Saturday, 31 May 2008

Doctor Who, Series 4, Episode 8: Silence in the Library

I may post on this again properly later in the week, as is more usual, but this is a quick one to gush about how fantastic "Silence in the Library" was. Five TARDIS groans, best of the series so far, absolutely no doubt about it. Moffat is a genius! Here's the pre-credit scene again:

Doctor Who is clearly in very safe hands (Steven Moffat to take over Doctor Who). The episode was atmospheric, scary, intriguing, mysterious and there were a few laughs too. The layering of the episode, with the library located in the little girl's mind, the "count the shadows" refrain and Dr River Song, from the doctor's future, with her little TARDIS shaped book. Television just does not get any better than this. And with a great cliffhanger, and a whole bunch of mysteries, and a whole week to wait, it's like being a kid again! Everyone, of course, loved this episode. Nevertheless, pick of the reviews so far is on SFX:

. . . . After giving an entire generation of kids a phobia of statues with last-year’s Hugo-nominated “Blink”, Who showrunner elect Steven Moffat has now guaranteed they’ll also be sleeping with the lights on. The “count the shadows” theme has the same elegant simplicity as “Blink”’s “don’t look away”, and Moffat once again shows he’s a master at mining maximum chill power from an unseen enemy. The Vashta Nerada may be faceless “piranhas of the air” (aside from when they possess a spacesuit-clad skeleton), but no monster created courtesy of special effects could ever be as creepy as those which Moffat implants in your mind. To say they live in shadows all over the galaxy, even on Earth, might seem a little cruel to this planet’s more impressionable kids, but isn’t that what Doctor Who’s supposed to be about? The intriguing parallel plotline about the nameless little girl telling her psychiatrist Dr Moon (Colin Salmon) about the library in her head -or perhaps, as is hinted in the closing scenes, her world is fiction and the library reality - only serves to emphasise the episode’s claims to being the best of the series so far . . .
Not easy to choose a favourite clip from this week, but the pre-title sequence is as good as any, and I've stuck that at the top of the post.

Friday, 30 May 2008

Expat Eurovision and other Memorial weekend activities

In the UK, the schools are on half-term. You are conscious of it out here in the States; people aren't around when you phone them; the usual presenters of radio programmes are on holiday and the stand-ins take over; and there were no PMQs on Wednesday (something of a mercy, one might say). We get a little snippet of the same sort of thing in the US in that Monday, Spring Bank Holiday in the UK, was Memorial Day in the US. The kids were off school and we enjoyed our first Memorial day "cook out" just round the corner. American English "cook out" = British English "barbecue". Very much the same kind of thing except that it is much warmer here. In fact the whole weekend is "Memorial Day weekend", a bit like Spring Bank Holiday weekend in the UK -- sales everywhere, a holiday atmosphere, and the major programmes take a break, no new Doctor Who or Battlestar Galactica on SciFi channel, for example.

It's odd being a British expat on weekends like this, all the more so when it's Eurovision. It's become a bit of an annual tradition in our family to watch the Eurovision Song Contest live on the Saturday afternoon and Viola and I have talked about it over the last couple of years (Eurovision Song Contest on The Americanization of Emily). It was the same this year, the weirdness of watching an evening event live at 3pm, the oddity of a great internet stream with no commentary from Terry Wogan, ploughing through all those turgid songs waiting to get to the scoring, which is, after all, the only reason one watches it. But however much of a waste of time it might seem, at least one is only wasting a Saturday afternoon -- and one can still go out on a Saturday night.

The scoring is ever more predictable, and the UK coming right at the bottom is getting a bit less funny now (we were in the bottom three, equal, this year) and I had to Youtube to find out what Tezza had been saying and was sorry to see that he seems pretty depressed about the whole thing. I mean, the whole point of watching is to smile-and-whinge along with Wogan. But here he is lamenting the way the voting has turned out and it's not funny anymore:

"You have to say that this is no longer a music contest". He is not smiling anymore. Perhaps we Brits just felt it keenly because Eurovision means no Doctor Who, which now takes a mid-series break for Eurovision Saturday, so we are all in a grump because we have an extra week to wait for Doctor Who to take everything up a notch. Actually, this is probably no bad thing. The idea of the Eurovision break began last year, just before the Paul Cornell Human Nature two parter, and they showed a kind of mid-series trailer at the end of "42", the week before Eurovision. This year, the trailer has a whole new status; Doctor Who is so big that it gets a trailer advertised as part of the BBC1 schedule. I must admit that I watched it straight away. Here's a Youtube version:

Exciting stuff. Given that the mid-series trailer withheld the most exciting (Whogasm) moment of the series last time, let's hope there is something similarly fantastic this series.

