Audiobooks, radio plays, and Neverwhere

Sometimes, when knitting complicated patterns (lace), looking up is just not an option. You can either watch something you’ve seen before, or shows with a lot of talking where you don’t have to look up to know what’s going on (like sports or a talk show).

Another option where you don’t have to look up at all are audiobooks. (Also allows you to knit and “read” at the same time, something that’s quite tricky with regular books…)

An alternative to audiobooks are audio plays. BBC radio produce wonderful ones which are free to listen to and download for a limited time after broadcast. An example is the fantastic adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere for Radio 4, which we both listened to a while ago.

Things we’re taking away from this radio play:
  • Absolutely fantastic performance from all actors!
  • James McAvoy’s accent. We’re in love.
  • James McAvoy in general. Doesn’t even matter that you can’t see him. (If you don’t like James McAvoy, you’re wrong.)
  • It’s fascinating to only hear the voices of actors you know on sight. Sometimes it takes you a while to connect the voice to the face. Like Jessica, played by Romola Garai, or as Anneli knows her, Jane Austen’s Emma Woodhouse… which only took her about four episodes to figure out.
  • Train tunnels are disturbingly noisy when you try to listen to what people say.
  • Tove will never not laugh at the London jokes. (She was a bit sad that the “mind the gap” plot was cut. Anneli hasn’t read the book though, so no spoilers.)
Best moment:

Dear imaginary diary… or perhaps “the grrrreat beeeeast of London”.

Verdict:

We give this radio play four out of five DPNs, for being fun and exciting, very well produced, a really good adaptation of the source material, and for James McAvoy and his accent.

(Tove would also like to recommend the six Torchwood radio plays which were also produced for Radio 4. Gareth David-Lloyd in particular is delightful in all of them. Maybe give “House of the Dead” a skip while knitting, though, as you will be bawling your eyes out. Put down the yarn and fetch some tea. Sniff.)

Note: If you missed out on downloading the files while they were available for free, there is a site called Soundcloud, which is all we’re going to say about that. Wink wink.

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Watching Who: 7×05 The Angels Take Manhattan

Things we’re taking away from this episode:
  • Important men always wear trench coats on this show.
  • Battery Park seems lovely. When it’s not infested with angels, that is. Also, Tove has a massive architecture crush on the Chrystler Building.
  • The Doctor really SHOULD stick to the science part instead of commenting on glasses and wrinkles and stuff.
  • Only thing creepier than angels? Baby angels. NO NO A WORLD OF NO. GO AWAY.
  • This episode has interesting definitions of marriage.
  • Smiling angels is a BAD sign.
  • Makeover for the Statue of Liberty. WE DON’T LIKE IT.
  • What a gorgeous episode. Setting, costumes, the whole thing. Yowzah!
  • Tears, goosebumps, waaaah. Does ANYONE like endings?
Best moment:

The Doctor: Well come on, come on, come on! Where is he?
River: If it was that easy I’d get you to do it.

Verdict:

Through our sniffling, we’re giving this episode 4.5 out of five DPNs, for being scary, gorgeous, and sad, yet not TOO sad… for an ending.

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Watching Torchwood: 1×06 Countrycide

Switching things up a bit here… this is Anneli’s first viewing. Tove has seen it, erm, well. Previously.

Things we’re taking away from this episode:
  • Tove (suburban child) kind of agrees with Owen about the countryside. Anneli (countryside child) does not. No one is surprised.
  • This Torchwood Team Building Camping Adventure does NOT go to plan. People just keep ruining the mood and making it awkward… and that’s BEFORE they find the dead body!
  • Brecon Beacons offers a lot of dramatic sky shots. Beautiful in a bleak way!
  • If you have to be stuck in a creepy cellar, we’d rather be stuck with Tosh and Ianto than the others. They’re better at… thinking.
  • Has Gwen never heard of tea and hugs as a means of comfort?
  • Jack’s Captain Fantastic Saves the Day scene is really cheesy.
  • Tove thinks this is the scariest of all the Torchwood episodes (and Anneli agrees that it’s the scariest thus far). The worst monsters of all.
Best moment:

Owen: I hate the countryside. It’s dirty, it’s unhygienic. And what is that smell?
Gwen: That would be grass.
Owen: It’s disgusting.

Verdict:

For being tense and terrifying, we award this episode four out of five DPNs, with the ending dragging the grade down a bit.

