Saturday, February 2, 2008


It's Super Bowl 42 tomorrow - one of the 'Lost' numbers, and aside from the total of 108 it's probably the most powerful one (especially as it represents Life, the Universe, and Everything!)

I'm supporting the Patriots. I may live in NYC, but I'll always be a New Englander at heart.

So I don't want to take any chance with tomorrow.

To that end, here's a little juju......
Toby OB


The major historical figure to have a televersion in the 'Cadfael' mysteries was King Stephen, seen in the first episode only - "One Corpse Too Many". As a TV character, Stephen also appears in a 1978 production about Henry II called 'The Devil's Crown'. As played by Frederick Treves (the actor, not the Elephant Man doctor), he appeared in the episode "If All The World Was Mine".

Here's the opening mini-biography of King Stephen from Wikipedia:

Stephen, often referred to in history as Stephen of Blois, (c. 1096 – 25 October 1154), was the last Norman King of England. He reigned from 1135 to 1154 and was succeeded by his cousin Henry II, the first of the Angevin or Plantagenet Kings. Stephen was also the Count of Boulogne by marriage.

There were three principal contenders for the succession of Henry I and one 'fancied outsider'. The least popular of these being Empress Matilda, not only because she was a woman, but also because her husband Geoffrey Count Of Anjou was an enemy of the Normans. The other contenders were two men of royal birth, Robert Earl of Gloucester and Stephen himself. The 'outsider' was the elder brother of Stephen, Theobald, Count of Blois. However, Theobald did not want the kingdom, at least not badly enough to contend for it.

Before the death of King Henry I of England in 1135, the majority of the barons of England swore to support Henry's daughter Empress Matilda, (granddaughter of William the Conqueror), and her claim to the throne. However, upon the King's death, Stephen—also a grandchild of The Conqueror—laid claim to the throne, stating that Henry had changed his mind on his deathbed and named Stephen as his heir. Once crowned, Stephen gained the support of the majority of the barons as well as Pope Innocent II and the first few years of his reign were peaceful.

The rest of it can be found

Toby OB

Friday, February 1, 2008


Toshiko Sato was working in a London hospital when a pig-like "alien" was brought in during March of 2006 ('Doctor Who' - "Aliens Of London"). According to the 'Torchwood' episode "To The Last Man", Tosh has been with the Cardiff branch of the Torchwood Institute for four years.

That makes the current crop of episodes as taking place in 2010.

In "To The Last Man", Captain Jack made a point of adjusting his desk "calendar" so that it read "Friday 20".

There is only one option for a Friday the 20th in 2010 - August.

Toby OB


For February, traditionally Black History Month, we're honoring a TV character who might be considered all that's wrong with the portrayal of blacks in Toobworld......
"Sanford and Son" (1972)
"Grady" (1975)
"Sanford Arms, The" (1977)

Grady could have been seen as a replay of the "Lightin'" type of characters portrayed by Stepin Fetchit and others in the first half of the Twentieth Century.

But Norman Lear and his writers turned the image upside down and did a pretty good job at removing the offensive quality to the character. (And a lot of that credit must also be given to Whitman Mayo, who played the role.)
The audience could tell that it was mostly an act with Grady, that he was putting on a show so that people wouldn't catch on to what he was really like. And that way they would dismiss him from consideration and relax their gaurd around him.
Lt. Columbo and Casca were much the same way.

Here's what they wrote at Wikipedia about Grady Wilson:

Grady Wilson is the name of a fictional recurring character on the NBC sitcom Sanford and Son played by the late Whitman Mayo.

Grady is the scatterbrained best friend of Fred Sanford (Redd Foxx), the proprietor of "Sanford and Son", a junk and antique business in Watts. Grady is portrayed as an elderly, feeble man, known for his stooped appearance and his grey hair and beard. He is most commonly seen wearing an oversized, pale-blue sport coat and walks with a slow shuffle. He often stops by Fred's house to drink and play cards, and he regularly accompanies Fred in his various schemes, much to the chagrin of Fred's son Lamont.

He is sometimes referred to by Fred as "Shady Grady".

Grady is extremely absent-minded and regularly forgets the names of people he knows—- especially Lamont. When Grady asks him his name, Lamont often responds by sarcastically giving him a similar name (such as "Lucas" or "Lawrence"), which Grady then acknowledges. (Ironically, Grady is actually named after Demond Wilson, the actor who played Lamont on the series. His full name is Grady Demond Wilson. He frequently confuses certain words, upon hearing them, for anything similar-sounding (such as referring to the "munchies" as "Munchkins").

Grady often refers to his old age, or his impending death, or the deaths of his and Fred's friends. He also frequently inadvertently insults Fred's sister-in-law Esther, by telling her something Fred has said about her. He is often easily alarmed or surprised, and when excited, he is known to exclaim his catch phrases, "Good goobily goop!" or "Great googly moogly!"

For a time during the series run, Fred was "out of town" (due to a salary dispute between Foxx and NBC), leaving Grady in charge of Fred's business, effectively making Grady the main character on the show. During Fred's absence, Grady moved into Fred's house, and also took over the role of Lamont's comic foil.

