The penultimate in my series of Reviews of the Matt Smith Doctor Who years

Summary: The Doctor relives the worst day of his existence, will his future selves convince him to do something he will regret forever.

Plot: While planning a day out with Clara the TARDIS is grabbed by Unit for help with a mystery by Royal Command of Queen Elizabeth the first. Upon arriving he is greeted with a Gallfreyian painting of the last day of the time war, he remissness back to his days as the War Doctor (see Night of the Doctor mini episode) on that Day the War Doctor decides he’s had enough of the Time War declaring No More. He steals the ultimate weapons with the intention of destroying Daleks and Time Lords alike to end the war but the weapons has developed a conscience and that conscience appears as Rose Tyler as the Bad Wolf. He suggests he doesn’t want to survive the destruction he is planning she replies that will be his punishment and challenges him to see what destroying Gallfrey will do to his future, what kind of man it will make him, she opens a time rift to the future which promptly produces a Fez…

Meanwhile back in the present the Doctor opens the letter from Elizabeth I which declares a deadly danger has come to her kingdom and when the time is right he is to be made curator to the undergallery. He remembers back to his time as the 10th doctor picnicking with a young Elizabeth where he proposes marriage, after she accepts he produces a machines that goes “ding” and confidently pronounces her a Zygon in disguise right up until his horse converts into a Zygon and chases him them, they are separated and after a dramatic confrontation with a rabbit he finds two Elizabeths. Before he can deduce which is real a time rift opens up and out pops…a fez.

Back in the present the 11th Doctor finds a group of broken statues to be analyzed by his biggest fan in Unit. After he grabs a Fez he spot on display Kate Stewart shows him a group of paintings with glass shattered as if something came out, all these paintings are landscapes but used to have figures in them, as they continue to the next room suddenly a time rift opens, he vaguely remembers it tosses his Fez through and then Leaps through the rift….

landing in front of the 10th doctor and the two Elizabeth the 1sts. After some snappy patter the rift starts getting active and they advise the two Elizabeths to run in opposite directions. He can hear Clara & Kate through the rift and tests it’s two way capacity by throwing his Fez through it. it doesn’t arrive back but seconds later…

…the war doctor appears to the horror of both of them. He is looking for the Doctor and after some snappy patter are confronted by the Queen’s guards. They are in the process of convincing them Clara is a witch about to hex them when an Elizabeth turns up and at the 11th Doctor’s suggestion has them thrown in the Tower where Kate Stewart is…

…meanwhile as Kate Stewart takes Clara to the Black Archive in the tower looking for a message planted by the Doctor. back in the undergallery Osgood discovers that the place is crawling with Zygons barely escaping from her double Clara discovers Kate has been replaced as well but manages to get the code from the planted message and escapes to where the three doctors are using Captain Jack’s vortex manipulator.

In the past the Doctor’s discover the Zygon’s are planning to invade earth by hiding in 3D painting when the time is right and have captured the black tower, Kate Stewart is freed by the Osgood and is determined to destroy the weaponry there before the Zygons can use it to conquer earth. Will the Doctors & Clara be able to stop the Zygon Invasion, the Destruction of London and will these actions cause the War Doctor to finally decide to destroy Gallfrey and end the time war?

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Writing: Steven Moffat’s story reads like the type of story a Doctor Who fan would write if he wanted a multi Doctor Story. The dialogue is snappy and the interactions between the doctors are clever. The inclusion of Osgood complete with 4th Doctor Scarf is a brilliant stroke as is the inclusion of the curator at the end, however I see no reason why the rest of the doctors couldn’t have been included in the big climax scene as it would not have added much time to the show, nor why they could have not been included in the epilogue, but these are 50th anniversary quibbles and these don’t reflect on the quality of the episode itself which is VERY well done. I particularly like the last ten minutes but I don’t want to spoil it.

Acting: Lots of strong performances, by the regular cast, David Tennant seems to be having a lot of fun, John Hurt is so good that you can believe he has been playing the Doctor forever but the single best performance is Billie Piper who absolutely owns her role. The Curator at the end steals his scene, but that’s just his nature.

Ultimate Anniversary Moment: “No sir Thirteen!”

Memorable Moments: I wasn’t expecting that, you’re basically just a rabbit, I’m not judging you, Timey Wimey?, Breath that could stun a horse, weak and feeble woman, sorry about the Dalek, Bad wolf girl I could kiss you , Who nose.

