HELP! I’m being held prisoner by the French!

Well, not the French, more the English really.

And not really the English, just some of them. Two of them. My parents, to be exact. But they do live in France.

And if I’m honest, I’m not being held prisoner, I’m just stuck in France because of that whole volcano jiggery-pokery.

So I guess you could say the title of this post is a complete lie given none of the words are actually true.

Except maybe HELP!

Which seems a bit melodramatic since I’m actually staying with my rather lovely parents in their rather lovely old mill

surrounded by rather lovely French people, enduring rather lovely weather and watching Alice serve tea to a gorilla.

In fact, HELP! is completely unnecessary. Thinking about it, I guess the title of this post should have been:

Hello, I’m stuck in France where everything is lovely and relaxing.

Except the being stuck part. I have no pressing need to get back, but still … I’m trapped. Pinned in. Confined in a single location … even if that location is an entire country which is considerably bigger than the one I usually live in. Even the house is rather roomier:

But trapped I am and trapped I’ll remain until the volcano stops erupting (in about 2 years time) or the airlines decide to find their balls and at least have a go at doing their fucking job. I mean, come on, what’s all this pessimism about? No knows for sure it’s going to blow up plane engines, why not operate on a suck it and see basis? Simply fly your regular schedule until the first plane goes down, then worry about it. I think we’d all agree a plane load of dead passengers is better than all this inconvenience.

So what’s been going on? What have I missed whilst out in the wilderness?

Apparently a meeting with a TV channel about a sitcom thing went well. Sounds good.

The last two scripts I wrote seemed to have gone down well, or at least the emails don’t have too many swear words in them, so that’s got to be good. A synopsis appears to be well received too, so I’m kind of on top of the writing pile right now.

Apart from all the stuff I haven’t done yet because I decided to bugger off to France instead.

What else? Another episode of Doctor Who … yeah … hmm.

Liking Matt Smith, liking Karen Gillian, love the new TARDIS interior, bit confused by the shiny new TARDIS exterior (is the Chameleon Circuit working now?), loved the first episode, liked the second, kind of unsure about the third … is anyone actually thinking about these stories? You know, beyond the ‘wouldn’t it be cool if …’ kind of thoughts?

I mean, that last one in particular, stuff just happened. Presumably on the grounds it looked cool. Shouldn’t there have been some, I don’t know, reason, logic or thought behind it all? How long does it take to manufacture, test and install a gravity bubble thing in a Spitfire? Let alone training the pilots, providing an oxygen system, propulsion, actually flying into space … apparently about four minutes. Wouldn’t it have made more sense if Project: Danny Boy was something the professor was already working on as opposed to something he built (from pre-existing designs, I admit) and installed virtually instantaneously?

Not really loving the fat, hunchback, multi-coloured Daleks either. I thought the last design was possibly the best ever, something really sinister about them. These ones … well, perhaps they had to eat their way out of that Easter egg they were trapped in?

Also, what exactly was the Daleks’ plan?

“Right. Nigel, Nigel stop fucking about with that Easter egg and pay attention. Okay, so, we’re got three Daleks with a space ship–”

“Which is fucked.”

“Yes, thank you Reg. With a fucked space ship and an Easter egg which, if we’re lucky, has some new Daleks inside it.”

“Or some Smarties!”

“No, Nigel, I keep fucking telling you. There are no fucking Smarties in that fucking Easter egg. Now pay a-fucking-tention.”

“Might be Smarties.”

“It’s not fucking Smarties! You make me so fucking mad, I swear, you’re one step away from a fucking extermination, you hear me? One step away. Where was I?”

“The plan.”

“Right, yes. Thank you Reg. The plan. Let’s paint ourselves green, design and build a completely foolproof fake human with a bomb inside him.”

“Or some–”

“Shut the fuck up! Seriously, shut the fuck up! Mention Smarties once more and it’s the fucking egg-whisk of doom. I’m not fucking kidding. We pretend the fake human made us and … you’re going to love this … ”


“Wait for the Doctor to show up.”


“Genius, yeah?”

“Why don’t we use the bomb to blow up the Earth? That’ll probably get the Doctor’s attention pretty quickly.”

“Yeah, or we could just rampage around the planet and kill all the humans until he turns up. That’ll be fun and it’ll bring him running.”

“No! This is my fucking plan, got it? We’re going to paint ourselves green, hide in an office and make some fucking tea.”

