Another one bit the dust – or so I thought. Back in June 2009, it was reported that Primeval, ITV1’s prime-time science-fiction show, had possibly breathed its last. After 23 episodes through three series, the programme that brought dinosaurs to Saturday teatime for the first time since (I think) the 1974 Doctor Who serial Invasion Of The Dinosaurs wasn’t being recommissioned, leaving its future uncertain – and its fans gnashing their teeth, giganotosaurus-style.
ITV’s decision to cancel the show appeared to take its producers by surprise, with the third series finishing a couple of weeks previously on a cliffhanger and a string of loose ends still to tie. Co-creator Tim Haines told Digital Spy that story plans were in place for at least two more series. And with a Primeval movie reported to be in the early stages of production, plus rumours of a spin-off series (which has since been confirmed to be happening in Canada), I thought it was a shame that the original show had been given its P45.
As the Doctor bids Lou and Carmen farewell at the end of Planet Of The Dead, he’s taken aback by Carmen’s warning: “Your song is ending, sir.” Her psychic powers, trumpeted regularly over the previous hour, suddenly don’t look so impressive. With the very public unveiling of Matt Smith back in January, is there anyone alive who doesn’t know that the 10th Doctor’s days are numbered?
With David Tennant, the longest-serving Doctor since Tom Baker, getting ready to vacate the TARDIS, and executive producer and general mastermind Russell T Davies soon to turn the series in for adoption, Doctor Who is at a crossroads right now.
Its semi-gap year, with just four hour-long specials replacing the usual 13-part series (14 if you count the regular Christmas special), seems to have slowed the show’s momentum, which feels odd with a regeneration looming. After the disappointing Planet Of The Dead, the next three specials need to be special if Tennant is to get the send-off that his Doctor deserves.
It’s a tradition on this day that I post a pic of my efforts with a pumpkin and a tiny hacksaw blade so, well, here’s this year’s flawed masterpiece. Nothing radical; just a good old-fashioned jack o’lantern. A hint of evil in the eyes and a toothy smile – exactly how it should be.
Halloween actually started a day early for me, as I spent Thursday evening supping pints of the Devil’s brew (well okay, Strongbow) in the company of Satan’s house band, Slayer. Hammersmith Apollo was the venue – the very same place, albeit with a different name, that I saw my first Slayer gig 20 years ago, on the South Of Heaven tour.
Phew, that was touch and go. Is there a national pumpkin shortage? I usually see them in supermarkets a few weeks before Halloween, but this year they seem to have been scarce. I searched high and low yesterday afternoon for a medium-sized one. I ended up rummaging through a grotty-looking display in Sainsbury’s and buying a much larger model than I normally do (I had to give the cashier a hand to lift it). That baby’s gonna take some serious scooping out.
I like Halloween. I have good memories from childhood. I’d dress up as a demon and go trick-or-treating with the other kids from my street, in the days when no one thought it a dangerous thing to do. When I think back, I can still smell sweat on the back of a plastic mask, and taste the burnt marshmallows we’d toast over candles when we got home.
Though I do sometimes get emotional watching films and TV shows, I usually manage to hold it together in company. I might have a lump in my throat and glassy eyes, but unless the person in the room with me is watching me rather than the telly, they’d never know.
Last night, though, I lost my composure completely during Doctor Who’s season finale, Doomsday. If you haven’t seen it and are spoilerphobic, skip the next paragraph.