Tag Archives: BBC

Doctor Who: The Pyramid At The End Of The World “The End Of Your Life Has Already Begun”

This has got to be the first series of Doctor Who I have ever watched where I have past the half way point and have thoroughly enjoyed every episode so far. ‘The Pyramid At The End Of The World’ is indeed another winner.

Beginning the second part of a loose trilogy of episodes, we get to see the beginning of the invasion from the “Monks” who look to take over the earth. We believe these aliens are here to conquer the earth, but instead they say they will be offered the world in return for their help. A crisis is about to come and the Monks promise they will save the earth if they are given it.

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The Doctor, who still can not see, is tasked by the UN to help rid the earth of the Monks and investigate this pyramid (well, it is in the title) which has just appeared and sits between three of the earths most powerful armies. The Doctor, still known as President of the world, goes to see The Monks and finds out their plan.

On another side, we have two scientists who are working in a laboratory that have accidently created a super-bacterium which will prove to be fatal to the whole planet if unleashed. While this side of the episode takes its time to build, the tense feeling of what will happen next does settle in. We also start getting questions as why do the Monks want the earth? How can you save the world when you don’t know what will destroy it?

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I have already spoke a lot on the plot, but it is truly the last 10 minutes of this episode that ranks as some of the best Doctor Who I have ever seen. The Doctor is doing all he can to save the world, but you know that things will get worse before they get better.

Peter Harness and Steven Moffat present some tense writing and keep the darker theme on top priority. Doctor Who seems to work best when it explores an eerie tone. The acting as per usual is spot on, especially the lovely Rachel Denning as scientist Erica. Then we have Peter Capaldi still portraying the struggling Doctor who seems to hint towards his upcoming regeneration.

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Next week looks like it will take inspiration from 2007’s ‘Last Of The Time Lords’, but we will have to wait a week to get a feel for ‘The Lie Of The Land’. Oh god, trying to make lines with these titles have become really difficult.

Final rating: 9/10

Written by Jonjo Cosgrove

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Doctor Who: Thin Ice “You know what happens if you don’t move on? More people will die”

Sarah Dollard wrote one of the best New Who episodes in 2015 with ‘Face The Raven’, and I can honestly say ‘Thin Ice’ is another fantastic effort from the writer. Plus, we also get a reminder of The Doctor’s constant companion…DEATH!

Starting where the last episode abruptly finished, The Doctor and Bill find themselves in London in 1814 for the Frost Fest. After The Doctor explains that the TARDIS likes to make its own way around the universe, he comes to the conclusion there must be something they need to do. It doesn’t take long for us to learn about the creature in the Thames.

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The first steps onto the ice is the start to their investigation. Bill begins to notice there are lights coming from under their feet, and then we find out exactly what the lights are doing. From this, we get reacquainted with the ways that The Doctor operates and the way he seemingly cares nothing for those who die around him. Pearl Mackie again shows great emotional depth as she questions The Doctor and wants to know the kind of person he really is.

There were some great uses of the sonic screwdriver in this episode. In some episodes, I am sure it is just a cheap way to get out of a sticky situation (yet, I am not aware of any time The Doctor actually uses it to put up a shelf). The screwdriver does come into play a number of times and I do enjoy seeing it used as a distraction device than a tool.

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The villain is a bit…well…pants! I know that the villain isn’t exactly the key to this episode, it is the remainder of the supporting cast. This episode gets to showcase some great young talent. The young gang and the way they interact with the TARDIS crew and fit into 19th century London was great to see. The highlight being Asiatu Koroma as Kitty; This girl is set to be something special, showing some great acting chops against the more experienced cast.

Speaking of the cast, it was another great week for our TARDIS duo (it is a shame that Nardole is relegated to the end of the episode). Peter Capaldi does continue to impress in his final series and Pearl Mackie is slowly becoming a favourite in the show. Bill Potts in indeed the everyman (or woman) that the show needed. The writing reflects Bill’s progression to this point where she now has to think about her time with The Doctor and what could possibly happen on these adventures.

With the “thing” in the vault seemingly restless (is it The Master? Or Missy? Maybe both?), we know this is something that will be continually teased for some time. Overall, a great episode with some real depth (Was that a pun?). The winning part of this story is clearly Sarah Dollard’s writing and we can only hope she continues to contribute to the show.