Really cool moment: The Daleks on detecting the Doctor stop killing time lords En Masse to go after him…very bad move

Oddities: Shouldn’t the time lords only be acquainted with Doctors one through War doctor (8 1/2) How do they recognize the ones after him?

Pet Peeves: If the Daleks are that obsessed with the Doctor couldn’t he have led them away from Gallfrey simply by showing up elsewhere? How does the Doctor’s interaction with the General in Arcadia effect the actions of Rassilon & the high counsel. How would the Zygons know about what happened to the Sycorax?

Great Quote(s):

War Doctor: Don’t sit on that!
The (Bad Wolf) Moment: Why not?
War Doctor: Because it’s not a chair, it’s the most dangerous weapon in the universe.
The (Bad Wolf) Moment: Why can’t it be both?

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10th Doctor: It was the horse. I’m going to be King. Run!

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10th Doctor: Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa. Oh, very clever. Whatever you’ve got planned, forget it. I’m the Doctor. I’m nine hundred and four years old. I’m from the planet Gallifrey in the constellation of Kasterborous. I am the Oncoming Storm, the Bringer of Darkness, and you are basically just a rabbit, aren’t you? Okay, carry on. Just a general warning.

*******************************************

10th Doctor: What are you doing here? I’m busy.
11th Doctor: Oh, busy. I see. Is that what we’re calling it, eh? Eh? Hello, ladies.
10th Doctor: Don’t start.
11th Doctor: Listen, what you get up to in the privacy of your own regeneration is your business.
10th Doctor: One of them is a Zygon.
11th Doctor: Urgh. I’m not judging you.

*************************************************

War Doctor: You’re me? Both of you?
10th Doctor: Yep.
War Doctor: Even that one?
11th Doctor: Yes!
War Doctor: You’re my future selves?
10th & 11th Doctor: Yes!
War Doctor: Am I having a midlife crisis? Why are you pointing your screwdrivers like that? They’re scientific instruments, not water pistols.

**************************************************
Clara: Hang on. Three of you in one cell, and none of you thought to try the door?

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10th Doctor: Ow! The desktop is glitching.
War Doctor: Three of us from different time zones. It’s trying to compensate.
11th Doctor: Hey, look. The round things.
10th Doctor: I love the round things.
11th Doctor: What are the round things?
10th Doctor: No idea.

*************************************************

11th Doctor: Alien technology plus human stupidity. Trust me, it’s unbeatable.

***************
11th Doctor: Hello, hello, Gallifrey High Command, this is the Doctor speaking.
10th Doctor: Hello! Also the Doctor. Can you hear me?
War Doctor: Also the Doctor, standing ready.
GENERAL: Dear God, three of them. All my worst nightmares at once.

**************************************
General: I didn’t know when I was well off. All twelve of them!
12th Doctor: No, sir. All thirteen!

****************************************************************

11th Doctor: I could be a curator. I’d be great at curating. I’d be the Great Curator. I could retire and do that. I could retire and be the curator of this place.
Curator (elderly 4th Doctor): You know, I really think you might.
11th Doctor: I never forget a face.
Curator (elderly 4th Doctor): I know you don’t. And in years to come, you might find yourself revisiting a few. But just the old favourites, eh?

Final Verdict: 5 Stars, could it have been a better 50th anniversary episode? Yes. Was it not as good as the fiveish Doctors? Yes. but is it a spectacular story in it’s own right? Without a question.

Ranking of Season 1st of 16 Frankly if it wasn’t the BEST episode of the season it would be a failure.

1. The Day of the Doctor
2. The Bells of St. John
3. The Crimson Horror
4. The Power of three
5. The Name of the Doctor
6. The Snowmen
7. Nightmare in Silver
8. The Doctor, The Widow and the Wardrobe
9. Dinosaurs on a Spaceship
10. Journey to the Centre of the Tardis
11. Cold War
12. A Town Called Mercy
13. Asylum of the Daleks
14. The Rings of Akhaten
15. Hide
16. The Angels Take Manhattan

Ranking in Matt Smith Era to this point (top 10 shown) 1st but again if a multi doctor story that’s the 50th anniversary isn’t the best of the era it would almost be a failure

1. Day of the Doctor
2. The Bells of St. John
3. Let’s Kill Hitler
4. The Girl who waited
5. The Doctor’s Wife
6. The Pandorica Opens
7. A Good Man Goes to War
8. The Eleventh Hour
9. The Big Bang
10. The Crimson Horror

Summary:  Can the forgotten heroes of ages past gain their rightful due?

