Takeover Ad
Takeover Ad

Welcome to the News & Reviews section here at Doctor Who Online! This is where you will find all the latest Doctor Who related news and reviews split up into easy to use sections - each section is colour coded for your convenience. The latest items can be found at the top, and older items follow down the page.

Archived news and reviews can be accessed by clicking on the relevant area on the News / Reviews Key panels to the right.

E-Mail NewsE-Mail Reviews
4 February 2020

TARDISMonkey's Torchwood Diary - watching Torchwood an episode a week from the start...

1.5: Small Worlds

Grab the tissues everyone, this is an emotional ride. 

 

We are greeted by the adorable character of Estelle Cole, played by Eve Pearce, as she explores the hidden and enchanted world of fairies. It's a classic opening to a Brother’s Grimm.

 

Estelle starts taking pictures on her film camera of these seemingly harmless looking creatures until she starts walking away, satisfied with her discover; however the creatures turn into evil demons ready for the kill… Cue title sequence. (I can safely say this is the first Torchwood episode that has gripped me straight from the off.) 

 

The camera pans through Torchwood until we see a sleeping and very shirtless Captain Jack, which is a shot definitely for the men, ladies and anyone in-between. We’re thrown back in time to what appears to be a nightmare with Jack seeing his army platoon on a train, dead,with flower petals in their mouths. A disturbed Captain Jack quickly leaps out of bed from the nightmare, prepared not to sleep for the rest of the night. However he finds a petal on his desk. Was this a dream?

Small Worlds offers an array of themes here, but the most interesting has to be the exploration of Captain Jack’s past. This is the first time we’ve had real hints and stories about Jack’s history, and the troubles that he’s been so good at covering up so far.

Murray Gold’s music creates a dream like world as if we’re living in a childhood fairytale, thus creating the perfect introduction to Jasmine Pierce, a primary school girl waiting for her parents who are late picking her up. In a sharp turn of events and a harsh cue from Gold’s music, a disturbing man watches her from afar. Jasmine continues to walk from school on her own, as the predatory man creeps behind her in his car, but is she alone? The camera cuts to a green eyed perspective as the man tries to grab Jasmine, until a strong wind whirls around the paedophile who gets his comeuppance as his face smashes against his car. He runs away in terror as Jasmine watches in glee and skips away. Not a way I would react if someone tried to grab me or having an unknown entity save the day. It creates a divide of are these creatures the good or the bad guys?

Torchwood really brings that grey area into the world that is so typically written as black and white. However there is justice when the paedophile man starts coughing up petals and water, as he runs through Cardiff Market wanting to be arrested by a police officer nearby. It’s a true body horror moment that makes for an uncomfortable watch. Are these creatures forcing him to repent or filling him with pure terror as they have taken guardianship of Jasmine. As Gwen quotes ‘One persons’ good, could be somebody else’s evil’.

Meanwhile, Jack and Gwen attend a talk about the legend of Fairies – hosted by none other than Estelle. Gwen, seemingly very unconvinced by the whole situation, dismisses the theme of fairies existing and questions whether Estelle’s either making it up or has a really distorted view on the world. That is until Gwen starts to notice Jack and Estelle getting very close, hinting at a past intimacy. As they turn up to Estelle’s house, Gwen notices a man who looks very similar to Captain Jack, however Jack is adamant it’s his father. It’s a great twist on the norm here, for the audience who know the picture is our Jack – it’s good to see it play the other way around, with Gwen using her detective powers to work out it’s not Jack. It’s a very similar style to ‘Columbo’ where we know who the murderer is before the story is introduced.

The main part I love about this story, is the relationship between Jack and Estelle. It feels that there is such a strong bond between them, as if they’d been married for years. It’s a nice moment to see Captain Jack as we’ve never really seen him before. It’s a softer approach to his character, exploring his long term relationships during the war. It’s a love that seems could last forever.

