Taking the pain out of death

Christmas 2015, The Husbands of River Song and a diary of just the right length. All of these gave us a comedy episode with a sprinkling of serious. Steven Moffat had already acknowledged elsewhere that you can only do so much with Christmas and Doctor Who, so that component was kept to a minimum. It wasn’t about Christmas, but it was a light-hearted interlude after the bone-breaking epic that was Heaven Sent in particular and the second half of series nine in general. The series needed an interlude and this episode gave us it. Following twenty-two appearances in Who, River Song graced our … Continue reading

Hybrid hubris

At the end of everything, we should expect the company of immortals… In the end it came down to The Doctor, Ashildr and a chess set. Not to mention Clara, of course, but she was stuck in a TARDIS somewhat removed to a relative dimension. It is a very old trope, but that doesn’t make it any the less brilliant. I notice that Ashildr’s playing white; I wonder if it was the Queen’s Gambit, The Doctor standing away from the empty chair on the black side. I expect he’d play some variation on the Kings Indian, because that appears to cede … Continue reading

Hiding The Lady

Now that’s how to do epic. Heaven Sent, the second in a trilogy and penultimate episode in series 9 brought us home to Gallifrey and, just like the cogs and wheels of its clockwork castle, threatened to change the very rules for this show. Epic is a word bandied around all too easily these days, but this one truly was. It was right up there with the best and like some slowly danced ornate pavane it unwound its stately plot with perfect pitch right up to the final note. Many must have thought this was going to be a straightforward monster … Continue reading

Who decides your fate?

Well, Clara’s gone and series 9 is building to a climax. The dark forces gathered at the edge of events are now beginning to show their hands, but the story of the day was Clara. Face The Raven, written by new Who writer Sarah Dollard, was another of those episodes that worked at so many levels. The characterisation  was very strong in this, even to the extent where the ‘masked’ aliens got a point of view other than as the standard legionnaires of evil destruction that they usually represent. They were the refugees of wars and persecution seeking asylum, hidden by … Continue reading

Methought I heard a voice cry

Well, you cannot say Doctor Who doesn’t do relevant commentary. Ever since it re-booted in 2005 it’s managed to keep saying up to date things about modern life. Sleep No More was no different in laying down markers on cyber-terrorism, corporate greed and the excesses arising from soulless scientific revolutions. There are probably more tucked away in Mark Gatiss’ script, but these three interested me most. Cyber-terrorism might make you raise an eyebrow. Where does this occur, you might ask. You only have to look at Morpheus’ strategy in this story. His actions are a direct mirror of your average … Continue reading

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