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Doctor Who – The Doctor Falls. “You May Be A Doctor. But I Am The Doctor. The Original, You Might Say.”

I will tell you now, there is a fair few spoilers!

Doctor Who concluded its tenth series of the revival with one of its most heartfelt, powerful episode’s that Moffat has ever delivered. We had Bill as a Cyberman, a spaceship where the flow of time was all messed up and TWO Masters! How do you get out of this one? Well, with a 90% success rate.

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We begin the episode with Missy and The Master teaming up for a great and slightly creepy partnership (The Master flirting with himself/herself and pushing sexual chemistry with themselves is disturbing) to defeat The Doctor. The Doctor manages to get the upper hand early on, encouraging his rival (rivals?) to lend a hand to survive.

For the first time in quite a while, the Cybermen do feel like a real threat. Eventually, they turn on their controller and look to destroy/convert EVERYONE! Seeing the different generations of Cybermen on screen was a visual treat and seeing them blow up was action-packed and a bit funny (loads of them go flying through the air, you will laugh!).

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Elsewhere, what has become of poor Bill? Well, she is still a Cyberman! It was upsetting to see Pearl Mackie deliver them lines of sadness and anger as her character struggles with the idea of no longer being human.

Having The Master and Missy certainly was great, and to see the two conflicting was just a treat. While Michelle Gomez brings Missy down from her crazy ways, John Simm continues his ever so twisted plan to defeat his rival (and luckily not dancing around like a lunatic. But I do enjoy his nod to Delgado and Ainley).

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‘The Doctor Falls’ is not all about deception, evil and sadness (though that is a majority of it). Matt Lucas gets to once more make Nardole a very comedic character and his interactions with a slightly flirtatious Samantha Spiro was worth watching alone. If this is the last we see of Nardole, at least he had a happy ending…living on a floor of a giant spaceship that looked like the countryside.

Speaking of endings, Bill gets a nice ending which brings her face to face with someone from the past and the emotions are already high. Pearl Mackie has been a magnificent part of the cast and it is a shame to see her bow out here. But, Capaldi manages to steal the show back in that final scene!

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Remember that tease at the beginning of ‘World Enough And Time’? Well, Capaldi literally punches his way out of regenerating, setting up what may be a very explosive chain of events which could lead to a highly traumatic change at Christmas. Then we have that familiar face come to The Doctor, but what does this mean for the Time Lord?

I thought this episode was great, and to see Steven Moffat throw so much into his penultimate Doctor Who script was mostly well executed. It was a shame to see Nardole left behind, but I did enjoy how Pearl Mackie was present on screen throughout the episode while still being a Cyberman. To see John Simm take on a disguise as The Master and seeing his look was like being in the classic Who era, and to have Gomez take him on was truly spectacular. Moffat wants his time on the show to go out with a bang, and his fuse which has been burning away since April, is now fit to blow.

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While we now have that wait until Christmas for the next lot of Doctor Who, it is clear that the special in December will be one you cannot miss!

Probably the best series finale of Doctor Who since 2008!

Final rating: 9.5/10

Written by Jonjo Cosgrove

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P.S. How great does David Bradley look as the First Doctor? To quote Christopher Eccleston, “FANTASTIC!”

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Doctor Who: The Pilot “You Run Like A Penguin With Its Arse On Fire”

It has been a long wait, but we finally have the show back…and it looks like The Doctor has spent a good few years on earth as a lecturer. Doctor Who wastes no time establishing new companion Bill to the cast. Straight away, Pearl Mackie makes Bill both fun and intriguing (and as my title shows, can deliver some great lines!). We haven’t got someone who has waited years for The Doctor or scattered across time and space, this is just a normal person looking for adventure. We also get to see a bit more of The Doctor and Nardole’s relationship which shows the duo have stayed together and helped each other for at least 50 years (according to the staff Bill speaks to). But with all the characters we meet, including Bill’s new friend Heather, we need to find out what is in this vault under the university? Maybe it is holding The Master? More on that later (not later in this article, I mean later in the series!).

