Tag Archives: Doctor Who

Choob Chart – The Top 10 Geekiest Pop Songs


More share options

It’s the time of year for resolutions and one of mine is to update the ol’ blog more regularly than I managed in the second half of last year. So, without any further ado, here is a brand new feature – The Choob Chart.

Thanks to TV shows such as The Big Bang Theory and stars such as 30 Rock‘s Tina Fey, Geeks have never been so cool. So my first choob chart is my list of the 10 geekiest rock and pop songs ever recorded.

Now, there are a few ways of defining geeky music. For the purposes of this chart, the songs must be inspired by, be celebrations of or, at the very least, substantially reference, geek-friendly subject matter. They must NOT have been specially composed as part of a larger geeky project. So, for example, Still Alive, the song from the closing credits of the video game Portal was written for the video game and therefore exists solely as an integral part of something uber-geeky to begin with.

Also, the songs must be the work of established and (to some extent) commercial acts. This means no songs by self-publishing internet amateurs or YouTube stars, no matter how good they are.

10. Mutants In Mega-City One – The Fink Brothers

I Am The Law by Anthrax is the best known song about 2000AD‘s legendary future lawman Judge Dredd. But I’m opting for the more obscure Mutants In Mega-City One by The Fink Brothers (which was a one-off side project of Madness members Suggs and Chas Smash) for two reasons. First, I’m not really a fan of Anthrax. Secondly, and more importantly, I bought the 12-inch single back in 1985. It came with cover art and a free Dredd poster by Brian Bolland.

It’s far from zarjaz, musically, but the guys do know their Dredd lore and the lyrics are full of references to Mega-City life and characters. After the music video below there is a brief appearance by Suggs and Chas in costume as Fink Angel and his brother Mean Machine.

Which brings me to two geeky gripes. First, they should really be called the Angel Brothers since Fink was the christian name of one of the Angel gang, not their surname. And second, the song repeatedly has Dredd referring to citizens as “Earthlets” which, of course, is a word 2000AD’s alien editor Tharg The Mighty uses, not Dredd. Tut!

9. Doctorin’  The Tardis – The Timelords

Again, musically, this mish-mash-up of the Doctor Who theme tune, Gary Glitter’s Rock And Roll (Part Two) and Blockbuster by Sweet is far from brilliant (though this didn’t stop it reaching the top of the charts in the UK in 1988). But its geek credentials are impeccable.

Quite apart from Whovian-cred, The Timelords was an alter ego of The KLF, the anarchic acid house legends whose origins and philosophy were heavily inspired by one of the all-time great works of geek literature, The Illuminatus! Trilogy, by Robert Shea and Robert Anton Wilson. So the Timelords and their 23-year-old song have more than earned their place in this chart. Or, to put it another way, they’re justified and they’re ancient…

8. Sgt Rock (Is Going To Help Me) – XTC

A Sgt. Rock movie has been in the works for years now. Years ago, Arnie was lined up to play the non-superpowered DC Comics WWII hero of Easy Company. More recently, Bruce Willis has been linked to the role, with Guy Ritchie directing. The latest rumour has the action being rather ridiculously moved from WWII to a future war. Don’t hold your breath. If non-comics geeks are aware of the character at all, it’s probably thanks to this fine track from new wavers XTC, released in 1980.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

7. In The Garage – Weezer

Although this song – from Weezer‘s self-titled 1994 debut album – is more about a young geek’s appreciation of his safe haven, where he can geek out away from prying eyes, without being judged or ridiculed, there are some great references at the start to the X-Men’s Kitty Pryde and Nightcrawler, along with Dungeons and Dragons and 12-sided die. Pretty good song, too.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

6. The Prisoner – Iron Maiden

Several years before I ever saw an episode of The Prisoner on TV (it was rarely repeated on TV when I was growing up, in the days before video and DVD box sets), I knew the show’s opening dialogue off by heart thanks to this classic Maiden track from their legendary 1982 album The Number Of The Beast. You’re spoiled for choice, really, when looking for geeky references on Maiden songs through the years (for example: The Rhyme Of The Ancient Mariner, The Wicker Man, Lord Of The Flies, A Brave New World, Murders In The Rue Morgue) but this is one of the earliest and, given the cultish nature of the TV show that inspired it, this is arguably the geekiest. They revisited The Prisoner two years later with Back In The Village, on the album Powerslave.

5. Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots, Pt. I – The Flaming Lips

Now, you can read this song (and, in parts, the 2002 album of the same name it comes from) in a number of ways, from an anime-inspired futuristic tale of a young woman fighting to save the world from robots in revolt, to a more thoughtful, allegorical meditation on the importance of individuality and creativity in the face of pressure to conform and be subservient in the corporate rat-race.

For the purposes of this chart, I’m going for the former!

Vodpod videos no longer available.

4. The Eighth Day – Hazel O’Connor

Talking of revolting robots, here we have the plot of The Terminator neatly summed up in a song – four years before James Cameron’s movie was released! Okay, so the idea of a war with sentient machines was a sci-fi staple long before 1980, but still. The song qualifies for my chart because although it was written for a film – 1980’s Breaking Glass – it’s not a sci-fi film and so the song is not self-referencing (Hazel O’Connor plays a pop star struggling to cope with sudden fame and The Eighth Day is simply one of her character’s songs).

Adding to the geekiness of the song, note the costume that O’Connor wears while performing the song in the film. Tron wasn’t released for another two years.

3. History Of Everything – Barenaked Ladies

Yes, I’m bending my own rules ever so slightly here, since this song was written to be the theme song for every geek’s favourite sitcom, The Big Bang Theory. However, it does not reference the show or characters and is a great standalone song that crams the creation and 14billion-year history of the universe so far into one minute 45 seconds PLUS its future and ultimate destruction. It also has a great video, about which I have written before.

2. Hanging Out With Halo Jones – Transvision Vamp

Transvision Vamp singer Wendy James had a great voice and there were some great songs on the band’s first two albums. Most interesting from a geek perspective was the song Hanging Out With Halo Jones, from their 1988 debut album Pop Art.

The Ballad of Halo Jones was a much-loved story that appeared fairly early on in the life of 2000AD and is still regarded as one of the comic’s finest strips. Unusually for the macho, testosterone-fuelled 2000AD, in an attempt to make the comic more female-friendly, the main character was an ordinary teenage girl (albeit from the 50th-century Earth) and the storyline was a lot more thoughtful and philosophical than most of the other strips of the day.

It was written by Alan Moore before he hit the big time working for the big American comics publishers and I think it surpasses much of his later, better-known work, including Watchmen. The strip was beautifully illustrated by Ian Gibson, one of my all-time favourite 2000AD artists.

Sadly plans for a nine-volume storyline, following Halo Jones all through her life from youth until old age, fell apart when Moore fell out with the then publishers of 2000AD over creators’ rights and the series stalled after three volumes were published. It’s well worth getting hold of the reprinted collected editions if you’ve never read the story.

Transvision Vamp were clearly fans and this song was great homage to the character:

Since there is no video or live performance for the song I can find, here are a couple of bonuses. They all come from the late, lamented (by me, if nobody else!) Night Network, circa 1988. ITV’s first attempt at through-the-night programming, it aired on Friday and Saturday nights and was aimed squarely at a young audience staggering home from the pub.

The first two videos feature the cast of a Halo Jones stage play performing a couple of scenes plus an interview with 2000AD founding father Pat Mills and acclaimed artist Kevin O’Neill (Nemesis The Warlock, Marshall Law, The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen).

And here are writer Peter Milligan and artist Brett Ewins talking primarily about their 2000AD strip Bad Company.

