strange_complex: (Penelope)
Hmm, we have a bit of a Situation here. This time next week, I'll already be in Cardiff for the Classical Association conference, ready to deliver my paper on Doctor Who and historiography on the Saturday. When I submitted my abstract for that paper, I quite assumed I'd have seen and reviewed all the stories up to and including The Highlanders (where my enquiry ends) by the time I needed to deliver it. In fact I've only just finished reviewing as far as The Myth Makers (see below) and watching as far as The Ark - which means I have another eight stories left to watch and eleven to review. In one week, that clearly ain't gonna happen – not with the lengths of reviews I write anyway.

On the plus side, the paper is shaping up fairly well, and given that watching and writing up these stories is part of the research, it's reasonable enough to use bits of my working day this week to get on with the reviewing – that's what I've done today in order to get The Myth Makers finished. So I'll push on as far as I can over the next few days – which is probably going to mean quite an outpouring of Whovianism on these here pages. Then if necessary I can just watch the three remaining historical stories out of sequence, and that way at least I'll have seen all my major source material by the time of the conference.

I've also decided to institute a more fine-detail approach to cut-tagging these reviews, since they're really too long for a single cut to be very helpful. It means no-one can see what sorts of issues I've discussed until they get behind the main cut, and also that I can't link directly to specific bits of earlier reviews when I'm discussing the same issue in the context of a later story. I really wish I'd instituted this a lot earlier (and might start instituting it retrospectively if I get the time), but better late than never, eh?

First Doctor: The Myth Makers )

The source texts as garbled records of real events )

The Myth Makers and The Romans )

Steven and Vicki's integration into local culture )

Vicki's departure )

There are a couple of things I'd like to pursue further with regards to this story – and may try to do so if I have time before the CA. One is Cotton's use of contemporary academic publications, which I learn thanks to a publication by [livejournal.com profile] parrot_knight is actually quite easy to follow up in this case. Apparently, a 'reading list' still survives for this story, listing items like the relevant volumes of the Cambridge Ancient History and Encyclopaedia Britannica as potential resources. I assume it must be from these that Cotton drew some of the ideas about the historical basis for the Trojan war which appear in the script – e.g. the Trojans as migrants from central Asia who have settled on the coast, or the idea that the Trojan war was really about control of trade-routes through the Bosphorus. I'd also rather like to read the novelisation of this one, since I see from Wikipedia that it takes the very interesting step of having the whole story narrated from the first-person point of view of Homer. I'd love to see what Cotton does with that, since it certainly has the potential to expand even further than the TV version on the relationship between Cotton's story and his source texts. But I strongly doubt I'll have time to fit that in before the CA.

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Torchweek

Friday, 10 July 2009 22:09
strange_complex: (Cathica spike)
Well, I really think that was one of the best things I have ever seen on television. The twists, the turns, the tension, the emotional impact. Every single person in it was brilliant, every character fully fleshed out, every development of the plot meaningful and logical. Seriously - WOW. I am genuinely sorry that I will never be able to have the experience of watching it fresh, and gasping and squealing with each new discovery, ever again.

The rest is spoilery )

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strange_complex: (Apollo Belvedere)
The 2005 Oxford Greek Play is nigh. Details, as copied from an email I received about it, are as follows:

Euripides' Orestes, 12th-15th October )

[livejournal.com profile] swisstone has already expressed interest, and I'm certainly keen to go. Previous experience suggests it's likely to be pretty damned impressive. Is anyone else interested, and if so, which dates would be best for you?

In conversation about it, [livejournal.com profile] swisstone and I were gravitating towards Saturday 15th, which could of course mean either the matinee or the evening performance. I've already promised [livejournal.com profile] swisstone (and K if she'd like to come too?) my sofa-bed if required, I'm afraid, but then again if we went to the afternoon performance, it could be slotted fairly easily into a day-trip from almost anywhere in England anyway.

Let me know if you're interested! I'm quite happy to handle ticket-booking, etc.

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