 

Plot:  Peter Davison , Colin Baker and Sylvester McCoy find themselves getting more and more concerned as the filming dates for the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary special comes ever closed ad they’re not called.    Their repeated calls to Stephen Moffat offices go unanswered and they are driving their families up the wall.  Finally with time running short they decide along  to act with Paul McGann (schedule permitting) to do something about it as Tom Baker is caught in a time eddy.  But if they can’t get Stephen Moffat  to change his minds can they someone sneak onto the set and get themselves in the episode without getting caught and thrown off the set?

 

Writing:  Peter Davison story is simply fantastic poking fun at all the idioms of both Doctor Who and the fleeting attention of fame.  The genius of the story is that while Doctor Who fans   a person who has never seen the show can easily understand the plot and the comedy.  It both respects and lampoons all the people involved.   The perspective of dealing with the fans on a daily basis really make a huge difference

 

Acting:   Davison Baker and McCoy all pull it off brilliantly McGann in a smaller role work very well.  John Barrowman who was also disappointed in not making the 50th has a great atypical part.  The number of cameos from not only those involved in the show but the  great and famous from Olivia Colman to Peter Jackson are all excellent but my favorites are the families particular  Colin Baker wife who is just hilarious.  Russell T Davies & Steven Moffat

Anniversary:  Do I really have to say it?

 

Great Moments:  The Dream sequence, playing with toys,  don’t tell anyone, celery and ice cream, I’ve locked all the doors,  Autographs That’s the making of Documentary,  Russell’s call.

 

Oddities:    If you look at the Shroud Scene in this picture and in the actual special they sure look alike, (and one of the shrouded Zygons in the actual special is suspiciously short.)

 

Pet Peeves:   Why are John Barrowman CD’s legal tender to get into the Doctor Who Experience?

 

Great Quote(s)

Jenna Louise Colman:  You were always my mon’s favorite…pause, camera moves forward then back to her  You were always my favorite

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Janet Fielding: Your dreaming Pete, they’re not going to call you Pete, They don’t want you Pete, they don’t want any of you Pete, Get up and walk the dog.

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Colin Baker: Oh you’re in the hobbit I didn’t know

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Peter Davison: this is not some flash in the pan 500 million dollars picture, this is important!

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Final Verdict:  Five Stars and easily of the 4 50th anniversary specials including the big finish , the Night of the Doctor and the Day of the Doctor the best of the batch.  Simply

If we were to rank this in the Doctor who specials of the Matt smith Era, it would be first.

We really can’t rank this as a Doctor Who episode but If we were to rank this in the Doctor Who episodes of the Matt Smith Era it would be 1st.  If I did rank it as an episode in the Matt Smith era it would be just behind Let’s Kill Hitler at 3rd.

Oh just watch it now

The 11th Doctor: (screwdriver buzzes moving frantically ) It’s all wrong. President Obama taking questions from the press? The press challenging him on issues? The TARDIS taking us to Washington when we are supposed to be in Bermuda…

Rory: You’ve got to admit that last one isn’t unusual.

The Doctor, Obama & the Press Corps, 2012

The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which

George Orwell Animal Farm 1945

The Master:  there is no human race. There is only the Master race.

Doctor Who:  The End of Time Part 1  2009

Four years ago in December of 2009 The End of Time, the last episode of the David Tennant run as Doctor Who came out.  It was released in two parts.

The climax of episode was the fruition of the Master’s plan to take over the world.  It took place at the same time as a press conference where Barack Obama was going to announce a secret plan to solve all the world’s economic problems.  All during the episode before that point people in the story spoke with anticipation of this event.  From the break truck lady:

SarahAnd don’t forget tomorrow night. The Christmas broadcast. President Obama.
Tommo: Oh?
Sarah: He’s promised to end the recession. Bad times will soon be over, Ginger.

To Donna Noble’s Husband to be Shawn

 Here are the presents. I’m sorry, I couldn’t afford much, but not for long, if President Obama ends the recession tonight.