Elsewhere Jasmine appears to be forming a stronger bond with the fairies everyday, as her parents become increasingly more and more worried about her relationship with her friends and staying out in the garden. As we see into Jasmine’s home life, it becomes more apparent that her stepdad Roy is seemingly despondent and uninterested in poor Jasmine. Dismissing her left, right and centre, which contributes to family conflict and Jasmine’s increasing feeling of loneliness, this is the fairies time to strike everyone down.

The first attack starts off with the typical Torchwood style alien murder mystery, as the paedophile finally gets his comeuppance as he’s attacked in his empty prison cell by the Fairies, in much the same way as previously seen – he chokes to death on flower petals. However, the fairies don’t stop there.

We come to the changing of the equilibrium in one of the most emotional sides of Torchwood so far. The death of Estelle. The fairies in their chance to get their chosen one, Jasmine, will try anything to make sure the Torchwood team and especially Captain Jack, from stopping their plans. Estelle is so brutally taken away from us and it easily becomes one of the most heartbreaking deaths. I will not be afraid to admit I cried my heart out. It shows how incredible Peter J. Hammond’s writing is, to create such a bond with a character in the first 20 minutes of the show. John Barrowman equally makes it such a heart breaking moment as he holds her in his arms one last time, before kissing her on the forehead as he leaves. It creates a truly upsetting moment as Captain Jack will never be able to reveal his secret of who he actually was. (Damn you Murray Gold and your stunning music to this scene) - a scene that will be the pinnacle moment which reveals how Torchwood was such a fantastic show and pushed those boundaries like never before.

Captain Jack now has to make an impossible choice, a theme that is regularly brought up in Doctor Who. Torchwood has the same flexibility in its story telling, being able to confront the horrific demons of the past, as Jack knows the fairies need a chosen one or they’ll destroy the world. How do you make that decision when the chosen one is a child?

The final showdown between the fairies and the Torchwood team ends up in Jasmine’s garden, as her stepdad is brutally killed by the fairies shoving petals down his throat. Jasmine’s mum in complete distress, looks upon Captain Jack for the reassurance that the Doctor would show. However, unlike the Doctor, where some impossible choices are taken from him, Captain Jack faces them.

We approach the forest where it all started and a struggling Jasmine wants to join the fairies in eternal life, but in a shocking turn of events Jack lets her go. The second crying moment ensues. Jasmine’s mum watches in horror as her little girl runs away and disappears as if she never existed. This is a heartbreaking moment, in which Jasmine’s mum blames Jack for the loss of her family and is also the moment Captain Jack realises he had no choice, no matter how broken he would feel afterwards. It’s a true testament again to the relationship between Captain Jack and his team, that would so easily have created a TARDIS team to separate. (Damn you Murray Gold again and your stunning music). 

 

Small Worlds is real horror story and a great theme for a true Grimm’s Fairy Tale. The only criticism I have is the CGI of the fairies do somewhat let some of the scenes down. For me, I would have love to have seen the fairies still looking small and innocent but with razor sharp teeth, rather than a full sized, green alien style. It just creates a juxtaposition that no matter how innocent something appears, there’s something always deceptive underneath its appearance.

Captain Jack’s love for Estelle and the guilt he felt for letting Jasmine go, is one of the most powerful performances we’ve had in the series so far. (Ok Gareth David-Lloyd did give a hell of a performance is ‘Cyberwoman’). This episode has been a true testament of stunning performances from the supporting cast, as well as the main team. 


Ellie (TARDISMonkey) 

 

 

Follow @Tardis_Monkey on Twitter!
+ Follow @DrWhoOnline on Twitter!

[Source:
DWO]

28 January 2020

TARDISMonkey's Torchwood Diary - watching Torchwood an episode a week from the start...

1.4: Cyberwoman

Our next episode once again, is written by current Doctor Who show runner Chris Chibnall. We start with the Torchwood team playing a friendly game of basketball while a pterodactyl flies around because reasons? Its quite nice to see Gwen finally being accepted as one of the team, however there’s a figure who appears to be left standing in the shadows, Ianto.

 

Ianto has been a character whom we just assume is taking up the role of the butler. He just stays in the background, cleaning up the mess of the Torchwood team. However, this episode starts turning into a case of a whodunnit as Ianto runs off to meet a mysterious Doctor, while the team goes out for drinks.