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Bill is intrigued by The Doctor, though not a student at the University, The Doctor gives Bill private tutorage as he sees something about her. While The Doctor and Nardole continue to monitor a vault under the University which I am sure we will learn more about throughout the series, Bill becomes friends with a girl called Heather who has a star shape in her eye. There is a strange puddle near the University, and Heather seems to disappear near this puddle when Bill comes to her. The Doctor finds this puddle interesting, the result of his research involves them taking a journey through time and space including a meeting with The Daleks. If you saw the clip last year which introduced Bill, you will see this slightly tweaked for this opening episode.

This episode does hit some great notes, but it does suffer a bit from middle-act syndrome. The first 15 minutes is good as we get a crash course in Bill Potts and her world. Then the last 15 minutes are exciting as we really get an adventure which we have never really seen before, with the twist being so simple yet very effective and saves the second act for me for that call back. The Doctor is reluctant to have a new companion, he wants nothing but to stay where he is. Bill isn’t stupid, even calling The Doctor on one his oldest tricks before he can perform it on her. The conclusion to this episode is well executed, and will make you scared of water…again (remember in ‘The Waters Of Mars’?).

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Steven Moffat has written a good series opener, possibly his second or third best series opener. While there aren’t many surprises, there are a few nice moments. The action may not be too grand, but it does give that soft reboot which the show should see have an impact in the coming weeks. Bill’s introduction to the TARDIS was really well done, Nardole’s sense of humour is indeed a bit feistier than we remember (but I enjoy it) and the pictures of River Song and granddaughter Susan are nice touches. These are two of the most important people in The Doctor’s life and they seem to guide him in his decision to travel again. The good thing about episode one, is that there is a long way to go. Matt Lucas continues to impress me as Nardole, the character is growing on me with each appearance and I am glad he is a companion (is he an android now?). Peter Capaldi’s Doctor is still going strong, he clearly wants a more peaceful life, but we all know that won’t happen. But my big thumbs up go to Pearl Mackie who makes her major TV debut as Bill. Pearl is known mostly for stage work, but TV work will clearly stand out a lot more now. Bill is definitely a fun and deep character, someone who will hopefully be a perfect foil to Nardole and The Doctor over the next few months.

A nice start and a lot of potential for series 10 to be great. Plus, stay after the end credits to see a look at what is to come…and who!

Final rating: 8/10

Written by Jonjo Cosgrove

Doctor Who continues next week with ‘Smile’!

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Doctor Who Series Nine Review

Another series has come to an end, but what a great series it was. Seeing a more settled Peter Capaldi lead this series, he gets to show a superbly fun streak while keeping the deeply moving moments when needs to. From busting out guitar solos to heart-wrenching speeches, it was a fantastic series which built upon the 2014 run and came out high. Jenna Coleman may now have left, but we got some great episodes featuring Clara to show how much we shall all miss her. Plus, who can forget appearances from Reece Shearsmith, Maisie Williams, and even Ingrid Oliver coming back as Osgood.

  1. The Zygon Inversion by Peter Harness and Steven Moffat

Not by any means a bad episode (compared to series 8 which had a few weak episodes), but arguably I felt this conclusion to the Zygon two-parter lacked much substance to me. I felt at this point Clara was very much just being sidelined to make Osgood appear to be a replacement. The threat from the rogue Zygons never feels as grand as it should, there isn’t that worldwide ramification which is teased in the first part and to see Kate Stewart minimalised is a crime. But, the speech from Peter Capaldi does really stand out as one of the best acting movements from the Scottish actor.

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  1. Under The Lake by Toby Whithouse

Following on from one of the most thrilling two-parters ever, Toby Whithouse had to give a story which could keep the same attention as Steven Moffat had done for the previous two weeks. Though it seemed some of the cast was wasted to short parts, the characters of Cass and Lunn really make a good mark as the double act. But Morven Christie is superb as O’Donnell, it is just a shame that her great presence is then minimalised in part two. The tension builds nicely and makes for a great conclusion, which I will discuss later…

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  1. The Woman Who Lived by Catherine Tregenna

When we see Ashildr after so many years, we find that she is almost nothing like the Viking girl we met in ‘The Girl Who Died’. Maisie Williams proves to be the best guest star of series 9 with her appearances in the show. This one sees her very much become traitor as she looks to trick The Doctor to get away from earth and explore the world, but the alien Leandro looks set to make his own plans (I have to admit, he was a weak villain in an otherwise strong story). Also, it was nice having a companion-lite story and who would have thought Rufus Hound was cast so well? It may not be a classic, but Catherine Tregenna should come back!