Final Rating: 9/10

Written by Jonjo Cosgrove

NEXT WEEK: We get a ‘Knock Knock’ from David Suchet!

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Peter Capaldi is leaving Doctor Who!

Well the title says it all. Peter Capaldi has announced that he is to step down from Doctor Who after his upcoming third series as the Time Lord. I am someone who will miss Peter as The Doctor, he gave us a real mature Doctor (more for a mature look, but certainly had some zany moments). There are so many moments that the 12th Doctor has been part of which has stuck out for me.

We have got the new series of Doctor Who beginning on Saturday 15th April (back to the much favoured Easter start date, why did the BBC ever take it away from that date?), which means we still have twelve brand new episodes with Capaldi. Also, Steven Moffat will be making his Doctor Who finale writing this year’s upcoming Christmas special. Moffat and star Capaldi will both be leaving to give the incoming Chris Chibnall an almost blank slate to begin his Doctor Who role as head chief.

So, we know who will be leading Doctor Who behind the scenes from 2018, but who exactly will be taking the lead role in front of the camera? I will be writing a couple articles soon in regards to my favourite Capaldi moments from Series 8 and Series 9 and also a list of actors and actresses I think could take on the lead role and the likelihood of them getting cast. There is bound to be some casting news by May/June time as production on series 11 will have begun around that time. Until then, let’s get ready for series 10 and watch THAT trailer one more time!

Doctor Who returns to BBC ONE and BBC America on Saturday 15th April.

Written by Jonjo Cosgrove

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Doctor Who: The Husbands Of River Song. “Now you’ve met me, you’ll do your very best to forget me.”

Doctor Who has been making some rather fitting endings over the last few weeks. In ‘Face The Raven’, we saw a well-constructed exit for Clara Oswald (Jenna Coleman, how we miss you already). But, it looks like it is time to give a farewell to one of the longest recurring companions since the show came back. When Alex Kingston first debuted in 2008 as River Song for the ‘Silence In The Library/Forest Of The Dead’ two parter, many assumed she would not return and that her role as a companion of The Doctor would be more for the books or Big Finish audio productions. But, Alex has surely become one of the favourites in the New Who Era. In ‘The Husbands Of River Song’, we find the archaeologist is waiting for a surgeon to help her husband, King Hydroflax. The servant Nardole (an underused Matt Lucas) finds The Doctor and is convinced this is the surgeon they are waiting for. River comes face to face with The Doctor (the man who she is supposed to be married to), but she does not recognise this new face and doesn’t realise it is the Time Lord in front of her. So, apparently King Hydroflax is dying and a surgeon is needed to help him, where in reality there is a rare diamond lodged in his head (which is slowly killing him) and River wants it to sell. Though, it is very much only a head which Hydroflax has as it is attached to a huge red robot body. When River’s plan is discovered, what does she do? She steals the head and intends to sell her diamond while the king is very much alive and very angry.

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You wouldn’t think Greg Davies could do much as just a head, but there is a certain humour and depth to a character that has no body language he can use (and the SFX look rather good for that side of it, all hail King Hydroflax the CGI team). So, the body searches for its controller, and borrows the head of Nardole to help it out for the time being. They come across the TARDIS and Peter Capaldi finally gets to do what all Doctor Who actors have probably wanted to do, do the “it’s bigger on the inside” bit and it is funny. We eventually get to see the fallout of River’s desire for money as she finds herself and The Doctor in serious trouble. With one husband looking to get revenge on River, another husband who ends up going against his will to find River and finally discovering her husband The Doctor after she tearfully states how he never truly cares for her like she does for him. With so much going on towards the end, the execution to bring stability back is a little muddled but overall the fun has been had throughout. Over Christmas, you look to have something which is simple and entertaining. For 80% of this episode, that is exactly what you get. But, it is also nice to see some loose ends tied up to River Song. First, we see how she acquired that Sonic Screwdriver. Also, we finally get to see their supposed last night together, and the scene is beautiful and almost heart-breaking. For a character we saw die in her first appearance, it feels this really is the leaving point for Professor Song.