But I was supposed to be talking about how crap Eurovision was and not about how much I am enjoying Doctor Who. Here's a funny post on SFX that combines both:

TV REVIEW: Doctor Who 4.8 ***SPOILER FREE***

Since the introduction of the “Doctor-less episodes”, we’ve come to expect the unexpected from the new series, but this latest format-bending adventure was an experiment too far.

Okay, it was entertaining to see a musical episode of the series, but Buffy did this years ago! It’s just another shameless example of the production team ripping off Joss Whedon, right? . . .
But for a real commentary on the bizarre phenomenon of Eurovision, The Guardian takes some beating:

Watch with . . . Eurovision 2008

Meanwhile, we might not have half-term hilidays here, but the kids only have a few days' school left, so they are not complaining.

Joseph "Trouble with Tribbles" Pevney

You don't have to be a Trekkie to have enjoyed "The Trouble with Tribbles", one of the finest episodes in the original series of Star Trek. Its director, Joseph Pevney, died on May 18, aged 96. Tomorrow's Times has his obituary:

Joseph Pevney
Hollywood film director who turned successfully to television and became one of the stalwarts of the Star Trek series

Doctor Who, Series 4, Episode 7: Unicorn and hte Wasp

I haven't got round to blogging my thoughts on the latest episode of Doctor Who, "The Unicorn and the Wasp", which aired a couple of weeks ago. I don't have a lot to say about it that hasn't been said better by others. My enthusiasm levels for this episode were not quite as high as they have been for the series' highlights. It was a perfectly fine episode, beautifully shot, looking every bit like an authentic BBC adaptation of an Agatha Christie story (even if Agatha Christie's disappearance was on December, not a bright summer's day). Fenella Woolgar was excellent as Agatha Christie and it was nice to see Christopher Benjamin and Felicity Kendal on screen again. The episode was pretty funny too, now standard in this series. There is no competition for the highlight of this episode -- the doctor is poisoned:

The episode didn't quite reach the heights of others in this series for me, though. Everything about it was perfect except the conclusion of the story. I liked a lot of the story's absurdities, even the giant wasp murdering Professor Peach in the library with the lead piping, but it was a whodunnit that in the end only went through the motions of whodunnit. You couldn't possibly work out who the murderer was, except that the contemporary TV and film convention recently mentioned in another context ("All Things Considered") by Paul Cornell [spoiler alert] dictates that the vicar must be the murderer. But it's a sign of the strength of the current series that this superb offering was not one of the stronger episodes. My favourite review this week is by Tom Dickinson, Murder Most Funny, on Behind the Sofa; here's an excerpt:

Probably the most exciting thing about Doctor Who is its capacity to be absolutely anything each week. We can go from a morality play on an ice planet, to an invasion by alien thugs being stopped by military thugs, to an impromptu war between two different ragtag armies on an alien planet, to a murder mystery in the 1920s. It's a little bit sad that we've reached the point where nearly every story seems composed of recycled material dressed up to make it look pretty. This episode, on the surface, might seem to fall victim to those problems. We get all that we expect from a celebrity historical. The companion tries to put on an accent, and the Doctor tells them not to. The Doctor and the companion try to make reference to things that haven't happened yet. The historical figure of note is called upon to solve all of the episode's problems with his or her incomparable genius.

But for all of its superficial similarities to The Unquiet Dead, Tooth and Claw, The Girl in the Fireplace and The Shakespeare Code, this episode nonetheless delivers something fresh and exciting, funny and sad, touching and terrifying. But mostly funny . . . . . .

Revised series 4 ratings:

Partners in Crime: 4 1/2 TARDIS groans
Fires of Pompeii: 4 TARDIS groans
Planet of the Ood: 4 1/2 TARDIS groans.
The Sontaran Stratagem / The Poison Sky: 3 1/2 TARDIS groans.
The Doctor's Daughter: 4 1/2 TARDIS groans.
The Unicorn and the Wasp: 3 1/2 TARDIS groans.

