The Noise to Signal team collaborate to eulogise about pretty much the one and only thing we can all agree on : the majesty of Graham Linehan and Arthur Mathews’ peerless sitcom Father Ted. We individually pick out the episodes that sum up or encapsulate a particular aspect of the show - or simply a reason why it’s so utterly, incomparably perfect.
1. INT. John’s Gmail Account. Night.
A mess, obviously. Unopened mail everywhere. It is ignored, as ‘Compose Mail’ is clicked, and a flurry of text appears on the screen.
It’s always difficult to know how to react to internet campaigns and petitions. Whether you agree with the cause, it’s hard to see them as anything other than shouting in the dark, with an undertone of pessimism throughout. But it’s easy to sympathise with the recent calls over NiGHTS’ exclusion from the forthcoming Sega Allstars Racing, a hotly anticipated piece of fan service due out in the second quarter of next year. Sonic Team’s second most famous creation has been a mainstay of the Superstars sub-franchise, and when the jester was excluded from the initial line-up, most fans merely assumed that he was being saved for a full announcement of his own.
Oh, so that’s why.
Overpriced media specialists 2entertain have just announced the release of the five final episodes of the RTD era of Doctor Who in a blu-ray collection ‘Doctor Who: The Specials’.
It’s a classic “penny drops” moment, in the light of the earlier decision to exclude release the first four series only in the latest DVD box set. That said, if the blu-ray release features exclusive extras, there’ll be trouble. Still, jolly good show.
So, mere months away from a point at which the entire, self-contained RTD era of Doctor Who (and the wholesale rebranding exercise of the Moffat production suggests that we are free to consider it as such) could be collected in a boxset, and what is this we find about to be released?
A series 1-4 boxset. Containing everything but the specials.
As you might have gathered, there are three things we like rather a lot on Noise to Signal : Doctor Who, games, and Charlie Brooker. And in the absence of TARDISwipe, last night’s BBC4 special Charlie Brooker’s Gameswipe was bound to get us a bit excited.
And a fairly decent piece of television it was, too. While far from the best thing that Charlton has ever put his nickname to, it generally spoke from an informed and authoritative position, was as well-made as ever (including a wonderful opening titles sequence), and made a number of salient points, some of which had never really been touched upon by TV-based games coverage before (including a discussion of… TV-based games coverage). And with each new series, the Zeppotron archive-hunting department seem to get better and better, with some brilliant choices of old footage (indeed, the sections that looked at the mass media’s attitude to gaming over the years were generally among the programme’s best material).
Nevertheless, we wouldn’t be complete bastards if we didn’t get nitpicky, so here are a few general thoughts on the show, and on how we felt it might have done a bit better.
Not sure I’d pay a single penny for a Voyage of the Damned script, but who knows what else might show up…
With the Right Said Fred-quoting Get Sexy still in the charts, the last original member of Sugababes, Keisha Buchanan, has quit the band. From their official website:
“The current line-up of the Sugababes has disbanded. Heidi Range and Amelle Berrabah will continue as the Sugababes and will be joined by new member Jade Ewen. They release their album ‘Sweet 7’ on November 23rd through Island Records. Keisha Buchanan will continue to record for Island Records as a solo artist.”
If, like me, you’re fascinated with 60s advertising, you should enjoy my new site, Gypsy Creams (after the iconic biscuits of the era), which will be updated reasonably regularly with my thoughts on the huge number of 60s print advertisements in my possession. As these all come from women’s magazines, I may well be tempted to expand my thoughts to the problem pages, which, as you imagine, make very interesting reading.
Feedback, comments and bug reports are all very welcome!
Not so much a sister site, more a third cousin twice removed - The Iconbar has a great report on last weekend’s Acorn World 2009 event (part of the Retro Reunited convention).
To cut a long story short: I WANT ALL THAT STUFF IN MY FUCKING BEDROOM KTHXBYE.
Shamelessly nicked from Off the Telly (and speaking of that site, we’re a bit late in wishing Graham and the gang a happy tenth birthday, but it’s well worth doing, because it’s collectively one of our favourite sites, and indeed perhaps the biggest inspiration for the creation of NTS), here’s some info from Endemol on the upcoming BBC4 special Charlie Brooker’s Gameswipe, a project that I imagine something like 99.9% of the regular readership of NTS are probably at least a bit excited about. Hurrah!
The next core series Sonic game has had its initial teaser released somewhat earlier than expected- the games are on a two yearly cycle, and the 2010 release has been announced much earlier than Unleashed was. It’s a rather more retro affair this time around, with the ‘Project Needlemouse’ described as being the HD old-school 2D game that the mass media have been requesting for so long. I’ve got mixed views here- I’d happily have settled for a straight sequel to the sublime Unleashed, but with Sonic Team apparently having put their house in order during the development of that title, I’m reasonably confident that the result will be a quality offering.
Reaction to the news has been largely predicable, with expressions of mild interested on display amongst the expected bashers of 3D Sonic in general and Unleashed in particular. The one thing that wasn’t expected, however, is the vocal cries that the game should use spites rather than polygon models displayed side-on. It’s not entirely clear why, as fully 3D models would offer greater gameplay and display flexibility, given the varying resolutions available under the HD banner…
Following on from Simon Dee's recent death, NTS presents a scan of an interview with Simon Dee at the height of his fame, taken from the June 14, 1969 edition of Woman's Own. Although the day-in-the-life is something of a puff piece, it does feature the passage "Dee seems, to his fans, boyishly engaging. To his critics he is irritatingly incompetent", suggesting that opinion on him was, at the very least, divided.
Unlike the western release earlier this year, this month’s Japanese version of the House of the Dead: Overkill has a familar presence on its cover, in the form of the iconic red HotD logo. This is the first time that the original branding has been used for a core series title since 1999’s House of the Dead 2.
That is all.
Keeping with the Sixties theme, this gem of a film from the GPO (the General Post Office, forerunner to British Telecommunications, or BT) in 1969 predicts the future of telecommunications in the UK. Leaving aside the videophone, which has still proven problematic (although companies with enough money are benefiting from video conferencing), the ideas in this film have pretty much come to fruition, although maybe not quite in the manner that the GPO was expecting. It’s eight minutes of your time well spent, if only for the absolutely spot-on home-working scenario!
Another iconic part of the Sixties passes on with Simon Dee, the host of the notorious Dee Time, a show which had 18 million viewers in 1967. It’s quite possible that most NTS readers won’t know who Simon Dee was, which is the main tragedy of his life; a man who epitomised the famed spirit of the late ’60s spent the rest of his life in obscurity. His Wikipedia entry documents his dramatic rise and fall from grace, and although there’s very little evidence of his charm and talent remaining in archives (Dee Time was mainly transmitted live and not recorded by the BBC), NTS did a review of his one celluloid appearance in the 1970 film Doctor In Trouble earlier this year, and YouTube hosts the one remaining piece of Dee Time, with part of the 2003 remake (produced by Victor Lewis Smith), along with some other interview footage.
It seems very sad that there’s so little left to remind us of a man Elizabeth Hurley cites as the inspiration for Austin Powers, but his career could be seen as a metaphor for the ephemeral medium that television was seen as in the 1960s; the ultimate Sixties icon indeed.