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Steven Moffat said he thought at one point this may have been his last episode of Doctor Who, and he does indeed write a fun story. At times the story is stretched and just played out a bit too much, but Christmas viewing is worth it when it is this easy. The laughs are good; a few humorous moments come from The Doctor trying to tell River who he is. As usual, Peter Capaldi does a stellar job as The Doctor. Alex Kingston, you will be sorely missed if this is your last episode. To see links back to her first story and others, it was a great way to show Moffat can stick a landing (even if it was over many years). The supporting cast do get swept away in this, though Greg Davies does give  a certain menace and humour in his portrayal and initially Matt Lucas is good fun. I just wish there was more from Nardole, the same for Ramone (Phillip Rhys) who just gets a minimal amount of time to show himself. The other villains are basically a robot body who does seem to have a funnybone and the combination of Flemming and Scratch barely do anything except look rather cool (the head trick that Scratch does was rather fun, and a bit freaky for just after Christmas Lunch). So, we don’t know when Doctor Who will be back on. What we do know is that we have at least one more series with Peter Capaldi leading the way, and it is supposed to debut at some point in 2016. My recommendation? Save this episode for Christmas viewing or when you don’t wanna think too much. Yes we get a lot on the River Song arc, but we don’t really get back into the main thrust of Doctor Who and it is nice to have a break in the show after what was a rather intense and fantastic series 9. Also, how many people noticed in the opening credits where we had the snow effects and the planets replaced with baubles! That was brilliant! Though I feel Moffat has got very few episodes left in him, it will be good to see him do one more episode with Douglas MacKinnon directing and he really needs to think about getting Alex Garland (Ex Machina, Dredd) and Andrew Kreisberg (The Flash, Arrow) to write for the show. How cool would it be? Well, 2016 isn’t far away…

Final Rating: 8/10 (all because of that last 10 minutes)

Written by Jonjo Cosgrove

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Doctor Who – The Woman Who Lived. “I’m an undercover constable from Scotland Yard. Do you have Scotland Yard yet?”

It is strange to have two distinctly different writers working on each part of a two-part story. Though it may not a straight-forward two-parter as seen previously, it is fantastic to see what comes of Ashildr following her being made immortal. We are about 800 years ahead of the time where Ashildr was a Viking, and is now a highwayman known as The Knightmare! It is 1651, and The Doctor inadvertently meets The Girl Who Died back in that village, only this time she seems to have very little memory of that time. As her brain could not hold everything she sees, Ashildr (or should that be Me!) has been keeping a huge collection of diaries to remind herself of her past. The Doctor sees the mistake he made in not being there for Ashildr as she went through so much tragedy and death over the last 800 years. He looks to help her and stop her from becoming the very thing he has feared to become.

When we find Ashildr talking with about using the Time Lord in her plans with Leandro, we realise that The Doctor may be able to pay the ultimate price for the person whose life he saved all them years ago. Ashildr isn’t evil, we know that. But, she has been through so much in her life which she now finds hard to tell what she should do. While looking for a certain treasure, The Doctor and Ashildr come across Sam Swift The Quick, an outlaw who has a pendent for jokes and is probably one of the best guest stars of the series so far. We eventually see Sam again, though he is then seen fighting for his life by telling a number of jokes, spinning lines and even getting in one good innuendo (who thought ‘well hung’ would make it into Doctor Who?). The overall threat of the episode is over very quickly and seems almost unnecessary, but it does also get to fill one of the gaps left from last week’s ‘The Girl Who Died’. Also, are we already getting to see what life will be like without Clara by the side of The Doctor? And will anyone actually like the sonic sunglasses?

Catherine Tregenna makes a superb script come to life; I even enjoy the snappy one-liners from Rufus Hound as he plays Sam Swift, another outlaw who actually spends more time shouting out jokes than actually taking any action. Rufus is perfectly complimented in this episode as the serious tones of immortality and death are given a release by the comedic tones. Also, as much as I thought Leandro looked like a great villain, we really don’t get to learn much about him either. But, the references to past Who and even the Torchwood nod was very welcome. It is not everyday that The Doctor becomes a sidekick either, and who better to lead him than arse-kicker Maisie Williams? Also, top marks once again to Peter Capaldi. I said I think he is going on to be the best Doctor in the new Who era and I stand by that, he is becoming rather funny and also knows how to pull off serious and joyous with very little effort. Another strong episode, though I felt a bit disappointed with the lion-man-thing and hoped for Clara to not just be a cameo, but I certainly enjoyed ‘The Woman Who Lived’ a lot and still no dip in quality. BRING ON THE ZYGONS!

