Tag Archives: Featured

Doctor Who: First look at Jodie Whittaker in character

Jodie Whittaker as the 13th Doctor

Way back in July, the BBC announced that Jodie Whittaker – in a 60 second special trailer – would be the 13th Time Lord following Peter Capaldi’s four year reign as Doctor Who came to an end. Well technically we still have Christmas 2017 before he leaves our screen forever but where has the last four months gone?

Today, the first pictures of Jodie Whittaker as Doctor Who were released and boy is it an interesting look. In a throwback to previous incarnations of the Doctor and an obvious nod to Robin Williams’s Mork & Mindy Jodie Whittaker wears the new clothes well.

As the picture shows Jodie can be seen in cropped teal culottes with yellow braces, as well as a striped jumper and long trench coat.

Her look is completed with brown boots, blue and turquoise striped socks and some unusual earrings, at the top and bottom of her left ear.

I’m beyond excited to begin this epic journey — with Chris and with every Whovian on this planet. It’s more than an honor to play the Doctor.
Braces – Not the first Doctor to wear braces – who can forget Matt Smith as the 11th Doctor smarting the clothing attire?

Jodie Whittaker as the 13th Doctor

Stripes – They could well be a nod to Tom Baker’s (The 4th Doctor) iconic scarf, Osgood or it could just as easily be an homage to Mork and Mindy.

Earrings – Only Donna Noble as a main character has sported earrings, that is until now!

Not long to wait now, Christmas is only a few weeks away when we witness the regeneration.

 

Gunpowder BBC One – History, Episodes 2 & 3 – Thoughts

The Gunpowder Plot is the name given to the conspiracy to blow up the Houses of Parliament on the 5th November 1605 during the State Opening, when the King, Lords and Commons would all be present in the Lords Chamber. The plot itself was foiled at midnight on the 4th November during a search of the cellar by Sir Thomas Knyvett and his friend Edmund Doubleday.

Contrary to popular belief and folklore Guy Fawkes (or Guido) played but a minor role even though he is the name widely associated with the annual firework celebrations. He was a solitary figure guarding the gunpowder when the cellar was searched on the 4th November. No one knows why he was involved but it is widely believed that his inclusion was down to his particular set of skills and the fact he was not known in London at the time.

The plot centred around four main conspirators namely Robert Catesby, Thomas Percy, Thomas Winter, John Wright and the aforementioned Mr Fawkes. They were later joined by a number of other conspirators.

No one knows how the plot was discovered but history suggests an anonymous letter sent to Lord Monteagle, a catholic, warning the Lord not to attend the State Opening. A search was conducted and the rest as they say is history. Although we have a fair idea of what happened I’ll refrain from spoiling the Gunpowder series until the end of this article. Scroll down to find out what happens!

Gunpowder Episodes 2 and 3

After recovering from a brutal first episode last week, episode two aired on BBC One and episode three quickly followed via BBC’s iPlayer. I couldn’t wait to find out what happened! Episode two includes an early torture scene where two Spanish Jews are burned at the stake by the Constable of Castile. It left very little to the imagination with the screams of terror slowly falling silent to the crackles of twin fires.

Kit Harington as Robert Catesby

Production values for all three episodes was amazing with the production painting quite the dreary picture. London is hemmed in and the majority of scenes were played out in dingy alleyways or candlelit rooms, it all added to a sense of fear and claustrophobia. You could almost smell the sewage with each step.

Of the three episodes I found episode two the weakest and I felt it reverted to torture to rescue any sense of drama, not even Kit Harington could rescue the episode. While Robert Emms (Father Gerard) is being stretched and pulled to all corners (the sound effects were gruesome!) Catesby played by Harington tries to rescue him from the Tower of London. In a combination of aromatic television and gloomy lit scenes it did allow the episode to end on a high – even if it was a little far fetched!

Robert Emms as Father Gerard

The final episode ties everything together quite nicely and as it hasn’t aired on BBC yet, I wont go into too much detail. It does leave a little to be desired with artistic license but this is after all a television drama not a documentary. They follow history very well and the dramatic pauses do serve a purpose.

The acting throughout is splendid and the BBC have once again delivered a classy three part series that is well worth watching again, once the dust settles. The one major gripe I had with the series was Mark Gatiss’ portrayal of Robert Cecil. He was far too one dimensional for me and his portrayal was what we’ve come to expect from the actor in past performances. On the flip side however, Shaun Dooley who plays Sir William Wade was incredible.

One has to remember not to feel sorry for these characters when they get their comeuppance, they were after all guilty of treason and plotting to kill not only the King, James I, but members of parliament. It’s easier said than done however because we all like the romantic ideal of our heroes beating the perceived baddies in film and tv!

Gunpowder is available to buy on Blu-Ray and DVD

So what happened in the end?

The conspirators were interrogated at the Tower of London for three months. Guy Fawkes was tortured on the command of King James, the document sits in the National Archives.

‘If he will not other wayes confesse, the gentler tortours are to be the first usid unto him…God speed youre goode worke. James.’

The following is taken from the parliament website:

Francis Tresham died of natural causes in the Tower of London on 23 December 1605. The eight surviving conspirators were tried in Westminster Hall on 27 January 1606. All were condemned to death for treason.

Four men – Sir Everard Digby, Robert Winter, John Grant and Thomas Bates – were executed on 30 January 1606 in St Paul’s Churchyard.