To the self-confident villain Joshua Naismith who was trying to secure eternal life for his daughter:

  But it’s time for the broadcast. The President’s grand initiative. You might want to see this, sir. Proof that the human race can mend it’s own problems.

Oddly enough Russell T. Davies writing actually reflected the real life opinions of many in the world after the Obama victory.  After all less than a year later a few months earlier Obama would win a Nobel Peace Prize for not being George Bush.

But the bit of writing that catches my eye the most also interesting was how they wrote the reaction of the fictional reporter Trinity Wells who opened the presidential press conference with this:

And now, anticipation is rising as we go live to Washington. Here, on Christmas Day, the President has promised an instant and radical solution to the worldwide depression. Barack Obama will lead us all into a new age of prosperity!

Remember this is supposed to be a fictional reporter but it brings to mind this declarative statement from Mary Katherine Ham about Mark Halperin:

WHAT IS THE POINT OF YOU, MARK HALPERIN?

who supposedly is not.

What is the  source of her frustration?  This interview with Laura Ingraham subbing for Bill O’Reilly where she asks Mr. Halperin this:

Forgive me, but I don’t think Time Magazine was doing cover stories on a lot of concerns that were raised back then that were routinely dismissed by many in the media, ideological, as just mean-spirited, turns out most of the Republican concerns about Obamacare were right.

and he answers with this:

Laura, there is no doubt that the press failed to scrutinize this program at the time of passage and during the context of the president’s re-election. Any reporter who would argue otherwise would be putting their head in the sand. As we write in “Double Down,” the problem for the Republicans in the re-election context was you nominated, Republicans nominated Mitt Romney, a guy who was not very well positioned, to say the least, to make the case against Obamacare because he passed the healthcare plan in Massachusetts.

Seriously it’s an actual real reporter and saying this?  Ace Marveled at his words:

MKH immediately points out the inconvenient fact that there was no presidential election in 2009 to early 2010, when Obamacare was rammed through the Congress, and Mitt Romney was not the nominee of anything yet, except as the first name in Jen Rubin’s Crush Book.

as I did earlier concerning Tom Brokow:

But neither my question nor Ace’s wistful wish:

If only we had some kind of institution whose primary mission it was to scrutinize the claims of politicians , contact experts, and report the major facts about major new legislation to the public.

can change facts.

Stacy McCain may have seemingly had it pegged:

“Liberal bias is not a matter of unfairness, but rather a matter of dishonesty — deliberately ignoring some facts, and misrepresenting other facts, in order to misinform the public by portraying to them a politically falsified view of events and personalities.”

Particularly when you hear stories like this:

Fox News’ Ed Henry tweeted the announcement: “MSNBC hosts relocated to West Wing today: @WeGotEd @Lawrence @ezraklein arrived for apparent meet w/President (Fox’s @TheJuanWilliams too).”

He was referring to a private chat with Mr. Obama that included Ed Schultz and Lawrence O’Donnell, from MSNBC, Ezra Klein of The Washington Post and Juan Williams, of Fox News.

But to understand how far modern journalism has fallen the master’s plan in the End of Time illustrates it best, He operates the device he is captured to repair but he re-programs it sending a pulse throughout the world so the entire human race…becomes a copy of him.

After former Barack Obama, now a copy of the Master announces that he’s President of the United states the newly altered press room reacts thus:

From Doctor Who The End of Time Part 1
From Doctor Who The End of Time Part 1

and looking at that picture five years later and listening to the words of Mr. Halpern and seeing stories like this:

A left-liberal magazine’s publication of an article titled “The Republican War on Competence” would have seemed unremarkable at just about any point in this columnist’s adult lifetime. But this article, by Jeff Shesol for The New Yorker, was published yesterday–with a Democrat in the White House presiding for the 51st day over the most stunning display of governmental incompetence since Prohibition, maybe since Nero. In that context, it’s like a dispatch from a different planet.

I can only conclude that the only difference between the Master Race in fiction and the Reporter race of reality are the faces.

Here is the sequence if you want to see it

Update: Corrected the timeline on the Nobel Prize

The BBC has made a concerted effort this year to push Doctor Who in America. One of the things that might confuse people are the different faces.

Doctor Who has been around almost as long as I have. The First episode premiered just six months after I was born. The series the actor in the lead role William Hartnell was an elderly man and when it became plain that he couldn’t continue the brilliant idea of having the Doctor “regenerate” into a totally new body (and a new personality) came up.

