Doctor Who series 7: The Crimson Horror review

Review Simon Brew 4 May 2013 - 19:13

With spoilers, here's our review of the latest Doctor Who series 7 adventure, Mark Gatiss' The Crimson Horror...

This review contains spoilers. Our spoiler-free review is here.

The Crimson Horror

For the second time in this current run of Doctor Who series 7 episodes, Mark Gatiss has delivered an episode that blends together the tone and feel of different eras of the show. Set in 1893, The Crimson Horror mixes in elements of horror, period detective story, humour and science fiction, that - effects aside - feels like it could have sat as easily in the 70s as the modern run. The resultant episode is a fun one.

Interestingly, it's an episode where the Doctor and Clara aren't in it much, too. For large parts, they're part of the mystery here, rather than the ones actively trying to solve it.

Back when Doctor Who ran in a continuous 13-episode run (it seems a long time ago now), it became traditional for a Doctor-lite episode to feature, ostensibly to help lighten the load and demands on the leading man. The series split we've had for the past two runs seems to make it less of a necessity, so it was a bit of a surprise to see it here. That said, it may not be a production demand in this instance, rather that it suited the story that Mark Gatiss wanted to tell.

Whatever the reason, after the Doctor's image appears reflected in the eye of victim immediately before their death, we don't see him for a good quarter of an hour this week, and not as often as usual after that. That said, there's still enough Doctor and Clara here to service the story, as by the end we effectively end up with five characters trying to get to the bottom of what's going on in Sweetville.

The other three? They're accounted for by the welcome return of Jenny, Strax and Madame Vastra, science fiction's finest, and most unusual detective agency (it would be remiss not to include our usual request for a spin-off series, so here it is. Please). Usually, it's Strax the comedy Sontaran and Vastra who take the lead amongst the trio. This time, though, it's Jenny who turns lead detective, and it's welcome step into the limelight for Catrin Stewart. She's at the heart of some of the key detective work here, although Vastra keeps herself busy as well. Strax, meanwhile? In an episode not short of light touches and humour, his dialogue is fused with potent chortle fuel.

The story, then. The basics of the core mystery are that people are being discovered, coated in red, seemingly victims of the 'Crimson Horror'. Given that we're in the 1890s, superstition and fear is rife, rather than people instantly looking for a strange old woman with a poisonous venom. And that paves the way for the appearance of Winifred Gillyflower.

Gillyflower, after we've met her pre-credits, is soon preaching the joys of Sweetville, a mill that's an apparent respite from the incoming apocalypse and ongoing moral decay of, er, late 19th century Yorkshire. Gillyflower is played, as had been widely known beforehand, by geek icon Dame Diana Rigg, and wisely, Gatiss' script gives her a reasonable amount of screentime. She's good value for it too, not least the scenes she shares with her real life daughter, Rachael Stirling, who herself is on fine form. We hope they get on better in real life.

Behind the doors of Sweetville is a lot of smoke and mirrors, sound effects over substance, and posh-looking gramophone type things belching out industrial noises. So while at first glance it all appears a bit Willy Wonka And The Chocolate Factory, Sweetville has more lethal secrets behind its doors (although Augustus Gloop may disagree). By the time they're solved, we've had Clara proving herself to be a decent detective, the sonic screwdriver usurped by a chair, and the requisite amount of northern gags required to generate at least one letter to Points Of View.

It's a good, solid story this. Granted, it's the structure of many a Who adventure to peel back a seemingly idyllic scenario and find something far more sinister behind the covers (you can't beat a bit of Delta And The Bannermen). That doesn't mean it doesn't work, though. Here, Gatiss gathers together a bunch of entertaining characters, and gives most of them a sufficient amount to do. As a bonus, you get Matt Smith tackling a Yorkshire accent. If the Tetley Tea Folk ever come back to prominence, there's a voiceover gig waiting for him right there.

Rigg is, as mentioned early, on good form in her villanous guest role. The part of Gillyflower, though, arguably brings a religious subtext back into play here, just as there apparently was in the The Rings Of Akhaten. Or maybe, not for the first time, we're looking at this a bit too closely. We'd best move on.

One real highlight of The Crimson Horror was the way that the backstory of Gillyflower was relayed. It's an exquisite sequence, which director Saul Metzstein adopts a grainy, old-style approach to put across. Here, we learn that nobody seems to return from Gillyflower's mill, as it turns out - unsurprisingly - that she's behind the Crimson Horror of the episode's title. Using a lot of red gloopy stuff from the production department (no wonder Matt Smith isn't in this one much: that stuff looks a sod to wash off), she preserves the best people, drops the rest in the canal, and attempts to do the bidding of Mr Sweet. It's a lot of exposition in a short space of time, and it's really well done.

Less successful? Well, built up to for most of the episode, the reveal of Mr Sweet didn't really feel too impactful, with the creature living under Dame Diana's top coming across oddly cute if anything. That may have been the intention, although when Ada smashes the thing to smithereens, Mr Sweet's chances of landing a return visit to Doctor Who became a bit moot anyway.

There's some broader Who stuff running through here as well, even though The Crimson Horror feels a bit more standlone. Given that we've not seen Strax, Vastra and Jenny since The Snowmen, there's the small matter of Clara's death to discuss, although we get no progress in uncoverering her mystery. Longer term Who fans might well appreciate the reference to Tegan that pops up though, as the Doctor recalls trying to drop an Australian at Heathrow Airport. Happy days.

The ending is worth a quick chat as well. Clara's back at the home where we found her in The Bells Of Saint John (don't forget, there's still the mystery as to why there was a portrait of her back in the 1200s at the start of that episode). Most notably, the two children who she looks after have discovered her secret: her 'boyfriend' is a time traveller. Where's that going to lead, we wonder? Is the Doctor about to get two pint-sized companions, or will it affect Clara's approach to her travels? We've only got two episodes to find out.

The Crimson Horror was the 100th Doctor Who episode since the show returned to our screens in 2005 (thanks to Blogtor Who for the heads up on that), and perhaps it's an indication of how much we take the show for granted that this one felt entertaining, but not fighting its way onto a list of episodes you'd necessarily regularly rewatch. That's a crowded list already, to be fair, but if The Crimson Horror wasn't a series high, it's still a good, fun instalment. Frequently funny, yet with really dark moments (not least the revelations about Ada), it also left us thinking that it'd be good if Diana Rigg could be lured back again at some point, too. It would not be compulsory to bring the little red fella with her.

Next week? Can Neil Gaiman make the cybermen scary again, with Nightmare In Silver? After The Doctor's Wife, It's not just us looking forward to finding out...

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Loved the multiple references to Tegan. Wonder if that will turn out to be important later on down the line - she was always one of my favourite companions.

@simonbrew... This for you and proof that I read this review xxx

Did I just assume this reference or was it genuine, the child who gives directions, Thomas Thomas = TomTom, the gps system?

Thompson Thompson hahahah as in a TomTom that was a good one. Also thought this episode was so much like Bioshock: Infinite :D loved it.

Er.. Not sure if I saw correctly, but on the Next Week section, were the Cybermen doing the Cybus walk? I thought the return of the Mondasian Cybers would bring with it the creepy, slow moving, almost graceful aspects I used to love (and be petrified of). In the trailer, they were even making the Cybus walking sound.. DUSH, DUSH, DUSH, DUSH.

I might be wrong. Maybe they will be proper Mondasians, and not skinnier Cybus cybermen. That would be disappointing after all these months of hearing how Gaiman is making the Cybermen scary again.

Anyway, episode was awesome. Definitely one of my favourites.. It's between this and Hide, in my book. Pleasantly surprised.

Loveloveloved it! Best Who in a long time. Fantastic stuff in every department. I'm also delighted to see Dianna Rigg putting in cracking performances first in GoT and now Who

That was a really enjoyable episode, the cast were all really fantastic Matt Smiths reaction to Mr Sweets fate made me laugh out loud and Strax cracks me up everytime he pops up. this was the last episode this series I wasn't really anticipating now we have Neil Gaimans Cybermen and then the Name of the Doctor just hope they continue the trend of episodes getting better and better this series, I'm off to polish my grenades!

I enjoyed the first half of the episode more than the second half, but overall it was good. I'm just worried about next week. Not the Cybermen, but the kids. In that little scene they just had they annoyed me and I can only hope they aren't like that next week or their not in it that much.

Typo! 4th paragraph from bottom 'mystery'. Sorry to be that person. Also, really enjoyed this episode, I laughed out loud a few times.

Wow, another episode I enjoyed. What is wrong with me?

