dorsetgirl: (DG1)
When my oldest first went there, my sons' secondary school was very aware of the fact that their students' families didn't automatically have lots of money just because it was a Grammar School. In fact, as they take anyone who passes, rather than only the top-ranked candidates, they're very much the plate-glass end of the grammar-school spectrum rather than redbrick or Oxbridge, if I can borrow University labels for a moment. Until five years ago it was only necessary to buy two things direct from the school - the tie and the blazer badge. Everything else could be sourced wherever parents could find the right-looking stuff. I used to buy blazers in BHS for about £16 and they lasted reasonably well for the 2-3 years it took to grow out of them.

Then the school started supplying blazers with the badge ready-embroidered onto the pocket and that was fine because they were still only about £16. It was only three years later that I realised that an outgrown school blazer could no longer be passed down as a pleasingly cool black jacket to wear with jeans and a t-shirt, unless you actually cut the pocket off.

Then the PE kit started sprouting school emblems on every item, and had to be obtained from the school. No more Asda shorts.

And today I've had an email from them. Apparently from January they have a new uniform supplier. It's a specialist school outfitters' and as such, one of the most expensive shops in the area.

The school is still plate-glass. The parents are still very ordinary people who just want their children to have an academic education and think a grammar school would suit them best. We don't have pearls and BMWs and ambitions for our children to be world-beaters. For my part, I just want my children to survive their schooling without being crushed and broken too badly; to come out still full of interest and intelligence while having hopefully ticked enough boxes to get the right bits of paper. I would rather use my limited resources to buy them books and computers and thought-provoking Christmas presents than spent lots of money pandering to the headteacher's wish to run a school for "the right kind of people".




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dorsetgirl: (NZ_Black)
Is it just me, or is it totally disrespectful to the other two people that died to go on at such length about the one of them that happened to play rugby?

The ten o'clock news has done a whole piece on the rugby player, and barely bothered mentioning the names of his father and brother. How the hell must the rest of the family be feeling at this moment, knowing that to the media one of their lost matters more than the others?
dorsetgirl: (sunset)
Well. I loved the children’s choirs at the beginning. I’d been a bit worried that it would be English as opposed to British to an extent that would piss off the Scots and Welsh (and the Northern Irish, presumably? How can they be in “Team GB”?), but choirs in each country was a lovely touch.

James Bond! I was gobsmacked at Daniel Craig actually going into Buckingham Palace and coming out with the Queen. And they even got the corgis to nip at his ankles so he could smirk at them being left behind. And the idea of Queenie jumping out over the stadium made me smile.

Sir Simon Rattle and the London Whatsity: I was so totally not expecting Mr Bean. Fucking perfect. I like to think no other country would have undercut that proud Olympian moment with humour like they did there. I cracked up. What I really liked about the whole thing (well OK, I hated the last few minutes, but you can’t have everything), was that the entire ceremony was a statement about who we are. There was no way we could follow Beijing with more of the same but better, so I think it was the right decision to make it all much more personal. “This is us, this is where we came from, this is what we’ve done.” Earliest industrialisation, the NHS, Peter Pan, whatever. With a little bit of JK to remind everybody that we may be small and in some ways past our prime, but we can still do world-beating.

When they started doing the whole “iconic British” thing we were waiting for Doctor Who, and we were very pleased that we actually got the Tardis noise in there briefly. Thank you Danny for that!

I’m not particularly into David Beckham, but the guy seems genuine and I was pleased he got the job of transporting the flame down the river. He looked so proud, and rightly so.

What a great cheer when our team came into the arena! I know the BBC will do an excellent job of showing the actual events impartially (we’re very used to cheering on anyone charismatic at the front while our guy limps in tenth off-camera), but I was very pleased that they gave our team more screen time than the others in the opening ceremony, and that they got “Heroes” as their music.

And Doreen Lawrence! I very nearly cried at that moment. That was such a good thing to do; that lady truly deserves the honour.

The fireworks were good, too. Someone on Twitter said they could see them from twenty miles away.