 

We’re introduced to the secretive world of Ianto Jones, as it is discovered he has been keeping Lisa Hallett, a former employee of Torchwood One down in the basements of Torchwood Three. Although in a shocking revelation tying into the aftermath of the battle of Canary Wharf, Lisa is part Cyberman or should I say Cyberwoman! The story of Ianto doing everything he can to save the woman he loves, is a dynamic way to quickly explore his character. It’s a tragic tale of two people in love, which drives this episode forward in its themes.

 

However, what should be a very emotional scene between the reveal of Ianto and Lisa is let down slightly, in the design of the Cyberwoman. Unfortunately the design of the cyberbra and cyberknickers isn’t exactly what I had in mind when cybermen converted people. Does this mean other people get cyberboxers or cyberbriefs? It detracts from the overall seriousness of the situation, whereas I would have had more of a Frankenstein’s monster look proving no matter what you look like, there’s always someone who will love you, no matter what.

 

Ianto with the help of Dr Tanizaki, try to save Lisa by reverting part of the cyber process to help her live as a human again. In true Torchwood style, this all goes horribly wrong. Lisa’s cyber programming kicks into gear as she tries to process an unfortunate Dr Tanizaki, killing him. What creates a shocking twist is she is doing this out of love? The idea of human emotions and partial cyber conversion is a great concept, briefly explored originally in Doctor Who with Yvonne Hartman crying as a Cyberman. The Torchwood team quickly discover what Ianto has been doing all this time and try and stop his plans. Again this questions the loyalty of the team, as Ianto admits he couldn’t trust Torchwood to protect Lisa from being destroyed.

 

I know I mentioned the theme of Frankenstein’s monster earlier, but this literally happens within the ending of the episode. It created a major shock factor with Lisa trying to prove her love and not processing human emotions properly. She kills a poor pizza delivery woman and swaps her brain out to replace it with Lisa’s.

 

The finale of the story ends up with Ianto making a choice either letting Lisa live or shooting her for the murderous rampage she undertook. I feel this part should have been left to Ianto for his redemption. However this was brutally taken away by Captain Jack shooting first. It almost detracts from Ianto’s choice, as I think it would have made a greater impact if he shot her because he loved her so much but couldn’t let her carry on murdering people.

 

Overall I did prefer this episode to ‘Day One’; the conflict between the Torchwood team and Captain Jack has become a recurring theme, as well as the secrets of Jack’s past with him not being able to die, makes the team lose their trust even more. Maybe Torchwood should get a better vetting system for their staff?


Ellie (TARDISMonkey) 


 

 

Follow @Tardis_Monkey on Twitter!
+ Follow @DrWhoOnline on Twitter!

[Source:
DWO]

21 January 2020

TARDISMonkey's Torchwood Diary - watching Torchwood an episode a week from the start...

1.3: Ghost Machine

We encounter the Torchwood team in an epic chase through Cardiff, but chasing who?

 

Gwen nearly catching the suspect through Cardiff market (where they make very nice Welsh Cakes by the way) unfortunately only grabs his coat as he runs off. Gwen thinking she failed, repeatedly apologises, while a happy Tosh shouts in her ear she’s got it. But what has Gwen discovered?

 

The opening sequence creates a fantastic juxtaposition. After an adrenaline filled chase, Gwen finds a unique piece of alien tech - changing the pace of the story entirely. Pressing its button, Gwen is unknowingly transported to, we assume, WW II. We see a young boy leaving the train station wearing a name tag, looking lost and calling for help. However in the same instance, Gwen is thrown back into the present… Looking around shocked, she utters “I’ve seen a ghost.”

 

This is the first episode which has grabbed my attention straight from the off. This episode starts to focus around Owen, which again seems to show the themes of the series that everyone has a story dedicated to them. Gwen and Owen seek out who the boy from Gwen's apparition is. They later discover via a phonebook, (which a sarcastic Owen holds in his hands), it's a Mr Tom Erasmus Flanagan. They visit the now elderly Tom and realise the alien technology was showing them a real person's past, not a fictional vision.