Grady appeared on Sanford and Son from 1973 until 1977. During this time, Mayo also starred in a TV series about the character, Grady. In this series, Grady moves out of Watts to live with his daughter. The show was short-lived, and he eventually returned to Sanford and Son. Mayo reprised the role of Grady again in the show's short-lived spin-off The Sanford Arms, in which Grady is married to his former girlfriend, Dolly.
The blog "Having A Wonderful Time" inducted Grady into their own TV Hall of Fame last year and provided this memory of the character:

"I remember an episode where Grady was fighting with Fred over a certain TV that Mr. Sanford had purchased for fifty bucks at a local bar. The TV was the same one that was stolen out of Grady's house a few days prior (He had recognized it by the scratches on the side of the paneling). If you haven't seen the episode and are concerned about the two friends fighting, don't fret. When Lamont called the poe-lease which of course were played by two dumb white dudes, they find that the TV was stolen from someone else before Grady bought it."

So from all of me here at Toobworld Central, I would now like to present Mr. Grady Wilson as the TV Crossover Hall of Fame inductee for February 2008.

Toby OB

Bubba Bexley:
The characters on that show are a lot like you.
There's the mean grouchy old father.
Fred G. Sanford:
Wait a minute...
Bubba Bexley:
The Dumb son.
Lamont Sanford:
Hey Bubba?
Bubba Bexley:
The Ugly Sister-in-Law.
Aunt Esther Anderson:
Watch it sucka!
Bubba Bexley:
And the stupid, bungling friend. [Looks at Grady]
Grady Wilson:
You're too hard on yourself, Bubba!
'Sanford And Son'


"To The Last Man", the latest episode of 'Torchwood', touched on a sensitive topic that was still timely even ninety plus years later.

In 2006, the British government pardoned about 306 men who were hauled before firing squads in World War I for desertion or cowardice after summary trails. (At least 23 of them were from Canada.) Britain is now formally acknowledging that many of the men suffered shell-shock from the horrors of trench warfare and relentless roar of artillery.

Particularly since the 1960s there has been some controversy concerning 346 British and Imperial troops — including 25 Canadian, 22 Irish and 5 New Zealand troops — who were shot for desertion, murder, cowardice and other offences during the War, some of whom are now thought to have been suffering from combat stress reaction or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (or "shell-shock" as it was then known). This led to organisations, such as the Shot at Dawn Campaign which were set up in later years to try and uncover just why these soldiers were executed.

In 1993, Britain's then prime minister, John Major, ruled out such pardons saying, "we cannot rewrite history by substituting our latter-day judgment for that of contemporaries."

This time, the British parliament was swayed and the recent campaigns have already drawn more visitors to the graves of those executed. Some leave little crosses on the graves, decorated with poppies and bearing handwritten messages. "Justice at last. God bless you," reads one anonymous note.

"It is better to acknowledge that injustices were clearly done in some cases," said British Defense Secretary Des Browne. "All these men were victims of war."

"I hope that pardoning these men will finally remove the stigma with which their families have lived for years."

The great-niece of one of those men executed doesn't think the pardon is enough however, because a pardon does not equal an exoneration. Jill Turner said, "Underneath, some shame is still there."

Toby OB


In this week's episode of 'Torchwood' ("To The Last Man"), Team Torchwood claimed that their organization developed cryogenic technology before 1918. I think it's more likely that they stole it - or rather, "appropriated" it - for the security of the Empire, just as they did with the mind probe used in last week's episode "Sleeper".

So who had cryogenic technology back in the Edwardian Age? The Face, archenemy of Adam Adamant as seen in "Adam Adamant Lives!"

The Face left Adamant in suspended animation, and then subjected himself to the same treatment so that he could bedevil his foe in the Future.

After a run of 29 episodes, Adam Adamant disappeared from notice in Toobworld. It could be that he was recruited into the London branch of Torchwood.

Toby OB

Thursday, January 31, 2008


Several TV shows have found themselves with new lives over in the Tooniverse; not always in faithful translations from live action:

'Star Trek'
'Happy Days'
'The Brady Bunch'
'Punky Brewster'
'The Lone Ranger'
'I Dream Of Jeannie'
'Lassie's Rescue Rangers'
'My Favorite Martians'

among others....

Now a new one has joined that universe, seen online as well as on TV in tasty bite-sized nuggets.
An animated version of 'Psych' featuring "Li'l Sean" and "LI'l Gus" have been playing out since the series returned to the USA Network a few weeks ago. They don't have much of a claim on realism, which is fine - that way we don't have to worry about these Psychtoons are just animated versions of what really happened in their lives.

Toby OB


Currently, Sir Andrew Lloyd-Webber is appearing as himself in several episodes of the British soap, 'Hollyoaks'.

Summer Shaw basically stalks the composer in order to score an audition with him. Despite several setbacks, she makes such a good impression that Lloyd-Webber hires her for his next production. And that's how Summer gets written off the show.

The composer was a long-running obsession with Maxwell Sheffield on 'The Nanny'. And although he was played by an actor, Lloyd-Webber showed up in the "Yetta's Letters" episode. (He was seen in Paris wooing Fran's grandmother into signing over her letters so that he could mount a musical based on them.)

So the argument could be made that 'Hollyoaks' is now linked to 'The Nanny' in Toobworld.

