Easter geekness: the return of Doctor Who (April 23) and more egg-stra special delights
Cowboys and aliens?: Matt Smith’s take on The Doctor tests that old adage: ‘stetsons are cool’…
All right, I’ll admit that unlike its arguable heyday, it’s a bit of a stretch to suggest the modern Doctor Who is retro, although in recent years the show’s time-travelling hero has visited William Shakespeare, Queen Victoria, Charles Dickens, Vincent Van Gogh and 16th Century Venice. But that’s not really what this blog would consider as retro. Having said all that, mind, in its latest series, the TARDIS is supposed to land in ’70s America in the time of Richard ‘Tricky Dicky’ Nixon. Surely you can’t get much more retro than that, can you?
Anyway, why am I blathering on about Doctor Who? Well, guess what, chaps, Easter once more is on the horizon and that must mean – oh yes – the kick-off of the latest series of the Who Doctor. And, I don’t mind sayin’, I’m rather excited about it.
Now, don’t know about any of you, but of all his series since that groovy Gallifreyan returned to our screens in 2005, the last one (the opening series of the latest incarnation – the 11th – namely Mr Matt Smith’s), has been my favourite. The return of River Song and those eerie stone angels? Spitfires in space? A spruced up TARDIS? Cracks in time? The Pandorica? Toby Jones’s ‘Dream’ Doctor alter-ego? Top stuff, all of it. Plus, of course, there’s been Karen Gillan’s oh-so sexy Amy Pond companion and, best of all, Smith’s excellent young-yet-old-and-at-times-very-alien version of The Doctor. The Christmas special even gave us a nice take on A Christmas Carol with Michael Gambon and (mmm) Katherine Jenkins.
All of that means, of course, that the next series (which kicks-off on BBC1 at 6pm tomorrow – and on BBC America in the States on the same day) does have quite a lot to live up to. Yet, the omens look good. Apparently, this latest series is darker in tone than the last (at least, its start is supposed to be). Also, [spoiler alerts!] Amy and her squeeze Rory will be together in the TARDIS as marrieds – just how will that work out? And, so it seems from the trailer (see above), The Doctor and River Song’s fates are likely finally to become entwined – yes, I think you know what I mean there. Oh, and it looks like Lily Cole’s in it (again – mmm). All in all then, I’m hungry to hunker down with The Doctor once more. Which brings me to Easter eggs – if you’ve been of the mind that all the hype and publicity leading up to Easter and the May Bank Holidays has only been about a particular wedding, think again, peeps, because look what you can purchase from M&S…
Talking of Easter TV, at least on UK screens, there’s one or two other highlights to look out for too. Indeed, tonight you can sit down, watch and listen to an evening dedicated to Elton John (BBC4 from 9pm); and, if Reg Dwight’s ditties aren’t exactly your thing, then a documentary on George Martin (Arena, Monday, 9pm, BBC2) may be more up your street, no doubt featuring archive footage alongside interviews with past major collaborators of the genius producer. And, with the football season reaching its unavoidable zenith, there’s also an intriguing looking dramatic recreation of the events surrounding the Munich Air Disaster of 1958 in the shape of United (Sunday, 9pm, BBC2), featuring the acting talents of, yes, a past Doctor, that unbiquitous David Tennant.
So, certainly a few gogglebox treats there to gobble up your freetime over the weekend then, folks… or, of course, you could make the most of the weather and spend the holiday doing properly healthy things outside. Actually, scrap all that, maybe the latter is the better plan – after all, who knows what sort of summer we’re going to get? Happy Easter, my retro chicks.
Easter telly highlights (UK terrestrial and Freeview only)
Raiders Of The Lost Ark ~ today, 7.10pm, BBC3/ BBCHD The first and best Indy flick – and, frankly, one of the best adventure movies of all-time – starring Harrison Ford, Karen Allen, Paul Freeman and John Rhys-Davies
Elton John Night ~ today, 9pm, BBC4 Kicking-off with The Making Of Elton John: Madman Across The Water (also shown at 12.05am) Documentary about the musician’s career and life; Elton John At The BBC, 10pm, 3.05am Archive footage; Electric Proms, 11pm, 2.00am Performing at The Roundhouse, Camden, London; BBC Sessions 1.05am And yet more Elton John
Timewatch: The Real Bonnie And Clyde ~ today, 12.00midnight, BBCHD The true story of the legendary murderous lovers
Being Alice: Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland/ Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland ~ Saturday, 2pm/ 2.30pm, BBC2/ BBCHD The world premiere of a new ballet of Lewis Carroll’s classic tale from Covent Garden’s Royal Opera House, preceded by a behind-the-scenes look at its making
Doctor Who ~ 6pm, BBC1 The latest series – and second with Matt Smith as The Doctor – of the sci-fi adventure drama kicks-off with its opening episode, The Impossible Astronaut
United ~ Sunday, 9pm, BBC2/ BBCHD Feature-length drama about the 1958 Munich Air Disaster, in which many of Manchester United’s ‘Busby Babes’ perished, starring David Tennant
Holst ~ Sunday, 9pm, 12.20am, BBC4 Revealing documentary about the eventful life of Gustav Holst, composer of The Planets
Elizabeth ~ Sunday, 10pm, Channel4 Oscar-nominated, fast-paced treatment of the early years of Elizabeth I, starring Cate Blanchett, Christopher Ecclestone, Joseph Fiennes, Richard Attenborough and – yes – Eric Cantona
Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull ~ Monday, 7.05pm, BBC3/ BBCHD Geriatric Indy returns in the latest instalment of the classic hero’s antics, starring Harrison Ford, Shia Lebeouf, Karen Allen and Cate Blanchett
Arena: George Martin ~ Monday, 9pm, BBC2 Portrait of the legendary music producer, with contributions from Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr and Cilla Black
Snowdon And Margaret: Inside A Royal Marriage ~ Monday, 12.25am, More4 Documentary about the tumultuous marriage of Princess Margaret and Anthony Armstrong-Jones