Finally, one of the things I’d been worried about was that we would have all sorts of embarrassing has-beens singing their so-called greatest hits because someone in charge didn’t realise what year we were in. Right up to the end I thought we’d managed to avoid that but unfortunately we then got an absolute stinker, which came close to ruining the whole thing for me. I fucking loathe that song, always have done, and OK he might be rich and famous and it must be heartbreaking but surely someone could tell him that sadly for him, he just can’t sing any more?

So, once I’ve posted this I’m going to listen to a bit of Green Day to stop that awful song going round and round my brain, then I’m off to bed. Tomorrow I’ll see if I can find some gymnastics to watch.

Overall, though, congratulations to Danny Boyle. The boy done good.





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dorsetgirl: (DG1)
.
I am so pleased that the Australian coroner has finally ruled - after thirty years - that a dingo really did take baby Azaria Chamberlain. Her mother, Lindy, was only one in a long line of women jailed for murdering a baby when there was no proof that the baby had even been murdered, never mind that she herself had done it.

My middle son asked why this happens and I could only answer that I simply don't know. Gut feeling says it has a lot to do with male power, and men hating women, but I think it's actually more subtle than that. This is what I think may be behind it:

(1) Barristers, judges, etc, are still of a generation that was sent away to boarding school at a very tender age. Generally it's the father who makes the final decision on this, but the mother goes along with it and so I think these people got it in their minds at the age of seven that their mother didn't want them around, that she must secretly hate them.

(2) Nowadays, to many people who don't have their own children, mothers and babies are so remote from their own daily experience that they are by definition so odd as to be practically alien. I well remember in my twenties failing so completely to understand the mindset that could want to have a baby, that when a secretary brought her baby in to show around the office, I never spoke to her again. I didn't hate her or anything; my reasoning was "I cannot begin to understand anyone wanting a baby. Therefore I cannot begin to understand anyone who is happy to have a baby. Therefore I cannot begin to understand this woman. Therefore I cannot begin to think what I might say to her."

(3) As a teenage girl doing my 'O' Levels and 'A' Levels, the subconscious message was extremely strong: bright girls do their homework, get their exams, go to University; they totally do not get pregnant. The rather judgmental - but still subconscious - corollary therefore being: only stupid people have babies.

Thus it seems to me the stage is set for an educated person, especially a man, who was sent away to school, to have it somewhere in the back of their mind that, "Mothers are aliens who are stupid and hate their babies. Therefore if something happens to the baby, it's obvious the mother did it."

I honestly can't think of any other reason why so many people are so ready to assume - and find proven - that people like Lindy Chamberlain, Angela Weston, Sally Clark etc, murdered their own babies, without a shred of hard forensic evidence that they even were murdered.

These women were presumed guilty and had to fight the system for years to prove their innocence.






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dorsetgirl: (DG1)
Reposted from this page

38 Degrees are asking for £1 of your money today

The 38 Degrees office team has just been told that two big private healthcare companies are plotting to rig the future of our NHS in their favour. On Tuesday Capita and United Healthcare are planning to try and schmooze with leading GPs at a conference in London.

These GPs have been put in charge of deciding who runs services in the new NHS. Right now no one's quite sure how it will work, but the big healthcare companies know this is their chance to grab big chunks of the NHS. They want to take advantage of the confusion to lobby doctors and drown out the voices of ordinary patients.

I've just chipped in along with thousands of other 38 Degrees members to sponsor an alternative event, to represent the voices of ordinary patients. It won't be as lavish as the big corporate events, but I hope it will make a big impression because thousands of ordinary people have come together to pay for it.

Could you chip in £1 to make it happen? Click here: http://www.38degrees.org.uk/GP-Event-Donate
dorsetgirl: (UnhappyMan2 by Ruuger)
It's not too late to petition the Governor of St Petersburg, asking him not to ratify their nasty new anti-gay legislation. Apparently the aim of the new law is to "improv[e] the moral image of St. Petersburg" so that it can become "the moral face of Europe". Personally, I think what they're doing is utterly immoral.

Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] hambelandjemima for bringing this to my attention.