Toby OB


I always enjoy reading essays and comments around the Internet that seem to subscribe to the Toobworld line of thought - i.e., that what we see on TV is an alternate universe and thus should be subjected to serious scrutiny as to its inner reality.

This is a post from a 'Star Trek' fan at

We have sentient computers, sentient holograms, FTL, teleportation technology, fusion technology, replicator technology and yet they still have human(oid)s push and pulling and carrying stuff about ships with nary a robot in sight. Forget Data-esque androids, how about basic droids? ...Sure, there was that whole M5 ... "incident" ... but is there some story or episode that explains why the robophobia? Is there some Butlerian war, some kind of Joshua incident, some kind of Skynet takeover attempt that explains why, not just Earthers, but the Klingons (altho they have a culture that kinda explains direct action), the Romulans, the Ferengi (less fellow Ferengi to share profits if you have robots), Betazoids, Andorians, Cardassians, Bajorians, Vulcans, pert near every alien encountered rarely if ever used robots, even the Borg are hybrid organic / technoid, why?

I feel a kinship with this guy!

Sure, there's probably a reality-based splainin behind the scenes. More than likely the use of robots was cost-prohibitive back in the sixties. But when such technology did seem to present itself in classic 'Trek', it was always treated with contempt - the androids and robots always turned out to be villainous or just generally harmful to humanoid life.

As someone else responded to that comment pointed out, perhaps the Skynet situation found on Earth Prime-Time was not limited to just that world. Perhaps other planets suffered through their own battles with Skynet-like organizations, and with Sentients and Synthetics, like in 'Odyssey 5'.

We did see initial suspicion and resentment towards Data in the early stages of 'Star Trek: The Next Generation'. Could this robo-bigotry have been carried over from earlier clashes between humans and robots?

Then again, it could all come down to the type of personality they had installed......

Tobor OB


The televersion of Hercule 'Poirot' once again found his Toobworld life melding with real world history in the episode "The Theft Of The Royal Ruby" when he took on a case for Prince Farouk, who would become the King of Egypt in 1936 until 1952.

Here's the Wikipedia summary:

Farouk I of Egypt (Faruq al-Awwal) (February 11, 1920 – March 18, 1965), was the tenth ruler from the Muhammad Ali Dynasty and the penultimate King of Egypt and Sudan, succeeding his father, Fuad I, in 1936. His sister Fawzia was Queen of Iran for 8 years. His full title was "His Majesty Farouk I, by the grace of God, King of Egypt and of Sudan, Sovereign of Nubia, of Kordofan and of Darfur." He was overthrown in the Egyptian Revolution of 1952, and was forced to abdicate in favor of his infant son Ahmed Fuad. He remained loyal to his country even after his exile. He died in Italy.

According to Wikipedia, David Suchet modeled his mustache for detective Hercule Poirot on King Farouk's.

But in Toobworld, Farouk has no mustache when he meets Poirot. So I think something of the reverse was in effect within the TV universe. The Prince liked the Belgian detective (who could not return the sentiment), and so perhaps he was inspired to grow his mustache based on Poirot's example.

Again, from Wikipedia:

In 2007, the Arabic satellite channel MBC produced an Egyptian television series titled 'El Malek Farouk' about the life of Farouk. The series starred a wide array of popular and talented Egyptian actors, though the lead role was played by Syrian actor Taym Hassan. The series aired daily on MBC during Ramadan.

Getting the free pass afforded by aging when it comes to recastaways, a link could then be made between 'Poirot' and 'El Malek Farouk'.

Toby OB

Wednesday, January 30, 2008


Just a reminder that the third season finale of 'Lost' is re-broadcast tonight on ABC, in preparation for tomorrow night's return of the series to the airwaves.

What's special about this rerun is that it's "enhanced" - there'll be a box along the bottom of the screen containing clues, trivia, and added information... information... information....

It's the type of thing one might expect to find later in the next edition of the boxed sets, but just in case, you should probably record it as a keeper.....

Toby OB


Until 'Heroes' comes back on the air at NBC, fans of the non-costumed superheroes will have to content themselves with "Heroes: Evolutions", which is the online site full of games and puzzles as well as a continuing story. As proof that the online world must become the new frontier for Toobworld, NBC promises more interaction between the show and the online comic. This would include more plots crossing over between each medium.

Once the strike is over, of course.

Toby OB


From the New York Times:

Margaret Truman Daniel, the president's daughter who achieved renown in her own right as a concert singer, radio and television host, and author of best-selling biographies and mysteries, died on Tuesday in Chicago. She was 83 and had lived until recently on the Upper East Side of Manhattan.

Her death was announced by her oldest son, Clifton Truman Daniel. Mrs. Daniel died after a brief illness in an assisted living center, where she had been on a respirator, according to the Harry S. Truman Library and Museum in Independence, Mo. A library spokeswoman said Mrs. Daniel had been preparing to move from her Park Avenue home to Chicago to live near Mr. Daniel.

