Surrender 120: Series Review: Broadchurch

I was originally drawn to this British television series because of the main actor. David Tennant had finished his stint as The Doctor, on Doctor Who. Appreciating this Scottish actor’s charm and talent, I was eager to continue watching him, even in another role. 

My grandson Dayan and I added Broadchurch season one to our Wednesday afternoon viewing lineup, watching an episode each week after catching the latest Legends of Tomorrow. We completed season one last week, and I feel ready to share a review as we launch into season two. 


Broadchurch stars David Tennant, Olivia Colman, Jodie Whittaker, Andrew Buchan, Arthur Darvill, Jonathan Bailey, Matthew Gravelle, Adam Wilson, Joe Sims, Oskar McNamara and Charlotte Beaumont. This crime/drama/mystery is the creation of Chris Chibnall and, commercial-free, has a run time of 48 minutes. Dayan and I watch Broadchurch on Netflix. 

Broadchurch is a close-knit coastal community in England, shaken to its core by the inexplicable murder of an 11 year old boy named Danny (McNamara), whose body is discovered at the base of cliffs near the sea. Danny’s family is devastated and shocked, as is the entire town. Lead detective Alec Hardy (Tennant) arrives to head up the investigation, partnering with local detective Ellie Miller (Colman). 


But in a community where it seems that everyone knows everyone else, Hardy discovers that each resident has secrets that they will hide at any cost. Danny’s dad Mark (Buchan) is bored with his marriage, asking his friend and co-worker Nigel (Sims) to cover for his mysterious absences, while his mom Beth (Whittaker) is hiding news that should have been shared with joy. Danny’s sister Chloe (Beaumont) is sneaking out to meet an older boyfriend, and his best friend Tommy (Wilson) deletes text messages and attempts to destroy his laptop. 

From the town priest (Darvill), to the ambitious young newspaper journalist (Bailey), to Detective Miller’s stay at home husband Joe (Gravelle), everyone knows more than they are telling. Even Hardy has a dark past that haunts him and a medical condition that he refuses to disclose. His attempts to redeem himself in this new town are met with suspicion and resentment. 


At the heart of this drama is a dead boy, who had secrets of his own, and who is deeply missed by his family. All of season one focuses on unraveling the town’s mysteries and examining the complex and often sorrowful backstories of the residents of Broadchurch. At the end of the series’ first year, Danny’s killer is identified, in the startling conclusion. 

I like whodunnits. I like the challenge of following the story and attempting to stay ahead of the reveal, so that at the end I’ve guessed who the perpetrator is. Broadchurch is tightly written, edgy, full of angst and secrets…and surprises. At the end, I was blown away and totally wrong in figuring out who did it. Although it was very difficult for me that the victim is a child, this series is so finely crafted that I was enthralled. 


David Tennant is amazing in this role. He portrays the life weary and embittered Hardy so well, that when I met him recently at Comic Con I was surprised at how youthful he looked and how full of life he was. Olivia Colman is equally captivating, eliciting heart felt emotional responses from me. The two characters have a great love/hate relationship that plays out well as the season progresses. 

Many life lessons are presented throughout the series. Hardy and Miller learn to trust each other and their instincts. And in a town seeking justice, many injustices are committed, with innocent decent people hurt in the process. Looking for a monster hidden in their midst brings out the ugliness and the beasts of prejudice in so many. 


As always, I enjoy watching these thought provoking shows with my grandson. We talk about what’s going on. We exclaim, we mutter in surprise, and during the heart-wrenching scenes, we look at each other with woe in our faces. We connect what we’ve seen with life and the journey. 

This afternoon we began season two of Broadchurch, with episode one. Immediately we were back with familiar characters and some new faces, and a tense, surprising opening scenario. Hardy and Miller have grown into a more relaxed and easy relationship that contained hints of humor. And for the first time, I caught a glimpse of The Doctor peeking out through Alec Hardy’s careworn face. 

It’s going to be a great second season of Broadchurch. 

Surrender 94: Wizard World Comic Con St Louis Part II 

The word that best describes what Dayan and I initially felt as we walked onto the floor of our first comic con was “overwhelmed”! The large convention building was packed with vendor booths, a large gaming area, a celebrity section and a photo op area. There were people everywhere, many in fantastic costumes. Dayan was actually in costume as well, as the 11th Doctor, sporting a fez and bow tie. 