Final rating: 9/10

Written by Jonjo Cosgrove

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Doctor Who – Under The Lake. “I’m very sorry for your loss. I’ll do all I can to solve the death of your friend slash family member slash pet.”

Following an episode where we had probably the biggest threat ever presented to The Doctor, this week he takes Clara on an adventure to an Underwater Base in Scotland. Ghosts are the monsters of this week…yep, ghosts. Well, something related to alien technology to create the ghosts. A signal broadcasting out, but to who? This episode does make a huge shift in tone, settling once again for a more intimate setting. We find out that the mystery behind this spaceship and its contents go back some hundreds of years, so what exactly happened? We first see a ghost of a Tivolian (the creature that David Walliams played in Toby Whithouse’s ‘The God Complex’) as it follows the crew of the base after it finds the alien spaceship. Once a crew member dies, they too then become a ghost. They are all saying the same words, as a transmitter. The signal gets stronger with every additional ghost.

The humour does stay true in this episode, the cue cards was indeed a great scene to help The Doctor when talking to people. Also, Clara still has great comedic timing when it comes to running some of her lines against the Time Lord. Also, the TARDIS hand-break? Yep! Anyway, we do get such a great mystery to solve, the supporting cast do get their own chance to shine, but it is a bit much when a couple of one-note characters really do just dissolve (not a ghost joke, though one of them doe’s become a ghost and another unfortunately doesn’t get much time to really breathe). Also, we have a mysterious pod which is deadlocked and cannot be opened. I already have a theory behind it, but will put that right at the end if you want to see it. So to discover what happened, The Doctor with O’Donnell and Bennet (Morven Christie who plays O’Donnell is a delight, and I can’t explain why, she is just great. Also, Arsher Ali does a good job as Bennet) head to the TARDIS to travel back in time to solve the ghost mystery and stop more from dying, while Clara is stuck at the flooding base with the deaf Cass (a good move I think, it’s nice to see a deaf actress actually given a role on Doctor Who. Top marks for the casting and writing in that area) and her interpreter Lunn. While they question what The Doctor will do, we discover a new ghost outside…OH NO!

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The start of another two-parter, and immediately we have more questions than answers at this point. This pod is going to provide a lot of theories, but I am sure my one will be correct. Also, well done to the supporting cast this week, I really did like some of the characters that came up. Unfortunately, Colin McFarlane doesn’t get much to do as a human, and as a ghost his presence never changes and Steven Robertson just couldn’t convince me to like him alive or dead as Pritchard. Paul Kaye works the creep look as a ghost superbly, but can he do when we actually see his physical self next week? Peter Capaldi once again sails through superbly as The Doctor; he keeps up a great level of humour and dramatic tension in the 45 minutes on screen. Jenna Coleman still gets some great lines and I am sure will see her become a more involved presence in ‘Before The Flood’ as she keeps the future base under control. Still a good episode, but character development was a mix bag and the story looks set to really evolve in part two as we do have a few too many gaps. Next Saturday, please hurry, I want to see what comes next!

Final Rating: 8/10

Written by Jonjo Cosgrove

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P.S. The Doctor is a ghost, but I bet he is in the pod!

Doctor Who – The Witch’s Familiar. “Who’s going to tell me that Clara Oswald is really dead?”

So, we got Davros back to bring chaos to the life of The Doctor. We have Missy back to bring chaos to The Doctor. Two of the biggest enemies ever to cross the path of the heroic Time Lord and a planet full of Daleks is not a great situation to be in. On the last episode of Doctor Who, we saw Missy (who was on The Doctor’s side, kind of) and Clara EXTERMINATED by the Daleks as The Doctor was at the mercy of Davros. We have already discovered Davros is dying, and wants The Doctor to see him before he dies. We get a great game of who is tricking who (no pun intended) leading up to the finale, but I will save that for you to see yourself.