I may not have mentioned her passing had I only her appearances on talk shows, game shows, and variety programs from which to build her Toobworld presence. But I was surprised by the number of actresses who have played Ms. Truman over the years. (However, her character was always in the shadow of her father in these productions:

Amelia Campbell (Margaret Truman)
. . . Truman (1995) (TV)

Lee Kessler (Margaret Truman)
. . . Collision Course: Truman vs. MacArthur (1976) (TV)

Tasha Lee (Margaret Truman)
. . . Man from Independence, The (1974)

Nancy Morgan (I) (Margaret Truman)
. . . "Backstairs at the White House" (1979) (mini) TV Series

Leni Parker (Margaret Truman)
. . . Hiroshima (1995) (TV)

Beverly Washburn (Margaret Truman)
. . . "Jack Benny Program, The" (1950) {Jack Gets Robbed (#3.3)} TV Series

BCnU and may God Bless.....
Toby OB


From 1928 to 1930, Josephine Baker embarked on a twenty-five-country tour, which included both the United States and Argentina.

I think the televersion of Miss Baker returned to Buenos Aires to perform in October of 1934 (the same year in which she made the movie "Zou Zou"), as seen in the 'Poirot' episode "Yellow Iris".
This character is only identified in the credits for the episode as a "Singer", so who's to deny that it could be the televersion of Josephine Baker?

Josephine Baker was also played in Toobworld by the following actresses:

Jenny Alpha (Old Josephine Baker)
. . . "Une femme, une époque" (1978) {Josephine Baker} TV Series

Katy Amaizo (Young Josephine Baker)
. . . "Une femme, une époque" (1978) {Josephine Baker} TV Series

Maddly Bamy (Josephine Baker)
. . . Vie rêvée de Vincent Scotto, La (1973) (TV)

Emilie Benoît ((episode "Josephine Baker"))
. . . "Une femme, une époque" (1978) TV Series

Quitéria Chagas (Josephine Baker)
. . . "JK" (2006) (mini) TV Series

Victoria Gabrielle Platt (Josephine Baker)
. . . Winchell (1998) (TV)

Natalie Rose (IV) (Josephine Baker)
. . . "Nova" (1974) {The Most Dangerous Woman in America} TV Series

Lynn Whitfield (Josephine Baker)
. . . Josephine Baker Story, The (1991) (TV)

Maybe not a Baker's Dozen, but plenty to go around for the many TV dimensions.

Toby OB


In "Yellow Iris", 'Poirot' is trying to enjoy his breakfast and morning paper. He's planning on reading the Daily Express which trumpets the headline "ITALY FOUND GUILTY".

The sub-heading is "League Assembly To Debate Sanctions Tomorrow".

Here is the story behind that headline, dated Tuesday, October 6, 1936:

The international community were astonished by Mussolini's aggressive behaviour towards Abyssinia, Eritrea, and Somaliland, which Mussolini proclaimed to be "Italian East Africa".

The League of Nations imposed economic sanctions upon Italy. Some historians argue that theimpact of these sanctions meant the war was a failure for Mussolini. Others argue the sanctions were not so effective because not all countries supported them and because vitalsupplies such as oil were not included. The fact that the League of Nations imposed sanctionson Italy (in a half-hearted way) encouraged Italy to look for other international allies - such asHitler's Germany.

Adolf Hitler had been inspired by Mussolini's achievements and once he gained power in Germany he sought a close relationship with Italy. In October 1936 the two men signed a non-military alliance.

Which means Hercule Poirot solved the "Yellow Iris" murder mystery on October 9th, a Friday. As this was two years to the day since Iris Russell was murdered in Buenos Aires, then she died October 9th, 1934, at the age of 32.

Toby OB

Tuesday, January 29, 2008


I've finished the run of episodes for the 'Cadfael' mysteries, and am basically ready to provide my splainin as to why Hugh Beringar looked like three different men.

Behind the scenes, there were thirteen episodes of 'Cadfael' over a four and a half year period. And during that time there were three different actors playing Undersheriff Hugh Beringar:
One Corpse Too Many
The Sanctuary Sparrow
The Leper of St Giles
Monk's Hood
The Virgin in the Ice
The Devil's Novice
A Morbid Taste for Bones
The Rose Rent
St Peter's Fair
The Raven in the Foregate
The Holy Thief
The Potter's Field
The Pilgrim of Hate

When Edith Parteger, as Ellis Peters, wrote these stories, her Hugh Beringar was one man. If there was any alteration to his appearance, then it was due to age or wounds suffered in the course of a life prone to violence.

But that world she created is not the same world which was adapted for Television. For the Toobworld Dynamic, a splainin must be found as to why the facial features and bodily attributes of Hugh Beringar changed twice over so radically.

Plastic surgery is out of the question - the stories take place in the middle of the 12th Century! Quantum Leaping in general is out - the project didn't go online with Dr. Beckett's experiment until the 1990s and he could only leap within his own lifetime.

But the quantum leap aspect about inhabiting the aura of the original, so that the replacement casts a glamour that looks the same, might come into play. And time travel as a general concept is probably at work here.

I'm thinking Time Meddlers.

Notice I made that plural. Although Shrewsbury Abbey would be the perfect place for him to hide out until he could make his escape, I don't think the Meddling Monk is responsible for this recastaway - at least not directly.

