Doctor Doctor Who Guide

This was an absolute belter of an episode, in which Russell T. Davies has shown that he can be an excellent Doctor Who writer.

We are perhaps in safe territory for Doctor Who, or the BBC in general, when we go into the Victorian era. But even so, it was wonderfully recreated and I was personally pleased to see that the period was accurate and dignified without easy resort to Empire-bashing. Ms Collins was very good as Queen Victoria, just occasionally let down by slightly weak dialogue. I was also impressed with the rest of the supporting cast, and I applaud the number of heroic characters - Captain Reynolds, Sir Robert and Lady Isobel too. It is always nice to see the Doctor save the day, as he does, but it is also good to have some other role models - you don't have to be the cleverest man in the universe to do the right thing. Father Angelo was also suitably chilling as a bad guy: I don't know where the monks learned their moves, but maybe worshipping the wolf has some unknown advantages?

We are only a few episodes into his time as the Doctor, but I am going to go out on a limb and say that David Tennant is brilliant. I love his portrayal. For all that I shall be grateful to Mr. Eccleston for reviving the character, I always felt that he never quite got it right with any degree of consistency. I am so excited by the Tenth Doctor, he has boundless energy and fun, which also makes his serious more pointed and his mystery more mysterious. Good job, keep it up! And loved the Scottish accent. Ms Tyler was average here, although for her that is still Oscar-winning good in my book. The attempted joke on 'we are not amused' was awkward, a little embarrassing, and made her look dumb, but it didn't detract from my enjoyment overall. I also thought she made a good companion, showing strengths that the Doctor does not always have - good interpersonal skills with Flora the maid, for example - and helping others get out of trouble. Her attempt at a Scottish accent was laugh-out-loud funny, and indeed the dialogue was snappy throughout.

The best thing about this episode was that the plot was so well devised. Not only did everything fit together well at the end, but I did not see it coming because the buildup was so subtly done. It is so much more satisfying when pieces carefully laid out tie together, especially when it is the Doctor who works it all out. The scene in the library was memorable for several reasons - the wonderful pan shot to the Doctor and the Wolf either side of the wall, the sound of the wold creeping round the room, the Doctor's comments on books being the greatest arsenal, and then his realisation just before the wolf comes crashing down. Great entertainment, unbeatable.

This was one of my absolute favourite episodes of the new Doctor Who. Even so, some minor criticisms: what were they screaming at in the pre-credits sequence - just a man in a cage? Shouldn't the diamond have been in the machine, rather than on the floor? And please, spare us the terrible overacted monarchy-are-werewolves stuff - could have been funny, but was simply too much as it turned out.

Interesting to see Queen Victoria announcing the creation of Torchwood, although as an end-of-episode teaser it simply couldn't live up to the textbook- enigmatic Face of Boe from last week!

Overall, a great romp!

Filters: Television Series 2/28 Tenth Doctor