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dorsetgirl: (DG1)
What is it with "Black Friday" ffs? Why do Amazon keep sending me emails about it, and why would I want to know? "Black Friday" sounds like something bad, along the lines of Black Monday (Black Monday was the day I started a new job, my first in the financial services industry. Yeah, timing.)

Why are these companies trying to sell me something that sounds so bad?

And now bloody IWOOT are doing it as well.

Dear Amazon and IWOOT, I am not American: I am English and annoyed, and I am in England. Please stop treating this country like a mere outpost of the United States.
dorsetgirl: (DG1)
What is it with "Black Friday" ffs? Why do Amazon keep sending me emails about it, and why would I want to know? "Black Friday" sounds like something bad, along the lines of Black Monday (Black Monday was the day I started a new job, my first in the financial services industry. Yeah, timing.)

Why are these companies trying to sell me something that sounds so bad?

And now bloody IWOOT are doing it as well.

Dear Amazon and IWOOT, I am not American: I am English and annoyed, and I am in England. Please stop treating this country like a mere outpost of the United States.

Book Meme

Nov. 9th, 2011 02:21 pm
dorsetgirl: (sunset)
Giant Book Meme
Reading meme ganked from [livejournal.com profile] suzie_shooter

1. Favourite childhood book?
Oddly, I have no idea. No books that I love to go back to because they were so important to me as a child, although I did used to read all the time.

2. What are you reading right now?
WaterProof by Chris Crowther; one of a series set on the Norfolk Broads, which is where I bought them. Slightly over-complicated plots, rather formulaic, but wonderful settings, decent characters, plots that are reasonably well resolved at the end. And no messages, no clever pondering upon the human condition, just stories.

3. What books do you have on request at the library?
Parish Registers of North Crawley in Buckinghamshire

4. Bad book habit?
The only bad book habit imo is not reading.
Cut for length )

Book Meme

Nov. 9th, 2011 02:21 pm
dorsetgirl: (sunset)
Giant Book Meme
Reading meme ganked from [livejournal.com profile] suzie_shooter

1. Favourite childhood book?
Oddly, I have no idea. No books that I love to go back to because they were so important to me as a child, although I did used to read all the time.

2. What are you reading right now?
WaterProof by Chris Crowther; one of a series set on the Norfolk Broads, which is where I bought them. Slightly over-complicated plots, rather formulaic, but wonderful settings, decent characters, plots that are reasonably well resolved at the end. And no messages, no clever pondering upon the human condition, just stories.

3. What books do you have on request at the library?
Parish Registers of North Crawley in Buckinghamshire

4. Bad book habit?
The only bad book habit imo is not reading.
Cut for length )
dorsetgirl: (DG1)
I seem to be quite late to the party, but Matthew Graham appears to be seriously pissed off with Philip Glenister over his Radio Times interview.

He does seem to be even more angry about him and Ash being referred to as "the writers" than about Phil's claim to have originated the phrase "Fire up the Quattro". Which was a crap phrase anyway imo. Anyway, the tone of those tweets seems like something there's no coming back from!


As an aside, I screencapped the tweets and was going to post the cap, but after I'd uploaded it to Photobucket I got presented with a new set of Terms and Conditions, including the following:

"If you make your Content public, you grant us a worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free license (with the right to sublicense) to copy, distribute, publicly perform (e.g., stream it), publicly display (e.g., post it elsewhere), reproduce and create derivative works from it (meaning things based on it), anywhere, whether in print or any kind of electronic version that exists now or later developed, for any purpose, including a commercial purpose.

You are also giving other Users the right to copy, distribute, publicly perform, publicly display, reproduce and create derivative works from it via the Site or third party websites or applications (for example, via services allowing Users to order prints of Content or t-shirts and similar items containing Content, and via social media websites)."


So I upload a photo I've taken, and they are allowed to make money out of it? I'm not happy about that. No wonder I keep getting desperate emails from them asking me to come back and use my Photobucket - people must be leaving in droves. I shall be checking my account tomorrow and deleting any original work. This will result in broken links, which is annoying.