Not all Time Meddlers should be considered villainous. The agency to which Captain Jack Harkness of 'Torchwood' and Captain John Hart once belonged probably meddled in Time to put right what once went wrong. That's what Phineas Bogg did in 'Voyagers!', and in fact, I think he worked alongside the Captains. (Probably under them as well, if you know what I mean - nudge nudge wink wink!)

There's another point about this recastaway I should bring up - I don't think we can consider this splainin to be like others in the recastaway category. Usually we accept the first actor established in a role to be that of the actual character. Then we have to find the reason as to why their facial features changed so radically within the "reality" of the TV Universe.

However, in this case, I think the first two actors to portray Hugh Beringar - Pertwee and McCarthy - were the imposters, the Time Meddlers. (And by Time Meddlers, I mean that they were Time Agents like Captain Jack.) It's not until Anthony Green came on the scene in those last three episodes of 'Cadfael' that we finally meet the actual Hugh Beringar.

So why were they there in Shrewsbury, and for so many years?

Here's where it goes back to the Meddling Monk.

"The Time Meddlers"
The TARDIS arrives on an English coastline in the year 1066. Exploring, the Doctor discovers that one of his own people, the Monk, is conspiring to wipe out the Viking fleet and thus allow King Harold to face the forces of William of Normandy with a fresh army at the Battle of Hastings. [Description from The Eye Of Horus]

It is hinted that the Monk was a Gallifreyan Time Lord like the Doctor, complete with his own TARDIS. When he arrived in England in 1066, it was with the intention of diddling with the events so that the Norman Conquest failed. And with that part of the timeline foiled, the rest of it would be rejiggered - the Dark Ages would disappear and Mankind's development would have accelerated. This would mean that powered flight, telecommunications, and (Ooh! Ooh!) Television would have arrived centuries before they were supposed to.

At the same time, weapons of mass destruction like the atom bomb would have come into existence far sooner than they should have - and into a world where Mankind might not have been ready to treat such technology responsibly. (Not that we are ready now, unfortunately.) The Monk may have simply speeded up the process by which we destroy ourselves. And so the Doctor had to stop him.
Having done so, the Doctor then made it impossible for the Monk to escape the time period by altering the relative dimensions of the interior of the TARDIS; making it too tiny for him to enter the "vehicle". Unlike the TARDIS of the Doctor, the Monk's TARDIS was now smaller on the inside than it was on the outside.

It's unknown how long the Monk was trapped on Earth by this ploy, but the passage of 70 years - from the Battle of Hastings to the Siege of Shrewsbury - would be a minor hiatus.

When the Doctor left the Monk behind in 1066, he said that he might - might! - come back to rescue him from the time period. However, the Doctor was surprised to see the Monk again in "The Daleks' Master Plan". Either someone else rescued the Monk, or the Doctor did it later in his own timeline, perhaps even by one of his own regenerations.

So what if somebody else was responsible for plucking the Monk out of that era? If this is feasible, then we might have the reason as to why Time Agents were hanging about Shrewsbury Abbey - they were lying in wait for the Meddling Monk.

Being a Time Lord himself, the Monk might have had a way to disguise his presence from notice by Time Agents. As such, they probably had to enact long-term plans in tracking him down. A study of the timeline may have revealed that Shrewsbury Abbey would be the most likely place for the Monk to reveal himself. Perhaps he might have even shown up there with the intention of killing Brother Cadfael in order to alter the timeline again. With his deductive skills and worldly reasoning, Cadfael saved many people from being unjustly executed for crimes they didn't commit. These people may not have been important in themselves, but their descendants could have had an impact on the Future.

It would have been like "The Terminator": remove that ancestor, and you can change the Future. Perhaps this was something the Meddling Monk had in mind for the fate of Brother Cadfael.

Up against a foe who could hide his presence from their sensors (probably a Lectric Chamber, as seen in 'Captain Z-Ro'), the Time Agents would have had no choice but to install an Agent near Shrewsbury Abbey to keep watch over Cadfael. (Having him disguised as another monk might have been better, to keep closer guard over Cadfael, but his arsenal of weapons for such a duty might have been hard to explain. Especially with Brother Jerome snooping about!)

Study of the time period would have yielded the perfect candidate for the Time Agent to impersonate - Hugh Beringar, a nobleman who once sided with the Empress Maude in her contention for the throne of England against her kinsman Stephen. His life path could have taken two different paths, with one of them leading to his death as a traitor to the King. It will be my contention that the Time Agency decided to send in one of their own agents to impersonate Beringar in order to make certain that he was accepted back into the good graces of King Stephen after the Siege of Shrewsbury.

Sean Pertwee portrays this first Time Agent, perhaps chosen because he most closely resembled the original Hugh Beringar. Of course, his appearance would be augmented by some kind of illusionary projection device which he would wear on his person. We as the audience would see him as who he really was - just as was the case with Dr. Sam Beckett of 'Quantum Leap' - but other characters would see the glamour of the real Hugh Beringar.

Another reason I chose Time Agents over Time Meddlers - their method of time travel would be contained in wrist devices, easily disguised as leather straps and close to hand in case of emergencies. Much better than being saddled with a TARDIS, especially when the plan is a long-term infiltration.

Disguised as Hugh Beringar, this unknown Time Agent was able to work his way into becoming the Undersheriff for the area in the summer of 1138 (as seen in the episode "One Corpse Too Many"). And as such, he was able to work closely with Brother Cadfael on several mysteries; all the while with an eye on the possible arrival of the Meddling Monk.

