Saturday, 21 January 2012

The House Of Silk By Anthony Horowitz

I purchased the audiobook as I was intrigued by the idea of a new adventure for Holmes and Watson, endorsed by the Conan Doyle Estate, and I anticipated an entertaining reading by Sir Derek Jacobi. I was not to be disappointed.

A new client arrives at 221b Baker Street, art dealer Edmund Carstairs, who engages the services of Holmes and Watson to track down a sinister man who has been following him, whom he fears is out to kill him.

They agree to take on the case and are soon drawn into a series of events, involving the criminal underworld of London and the organised crime gangs of Boston.

As they try to uncover the mystery before them they hear mention of the house of silk, and when Holmes starts asking questions he risks becoming embroiled in a conspiracy of epic proportions.

I have to come clean and admit that I haven't read any of Arthur Conan Doyle's novels, so I can't comment on whether Mr Horowitz has captured the spirit of the original stories. I can however confirm that he can write a very compelling story which will keep you engrossed from start to finish.

Now I'm not sure if I can put myself up there with the genius of Mr Holmes, but I did manage to identify the evil doers very early on, but that did not lessen my enjoyment of the story.

Sir Derek Jacobi is a national treasure as far as I am concerned, and he does a wonderful job of reading this captivating tale, doing a great job with the various characters giving them their own unique personalities.

I sincerely hope that this will not be the only Sherlock Holmes book by Anthony Horowitz as it has been a revelation, and has encouraged me to seek out Arthur Conan Doyle's novels and short stories, and experience more of the adventures of the world's most famous consulting detective.

Friday, 20 January 2012

Whip It (2009)

Whip It is the directorial debut of Drew Barrymore, and centres around Bliss Cavendar, played by Ellen Page (Inception, Juno, Hard Candy) who is a bright seventeen year old, who is being smothered by her overbearing, if well meaning mother (Marcia Gay Harden).

Her mother wants her to take part in beauty pageants and other such girly pursuits like her younger sister, but she's just not interested. Bliss and her friend Pash (Alia Shawkat) are determined to get away from the small town in which they live.

Bliss picks up a flyer for a roller derby (an all girl team sport with racy outfits and larger than life nicknames) in Austin, and the girls decide to attend, telling Bliss' parents that they're going to a football game as they're sure that her mum and dad won't approve. Bliss is entranced by the action and decides to try out for the Hurl Scouts team, who have never won a match in all the time they have been in the league.

Needles to say she keeps her skating activities a secret from her parents, which leads to some entertaining drama.

Drew Barrymore's directorial debut is written by Shauna Cross, based on her novel Derby Girl. The ensemble cast is great with Page, Barrymore, Juliette Lewis, Alia Shawkat and Kristen Wiig particularly standing out.

Barrymore deftly manages to balance the dramatic and the comedic elements of the story, something she is she manages very easily in her acting too. The action sequences are shot in a very exciting and realistic way, and the women are portrayed as smart, tough and at times vulnerable, but never weak.

This had been sitting in our LOVEFiLM rental list for quite some time, and if this movie is anything to go by Drew Barrymore's next film will be going to the top of the list.

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Tom Baker's Big Start For Big Finish

As an occasional purchaser of Big Finish audio CDs I was very excited when it was announced that Tom Baker had, after many years of cajoling, agreed to reprise the role of the fourth Doctor in a new series of audio plays.

The first release is Destination Nerva penned by Nick Briggs, which sees The Doctor and Leela travel to Space Dock Nerva, later to become Nerva Beacon as seen in several stories from season 12 of the classic series on TV.

It's a fun, pacey affair with plenty of spooky moments too, which fits in with the way the show was made during the Phillip Hinchcliffe era.

Among the guest stars is Raquel Cassidy (best known to British viewers as Susan in Teachers alongside Andrew Lincoln from The Walking Dead) seen recently in The Rebel Flesh and The Almost People from series 6 of Nu Who.

As if that wasn't enough Big Finish have also released a Lost Stories box set, featuring two stories originally intended to be made during the original classic series, which for one reason or another never made it to our screens.

I haven't listened to The Valley Of Death yet, but a review wil appear here as soon as I have! The other story in the set is The Foe From The Future (eventually replaced on TV by Robert Holmes' classic story The Talons Of Weng Chiang) originally written by Robert Banks Stewart, and adapted by John Dorney. This is my favourite story so far, with plenty of Tom's trademark wit, and a plot that drives along nicely.

Tom and Louise effortlessly step back into their roles, and the chemistry is fantastic between them. If you have a nostalgic longing for this era of Doctor Who, and you've never checked out a Big Finish audio play this could well be the one to get you on board.

The Fourth Doctor Adventures are available to order from

Saturday, 14 January 2012

New Adventures In Podcasting

Well, the blog feed has been a bit quiet of late, because I have been getting together a podcast which will focus on the kind of things I write about here.

The first episode focuses on Doctor Who, I have a chat with J.R. Southall from Starburst magazine about his new book You & Who available from Miwk Publishing here with 100% of author's royalties going to the BBC's Children In Need charity.

Also up for discussion are Moffat Vs RTD, Sherlock & fanzines. If you like what you hear there is an option to subscribe through the player, and the podcast feed is also available via iTunes.