1. DC Comics and Chocolate Milk Shake – Art Brut

I’ve featured this song on the blog before. Art Brut‘s frontman is the very geeky Eddie Argos, comics reviewer and the world’s biggest Booster Gold fan. The song is about embracing your inner geek and refusing (or being unable) to grow up and leave childish, geeky things behind just ‘cos that’s what’s expected of you. Amen, brother!

And as a special post-festive bonus, here are three more geeky songs that don’t really fit the rock/pop requirement but deserve to be included as companion pieces to the main list.

i. The Galaxy Song – Monty Python

Some excellent astronomy-based geekiness courtesy of Eric Idle. this is probably my favourite song from Monty Python’s 1984 film The Meaning Of Life, although Every Sperm Is Sacred certainly does have its charms…

ii. Elements – Tom Lehrer

The periodic table, in song, from the great Tom Lehrer. Quite the feat of memory, never mind extreme geekiness.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

iii. Star Trekkin’ – The Firm

The Choob has already spotlighted this one. Possibly the most annoying geeky song. Yet we all love it. Um, don’t we…?

Leave a comment

Filed under Choob chart, Classic TV, Comics

Top Of The Pops: The Doctor Rocks Glastonbury (ft. Orbital)


More share options

We’ve seen The Doctor dance. We’ve seen The Doctor kiss.

Now watch the 11th Doctor (Matt Smith) rock the 2010 Glastonbury Festival with his own theme tune (with a little help from Orbital).

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Current and recent TV shows, Music, Top Of The Pops Thursday, TV Themes

Doctor Who – Matt Smith Teams Up With Two Former Companions*


More share options

[*Or three if you count K9.]

Eleventh Doctor Matt Smith will cross over for a guest appearance in the forthcoming fourth season of Doctor Who spin-off show The Sarah Jane Adventures.

And in the latest crowd-pleasing blast from the past, actress Katy Manning will reprise her role as former companion Jo Grant in the show, alongside Smith and Elisabeth Sladen’s Sarah Jane.

Manning accompanied Third Doctor Jon Pertwee between 1971 and 1973.

She and Smith will appear in a two-episode run of the spin-off, which is aimed at a younger audience than the parent show.

Full BBC press release here.

Sarah Jane Smith (travelled in the TARDIS between 1973 and 1976, taking over as The Doctor’s companion after Manning left. She appeared alongside both Pertwee and fourth Doctor Tom Baker.

She was reunited with The Doctor (in the guise of David Tennant) during the second series of the revived Doctor Who in 2006. The character, arguably the show’s all-time favourite companion, was then given her own spin-off show, The Sarah Jane Adventures, which also included occasional appearances by the Doctor’s robot dog K-9 (who was reintroduced full-time in season three).

The Brigadier (Nicholas Courtney), another long-time Doctor Who mainstay who first appeared in the 1970s, has also appeared in The Sarah Jane Adventures.

Incidentally, Katy Manning famously caused a bit of a stir when, shortly after leaving Doctor Who, she posed naked with a Dalek for a saucy nude magazine photoshoot.

The photos are pretty tame by modern standards but possibly still NSFW, so click here, here, here, here, here and here to see them.

2 Comments

Filed under Classic TV, Current and recent TV shows, Kids' TV, TV News

Finally! First Official Photos Of Doctor Who’s New Season 5 TARDIS Interior


More share options

At last, with less than a week to go before season five of Doctor Who launches (season five in post-revival terms, that is – season 31 overall) and Matt Smith‘s reign as the eleventh Doctor begins (the first episode airs in the UK on Easter Saturday, April 3, on April 17 in the US and Canada and on April 18 in Australia), we finally have our first proper look at the new TARDIS interior.

We already knew that the console room would be split over two levels and have been promised a look at some other rooms in the TARDIS but for now, all the shots are of the main level of the console room.

