Tag Archives: Series 9

Episode Four: The Best Things In Life Comes In Threes

Doctor Who is over, but it is now time to explain my three favourite episodes of 2015. Also, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice got a new trailer, but did it give away too much? Also, a few thoughts about Star Wars: The Force Awakens before I saw the movie, and what does it mean to you? Hear the latest podcast now! Remember, this Sunday I will give a full review on the podcast of Star Wars: The Force Awakens and what I thought of it all…

http://thesingingwhovian.podomatic.com/entry/2015-12-13T16_06_54-08_00

P.S. I want to give massive thanks to singer/songwriter/beatboxer and friend Dana McKeon for creating a fantastic new theme tune for the show!

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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.

FACE THE RAVEN (By Sarah Dollard)

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 Zygon Invasion. “Hi, this is Clara Oswald. I’m probably on the tube or in outer space. Leave a message.”

Don’t you hate just getting the answering machine all the time? Well, there is a lot of that here! You can’t say there is a lack of continuity in Doctor Who, revisiting one of the greatest changes in the history of the show was a bold move. Two years on from the treaty which saw humans and Zygons live among each other in peace. When a rogue faction of Zygons goes against the treaty, we see a breakdown and the world is suddenly at war. The Doctor is messaged by Osgood (wait a minute; she died at the hands of Missy! Oh, this is the Zygon copy isn’t it? Or is it?) with a message of distress, telling him they are experiencing the NIGHTMARE SCENARIO. The Doctor desperately tries to reach Clara and solve what has happened. Kate Stewart is also back (and more helpful than last time, sorry but she was very forgettable in the awesome opener of this series) and she goes to New Mexico to discover where it all started.

The Doctor goes in search of Osgood, taking his role as president of the world again with great joy (if just for the plane) and finds himself with a team of UNIT soldiers as they infiltrate a Zygon holding area. Meanwhile, people are being dragged underground and it looks like Zygons are being bred in pods! But wait; is this how they are made? Also, it is indeed intriguing when The Doctor can’t even tell if the Osgood he has with him is indeed human or alien, and the mention of hybrids comes around again. Are we going to see some great hybrid at the end of this series? Feels like this is the series arc, but where is it leading to? There is just so much going on, but at no point do we ever feel it is too much too handle. The battle for earth is hotting up, and there may be some debris after that final shot!

Ingrid Oliver is a delight as always, should she be the next companion? I reckon Osgood is a great choice if she makes it (and isn’t actually a Zygon, but could be fun). Seeing a different side to Clara is pulled off well by Jenna Coleman in yet another superb week of Doctor Who and Peter Capaldi yet again steals the show (and his moments with The Thick Of It co-star Rebecca Front are just great), his presidential salute boarding the plane gets a giggle and calling himself “Doctor Disco” is sure to see a T-Shirt or two created in its honour. Peter Harness has made ‘The Zygon Invasion’ a great script and a pleasure to see on the screen. I have no real bad points about this episode, except that Clara seems to go into Zygon mode a bit suddenly, but that is nit-picking. Let’s see next week how the Inversion goes! Superb stuff, Mr Harness makes a huge improvement on last year’s attempt and gives Clara her greatest part in series 9 so far.

Final Rating: 9.5/10

Written by Jonjo Cosgrove

WARNING: Embargoed for publication until 00:00:01 on 27/10/2015 - Programme Name: Doctor Who   - TX: 31/10/2015 - Episode: INVASION OF THE ZYGONS (By Peter Harness) (No. 7) - Picture Shows: ***EMBARGOED UNTIL 27th OCTOBER 2015*** Doctor Who (PETER CAPALDI), Osgood (INGRID OLIVER) - (C) BBC   - Photographer: Simon Ridgway

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: Before The Flood. “First proper alien, and he’s an idiot.”

Last week was ghosts who could carry weapons, a spaceship with writing on the inside and we saw that The Doctor was going to die…again! Or is he? We now have an episode which gives a split between the underwater base in 2119 and the same area before the…well you get the idea! With The Doctor, O’Donnell and Bennett landing in 1980 to where they find the same ship and see that it holds a body. The tivolian Prentis is alive and escorting the body of The Fisher King, a conqueror with a plan to take over the world. The story still was asking how does The Doctor meet his death? But, we do get a hint during the opening scene where The Doctor goes on about meeting Beethoven and discussing the bootstrap paradox (The Bootstrap Paradox or Casual Loop is a paradox of time travel that occurs when a later/future event is the cause of an earlier/past event, through some sort of time travel. The past event is then partly or entirely the cause of the future event, which is the past event’s cause.) this definitely makes more sense when the episode reaches its conclusion. Also, we do wonder why The Doctor’s ghost is acting differently to the others. The truth, well look back at that first scene of this episode.