 

Being newbies, we immediately sought out the show volunteers, easily identified by their lime green shirts! Dayan and I purchased VIP tickets for this event, which included photo ops and autographs with David Tennant and Matt Smith and first access to discussion panels. However, we didn’t know what to do with all of our tickets and where to meet at the appropriate times. I’m grateful for the kind people in green! With their help we figured out schedules and put together a time line for the day. 
  
 

 
After an early lunch, which turned out to be our only opportunity to eat until late that evening, we hit the convention floor in earnest. First lesson learned: grab food to eat while standing in lines. There was so much to see, so many amazing people to gawk at, that I’m surprised our necks didn’t hurt from all of our head turning. We found a replica of the TARDIS from Doctor Who to step into, talented artists selling beautiful artwork, authors of fantasy fiction, metalwork, and shops full of merchandise dedicated to specific shows. Dayan bought a Doctor Who case for his iPhone. 

 

 
 Photos with the W emblem are from the Wizard World Facebook page. They captured better photos of what was happening in St Louis than I was able to! 

Music boomed overhead, with theme songs from various movies playing frequently. And little dramas and scenes were enacted as people in character bumped into each other. Some of my favorite cosplays included a Mad Hatter and White Rabbit from Alice in Wonderland, the Joker, and Wolverine. Every sci-fi and fantasy movie was represented and it wasn’t unusual at all to see Cinderella walking alongside Darth Vader and the 10th Doctor. 

 

 
  
  
We only had an hour and a half to walk the floor. I know we didn’t see everything and unfortunately we didn’t make it back to booths that we wanted to inspect closer, such as a Scottish shortbread and wares shop. There wasn’t time. Second lesson learned: you need more than one day at a comic con. We did, however, get a great overview of what’s available from vendors. And walking down the celebrity row, we got our first peek at Matt Smith and Billie Piper. Also signing autographs were actors William Shatner and Lou Ferrigno. We ended up at the photo op area, where our first scheduled event was about to take place. 

 In line for our photo op

The photo op allowed each of us to have our picture taken with Matt Smith, the 11th Doctor, and David Tennant, the 10th Doctor. We were excited…giddy might be a better word! This was the moment Dayan had been looking forward to, meeting his two favorite Doctors. Hundreds of other people were looking forward to the same experience. I have to admire the actors who handle these situations with such grace and good humor, as person after person steps before them for an autograph or squeezes in for a photo. I never saw their smiles waver. 

  
The process ran efficiently too, with the line moving smoothly and quickly through a tent where Tennant and Smith waited with the photography team. I watched, delighted, as Dayan stepped between the two Doctors for his photo. Matt reacted with glee that Dayan was dressed as his character, while David playfully swatted at Matt, in acknowledgement. The result was a perfect picture of the three of them. I’m so happy about that photo. 

  
Dayan exited the tent and it was my turn. I stood between these two amazing actors, an arm around each one, their arms around me, and just before the shutter clicked, I quietly said “Two of my favorite guys…” They laughed and David immediately quipped, “Two of your favorites? How about your top two favorite guys?” I laughed too and changed my remark to “Okay, my top two favorite guys…” said as I walked toward the exit. The photographer called me back, saying a bit tersely that we were talking during the photo and she wanted to retake it. “When I say ‘Ready’, stop talking,”she said. Which made us laugh harder, but I found myself back between these two fun guys, and this time, we stopped talking when the photographer said “Ready”. 

I thought I looked goofy in the photo, caught mid sentence, but what a fun moment. Dayan later said that while he got the great photo, I got the great story! Fortunately, I ended up with two photos, with the latter one, shared at the end of the blog post, being a better pic!

 

 
 

Dayan and I headed to our next event, autographs by Matt Smith, while the photo op concluded. We discovered that standing, or sitting, while in line, is a great opportunity for meeting fellow geeks and convention attendees. They are a friendly bunch, with stories to share. 

As we stood before Matt, 8x10s in hand to be signed, Dayan experienced another great moment. Volunteers write down your name and attach it to your choice of photos to be autographed. Dayan has an unusual name. Most people pronounce it wrong. Dayan and I waited to see how Matt would pronounce it. Matt peeled off the name sticker and as he held his sharpie ready, said, “Let’s see, this is Dayan”. He looked up at my astonished grandson. He had pronounced the name perfectly. As Dayan gave a little cheer, I informed Matt that what he had just done was rare. As Matt signed a photo for Dayan, I told him that he was Dayan’s favorite Doctor. Matt replied with a smile, “And he’s my favorite fan.”  