This Time Agent lived out the life of Hugh Beringar for about three years at most (probably less), waiting for the arrival of the Meddling Monk. However, as depicted in the episode "Monk's Hood", "Hugh Beringar" was stabbed by Meurig. Although he did survive, the wound was grievous enough that he needed to be taken off the assignment.

A new Time Agent was quickly chosen to replace him, but the Agency didn't have time to find someone who was also close in appearance to the original Hugh Beringar. The illusionary device would have had to work overtime in protecting his semblance to the Undersheriff. Because it might fail at any time without "Beringar" even noticing it, this new Hugh would be constantly testing its strength with challenges to Cadfael.

We first see this happen in "The Virgin In The Ice", in which "Hugh" tests his knowledge of Cadfael's past by bringing up the topic of Cadfael's former love in the Middle East, Miriam. Knowing Cadfael's personal history from the Agency files, this Time Agent probably brought up this topic to get Cadfael in the proper frame of mind for his coming encounter with his illegitimate son, Olivier de Bretagne. (Which makes for a good splainin as to why the subject was broached in the first place; without it, the scene is just clumsy exposition!)

We see "Beringar" test their relationship again in a later episode when he gets into an argument with Cadfael. His anger seems to come out of nowhere ("Don't test our friendship, Cadfael!") but the ruse proves that Cadfael is not displaying any doubts as to his identity. The monk quickly apologizes in hopes of salvaging their friendship, and we as the audience can see the satisfied smile on the face of this second Time Agent; his disguise is still safe.

And what of the original Hugh Beringar?

He finally returns in the episode "The Holy Thief". So at some point between "The Raven In The Foregate" and "The Holy Thief", the Time Agents completed their mission and removed themselves from that time period.

We know this is the true Hugh Beringar because his relationship with Cadfael is obviously not as close as it had been. And he subscribes to the old ways - for instance, he believes in the proof of a man's guilt by dunking him in the river to see if he floats or sinks. The first two "Beringar"s would have been more modern in their thinking.

(Although the second Time Agent had a little fun at the expense of Brother Jerome's beliefs when he says "You might as well suggest the Earth moves around the Sun with as little proof!" This happens in the episode "The Virgin In The Ice", and the Time Agent might have been feeling a bit cocky that his new disguise had fooled the locals.)

Where had the True Hugh been all that time? For my splainin to work, the Agency would have had to hold him prisoner outside of Time, all the while installing new memories to keep him updated on what his life was like without him there to actually live it out. (Whatever device was used by the Agency, it was probably similar in execution to that used by Madacorp. in 'Kyle XY' when implanting new memories into Jessie XX.)

Being outside of Time, the true Hugh Beringar would not have had to be imprisoned for all the years spent by the disguised Time Agents in Shrewsbury. From his perspective, he would have been abducted, imprinted with the false memories, and returned to his 12th Century life in a matter of days at most - even though he was placed at the point in Time years later when the Time Agents abandoned the project. So he would still look as young as he did when he first arrived in Shrewsbury in 1138. (And as mentioned earlier, his true visage would not be far off from that of the Time Agent first chosen for the mission.)

As for those Time Agents, if their mission had been to capture the Meddling Monk and remove him from that era, it appears that he somehow escaped their imprisonment. (Perhaps he was disguised as Father Christmas when he broke free.) Once on his own, the Monk tracked down the Doctor as was seen in "The Daleks' Master Plan".

I have a Wish-Craft when it comes to this scenario: I'd like for the Doctor to finally meet that first Time Agent (as played by Sean Pertwee). I think he might have seen in the Agent a "younger" version of himself.......
Once more I stress that there's no way Ellis Peters would ever have conjured up something like this for the novels. But it makes for a fun splainin as to why there are three Hugh Beringars in Toobworld!

'Doctor Who'
'Quantum Leap'
'Kyle XY'

'Captain Z-Ro'
'Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles'
'Whirligig' (Sorry about that, Chief!)

Brother Toby OB


Another week, another shipment....

Here's what's new in the DVD library of Toobworld Central:

'The Adventures Of Sir Lancelot' - Volume 1

'The Buccaneers' - The Complete Series

Two collections that will help enhance the Toobworld timeline!

Also, after learning of the death of prolific mystery writer Edward D. Hoch, I ordered "The Velvet Touch" a collection of his Nick Velvet stories. The thief who only steals items of no value was a favorite of mine when I'd read Hoch's stories in Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine.

The book arrived yesterday and I began reading it on the way to work last night. And already I'm getting an idea for whom I'd cast in the role of Nick Velvet, should they ever do a TV series about him. (Apparently the character has been under option forever!)

Not that anybody would ever ask me......

Toby OB


In the 'Poirot' episode "The Double Clue", a priceless necklace was stolen from the safe of Marcus Hardman, which he claimed once belonged to Catherine de Medici.

According to Wikipedia, Catherine de' Medici (April 13, 1519 – January 5, 1589) was born in Florence, Italy, as Caterina Maria Romola di Lorenzo de' Medici. Her parents, Lorenzo II de' Medici, Duke of Urbino, and Madeleine de la Tour d'Auvergne, countess of Boulogne, both died shortly after she was born. Under the Gallicised version of her name, Catherine de Médicis, she was queen consort of King Henry II of France from 1547 to 1559.