So, anyone recommend a similar picture-holding site where they don't assert their right to benefit commercially from my property?





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dorsetgirl: (DG1)
I seem to be quite late to the party, but Matthew Graham appears to be seriously pissed off with Philip Glenister over his Radio Times interview.

He does seem to be even more angry about him and Ash being referred to as "the writers" than about Phil's claim to have originated the phrase "Fire up the Quattro". Which was a crap phrase anyway imo. Anyway, the tone of those tweets seems like something there's no coming back from!


As an aside, I screencapped the tweets and was going to post the cap, but after I'd uploaded it to Photobucket I got presented with a new set of Terms and Conditions, including the following:

"If you make your Content public, you grant us a worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free license (with the right to sublicense) to copy, distribute, publicly perform (e.g., stream it), publicly display (e.g., post it elsewhere), reproduce and create derivative works from it (meaning things based on it), anywhere, whether in print or any kind of electronic version that exists now or later developed, for any purpose, including a commercial purpose.

You are also giving other Users the right to copy, distribute, publicly perform, publicly display, reproduce and create derivative works from it via the Site or third party websites or applications (for example, via services allowing Users to order prints of Content or t-shirts and similar items containing Content, and via social media websites)."


So I upload a photo I've taken, and they are allowed to make money out of it? I'm not happy about that. No wonder I keep getting desperate emails from them asking me to come back and use my Photobucket - people must be leaving in droves. I shall be checking my account tomorrow and deleting any original work. This will result in broken links, which is annoying.

So, anyone recommend a similar picture-holding site where they don't assert their right to benefit commercially from my property?





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dorsetgirl: (Gene_draw)
I try not to have pet hates, because that way madness lies, or at least a very crabby old age. But one thing I really dislike is when people say “Your mileage may vary”.

Whut? After I’d seen YMMV a couple of times I looked it up and found out what it stands for, but that doesn’t begin to explain what it means. My mileage? Who’s talking about cars ffs? And even if we were talking about cars, of course my mileage is going to be different from yours. You have a different life from me, almost certainly living a different distance from work, shops and schools than I do. It would be more remarkable if my mileage were NOT to vary from yours.

OK, I admit, I do have a fairly unreasoning hatred of phrases which simply make no sense in the situation people are applying them to. (It may be relevant to note here that my ASD son tells me I take things too literally.)

Anyway. The phrase, if I’ve understood correctly in trying to work it out from context, seems sometimes to be used to convey the meaning “You may choose to disagree”. In which case, I have to wonder why they’re wittering metaphorically about cars when they could simply say “that’s just my opinion, of course”, or if we’re being cool and internetty about things, “imo”.

However, more commonly - and this is the second reason I hate the phrase - YMMV gets used as a conversation stopper. People use it to mean, “Here’s what I think, and I simply don’t want to hear what you think. Don’t bother answering. This conversation ends here.” And however cool they think they're being, that's just rude.




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dorsetgirl: (Gene_draw)
I try not to have pet hates, because that way madness lies, or at least a very crabby old age. But one thing I really dislike is when people say “Your mileage may vary”.

Whut? After I’d seen YMMV a couple of times I looked it up and found out what it stands for, but that doesn’t begin to explain what it means. My mileage? Who’s talking about cars ffs? And even if we were talking about cars, of course my mileage is going to be different from yours. You have a different life from me, almost certainly living a different distance from work, shops and schools than I do. It would be more remarkable if my mileage were NOT to vary from yours.

OK, I admit, I do have a fairly unreasoning hatred of phrases which simply make no sense in the situation people are applying them to. (It may be relevant to note here that my ASD son tells me I take things too literally.)

Anyway. The phrase, if I’ve understood correctly in trying to work it out from context, seems sometimes to be used to convey the meaning “You may choose to disagree”. In which case, I have to wonder why they’re wittering metaphorically about cars when they could simply say “that’s just my opinion, of course”, or if we’re being cool and internetty about things, “imo”.

