Tag Archives: Toby Whithouse

Doctor Who: The Lie Of The Land. “Your Version Of Good Is Not Absolute. It’s Vain, Arrogant And Sentimental”

*Some Spoilers Ahead*

Well, that was the end of the Monk’s trilogy! Thank goodness for that. After a rather good build up, the Monk’s ultimately are a let down on what was a great idea put into motion. The villains may have been a bit rubbish, we got our dynamic back on track with our lead characters. Then we have Missy, can we really trust her? No! No no no no no! Give her a chance, she will try and defeat The Doctor again!

Throughout the episode, Bill is talking to her dead Mum. Yeah, a bit weird isn’t it. But if you haven’t seen the episode yet, it does become a big point later. We are apparently dealing with an evil Doctor at the beginning, as he is part of the broadcasts which try to convince the public that The Monk’s have always existed on earth.

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As the episode goes on, we start to realise that there is a way to defeat the Monk’s, and it seems like they can’t be bothered to stop the TARDIS crew from chucking them off the planet. The aliens are good at taking over the world and bending it to their will, but the security to their headquarters is left easy enough to be attacked.

This is where we get into spoiler territory in some depth, we need to discuss that REGENERATION! Well, I always thought it was going to be a cop-out, this was then confirmed to me when we got to the end episode seven. There had to be something happen that needed either a reset or some great explanation and luckily it didn’t completely copy ‘Last Of The Time Lords’, even though there was certainly some similarities.

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The winning factor for this episode for me was Pearl Mackie, who once again shows that Bill is certainly one of the best companions to grace Doctor Who! I can’t help but think that all these teases with her mum will result in her either meeting her mum soon in the past or her somehow coming back to life (this is sci-fi, anything can happen).

While writer Toby Whithouse may not be able to bring the most favourable conclusion to the loose three-parter, we are given some great dialogue and interactions, and yes this does include Missy (I will really miss Michelle Gomez when she quits the role). How much more are we to get of The Mistress before she comes face to face with her former incarnation? We know this is coming, and to think we still have Cybermen and Ice Warriors to come, there will be plenty to enjoy before the series reaches its end.

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A fantastic performance from our central trio saves this episode from being a throwaway and still includes some great moments. The only real dip in the series so far, but you can forgive Doctor Who for this one!

Final rating: 7/10

Written by Jonjo Cosgrove

NEXT WEEK: We are brought together to greet the ‘Empress Of Mars’!

 

The Lie Od The Land

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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.

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  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: 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

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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!