Doctor Doctor Who Guide

After the first two excellent episodes of the new series I sat down to watch the third episode expecting the same standard of story and I wasn't left wanting.

A lot of people aren't warming to this 45-minute single episode stories but I am rather a fan of this format and I believe that this is the first episode that really used the format to its fullest. You had a story with a beginning, a middle and an end, all present and correct here. The excellent pre-title sequence sets up the story very nicely and it flows along quite well. The two-part stories will allow for a slower pace of storytelling but in this episode they have proved that the 45 minute single episode formatdoes work.

I must admit that the story was not half as scary as I had been led to believe it would be. Although how scary it can be when it is aimed at a family audience at 7pm on a Saturday evening it was probably about what I would have expected. I am enjoying the recurring themes of the Time War that will proliferate in this season with all the mentions of the 'bad wolf' etc. It is just the right amount of information to get the imagination flowing about what the war was about and how it ended like it did etc. Certainly it will be interesting so see how they do conclude this ongoing plot arc.

The acting in the episode was also of a very high standard with all of the people putting in sterling performances. Simon Callow was perfect as Dickens in a role that he was born to play. The fact that Callow is a renowned expert on Dickens means that he must have been impressed by Mark Gattis' take on him. Indeed Dickens in this episode has a lot to do and is a very memorable character. I like the reference to his novels and the last scene was superb! Also impressive in this episode was Eve Myles as Gwyneth who was, apart from Callow, one of the many highlights of this episode. Her scene with Rose was a lovely, well written scene which perfectly contrasted the life's of the two, similarly aged girls.

Chris Eccleston and Billie Piper were also excellent in this episode and I am really warming to Eccleston's take on the Doctor. He is a very interesting Doctor as you are never too sure what he is going to do and the ambiguity of his character is refreshing. I also love the way that he can go from being very flippant to being deadly serious in the same sentence. He handles the humourous scenes very well and I laughed out loud at the scene in the carriage with Dickens. I thought it was a perfecly judged scene and well played by both Callow and Eccleston. I also loved the line when the zombies are about to break through the gate "I'm going to die in a dungeon. In Cardiff!".

Again Billie plays Rose as the Doctor's equal and they have some good, very intense scenes together. Every week she is suprising me with her excellent performances. I hope she continues to do so.

My only criticism of this episode is that a lot of it seems very similar to the previous episode. I mean the scene between Rose and Gwyneth is very like the scene in The End of The World between Rose and the plumber. Also in both stories Rose is knocked out and locked in a room where something nasty is about to happen. You also have the main female character in the episode sacrificing themselves at the end.

All in all an excellent episode and shows that the new series is going from strength to strength.

Roll on next Saturday.

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