Catherine de Medici was portrayed in Toobworld several times. For 'Elizabeth R', the role was played by Margaretta Scott in 1971; Pamela Brown assayed the part for an episode of 'Sir Francis Drake': "Mission To Paris", and in 'The Conquest Of America', it was played by Lisa Wolfinger.

The picture here is of Joan Young as Catherine de Medici in two episodes of 'Doctor Who' before his first regeneration.

Toby OB

Monday, January 28, 2008


Just replayed the USA Network video of last Friday's episode of 'Psych' - "Lights, Cameras, Homicidio" - in order to grab a picture of that Viking-garbed actor.

Turns out that there were several "Vikings" walking about that studio lot, so maybe 'Viking Quest' really has begun production again in Toobworld!
But I do have to complain about that USA Network video player. Really crappy in how it worked; nothing like the player at!

At any rate, Toobworld Central can now substantiate its leaky claim that the fictional TV show 'Viking Quest' is back in the fictional world of 'Psych'.

And here's a bit of Wish-Craft: 'Psych' would be the perfect showcase for an 'Entourage' crossover. Maybe Johnny Drama could be accused of murder after he found out that his character of Thorvald was recast with someone younger, hotter, and even worse, a better actor. I think Shawn and Gus would mesh well with the crew of Vincent Chase for an hour!

Just sayin', is all.....

Toby OB


CBS has announced that the Showtime hit 'Dexter' will be presented on the Eye Network as a strike contingency. O'Bviously there will be some tweaking to make the show palatable for broadcast standards and to placate the stupid FCC.

Basically the same thing happened with 'The Sopranos' when it moved to A&E, 'The Wire' when it was picked up by BET, and with 'Dream On' when it aired on FOX. If it's just a question of editing (say, bleeping objectionable words or excising scenes of nudity), then there's no need for action to be taken by Toobworld Central. Shows have been whittled down for decades to fit in more blipverts, but that doesn't negate the original action. Whatever was broadcast first, that's locked into Toobworld's history, good and proper.

But sometimes optional scenes are filmed to be shown in broadcast syndication - if a key scene contains nudity but is too important to edit out, then it's reshot with the nudity covered up. (For 'The Sopranos', this often happened with those scenes set at the Bada Bing club.) When that happens, it becomes an alternate Toobworld. (Not every alternate dimension has to be radically different from Earth Prime-Time; a cover-up with a bra and panties will suffice.)

Ah tol' yuh that cuz Ah wanted to tell yuh this.....

Leading up to the holidays at the end of 2007, HBO aired a Christmas special finale for the short-run series 'Extras' which was created by and starred Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant. They showed it on December 16th, about a week or so before it was broadcast by the BBC. And because the cultural differences between the USA and the UK are about as pronounced as those found in our common language, Gervais and Merchant filmed several alternate scenes for each market.

Here are a few examples:

For the American market, mention of Ryan Seacrest was substituted for Ruby Wax, and Katie Couric was name-dropped in the Big Brother house instead of British newsreader Kate Adie (which made more sense and should have been left alone). Mentions of talk show hosts Richard & Judy, comic actress Catherine Tate and several characters from 'EastEnders' were just surgically sliced right out without any fiddling about.

The differences started right from the very beginning. Fans in the audience of 'When The Whistle Blows' (Andy's hit sitcom) were wearing T-shirts bearing slogans from the show. All except the last Tee, which was shown to be of Sigourney Weaver touting DirecTV.
In the British version, it's of Victoria Wood for ASDA (whatever that is. See? I'm proving the point!)

Then, in the department store while doing a bit of Christmas shopping, Andy and Maggie learn that the Kramer doll from 'Seinfeld' is selling better than his talking doll - even though it spouts racial epithets. However, for the UK market, they got to see the Jade Goody doll, who did the same thing - while appearing on camera in 'Big Brother'. (The Jade doll can still be seen in the display along with Kramer and Andy's doll.)
Next year, the manager of the department store was going to be stocking Sanjaya dolls - at least in the American version. The British version's manager was going to stock Same Difference dolls.

Now, the thing of it is, because the American version aired first, then that's the official version for Earth Prime-Time. And the British version has to be relegated to some alternate Toobworld, even though it's more in keeping with the original two seasons of 'Extras'. Sorry, Brits.

My thanks to Rob Buckley for first pointing out this dimensional discrepancy, and to Mark Wilkinson for pointing me towards a great little video on YouTube which lined up the differences for comparison.

However, that video by Venusice010 is no longer up, because of copyright violations. (A good lesson for me to get these posts written in a more timely manner!) Instead you can hear Ricky Gervais talk about the changes in
a video from his website.

And so it goes in Toobworld, no matter what side of the dimensional veil you're watching......

Toby OB


When Captain Black returned from Kenya to visit Jack and Susan Maltravers at their home Marsdon Manor, he brought them an African tribal mask wrapped in a Nairobi newspaper.
The date on that paper was July 27, 1935. But that doesn't necessarily mean that the events of "The Tragedy At Marsdon Manor" (a 'Poirot' mystery) took place soon after that. First off, some time had to be involved in Captain Black's travels to reach England from Kenya: a land trip, an ocean voyage, perhaps several connecting plane flights.

