Doctor Doctor Who Guide

Hmmmm….well I should admit that I've never cared for the Russell T. Davis episodes and so was pleasantly surprised at how much I found myself enjoying the first half of Tooth and Claw. And then it all went so wrong - unsurprisingly, around about the same time that the characters stopped running from the wolf and started talking. Why was the diamond constantly re-cut if its only purpose was to be thrown on the floor at the last minute as opposed to, oh I don't know, say, forming an intricate part of the telescope; where did the monks go when they still had the house surrounded with guns; why did Queen Victoria knight the Doctor and Rose only to banish them from the kingdom immediately afterwards; why did we have to listen to the world's worst, most blatant and completely unnecessary plug for Torchwood (incidentally, if Torchwood has been around for 100 years, how come we've never heard of it before, despite the Doctor working for UNIT both in the old and NEW series); why did Russell think 'we are not amused'' was a funny running gag; how was the house supposed to be a trap for the werewolf when nobody knew about it; and where did the monks get their matrix-like kung-fu abilities from?

On the plus side, the direction by Euros Lyn was fantastic and led to some genuinely tense and scary moment (really looking forward to his upcoming episodes), the production values were amazing and even the CGI looked very good, the acting from the guest cast was of a high standard and the opening banter between the Doctor and Rose was genuinely funny.

I'm still finding it hard to get used to David Tennant as the Doctor as he occasionally comes across as too manic and/or smug but I suspect this is more to do with the script than David's abilities as an actor. Hopefully he'll mellow out a little as the series progresses, much like Christopher Eccleston. It was a shame that after last week's performance Billie Piper returned to being the annoying giggling schoolgirl. If nothing else, New Earth showed she had a much broader range than many have given her credit for, and it was disappointing to see her being given little more than the annoying companion role again (though in the effective 'escape from the wolf in the cellar' scene she did get to be far more proactive).

Ultimately this was an episode carried by atmosphere and taut direction, not by a marked improvement in RTD's ability to write actual Doctor Who as opposed to his ultra-fast paced, sexed-up, over the top, pantomime version. I'd like to quote RTD from the series one boxed set booklet: "…And I had nothing to do with the show's return. That was decided in some as-yet-undocumented discussion between Lorraine Heggessey, the controller of BBC ONE, and Jane Tranter, Controller of Drama Commissioning". So, thank you Lorraine and Jane for bringing back such an amazing, imaginative and exciting show. Now if you could just stop Russell from writing any more episodes you'd make a lot of fans very happy indeed.

Filters: Television Series 2/28 Tenth Doctor