The highlights were easily, Mrs Gilyflower, hands down the best human nemesis of the entire Moff era and, of course, Strax.

I am curious about one thing though, how do you people upload your comments, before the credits have even had chance to roll? Do you all have access to Tardis's? Anyway, I burned out for reviewing for today, so I'll do that Tommorow.'m

Had low expectations and delighted that they were massively exceeded - good, fun episode with some nice touches (will give the spin-off a miss thou).

Next week looks cracking...Doctor Borg!


Fixed! Thank you!

The doctor taking children into danger? We aren't heading down Corrie street, I hope:)

It was definitely there but a daft gag too far i think.

@Claire Lewis, adding a comment is no proof. You could have skipped the review and just added the 'I've read it' comment LOL

Enjoyed the Urchin version of the Satnav that gave directions to the factory ("Turn around, where possible, then straight ahead and bear right") I was expecting him to have the same G Pierce or something similar. Maybe Thomas Thomas is a joke in the same vein that I don't get...

I also am not looking forward to the kids in the upcoming episode. It might be better if they didn't feel so tacked on at the end, but I doubt it. I like the Doctor's interactions with kids (the little boy who's nightmares were coming true last series was awesome) since he always plays up the Madman with a Magic Box but this time round they really did annoy me. And if Clara takes them into proximity to the Cybermen, she has got to be the worst nanny ever.

G Pierce. Say it out loud.

Yep, my fear too. Plus points though: Neil Gaiman writes from the perspective of, for and about children quite a lot, so there's a good bet that if anyone can do it, he can.

Quote of the week:-

"Strax. You're over-excited. Have you been eating Miss Jenny's Sherbet Fancies again?"

Mr Brew's review omitted to mention that one of the pictures that the kids showed Clara seemed to be of "Victorian Clara". And unlike JTTCOTT, there's no reset button to make this edition of Clara forget it. Not yet, anyway. Hmmm.

Next week's episode reminded me of the Borg with the cybernetic attatchments to the face

Clara repeating "I am the boss" at the end of the episode. I wonder if this could be another Song/Melody word play clue, where Boss is another word for Master??

Did anyone notice that they sang Parry's 'Jerusalem'? The hymn wasn't composed till 1916. Shame on you Doctor Who team!

Thomas Thomas, as in TomTom, a make of SatNav.

Portrait isn't a mystery, is it? I was under the understanding that the Doctor painted that?

And what about the firearm mrs gillyflower used? Didn't look like a single shot blunderbuss to me, more like a ww2 era gun.

Right I know I'm going to get torn apart for this but I really don't like how Matt Smith's Dr is like someone from a 'Carry On' film, in this episode moving the sonic as if it were erect to flaccid when the maid strips to her leathers. Slapping Clara on the bum with a duster last week. Hiding under the artists skirt naked. All the innuendo with River - to name just a few that come to mind. He's all camp and sleazy like Kenneth Williams or the other funny little one. I know it's totally relative and many people will love that, I'm just saying. Also should just say this week was a really good episode!

Also did anyone else spot Galvatron at the end?

Hold on, overwhelmingly positive comments attached to a review on DoG?? What the heck is going on...? Whatever it is keep it going, the waves of negativity and rudeness have been really off putting over the last few months (year?) so this feels refreshing and more like geekdom should be / used to be.

For what it's worth I loved this one too. Also wasn't when Diana Rigg mentioned 'golden dawn' does anyone else think that was a cheeky reference to "invasion of the Dinosaurs"? (People protected from something "Jurassicy" that wiped out the population apart from them)

Diana Rigg was excellent (as always) and I enjoyed the Victorian "gang"....not sure about the fx for the symbiot tho.... finally am I the only one who thought the ending with the kids and Clara looked more like Sarah Jane Adventures?.....

I said I'd do it tomorrow, but, I lied. I'm on fire today, best to strike while the iron is hot.

Well, that turned out to be a fine old romp indeed. Another Gatiss penned script, and I have to say, yet again, he knows how to write Doctor Who, and should be given front runner position. I really liked the dialogue proof, that back in the olden days, people (most of them) could actually construct a well articulated sentence or two, not like the text speak of now. I liked the victorian apocalyptic sermons, and the victorian morality conundrums. The humour was well handled, no overblown shouty sexual references. Vashtra and Jenny were expertly underplayed with their on-screen lesbian frolics, thank God. I've said this before but it needs saying again, Strax should be a full time companion. Although I was initially disappointed with how the finest soldiers in the galaxy were treated, being relegated to nothing more than in-jokes, I definitely have to say, Strax is great and as really grown on me. The fainting victorian detective was a blast. That is exactly how a person would react hen encountering alien's and advance tech back in that era. At first I thought this was the Dr-lite episode, but, the detective duo were able to carry it off on their own. I could easily have watched them for the full 45 minutes, with or without the Dr, time for a spin-off? The Jenny character seemed to get a lot more screen time to herself this week, she was really underused in the Christmas episode, the matrix catsuit showdown was a little forced however, Strax totally saved it for me. At times the episode felt as if I was watching a HG Wells inspired film, very good production values in that sense, the musical instrument machinery thingymabob was very "Time-Machine". Also there was an abundance of Frankenstein references, including the really funny monster mash walk from the wax work Doctor. That made me think of the Autons. Matt Smith continues to impress. He as really found his mojo now, at least outside of Moffat scripts. I liked the old film reel flashback sequence, it was classy and original, even if it was just a youtube filter. The human eye retaining the last image it see's before death was taken from a Peter Cushing film, Horror Express, bet not many of you can remember that one. Mrs Gillyflower is hands down, the villain of the season, at least human villain, maybe even of the entire Moff run. Her total disregard for humanity, including her blind daughter was ruthless, and the way in which she discarded the "rejected stock" was truly a feat worthy of classic Who villain. Well done Mark Gatiss, and well done Diana Rigg. Mr Sweet was cute in a lobster-like way, I want one.

Overall a very satisfying episode, and I can't wait for the Cybermen, next week.

Classic - best story this season by a country mile. 'I spent a year trying to get a gobby Australian back to Heathrow' Classic!!! More like it, this season has been consistently good. Well impressed.

Sorry folks. Digs little trench and prepares to live alone. How can everyone be raving about this?
Just another take on the "toxic gloop" standard trope. I'm afraid the whole Scooby Gang thing just leaves me utterly cold too (are they, aren't they - polish my grenades - tomtom and horse execution gags - chortle chortle, yawn). On top of which, there's a setup for the Doctor to take Clara's munchkin charges to some kind of galactic Alton Towers next time...
Anyone want a piece of chocolate?

The third really great episode in a row.

Anyone get the "gobby Australian/Heathrow" reference?

Is the portrait a mystery? I assumed the doctor painted it while trying to figure out how to find Clara before the series started. I figured he was just that obsessed with her.

Anyone thought Thomas Thomas introduction was a tad weird?

That was my first thought. The Cybermen always reminded me of the Borg but less scary.

The scene between Matt Smith, JLC and Diana Rigg was just brilliant. I was absolutely rapt. They clearly had a lot of fun making this one.

Or the giant rocket that was fired into the sky. We're talking 1920+ for that kind of technology.

That's normally my sentiment but the last series as been ok. Probably because Moffat as taken a back seat.

I liked it, Rather than tom tom being the joke it was a case of seeing the joke from a mile off and seeing how far the writers were going to take it. It was cheesy as hell but Doctor Who needs a liberal dash of cheese every now and again

Yes, continuity and logic is not the strong suit of Moff era Who, still, it was head and shoulders above anything from the prior two years.

Or is the universe suffering from the crack in time that happen last week, we know cracks in time can cause annonymies appear and events to get muddle up. Like rockets being launched in victorian a England,

Slowly but surely, Doctor Who is evolving back into the show that I recognise as Doctor Who. This was a solid adventure in one time zone, with peril, revelations (I personally loved the reveal of Mr Sweet - took me completely by surprise), strong characters, the familiar made unsettling and the whole thing in the hands of great direction. What more could you want?

Well... I was hooked from the word go - the doctor's face in the developing photo, the reveal of the Doctor as Ada's monster, wonderful dialogue from the Freaky Forensics (my moniker for Vastra, Jenny and Strax), terrific setting and interesting new music. It was all gearing up to be great - until the Doctor un-crimsoned himself with that f*****g sonic dil - er, screwdriver. I'm also not quite sure what the resolution was - or rather, what did the Doctor and companions do by way of resolving things? And, as I always complain (but if enough of us do, it might get through to the production team somehow - yeah, right), the last 20 minutes were just saturated with the show's stock music. Sparse music creates more atmosphere - overloading it just makes the viewer feel that the writing, acting and direction are unable to convey it on their own.