And then there's the fact that the newspaper may have been laying about Captain Black's Kenyan residence for some time before he decided to use it as wrapping paper.

There's no way the chronology for the 'Poirot' mysteries can be based on broadcast order - not with "The Million Dollar Bond Robbery", connected as it is with an historical event from May of 1936, being televised before "The Plymouth Express", which occurred just after Sir Malcolm Campbell setting the land speed record in September of 1935.

But I think that even so, "The Tragedy Of Marsdon Manor" does happen soon after the episode of "Wasp's Nest", which took place in early August, 1935 and which precedes this episode in the broadcast order.

Therefore, I'm going to say "The Tragedy Of Marsdon Manor" takes place the second week of August, 1935.

And as Dennis Miller says, "Of course, I could be wrong......"

Toby OB

Sunday, January 27, 2008


Just wanted to let y'all know that I've updated my blogroll there to the left to add in "A Shroud Of Thoughts", a blog by "Mercurie" who's become a frequent commenter here and who's always got something interesting to say about pop culture.

I've also done a bit of shuffling with some of the links, as well as pruning of links that no longer worked. I may have to actually visit all of my links to see if they still work and/or whether or not I should keep them on the list to the left. (It is getting awfully long!)

I may even have to sever ties with my brother's blog. It looks like he's abandoned it.....

Can't play favorites at Toobworld Central! (At least, not too often.....)

Toby OB


I alluded earlier to the fact that the FCC has levied a fine of over a million bucks on ABC for airing a scene in which the character of Connie (played by the lovely Charlotte Ross) was caught naked in the bathroom after taking a shower by Andy Sipowicz's son Theo.

Timely as always, the scene was from an 'NYPD Blue' episode called "Nude Awakening" from 2003. Stupid, bureaucratic FCC, acting with partisan politics in mind!

ABC isn't going to let this issue slide by even thinking about paying the fine. They plan to fight and a good thing too!

Here was their statement in response to the action:

"NYPD Blue, which aired on ABC from 1993-2005, was an Emmy Award-winning drama, broadcast with appropriate parental warnings, as well as V-chip-enabled program ratings from the time such ratings were implemented. When the brief scene in question was telecast almost five years ago, this critically acclaimed drama had been on the air for a decade and the realistic nature of its story lines was well known to the viewing public."

My one hope is that from all of this brouhaha, Charlotte Ross might find herself more in demand as an actress. Toobworld can't help but benefit from seeing more of her on the small screen.
Not that we didn't see more of her in that episode. Homina thrice!

Toby OB


When fashion model Molly Deane drove out to see her boyfriend, the author John Harrison, she brought along a copy of Vogue which featured her on the cover.

The date on the magazine was September 10th, 1935.

As magazines are published well in advance of their cover date so that they have a longer life at the news stands, this issue of Vogue probably came out in mid-August. Molly must have had an advance copy before its release, as it was treated as if it was a big surprise.

Therefore, I think the 'Poirot' episode "Wasp's Nest", in which this all occurs, takes place in the first week of August, 1935.

Toby OB


Tonight at 9 pm EST, ION will present a new version of Jules Verne's classic novel, "Journey To The Center Of The Earth". It will star Rick Schroder, Victoria Pratt, and Peter Fonda.

As it's not the first tele-version of this story, it must be relegated to one of the alternate dimensions.

Toby OB


"Chuck vs. The Undercover Lover" was one of two new episodes of 'Chuck' which aired on Thursday night. In it, Agent John Casey found himself in a scenario straight out of "Casablanca", complete with a woman out of his past whom he once loved and the new man in her life, named Viktor.

In fact, in one scene that should have ended with the line "We'll always have Grozny", the movie was actually playing in the background.

"Casablanca" is a movie in Toobworld, just as it is in the Trueniverse. However, their version was based on real life.

The character of Rick Blaine was based on an American club owner in Morocco named Rick Jason - but it could be that Rick had changed his name from Blaine since the 1955 TV series picked up where the movie left off. Or it could be that the movie changed his name to protect his identity, since the war was still going on when it came out. (Rick was played by movie tough guy Charles McGraw.)

Since Captain Renault had also thrown in with Rick against the Nazis, he also had a slight name change to Renaud. He appeared to be still antagonistic to Rick, but I think it was all part of the ruse the two of them had established in their new guises. (Again, his name change could be due to the movie rather than in his "real life" in Toobworld.)

But all of the old familiar faces still were around in 'Casablanca' - Ferrari, Sam, Sacha, Carl..... Even Ilsa returned in at least one episode (played by Anita Ekberg), although she was never named in the episode.

Two years earlier, an adaptation of the movie aired, but Warner Brothers forbid any kinescope recordings to be preserved of it. So for now, we at Toobworld Central are looking at that lost production as the prequel to the series.

In 1983, a new version of the series was produced, with David Soul, Hector Elizondo, and Scatman Crothers in the cast. This series will represent the story of Rick's Cafe Americain in the TV dimension of remakes.

And as everyone knows, it was still the same old story.....

Toby OB