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  1. Sleep No More by Mark Gatiss

This episode took me by surprise, making a twist to the found-footage genre and giving it a Doctor Who episode was definitely out of the ordinary. On first viewing, I was greatly impressed. But, the second time really was a killer. I still get a great chill from that last scene, as it really does infuse a horror element to the show with an effortless performance from Reece Shearsmith. The creatures themselves were a great invention, though I would think this story could be expanded upon and a follow-up could be better.

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  1. Hell Bent by Steven Moffat

The finale came and wow! First off, The Doctor is back on Gallifrey and is finally free from billions of years stuck in his confession dial. Though the Time Lords ask for his help, he merely despises for their actions and eventually dethrones Rassilon. The humour is great and to see many story strands conclude here is all well and good. But, as much as I loved Jenna Coleman, bringing Clara back really seemed to destroy the outstanding exit scene she was given just two weeks prior. On the plus side, we do get to see a second TARDIS and Ashildr returns.

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  1. The Zygon Invasion by Peter Harness

The Zygons exploded back onto the screen this year, and they brought Osgood back with them too. With the fear of a fracture in the treaty between human and Zygon, The Doctor is called upon by UNIT to help stop everything going to hell. The choice to have a mostly female led cast was genius and highlighted the best in Doctor Who with Osgood, Kate and Clara. The cliffhanger may not be the most stunning in its history, but the Clara reveal was well played and really made the stakes high.

INVASION OF THE ZYGONS (By Peter Harness)

  1. Before The Flood by Toby Whithouse

A two-parter unlike any other, this second part saw The Doctor travel over 100 years to the past to see what happened to cause these ghosts to appear. As well as meeting the mole-like Prentis, we also get to see The Fisher King, one of the most haunting and creepy monster’s to appear in the show. The combination of three separate actors bringing The Fisher King to life was indeed impressive and how long will you be questioning if Beethoven really made his own music?

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  1. The Witch’s Familiar by Steven Moffat

Fighting the Daleks, stealing chairs and drinking a cup of tea from an unknown source was just the starters of this episode. Seeing two hero/villain double acts fill the majority of the episode was impressive. While Clara and Missy teamed up to save The Doctor, The Doctor and Davros were getting chatty and some serious and fun moments evolved from that. The joke about the only other chair on Skaro will be a long lasting one. Also, kudos to the special effects team, Skaro looked really cool.

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  1. The Girl Who Died by Jamie Mathieson and Steven Moffat

Jamie Mathieson wrote the superb ‘Flatline’ last year, and it was not an easy task to follow on from that. But, he did so and more. A Viking village is attacked by alien race The Mire and young Viking Ashildr declares war against the warrior race. The Doctor and Clara then have just 24 hours to train the village to become warriors like those they have lost. Putting in many great jokes, some stunning action sequences and seeing The Doctor talk baby again. A winning episode which finally tells what helped the Time Lord get the familiar looking face he currently holds.

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  1. Heaven Sent by Steven Moffat

Imagine being stuck in a loop for billions of years, being chased by a creature that can’t die and won’t stop. Imagine being all alone with no companions and no exit. The Doctor literally punches his way out of this nightmare trap over the years and slowly wears a wall away until he is free. Seeing a vulnerable and frightened Doctor, it was a great in-depth look into the mind of our hero and a story which could never be replicated. A grieving Time Lord after losing his friend is a dangerous thing.

HEAVEN SENT (By Steven Moffat)

  1. Face The Raven by Sarah Dollard

We knew it was coming, but who would have thought the death of Clara Oswald would have been so moving? Jenna Coleman provides one of her greatest performances as she does her best to save friend Rigsy and tries to be like The Doctor. Learning the hard way she can’t be like the Time Lord, the ultimate price is paid for trying to be more than human. The Doctor physically and mentally is shaken by the series of events, and even looks to destroy former ally Ashildr after she sets up the trap which puts all these events into motion. Seeing Clara fall to the ground will haunt Doctor Who fans for many years to come…

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  1. The Magician’s Apprentice by Steven Moffat

To start off on such a massive high is a huge gamble, but started what was to be a fantastic series can’t be denied. With The Doctor missing, Missy and Clara working together and the best axe battle of all time, there was a lot to enjoy. The biggest surprise comes in the opening minutes when The Doctor meets a young Davros on a battlefield and leaves him to die. He then goes to hide, knowing that Davros survives the events and is looking to get him. With the pace being hectic, yet grounded, we have such a strong opener which floods the screen with references and characters. All perfectly placed, all pieces move towards what becomes the biggest ever cliffhanger in the history of the show!