 

The stand out line for this episode has to be when they are trying to track down the original suspect Bernie Harris, who stole the alien tech: 'Splot' 'Splot?' 'I believe estate agents call it Splough…’. 

 

Its the brilliant comedic element that Torchwood is perfect for. The down to Earth part when they use their detective skills to find him, establishes the normal everyday aspect of working in Torchwood. This is a complete contrast to their other counterpart flying around the universe in a TARDIS.

 

As the Torchwood team have no luck ‘catching them killers then’ (Hot Fuzz reference for anyone there), Owen quickly stops in his tracks as they walk under a bridge and the Quantum Transducer activates. The whole world seems quieter and colder. Unknown to Owen, he has been transported back to the 1960's, where he unwillingly watches the rape and murder of Lizzie Lewis, coldly carried out by Ed Morgan. Owen can't move or bring himself to take action. It really does become an uncomfortable moment to watch, leaving Owen in tears as the Quantum Transducer brings him back to the present. This harrowing scene becomes the key driving force for Owen to get justice for Lizzie.

 

Posing as a Police Officer, Owen tracks down Ed Morgan to his house, which leads to an intense battle of wits. Owen describing the incident to Ed in such detail, makes us as the audience feel as insecure as Ed. The heart beat sound and the close up shots, creates the sense of panic, claustrophobia and guilt, as he’s finally been found out. It’s a fantastic scene between the characters, to which both Burn Gorman and Gareth Thomas (yes Blake’s 7), make the scene teeth clenching.

 

The Torchwood team finally track down Bernie Harris, but in a intriguing plot twist, it is revealed that there are in fact TWO parts to the Quantum Transduce; one to show you the past, the other to show you the future. Bernie, afraid of the alien tech, sees his death. Having earlier blackmailed Ed Morgan he becomes afraid of what's to come. Gwen on the other hand touches the future side of the QT, and sees herself with blood on her hands - but who's? All this builds up to be a true murder mystery tale with a side of time travel, which is what Torchwood is perfect at playing.

 

We have reached the final confrontation. Ed Morgan is about to be held to account by Owen Harper. Morgan has the knife, as previously seen in Gwen's future vision - he is ready to kill anyone before his terrible murderous secret out. It's another fantastic show of Gareth Thomas's acting as he builds up the intensity as the situation escalates. The agoraphobia is making him panic and not think rationally or logically. This is on the edge of the seat viewing. Captain Jack quickly pounces on him, while Owen takes the knife. Owen almost takes on the role of vigilante in this episode, taking justice into his own hands and fighting for the late Lizzie Lewis. Owen holds the knife to Ed's face - can he do it? He quickly realises that actually, he is the better man, and doesn't act. Sound familiar? Unfortunately this is where the ending slightly lets it down. Ed runs towards Gwen to hug her for helping him, to ultimately stab himself. Why was Gwen holding the knife pointed outwards so that someone could get stabbed? I feel the resolution is a slight let down, as it would have been nice to see Ed finally show redemption for his actions. However the final scene of Captain Jack easing the pain of Gwen accidentally killing Ed is really sympathetic and full of wonder, straight out of Tomb of the Cybermen style with the Doctor and Victoria.

 

Helen Raynor has created a diverse, atmospheric and witty script. Overall I think this has been the strongest episode so far next to ‘Everything Changes'.


Ellie (TARDISMonkey) 

 

 

Follow @Tardis_Monkey on Twitter!
+ Follow @DrWhoOnline on Twitter!

[Source:
DWO]

14 January 2020

TARDISMonkey's Torchwood Diary - watching Torchwood an episode a week from the start...

1.2: Day One 

Well, well, well. If Torchwood wanted to prove that it’s more grown up theme wasn’t the family friendly Doctor Who we all know, this is the episode that proves it. 

 

This is the first Torchwood story written by current Doctor Who showrunner Chris Chibnall. The whole theme of ‘Day One’ circulates around themes of sex, which for the Doctor Who Universe was a bold move to make.

