|Originally Broadcast 14th May 2011|
Written by: Neil Gaiman
“Someone or something that hasn’t been seen since The War Games is returning” was the quote left by scripter Gaiman months before this episode aired. I went around thinking about that for so long. The War Lord? The War Chief? A SIDRAT? Bernard Horsefell in black and white again (does Planet Of The Daleks part 3 count?). So many options and, of course, it was that great little thought box for those not in the know. That never even entered my mind in all those months.
I think this is the episode that makes the series. It slightly edges above the two-part opener in terms of quality and it knocks the black spot out of the water. It’s so obvious from watching this that Gaiman is a fan of the show and he really understands what to do with a script.
The Doctor is a very unique character, you can add to his backstory but you can never add too much otherwise the entire show will be ruined. There’s no doubting that, the day we find out the Doctor’s real name is the day the show dies. So with this knowledge, Gaiman cleverly gives a few little ‘extras’ as to what happened in the events prior to An Unearthly Child (1963) yet we don’t get enough facts to spoil the illusion of the character. And what we do get are some really fantastic pointers, such as the TARDIS chose the Doctor not the other way around, as we’ve been told for almost fifty years.
There are no faults with the script in this episode, it really stands out as such a strong idea and one that has very surprisingly not been done before. However, what I’m not a huge fan of is the casting.
A big deal was made when Sheen was cast as the voice of House, yet it’s indistinguishable from any other voice, giving the impression that anybody could provide this to the role. I’m also not keen on Uncle, as Adrian Schiller doesn’t perform all the lines in a powerful or great way, such as his first lines in the pre-titles sequence, it just seems off.
But moving away to Suranne Jones as Idris/Sexy and she is the best possible person to be cast as the TARDIS personified. She delivers her lines with such enthusiasm, such comedy and such emotion. She can do everything required of her, giving the idea that she is just as powerful an actress as the TARDIS regulars
The messages given about the TARDIS and the Doctor’s relationship with her is really heart-warming as Gaiman really captures the essence of the show and puts it in forty-five minutes of script.And with Smith, Gillan, Darvill and Jones on top form, nothing can go wrong with this episode. There isn’t any point rambling on, as you can watch it for yourself and witness how absolutely perfect this episode is. It really shines above the others.