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Written by Jonjo Cosgrove

 

Doctor Who – Heaven Sent. “Get Up Off Your Arse…And Win!”

Having an episode which focuses almost solely on your title character, with only a couple very minor supporting cast members and an isolated location may not sound like it would work. But, this perhaps has set up one of the biggest finales for a long time. The scale throughout the series has been rather grand and the opening two-parter showed the return to Skaro being a major development to the show…but this time it is Gallifrey! Before Gallifrey though, The Doctor has got to figure his way out of this trap set up from the week before. Finding himself in a place which works like a living labyrinth, The Doctor has to figure out who has placed him here and how we can get out. Being followed by a lifeform draped in a white cloth, The Doctor finds that it is persistently following him and will not stop until it captures him. The Doctor feels he is in a place where time is not a factor, though he knows how many years it has been since he was taken from modern day earth. The Veil seems to be unstoppable, and will only stop when The Doctor commands a truth to the terrifying creature.

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There is a massive twist in this story; a huge number of skulls are discovered by The Doctor. It turns out, they all belong to him! As the place shifts and *restarts*, so does the contents of the rooms (except the Azbantium wall which is slowly warn down over billions of years from punching and the skulls of The Doctor after he keeps restarting his self in the castle-like labyrinth). This is what keeps reviving The Doctor to when he first arrived, and the experience is played out over and over while The Doctor continues to punch through that wall (and explains the changing of his wet clothes to a replica which are hanging by a fire). Groundhog Day the sci-fi way, and it is indeed a unique experience for Doctor Who. The Veil keeps mortally wounding The Doctor when he reaches the wall and this eventually ends as The Doctor punches his way through that way and makes it outside. Where was he exactly? Well, it was his confession dial that held him prisoner. After making his escape, as he did while trapped, he continues to talk about the Hybrid, the supposedly terrifying creature which has been teased throughout this series (Though I still want to see who the “Minister Of War” is). The Doctor sees a young boy, and tells him that he is ready to see them. Who is “them” you may say? Well, it is the frigging Time Lords and The Doctor is back on Gallifrey to seemingly face-off against his own people. Ladies and Gentleman, you won’t want to miss this! THE DOCTOR IS THE HYBRID

The single-hander (well…mostly single) was indeed a success for Doctor Who. In a show which has shown that it can adapt and change itself into many different forms (much like the title character). Peter Capaldi is on his best in this episode. It is not easy to have to throw dialogue against yourself, but the scenes in his mind of himself in the TARDIS working out his problems were indeed genius. It does give a brief sense of confusion for the viewer as to whether we are watching a non-linear story, but we are getting to see inside the brain of the 2000 year old Time Lord. He lost his best friend, and finds he is determined to get out of this trap. Massive marks to Jami Reid-Quarrell as he brought The Veil to life, just as he did with the snake-ish Colony Sarff and retains an air of creepiness and spectacle. The very brief inclusion of Jenna Coleman may seem a bit of a cheat after her death to keep her in the show, but The Doctor does continue to talk to Clara even though he knows she is dead. Her illusion in his mind telling him to “Get Up Off Your Arse…” was a reminder of what she said to him before her death, once again giving him the will to carry on and continue to be a force in the universe. The chalkboard also makes a dramatic return again, even if is all in his mind. Steven Moffat provides his top script for 2015, it is hard to compare it to the series 9 opener ‘The Magician’s Apprentice’, but there certainly is a certain sense of scale which matches both episodes (though executed in unique ways). And has Moffat finally allowed swearing into Doctor Who? I know Arse is rather tame, but it is still there and it is shown late. Finally, Rachel Talalay is indeed the best director for Doctor Who finales and has set ending up to be just as jaw-dropping as last year’s penultimate was (though I did say from week one Missy was The Master, but will discuss that another time). She keeps the episode on a grand scale throughout and keeps the whole show ticking at great speed and captures all we need within her watchful eye. So, we still have some questions. How has The Doctor managed to now get to Gallifrey? Who wanted him? Why is Ashildr there? Is The Doctor about to have war with the Time Lords? And finally…will we ever find out how The Doctor found that cup of tea on Skaro? Find out next week, as we are surely ‘HELL BENT’ on seeing the conclusion to this so far perfect story!