It was also very reassuring that Thomas Thomas only had a few lines, as he was one of many child actors with CTP (Can't Talk Properly). We've occasionally been dealt a bad hand with poorly trained kid actors - the girl in Silence in the Library ("Somethns goddinside, Doctor Mnnn"), the girl on the TV Screen in The Beast Below ("A tha, tha-tha, tha-tha, tha-THUH, tha-tha, tha-tha, the Beath BeLUH"), among others. Why are directors afraid of saying, "sweetie, speak more clearly please, NO ONE CAN UNDERSTAND YOU"? It's part of their job, surely?

Back to the good features, then. Gatiss worked wonderfully with the Freaky Forensics, especially Strax, and those little faints at the sight of inexplicable persons or things were sweet. Rigg and offspring were both superb, and the scene in the Congregationalist meeting hall was spot on (though did one chorus woman say "Wow"?). There was enough Clara-mystery-stuff to keep us lot amused without driving away the casual viewers (which really means Mums who don't get to watch every frame as we're often making dinner) and possible even drawing in the casual viewer a bit. The greatest relief was the reduction of the need to delve too far into the Doctor and Clara's personalities. As with all things, it has a greater impact when dealt with sparingly.

New theory on Clara. Was it just me, was that kiss on the forehead after "Clever Clogs""Did you miss me?", rather brotherly...?

New theory on the Doctor's name. Now we know that he didn't really tell River Song his name at their wedding, but we have been told that there's "only one time he could". Could that time be at his death, but a normal regeneration won't work and he has to tell it to the person whose body he will take over - this time Alex Kingston's? Alex Kingston to play the Doctor! Characterising it entirely differently from River Song, I would hope. Rants and raves finally over, back to my Japanese homework.

Indeed. In-bloody-deed. The only way is up, until we get to another Moff episode.

Can't people stop saying "tropes"? Its getting to be as overused as "iconic".

We are on the same wavelength. You can come to mine and watch DW whenever you want.

Certainly did notice that! Tut tut tut!

Even from me!

don't forget "epic" lol

The Borg are based on the Cybermen. Kit Pedler was the devisor of both.

It all sounds exceedingly ... pleasant.

I love these spoiler-filled reviews. I can read them, secure in the knowledge that even though Doctor Who won't air in America for hours yet, I don't really know anything I didn't before.

One thing I do know, well, I'm pretty sure I think I know, is that the Doctor is picking up some traveling rug rats for the next episode.

How jolly and retro-Who, and just in time for Neil Gaiman's heart-warmer.

Aside from the Rings of Whatever episode, this Series 8 -- excuse me, "7b" -- has been good and entertaining.

But after this, we're at the penultimate episode of the 50th anniversary season. It all seems a little bit aimless.

The Clara mystery isn't all that engaging. But she is a terrific companion. And I just realized, while re-watching Captain America in the run-up to Iron Man 3, that that is her, well, JLC, playing Bucky's girlfriend in the wonderful Tomorrowland sequence.

She was quite the charmer there, too.

I suspect you know already that Thomas Thomas was of course just there for the joke - Tom Tom - he was navigating.

Am I the only one who was having flashbacks to Carry on Screaming?

After reading the comment board I do ..............

Mmm, I know. It's a funny thing, isn't it? With someone else at the helm, Moff shone as the best writer; with Moff at the helm, Gatiss is shining. I will be the first to say that Gatiss's scripts have not really been the greatest until recently, but I do think he will make a great showrunner as he's the one who GETS IT the most. Actually, when I'm showrunner (heh heh) I will give that sentient TARDIS a function by which she locks the Doctor out until he has solved the episode's problem.

I loved the references to "Carry On Screaming" I was waiting for The Doctor to scream "FRYING TONIGHT" Incidentally where does the TARDIS keep heading to? Every time it takes Clara home(?) it dematerialises and goes somewhere?

I presume it heads to the the same place but a few days later so that Clara's ready for another adventure.

"Thomas Thomas". There isn't a short form of Thompson....

I believe it was a reference to Tegan.

But it's the correct term. You'd prefer "story concept", or something less...correct?

I bet Paul's hoping you're a chick...

According to SFX, next week feels very much like an episode that would be shown on CBBC, so your apparently right by saying it looked like Sarah Jane Adventures.

I don't think there needs to be a reset button all The Doctor needs to say to Clara to get her to forget about it "it's probably a picture of an adventure yet to come."

Unfortunately from what I've read the kids are very annoying next week, oh well at least it's probably just for one episode. I hope

That's a theory.

They're really not very similar, though. The Cybermen are always the same. They don't assimilate new tech, they don't adapt, they look like tin men, they are not conquering the galaxy, they are not hard to defeat, etc.

The Borg are much more frightening. Well, until Voyager overused them.

There been a lot of classic Who references this series.

Rings Of Akhaten - Susan reference

Cold War - The Hostile Action Defence System

Hide - Metabolis 3 reference / The Eye Of Harmony reference

Journey To The Centre Of The Tardis - The voices from the past, The Eye Of Harmony

Crimson Horror - Tegan reference

I am I the only one who though the Doctor was a bit too 'okay' with Aeda killing the symbiont. It was sentient after all, and the episode seemed to lay the blame for the killing-everyone plan squarely at Gillyweed's door. It's pretty much a who trademark that the Doctor never intentionally kills his adversaries, he prefers to save them (from themselves), and if that's impossible given the story they all conveniently manage to accidentally get themselves killed (slipping over a railing down some stairs for example). The out-and-out (and relatively graphic) murder seemed a little out of place to me!

Other than that I thought it was fab, (though no idea how the kids found what would undoubtedly be classified soviet military files so easily).

Loved this episode. Best of the current series personally. Had spent the afternoon watching Jon Pertwee in Day of the Daleks and the reference in the review to older 70s style Who is spot on.

Doctor Who is back. After a couple of crap years, it's back. The Doctor has come home.

Thanks. I'm trying to work my way through all the Doctors in chronological order, haven't gotten to Davison yet. :)

ah ok, now I feel stupid. Stil I got the joke from context so that's something.

Talk about IMO. That was an instant classic high on my list of ones to rewatch.

A fair point, but I'm not convinced that it might be so simple. This edition of Clara already has a memory (last scene of either Bells or Rings (no pun intended, but this is Who so you never know)) of the Doctor telling her that she reminds him of someone he knew that died. It seems credible to me that the photograph she just saw in this episode would act to reinforce that memory. No?

LOL. I'd make you show runner.

Yeah what was that about? Flashback to the 80's

Really enjoyed this episode but one question which the show didn't address as far as I can tell - at the end, where did the photos come from? and why wasn't Clara questioning where they come from?

To be entirely fair, I doubt she'll take them into proximity of the Cybermen on purpose.

Actually, 'The Girl Who Waited' was the Doctor lite episode of series six. Matt shot his scenes alone in the TARDIS in one day, with another day with Karen and Arthur. Though to be fair, I would never have noticed if Doctor Who magazine hadn't have pointed out.

Realizing how divisive this season has been so far, all I can do is express my opinion.

And I thought it was wonderful. Partly that's due to diminished expectations I expect, but for the first time since we were back in Victorian times, the show had a decent multi-part plot and good direction, with humour *and* no gaping plot holes. (That's ignoring why a Victorian lady who can build a V2 rocket hasn't already taken over the planet).

Some wonderful funny bits from Strax, laser guns saving the day, baddies dying properly, the power of love saving bugger all and little use of the sonic.

It's like Gatiss read through all the other recent scripts before he wrote this.

So much happened in the 40 odd minutes that it felt much longer, there was very little running and some extended face off time at the end. It wasn't too orientated towards Clara's deeper mystery, despite the setting being determined by it and I don't think they broke canon anywhere did they?

Also the echoes of Frankenstein's monster in Ada's relationship with the Crimson Doctor was a nice touch.

Faith restored, for now. The last 5 minutes... I hope someone taught those kids to act before they filmed next week's show.

Meh. For now, I don't care.

cmon, it's a leech. I'm super relieved it was killed.

You have a point about the corridor scene and the rocket (I'd only noticed the first of those). The acting didn't bother me as I found it wonderfully melodramatic in a period-piece manner.
It beat Cold War for me as I get bored with Love saving the day and that was a very concise plot that felt stretched out, the humour felt more forced in that episode and if we're going to talk realism, Soviet naval officers wouldn't have accepted any explanation and probably killed them on sight or at least confined them.

