Diary of an old cheeser

Hi there! Like other blogs, this is my chance to wax lyrical (some might say talk utter cr*p) about a) what's happening in my life b) all of my pet obsessions in particular music, tv, movies, books and other generally connected things, quite often of the retro, old and "cheesy" variety. Hence the title of my blog. Feel free to leave a comment if the mood takes you. There's nothing like a good chinwag about one's favourite topics and besides I love to meet new people! Cheers, Simon

Friday, November 17, 2006


I thought this week's "Torchwood" episode, "Small Worlds", was probably the best in the series yet. It was written by Peter J Hammond, who also created "Sapphire and Steel", one of my favourite ever fantasy serials. "Small Worlds" had a similar feel to "S & S" and was a rather eerie tale of fairies appearing in some local woods in Cardiff. However these fairies are far from good or innocent and periodically visit to take a "chosen one" i.e. a human being who has been selected to become one of their number, in this case, a young girl called Jasmine. The fairies will kill anyone who tries to harm the chosen one or stand in the way of their mission and throughout the story we see a number of their human opponents dying in a nasty fashion - suffocated by rose petals! At the end of the story Captain Jack is presented with a horrendous choice - allow Jasmine to join the fairies (and so be lost to her mother and normal existence forever) or, the fairies will use their powers to destroy all life on earth. Thinking of the greater good, Jack hands Jasmine over to the fairies and permits them to spirit her away, much to her mother's distress and the disgust of his Torchwood colleagues. But dear God!! What a choice!!

I found the concluding scenes to be tense, moving and well played - the whole difficulty of the choice that Jack had to make, Jasmine's yearning desire to join the fairies and the mother's grief at losing her daughter were all convincing. The scene in which the fairies reek havoc at the barbeque was gripping stuff too. The "real" fairies, as we see them unveiled toward the end, were quite horrible - all green and twisted, evil features - who's to say they must always look angelic and innocent?

The story did a good job of subverting established ideas. Fairies are something we normally associate with childhood and innocence and we tend to think of them of doing good, as in classic kiddies' fables. However "Small Worlds" turned the whole notion on its head, protraying the fairies as a force of harm and destruction. Although, from the little girl's point of view the fairies were her friends - which was rather sinister considering what they were up to and it also wasn't really explained why they had chosen her! Was it because children are more innocent and trusting than adults? And was Jasmine really happy about the fairies going around killing other people, including her step father? Rather problematic and not really addressed. Nevertheless I thought the inversion of the fairies myth and the idea of them breaking through into our world to "kidnap" was a good one. A bit like the first ever Sapphire & Steel story, in which a simple nursery rhyme read by a little girl (Ring a ring o'roses) acts as a trigger that brings evil forces into her family's home, causing her parents to disappear without a trace. I distinctly remember watching that story as a child and being scared sh*tless. When something alien or unknown enters your own surroundings it can be unsettling. And it's even creepier when apparently ordinary things like nursery rhymes and fairies turn out to be not so ordinary after all ....uuughh!

If you want to find out more about Sapphire and Steel try here.

Have a fab weekend.

OC xxx


  • At 9:01 pm , Blogger Lubin said...

    Sapphire and Steel were fab. I loved the weird opening sequence "All irregularities will be handled by the forces controlling each dimension. Transuranic, heavy elements may not be used where there is life. Medium atomic weights are available: Gold, Lead, Copper, Jet, Diamond, Radium, Sapphire, Silver and Steel. Sapphire and Steel have been assigned." Made absolutely no sense at all but sounded great.

  • At 6:37 pm , Blogger Old Cheeser said...

    Yes indeed, it was a very portentous title sequence (whatever that means). And lovely wobbly credits disappearing into the distance that tried to copy Star Wars.

    Joanna Lumley was amazing as Sapphire, all cut-glass accent and poise. I especially liked the bits where she turned time back and her eyes glowed bright blue, with an accompanying "heartbeat" sound effect. Cool! David McCullum's Steel on the other hand was a rather miserable tw*t but I guess he was just living up to his name i.e. a cold, hard and steely persona.

    The first "nursery rhymes" story was very creepy but the proceeding "railway station" one was even scarier. Especially the bit when Sapphire's eyes turned completely black - uuughhh!! Will stay with me forever!!

    Okay, I will stop right now before I bore people silly - you've set me off, Lubin old boy!

  • At 11:37 am , Blogger Samarcand said...

    As you know, I agree with you about the strength of this episode. Although I have thought of one other problem I have with it. What exactly did the Torchwoodians actually do? I mean, it was shown that there was pretty much no way of stopping the fairies, so other than turn up and witness Jasmine getting taken away, what other option was there? Yeah, Jack said it was either that or the fairies would do nasty things, but they were already doing nasty things and Jack didn't seem to have a plan to stop them anyway, other than running into the woods. Which, as plans go, is akin to having sex with your girlfriend at Crystal Lake Camp. (And I bet you never expected a Friday the 13th analogy from me did you...?) SO, yeah, a good episode - the best one yet (and I haven't seen last nights yet, but, as it's a Chris Chibnall written one, don't hold out too much hope for it...), but it still had some pretty major flaws in it. If/when T'wood gets a second season (and I hope it does) then I hope they get rid of Chris Chibnall and put in someone who actually has some kind of ideas about how to handle it properly.

  • At 8:46 pm , Blogger Old Cheeser said...

    That's a fair point Samarcand - the Torchwood team didn't really have much impact on the outcome - I mean the fairies were planning on taking away Jasmine anyway, so all Jack really did was delay things slightly. I guess his part in the narrative at that point was to heighten the whole moral dilemma of the situation.

    Yus, Chris Chibnall isn't the most gifted of writers. Surely there are more talented people out there...

    And I liked the Friday 13th analogy. A very tacky set of movies indeed.

    Mrs Vorhees xxx


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