P.S. I think it is official that Series 9 may just well be my favourite series ever!

Final Rating: 10/10

Written by Jonjo Cosgrove

HEAVEN SENT (By Steven Moffat)
WARNING: Embargoed for publication until 00:00:01 on 24/11/2015 – Programme Name: Doctor Who – TX: 28/11/2015 – Episode: HEAVEN SENT (By Steven Moffat) (No. 11) – Picture Shows: ***EMBARGOED UNTIL 24th NOV 2015*** Doctor Who (PETER CAPALDI) – (C) BBC – Photographer: Simon Ridgway

Doctor Who – Face The Raven. “You’ll find it is a very small universe when I’m angry with you.”

After all the weeks of foreshadowing, it finally happened…but we will get to that eventually. Sarah Dollard, you really did a superb job tonight! First of all, this was probably the most well executed episode of the series (The Magician’s Apprentice, you are still superb too!) and it all comes down to the tight story which is grand and intimate in fair measure. Coming off the back of an adventure (maybe a future audio adventure?), the TARDIS phone begins to ring and it is old friend Rigsy, who is now in a happy relationship and has a baby. Unfortunately, it is not a friendly call. Rigsy has a countdown on him and it is leading to his eventual death. The Doctor looks to help Rigsy as he and Clara search London for a secret street which may hold the answer to the death sentence. Finding a street housing many different aliens, The Doctor finds himself coming face to face with Ashildr. After her heroic sacrifice and more deceptive turn in previous episodes, we see Ashildr has become protective of the aliens and is ultimately planning something which will not be good for our heroes.

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Clara, as she has done on many occasions, tries to show she is just as smart as The Doctor when she offers to take on the death counter and free Rigsy. They find a Quantum Shade is present in the form of a raven, and will kill who it is that has had the timer placed on it. But why does this countdown exist on Clara’s buddy? Rigsy has apparently killed someone in the “trap street”. The twist is? There was no death. This was all staged as part of Ashildr’s plan. She has made a deal with an unknown enemy to send them The Doctor and free Rigsy, but the deal is broken when Clara takes the death sentence instead. Surely Ashildr can remove this? Well no. The deal was for her to be able to remove it from Rigsy, but Clara unfortunately has to live (and die) with her decision. Clara has saved The Doctor many times, but this time she accepts that she has to pay for her mistake. The Doctor is very angry as this would not have happened if Ashildr had not tricked Rigsy and the TARDIS crew, but Clara reminds him to not seek revenge but to remember who he is. The Doctor seemed to lose a lot of compassion when he regenerated, but he has always cared and needs to care again. In recent weeks (and even in ‘Flatline’), The Doctor shows great concern of Clara trying to be too much like him. So, with the countdown nearly at zero, The Doctor finds out he is to be transported away somewhere and his confession (from the premiere, to be revealed on his own death) has been taken from him. With the TARDIS key taken, The Doctor has no chance to escape. Clara goes out to the street and prepares to face death. The Raven comes for her and she is then killed instantly, providing the most upsetting Doctor Who moment for years! Clara Oswald meets an end after not only restraining her best friend, but also giving him a new focus. The threat to Ashildr proves he may never see her again, but angry Doctor is definitely back and this next journey he is about to face may just be too much for him. He shows he can control his own emotions and shows the greatest of restraints (and I am sure he would destroy Ashildr and all she cares for if he sees her again).