 

‘Day One’ follows Gwen Cooper on her first day as part of team Torchwood. As a meteor crashes into Earth, Gwen leaves her very cute date with Rhys to join the gang where during some banter, Gwen quite literally throws a spanner (accidentally) in the works. It lands in the meteor letting out a purple gas cloud, which heads towards a very upset Carys Fletcher on the phone telling her boyfriend to die. This is when it all gets a bit weird.

 

The extra-terrestrial sex gas turns an unexpected Carys Fletcher into a killer by absorbing climatic energy. A sentence I thought I would never write… 

 

The episode really explores the themes of sexuality with Gwen kissing her first woman, Owen being a bit of a lad after recording both Carys and Gwen kissing and then being caught out himself by getting locked away without any clothes on. How about Tosh looking away from Owen without any clothes on, is she shy about her sexuality? The Torchwood team also question Captain Jack’s sexuality and his ties with the past again, cementing the overall story arc. It’s the start exploring the LGBTQ+ themes that will be revealed in full later on in the series.

 

What makes the episode very tongue in cheek but realistic, is the fact the cast play it seriously. You can tell that Carys Fletcher has a conflict in herself for control and the distress its causing to her when then alien kills people. Gwen faces the situation by using her police training to tell Captain Jack, eating a Chinese meal or Owen filming them kissing in the cell is not the way they should be handling any situation with a distressed person. The conflict makes a noble stance of their moral grounds, until they realise they’re both on the same level of respect, when Jack reveals he’s been analysing Carys Fletcher to get her the best help.

 

The scene in which Carys steals The Doctor’s hand and Captain Jack being incredibly protective of it, just shows the incredible bond both him and The Doctor have. This is very apparent when the jar is smashed and Jack cradles the hand as if he’s holding the hand of a loved one. It's provides a heartwarming and upsetting scenario and also reveals why Captain Jack is apart of Torchwood.

 

‘Day One’ has a dignified and emotional resolution with the alien dying, with a weirdly poignant quote ‘Travelling half way across the universe for the greatest sex… But still end up dying alone’. It again explores the overall arc of who is Captain Jack and what has happened in the past for him to think this way.

 

Even though this isn’t my favourite episode out of the series, I can understand the shock factor ‘Day One’ brings and its take on being different with its sexual themes Doctor Who hasn’t been able to do before. This is what Torchwood is all about.


Ellie (TARDISMonkey) 

 

 

Follow @Tardis_Monkey on Twitter!
+ Follow @DrWhoOnline on Twitter!

[Source:
DWO]

7 January 2020

TARDISMonkey's Torchwood Diary - watching Torchwood an episode a week from the start...

1.1: Everything Changes 

Rewatching this episode has really shown how incredible Russell T. Davies is as a writer. You want a 'grown-up' version of Doctor Who? Well, look no further. Gwen Cooper; a police officer working her way up through the ranks and tackling hard cases, like a murder that has just happened outside a multi-story car park. But this is no ordinary case; a mysterious team enter the mists and bring a dead body back to life. Gwen Cooper's life has dramatically changed, forever.

 

Torchwood establishes its more grown up audience from the violence Gwen encounters when she meets her first alien, the Weevil. She tries to establish some normality to the situation by claiming the Weevil is a man in a mask, until some unfortunate soul gets his throat ripped apart.


Captain Jack takes up the 'Doctor' role in the episode, claiming to be a dark and mysterious person who wants to keep his past life a secret. Being an established character in the series really helps Torchwood have a familiar face that the audience can relate to and have some foreknowledge of Jack's history. The establishing scene that builds up the Torchwood team in their Cardiff base, when Gwen is delivering pizza, makes a nice little icebreaker when it plays on the stereotypical cheesy reveal scenes, making light hearted comedy of the situation. Seeing the teams camaraderie as Gwen enters the Torchwood base proves they are very tight knit, very much like the first episode of Doctor Who, An Unearthly Child – the existing chemistry of the gang proves they’ve already had many adventures.


