30 August, 2014

Zeus Pod

Zeus Pod, a new Doctor Who podcast, may well be the first of its kind in New Zealand. Certainly it is the only locally-produced fan podcast based on the series that I know of.

It is the third incarnation of what began eight years ago as Zeus Plug, a printed A5, hand-distributed ‘pub zine’; then migrated online as Zeus Blog. Now the Zeus name has a new lease of life as a lively and upbeat weekly audio podcast, hosted by Jono Park.

Jono’s professional experience as a presenter is clearly in evidence with his confident delivery, and highly structured plan for each episode, keeping things (mostly) on track, though his desire to get episode under half an hour may be thwarted by talkative guests and the amount of material covered in each instalment.

Zeus Pod is planned to run for a ‘season’ of thirteen episodes, with each weekly programme focusing primarily on a review of that week’s new Doctor Who episode.

A spoiler warning for New Zealand fans watching on Prime, which is showing Doctor Who on Sunday evenings a full week after the UK: you’ll want to wait a week before listening in as these episodes are recorded and made available soon after the UK broadcasts.

I was the guest on Zeus Pod’s second episode, titled ‘BB’ (and yes, appropriately enough, it does name-check The War Machines). Jono and I discussed what we thought of the first Peter Capaldi episode, Deep Breath, and tried to make sense of the mystery set up in that episode. I’d avoided going online to see what others were saying about it, so at the time of recording I believed my theory about the identity of Michelle Gomez’s character was original. I subsequently discovered that many fans appear to have reached the same conclusion. We’ll probably all be proved wrong by the end of this series.

In addition to critiquing the debut episode of Series 8, I took part in the ‘60 Second Story Smackdown’. This is a regular segment on Zeus Pod, in which Jono offers up random pairs of stories and the guest has to make snap judgements over which one is better. I doubt I’ll soon be living down one particularly controversial decision …

Jono also challenged me to a ‘first lines’ quiz, involving guessing the correct story from a reading of the opening line of dialogue. I must confess that I felt some trepidation about this segment. I should make a confession here: I don’t re-watch Doctor Who very often. Yes, it’s true! Where possible I prefer to leave a few years in between viewing a particular story, so that when I do see it again I find enjoyment in re-discovering what I’ve partly forgotten in the interim. This means of course that details – such as opening lines of dialogue – rarely linger in my memory. Consequently I was expecting to be thoroughly humiliated in this quiz. Have a listen and see how I did.

I’ve been a guest on a number of overseas Doctor Who podcasts, but it was a pleasure to finally get to take part in one originating in my own country.

I thoroughly recommend Zeus Pod. It can be listened to and downloaded on Soundcloud here.