What a happy teen Dayan was in that moment. As Matt signed my photo he looked up and grinned. “We just did a photo shoot together,” he said. We laughed again about having to do two takes. 

 

  
 
Next on our schedule was a Q&A forum with Matt Smith, immediately followed by one with David Tennant and Billie Piper, who played Rose in Doctor Who. It was wonderful to sit down for a couple of hours! This gigantic ballroom was packed out, standing room only by the time they closed the doors. I was grateful for our VIP passes, which put us up near the stage. 

What a wonderful two hours of listening to Matt, and then David and Billie, as they answered questions and told stories. We laughed. We cheered and clapped. We teared up. This opportunity allowed us to see more deeply into the hearts of these three beautiful people. Each one related so well to the audience. And David and Billie have a lovely friendship, their fondness and respect for each other evident in their interactions. I felt like I got to know Matt and David and Billie, beyond being actors who have played some of my favorite characters. I learned who they are and what they enjoy and how they view life. 

 

  
Our fun day was drawing to a close. Our last event was an autograph session with David Tennant. I estimate there were four hundred or more people waiting in line as David took his place at the table. Because of the group we were assigned to, Dayan and I were near the end of the line. We stood for an hour and a half before it was our turn, and to speed the process up, David wasn’t personalizing the photos, just signing them. And yet, tired as he must have been, he still took time to speak to each person who stood before him. 

I told him how much I appreciate him and that Dayan and I have Scottish ancestry. “I’m grateful that you, as a Scotsman, so beautifully share your gifts with the world,” I said. The look on his face was priceless. He reached his hand out to me and said thank you. I turned to walk away and suddenly realized that I was still clutching my photo. In my fan girl moment, I forgot to hand him my photo to sign. He was laughing as I turn back around and said he wondered what I was doing. He signed with a flourish as we also talked about our funny photo shoot earlier in the day. In a full Scottish brogue he handed me my autographed picture and said with a smile “You go and behave yourself!” I was the one now having a very happy moment. 

 Lithographs that we received as part of our VIP packages.  

 And comic books too! 

What a great day. We were very tired, and hungry, and full of chatter as we left the comic con, which had closed as we waited in line for autographs. We created wonderful memories today,  in the further Adventures of Dayan and Yaya. I cherish that my grandson and I had the opportunity to experience comic con and the meeting of the Doctors, together.

I feel like I got the hang of comic con. I know now how it flows and what to do, and I know what to expect. That’s good, because I have other grandchildren and great nephews and nieces who, in a few years when they are a bit older, will enjoy visiting a comic con and meeting their favorite actors. And Dayan and I will do this again. Even after he starts college, we agree that it would be fun to meet in cities such as New York or even London or Edinburgh to attend comic cons together. I can’t wait. I hope the Doctors will be there. 

  

  
  
  
  
  

Journey 230: What We Did on Our Holiday

I kept seeing teasers and trailers for this movie, a BBC production that released in the UK last year. Former Doctor Who Time Lord David Tennant starred in this dark comedy, which was my initial attraction to the film. When What We Did on Our Holiday popped up again today I watched the trailer, laughing over one of the scenes, moved by another. I knew it was time to watch it.


The challenge was finding a way to watch! Although the movie released in the US in July, it isn’t available to rent as a DVD. I checked several online options and decided to rent via Google Play, watching the movie on my laptop. A first for me, that worked well. I’ll certainly use this option again.

What We Did on Our Holiday stars David Tennant, Rosamund Pike, Billy Connoly, Ben Miller, Amelia Bullmore, Emilia Jones, Bobby Smalldridge, Harriet Turnbull and Lewis Davie. The film was written and directed by Andy Hamilton and Guy Jenkin. The comedy/drama is rated PG-13, for adult themes and mild language, and has a run time of 1 hour and 35 minutes.

Doug (Tennant) and Abi (Pike) are admittedly a dysfunctional couple, struggling to hold their family together. The two are separated and headed for divorce. With their three bright and precocious children, Lottie (Jones), Mickey (Smalldridge), and Jess (Turnbull) Doug and Abi attempt to set aside their quarreling and head to Scotland on holiday. The family is celebrating the 75th birthday of Doug’s father, Gordie (Connoly).