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Watching Who: 6×09 Night Terrors

Things we’re taking away from this episode:
  • Not having a setting for wood is embarrassing.
  • Lifts. AGAIN. Lifts are bad news!
  • Ten cats IS a lot.
  • Is there a Time Lord fairytales book? If not, there should be.
  • If you are scared of everything, that does indeed include pants.
  • Anneli feels very smug about figuring out where they ended up (hint: not a place for giant termites trying to get on “The Property Ladder”).
  • Carpeting that looks like a swamp is a bad idea. For several reasons.
  • Lights are great, aren’t they?
Best moment:

The Doctor: I’m not just a professional, I’m the Doctor.
Alex: What’s that supposed to mean?
The Doctor: It means I’ve come a long way to get here, Alex. A very long way. George sent a message—a distress call, if you like. Whatever’s inside that cupboard is so terrible—so powerful—that it amplified the fears of an ordinary little boy across all the barriers of time and space.
Alex: Eh?
The Doctor: Through crimson stars and silent stars and tumbling nebulas like oceans set on fire. Through empires of glass and civilizations of pure thought. And a whole terrible wonderful universe of impossibilities. You see these eyes, they’re old eyes. And one thing I can tell you, Alex: monsters are real.
Alex: You’re not from Social Services are you?

Verdict:

After some debate we’re giving this episode four out of five DPNs, for being really creepy, yet really sweet, with an extra bonus for the spooky song.

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Watching Who: 6×08 Let’s Kill Hitler

Things we’re taking away from this episode:
  • Anneli is very glad she doesn’t have a friend like Mels.
  • Bad guys (gals?) very often have dark lipstick.
  • Entering a lift with hubris is a bad idea.
  • The Doctor really likes replacing weapons with bananas.
  • Low point of the episode, nay, series: “Plus she’s a woman”. Boooo.
  • Silence will fall when the question is asked. Anneli will ponder it. (Tove has seen this before, but did figure it out. It made her unbearably smug.)
Best moment:

Rory: Does anybody else find this day just a bit difficult? I’m getting a sort of banging in my head.
Amy: Yeah, I think that’s Hitler in the cupboard.
Rory: That’s not helping.

Verdict:

Despite the terrible “she’s a woman” line, we’re giving this episode three and a half out of five DPNs, for important plot, lots of funny lines, and a very cool and poetic mystery.

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Watching Who: 6×07 A Good Man Goes to War

Things we’re taking away from this episode:
  • The amount of information in this episode will leave you a little exhausted.
  • “I’m old, I’m fat, and I’m blue” is not an excuse that will ever work.
  • No balloons for human and private stuff on the Tardis.
  • Tove will never be completely over the fact that Captain Jack isn’t in this episode. Especially since the reason is because of scheduling problems with Miracle Day, of all things.
  • You can’t just cook yourself a time lord. OR CAN YOU?
  • The only water in the forest is the river. Again.
Best moments:

The Doctor: Good men don’t need rules. Today is not the day to find out why I have so many.

Demons run when a good man goes to war
Night will fall and drown the sun
When a good man goes to war
Friendship dies and true love lies
Night will fall and the dark will rise
When a good man goes to war
Demons run but count the cost
The battle’s won, but the child is lost

Verdict:

We’re awarding this episode three out of five DPNs, for being very intense and full of information, as well as bringing back a few old faces, but perhaps lacking in other ways.

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Watching Who: 6×04 The Doctor’s Wife

Things we’re taking away from this episode:
  • Anneli has been hexipuff brainwashed and sees them everywhere, flying through the universe…!
  • If Tove had a second-hand shop, she’d call it “The scrapyard at the end of the universe”.
  • “Petrichor” is a good name for a yarn colour.
  • Anneli can’t spell scrapyard. Scaryard is ALMOST right, right? (And yet Tove was the one consuming beer. We’re left wondering what Fortnum and Mason put in their tea.)
  • Fish don’t have fingers. Too bad we have to knit gloves for people and not fish.
  • Tove misses Ten’s control room. It could be that she just misses Ten in general.
  • Bunk beds are not cool. Sorry Doctor, you’re wrong.
  • The only water in the forest is the river….
Best moment:

Idris: You’re like a nine-year-old trying to rebuild a motorbike in his bedroom. And you never read the instructions.

The Doctor: I always read the instructions.

Idris: There’s a sign on my front door. You have been walking past it for seven hundred years. What does it say?

The Doctor: That’s not instructions!

Idris: There’s an instruction at the bottom. What does it say?

The Doctor: “Pull to open.”

Idris: Yes, and what do you do?

The Doctor: I push!

Verdict:

A solid five out of five DPNs, for being fun, innovative, and oddly moving.

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