This episode changes the grand epic scale for a more grouped in and intimate romp for the second part of the series nine opener. The Doctor and Davros spend a lot of time talking to each other, learning more about each other. The scenes are intense, downright gripping in the interactions from two life-long enemies. The Doctor also gets to go for a ride in Davros’ chair, and I find it rather funny when he is eventually ejected from it and then told by Davros “You should feel privileged…the only other chair on Skaro” as he awakens back in the room which is keeping Davros alive. We may not be getting the grand adventure as we did in episode one, but to see Clara and Missy working together (even if Missy tries to get her killed by friend and foe alike) and see more from Colony Sarff as the dastardly helper to the grand scheme on Skaro. Seeing as this is only episode 2, we know The Doctor shall not die today, even though we had his confession last week. A new layer to the Daleks is revealed in the sewers and we get to see what happens when they “die”.

Peter Capaldi and Julian Bleach turn in possibly the best performances of their career so far in the sci-fi show. We kinda know where Davros is going in this episode, but Bleach gives such an endearing performance of a man who just wants to be accepted for who he is. The real eyes of Davros opening was something rather extraordinary. Peter Capaldi gives honest regret to his decision in episode one to abandon the young Davros on that battlefield, but be sure that wasn’t the only time you will see the child. Michelle Gomez and Jenna Coleman work well as a double act, fighting over a stick and stealing a Dalek casing is part of the fun they get in to. Jenna really gets to show her emotions in this episode, even when it comes to fighting impossible odds to avoid death. The explanation for their survival at the beginning of the episode was a bit convoluted, but I am glad we finally got an answer to how Missy/The Master survived death the last couple of times. The ambiguous conclusions for two characters will leave no doubt to the return at some point in the future. Who knew that Davros and The Master/Missy had never met before? I always thought they were actually working together till that point. Also I like the fact that we had Daleks from all different eras making an appearance, great way to bring the 52 years of Who together. I wonder how many people got upset with Missy saying Bitch on Doctor Who? Well, I hear a lot worse at much earlier times. Next week, we have ghosts! We go from Steven Moffat making his best scripts since ‘The Time Of Angels’/’Flesh And Stone’ to Toby Whitehouse with ‘Under The Lake’ and ghosts!

Truly a great episode, though I think it should have taken a few more risks. Top writing from The Moff, superb acting from Mr Capaldi and the greatest Doctor Who two-parter for five years!

Final Rating: 9.5/10

Written by Jonjo Cosgrove

Doctor Who Series Nine Trailer!

Doctor Who is coming back! With teases of old villains The Daleks (yes, them again! Are you surprised?), The Zygons and Missy (Michelle Gomez) returning and some new and wonderfully creepy creations on the way, The Doctor (Peter Capaldi) and Clara (Jenna Coleman). This series looks like it will once again be a grand spectacle, and with some top writers filling the twelve exciting episodes in store, who knows what will come!

So, who is the girl (Maisie Williams) playing? How did Missy survive? and just who is that creepy looking guy? All that and more shall be explored soon! For now, enjoy this great trailer!

Also…series nine is due to begin on Saturday 19th September, bit late? Or is the 2015 Christmas Special closely linked to this series?

Written by Jonjo Cosgrove

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In The Flesh is gone, this needs to stop! Five ways to fix the BBC and support BBC THREE!

BBC Director-General Tony Hall announced in 2014 that BBC THREE was to be axed as part of a £100 million pound cost-cutting measure. Many people have already spoke out about the axe, I myself am upset that a channel that has provided much quality programming is being reduced and relegated to an online-only format. The news yesterday (Friday 16th January 2015) of the axing of In The Flesh has just assured me that big changes need to happen. I thought I could maybe adapt with the idea of the programming going to BBC TWO or BBC ONE (Russell Howard’s Good News, Gavin & Stacey), but now I think this change is destroying far too much of why people enjoyed the channel in the first place. Here are my five points as to why BBC Three can’t be taken away and also what needs to change in the British Broadcasting Corporation.