Sunday, 25 May 2008

Hitler annoyed at Torchwood Series 2 Finale

This is fantastic. It will only make sense if you are up to date on your Torchwood. Warning: Torchwood Series 2 spoilers and strong language:

Watch Torchwood Series 2 Finale Upsets Even Hitler in Entertainment  |  View More Free Videos Online at

(H. T.: Patrick Raiford)

(Update: 28 May 2009: link above refreshed).

Tuesday, 20 May 2008

Steven Moffat to take over Doctor Who

It has been rumoured for some time that Steven Moffat would be the one to replace Russell T. Davies as the lead writer and executive producer (i.e "show runner") of Doctor Who and it was confirmed in this press release this morning:

Steven Moffat to be Doctor Who Lead Writer and Executive Producer

I speculated a while back that this had to be the case. When it was recently revealed that Moffat was the one who wanted to resurrect the doctor's daughter at the end of episode 6 of the current series, it seemed even more likely that this must be the case. Why else would Russell T. Davies have made the change?

Moffat is probably the best of the writers of New Who, alongside Russell T. Davies himself and Paul Cornell. "Blink" is now commonly regarded as one of the best episodes ever. I've been a fan of his for some time, not just Doctor Who but also Chalk, Coupling and other things. Jekyll was quite good too. I think the show will be very safe in his hands; soon we will be saying, "In Moffatt we trust". Highlight of the press release:

Steven Moffat says: "My entire career has been a Secret Plan to get this job. I applied before but I got knocked back 'cos the BBC wanted someone else. Also I was seven.

"Anyway, I'm glad the BBC has finally seen the light, and it's a huge honour to be following Russell into the best - and the toughest - job in television. I say toughest 'cos Russell's at my window right now, pointing and laughing."

Monday, 19 May 2008

Life on Mars American Style

This looks so unbelievably bad that it is almost funny. Almost.

I seriously wondered at first whether it was a parody (but see An American Life on Mars?). Here's my question. In the UK, the best American shows are broadcast primetime on mainstream channels. Why don't the American networks do the same thing with the best British shows? The trailer above begins "Based on the Groundbreaking International Hit Series". So why not just show the groundbreaking international hit series? In fact, the only way to watch the latter on American TV was on a massively cut, non-widescreen version on BBC America.

Friday, 16 May 2008

Dollhouse Trailer

The latest Joss Whedon project is Dollhouse, which will be on Fox in the USA this autumn. No doubt Sky will pick it up in the UK. Viola and I are big Joss Whedon fans, and especially Buffy. There is now a trailer available, and it looks like fun:

It's great to see the return of Eliza Dushku in this new series, Faith from Buffy. We were fans of Tru Calling, her previous outing.

Update (Monday, 20.42): the previous version went off-line; above is a newer, official version.

Monday, 12 May 2008

England Cricket Season

Only a couple more days to wait now until the first Test Match of the summer, England vs. New Zealand, at Lords. I get a real buzz of excitement at about this time each year. I still have not got used to Test Matches starting in May and, as I mentioned at the end of last seasion (The anti-climax of one-day internationals), I think it's all the wrong way round now. Still, with the massive growth of Twenty20, the days of the one-day internationals may be limited. Jonathan Agnew thinks so (Exciting Times - but dangerous too). Speaking of Twenty20, it even made it into the Wall Street Journal the other day (Cricket Gets Lively). It is rare to see any mention of cricket in the American media, so it looks like the Twenty20 craze has even caused a few over here to take notice.

As usual, I will be tuning in via the internet. Our inability to pick up Dish TV, which is the only way to get it via TV in the US (How to cope without British TV and Radio: Cricket Supplement Update) means going to Willow TV, who do live streaming of the cricket for those in the US. The quality is usually perfectly OK, and pretty much unbroken, but it's nothing like as good as a TV signal. One annoyance is that they broadcast in 4:3 and not in widescreen. I have written to them about this, but have not got anywhere with them. Still, I'm grateful to be able to watch it at all in a land that knows nothing about cricket. This season, the choice is between $49.99 for just the New Zealand matches, or $149.99 for everything you can think of in 2008, so I've splashed out on the latter, which means that I'll be able to watch overseas tests too, which will be a treat.

Things are better for us during the summer too because we are allowed to listen to Test Match Special; there is no cricket commentary at all for Americans in the winter.

