Last Saturday evening BBC1 aired the finale of Jekyll, and what was briefly hinted at in the penultimate of six instalments came to its complex conclusion. This clever, sophisticated and funny series must be a landmark for British speculative TV drama. Not since Channel Four's Ultraviolet, written by Joe Ahearne and broadcast in 1998 has the traditional horror genre been given serious science-fictional treatment on British TV.
Quite what happens next I've no idea. We have the Jackman twins - that could be another story, but it looks like this one is over.
He dealt with the usual criticisms ("it can't be relied on; how do we know the expertise of those who edit pages; it's easily vandalised, etc") with the typically incisive mind of a lawyer, and at the same time engendered enthusiasm for what is undoubtedly a laudable project. He visited the UK branch of Britannica to get a view from the establishment side of the encyclopaedia business, and he even elicited a sound-bite or two from renowned internet doomsayer Andrew Keen, author of The Cult of the Amateur and whose broadcast comments reeked of sour grapes.
Anderson and his interviewees emphasised the essential point about Wikipedia and Web 2.0 - that there is no way this is going to be like a traditional encyclopaedia, nor should it be. We now live in a different information age. By all means trot down to your local library and heft a massive tome from the shelf in order to find out what you want to know. Meanwhile those of us with more pressing knowledge-needs can log on, check out, cross reference and be on to the next item before the traditional researchers have located their bicycle clips.
*UPDATE: The stream and podcast are no longer available, but you can download the mp3 from RapidSharehere:
Doctor Who has finished on BBC 1 for the time being (until the Christmas Special with Kylie Minogue), so Saturday evenings are now focussed on James Nesbitt's bravura performance in Jekyll. This series, now up to episode 4, has edged further from the surreal melodramatics of the opening episodes into out-and-out science fiction. And pretty good sci fi it's turning out to be, if you don't mind your suspension of disbelief being stretched spider-web thin.
Nesbitt, Gina Bellman and Denis Lawson are a joy to watch, as if they're fully aware this isn't meant to be classical drama and have decided to run with its absurdities for all they're worth. Some great lines too: "You have my husband in a box!" Stating the obvious, but said out loud it does emphasise the craziness of the whole premise.
This week we were treated to some sizeable chunks of flashback, when we saw how Dr Jackman first became aware of his peculiar disorder, at about the same time he first met his wife-to-be. It's greatly to writer Steven Moffat's credit that these scenes were convincing and sympathetic, despite being in a different style from the rest of the production so far.
Sally Magnusson talked with Gordon Graham, Alister McGrath and Alistair Noble about Intelligent Design. Unfortunately the audio clip is no longer available (the BBC's 'listen again' service is only for seven days, though there are exceptions), but I was able to listen because I had streamed the audio to my hard disk.