iPhone)
  • Resident Evil 4 (Wii)
The next list is the scary one – games I want to buy
  • Portal 2
  • ICO/Shadows of the Colossus
  • Mass Effect 2
  • Mass Effect 3
  • Red Dead Redemption
  • Deus Ex Human Revolution
  • Uncharted 2
  • Uncharted 3
  • Batman Arkham Asylum
  • a few others…
  • Blade Runner (PC)

IAEA Briefing 22nd March 2011

Posted in current affairs with tags , , , , , on March 23, 2011 by bytor