However, more commonly - and this is the second reason I hate the phrase - YMMV gets used as a conversation stopper. People use it to mean, “Here’s what I think, and I simply don’t want to hear what you think. Don’t bother answering. This conversation ends here.” And however cool they think they're being, that's just rude.




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dorsetgirl: (sunset)
.
"One of Rupert Murdoch's papers stands accused of hacking the phone of murdered teenager Milly Dowler, causing her family even more pain, and risking a police inquiry.

"At the same time, this week, Murdoch is expecting to get the green light from the government for his takeover of BSkyB."

If you think this doesn't sound too good, please consider going to this campaigning website and signing their petition.





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dorsetgirl: (sunset)
.
"One of Rupert Murdoch's papers stands accused of hacking the phone of murdered teenager Milly Dowler, causing her family even more pain, and risking a police inquiry.

"At the same time, this week, Murdoch is expecting to get the green light from the government for his takeover of BSkyB."

If you think this doesn't sound too good, please consider going to this campaigning website and signing their petition.





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dorsetgirl: (Love_NINE)
.
So many episodes recently have been so fucking complicated that you need to take notes to work out what's going on, and I really can't be bothered. I don't do plot; I do relationships and character and emotion, and Rusty had that nailed. Steven likes to be more complicated and it doesn't really work for me. Tonight's episode was deep, and very interesting, but one of the things I liked most about it was that you could watch it and enjoy it for itself.

The Almost People - Spoilers )

All in all I thought it was a very well-done episode and I enjoyed it quite a lot. Congratulations to Matthew Graham - quite a sophisticated piece of work, I think. My only criticism would be that the "messages" - the deep thoughts for us to ponder over - were layered so thickly that they overpowered the story.
dorsetgirl: (Love_NINE)
.
So many episodes recently have been so fucking complicated that you need to take notes to work out what's going on, and I really can't be bothered. I don't do plot; I do relationships and character and emotion, and Rusty had that nailed. Steven likes to be more complicated and it doesn't really work for me. Tonight's episode was deep, and very interesting, but one of the things I liked most about it was that you could watch it and enjoy it for itself.

The Almost People - Spoilers )

All in all I thought it was a very well-done episode and I enjoyed it quite a lot. Congratulations to Matthew Graham - quite a sophisticated piece of work, I think. My only criticism would be that the "messages" - the deep thoughts for us to ponder over - were layered so thickly that they overpowered the story.
dorsetgirl: (DG1)
.
I was thinking only this morning that the world needs a new word. It's quite clear that many people simply don't care about getting their apostrophes in the right places, but I feel each error, and it hurts.

So I invented a new word. APASTROPHE - blatant misuse of apostrophes, causing damage to my brain (mild), and the writer's credibility (catastrophic).

I had originally intended to post a simple rant about this example, found on the website of my children's school:

"What areas of your childs learning would you like [the school] to focus on in the future?"

Ooh, I dunno, how about ... grammar and punctuation? YOU'RE A GRAMMAR SCHOOL, PEOPLE - GET YOUR OWN RIGHT FIRST!

And then I did some googling for something completely unrelated and came across this horror, which I simply had to share. Somehow the red text makes it even worse:




And finally, in the course of logging on to the parents' area of the school website, I was shocked to find that they hate me even more than I thought they did. I've never seen this screen before, and I can't say it makes me feel very welcome:



(btw, if you consider I've made any grammatical errors here - feel free to point them out, politely, for my mortification and your daily schadenfreude. I like to discuss and learn.)




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dorsetgirl: (DG1)
.
I was thinking only this morning that the world needs a new word. It's quite clear that many people simply don't care about getting their apostrophes in the right places, but I feel each error, and it hurts.

So I invented a new word. APASTROPHE - blatant misuse of apostrophes, causing damage to my brain (mild), and the writer's credibility (catastrophic).

I had originally intended to post a simple rant about this example, found on the website of my children's school:

"What areas of your childs learning would you like [the school] to focus on in the future?"

Ooh, I dunno, how about ... grammar and punctuation? YOU'RE A GRAMMAR SCHOOL, PEOPLE - GET YOUR OWN RIGHT FIRST!