Torchwood really builds itself as a series utilising these tropes, however it also throws in a grim twist to the universe we know and love from Doctor Who, with characters stealing, swearing and generally doing stuff that’s forbidden in a family show. This episode already has shocks, twists, turns and some amazing power poses from Captain Jack's figure on top of random buildings in Cardiff, which entices you to continue watching the next episode. You want to see Cardiff in all its glory? Well look no further than the fantastic amounts of establishing drone shots, which would make a good game someday.

 

(Also keep an eye out for the Doctor Who Experience sign in the background of some shots.) 

 

The first episode had everything it needed to establish characters, sets and the overall theme of the show. It’s still a little rough round the edges with slight exaggeration of the grown up themes.

Ellie (TARDISMonkey) 

 

 

Follow @Tardis_Monkey on Twitter!
+ Follow @DrWhoOnline on Twitter!

[Source:
DWO]

10 April 2010

Written By: Steven Moffat

Directed By: Adam Smith

Original Airdate: 3/4/2010

Reviewed by: Dale Who

Review Posted: 10th April 2010

It's Saturday, and it's just about to begin. There's a steaming mug of tea and numerous snacks next to me, the telephones are all switched off, the blinds are drawn and the Freeview box is recording. We've reached the much-anticipated, long-awaited and dear-God-I'm-worried-about-it first episode of the 2010 series of Doctor Who. New Doctor, new assistant, new TARDIS inside and out, new show runner and mostly new crew.

I'm not worried for the show itself; it's proven it can change and adapt and survive in today's climate plenty of times since 2005. I'm worried about my view of it. I'm like this every time there's a new Doctor, but that's not a bad or negative thing. I care about the character, I've emotionally invested a lot in my hero since I was knee high to a Zarbi, so it's important to me they get him right. However, mixed with that I'm also very aware it's not "my" show any more, it's for the kids that are growing up today; the family audience. Not aging fanboys with robot dogs in their living rooms... although they're always the most vocal, I find. Some Doctor Who fans do nothing but whine as well, and that annoys me. Usually the ones who still think the show should be exactly how *they* want it, and something Russell T Davies took great delight in proving to be a false claim.

The pre-title sequence begins, and such thoughts are banished from my head. It's straight into the action, more or less from where we last left off; with the TARDIS hurtling towards London out of control and on fire. The main difference is The Doctor is hanging on for dear life to the TARDIS base, having fallen out of the flapping doors. Talk about a different beginning: the TARDIS is wrecked, and the Doctor's not going to get to collapse and sleep this one through . Poor bloke's going to be knackered!

The new titles kick in, and I simply stop breathing and stare. They're *so* different. The vortex is reminiscent of the second Dalek film from the 1960s; rather smokey, and there appears to be a lightning storm happening in there too. The theme tune is very different too, a marked departure from the Tennant era. Again, different is not bad. It just means I need to adjust and let it all sink in. The titles are very slick and clever, and then we're back into the action. And I remember I'm turning blue and start breathing again.

Amelia Pond is perfect. Just wonderful. The best child actor I've seen in many a year; she's instantly likable and you're just on her side from the get-go. The whole idea of parying to Santa at Easter, and apologising if you've woken him up, is genius from Mr Moffat. The TARDIS crash-lands, and The Doctor's first line as he pops up from the new swimming pool/library combo he's got going on in the ruined Police Box is perfect. "Can I have an apple?"

After some perfect silliness with food - mmm, fish fingers and custard - and establishing that little Amelia is more than capable of holding her own already in life, there's the first pang of darkness. The crack in the wall. With draughts and voices on the other side... I think a few younger kids with cracks in their walls will suddenly be awake tonight, a little concerned about what may be behind it...

One thing becomes obvious very quickly indeed. This is not what I was expecting. The direction, the locations and the mood and feel of Doctor Who have all changed. This is a very different show to David Tennant's Who - or more correctly to RTD's Who. Again, this is not a bad thing. I loved RTD's era, and I loved Eccleston and Tennant, but this changes the whole ball game. It's still recognisably the same format it's always been, but somehow this seems bigger, better and more epic than I remember it being at any point before. I'm blown away by this. It's gotten better... again! And it was already stunning! 

