Friday, 1 October 2010

'Ask Rhod Gilbert'

He's gruff, he's gorgeous, and he's very very funny.

Yes, I'm talking about Rhod Gilbert. A man who allowed me to fall in love with his comedy after a mere minute of raging in his Welsh tone. When I noticed BBC were bringing us a 'Gilbert-packed' comedy panel show in the form of 'Ask Rhod Gilbert', I was ecstatic. I'd made my mind up prior to it's air date - it was going to be incredible. Was it going to live up to the high expectations I had set it though?

In short: yes. It very much did. The BBC seem to churn out a lot of panel based comedy shows - 'Mock the Week' and 'QI' to name just a few - and while most are brilliant, there are a few bruised apples in the bunch. I did fear that the show in question was going to be part of the latter group of shows, but thankfully it turned out to be polished shiny.

The format of the show is nothing too complicated - you have some questions set at the beginning, ones which certain celebrities would perhaps ask if they were to appear on the show. Most are a little random, and at the same time quite appropriate to the celebrity, and this alone provides some humour before any of the panelists have even shared their comic views. The audience have a turn to ask questions, and again this brings more randomness to mix up the entertainment.

While the panelists are answering the questions in their own ways, there's a lead researcher perched at a desk to Rhod's right, 'researching' to find a possible correct answer to said questions. This is a nice little feature, albeit not essential, and gives the show a little extra zing. In the first episode, this lead researcher came in the form of Kate Silverton, with the two guest panelists being Amanda Byram and Jo Brand. Brand especially provided a large dollop of hilarity with her views on eating meat.

The two wonderfuls Greg Davies and Lloyd Langford are our two regular panelists, so it's a delight that they both provide a lot of laughter. Rhod himself of course spilled jokes and lines throughout the forty minute episode that kept the viewer intently listening and hungry for more.

Viewers have an opportunity to get involved on Twitter, by tweeting a question to the show using the hashtag #askrhod, which then gives them the added excitement of hoping that their question will be answered on the following week's show. In all, the delightful atmosphere the studio set out, when intertwined with the selection of panelists, created a lovely show that was nothing but enjoyale. The aching cheeks, the split sides and the warm fuzzy feeling I was left with completes the package of perfection which 'Ask Rhod Gilbert' delivered.

Amy x

Doctor Who Series 1, episode 9/10 - 'The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances'

Video review:

I'd already discovered the delights of the tenth Doctor before I'd ventured into the world of Eccleston's 'fantastic' Doctor, but it didn't take me long to realise that the first series of the show was just as mesmerising as the second. By the time I reached episode nine, I was already head over heels in love with the leather-jacket wearing, all grinning all bounding nineth Doctor and knew that no matter how dire an episode plot would be, nothing could dampen the mood of such a glorious man. Having skimmed over the plot briefly before viewing however, I felt I had nothing to worry about. I only hoped my prejudgement was going to be correct.

The two parter episodes, 'The Empty Child' and 'The Doctor Dances', may have aired in May of 2005, but it removed us completely from present day and sent us back to London in 1941, during the Blitz. Almost immediately, Rose goes off to venture around, leaving the Doctor to try and source a missing companion. However it's not long before he has even bigger problems, when he realises a lonely little boy looking for his mother is carrying an infectious disease that the Doctor thought could only be alien. Whilst trying to route to the source of this threatening problem, Rose finds herself in the arms of a charming Time Traveller, away from the Doctor.

I'm a massive History Geek, so to have two episodes set during the Second World War was brilliant. The thought alone of combining said era with one of the greatest TV shows of all time was thrilling. Kudos to the costume department - I was incredibly impressed with the array of 1940s clothes used to create the ideal feel. The street sounds, the set designs, the blackened sky lit up by fleeting airplanes; it all created the perfect atmosphere for viewers to experience. I've seem some shoddy shows over the years which simply didn't carry across a genuine enough Blitz presence, but this one was golden.

The quality of the acting was brilliant. I'd have expected nothing less from Chris (Eccleston) and Billie (Piper) - I knew what they were capable of and this they had delivered. However, being a first time viewer of John Barrowman, I was incredibly impressed with his portrayal of Captain Jack Harkness - he allowed me to fall in love with the character immediately, which is only a good thing. Florence Hoath was lovely as Nancy - you could see clearly the mixed emotions which were sunk deep behind her eyes; the fear in her heart for Jamie, which was bundled around the love she helf for him.

I've yet to be disappointed by an episode written by Steven Moffatt - that man's a genuis. I can say the same for James Hawes, director of the two episodes in question. There are some especially beautiful scenes throughout both, ones which have you on the edge of your seat with your heart in your mouth, and others which make you blink furiously to fight back the tears. Hawes also directed my three other personal favourite episodes - definitely fine work there.

If I were to recommend any particular series one episode to a first time Doctor Who viewer, it would without a doubt be these two. In fact, I'd go as far as saying that they're not just one of the best in the series, but one of the best out of the entire twenty-first Century 'Doctor Who' series'. I struggle to find even a smudge of imperfection upon both 'The Empty Child' and 'The Doctor Dances'. They're beautifully frightful and will certainly leave a scar in your mind.

Amy x