As for Clara - loved her at Xmas, since then I've felt we've been forced apart from her. She's curiously irrelevant as a character, which is a shame as JLC can be wonderful as she's already shown in rare moments.

But would Gatiss take it and would he suffer the same problem as Moff's had.

Oh, that's a shame. We had some thoughtful bits in this for the first time in an age.

Compared to wiping out a sun that millions of people rely on, just to save a small girl who sings nicely, that oversight is negligible.

Nah, she's Springsteen. Obvious.

Poe... Hammer Horror... scary, creepy, inventive, original, Clara's Yorkshire accent, Jenny in leather. I haven't enjoyed an episode so much for years. We're going back to the essence here. Mr Gatiss given freedom to create. Oh... and the cybermen look nails next week.

Cybermen episodes are often not the best, next week's doesn't look to be altering that run in my view.

Yet everyone hung Mark out to dry, and claimed Moff was the second coming. Yet I always preferred Marks work to Moff's, lol

Strange toy for a modern child to have but that may just be reading too much into it!

It seems they're referencing all the earlier doctors in order. Anybody want a Valeyard next week?

We still need a 4,6,7 and 10 reference I believe.

Anyone would think there's a big anniversary coming up or something!

well quite...Rockets like that weren't exactly around then...


Did anyone else expect Mr Sweet to be the great intelligence?

OTOH Dr Who Online gave it 10/10 and pretty much called it an instant classic...

Really fun episode. Although I really hate Strax. He's becoming tiresome.

I'm surprised nobody's mentioned Jenny's timely tribute to Emma Peel!

"Wow, another episode I enjoyed. What is wrong with me?"

And there in 10 words encapsulates what is wrong with Dr Who fans, I haven't actively disliked a DW episode since The Vampires of Venice 4 days short of 3 years ago.

In the Rings Of Akhaten he also referenced omega. He already had a 4th doctor reference the eye of harmony appeared in the deadly assassin.

This afternoon I watched the wonderful Iron Man 3 followed by this, a great afternoon of quality entertainment IMHO.

I just assumed the Doctor painted Clara in the 1200s while 'contemplating' her...

Yes, that kind of humour seems sort of ok, but then you get references to the old series, like the Tegan stuff, and when you look back at that it was serious and quite "weighty" (for want of a better word), and the comedy warrior suddenly seems very puerile and non-Who.

Tropes Are Not Bad.

That's what I thought too

Me too. It was in his room, he was sitting right in front of it even! And there seemed to be a lot of other drawings lying around the place as well. He'd definitely been working there.

Best episode of the series so far, in my opinion. Nice to see the Doctor face off against a total nutter every now and again.

I really liked it and felt Gatiss treated us to a wonderful Gothic horror. Dame Diana Rigg and Rachael Stirling were superb guest stars, with well developed characters which were realised beautifully on screen. I liked having Strax, Vastra and Jenny in the mix too.
Whilst Matt was quite manic in places (as is his usual style) he also showed remarkable tenderness towards Stirling's character Ada which allowed the toned down performance he is capable of to shine through. Perhaps this is the reason the manic performance is encouraged - so that there is a real contrast between the energetic and the tender Doctor. I just wonder what Ada's future holds ... would be nice to know what happened to her. I originally thought that was why Clara had approached the computer - to look her up but then realised that her attention had been drawn there by something else entirely.

"And there in 10 words encapsulates what is wrong with Dr Who fans,"

Exactly. Seems like way too many go into episodes expecting to hate them, actively looking for reasons to hate them. No wonder they're all "disappointed". I have never actively disliked an episode of Doctor Who. Ever. The scale goes from "Absolutely loved it!!" all the way down to "Meh, were some fun moments but wouldn't watch again." Same goes for the Doctors themselves - there isn't a single one I actually dislike (though admittedly I haven't seen very much of Sylvester McCoy yet). Sometimes I wonder if I'm really a true fan. :)

Wasn't he the leader of the evil robots? A subtle reference to next week's subject matter or Clara's fate perhaps.

I'm not sure that was a sun, it was way too close to be a sun, they would have burned up at the distance they were standing! It looked more like a lava planet to me, and the floating rocks forming the ring around it.

Yeah I meant Thomas Thomas, I still think its a reference to a TomTom

ok that was a surprise, a series 7b episode that didn't suck especially considering it was a Gatiss story (I do like his non Doctor Who stuff though). This episode had a delicious subversiveness to it.

Did anyone else the "we'll tell dad your a time traveller!" Had a beyond ridiculous response from Clara ?

And me!

Yes, several hints. Wonder if they were all 'crimson' herrings or clues? "Nothing must interfere with the great work" is straight out of Abominable Snowmen!

I agree on the part where we're not given the chance to like Clara like Amy escpecially in Hide where he takes her to confirm what she is it just didnt have the same impact as when The Doctor went to investigate The Rebel Flesh to find out about Amy. All in all the season hasn't reached the same heights as season 5 or 6 which were brilliant.


The Doctor painted it.

I expected him to be the Kandyman.

Maybe they'll be the kids for the next spinoff? Vastra, Jenny, Strax, & Clara's Munchkins?

I actually expected him to be a Silent with the way they were referring to him and with Diana RIgg's character saying "He is always with us".

I am aware

Oh indeed, and there are arguably only ultimately about 5 or 6 Who plots when you boil them down to raw essentials. (Which, come to think of it, is the basis of one such plot, eg Soylent Green. Rule #2 Dr Who pastiches.)

But the way people have been raving about this ep, you'd think it was an instant classic and I don't agree. I think there's a bit of yay factor perhaps - Victoriana (yay!) Gatiss literary Victoriana (yay!) Mention of Tegan (squee!) Return of the No 1 Lizard's Detective Agency (spinoff!) Diana Rigg (can still eat biscuits in my bed anytime!)

I just don't think it was all that special. It's evident (and I mostly enjoy it), that everything in this season is layered and carefully aimed tribute. There's lots to be read into this one as you please, but for me it seemed mostly to be a tribute to the recent kitschy Christmas specials, just without Christmas. Just as I felt that Rings of Ackerbilk was a tribute to the Rose-era "join hands so wuv can save the day" stuff. Sorry, trope.
PS Is there anyone else out there who just could never see the point of League of Gentlemen? Tin hat on...

Might as well.
Roll up, roll up. Kids get in half-price, but Sontarans get held at security and strip-searched.
No probic vent jokes please...

IMHO, the Borg lost their scariness when they became individualized... although I must say Hugh and Seven were brilliantly written and performed: they just weren't scary. The queen is what completely ruined the Borg for me, especially in First Contact! Doctor Who does the whole Cybercontroller thing WAY better. I pray Gaiman won't try some sort of Borg queen-ish idea... please no....

Yes, Voyager took away the Borg mystique.

The Borg Queen, however, was great in First Contact. Alice Krige was wonderful in the role, slyly sexy and menacing.

The Cybermen, well, they're pretty rubbish at this point. Dull and one-dimensional tin men.

Thoroughly over-exposed, like the bloody Daleks.

If you boil it down enough, every episode is the same: Doctor runs into trouble, saves day. It's nearly impossible to find something that hasn't already been done in some form or other. It's just a matter of how well it's done.

There's certainly a lot of enthusiasm about this one, which is a nice change. But I don't see everyone heralding it as the single most perfect episode of Doctor Who ever. Certainly plenty of people seem to think it does have its flaws, just that the good outweighs the bad. I'm of the same opinion - it's not perfect, but it's pretty damn good most of the time.

By the way, in the Rings of Akhaten, it wasn't actually the song itself that saved the day. The only thing it did was give the Doctor the idea and the inspiration to feed the monster-planet his life story. Other than that it was just a song. An important, religious song to stir people's hearts and bring them together, but just a song nonetheless. I don't think the songs they sang were ever "magic". Eh, but that's enough about that, I don't want to sound like I'm picking you apart because that's not what I'm intending.

So - spoiler of spoilers - is next week the "Chronotis of Borg" revisited?? nods to both the trek and Whovian universes??

Absolutely a Tegan reference - capped of with "brave heart", her very touching catch phrase. Yipes - is Clara Adrik reincarnated?? LOL

Blah blah, everything that nods to the past is awesome, everything modern is crap, and we live in a black and white world

The first thing that I said when I saw sweetville was that it looked a lot like the chocolate factory. Glad to see that I was not the only one

This was a great episode , I knew I'd love it, good pacing, but the Creature was too cute for dr who other than that 10/10 oh and one more thing...... SPINN OF WITH VASTRA AND CO. NOW

I guess it is the 50th Year after all.