  1. It may have been youth orientated, but that was never the only audience.

Yes, BBC THREE was originally seen as a channel aimed at the younger demographic, but that doesn’t mean they are the only ones affected. BBC Three brought us programming which challenged what we were used to. Sitcoms such as Two Pints Of Lager And A Packet Of Crisp would never have existed if it wasn’t for the channel. Comedy for the channel has indeed been strong. Big examples come from the school-based antics of Bad Education, the random sketches of Little Britain, the rather quirky How Not To Live Your Life and many more which appealed to many and grew. The biggest examples can be award winners Gavin and Stacey (winner of many TV awards) and Russell Howard’s Good News (voted the best-ever BBC THREE show on Digital Spy). These shows have been integral and some have grown to be of matching or higher quality than your standard terrestrial channels.

  1. You win a BAFTA; you’re going to be cancelled!

BBC THREE has seen itself surpass its more established brothers and take some top prizes in TV. Most notably would be the BAFTAs in which the programming of the channel has beaten shows from the major five. April 2012 saw the axing of critically-acclaimed show The Fades. The show was highly-praised and put a great positive note on BBC THREE and its contents. A month later, the show won the Best Drama BAFTA and many went away confused as to why this happened to a cancelled show. The answer? It should never have been cancelled. 2014 saw a similar thing happen when top show In The Flesh won the BAFTA for best TV Mini-Series. Yet, even with top award wins and great praise, the show has recently been cancelled. Why do you do this BBC? These shows are proof you can make something great and you keep ruining it! Please reward what works for you, not punish us with inferior shows.

  1. BBC THREE made some great documentaries. But do we really need cheap reality shows?

One thing BBC THREE could do was make some intriguing programming. One big example is the shows that have focused on disabilities, family life and other subjects that many channels would steer clear from. The documentaries hosted by Stacey Dooley have been highlighted as showing content and areas which the more established channels would never do. So the educational factor is strong for the channel. We wouldn’t see half of the realities of these areas if not for this channel. Also, Doctor Who Confidential had a charm until it was taken away (by Zai Bennett). Then we have the programmes which are just bad. We seem to lose quality dramas and instead we get shows were parents follow their children on holiday, shows where women get makeovers, wedding programmes where a man plans the wedding (Made to look like the man won’t know what he is doing). This comes down to Zai Bennett, the guy who cancelled many of BBC THREE’s top programming and kept the cringe-worthy shows. He should not be allowed on any TV channel that holds programming of a high-calibre.

  1. Torchwood and Gavin & Stacey took over the main channel, and rightfully so.

Back in 2006, Torchwood begun and gave BBC THREE at the time it’s highest ever ratings. The programme was seen as having a bigger plan and slowly progressed up to BBC TWO for series 2 then up to BBC ONE for the critically-acclaimed series 3/’Children of Earth’ and the STARZ network partnership ‘Miracle Day’. Gavin and Stacey meanwhile made its way to BBC ONE by its third series and hit viewing figures of ten million by the time it hit the finale. This also launched the careers of the creators James Corden and Ruth Jones. These shows would not have entered our lives if not for this channel. They started small and eventually took the UK (and the world) by storm. Apart from Mrs Browns Boys, Gavin and Stacey has been the most successful BBC sitcom of the 21st century. As for Torchwood, it developed from a spin-off to become one of the most hailed adult Sci-fi shows of all time.

  1. If BBC THREE has to close, you better use that money you’re saving to bring back the shows we miss!

Well, even after 260,000+ have signed the petition to stop the BBC THREE closure, it still looks like bad news for the channel. But, I think to make it up to the people who will be upset by the closure; there is a list of cancelled shows (mostly cancelled by the taker of fun, Mr Zai Bennett) which should return for BBC TWO or BBC ONE. The Fall and In The Flesh are the two big shows which need a return. How Not To Live Your Life I think still has a lot of life in it too. Nighty Night was a risky comedy where dark humour paid off and we will not forget the gripping Being Human which made stars of the cast. But still, one of the best sitcoms of the 21st century would be Ideal as Johnny Vegas probably played one of his best characters in the Graham Duff comedy.

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PLEASE BBC! SAVE YOUR QUALITY PROGRAMMING!

Written by Jonjo Cosgrove

Doctor Who Series Eight REVIEW!

So series eight of Doctor Who finished last Saturday and it was a great achievement on many levels. Not only did we get through our first series since the 50th Anniversary, we also have had our first series with Twelfth Doctor Peter Capaldi in the lead role. Doctor Who is a show about change; we got a few new writers into the mix and a new focus as our young energetic Doctor became a more mature and darker figure. So, how did Series Eight go? Well, it is time to review the series as I give my look at the series from the least to the most popular. (Be warned, this review of the series will be after I have re-watched the series and then reflected for some time over the series).

