Doctor Who S3.10 review

The first Who episode to actually be scary and good, and the Doctor's barely in it. Read between the lines, people!

weeping angel

It’s common for Doctor Who to try and make baddies that will keep little children awake at night. Having fallen prey to their own mythology on clip shows of celebrities declaring how they hid behind the sofa every time a Dalek appeared, every new villain is supposed to scare the bejeebers out of everyone.

This has to be the first time they’ve done it to me. I’ll admit they came close with the scarecrows. They made me sort of jump a little. But the scarecrows didn’t get me so scared I had to sleep facing the wall in case the Weeping Angels could see I’d shut my eyes, and then send me back into history. Probably to the Black Death, just to really piss on my chips.

More importantly, I was at the Royal Festival Hall reopening on London’s South Bank this weekend. Many of the buildings have isolated statues on top of the buildings, human figures you just catch out of the corner of your eye. Which is, of course, what the genius was behind the weeping angels. Statues are everywhere, and we’ve all been scared of them when we children or when we were drunk.

The conceit of the statues shouldn’t obstruct that this was the most tightly scripted, well-constructed episode this series. Sally Sparrow was investigating a haunted house (actually I’m not sure why she was there to begin with – my TV was on mute and I couldn’t find the remote. It’s a good thing Den Of Geek only enlist the highest quality writers), filled with creepy stone statues. After losing her best friend and then cop flirt, she starts receiving strange messages of all forms, seeing the Doctor on TV and yet failed to notice that the creepy stone statues kept appearing behind her. Only a Doritos Friendchip with a low-rent Kris Marshall helped to uncover the truth.

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And what a truth. Just run over the full extent of thinking pumped into Blink. The way characters, including bit-characters Doctor and Martha, were flung into the past yet were still were fundamental to the plot. The gradual uncovering of the DVD easter egg secrets – and it takes something remarkable to make easter eggs interesting. Best of all, the way you can’t look at the angels, and more beautifully, the way they can’t look at each other. They were probably weeping because that’s just so bloody beautiful.

The only time it dropped the ball was towards the end when the angels, who had hitherto been able to cross rooms in the blink of an eye, were suddenly given to Chariots of Fire slo-mo. But one shoddy sequence doesn’t tarnish my New Favourite Episode.

Blink’s Steven Moffat has yet to write a dull dud – he also did the Girl in the Fireplace and the gas mask double. Someone needs to give the man a cupboardful of Baftas and then chain him to a desk to write the whole of series four single-handedly.