Arriving at the Highland home of Doug’s brother, Gavin (Miller), the families clash as they individually sort through their own trials and challenges. Gavin’s wife, Margaret (Bullmore), has an embarrassing secret to hide, their son, Kenneth (Davie), chafes under the strict control of his father. And Doug and Abi’s kids are told to pretend that all is well in their family. They don’t want Gordie upset by the news of their impending divorce, and not just because it’s his birthday. Gordie is battling cancer, and his heart is failing due to the strain of his illness.


In the midst of the chaos, and in spite of his physical decline, Gordie is the calm at the center of the familial storms that rage around him. His joy in living, his intact sense of humor and his complete acceptance of others draws his grandchildren to him.  He encourages each of them to focus less on thinking and more on living and meets them where they are, walking alongside, offering out of his heart.

And in an unexpected way, his grandchildren offer to him out of their own innocent and creative hearts, fulfilling his dying wish with courage and compassion, and a bit of quirkiness. Their gift to their granddad creates a greater storm within the family and the community, causing the adults to lay aside their blaming and their anger to search deeply within themselves.

This was a heart warming movie, filled with wisdom and humor and teary eyed moments. Anyone who is part of a family can understand and identify with the dysfunctions that beset this family. What I loved was that eventually each person chose to move beyond the challenges that no longer defined them. The adults began to act like adults, and the children were allowed to be kids, free from carrying the secrets and burdens of their parents.


Tennant was a joy to watch, in a role beyond The Doctor. And the three youngest children almost stole the show. Their funny but realistic perspectives on life and their ability to ask disarming questions made me laugh, and made me tear up, and made me think. Connoly totally captivated my heart. His portrayal as the fun, loving grandpa, short on time but full of life, inspired me and highlighted the importance of walking alongside others, encouraging them to be fully themselves.

I’m glad I finally answered the call to watch this film. Even without the engaging story and character portrayals, the Scottish landscapes would have been enough to make the movie worth viewing. As a bonus, there was so much more than that. Gordie tells his older granddaughter, Lottie, “The truth is, every human being on this planet is ridiculous in their own way. So we shouldn’t judge, we shouldn’t fight, because in the end… in the end, none of it matters. None of the stuff.” True words. I can revel in my own unique ridiculousness and appreciate it in others. No judging. No fighting. Because he’s right. In the end, absolutely none of it matters.

Journey 169: Doctor Who Marathon with Dayan

What a perfect afternoon for a Doctor Who marathon! As tropical depression Bill spirals slowly over the Midwest, spawning thunderstorms and dumping torrential rain, I couldn’t think of a better place to be than indoors, watching this campy BBC series with my grandson Dayan.

David Tennant Dr Who tardis

As it turned out, today is the 10th anniversary of David Tennant’s appearance as the tenth Doctor…which strung together a triplet of 10’s since I’ve realized David’s last name has a ten contained within it. I’m relatively new to the Doctor Who universe, so I’m playing catch up. Dayan and I are currently on season three, of the New Doctor Who series, which has Tennant as The Doctor, so what a happy convergence for today!

I’ve become a huge fan, a Whovian, and I look forward to these afternoons of watching the adventures of The Doctor and his companions as he saves the universe yet again. I’m particularly fond of David Tennant, a Scottish actor whose charisma and exuberance brings a roguish charm to the character of the Time Lord. He is my favorite Doctor so far, although I have two more regenerations to go! My very favorite part of watching Doctor Who is spending time with my grandson, laughing, swapping Doctor Who trivia, talking about life and the journey. As much as I love the Doctor, I love Dayan infinitely more, and these times are precious to me.

Here are the FIVE episodes that we watched this afternoon, during our Doctor Who marathon:

GRIDLOCK  Season 3 Episode 3

The TARDIS takes The Doctor and Martha to New New York, in the year 5 Billion and 53. There they discover passengers trapped for years in their vehicles on the Road Way and The Face of Boe reveals a secret to The Doctor.

Dr Who Gridlock

DALEKS IN MANHATTAN  Season 3 Episode 4

The Doctor and Martha return to 1930’s New York, where instead of Depression era living, the pair discover that the Daleks are attempting a Human/Dalek hybrid.

Dr Who Daleks in Manhattan

EVOLUTION OF THE DALEKS  Season 3 Episode 5

In this continuation of Daleks in Manhattan, The Doctor and Martha, with their New York friends, fight to save Earth from the Daleks and their hybrid creations.

Dr Who Evolution of the Daleks

THE LAZARUS EXPERIMENT  Season 3 Episode 6

A 76 year old scientist has created a machine that restores youth. His experiment goes awry and Doctor Who and Martha must stop him as he morphs into a creature that feeds on the energy of others.