The living characters mostly do get to shine in this episode, and some just suffer by comparison. O’Donnell, I really liked her. Why did she have to die so quickly in part two? Bennett gets a great deal more to do in this part. He really steps up to The Doctor and is willing to challenge his ways. You see a real look of agony and loss when he finds O’Donnell and she dies in front of him. Cass and Lunn really have a great dynamic; their communications with Clara are humorous and natural. Some comments I saw online saying how much they liked Cass and enjoying her communications, and the praise for actress Sophie Stone was very well earned. A deaf actress being front and centre in this show was a delight. The Fisher King is terrifying and not given a huge presence (though he towers over all the characters), we see plenty of him but not lots of him. It’s good to see the whole idea of time is fixed still having an effect on The Doctor and his actions.

To have three people play one character sounds strange, but it works rather well for The Fisher King. Peter Serafinowicz and Corey Taylor of Slipknot fame respectively voice and provide the roars for the alien while Neil Fingleton takes his title of Britain’s tallest man to good use to physically portray the creature. Paul Kaye, we wish we had more of you than just a quick introduction as a submissive moleman (who is called an idiot by Bennett) and shows the man behind the creepy looking ghost. It is a shame that Morven Christie is ghostified quite early in the episode, but Arsher Ali really gets to shine after her demise. Sophie Stone and Zaqi Ismali make great use of their time with Clara as Cass and Lunn, and you really feel happy with the screen time they get. Also, that scene when Cass is being followed by the ghost of Moran is a greatly filmed and very tense scene. Kudos to both Daniel O’Hara’s directing and the superbly polished script by Toby Whithouse for that scene and also for creating a visually stunning episode which topples its opening part and makes your jaw drop at some of the twists and turns. A few of the twists are not a surprise, but well executed. Also, the breaking of the fourth wall by Peter Capaldi at the opening of the episode was so much fun and who didn’t love that version of the theme being played on the guitar? Jenna Coleman, we have such little time and am sure that you will do some big things for us leading up to your departure. Let’s see how Clara and The Doctor do next week when it comes to Vikings! For now, a great episode and brings the series back to near perfection yet again with top acting, stunning scenes and the best storytelling 2015 has to offer!

Final Rating: 9.5/10

Written by Jonjo Cosgrove

before the flood pic

No Doctor Who in 2016?

A rumor is currently going around saying Doctor Who will not be on TV next year. Well, let’s break this down first!

We know that Series Nine of Doctor Who is due to start on Saturday 19th September 2015! From this, we will have 12 brand new episodes. Peter Capaldi returns as The Doctor with Jenna Coleman looking to become the longest-serving companion in the show’s history. This series will see the return of Missy (The Master), The Daleks (of course) and The Zygons! Also, fan favorite characters Kate Stewart, Osgood and Rigsy will also return. But, there may be a bit of a damper on the events if Doctor Who is given a year break. The word is, because Sherlock is going into production through 2016, Steven Moffat won’t be able to give time to both (I think Steven Moffat is great, but maybe it’s time to hand the reigns to Mark Gatiss or even Toby Whitehouse?). So I want to share a few points as why a year without the show is a bad idea!

  1. Interest will fade

Doe’s anyone else remember the viewing figures for Doctor Who between 2005-2008? Well they were rather good. Each year, the figure for the finale went up and up. Reaching 10.5 million in the UK alone, the fourth series finale still stands as the biggest-watched finale so far! After the 2009 specials, the fifth series then arrived where we then had the lowest watched finale so far! The whole year without a full series did take a hit on the massive upswing in ratings. Steadily, the show has slowly risen back up, but unfortunately it is still nowhere near the ratings hit it once was.

  1. The wait is too much

How many US shows “take a break” during their run? Not many. Many of our top shows run between September-May every year, or may have a more limited nature and still appear annually (Game Of Thrones 10 episode series every April). But the reason they stay popular is because you never have to wait too long to see what happens next. Another long hiatus for Doctor Who could be potentially damaging and risk losing more viewers.

  1. What doe’s the UK still have to offer?

I know this may seem a bit unfair, but there isn’t many other shows coming from the UK that make a massive effect around the world. Doctor Who has become huge worldwide, and is always well enjoyed when it is aired. Though recent show Humans was superb and Fortitude proved to be popular, there really isn’t anything like our sci-fi show which is nearly 52 years old!

  1. One-offs can work, but not always

During series 7 and 8, the show took some big gaps. First, it was filling the seventh series over one year. Then we had the 50th Anniversary Special which was fantastic, then a month later the Christmas special which was also brilliant. Then we had an eight month wait before series 8 officially aired. While the anniversary special made a good reason for the gaps in airing the program, having the gaps again with no real need for them will just cripple figures as proved time and time again.

What do you think? Do you think Series 10 will be delayed until 2017? Do you believe that the BBC is putting pressure on its flagship show? Or is this story a load of bull and we should expect The Doctor to make his 10th run next year?

Written by Jonjo Cosgrove

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