The new Doctor is insanely likable. He's mad, clever, funny when appropriate, and has me bonding with him in about fourteen seconds. Not once did I think about how David or Chris or Tom would have played a scene. The Doctor - Matt Smith's Doctor - is in charge, and effortlessly so as well. However, grown up Amy's more than a match for him though; a clever new foil for his outbursts and ingenius insanity. She's going to be an amazing companion, that girl, and Karen Gillan is effortlessly natural in the part. Spot on, nailed performance.

The supporting cast are also brilliant (fanboy squee: OMG! There's Sir Patrick Moore! Brilliant!!) and the scene with Jeff and The Doctor comandeering his laptop has me bellowing with laughter. 

Prisoner Zero is another clever idea from Steven Moffat, a shapeshifter that uses comatose patients as a template; although it's a bit rubbish at getting the voices right. The silent dog and the barking man is hilarious; but the girls and the Mother having the same voice in the hopsital stand-off sequence makes my blood run cold. That's a definite chill. Taking the everyday and making it uncanny, unexpected and creepy. Gas masks. Ticking clocks. Stone Angels. We're definitely in Moffat territory. The alien itself is no more pleasant. It reminds me of a deep sea angler fish, and it's ugly. The Atraxi show up and they remind me of Axos and the Mandragora Helix set from Classic Doctor Who, and the Crystalline Enitity from Star Trek Next Gen. Not as in "nicked", just an influence creeping in.

There's a now almost reverent nod to the previous Doctors, and The Doctor's current incarnation is now dressed properly and ready to save the world from being fried with some decent advice to the Atraxi, which he does with style, before legging it back to his now finished and revamped TARDIS.

We finally get a look inside, and aside from a raised eyebrow at some of the controls (again, not negative, just unexpected!) I'm over the moon at what they've done to the best ship ever. The outside has those echoes of the 1960s series to it, and the inside just takes your breath away with the scale and love gone into it. 

It's all over in what seems like twenty minutes. It was actually an hour and five. The continuity announcers do that very, very annoying thing of talking over the credits and shrinking them to half the screen again, and it occurs to me that's the only negative thing I can find. It also occurs to me that I'm now liking the theme tune, and that I adjusted to that one really rather quickly.

I'm relieved and ecstatic that the character I still care about is in a very, very safe set of hands. More than that, I think I've fallen in love with The Doctor and his TARDIS all over again. Released from my hypnotic trance-like state that television's held me in, I glance around. The snacks are untouched, and the tea's now stone cold but undisturbed in the mug. And I remember that it was ever thus. When The Doctor's in town, everything here stops. 

Reviewed by: Chris Kilby

Review Posted: 15th April 2010

The boy done good. Definitely not sick as a parrot. Yup, it looks like football's loss was Doctor Who's gain. But does that mean there's a parallel universe where David Beckham's The Doctor? Or Wayne Rooney? The mind boggles!

The Eleventh Hour was an episode of two halves. Two halves? Four halves more like!

There was the obligatory "I'm mad, me," post-regenerative trauma malarky which was deftly handled with wit and humour - "fish fingers and custard" sounded like a Dr Seuss book and must have had every eight year old in the country going "Yuck!" And I loved the Fermat gag. And "You're Scottish, fry something." Funny's good. Yeah? Tell that to the average fanboy...

Then there was the new companion and her already-tangled history with the Doctor - "Why did you say 'five minutes'?" It shouldn't have been surprising that the first episode of the Steven Moffat era would be so timey-wimey. Starting as he means to continue? And does this mean the next time the Doctor meets River Song she won't have met him yet...? 

This was followed by the supposedly "main" plot which was a bit perfunctory but served its purpose - alarmingly sub-par CGI notwithstanding (the result of cutbacks or the increased cost of switching to HD?). Ironic after Neil Harris' recent DWM column about not-so-special effects. Did he know in advance?

And finally there was setting up the big "Crack in Time" story arc - silence will fall. Phew! No wonder it over-ran. Is it just me or did that crack look like... a smile? And the Doctor's up to something. Why else would he hastily turn that scanner off before Amy clocked it? "Why me?" indeed. It's the seventh Doctor all over again. But in a good way.