Dr Who The Lazarus Experiment

42  Season 3 Episode 7

After answering a distress call, Martha and The Doctor find themselves on board a cargo space ship that will crash into a sun in 42 minutes. As the pair works with the crew to reboot the ship, a virus that appears to be connected to the sun attacks crew members, impeding progress.

Dr Who 42

Dayan leaves for college in two years. His well thought out plan is to get me caught up to the current Doctor Who season before that happens. We are on season 3 and season 9 will begin soon. I am committed to this project and I look forward to afternoons of crossing off more episodes! I hope Doctor Who continues for many, many years, through various future regenerations of Doctors. While Dayan is off continuing his education and journeying far and wide in life, we will have this bond, this Doctor Who connection, that will bridge time and space for us. “Allons-y”, as the 10th Doctor is fond of saying, “Let’s go!”

David Tennant Dr Who

Journey 50: The Tenth Doctor Who

dr who 10th doctor

I have been faithfully watching Dr Who episodes with my grandson Dayan. On most Thursday afternoons, I pick him up from school, grab us a snack, and camp out in front of the TV with Dayan, learning about this long lived BBC series. We began with the 9th Doctor, and season one of the revived Dr Who. I have to admit, I have become a fan of this quirky, campy, sci-fi series, which originally aired in 1963. Watching with Dayan, and discussing the episodes, makes it more fun.

At the end of season one, of the revived Dr Who, I watched the phenomenon that happens to a Time Lord, when faced with death. He regenerates…and becomes new. New body, new face, new personality….and in reality, a new actor portraying the Doctor. It is a very clever way to keep a series alive over decades and keep the storyline lively and interesting. However, I began watching with actor Christopher Eccleston playing the Doctor and I wasn’t sure I was going to like a new actor in the role. Dayan assured me I would adjust.

It was well done, the regeneration. At first I resisted the idea of a new actor playing the familiar role. I had grown fond of Eccleston’s performance as the Doctor. David Tennant helped make the transition smooth by mimicking gestures and facial expressions of the previous Doctor, gradually bringing his own personality into the role. This afternoon, Dayan and I watched New Earth and Tooth and Claw of season two. The episodes were very well done, bringing a couple of past characters, Lady Cassandra and the Face of Boe, back in New Earth, which was set in the year five billion twenty three. Taking place in the city of New New York (not a typo!), the story raised the question of what’s ethical in the treatment of diseases and even more important, in the treatment of life.

Tooth and Claw won my approval immediately, as the setting was Scotland in the time of Queen Victoria. I felt sure it aired around Halloween time, since it featured a were wolf, but it originally aired in April of 2006. I loved the Scottish accents and landscapes. There was a nice twist to the story at the end, involving the royal family of Great Britain. And by the end of this episode, I had quit comparing David Tennant to Christopher Eccleston, quit trying to “see” Eccleston in Tennant’s expressions and mannerisms. I decided I liked David Tennant! He brings a freshness to the role, which is, of course, the whole idea.

I googled Tennant and found that he actually is Scottish, and knew by the age of THREE that he wanted to be an actor. I found it amazing that his early decision was inspired by….watching Dr Who episodes! The young David never wavered from his chosen path, and fulfilled his dream. I find that inspiring. David Tennant is a great role model for anyone who desires to follow his or her heart, persevering no matter what others think and say.

Dayan smiled with a “see, I told you” look when I confessed I liked the new Doctor. And then he surprised me with a story he wrote as a school assignment. He asked me if I wanted to read it. Titled “Numbers on the Wall”, I was so impressed with his short story, so amazed at the writing ability he already shows at the age of 15. He got an A on the assignment and has submitted the story in a writing contest. Wow. What an encouragement to me as well, as I see Dayan pursuing his dreams. Seriously, Dayan reminds me of Tolkien when that author was a young man, crafting countries peopled with remarkable and diverse personalities, creating languages, back writing a history that supported an entire made up world. I see that same creative spark and ability in Dayan, that same keen intelligence and curiosity.

I am enjoying watching Dr Who with Dayan. I have many more episodes to go to catch up to the current season and the latest incarnation of the Doctor. Even more, I am enjoying the conversations and shared laughter with my grandson, enjoying watching him grow and learn and journey. I’m glad we have so many episodes of Dr Who ahead of us. I treasure this time.

dr who 10th doctor david tennant