I thought Vampire of Venice was the best episode of the whole of season 5 (other then the eleventh hour)

Laughed at satnav joke, enjoyed Jenny Peel outfit. Am concerned Strax is becoming a one trick pony. Enjoyed that episode on the whole.

Sontarans get held at security lol "That's one Sontar blaster, a pack of grenades and liquifire, move along sir " Ha, Sontarans could't even get on a roller coaster lol

Carry on Screeming is the best of them movie, it's a great send up of Horror films of that era. It's the oly carry on I like due to production values and the jokes

Gatiss for Showrunner :)

Besides the presence of the doctor and Strax, This must be the first episode of doctor who since the classic era were the villian isn't an Alien from space.

I assume the submarine one was from their trip to the South Pole and someone wanted to take a picture. Maybe the other one was from an automatic camera set to find the ghost and everyone was in sight.

That was a really good episode.

I loved the episode but I agree about the rocket heat. I did notice but then promptly forgot. It would be so much more immersive with attention to that sort of detail.

I have total (albeit sarcastic) respect for anyone who can survive being inside a rocket launch pad when the rocket launches by putting their hand in frnt of their face to shield themselves from incineration. Way to go, Dr & companions!

That would be an interesting twist

I am aware it's the 50th anniversary,

Paul Childs said he was hoping the Tegan references would become important down the line, so I replied by saying that there has been multiple references to old Who this series not just the Tegan ones, in case he wasn't aware.

The Lazarus Experiment? The End of the World? Planet of the Ood? The Silurian Stories? Even the Cybermen stories if you view them in the certain way.

This has been the best episode since The Snowmen for me. The Crimson Horror finally feels like its Doctor Who again, instead of some action series that happen to have the same characters in it. I hope they can carry this quality over to next week, but I have total faith in Gaiman to deliver.

Neither have I. I haven't actively disliked anything since the new series aired in 2005. It's just that this season hasn't been as enjoyable to me as last series, or those that came before.

Fantastic episode! It was probably the episode in this run I was least looking forward to and so I am pleasantly surprised by how much I really enjoyed it. I was laughing almost all the way through, the Victorian threesome are so much fun and shine whenever they are on screen.

Cracking episode, I think I enjoyed it more then last week's. It was more energetic, fun, it had a much better supporting cast (not just Madame Vastra and co, but Diana Rigg and Rachael Stirling was incredible)

More like this please!

Amen to that, William!

I didn't mean to imply Alice didn't perform her role well. I just meant that the idea of a Borg queen, and the way she was written/crafted, spoiled those villains for me. Her being in charge of them made the Borg seem like the Cybermen are now.
And don't even get me started on the Daleks. Sheesh.

..or it could be a teaching moment for us Americans aka marketing ... I thought it was a bit odd but obviously had meaning so I came online to find a reference.

I disagree entirely about where this episode rates. Easily the best of season 7 and muscling its way into my all time top 10 of the revived series. i thought it was marvellous stuff from beginning to end. i sometimes wonder what exactly it is people are looking for in Doctor Who, when the most wonderfully Whovian of stories, made with such skill and love get such short shrift. It was for me the most successful episode Gatiss has yet written

The BBC is not allowed to re-use the Kandyman. he was a ripoff of the Bassett company logo, and they agreed never to reuse it to avoid being sued

In a tweet I said 'Good fun, no more no less' Apparently this would be too critical for Mark Gattis's eyes according to his spokesperson:


@Hallbright I think it was a bit off to include Mark in a tweet that said 'no more no less'. Rude.

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Based in on the trailer this was the episode I was expecting to like least, and ending up liking the most. Genuinely creepy, funny and well structured. The cast were all exceptional with particularly good performances from Rachel Stirling and Diana Rigg, (as an irredeemably bad villain) and an unsentimental resolution.

Smith was great as usual, if sometimes apparently channeling a Gatiss character from League Of Gentleman.

Best of all it made full use of the running time, packing a lot in without feeling rushed. In fact, it was an episode that seemed longer than its allotted running time.

I've generally considered the Gatiss scripts up till now, ok but nothing exceptional, but this is one of the NuWho episodes like Blink, Dalek etc that warrants repeated viewing.

Next week's installment looks interesting. The kid companions might be a tad worrying, but then they didn't do the SJA any harm.

The Doctor specifically said he was planning to take it back in time to let it live out its life, he didn't kill it or even condone killing it.

Talkng about just another take on the "toxic gloop" standard trope this episode with dipping people in gloop and a "Frankenstein" type monster reminded me of "Carry on Screaming".

Could have been a Webley revolver - they've been around since 1887

Seriously though....what evil mastermind would send a rocket up without first making sure the vital component is on board? Didn't the minions responsible for putting the virus on the rocket report it missing? It's like sending a rocket into space without the astronauts. The day was saved.... not by the Doctor, or Clara, but by the unnoticed theft of the a glass bottle of unguarded virus. is mentioned in the article above. Did you read it all?

I laughed pretty hard, but it felt like a joke that belonged in an "Airplane!"-like parody flick. As funny as it was, it didn't really belong. :P

Someone mentioned the great intelligence. There is a scene in the hallway where the sound of a Yeti is heard.

I am exactly like you! Every story has something to enjoy in it and that thing is normally the characterisation of the Doctor. I have sat through "The Dominators" more times then I'd care to admit. It's a below par, standard story of a hostile race trying to destroy a peaceful race (to fuel their warships... Oo er) made watchable by the wonderful performances of Troughton, Hines and Padbury and their characters interactions. Stories like "The Invisible Enemy" and "Underworld" are made watchable by Tom Baker and Louise Jameson. No, there are no stories of Doctor Who I find totally unwatchable although "The Web Planet" and "Time and the Rani" come pretty damned close...

Proof, if ever you need it that fans enjoy different things about Doctor Who then others for I found "Vampires of Venice" to be a fairly lightweight, bog standard episode of Doctor Who. This is in no way a criticism of your enjoyment of that episode but it is why I never, ever tear an episode I find to be weaker to shreds or proclaim the writer/showrunner who let that episode go to air to be Satan and the worst thing ever to happen to Doctor Who. Because I know that an episode I find to be below par is somebody's else's favourite.

I really enjoyed this episode. Fair enough, there was nothing particularly new in the plot, but Gatiss clearly had a huge amount of fun writing the characters, and having fun with the historical detail. Did no-one else notice that the thing that Clara stops with her chair is a Babbage analytical engine? You have to love an episode where a detail like that is just thrown in.

I thought the Borg Queen was one of the main dramatic elements that made First Contact the best of the Star Trek movies, even better than Wrath of Khan.

Frankly, I didn't even think of the Cybermen.

Why would having a leader spoil the Borg for you? It's hard to think of any group in movies that doesn't have a leader.

Huzzah,Mr Potatoe head makes a welcome return,everything else is just
icing on the cake !!!

I didn't like this episode at all. One of the worst of the new run imho. It felt too much like Carry on Screaming. I expected Odd Bod and Junior Bod to come shuffling in at any moment, and to see Kenneth Williams shouting "Frying Tonight!" Horrible, horrible episode for me. Too comedic, but without actually being funny. Little suspense. And Mr Sweet was really quite pathetic. FX dept fail.

AGAIN - there is a deliberate rehashing of old plots---

does anyone else see this? each episode this season is a blend of plots that have come before - this episode was clearly a hark to the Poision Sky, Vampires in Venice, the Fish Xmas special (the piano), and a little Satan pit religion (stretch)...

i could do this for each of the past episodes (Hide-blink,tooth n claw, unquiet dead)(BOSJ-Rose), (rings - end of world)(cold war -42)....

theres a THEME going on here....the "she going to poison the sky -spinning piano rocket launch thing was a dead give away....

the only question is - why is the Doctor reliving experiences hes already had...coming up next week another "return of the cybermen who are supposed to be dead" --- THIS is the ARC. why is he reliving experiences...its too obvious to be a result of poor writing...cause doctor who doesnt do that.

I thought this episode was dire, a complete waste of 45 minutes. I'm the kind of person who normally comes away remembering the best parts of the episode, and I came away from this with nothing.

It was interesting at the begining with the whole Rapture-esque "city of salvation" theme. Then came the Doctor being able to magically fix himself with just his sonic screwdriver and his clothes in a 19th Century portaloo, which did nothing but fuel the whole Screwdriver = deus ex machina problem that people had been having lately...and after that it rapidly went downhill.

Don't get me started on the rushed and horribly executed ending...