The other four – Guy Fawkes, Thomas Winter, Ambrose Rookwood and Robert Keyes – were executed just outside Westminster Hall, in Old Palace Yard, the following day.

The heads of the two ringleaders, Percy and Catesby, who had been killed earlier at Holbeach House in Staffordshire, were set up on the ‘Parliament House’.

Gunpowder is available to buy on Blu-Ray and DVD

Wattbike ATOM – Hands on

A few weeks ago Wattbike kindly sent over the new Wattbike ATOM for me to test for a few days and although I was still setting up the home gym, converting the garage, I managed to move a few things around and create enough space to accommodate the bike.

Wattbike ATOM

Indoor cycling has developed a great deal over the last couple of years, especially with the popularity of Zwift (and other third party software such as Trainer Road, Sufferfest) going from strength to strength – more on Zwift in future posts but it’s an incredible piece of software that truly encourages hard work and sweat! Nothing like watching your very own avatar ride up to another cyclist and benefit from the draft!

Wattbike ATOM

My first impressions were incredibly positive, it’s a lovely bit of kit and although not a finished model (number 26 I think) it looks sharp and aerodynamic! When I first saw it, my first thoughts were I hope this is good – I want one! It looks a lot sexier than the Pro or Trainer models.

Setting up the bike is simple and anyone used to cycling indoors will know individual measurements, seat angles, height and such and get to it. Adjustments are made by the supplied Allen keys. You may also need to change the pedals, they come with basic key pedals so buying clipless pedals is a must.

Connecting the iPad (you have to supply your own iPad/Tablet/Phone) with the bike is straightforward and following two rides on the first morning, one with Zwift and the other with the wattbike app. The connection worked well, seamless in fact however I did feel as if there were a couple of niggles with it a) it took a lot more effort to get the same wattage I have been getting with the Pro or Trainer b) there is a slight delay in gear shifting and c) I found the resistance slightly strange in that there was more when I didn’t expect it i.e. 0% and when reaching the top of a gradient the resistance grew for a couple of seconds before tailing off. This was using the Zwift application.

Wattbike ATOM

Connections with the bike itself and heart rate monitor are very easy.

Given the small issues I had with the bike and Zwift I thought I’d try it out using the updated Wattbike App – I tried Winnats Pass to see how that was and to see the resistance! I wish I hadn’t! As a rookie, and I mean rookie, I struggled! I managed it in 12 minutes but it was tough going. The app starts on gear 6/22 and I quickly found once the gradient kicked in I’d have to knock it down – ended up at 1/22 (shows how bad I am I guess!) but it appeared more responsive to me. The resistance was tough, I think it went up to 17 or 18% but I might have missed it if it did go higher! I stopped twice!

Feeling a little more confidence from a more responsive connection I did a few more generic rides (just ride) and it definitely felt better and more tuned with the official app than Zwift but this I’m sure is down to the Zwift software. The one thing friends have commented on when they’ve been around is how damn sexy the bike is! It’s very aero looking and definitely has a smaller profile than the original bikes so if space is a consideration then this may suit your needs over the Pro. It’s very sturdy and didn’t move when I went from side to side either in the saddle or standing up doing the Winnats pass climb.

Although I’ve mentioned the gearing above one thing that I’d like to see in third party software is an indication of what gear you are in. When using the Pro or Trainer this isn’t as important because the gearing is visual but with the ATOM, apart from when using the Wattbike App, there’s no way you can tell an given the delay in response time from shifting the gears you can quite easily think the instruction hasn’t made it through and you end up with too high or too low a gear on anything but the inbuilt app. I’m hoping this is something Wattbike and third party software developers like Sufferfest, Trainer Road and Zwift will sort out sooner rather than later.

Wattbike ATOM
Resistance is automatic on the bike, the gear shifting is manual via the right handle bars with an up and down trigger, simple to use and feels more natural.

The main thing about this bike is that Wattbike are developing it purely for the home market, this isn’t a gym bike and you can’t compare the ATOM with the Pro model but the fact that it comes with a 2 year guarantee from Wattbike should alleviate any fears over workmanship. Would I buy one? Definitely, this is a lovely bit of kit. There is currently a 15 week lead time with the ATOM, an increase over the 6 week lead time a month ago. It’ll be interesting to see if cyclists used to direct drive training will jump over to the ATOM, only time will tell.

Specs:-

Smart trainer control: ANT+ FEC and Bluetooth Smart Control
Gears: 22
Gradient: Range 0–25%
Third Party Connectivity: Via ANT+ FEC/ANT+/Bluetooth Smart Control
Height: Max. 150cm (fully extended tablet holder)
Width: 50cm
Length: 100cm
Weight: 44kg
Feet: Rubber feet
Rollers: Transportation rollers fitted
Cranks: 170mm
Seat: Racing seat fitted as standard
Pedals: Flat pedals with toe cage fitted as standard
Tablet holder: Can accomodate from 70mm–240mm in height
Frame: Aluminium
Handlebar fore/aft adjustability: Range 0–7.5cm
Handlebar height adjustability: Range 53.5cm–76.5cm
Saddle fore/aft adjustability: Range 0–8.8cm
Saddle height adjustability: Range 57cm–83cm
Power range: 0–2000w
Resistance: Magnetic
Power required: Mains adaptor

Don’t forget to take a look at Ray’s hands on experience over at DC Rainmaker.

The ATOM is priced at £1,499 – £1,559 including postage.