Doctor Who: Journey To The Centre Of The TARDIS spoiler-free review

Review Simon Brew 23 Apr 2013 - 07:08

The next episode of Doctor Who, Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS is a geek oasis. Prepare to squeal...

Journey To The Centre Of The TARDIS. Just the name of it suggests geek gold, and inevitably, it's wise to approach such potential treasure with just a hint of restraint. The true professional, therefore, would keep their own excitement in check, and try and put across a rounded flavour of what to expect in a grown-up, mature way. That's the least you should reasonably expect. 

Sadly, you got me, and thus you've got no chance.

Therefore, it's best to declare from the outset that I've got a natural leaning towards TARDIS episodes. Especially TARDIS episodes that, you sense, are set to be referenced by Who a good decade or two into the future. Journey To The Centre Of The TARDIS is the big rummage around the Doctor's craft that you've always been tempted to do yourself, but never had the chance. As such, you see old things and you see new things. Unprofessional reviewers may well have made the occasional, odd squealing noise. The kind of noise you may have made when Derek Jacobi pulled out that fob watch (that's not a subtle hint to The Master turning up or anything though). 

Things kick off here with a nod to a major science fiction movie franchise, that straight away leaves you suspecting that writer Steve Thompson - responsible for arguably the weakest of series six's episodes (The Curse Of The Black Spot) - has a lot of fun in store. Turns out, he does. And at its best, Journey To The Centre Of The TARDIS is a geek oasis that does, without giving anything away, deliver on its title. In fact, the vast majority of the episode takes place on the TARDIS, although it's not just the Doctor and Clara who are on it. 

That doesn't mean it's a standalone episode in this run though, as in the midst of all of this, Thompson weaves in a thread about an ongoing mystery that's running through series seven of the show. It'd be wrong to talk about it here, but we'll have more on that once the episode has broadcast. A lot more. 

What we can talk about now is just how many memories of classic Who this brings flooding back. It's an episode that accepts it's a game of shooting corridors and sets from different angles, and in different lights, and director Mat King proves utterly adept at doing so. Thompson, meanwhile, happily goes all nerdy-werdy (sorry, although it does sound better than geeky-weeky) on us, as if he's just been gifted the keys to the TARDIS' hidden toy room. 

Fortunately, he's far more professional than me, and thus he guides a narrative through the episode/sightseeing tour that more than suffices. And while there are odd bits to pick at if you really want (there's a lot of wondering around similar-looking corridors, but as I said, I've got a soft spot for that, and the wrap-up isn't the highlight of the story), chances are that many of you, just like me, will be glued to this one, and will enjoy the hell out of it. Because Journey To The Centre Of The TARDIS is a treat, one that I found myself looking forward to rewatching long before the credits rolled. A real highlight, and lots of fun.

Read Simon's spoiler-filled review of the previous episode, Hide, here.

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