So what of the junior Doctor? Well he's a bit gawky, a bit awkward, and, yes, he is a bit young. But this Matt Smith. He's rather good, isn't he? Loved how he savoured saying "Amelia Pond." And that tweedy look's a real grower: a bit mad professor; a bit young fogey. And, it has to be said, remarkably similar to "John Smith's" getup in Human Nature. "Bow ties are cool"? Well they are now.

"Who da man?" was funny cos it made the youngest Doctor ever look like someone's dad trying to sound cool - classic Moffat! Kids think anyone over twenty's old anyway, so what do I know? As for the new Doctor emerging from the face(s) of the old with a jovial "Hello. I'm the Doctor"? Back of the net! David who...?

But sometimes the Doctor needs someone to stop him. Talking to himself, that is. Which brings us to the new companion.

Amy's a bit brittle. A bit highly-strung. A bit cynical. And who can blame her? The Doctor ruined her life - that's what she gets for talking to strangers! No wonder she clouted him with a cricket bat. This is the most interesting Doctor/companion dynamic yet. I hope the new TARDIS has circuit breakers installed, cos there's gonna be sparks. But where was Amy's auntie during all this? And no mum or dad? REJOICE! REJOICE! REJOICE!

The stunning Karen Gillan's good if a little pouty - she kept reminding me of her spot-on Angelina Jolie on The Kevin Bishop Show. And I still can't look at her without thinking "Gritty BAFTA." (Wee Caitlin was great too. It's a pity we won't be seeing her again. Or will we...?)

But it's hard to believe she's even less fleet of foot than Catherine Tate (the other "Runaway Bride") was. Maybe it was that very short skirt that got the Daily Mail in such a tizzy. A kissogram? "It was this or a French maid." What was the keyword for this episode? sexy? Saucy? Kinky?

It was probably "magical." The Moff wasn't kidding when he likened his Doctor Who to a fairy tale. Allusions abounded: apples (which the Doctor tellingly tempted Amy with); Time Bandits; "The Raggedy Doctor"; music straight out of Edward Scissorhands; and, my, what big teeth Prisoner Zero had!

But fairy tales aren't all sweetness and light. What would a good fairy tale be without the stuff of nightmares? (Who said a Disney film?) And few images are as nightmarish as a giant frickin' eye staring at you. But speaking of eyes, that flashy Doctorvision POV sequence was a bit Matrix-y; a bit Sherlock Holmes (the recent one). And it'll get old real fast if it's overused. Like bullet time did.

The vast new TARDIS is a bit busy. A bit lava lamp-y. A bit, well, orange. I think I preferred the silvery / black version on Confidential. You know, the dark one (natch)? But, like the new feme choon, I'm sure we'll get used to it. And if we don't like it we can always lump it.

I suppose the TARDIS should be a bit overwhelming the first time you see it. And a potentially Ecsher-like TARDIS interior could be interesting. But didn't the Moff (who has said the Doctor shouldn't be "young and dashing" - whoops!) say something once about us kids wanting "Narnia not the wardrobe"? Unless we're treated to Die Hard in a TARDIS! Yippee-kay-yay... er, muddy funsters?

There was no messing about here. BANG! And we were off - hurtling across the London skyline. No reprise of the regeneration. No mention of Rose. Or the Time War. Or recent events even. Good. Time to move on. Doctor Who was getting a bit self-indulgent and fan-fictionish of late (even Russell thought so). But this really did feel like series.

The first episode's never the best but this was great - easily the best series opener yet. And if that blinding trailer was anything to go by, the rest of the season's gonna be even better. Blimey!

They think it's all over. It is now!

<mce:script

E-Mail NewsE-Mail Reviews
RSS Feed
News Key
News Home
General
The New Series
The Classic Series
Spinoffs
Merchandise
Site
Blog Entries
Reviews Key
Reviews Home
Books / Magazines
DVD / Blu-ray
Audio
Toys / Other
TV Episodes
Search
Advertisements