And then I did some googling for something completely unrelated and came across this horror, which I simply had to share. Somehow the red text makes it even worse:




And finally, in the course of logging on to the parents' area of the school website, I was shocked to find that they hate me even more than I thought they did. I've never seen this screen before, and I can't say it makes me feel very welcome:



(btw, if you consider I've made any grammatical errors here - feel free to point them out, politely, for my mortification and your daily schadenfreude. I like to discuss and learn.)




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dorsetgirl: (Census2011)
Just got the new census form, and as a keen family historian I could hardly wait to check out the questions. The first thing that strikes me about it is this:

The list of qualifications has to be filled in by anyone aged sixteen or over. The problem with that is that on census night, roughly fifty percent of all sixteen year olds in England & Wales will still be in Year 11. They will not be allowed to leave school for another three months, and only a very few will as yet have any qualifications at all (normally one or two GCSEs at most, taken last Autumn), because most of the public exams are taken in May/June with the results announced in August.

So be prepared for scare stories about how poorly-qualified sixteen-year-olds are, written by newspapers - you know which ones they are - of very little brain.





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dorsetgirl: (Census2011)
Just got the new census form, and as a keen family historian I could hardly wait to check out the questions. The first thing that strikes me about it is this:

The list of qualifications has to be filled in by anyone aged sixteen or over. The problem with that is that on census night, roughly fifty percent of all sixteen year olds in England & Wales will still be in Year 11. They will not be allowed to leave school for another three months, and only a very few will as yet have any qualifications at all (normally one or two GCSEs at most, taken last Autumn), because most of the public exams are taken in May/June with the results announced in August.

So be prepared for scare stories about how poorly-qualified sixteen-year-olds are, written by newspapers - you know which ones they are - of very little brain.





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dorsetgirl: (Mike_Longview)
.
I’m not a great one for Schadenfreude, but the new Radio Times has just given me the best laugh for a while:



I posted recently about Jimmy McGovern’s attack on writers of Doctor Who, costume drama, police procedural and, by implication, quite a lot else. His stated ethos is apparently

"The only way to tell stories on TV is to convince people that what they are seeing

is actually happening now and is real.”


So I laughed quite a lot to read what ex-Colonel Tim Collins of the British Army in Iraq had to say about Mr McGovern’s new drama, Accused:

“The constant and slightly contrived use of foul and abusive language and the generous lashings of gratuitous violence all add up to a desperate plea to be seen as shocking and cutting edge.”

“Having served in the British Army for 23 years I can unequivocally say that this has absolutely no basis in the reality that I understand Mr McGovern likes to root his dramas in.”

“In this fantasy world of Jimmy McGovern there are no adults, no officers and no control.”

“…in Jimmy’s world there are pubs in Afghanistan…”

“My biggest worry is that the parents and partners of soldiers serving in Afghanistan will regard this as in some way believable.”


Thank you, Radio Times!






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dorsetgirl: (Mike_Longview)
.
I’m not a great one for Schadenfreude, but the new Radio Times has just given me the best laugh for a while:



I posted recently about Jimmy McGovern’s attack on writers of Doctor Who, costume drama, police procedural and, by implication, quite a lot else. His stated ethos is apparently

"The only way to tell stories on TV is to convince people that what they are seeing

is actually happening now and is real.”


So I laughed quite a lot to read what ex-Colonel Tim Collins of the British Army in Iraq had to say about Mr McGovern’s new drama, Accused:

“The constant and slightly contrived use of foul and abusive language and the generous lashings of gratuitous violence all add up to a desperate plea to be seen as shocking and cutting edge.”

“Having served in the British Army for 23 years I can unequivocally say that this has absolutely no basis in the reality that I understand Mr McGovern likes to root his dramas in.”

“In this fantasy world of Jimmy McGovern there are no adults, no officers and no control.”

“…in Jimmy’s world there are pubs in Afghanistan…”

“My biggest worry is that the parents and partners of soldiers serving in Afghanistan will regard this as in some way believable.”


Thank you, Radio Times!






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