Sunday, 11 May 2008

Doctor Who, Series 4, Episode 6: The Doctor's Daughter

Usually, I allow a few days before posting my comments on the latest episode, but I so enjoyed this one that I am rashly going to review it after just the one viewing. Actually, I should have waited a bit longer to review "The Poison Sky", the second of the Sontaran two-parter. Viola had a girls night out last night, and both the kids were out with friends, and after mowing the lawn I fitted in my second viewing of that episode and I was really struck by how weak it was. I think I will have to revise my rating down to three TARDIS groans. It has great moments but the story overall was pretty absurd, especially the last ten minutes or so. The whole Martha clone business was a bit rubbish, and the resolution of the fire burning up the poison gas in the sky was a bit crap too. Part of the problem these days is that I am too excited by a first viewing of an episode, and need the second to assess it properly. Nevertheless, even on first viewing, I must say how much I enjoyed "The Doctor's Daughter".

As predicted, there was always going to be more than meets the eye in an episode so upfront about "doctor's daughter" and we were still in the pre-credit sequence when we found at that he had known nothing of her up until this point, with the expected tissue sample and generation, etc. The thing that is most difficult to judge on first viewing is the story. It seemed to hang together fine to me, though, and there were lots of things to love about this episode. First off, Catherine Tate continues to impress as Donna; Tennant had some fine moments as he had to act the doctor's reflections on all those years and all that pain, and Freema Agyeman makes us feel a sense of the familiar, a nostalgia for recent happiness now gone. But the star of the show was Georgia Moffett. How great was she?! I could choose lots of great clips, and this is as good as any:

My favourite review this week is from Behind the Sofa, Stuart Ian Burns, Genesis Wave:

. . . . This cleverly conceived new genetic anomaly does also indeed allow us to see how the Doctor copes with these emotions without overloading the canon (and was that the first time we’ve heard that word in a Confidential?). Helped by a brilliant performance from Tennant, who still somehow manages to make each tear surprising, we were able to see that indeed the Doctor can be just like us, he can care like us, can care about a child just like us and yet still be God-like, worthy, as much to do with truth and justice as Superman, even as it’s revealed he’s done some very bad things. Jenny let us see that for the first time since he bid goodbye to Susan in a London wrecked by a The Dalek Invasion of Earth.

Plus, she’s well fit.
And from a little later in the same review, and also worth quoting:
It seems wrong somehow to fancy Peter Davison’s progeny; it's like being back at school, noticing someone in your class then finding out she's your teacher’s daughter and so clearly out of bounds (believe me, I know). But from the minute she stepped out of the Ikea-redesigned Telepod from The Fly, I found myself repeatedly irritated when the camera cut somewhere else, even to the increasingly lush Catherine Tate and former obsession Freema.
Once again, this episode had that classic Who feeling -- funny looking aliens, a companion separated from the doctor, lots of running down corridors. Unlike classic Who, it continues to be laugh out loud funny. There are now more laughs in a standard episode of Doctor Who than there are in most contemporary comedies -- it is just full of great one-liners. Let's hope that it knows when to stop; at the moment, I'm loving the comedy.

And could it possibly be that there will be another spin-off? It's all nicely set up for that at the end. Den of Geek thinks so. I'll be watching, no question about it.

I want to adjust my ratings a little at this point. I was definitely a bit too generous about eps. 4 and 5, and perhaps also 3; perhaps 1 too, but no, that was a cracker. Perhaps all of them. Well, here are my latest ratings:

Partners in Crime: 4 1/2 TARDIS groans
Fires of Pompeii: 4 TARDIS groans
Planet of the Ood: 4 1/2 TARDIS groans.
The Sontaran Stratagem / The Poison Sky: 3 TARDIS groans.
The Doctor's Daughter: 4 1/2 TARDIS groans.

Friday, 9 May 2008

Doctor Who, Series 4, Episode 6 Trailer: The Doctor's Daughter

Very much looking forward to this one tomorrow (and I am enjoying these trailers with the close-up "eye" -- is this going to be important?):

I can't imagine that it is really going to turn out to be his daughter, is it? That will be too major a contribution to the Doctor Who legend, won't it? In the past Russell T. Davies has been contented with just odd one-liners about his family, and now a whole episode? I'm intrigued, all the more so with this great bit of casting -- of Georgia Moffett, Peter Davison (the fifth doctor)'s daughter.

