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Doctor Who: The Time of the Doctor

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All right then. We have at long last wrapped up all those dangling threads that have been hanging around since the Pandorica opened and the Doctor reset the universe. And we have said farewell to the wonderful Matt Smith. Regular readers of these sofa-based despatches will not be surprised to learn that I waterproofed the laptop before sitting down to watch Eleven’s swansong (and that it was just as well that I did).

After being bounced around inessential, but not irrelevant, scenes like a pinball – the now traditional Doctor Who opening – we find ourselves, inevitably, on Trenzalore. We learn at last who blew up the Tardis, why silence must fall (not to mention who the Silence are), what’s on the other side of the crack in the universe (and that it was the crack that the Doctor saw back in his hotel room The God Complex), and why the oldest question in the universe is Doctor who?

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Doctor Who: The Day of the Doctor

The-Day-of-the-DoctorI think Steven Moffat has given my brain indigestion. Even sleep didn’t untangle the knots he tied in my mind last night. It seems that The Day of the Doctor is an episode that genuinely requires two passes – the first to follow the plot, the second to absorb the story.

The first viewing left me a little deflated – there were so many good things in there, but it hadn’t moved me (and as you will know by now, I cry at the drop of hat – be it a fez or a stetson). A rewatching has, however, had me reaching for the tissues…

I can’t tell you if this is a reflection on my diminishing abilities to keep up with the Moff’s timey-wimey plotting, or a change in the way the man writes.

(Spoilers of many things 50th-related below the line…)

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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 (7.12): “Stay alive … and don’t let anyone blow up this planet”

The Doctor, Nightmare in SilverWooooohooo! Now we’re on fire… Neil Gaiman is back at the keyboard and applying his Midas touch for a second time. And as long as you weren’t expecting another The Doctor’s Wife (he did tweet that he didn’t even try to top it) I’m hoping you enjoyed it as much as Hat Jr and I did.

One of my favourite things about Neil Gaiman’s writing is his gift for deception. He has a sleight of hand that is breathtaking (Neverwhere is a classic example, and I can’t recommend it highly enough, by the way) and immensely satisfying. It also makes rewatching a special joy.

[Spoilers below the line]

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Doctor Who (7.11): There’s trouble at mill…

The Crimson HorrorWell that was fun! And funny too. Master of gothic humour (or perhaps I mean gothic and humour) Mark Gatiss has turned in one of the best episodes of the series with The Crimson Horror.

Look at the ingredients – Madame Vastra, Jenny and Strax, more Victorian references than you can shake a stick at, ‘trouble at mill’, Diana Rigg AND her daughter Rachael Stirling, creative use of flashback and a Willy Wonka-esque ‘manufacturing process’ – and you can’t help but get your hopes up.

[Spoilers below the line….]

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Doctor Who (7.10): Don’t mess with the missus

The Van Baalen brothersThere are spaceships that get you from A to B, spaceships that are sci-fi icons (the Enterprise D, the Millennium Falcon, Red Dwarf, to name but three), and then there is the Tardis. The greatest spaceship in all creation. She’s not just bigger on the inside, she’s “infinite”. She has a heart, soul and personality – she is alive. She is, as Neil Gaiman showed us so exquisitely, to all intents and purposes the Doctor’s wife. So the very idea of her being salvaged as scrap is anathema. But that is exactly what this episode promises. Hold tight as the Doctor’s oldest and best companion is put in the gravest of danger…

[We get spoilery below the line…]

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Doctor Who (7.9): “The paradoxes resolve themselves, by and large”

It’s difficult to believe that Hide was written by the same hand as The Rings of Akhaten. I have to say I loved almost everything about it. The spookiness, the misunderstandings, Dougray Scott, the TARDIS being ‘a cow’, how everything (except the psychic crown thing) looked stunning. Shall I stop gushing and go back to the beginning?
(Spoilers, obviously, from here on in)
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