A Driving Instructor's Blog

Movies & TV

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Sad Hill Cemetery in the movieI just caught this story on the BBC website.

The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly (TGTBATU) is the best film of all time. I should say that that’s just my opinion, but I don’t want to water it down. It just is.

It has sentimental value to me as well. An uncle, who died many years ago, was going to take me to see it when it was on at the cinema. I had been captivated by the music, which was being played a lot on the radio, and he said he’d take me. It never came to pass, because about five minutes after he’d said it, my auntie pointed out that it had an ‘X’ rating and they wouldn’t let a 7-year old in.

I digress. A while back, I was playing around with Google Earth, and since TGTBATU was on one of the satellite channels again I looked up the location of Sad Hill cemetery – the setting for the iconic final scene in the movie. The scenery in the film had always impressed me, but the location in Northern Spain turned out to be overgrown. It was an unofficial off-the-beaten-track tourist target, but it was just an overgrown valley – albeit still with great scenery. I’d made a mental note to visit the place if I ever got the chance.

Anyway, it appears from this story that a group of volunteers has renovated the site and put it back to the condition it was in when the movie was shot.

Time to start planning the trip.


Tom Baker - the definitve DoctorI told you! Back in January, I speculated that the odds of the next Doctor Who being female were good.

Let’s not beat about the bush here. The fact that the new Doctor Who will be female is contrived – contrived with a capital “C”. The media response to it just highlights the fact.

The Huffington Post has “Girl’s Reaction To Jodie Whittaker Announcement Sums Up How Important A Female Doctor Is “. The BBC is busy blowing its own trumpet, with “Jodie Whittaker and the other sci-fi women breaking the glass ceiling”. The BBC also has “Doctor Who: Prime Minister welcomes first female Time Lord”.

As I said back in January, the titular character in Doctor Who was never intended to be anything other than male. That’s no slight on women, it’s just the way it is. This current situation might well satisfy the right-on BBC and the rabid feminists out there, but it is roughly the equivalent of casting Tom and Jerry as an aardvark and a lemur (in that order). It just doesn’t make any sense.

Now, when this one’s tenure ends, what are the odds of the next Doctor being transgender?

I’ve been getting a few comments from people on this story. Just to clarify:

  • The Doctor was a male character
  • The Doctor has always been a male character
  • yes, there were female Timelords, but The Doctor was not one of them
  • the decision to “regenerate” The Doctor as a female is absolutely a decision motivated by political correctness
  • before the decision was finally made, there were various pushes to make The Doctor into a character representing minority groups

No matter how you try to put spin on it, it was a deliberate decision to put a woman into a role which was always intended to be masculine. I’m sorry, but it was. The only way of justifying it is to rewrite the historical storyline in order to claim that it was always possible – and then pretending that you believe it.


Wonder Woman - from the upcoming filmThere’s a new superhero film on its way, this time a remake of Wonder Woman. That second word pretty much guarantees that everyone involved with the film is going to be strung up by the feminist community, no matter how feminine, masculine, or neutral the main character ends up as being portrayed.

In fact, it has already started. In her armpits.

Apparently, the tinfoil helmet brigade have already decided that her armpits have been digitally altered, and are… wait for it… up in arms over it (I couldn’t resist).

Twitter has turned incandescent over the matter, but someone beat me to it with this picture suggesting what she looked like before the digital airbrush treatment.The unaltered version

I almost choked when I saw it.

The simple fact is that with high definition imaging these days, someone’s armpits are going to put you right off your popcorn, no matter if they’re au naturel or freshly mowed. A bit of electronic jiggery-pokery is of benefit to everyone except the professional loonies out there.


Unicef logoI was watching TV just now, and an appeal came on for Syrian children asking for a donation of £3 to buy a blanket. I suddenly felt quite benevolent (actually, I do occasionally make donations, usually through DEC, and once or twice through crowdfunding websites). I usually resist formal charities like the plague – and I was reminded why, yet again.

I was just about to text and make my donation when I had a thought. A quick Google revealed that if you do text Unicef, you subsequently receive nuisance phone calls and texts every day, with absolutely no way of stopping them. The calls are trying to pressure people into further or increased donations.

Sorry, Unicef. Sort the problem out yourselves. If you’re so thick you can’t see the negative impact such behaviour has on your campaign, there’s no way I could trust you with a bottle cap, let alone £3 of mine.


Obsoletely Fabulous - FuturamaSky’s Discovery channels often carry a lot of stuff about evolution, which is quite ironic given the reaction by many people on various web forums over the last couple of months to the possibility that the Sky/Discovery partnership would become extinct at midnight on 31 January 2017.

I fully accept that there are people out there who are happy to watch 640×480 YouTube videos (or ones they stole on BitTorrent) on their Linux boxes. I also accept that these people are programmed at the genetic level (and they have fewer genes than most anyway) to try to persuade everyone else to do likewise.

It wasn’t much of a surprise, therefore, to see a number of people announce that they were going to get rid of Sky as a result of all this.