Yes, I had noticed it from the beginning of this second part of the season (he said smugly). I am sure it might be because Clara is some part of the Doctor's past, perhaps a part of himself?

ohmigosh!!! i think that was the best episode of season 7 part 2 since the bells of saint john. it was great seeing the trio again - strax and his obsession to grenades is so funny. and i loved the bit at the end: "i wasn't in Victorian London i was in Victorian Yorkshire" LOL

we already know -Clara Oswin Oswald is an Anagram for A WINDOW ACROSS ALL...

and her ages as noted in her leaf book correlate to the history of the show (its first premier, its disappearance, the come back)(i forget the details of this, but its spot on)

so combined with the celebration of old plots being used...a companion who is clearly the most ideal he could ask for...these hints which obviously tie together...the rose hints, the leading up to a 50th anniversary...the only questions is (HOW DOES THIS ALL MAKE SENSE)(easy i know.)

Am I the only one who didn't like this?

The villain was a generic Evil Fundamentalist - grr, modern life sucks, I'm going to justify my evil plan with vague theological gibberish, I'm actually a hypocrite.

None of the mysteries had a proper answer. How did the doctor end up in a dead mans eye? Oh, it does that. Because chemistry, that's why. How is the old woman doing all this? Well, she found this bug, and it ... um ... how the hell DID she figure out how to turn Red Venom into a preservative, anyway? Not to mention, where on earth did she get a missile and a bloody launch computer?

And it was surpirizingly offensive to blind people. "You killed me a long time ago"?! That's just not on. I mean, showing her barely able to walk is one thing - they had to exaggerate it to make sure everyone got she was blind, although you'd think the eyes would be enough.

There were some genuinely funny bits, but even they were trying a bit too hard - satnav kid, really?

And it was surpirizingly offensive to blind people. "You killed me a long time ago"?! That's just not on. I mean, showing her barely able to walk is one thing - they had to exaggerate it to make sure everyone got she was blind, although you'd think the eyes would be enough.

Cold war was, indeed, much better.

I think it fell apart because they hadn't really thought of answers to the questions it raised. Why do their eyes hold pictures of the last thing they saw, just like the legend? Um ... chemistry? How did the old woman get from a poisonous leech to an army of pseudo-nazis, a magical cryo-freeze thingy and a bloody rocket, complete with mission control computer? Damned if I know. I guess you can get a hell of a lot of science by blinding one girl. Oh sorry, I mean killing her - because that's the same thing, amirite?

You might be surprised by Soviet naval officers - there was at least one occasion where instrument malfunction claimed the US had launched a ton of missiles, and the guy who's job it was to fire refused. I think there was a Cracked article on all the times the Cold War almost blew up (but didn't), can't find it though.

Theme of 7b?
Bells: Clara looking after FAMILY without a MOTHER

Rings: Leaf from Clara's MOTHER the most powerful / valuable item around
Cold War: Ice Warrior's DAUGHTER the argument for forgiveness
Hide: the monsters are a COUPLE, the investigators are a COUPLE and the traveller/ghost is their long-away Grand^X-Child
Journey: van Baelen BROTHERS
Crimson: Ada Gillyflower and her MOTHER

...and all episodes replete with further (often very tacked-on) references to family, including the Doctor's

I wasn't a fan of this episode, but honestly, I found the humor was the best part.

Satnav kid was bit much though.

What saved the day in Rings was Clara feeding the God an infinity of things that never happened, remember? AKA her relationship with her mother, or something. Because apparently no-one ever fed the God anything nearly as important as a leaf that had belonged to a dead relative.

I thought that too, but the monks seemed to view her as an established legend ... I dunno. They thought the same about the "Bells of Saint John".

Considering said minions appear to have just appeared because every villain has minions, they may not have been very reliable. Same as the rocket that appeared because every villain is capable of destroying the world, even if they're an old lady who lives in Victorian Yorkshire and has a poisonous leech.

WAS the leech sentient? The smartest thing we saw it do was crawl across a floor in full view of the Doctor & friends, because it's host had died.

Also, the Doc was pretty OK with killing all those poor uploaded people in The Bells Of Saint John.

did anyone else think the episode was going to be another sontaran episode from the preview. I thought it would be because the (friendly) sontaran was shown and there was cloning and the sontaran's cloned Martha.

"Cold War - The Hostile Action Defence System"

And the, y'know, Ice Warrior.

Also, doesn't Journey To the Centre Of The TARDIS contradict the Eye Of Harmony? Or was the perma-exploding star somehow the same thing? How did it get in the TARDIS?

No plot holes?

How was an old lady living in Victorian Yorkshire able to acquire a pseudo-Nazi army, a suspended animation system and a bloody rocket (complete with launch computer?)

Not to mention the fact that they stood right next to a launching rocket, the vast string of co-incidences necessary for Madame Vastra & Co to come investigating, or Clara's terror at the threat of a kid telling their parents "Nanny is totally a time traveler " Those were all par for the course minor stuff, easily covered by a healthy suspension of disbelief.

Shame mine was shattered...

I guess it depends on what you mean by dislike. For Who fans, "Some fun bits but overall meh" is about as bad as it gets, so naturally it's the end of the world whenever it happens - and since all the forgettable episodes get, well, forgotten, it's clearly a sign that the show is going down the drain.

Yup, a random old lady building a rocket controlled by a launch computer sure is period-appropriate...

But it's by NIEL GAIMAN.

Has that really been a problem?

I mean, it was a bit overpowered in Rings, but that sucked all over ...

Threatening to explode an Ice Warrior was a bit much, but it's not like he actually pulled it off and saved the day with it. Are there any other examples I'm missing?

Actually, come to think, he hacked the magic wifi robot with it too, but he spent that whole episode playing up his Mad Hacker Skillz so I don't know...

EDIT: Definitely agree about the poor episode, though.

Shame it wasn't a more ... original nutter, really.

Did anyone else notice the 1980's Galvatron transformer Clara picks up in her kitchen? Is the props guy a vintage toy collector or is there another time traveller in the house?

I didn't think there was anyone who didn't like League of Gentlemen

I think being blind in the Victorian age was a lot harder to live with than in modern times.

Am i the only one who thought it was a bit crap? Sunburnt corpses, terrible dialogue. Continuing unresolved overall arc without even any clues or making headway? Ive found this whole season a very resound 'meh'.

Followed by the Doctor saying, "Brave heart, Clara." ^_^

We must agree to disagree! I thought First Contact would've been great w/o the Borg queen; with her, it is one of the weakest ST films for me. Wrath of Khan is still #1 in my book!
Having an average movie villain leader like the Borg queen spoils the whole concept of the Hive Mind: it was terrifying to have an enemy that thinks as one, but exists in and uses millions of bodies and brains. And one which absorbs new victims body and soul. How can you truly conquer something like that, where everyone is the leader? However: it's rather easy to defeat one individual fragile queen whose body is confined to one area, helpless without her tech add-ons, and swayed by her own emotions, and whose minions are nothing without her.
Computer's having trouble posting to this forum today, so that's it for now, sorry!

Well, I'd say my disagreement is near total.

First Contact is easily the best of the TNG films, not to mention the biggest hit, and the most thrilling.

I'm a dyed in the wool TOS guy myself, but I'm willing to say this could be better than Wrath of Khan.

The Borg Queen isn't average, she was something never seen before, which is why the audience was taken with her and the character reprised in the series.

"Everyone" is not the leader in the Borg. That's why they are called drones.

But debate is of the nature of all this. Hope you're technical issues clear up!

Having actually seen the episode today -- it's pleasant enough -- that is definitely a lift from Star Trek.

A very Seven of Nine look, actually.

... Incidentally, this fellow Kit Pedler died years before Star Trek TNG launched.

The Borg look nothing like CyberMen, and, well, I see I explained all the big differences already.

Another thing I did not mention, though, is that originally the Borg were to be insect-based. That got changed, for a variety of reasons, making the concept far more terrifying. Arguably, that is.

Had they been bugs, though, it would have seemed a lot like a lift from Robert Heinlein.

Well, she is awfully fetching and appealing ...

I didn't have the chance to watch the ep till today.

It's fun and very pleasant, but the show feels like it's not hitting on all cylinders, making the much vaunted 50th anniversary season nice enough. I've liked all but one episode, but ...

I must say I'd rather that the Borg showed up next week rather than the old hat/never changing/easily defeated Cybermen.

Just saying hello and welcome to a fellow A:TLA fan! Interesting how the Doctor and Avatar characters are similar because of their "rebirths", being the last of their people, etc.