  1. In The Forest Of The Night by Frank Cottrell Boyce

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So, this episode really just could not work. Frank Cottrell Boyce, the man behind many top novels and the writer of the 2012 Olympics opening ceremony, was given the chance to create a Doctor Who episode. What started as a great premise with a forest that covered the whole world, is left flat by lacking any menace and giving very little point to having the episode. The character development of Clara and Danny is fun and the sets look brilliant, but unfortunately that isn’t enough to make this episode good. A misfire and a lesson for Doctor Who series nine.

  1. Time Heist by Stephen Thompson and Steven Moffat

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An episode which had brilliant supporting characters, but unfortunately the story is not anywhere near as strong. A heist is to be pulled by The Doctor and his gang at the Bank of Karabraxos, the story is a bit of a mishap at times and they just seem to be wandering around till the end. ‘The Teller’, the alien who can detect guilt is one of the best in Series Eight but the writing is a bit off in places and the sets do seem to almost repeat a bit too much in corridor and other scenes. Smart characters, just wish it went through the whole episode. Stephen Thompson needs to get a good balance like he did in ‘Journey To The Centre Of The TARDIS’.

  1. Kill The Moon by Peter Harness

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Originally I had a higher appreciation of this episode; once I saw it again I did see quite a few flaws. First was that the supporting cast are whittled down within minutes and we have the moon which is now a giant egg, which really doesn’t make much sense when you think about it. Hermione Norris does a top job though as guest star in the episode and Ellis George continuing her part as Courtney Woods is fun and brings a younger perspective to Doctor Who with this teenage companion. A mission to save the moon from destruction becomes a story about saving a life and also brings one of the biggest twists to the relationship of The Doctor and Clara.

  1. Deep Breath by Steven Moffat

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Imagine Doctor Who came back with a dinosaur, a host of familiar faces and a return of a familiar monster (clockwork droid). Well, it looked promising in promotion and the post-regeneration Peter Capaldi instantly shines as an erratic and frightened man who is discovering his new self and gain his bearings in his new body. The extended run time of 76 minutes is a great way to show the new Doctor to the fullest, though the episode may have been a bit overstretched. A great starter for the series and a building block of what was to come.

  1. The Caretaker by Gareth Roberts and Steven Moffat

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Coal Hill School becomes the setting for this episode. The Doctor goes undercover to help save the planet from the fearsome robot Skovox Blitzer as it terrorises innocent people. Well, forget Skovox as he isn’t really that important. What we do get is a great bit of human interaction from Miss Oswald and Mr Pink as Danny finally learns about The Doctor, the couple continue to get close and we get introduced to Courtney Woods as she finds herself intrigued by the new caretaker. A good episode and a great lot of story fleshed out with the human cast. Don’t worry too much about Skovox as he only has a few moments where he really comes to scare.

  1. Mummy On The Orient Express by Jamie Mathieson

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Probably the best new writer of Series Eight, Jamie Mathieson brings a mummy onto a space train and it works well. The resolution may seem a bit rushed, but the story is nicely explored and to see Frank Skinner act so well is a real pleasure. The idea of “one last trip” with Clara inspires The Doctor for them to go to The Orient Express in space. The Doctor is shown to be really interested over an enemy that only appears to those who will die, and it works. Also the cameo from Foxes as she performs ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’ by Queen is a delight. The writing will hook you straight away.

  1. Robot Of Sherwood by Mark Gatiss

Robot of sherwood pic

Mark Gatiss normally does do a good job of making something seem rather believable, even if it is total nonsense. That was achieved when he looked to make the legendary outlaw Robin Hood a real person who was made into legend over time. The story isn’t exactly gripping, but it is surely a lot of fun. The fight between Robin and The Doctor early in the episode is laugh-filled throughout and the showing off with the archery is rather cool. But, the idea that something fictional could have been real shows that Doctor Who can blur the lines between fairy tale and real life.