Except – and here’s the funny part – Sky and Discovery came to an agreement sometime late on 31 January and ensured the continuation of Discovery channels through Sky for “years to come”.

I wonder how many jumped ship before they found out it wasn’t sinking after all?


Tom Baker's Doctor WhoAnother one which follows on tentatively from the previous two articles.

I haven’t watched Doctor Who since Tom Baker left, and although the reboot of the series in recent years seemed to take a quantum leap in terms of budget and effects, it just doesn’t interest me anymore – maybe I just grew up? I don’t know. But the BBC loves hyping the show up, and whenever the current actor playing the Doctor announces he is stepping down (as Peter Capaldi, the present Doctor, has just done), “speculation” on who might take over fills the Beeb’s website almost immediately.

Almost by definition, the “Doctor” in Doctor Who is a male character. He was never conceived as anything else. Naturally, to the BBC, this now means that four out of the eleven suggested short-listers are female.

I wonder what odds the bookies will be offering? Could be worth a flutter.


Hellboy and Abe SapienLet’s hope so. This story suggests that Guillermo del Toro is up for making a third Hellboy film.

The only thing stopping it is the small matter of getting $120 million funding.

The first two were brilliant pieces of escapism – the second one in particular – so it would be great to see a third instalment. Del Toro is a genius when it comes to this sort of thing – if you haven’t seen Pan’s Labyrinth, then you really should.


I get email alerts from the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), and over the years I’ve seen some funny rulings.

Until recently, ASA was a battlefield for BT, Virgin, and all the other broadband companies to keep trying to discredit each other over claims made in adverts. Every week without fail, BT would have a complaint about Virgin, then Virgin would have a complaint about Talk Talk, then BT would complain about Virgin again, who would then complain about BT. However, this has pretty much stopped now, and although no one ever admitted to it, I’d lay odds that it was a conscious decision on someone’s part to stop the practice once and for all.

ASA frequently reverses some of its previous decisions based on appeals from those it has ruled against (or those who won’t let go, if the decision was not to uphold a complaint). ASA is not government funded, is non-statutory, and it is self-regulating.

Every ruling against someone concludes with the phrase: “The advertisement must not appear again in its current form. We told [company] not to [make whatever claims it has been accused of]”.

Some of its rulings are extremely petty. Most complaints seem to be equally as petty, and it is obvious that they are raised by professional complainers in the majority of cases. What irks me is that some of the companies ruled against may well have spent a lot of money on the ad campaigns in question, and all that money is effectively wasted thanks to an organisation whose CEO, Guy Parker, is on a salary of £120,000 a year.

A ruling in this week’s bulletin against Heinz is a prime example. Heinz has a series of adverts centred around tapping on empty baked beans cans. Now, if ASA had banned it on the strength of how annoying it is, I’d have had some sympathy (anyone remember the Heinz Tomato Soup ads?) But their decision to ban this one is on health & safety grounds!

Heinz is a multinational company with annual revenue of more than $10 billion, and over 30,000 employees worldwide. Any advertising campaign it launches is likely to cost hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars. Heinz Baked Beans are a staple food, and Heinz sells more than 1.5 million cans per day in the UK alone. Nearly one billion people eat Heinz Baked Beans at least once per year. Two million people eat them each day (not necessarily the same people).

The ASA’s ruling came about as a result of just nine complaints.

That’s right. Nine arseholes whose brains have turned to jelly as result of whatever happens when you have children complained that the ad promotes dangerous practices which might cause little darlings to cut themselves. Where have these idiots been living?

I was brought up on cans which looked like this when you opened them. They were sharper than razor blades, especially if you used one of those lever-type openers which had a longish blade and effectively sawed through the metal. And we used to play games like Tin Lurkey with these things – but I’m still around.Old-style opened tin  can

In fact, I’m not aware of anyone having had their lives changed or snuffed out as a result of the most horrendously sharp edges on the cans I used to know, so I find it even less likely now that most cans are ring-pull types with no sharp edges of note.


A week or two ago I was force-fed the news that Alex Jones (a BBC TV presenter) was pregnant at the age of 39. My thoughts at the time were a very vague and nondescript mixture of “so what”, “39 isn’t old”, and “good luck to her”. Stuff like that.Alex Jones

Given the choice, I probably wouldn’t have thought about it again. Mind you, I wouldn’t have thought about it the first time if I’d been given the choice there, either. But then I was force-fed with some more “news” about her today. It seems that the BBC with its master plan to outlaw the condition of being male, has already given her a new show about fertility.

Ms Jones has been pregnant all of five minutes, and she is already an absolute and complete expert on the subject, telling us not to judge older women as selfish career hunters when they wait to have kids.

It’s funny. Two weeks ago, the possibility that Alex Jones was a “selfish career woman” hadn’t entered my head. But now, I can’t get it out of my head that Alex Jones IS a selfish career woman as she harangues us about age and fertility for her new show.

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