In a tweet I said 'Good fun, no more no less' Apparently this would be too critical for Mark Gattis's eyes according to his spokesperson:

@Hallbright I think it was a bit off to include Mark in a tweet that said 'no more no less'. Rude.
Pompous or what.

I thought it was original enough, I don't think the show has ever had a deranged northern philanthropist as a villain before.

Yep, the ending absolutely looked like SJA ! But it was a good kid show, and as it ended, it could be good to have one fake SJA episode, just for one week.

Wow. Remarkably snotty response to a mini review that committed the offense of just not doing enough gushing. Extraordinary too, to be so precious on someone else's behalf. I do hope Gatiss himself is more sanguine.
Anyone who takes exception at someone saying "that was good, but not brilliant" probably shouldn't even leave the house, let alone be involved in one of the most popular TV shows in the world. This is not a primary school nativity play.
"And the three wise men swallowed the star ... um to Hethlebem" [third donkey from left pukes noisily, Herod's beard falls off and two shepherds burst into tears]

Well, I went into this one not expecting much at all. I was expecting something worse even than Rings of Akhaten. I don't know why, but this episode just felt like it was gonna be bad. And then....
I thought it was fantastic. It had everything Doctor Who is meant to be, both old AND new. It had a cheesy-yet-sinister plot, it made fantastic use of the Doctor-lite mechanic, Stax, Vastra + Jenny didn't feel overused and actually seemed to have some subtlety/nuance to them this time (well, Vastra and Jenny did. Strax was mostly just hilarious), Diana Rigg and her daughter both played excellent characters - brilliant performances and fantastic writing gave us the most three-dimensional one-off characters I've seen in a long time.
My only complaint is the stark underuse, or even misuse of Clara. This isn't a one-off problem, but one that has persisted since Bells of St. John. We're meant to believe that this is the most brilliant, impossible woman in existence. And I want to believe that, I think Jenna-Louise Coleman is fantastic in the part (as she showed in Asylum and the Snowmen), but this version of Clara is barely even a plot function. She could be dropped from some of these episodes completely without putting a dent in the plot. Most of the time she serves either to ask the Doctor a question so he can talk over her for another twenty minutes or she's just there to get kidnapped/knocked out so the Doctor can save her. I'm rooting for a brilliant companion here. I want Clara to be amazing. But the writers aren't giving her the space to be amazing, if you ask me. The fact that this episode was light on both leads only highlights this because Matt Smith still had plenty more to do with his share of the time. Seriously, she might've gotten ten lines in this episode?
But, if that can be fixed, I can't really fault the show now. It's found its feet again with these last few episodes and it's becoming the show I love once again. There's still a few Moffat-y creases and bumps all over it, but it's getting there. I'm feeling really positive about where it's going. Let's hope a Neil Gaiman episode next week continues this trend!

The perma-exploding star thing was the Eye Of Harmony I believe and I presume it got there through some form of Timelord engineering that we could never comprehend

I can't comment on the arc as such as I'm not seeing much of a link. Overall this was fun and solid. It worked best before the introduction of the Dr. This was more to do with the insistence of portraying the Dr as a superhero. He pops into the cupboard and literally emerges as Superman. Most of the previous Drs would have struggled to recover for the rest of the epsiode. 11 literally pops out non the worse for wear either physically or mentally and the tension pops immediately just like when he rocked up all smug during Hide. From then on it was all played for laughs and very late period Fourth Doctor I thought. Which was Ok, but I liked it scarier. I feel a bit for Smith, as he's better when really under the cosh. The "solutions" to some of the plots really are at times uber-childish. The reliance on pure "as if" fantasy is a weakness. It began with the 10th Dr, but's got worst under Moffet. Terry Pratchett first brought it up and I think there is a consensus on the boards that Dr Who just really struggles with satisfactory endings.

What did terrify me though were those two annoying kids "Sarah Jane Adventuring" their way in at the end. Why? For those that dislike Adric I suspect a field day coming.

Yep, another inappropriately bombastic Murray Gold extravaganza at the end of this episode. Just when I start thinking he can go a whole episode without irritating me, he proves that he can't........God, I hate this guy....he just has no taste whatsoever!! Why can't the production team give someone else a chance to score for this show. Murray STINKS!!!

Really!?!?! perhaps I should go and re-watch it, I find it hard to believe I would enjoy it more than the Angels 2 parter or the finale...

IMHO the current hasn't had any of the cast iron classics such as Time of Angels, Doctors Wife & Girl Who Waited of previous seasons - although Asylum comes close - but the episodes gave been consistently high quality with nothing less than a 7/10 throughout the entire season IMHO

Er, you know that the producers place the music on the show, right?

It is their decision -- well, Moff's really, since he is the showrunner -- which scenes have music and how they are scored.

Since Murray Gold's music is very popular, which is why his scores get the big soundtrack releases they do, I suspect the BBC's research tells them and the producers that more music is a good thing.

Actually you couldn't be more wrong! Murray composes the music along with the scenes. It doesn't just get placed in there randomly. Wow, you're new. Lol. The only thing the producers decided is the volume and whether or not they use the music or no music. Please don't comment on things you don't know anything about!

Things I got (some of them only just). Jenny as Emma Peel, in geektastic Diana Rigg tribute. Sonic standing to attention (fnarr fnarr); the theme from Robert Downey Jnr's Sherlock as the background to Vastra; And was I alone in shouting "Frying Tonight!" as the victims were dipped?

Quite a few people moaned about Mr Sweet being too cute but they didn't get the joke, namely seeing the 'cute' creature violently and gorily pummeled to death. I bet some people complain about that.

Anyone else raise an eyebrow to the Doctor's "duck and cover" strategy when the rocket takes off right next to them? The really should've been charred and extra crispy after that one.

Also, the kids at the end seeing the pictures of Clara -- so... EVERYWHERE in history that Clara has gone, someone snapped a picture of her and EVERY ONE of those pictures wound up in a history book or online and the kids managed to find ALL OF THEM. There's suspension of disbelief, but that's asking a bit much.

One last thing -- everyone's raving about the sepia-tinted back-story montage, but frankly, I would have much preferred to see that play out as a full episode. That would have made it feel less Doctor-lite, pushed it into two-parter territory, and given it more of a classic vibe. But maybe that's just me. I've felt like most of the recent Who episodes have been too rushed.

Do you know what a "non sequitur" is?

OF COURSE, he composes music to the scenes. Most film composers do.

BUT he does not choose where the music goes, nor how much there is.

And the entire direction of the music as heard in the show is determined by the showrunner, the grand Moff.

That has no relevance to my point. Yes, Steven may say,"I'd like music here", but Murray composes it and is ultimately responsible for it. My issue is with Murray himself....if he could compose appropriate music, then we wouldn't be having this discussion. If he was doing his job properly, you could have a straight 43 minutes of music and you wouldn't even notice. The fact that you're trying to blame other people for Murray's inability to write an appropriate score is totally perplexing to me. That's like blaming the lighting guy coz the script sucks! Please get some perspective and stop acting like you know everything.

And before you blame Moffat again, I should point out that the music was even worse under see a common link here?? Yep, it's Murray!

We aren't having a discussion. You are ranting. I am trying to provide perspective about how a TV series approaches its music, based on my experience.

Again, your comment is a non sequitur. I may be being polite in that characterization.

For I am not "blaming" Moffat.

I'm very well aware of how a tv show approaches its music. Why don't you either agree or disagree on whether or not you find the music inappropriate? That's what most people would do. So far, you haven't even touched upon that. Instead, you'd rather show is your knowledge of things behind the scenes. Bottom line, I'd like to see Murray Gold gone. It's time to give someone else a chance to shine.

Look, you started off with an angry complaint about the music, free from any context of how music is actually placed in a TV show.

You continued with the anger, actually getting angrier.

I obviously don't find the music inappropriate. It never even occurred to me to complain about it.

Well I don't know where you've been then. You're clearly one of the fans that would be happy with any music there, and it would never bother you? You're easy to please...fair enough. I am not easy to please. I have high standards when it comes to music. I expect more than a musician trying to constantly show off. I expect music to enhance what's on the screen, not detract from it. Murray is a talented musician, but a dreadful incidental music composer...dreadful. Sometimes he gets the mood right, only to spoil it with something completely over the top and ridiculous. This is my opinion, but it is a musically-educated one! Imagine how wonderful it'd be if we got someone of the caliper of Bear McCreary? Oh well, I can dream. I hope the next showrunner kicks Murray out on his ass.

No, I'm hardly easy to please, nor am I reading to the end of this.