This episode proves what makes Doctor Who so popular. My first heap of praise is once again to Sarah Dollard; her first Doctor Who episode is indeed a classic in the making. ‘Face The Raven’ was tasked with not only providing her writing debut on the show, but to give a fitting end to one of the most popular companions in the history of the show. Joivan Wade is a welcome return as Rigsy; hopefully we may see a further appearance from him in the future is possible. Maisie Williams really hits her peak as Ashildr in this episode, her character has evolved so much and this really shows her still as an easily manipulated character that will do what she can to protect herself and those she finds she cares for. Peter Capaldi really lets himself go and the last few moments really show the top acting chops which cements him as one of my favourite Doctor’s (maybe even Number 1!). Finally, top marks tonight go to Jenna Coleman. Jenna has been seen as a great counterpart for both Matt Smith and Peter Capaldi; tonight we saw just how much we have loved her for the last three years. It is with great sadness that Jenna Coleman leaves tonight, and it will take a great actress or actor to take that place in the humongous void which has now been created! Clara Oswald may have gone, but The Doctor is about to embark on a huge mission of his own in ‘Heaven Sent’. The best episode of Series 9 by far, and the emotional rollercoaster will have many fans tearing up for a long time.

Final Rating: 10/10

Written by Jonjo Cosgrove

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Doctor Who – Sleep No More. “Sleep is vital. Sleep is wonderful. Even I sleep.”

The following article will contain spoilers.

A found-footage episode is finally provided by Doctor Who, and it works rather well. Obviously, it is given that twist of sci-fi and when you find out the truth behind the capturing of the footage, it really doe’s add a bit of creepiness to it when you think of surveillance today. When a ship is found to be practically deserted, The Doctor and Clara find themselves in the middle of a rescue mission. The crew in the mission is made up of leader Nagata (I just want to say I really liked Elaine Tan in this episode, she was a strong and confident character who you cheer for all the way), the suspicious Chopra (Neet Mohan, another fine cast member but I think could have done more), Deep-Ando (who was in deep doo-doo) and cloned grunt 474 (portrayed by Bethany Black, apparently the first transsexual actress ever on the show) as they head up the mission. As they find The Doctor and Clara, they too begin to explore and learn about what is happening in the 38th century on the Le Verrier space station (named after the French mathematician). The Morpheus pods fill one room of the station, supposedly able to stop the need for sleep. Clara gets dragged into one of them, and is then freed by The Doctor. But has this left a mark on her? We also find in another pod the man known as Rassmussen; the inventor of the Morpheus pods. Then, the story really kicks off.

From the beginning, the story is narrated to us in the found-footage style and is narrated by Rassmussen throughout. Suspicions arise that he is narrating this story after experiencing its climax, and yet events come up which would show this to be not possible. The creatures or “sandmen” are created through the dust that is made in your eyes from the sleep. As the Morpheus machines can make a month of sleep happen in five minutes, all the dust collects to create something horrific and sentient. All the talk of electronic signals in operation in the pods and creating the monsters is just the start, as we see something much deeper is happening and it isn’t just a pleasant surprise the monsters are here. One by one, the crew are picked off. After Rassmussen shows the survival rating for all the soldiers, I did begin to wonder about his true intentions, and the fall in the gravity shields also was not caused by the creatures. Hearing the song ‘Mr Sandman’ by The Chordettes is indeed now very creepy, it will be another one of them simple yet effective fear methods that will last for a long time to come. I know a few people may get lost on the whole surveillance idea, but I think it played out pretty well and answers how Rassmussen had all the footage for his film. The chilling truth being revealed in the climax speaks on many levels of horror, and the final shot is just terrifying.

My praise for this episode is high, the highlight performance was Reece Shearsmith, he just brings a great edge and to see he was not just a villain, but the central force behind all of the happenings of the episode was indeed a great turn. Seeing his face crumble into sand while he laughs was chilling and exceptional. I am glad Elaine Tan’s Nagata survives till the end, she was a strong character and I think she deserves another episode to really expand her role. While the rest of the supporting cast was a bit lacking, you can’t help but praise Bethany Black for her part as the cloned soldier, even though I think she could have done more. Jenna Coleman was great, and the foreshadowing of her impending departure once again looms over the show, but were there any clues with the whole effect of Morpheus on her? Peter Capaldi continues his run of being a great Doctor, though not as impressive as delivering THAT speech last week, he continues to elude his own Doctorisms (yes, I just made a new word. Or have I?) for the audience and impress many. Mark Gatiss always has a good eye for the darker Doctor Who elements and each story he writes always seems more like a nightmare than a traditional alien story which is always a benefit for the show. The idea that the sandmen could return at a later time is indeed an interesting one and it would be great to see these creatures get a life outside of a space station and really prove to be a menace to the universe.

