Tag Archives: Alex Kingston

Doctor Who (7.13): Love hurts actually

Seventh Doctor[Spoilers all the way down this week.]

Oh, he’s a clever so-and-so that Steven Moffat. The fans want a multi-Doctor episode to mark the 50th anniversary, so he gives us not one but several. He’s been dripfeeding us echoes of Doctors One to Ten for weeks and when we sit down to watch the series finale, with  – let’s be honest – half an eye on the November special, he gives us all Ten (blink and you miss Eight though) and in a way that makes sense.

He doesn’t, of course, tell us the Doctor’s name, because the power of it lies in its mystery. There is no name you can give him that can match his chosen name or the draw of the secret surrounding his other name.

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Doctor Who (7.5): It’s enough to make an Angel weep

I can’t tell you how glad am I to have my prediction for the Ponds proven wrong. The Angels Take Manhattan was heartbreaking as promised, but the ending was, to steal a phrase from the Pet Shop Boys, HappySad. The scenario I mooted last week was beyond sad and into bleak, Steven Moffat’s outcome was (unsurprisingly) much better.

Spoilers below the line…

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Doctor Who (6.13): Hell in high heels… and spoilers (naturally)

If you value your sanity you will stay away from Doctor Who internet forums for the next week or so. Those things will be frothing, hissing and spitting with venomous bile and fizzing adoration in (probably) equal measures.

I suspect for many people it won’t have been an entirely satisfactory ending. It works, when you’ve mulled it over, on many levels, but it works better on second viewing (especially without a six-year-old child noisily worried that there will be no more Doctor Who ever). Naturally the residents of  Hat Towers are delighted that Matt Smith will be back for Christmas.

I could sing the praises of Steven Moffat for hours on end, but one thing that stands out as I rewatch these episodes is that they have been written with rewatching in mind. This man has two versions of the story running in front of you, and you will never see both versions on your first pass. The first line we hear after the recap is a reference to a heartbreaking conversation we’re not going to hear for another 40 minutes or so, but there is no way you could know that until it’s explained.

Steven Moffat will use every trick in the book and then a few new ones he’s invented while on the train to Cardiff to deliver brilliant surprises, and I love him for it. (Sorry, made the mistake of reading the Grauniad’s Is Doctor Who becoming too complex? article, and I’m still a bit tetchy.)

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Doctor Who (6.12): Matt Smith at his most poignant and powerful

It’s a mark of how powerful the writing and performances are in Closing Time and how much I adore Matt Smith’s (and Steven Moffat’s) Doctor that this episode wrung more tears from me than almost any other this series. (The Doctor’s Wife takes the tear-stained top spot.)

There’s a great gathering together of themes here, a sense of loose ends being, if not tied off, at least being plaited neatly until we’re ready to fray them again. The lonely Doctor pops by just to say hello (and goodbye) to Craig before he treats himself to one last galactic spectacle – he has only a few hours before his date with death at Lake Silencio. Except that there are fluctuations in the electrical supply and people going missing, and try as he might, he just can not walk away.

(Spoilers from here on in.)

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Doctor Who (6.8): Hasta la vista? No. He’ll be back…

I’m wondering if writing a TV show is a little like ‘making love to a beautiful woman’ (as The Fast Show’s Swiss Tony liked to say). The more confident you are, the better the experience for both parties (as long as confidence matches ability anyway – but let’s not waste too much time on this analogy, we have another corking episode of Doctor Who to celebrate).

I don’t think there is anything about Let’s Kill Hitler that isn’t wonderful on some level (and often on several levels at once) . And, using the usual gauge, I can report that Hat Jr barely said a word throughout the whole thing (only two questions – is the Doctor really going to die and are Amy and Rory going to die?) – otherwise completely rapt.

(Spoilers, sweeties, below the line)

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Doctor Who (6.7): More twists than a twisty-turny thing

Put a finger on your lips and breathe one word: “Spoilers”.

I’m at a loss for words frankly. Not because A Good Man Goes To War isn’t masterful, magical storytelling from Steven Moffat – it is all that and so much more, but how to do it justice. The last time I felt like this was after the last episode of Ashes to Ashes aired.

The plot is the easiest bit to deal with. Rory and the Doctor set out to raise an army and free Amy and baby Pond – Melody – from the kidnappers. They do so but walk into a trap and find that Madame Kovarian (for this is the name of Eye-patch lady) has tricked the Doctor again, stolen Melody and left a flesh avatar of the baby in Amy’s arms. How Amy is even able to stand in the last five minutes of this episode I don’t know, as motherhood is emotionally draining even when your baby hasn’t just melted into a pool of white emulsion.

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Lustbox: Matt Smith

My little crush on Matt Smith has snuck up on me to be honest.

I was smitten with his predecessor in the TARDIS, David Tennant, from the first time I saw him in Blackpool (that’s the excellent Peter Bowker drama, not the actual seaside resort), but it’s taken a little longer for me to start having impure thoughts about Mr Smith.

Clearly he has buckets of charisma. I was convinced I’d be mourning the loss of David Tennant from Doctor Who for months – but Matt Smith had won me over within minutes of his first episode. Still this new love was very much a platonic one.

What on earth has started me thinking much earthier thoughts about this young man? (I’m trying not to dwell on the nine-year age gap by the way). I suspect that press shot at the top of this page from Christopher and His Kind started the hormones going and from there onward it’s been all downhill (in a good way).

