Bolton Comic Con

Today, me and Mel meandered over to the Macron Stadium for Bolton Comic Con. I’ve done a few conventions now, so I know what I’m about – small bag for phone, purse and tissues, comfy footwear, and light clothing because con halls get hot.

The hall at Macron Stadium
The hall at Macron Stadium

Or not. OMG, it was so cold! I swear the air con was on. I’m not sure whether the heating was down to stadium staff or the con organisers, but either way, it’s not good to leave your GoH freezing. It was less Andrew Lee Potts and more Andrew Lee Popsicle.

He was very sweet, though, and eager to chat given the lack of morning rush. He asked Mel if she preferred Primeval or Alice. I couldn’t decide as they’re too different. Though the photo I chose for his autograph was from Primeval, so maybe it just edges Alice out. *shrug*

We didn’t chat about Wireless, which I kind of regret, but we did spend a good five minutes geeking out about Star Trek Discovery. However that wasn’t the most Con thing – that credit goes to the Black Elvis puppeteering a Kermit The Frog armed with a lightsaber. Yes, really.

The Tardis display
The Tardis display
One of the two radio-controlled R2-D2s scooting about
One of the two radio-controlled R2-D2s scooting about

Due to the cold, Mel and I didn’t stay long enough to watch the cosplay competition. However, my winner – aside from the 5-year-old boy dressed as Woody – was this person in an AT-ST “outfit”. Most of the con-goers were in cosplay, making me feel quite underdressed! Maybe I ought to look into a costume…

AT-ST cosplay
AT-ST cosplay

So what did I buy? I had to get a portrait with the Tardis and a signed photo from Andrew. There were lots of stalls with some tempting geekery, plus one selling some very tempting fudge. Lots of Fuko Pops, but the prices were a bit high. In the end, I succumbed to Itty Bittys of Han and Leia. These sweet little plushes will probably have their own blog post fairly soon.

Itty Bittys of Han Solo and Princess Leia
Itty Bittys of Han Solo and Princess Leia

#PassOnPlastic and Ableism

I want to say first that I agree 100% that we need to reduce our plastic consumption for the environmental well-being of our planet. I am in no way arguing that plastic pollution isn’t important. We’ve all seen photos of birds, animals and fish caught up in beer can rings, fishing net, etc.

However, as I was browsing the #PassOnPlastic hashtag I saw a couple of people raising “unnecessary” packaging for pre-cut fruit and vegetables.

Whether it’s ready-sliced or peeled, these things aren’t for “lazy” people – they’re for those with limited mobility in their hands, wrists and/or arms. Yes, more abled people will maximise on the availability and grab, especially if they’re going to work, and I’ve no issue with this. What I do have an issue with is people calling for a ban on such products without considering who they’re really for and the impact their removal would be.

Unnecessary packaging vs accessible packaging
Are we really telling people who struggle preparing fruit and vegetables that they can’t have them? That they should give up an independent life and have someone come in to prepare their meals? (Like those in that position have the funds for that!)

Does the packaging of prepared fruit and veg need to be looked at? Heck, yes. But the solution needs to be financially accessible as well as environmentally friendly. Again, I’m not talking about the busy worker grabbing a snack on the way to work, but people with arthritis, recovering stroke victims and those with motor neutron difficulties who rely on pre-prepared, easy-to-open packaged items.

In this day and age, I simply don’t see why we can’t tackle environmental issues and maintain accessibility.

Why The Voice UK Speaks To Me

If you’ve not seen it, The Voice UK is a talent show for singers. The premise is very simple, and very different from say The X Factor – the judges don’t face the stage during the performance. They can turn only if they like what they hear. The person singing can be male, female, trans, white, black, overweight, underweight, young, old, in a wheelchair, whatever. The judges have no idea until they turn around.

The contestants are judged on ability alone.


Doctor Who | Twice Upon A Time

Mark Gatiss, Peter Capaldi and David Bradley star in Doctor Who "Twice Upon A Time"

From the moment Twice Upon A Time opened with the original recording of The Tenth Planet, I knew Whovians were in for a treat. But whereas sometimes Moffat has promised much and not quite delivered, here he gives in spades.

The classic recording morphs to David Bradley as the Doctor, Jared Garfield as Ben and Lily Travers as Polly, with the production staff finding a ton of original props to turn that Classic Who feel up to eleven. That the end of the episode switches back is a lovely touch.

In fact, Twice Upon A Time is dripping in Who lore both old and new

  • there are strong parallels to The Time of the Doctor, with the Doctor resigned to (and even eager for) his death. And as Eleven sees a memory of Amy at the end, Twelve sees Clara.
  • the Doctor seeks knowledge from Rusty, who last appeared in Into The Dalek and now lives on Villengard, mentioned in The Doctor Dances as the weapon factories where Captain Jack got his gun, before they were destroyed by the Doctor to be replaced by banana groves.
  • the mysterious force of Testimony was born on New New Earth and is basically a massive databank of memories extracted at the end of a person’s life. It’s like Missy’s Heaven, only far more benign.
  • a “clipshow” provided by Testimony features bubbles of footage. It’s all comes a bit fast, but classic Doctors Tom Baker, Peter Davison, Jon Pertwee, and Paul McGann are seen, alongside Matt Smith, David Tennant, Capaldi and, in touching tribute, John Hurt.
  • Eleven’s “We’re all stories in the end” is revisited by Bill Potts’ welcome return. Now part of Testimony, she exists in the form of her memories given an avatar, though the Doctor refuses to accept this version of her. But what are we, if not a collection of memories and experiences?

Memory and recollection then are the driving forces behind Twice Upon A Time, which is perfect given the story of the Doctor under Moffat. The episode is both a celebration and a definite closing chapter. Particularly poignant is how Bill proves to the Doctor that memories matter. Her kiss restores his memories of Clara, and the glass avatars then bring both her and Nardole back to say goodbye.

Also saying farewell, abet in a subtle way, is Murray Gold. The composer has provided the soundtrack to every episode from Rose onward; 12 years of on-the-button tracks such as the wonderful The Majestic Tale [Of A Madman In a Box] and the iconic Doomsday. Of all those leaving Who with the close of this season, Gold’s departure hits me the hardest.

Going back to memories, Twice touches on one of the Doctor’s greatest friendships. Rumour had it that Gatiss was playing Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart, but when the first trailer mentioned World War I, that was clearly impossible, much to the relief of many Whovians, including myself.

Yet rumour wasn’t completely wrong. I twigged just after the First Doctor realised Bill was part of Testimony, so when he gave his full name as Archibald Hamish Lethbridge-Stewart – the Brigadier’s grandfather – I was unsurprised and immensely satisfied. Having the Captain involved in the Christmas Truce of 1914 was a fantastic touch that was both uplifting and moving.

And that sums up Twice Upon A Time. Beautifully filmed, abounding in references both visual and audible, it is, in my opinion, the best Doctor Who special to date. And that’s before the epic regeneration and Thirteen’s arrival.

Jodie Whittaker as the Thirteenth Doctor saying "Oh brilliant!"

It’s going to be a long wait until autumn.