“For how long?”

“As long as it fucking takes. At least a month.”



“With this tea, will there be–”


“Right, so there’s two Daleks left …”

Serving tea for a month until the Doctor shows up … not very Dalek, is it? Unless they put the milk in first, that’s proper evil that is.

And let me ask you this, you’ve got what you want from the Doctor, you’ve got him in front of you, he’s your mortal enemy. You’re armed, he’s not. You’ve got no conscience and have been serving fucking tea for a fucking month. What would you do? Run away? Yep, sounds plausible. They must have been reading the script. Oh, and why shoot the fake man they’ve created in the hand just to prove he was a robot? Because it looks cool or because it makes sense?

Why can’t, and this might be a radical thought, but why can’t it look cool AND make sense? What if he had a weapon i his hand and that’s why they had to shoot it off?

Sorry, got a bit carried away there. I loved the Jammie Dodger line, just to redress the balance.

Where was I?

France, yes.

Checking out my what I’ve missed in the last week …

Ooh! Here’s a fucking awesome bit of info, it appears Just for the Record is …

You know what? That’s so exciting (to me) it deserves its own post.

To be continued.

Or concluded.

Depending on your point of view.

Oh yeah, there are some SPOILERS up there somewhere.

Categories: Just for the Record, Rants, Sad Bastard, Things I've Learnt Recently | 8 Comments

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8 thoughts on “HELP! I’m being held prisoner by the French!

  1. Michael Cook

    I refute that the whole gravity bubble Doctor Who thing was a plothole.

    What occurs on screen is easily explainable – the gravity bubble device was already built and was fitted to the Spitfires after Churchill’s suggestion.

    Rather than being some terrible writing error, I suggest that what we have here is actually a deliberate piece of writerly misdirection, designed to confound expectations, and you may have been suckered by it.

    I think Gatiss did a good job of deciding what information to reveal and when.

    Imagine there’d been some clearer explanation that the gravity bubble technology already existed.

    Instead of saying, as he does, “Gravity bubbles that can sustain life outside of the terrestrial atmosphere came to me in the bath,” Bracewell could have said “We’ve already built gravity bubbles that can sustain life outside of the terrestrial atmosphere.”

    But what that would also do is destroy the surprise of the reveal of the Spitfires in space. If we know that the technology exists, then – as observant viewers – we know that it will no doubt appear in the story. As it is, Bracewell’s idea is presented as a flight of fancy, and disguised within what’s almost a joke (it came to me in the bath). We are absolutely not told that this is only an idea – that’s just the assumption that you have made.

    • The spitfires in space were in the trailer which came out months ago. Hardly a surprise reveal.

      The only surprise about the Spitfires in space was the fact neither of the heroes were piloting them. Bit disappointing that.

      • Michael Cook

        Being in the trailer is a bit of a red herring, surely.

        You can’t factor in what’s already been revealed in the trailer which doesn’t exist yet because you’re still writing the story when when you’re still writing the story. That’s like a meta-textural time paradox, or something…

        • Yes, you’re right. And I just want to make it crystal clear I’m not having a pop at Mark Gatiss – it’s rarely fair to blame the writer for the finished programme, given everyone else who may add/detract to/from the script before, during and after it gets filmed.

          Plus, I think you may be right about me assuming it wasn’t already built just because we don’t see it and it isn’t referred to as anything other than an idea in a book – but I think it’s a fair assumption to make.

          Still think the way it’s portrayed suggests the idea of fitting it to a Spitfire is brand new and completed in the few minutes before the German fighters arrive – they specifically say the Germans will be here in ten minutes.

          And I think the reveal of the Spitfires in space was a little underwhelming – it didn’t seem as much of a ‘yes!’ moment as it should have been. Possibly because they’d spoilt it in the trailers, possibly because I was wondering how they’d refitted them and got them there that fast, but more probably down to the way the sequences were filmed and/or edited.

          Just a little niggling thing for me which adds to the other little niggling things to provide a less than satisfying whole.

  2. Michael Cook

    But some of the other stuff was a bit rubbish.

  3. Mark Sweeting

    I agree. Not sure who with though as I have no idea about writing or volcanic eruptions or indeed french farm houses. In fact I am still debating what it is I do have an idea about….

  4. You should see the plane they sent up in Finland – the engines look as though they’ve been strafed by lava! … Er, which they had (pretty much).

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