Footnote 1 (13:31): in comments, Doug Chaplin agrees that there is likely to be more to this than meets the eye, but adds, "why would this be "too major a contribution" – the series started with the Doctor being accompanied by his granddaughter Susan". Well, since that opening episode (which I recently watched again, having received "The Beginnings" DVD set for my birthday), there have been scant references to the doctor's family, and Susan's identity has not been clarified. How is she his grandaughter? Who were her parents? What happened to them all? In general, Russell T. Davies has appeared content to offer little hints, e.g. the mention of his own wedding at the end of "Blink" last year, without filling in lots of details from his biography, and I'd still be surprised if he decides to do this with the forthcoming episode.

Footnote 2 (13.38): I notice that the writer of this episode is Stephen Greenhorn, who wrote "The Lazarus Experiment" in last year's series, and more recently two episodes of Echo Beach, which, along with its partner programme Moving Wallpaper, has been been a favourite of ours. That reminded me to check up on news about whether these two related series, which had relatively poor ratings (but then they were up against The Passion on Good Friday!), had been recommissioned. It seems that Moving Wallpaper will come back for a second series and Echo Beach will return "in some form" (Moving Wallpaper to return to ITV).

Thursday, 8 May 2008

Doctor Who, Series 4, Eps. 4-5: Sontaran Stratagem, Poison Sky

I was expecting to find the Helen Raynor double bill of "The Sontaran Stratagem" and "The Poison Sky" to be the low point of Series 4. I found the stories she penned in Series 3, the double of "Daleks in Manhattan" and "Evolution of the Daleks" the low point of that series and perhaps my least favourite episodes overall since the revival in 2005. I was very pleasantly surprised, therefore, to find her stories in this series an awful lot better. A lot better. Still not up to the standards of the first three episodes of this series, all of which rated 4 TARDIS groans or more for me, but still thoroughly enjoyable.

These episodes had a "Classic Who" feel about them, the return of UNIT, the return of the Sontarans, marching down corridors, absurd plots about cloning and the like, combined with a lot of what characterizes typical new Who, modern day technology (this time sat-nav) co-opted for evil by aliens, a school with strange goings-on, clips of BBC News 24, and lots of welcome companion family back-story. I am still loving watching Catherine Tate as Donna; Jacqueline King as her mother is already becoming a rival to Rose's mum Jacky, and Bernard Cribbins is wonderful as Wilf. (And it now seems pretty clear that he is not the same character that he played in 1966. Perhaps it's his cousin, just like Freema Agyeman played her own cousin before becoming Martha). I enjoyed all the classic Who references, especially to the Brigadier in the second of the two episodes (but why is he "stranded in Peru"? He has not retired there -- he is stranded. A tease?). I could have coped with even more; I was longing for them to unveil Bessie, kept in pristine condition all these years. If Columbo can still be driving that clapped out Peugeot, why can't the doctor get Bessie back? And there would be no danger of it having the ATMOS system installed.

I am enjoying the fact that there are also references to older new-Who, that the revival is old enough for it to be self-referencing, as when they are donning gas masks and the doctor says, "Are you my mummy?" To me, that two-parter from the first series in 2005 seems recent, but to kids now 10, they were 7 when they saw that -- it already seems like a long time ago to them.

My favourite review this week is from Behind the Sofa. Paul Kirkley's Sex Lives of the Potato Men gets "The Sontaran Stratagem" exactly right; here's a quotation:

. . . much of what we’ve seen in series four so far wouldn’t have felt that out of place among the Doctor Who of 1970 (or, indeed, 1988). Except with one, crucial difference: It’s really, genuinely, laugh-out-loud funny.

The Pertwee era’s idea of comedy was having a local yokel scratching his head and resolving to stay off the booze in a Mummerset accent. Today, we have non-exploding jeeps, comic monologues about petrol station pork pies and Catherine Tate calling the Doctor a prawn. This, I hope you’ll agree, is what we call Progress.
And since this one was a two-parter, I'll allow myself a reference to my favourite review of "The Poison Sky", by Neil, also on Behind the Sofa, The Fog of War,
Has Doctor Who ever been this much fun before? Seriously? UNIT getting its arse kicked by Sontarans. The Sontarans getting its arse kicked by UNIT. The Doctor kicking everyone's arse. Does it really get any better than that? This was far more thrilling than watching emotionless Cybermen and Daleks bitch-slapping each other, and the direction and music conspired get my juices flowing even more than Iron Man did (and I loved that too!). Even during a second viewing, when I was more than prepared to critically savage it in the cold light of day, I still found myself being caught up in the drama of it all. So many great moments: Colonel Mace finally growing some balls, the victorious return of the Valiant, Bernard Cribbens sending his granddaughter on an adventure of a lifetime. For once, I could actually buy into the Doctor's ebullient cry of "Bwrilliant!!'
Favourite moments? Lots from "The Sontaran Stratagem", but this is one of several laugh out loud moments, the doctor saying goodbye (prematurely) to Donna:

And from "The Poison Sky", well, I missed it first time round (my parents were here and I was up and down with food and wine), but the reappearance of Rose, on the TARDIS console, is naturally the most talked about moment:

I am very much enjoying the way that the return of Rose is beginning to develop. I have to admit that if anything, though, my favourite moment on Saturday was the preview for the next episode, which looks like it could be a cracker.

I rate this two-parter at three and a half TARDIS groans. Not the best by a long way, but more than passable, and surprisingly so.

So my series ratings so far (contrast Loren Rosson's more curmudgeonly ratings):

Partners in Crime: 4 1/2 TARDIS groans
Fires of Pompeii: 4 TARDIS groans
Planet of the Ood: 5 TARDIS groans.
The Sontaran Stratagem / The Poison Sky: 3 1/2 TARDIS groans.

Wednesday, 7 May 2008

Humphrey Lyttelton

I was so sorry to hear of the death of Humphrey Lyttelton last week (Times Obituary). I never miss an episode of I'm Sorry I haven't a clue and radio without Humph is as difficult to imagine as radio without Brian Johnston or John Peel (both still missed). My dad and I listened to Kenneth Clarke presenting Humphrey Lyttelton: A Celebration as we drove in to Duke last Thursday. It was a delightful programme and I learnt a lot about his jazz. Today's Simon Mayo (and Daily Mayo podcast) discussed whether the show should go on. I'd like to see it continue, but Humph will be a very difficult act to replace.

Monday, 5 May 2008

Prisoner Remake back on the agenda

I think I am pleased to hear the news that the remake of The Prisoner is back on the agenda again, after Sky TV pulled out a couple of years ago (No Prisoner remake . . .). ITV are making it, but there is precious little information so far. The two actors currently mentioned in connection with the role of Number Six would both be interesting choices, Christopher Eccleston (brilliant as the ninth doctor in the revived Doctor Who in 2005) and Jim Caviezel. Both actors have "Jesus" connections, Eccleston in the Russell T. Davies drama, The Second Coming in 2003, and Jim Caviezel in Mel Gibson's Passion of the Christ. I doubt that either figure will end up in the role, but either would be very interesting.

The best news article on the proposed remake is on BBC News, Prisoner remake "set to go ahead". The Prisoner Online is keeping watch; so too are The Unmutual, Six of One and Portmeirion's own website.

Doctor Who, Series 4, Episode 3: Planet of the Ood

"Planet of the Ood" was fantastic. A great story, several good comedy moments (especially the "quality" handcuffs) and one of Murray Gold's best scores yet. The Ood song at the end of the episode, marking their liberation from slavery, was the first genuine tear-jerker of the series and the highlight of the episode:

I was not expecting to enjoy this one anything like as much as I did. On the whole, I like earth-bound stories more than alien planet stories, and I was not particularly excited, before watching it, about seeing the Ood from Series 2 again. But it confounded all those expectations. The best -- and most entertaining -- review I have seen of this episode is on Behind the Sofa, Song from Ten, by Neil Perryman.

This is definitely the strongest start to any of the new Doctor Who series. Three episodes in and all excellent, and this one quite the best. Catherine Tate is a revelation. Five TARDIS groans from me.

Thus, for Series 4 so far, my ratings are:

Partners in Crime: 4 1/2 TARDIS groans
Fires of Pompeii: 4 TARDIS groans
Planet of the Ood: 5 TARDIS groans.

Nottingham Forest Promoted!

These have been difficult years for the once great Nottingham Forest. As a child, I used to watch them at the City Ground pretty regularly, and they were the glory days -- Brian Clough, Trevor Francis, John Robertson, Tony Woodcock, Garry Byrtles, Kenny Burns, Peter Shilton, Viv Anderson, two European Cups and more. It's not quite so easy to support them from overseas, especially while they've been languishing in League 1, but I'm naturally delighted that they secured promotion from League 1 to the Championship on Saturday, the best news the club has had in some years. And with Derby County getting relegated from the Premiership, once again Forest will be meeting Derby next season. Wonder who will finish higher?