So now it’s his politeness, intelligence, posh-in-the-right-way-ness, talent, geekiness and charm (not to mention great hair, excellent cheekbones and a fabulous smile) that have me a wee bit hot under the collar. He can share that mysterious TARDIS swimming pool with me any day – Alex Kingston is a lucky lady (though not as lucky as his real girlfriend)!

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Doctor Who 6.2: The Doctor flirts, Steven Moffat teases

Regular readers will know that this is always a spoilery-blog post, but this week it seems only fair to say that if you haven’t seen Day of the Moon yet, you really should go and watch it first and then come back to join us in our ooh-ahh-and-blimey! love-fest.

We were promised answers – and we got some – but even the ones we did get came at the price of more questions. I’m starting to feel like the River Song to Steven Moffat’s Doctor (“I hate you!” – “No you don’t…”).

We start off back in the gorgeous-looking Utah desert with men in black, including Canton Everett Delaware III (the completely fabulous Mark Sheppard), hunting down Amy, all flying, flaming locks against the red and terracotta rocks. Apparently Canton is now working against our heroes as he shoots Amy (giving us our first glimpse of those unsettling black marker strikes on her skin), nearly shoots River (who dives out of the 50th floor of a skyscraper) and then adds Rory to his tally.

All the while the Doctor (bearded – ugh) is imprisoned in Area 51 in  a strait-jacket and chains with Canton taunting him and slowly enclosing him in ‘the perfect prison’ (made of “zero-balanced dwarf star alloy – the densest material in the universe, nothing gets through it” and personally I think all party-walls should contain these magic bricks). Though personally I liked the little notices we passed on our way to the Doctor’s plinth – DO NOT APPROACH THE PRISONER and DO NOT INTERACT WITH THE PRISONER. Lovely.

Only when the prison is complete and Canton and the Doctor are ‘completely cut off from the rest of the universe’ with two body bags (for Amy and Rory) at their feet do we start to understand what’s going on and what all that nonsense about making the TARDIS invisible was about last week. Yes, hurrah, Canton is still a good guy and this is his way of helping everybody escape from the Silence.

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Marchlands: Plumbing that goes bump in the night

This is essentially a haunted house story for wimps, since every time the tension and suspense builds up to any degree, it’s interrupted by REALLY BLOODY ANNOYING ADVERTS. Sorry to shout, but really, those twatting meerkats. I’d drown them. And, as it happens, that would fit in nicely with the plot of Marchlands. Actually, I’m really enjoying this. It’s got a great cast. Anne Reid is always class. I’ve loved Denis Lawson ever since Local Hero. Even in 1980s fashions, Alex ‘Dr Corday’ Kingston is as beautiful as ever here, as is Shelley Conn (from Mistresses, here playing the heavily pregnant Nisha).Dean Andrews from Life on Mars is very good.

And I really like the idea, of the core ‘character’ of a drama being a house, as lived in by three families over five decades. To make this series, they had to film every scene from each era (1960s, 1980s and present day) before entirely refitting and decorating the same house. Which they do brilliantly. I find it fascinating.

I’ve never lived in a new house, and one thing I like about buying old ones is uncovering the ‘secrets’ of past occupants. So long as your property has never had a forensic makeover, you discover things over the years about the previous occupants. A buried ornament in the garden, patches of ancient layers of wallpaper, kids’ stickers or pencilled heights drawn inside the cupboard doors. And if you’re in a town or village, you might bump people who once lived there.

Hopefully they won’t remember it because it was the site of a tragedy, however. One which seems to have led to the plumbing being frankly not up to Corgi standards. Marchlands, it seems, was once the place where an eight year old girl, Alice, lived, who drowned in tragic, and slightly mysterious circumstances and whose restless ghost haunts the house (and plumbing) for future inhabitants.

I guess the true story will slowly unravel. I fear Denis Lawson may not come out of it well, but I may be wrong.

We’re now three episodes in, but you can catch up, thanks to ITV Player allowing access to programmes for longer than the stingy week that BBC iPlayer offers them (but with ITV Player, you get all the adverts, so it’s swings and roundabouts). My only caveat is that if, like me, you don’t believe in ghosts, you might raise an eyebrow or two, since the story hangs on the troubled spirit of the dead child, Alice, trying to communicate her story through future generations. But even so, this is a good, well written and acted drama.

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Doctor Who (5.13): Something borrowed, something blue…

Is there anyone in the universe as brilliant and bright as the Doctor? Yes, actually – Stephen Moffat. He has taken wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey and created a fabulous series and tonight’s stupendous finale.

Throughout the whole thing he plays with stories and memorable scenes, ties up (almost) all the loose ends and packs a hugely emotional punch too.

As we enter our last hour of Who for six long months, the Doctor is imprisoned in the Pandorica, Amy has just been shot by a heartbroken plastic Rory, River is trapped in the exploding TARDIS,  the universe has almost completely disappeared and the fate of the whole of reality rests on little Amelia Pond (who is apparently the only person left on Earth who believes in stars).

But who is the strange man in a Fez who has posted a flyer for the National Museum’s Pandorica exhibition through young Amelia’s door? The words ‘Come along Pond’ are scribbled on it – but how could it be him? Wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey… Continue reading

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