Final points, the change in opening titles were a brave choice, but keeps with the episode theme throughout so that was great to see. Also is it fair to say I may see this as possibly my favourite Mark Gatiss episode? He really does tackle a new angle of fear well and I am sure there was more in this episode which will feature into the future than we tend to believe at this time. An absolute cracker and I would give it full marks for the wonderful execution alone in its format. If not for the underuse of some cast members, you’d be looking at a perfect 10. Next week, we face The Raven and apparently a whole host of aliens…and Ashildr! And Rigsy, I can’t forget Rigsy!!

Final rating: 9.5/10

Written by Jonjo Cosgrove

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Doctor Who – The Magician’s Apprentice. “Doctor, What Have You Done?”

Series Nine gets a huge kick up the backside and brings probably one of the strongest openers ever! After the few teases in the last week showing the Doctor hanging around on Karn and Earth during the 1100’s, we are brought straight to the big battle that was teased. This so far is probably Peter Capaldi’s best performance of The Doctor since the episode ‘Listen’, my favourite of Series Eight. Before the Time War, there was another war. A war fought for so long that it was almost forgotten. The Doctor finds a child, scared and begging to be saved from “hand mines”. His only hope, The Doctor, of course. But, The Doctor runs away, and has continued running since. Peter Capaldi’s Time Lord then goes missing, nobody can find him. UNIT can’t get him on the phone, a creature made of snakes visits all the possible places The Doctor could be with a message for him. We get to see a bar filled with aliens The Doctor has faced before, The Shadow Proclamation (The Judoon were fun, hopefully we may see more of them one day) and even a visit to the Sisterhood of Karn; the guardians of the Flame and Elixir of Eternal Life (or utter boredom as said by Paul McGann’s sarcastic Doctor). Even Missy can’t find him, and she is literally stopping planes to get his attention.

Clara, concerned by the lack of communication from her friend, joins forces with a very unlikely ally to find him in Essex (I know, ESSEX!! Honestly. I mean, 1100’s Essex is still Essex though! But anyway, back to the review). Within this time, we have seen a very scared Doctor and a surprisingly worried Missy (though she is still not above killing for fun, even explaining her “death” as just dust off her shoulder). The axe battle provides a good laugh, and we wonder who is actually being serenaded to the rock ballad ‘Pretty Woman’. Eventually, The Doctor is to face the person he has been running from this whole time. An ancient foe returns; one that has been around and faced him many times for a countless number of years. Clara Oswald refuses to abandon her friend, even if she isn’t his best friend. Missy also comes for the ride, and winds up with Clara and a whole stack load of enemies that have been a force against her and The Doctor. Everything goes from bad to worse; everything The Doctor holds dear is destroyed in front of his eyes. References to a certain Tom Baker story, voted as the best Doctor Who story ever, is a big key to this episode. Also the episode features other uses from Colin Baker and more. I can only say well done to Steven Moffat for creating probably the best possible script using these characters I have ever seen come to life.

The finale gives a hint of some timey-wimey stuff to come. But, I really want to keep it as minimal on the spoilers as possible. This episode is purely brilliant. It is a shame Jemma Redgrave only got a minimal showing as Kate Stewart, though we will see more of her and UNIT later in the series. Jenna Coleman seemed a bit more background than I would have liked at times, I prefer when she really throws herself into the ring, though she does get some great lines such when a student says he will get his pre-chewed gum back later in the day. Also, Jenna really does come to life in the middle with her meeting with the evil Time Lady. Also, “hashtag planes have stopped” is trending on twitter at the time of writing this! The Witch’s Familiar has got a tough act to follow, but I am sure it shall be a belter! A top story, non-stop action throughout and more references than I have ever seen on the show before! 2015, Doctor Who is BACK!

Final rating: 9.5/10 Scratch that, 10/10. I was generally surprised by how good this was!

Written by Jonjo Cosgrove

WARNING: ONLY WATCH THE TRAILER FOR EP 2 IF YOU HAVE SEEN THE MAGICIAN’S APPRENTICE!