  1. Death In Heaven by Steven Moffat

Death in heaven pic

The Master (or Mistress), Cybermen, Dan The Soldier Man stuck in the Nethersphere and Clara stuck in a room with a very unwanted guest. This finale started with a lot happening to the TARDIS gang and the world. The Doctor’s old gang U.N.I.T. come to the rescue of the Time Lord and help him with saving the world from a Cyberman invasion of the dead. The writing is on good form and Samuel Anderson earns my respect as the brilliant Danny Pink as he saves the day as the Cyberman who saves the world because of love (well, he died to save the world. His love for Clara was just too good and definitely one of the best relationships in Doctor Who history). Though the ending may seem a bit rushed and The Mistress shunted rather abruptly, you can’t deny old and new Who fans enjoyed the contents of this jam-packed episode.

  1. Into The Dalek by Phil Ford and Steven Moffat

Capaldi and Dalek

The Daleks are given a new life in this episode. Phil Ford brings the menacing creatures into series eight with the help of showrunner Steven Moffat as The Doctor and Clara go into a Dalek and learn what makes them so evil. When The Doctor discovers ‘Rusty’, said to be a “Good Dalek”, he becomes intrigued and wants to know why it goes against its nature of hatred and killing. Being shrunk to miniature size, the gang go in the Dalek to learn why Rusty is not a killing machine like his fellow Daleks and what this could mean for the life long war between The Doctor and the crazed creatures from Skaro. A very promising premise and delivers in making The Daleks interesting and breathes new life into the classic monsters.

  1. Dark Water by Steven Moffat

Dark Water

Okay, the surprise was not a big surprise. We all knew Cybermen we’re coming back, but was we ready for how good this episode was going to be? Nope. The Doctor is let down by his best friend Clara as she tries to alter time to get back her recently-deceased love Danny. The Doctor, instead of abandoning Clara as she tried to betray him, he decides to help her get Danny and “go to hell” to find Danny and bring him back. Steven Moffat sets up the first two-parter since Series six to bring a very intense and rather gripping 45 minutes of Sci-Fi and Drama as The Doctor finds that he is about to come face to face with both Cybermen and his former friend Missy (who turns out to be The Master, now becoming a Time Lady). Probably one of the best cliffhanger’s in memory, Steven Moffat gives you many reasons to see what happens in the finale, including the exclusion of a ‘Next Time’ trailer…damn you Moffat, you can tease us!

  1. Flatline by Jamie Mathieson

doctorwhoflatline

I did mention earlier that Jamie Mathieson was probably the best new writer of the series, and this is the episode that really puts good to that claim. A story in which a force is making items become flat and killing people during the process, the ‘Boneless’ terrorize The Doctor and Clara and keep them both separate for a majority of the episode. The force makes the TARDIS shrink with The Doctor trapped inside and results in some hilarious moments with The Doctor literally being carried around in Clara’s handbag. Also this is one of the episodes where we see Clara act like The Doctor, armed with his sonic screwdriver and psychic paper, Clara begins to change her personality and acts in a way she believes will impress The Doctor. Ultimately, even though the day is saved, the actions from Miss Oswald do scare The Doctor but intrigues a certain Missy.

  1. Listen by Steven Moffat

Doctor Who Listen

So, what makes this the best episode of series eight? Because it is probably the one which many people could relate to. Many have had that fear of something living under the bed, but is there something really under there? Steven Moffat continues his best work by playing on everyday fears to create a unique and gripping story. This episode really defines Peter Capaldi as The Doctor and gives us our first chance to get to see new cast member Samuel Anderson in a full appearance and uses him greatly as both his teacher character Danny Pink and as time traveller and Danny’s descendent Orson Pink. We also get to find out a bit about The Doctor’s obsession with what is under the bed and is determined to find out what the hidden force really is, is it actually a force? Is it real? Also the writing is great, a few well-timed laughs fill the running time and the way the mystery plays out will make you ponder what is really happening and that you don’t know what is to come next. From an orphanage in the 1990’s to literally the end of the world, this story goes really far and the idea that trying to find something you can’t see and possibly doesn’t even exist is just as terrifying as any scary alien, maybe even more so.

So, do you feel the same? What was your favourite of series eight?

Written by Jonjo Cosgrove

P.S. Let’s see the first clip of the 2014 Christmas Special which will guest star the awesome Nick Frost!