Sorry, but I've been listening to Murray's music for 8 years now. I can't take it anymore. It makes me incredibly angry that nothing's been done about it because people don't care enough to complain. Everyone complains when the script is bad, but no-one ever comments on the music. It's all important, people. We shouldn't settle for substandard anything when it comes to our favourite show.

I just typed a few words. You can rant again about Murray Gold's very popular music for Doctor Who.

"New theory on Clara. Was it just me, was that kiss on the forehead after "Clever Clogs""Did you miss me?", rather brotherly...?"

I've been wondering for a time if the plan was to "lose" the Doctor next time and have a female - Clara - in the starring role. Not a female Doctor, but a female lead. I thought she may be a Tardis (as per Idris) or a Time Lady (Romana?) or an "incarnation" of River Song.

I just have the feeling her sassy character as "Doctor" written all over it, and that she'll be the new "Star" of the show.

Now... if she's his sister... or daughter? ... that could work too.

Just wondering if Clara is a creation of the Doctor and Sara Jane? The other notion is that she is "the Girl" in an adult form from the Library and that we are seeing The Doctors adventures as told to the girl by River Song. I mean we still don't know why the TARDIS became damaged when we met Matt Smith as the Doctor. Maybe that's why David Tennant is coming back for the 50th. The GIrl from the Library is keeping him safe by giving him adventures in the library. Maybe the Doctor was killed in the library episode and regenerated into Matt. But something went wrong, or has gone wrong. We know how Moffat likes the "reset" button and this would be the grandest reset if none of these adventures had happened but were just the imaginings of the Girl. All I know is that it is going to be fun to find out.

I'm still waiting for the story of Jim the Fish.

Another week another William Bradley argument, what an exciting life you must lead!

No argument. Just another endlessly ranting commenter, into very lengthy repetition of the same angry argument.

But that is a personal flame from you, again.

Are you trying to provoke an argument? Again?

Noooo, its just very clear that you love this if you look over the comments on the last 4 episode reviews of Doctor Who there you are getting in a big long stream of tit for tat arguments.
When a guy ends his comment with "Murray STINKS" he's clearly not going to be up for a debate on the subject and yet you just had to keep going and going trying to get a rise out of him the whole thing was unnecessary.

You seem to be describing your own mentality from what I recall of your earlier attacks on me.

I'm hardly debating the guy as I never engaged on his anti-Murray Gold rant, simply informing at first, then parrying, then ignoring.

But you're not interested in a discussion, you're here to flame. And that, my friend, is a bore.

And no, I don't find this amusing, and yes, I find the signal to noise ratio disappointing.

Did it ever occur to you that no one complains about Murray's music because it's actually REALLY, REALLY, GOOD and you simply don't happen to like it yourself? People have different tastes regarding what's "good" music... why don't you know that? It isn't Murray's decision how his music gets used in Who. Yes, sometimes the music is too loud over the dialogue, which is a completely different problem and also not the composer's fault.

From Galadriel: proud member of the Doctor Who Fan Orchestra, professionally educated classical music performer and music teacher for thirty years. And that's all I have to say on the subject, so don't bother flaming a response; I won't read it or respond to it.

PS: Well done, William B.

I'm sure it's good music if you're cranking it up on your stereo. But for incidental music, nope, it's nowhere near being really good...sorry. You may like it and that's great but it's not really really good incidental music at all!

Your credentials mean nothing to me. I studied jazz at Humber. How good of a musician you are has nothing to do with writing good music for TV. It's about being appropriate and not distracting from the show. I always said Murray was a good musician I just don' t think he writes good music for this. His music is much more intricate than a guy like Bear McCreary, but Mccreary's music is infinitely superior for enhancing a program. That's the difference. You go ahead and try and show off all your classical chops in a rock or folk song and you'll be fired from the gig because that's not what the gig calls for. Murray is not the guy for the gig. And neither are you!!

Incidentally, Galadriel, if you're composing music for an emotional touching scene, would you use 20 instruments? Because Murray would. Less is more Galadriel. One of the first things I teach my students.

The trailer for next week's episode made it pretty obvious that the kids will be companions at least for one week. And hopefully no longer.

Yeah, I didn't even think that was ambiguous. Never occurred to me that anyone would consider it a mystery.

Funnily enough, it had occurred to me that she may be the next incarnation of the Doctor similar to the Watcher in "Logopolis". If I was showrunner and wanted to secretly regenerate the Doctor I would introduce the next incarnation as a companion and then, when the regeneration took place have the audience exclaim "so he was the Doctor all along". Clara does speak "Doctor-y" but I can't believe Moffat would have the balls to remove the Doctors balls (so to speak). It would be an extremely risky move and I don't see him doing it some how. The backlash would be enormous!

As for me, I honestly have no idea how I would feel. Logically I see no problem with a female Doctor but instinctually it seems wrong. I think my brain says "no problem" but my heart says "No, no, don't do that... Just... No". Maybe it's because I have spent my whole life wishing I was the Doctor that if I suddenly found him physically attractive... Well, it could mean many years of therapy!

If you think that reaction was great, you should see his Ada starts whacking her mother with the stick. Brilliant.

To be honest, I think she'd given in trying after the watertight remark of 'No, I was in Victorian Yorkshire'.

I got the feeling he simply couldn't be arsed to put up a fight on that one.

I'm slowly coming around to thhe idea that Clara is a grown up Cal. Why? Well last thing cal says in Forest of the Dead Is "I'm a clever girl". The Doctor tells us the thing to do with Vashta Nerada is "Run, Just Run" and Doctor Moon tells people "and then you remembered". Juggle it all around a little and you get "Run you clever boy and remember" :-O Then again maybe it's all a deliberate red herring.

The Victorian rocket idea was a bit daft but I did like the subtle Babbage reference.

"Disagreement is total". A new Borg catchphrase? :)

Perhaps. :)

I didn't know that, but that's a shame. It would be nice if there was a bit of attention to detail sometime!

A quick survey: when you find a photograph with someone in an anachronistic setting, do you immediately think a) time travel or b) Photoshop?

Sadly, I fear that the only theme is a lack of originality.

Awful episode. I rewatched it and I still think it was the worst episode in the entire series (or even three last series). Although I liked Diana Rigg in it a lot, and directing was good too in my opinion, the story and characters - awful. I may not appreciate Gatiss's sense of humour, but that would still be ok, however, what I really disliked were elements of the grotesque taken too far, especially Mrs Gillyflower's daughter - she was probably meant to be a likeable character, but to me she wasn't, especially at the end. Strangely enough, the only Gatiss's story I really liked so far was Night Terrors. By the way, I'm getting tired with Strax.

i dont think so...with 7a they had boring shows but the brilliance behind 7a was that the episodes were in reverse order for the doctor -something that wasnt publicly divulged...but in retrospect its mades the whole series brilliant (how the promos said "but just not in that order")....i think here we are getting a subtextual reccurance of plots that will add up over time to some greater appreciation

Time travel. Every time.

I got excited for three seconds, until I remembered that the Ponds departed in episode 5 of this season, and were very much present in episodes 1-4. Your "backwards order" theory doesn't hold.

Sounded good, though! They OUGHT to do it, they just haven't yet. :)

Ooh...TomTom!! I just thought he had cruel parents! Joke went totally over my head... Maybe because I have a Garmin. :-)

no dude...its not "my" theory...

7a - is forwards for the ponds...and backward for the doctor...

theres a part in the western one where the doctor refers to rory and amy leaving somthing in a bedroom on their travels...but that didnt happen till the next episode (for rory and amy).

the doctor is continuously ominous as well, about their loss. so technically for the doctor he does angels in manhattan first and goes back to live more adventures with the ponds until he meets dalek oswin.

then for the doctor the xmas special is next. -again this isnt "my theory its actually what happened in the show

I realise this. I know he can't come back. I'm not sure if you'd gathered, but I wasn't being entirely serious when I said that.

"Actually happened"? That's quite open to interpretation.

Rory's expression means he knew what was the Doctor talking about when he mentioned the dropping of a mobile phone charger in the past. If anything, it shows us "A Town Called Mercy" happens during the escape in "The Power of Three".

Douglas Adams kind of cheese :)

The Doctor, though, has had later adventures with Tegan, after "Resurrection of the Daleks": Cf: audio "The Gathering"

What a load of rubbish. Dreadful episode. It's getting worse. Please come back Russel T Davies.......Since the days of TV's Press Gang Steven Moffat only knows to write for little kids.

The result is a disaster for us adult sci-fi fans who don't happen to have little children we want to pacify in front of the TV for forty minutes.

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