If, like me, you were a bit confused that the Doctor and Amy (played by Scots actress Karen Gillan) appear to be standing in front of two different versions of the Tardis console, in fact they are standing on the perspex platform in the top picture and down on the “Swiss-cheese”-style main floor in the others.

So, what do you think? Comments welcome.

More pics over at Radio Times.

6 Comments

Filed under Current and recent TV shows, TV News

Inside Doctor Who’s New Tardis


More share options

UPDATE: MARCH 30, 2010 – Click here for the first official photos of the new TARDIS interior!

The first episode of the new series of Doctor Who (the fifth since the series was revived), starring Matt Smith as the 11th Doctor, received its world premiere in Cardiff on Thursday night.

We already knew that the TARDIS gets a makeover, inside and out, during the first episode but the interior is still being kept a closely guarded secret.

However a few clues have slipped out – we know that the console room will be split over several levels, linked by a spiral staircase. We are also promised we will finally see some other of the TARDIS’s other rooms for the first time since the series was revived.

This is the view from outside the TARDIS looking in (a cloth backdrop is used during filming to give the impression of a large interior):

This is taken from the BBC trailer for the new series and appears to show The Doctor sitting in a swing seat on the upper level of the console room:

And finally, for now, from fan website Inside The Tardis, we have this, which appears to be the wardrobe room (EDIT: oops, just realised that this is actually the old (9th/10th Doctor) TARDIS, from the scene in The Christmas Invasion in which 10th Doctor David Tennant was choosing his new outfit):

Watch this space (including Time And Relative Dimensions)..!

3 Comments

Filed under Current and recent TV shows, Stuff, TV News

The Monday Movie: The Sword In The Stone


When I was wee, you never saw any of Disney’s classic animated films on TV.

There were only three TV channels in the UK until I was 13. And the home video boom didn’t really take off until I was in my mid-teens.

This meant that when I was a kid, there were only two way to see a film – go to the cinema when it first came out, or wait three or four years for it to premier on one of those three channels – usually at Christmas.

However, Disney’s feature-length cartoons NEVER aired on TV. Back then, they were re-released into cinemas every decade or so, so I guess the Disney bosses did not want to devalue them by making them available on TV.

The best we got was on bank holidays and at Christmas and Easter, when there was always a special edition of Disney Time on BBC1 in the afternoon, presented by whatever celebrities were trendy at the time – including, in one memorable case, Doctor Who star Tom Baker in character as The Doctor.

Disney Time included brief clips from a selection of Disney’s animated classics, padded out with clips from some of their lesser animated and live-action efforts.

All of which is by way of a preamble to explain why the following scene still means a lot to me, even though The Sword In The Stone isn’t really considered one of Disney’s greats.

This clip – the wizards’ duel between Merlin and Madam Mim – ALWAYS seemed to appear in every single one of these bank holiday Disney Time shows and so helps evoke some happy childhood memories for me.

Although, in saying that the memories were happy, at the time it was exceptionally frustrating to only ever see clips and never the full film!

What brought it back to mind now was last week’s A Word From Our Sponsors, in which I featured a classic Lego advert that seemed to be inspired by the scene.

Enjoy!

Leave a comment

Filed under Movies, The Monday Movie

The Choob’s 12 Days Of Christmas: The Ghosts Of Christmas TV Past


On the tenth day of Christmas, The Cathode Ray Choob
sent to you…
A TV geek’s Christmas dream come true.

Today’s Christmas post is one for the Choob’s fellow TV geeks.

It’s a compilation of all the BBC’s Christmas idents (those little scenes with the BBC logo that accompany the continuity announcments between programmes) from 1983 right up to 2006.

For completeness, here are the 2007 idents. Note that the BBC2 ident was reused in 2008 and 2009:

Here is the 2008 BBC1 Wallace And Gromit ident, plus the shorter “stings”:

And finally, the 2009 David Tennant Doctor Who ident plus the stings:

Leave a comment

Filed under Christmas, Classic TV, It's Classic Clip Friday!, Stuff