Doctor Doctor Who Guide

Well done RTD! I thought he’d be on safer ground with a pseudo-historical and indeed he was: the overriding impression is of a very traditional Who tale, scary, suspenseful, atmospheric, and thoroughly enjoyable. The blistering pace is par for the course these days but despite that it all flowed rather well from the superb opening scenes as a more(traditionally) vulnerable Tardis gets it wrong and lands 100 years earlier than intended, with the Doctor and Rose stepping out onto the windswept highlands for a meeting with Queen Victoria herself!

My wife was very annoyed by the flippancy of the running gag of Rose betting the Queen will say she was not amused but to my mind Victoria was treated rather well by RTD, particularly when expressing her grief and longing to be re-united with her late husband Prince Albert. I thought that might be the cue for RTD to take his usual pop at religion but this time he restrained himself somewhat.

There is a great rapport building between the Tenth Doctor and Rose. Though Sarah travelled with the Third Doctor in his final season the real rapport was between herself and Tom Baker’s incarnation, peaking with stories like Pyramids of Mars and here the same thing is happening with David Tennant and Billie Piper. The little exchanges between the two at the start and at the end (when discussing whether the Royal Family were werewolves)again felt very traditionally Doctor/companion. The Royals are certainly getting the RTD treatment of late- one moment they’re “on the roof” with the PM having to step in to do the Christmas broadcast and now there’s the prospect of them changing into werewolves during the next full moon.

The setting was suitably atmospheric, the supporting cast excellent and the CGI werewolf fine. Particularly effective was the scene with the Doctor and the werewolf listening on opposite sides of the wall.

David Tennant is superb as the Doctor in this story, several notches up from New Earth and again he takes the lead in resolving the crisis rather than relying on others with Rose “reduced” to the more traditional helper/companion role, further emphasising the restoration of the Doctor as the central figure in the season.

An excellent story which gets better with each viewing.

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