Each doctor is the same man, with the same memories, but with a different appearance and personality.

So to those of my readers who are not familiar with the history of the Doctor Who here is the complete history of Regeneration from Daily Motion via user regenerating Tardis who did a marvelous job putting it together (sorry about the ads they come with the package).


Regenerations: An Extened Look – Part 1 by RegeneratingTardis

The second set of regenerations 4-6


Regenerations: An Extened Look – Part 2 by RegeneratingTardis

These videos were first put on YouTube but were blocked there all except for this one which was ironically blocked by Daily Motion

And this last one brings you up to date:


Regenerations: An Extened Look – Part FNARG… by RegeneratingTardis

If that doesn’t get you interested in the series I don’t know what will.

4 days short of the start of Season 6 of the New Doctor Who. Some crushing news for fans of Doctor Who:

Sladen had been suffering from cancer, BBC entertainment reporter Lizo Mzimba said. It had not been widely known that the actress was in ill health.

He said: “She was one of the most popular Doctor Who companions of all time, and one of the people who managed to do both old Doctor Who and Doctor Who when it came back.”

She has been active in the Doctor Who series since 1973 staring opposite the 3rd Doctor Jon Pertwee, Stayed on two years with Tom Baker, appeared with the 5 doctors special with 5th Doctor Peter Davidson, Appeared in audio adventures for Big Finish (including Zagreus with the 8th Doctor) and in the Dimensions in Time Special along with Doctors 3-7, Came back triumphantly in the Second Series of the New doctor Who series appearing 4 times with David Tennant, and during the run of her current series the Sarah Jane Adventures appeared opposite both Nicholas Courtney (the Brigadier) Katy Manning (Jo Grant) and 11th Doctor Matt Smith. If she had lived there is no doubt the series would have continued as long as she did.

No person has been more closely associated with the series or more universally loved by fans of the show. Tens of millions will mourn her.

Update: At Big Finish Nick Briggs reveals that she was going to be doing new audio adventures with Tom Baker at Big Finish if she had lived, how wonderful those would have been.

To non geeks it is just another birth announcement. Actor David Tennant and his girlfriend Georgia Moffett (daughter of actor Peter Davison) are parents of their first child together.

However if you are a Doctor Who Geek you could put it this way…

The Daughter of the 5th Doctor who played the Daughter of the 10th doctor started dating the 10th doctor and has given birth to her first child, who is also the child of the Tenth Doctor.

That makes this kid, the Grandchild of the 5th doctor, the child of the 10th doctor the son of the daughter of the 10th doctor who played the daughter of the 10th doctor making kid the grandchild of the 10th doctor as well as the child of the 10th doctor who is of course the same person as the 5th doctor. And of course since the Doctor kid’s mother is the doctor’s daughter that makes the kid the sister of the doctor’s daughter since he is the doctor’s kid who is also his mother. And of course since she the 5th doctors daughter went to school with the 6th doctor’s daughter we could make it sound even more complicated than this if we wanted to.

Yeah I know it doesn’t mean anything but all I could think of when I heard about it was that old song, I’m my own Grandpa.

Starting at 6 a.m. this morning BBC America is once again having a marathon of Dr. Who.

They are advertising it as all of season five starting at 9 a.m. but they are actually starting with the last David Tennant Story The end of time to include the regeneration and the story behind it.

My review of the entire Series 5 starts with The Eleventh Hour and continues through The Beast Below, Victory of the Daleks, The Time of Angels, Flesh and Stone, The Vampires of Venice, Amy’s Choice, The Hungry Earth, Cold Blood, Vincent and the Doctor, The Lodger, The Pandorica Opens, and The Big Bang.

Of course if you want NEW stories there is always Big Finish as the Telegraph has reported:

The Tardis has landed in late-Sixties Soviet Russia. The Doctor and his companion are on the trail of an alien weapon that has fallen into the hands of the Soviets. They are in a speeding van being chased across a frozen lake. Just as they seem doomed the van is beamed aboard a space ship.

There is, however, no Matt Smith or Karen Gillan here. In fact, there is no frozen lake, no van and no spaceship, for I am in a recording studio and late-Eighties Dr Who Sylvester McCoy, and his companion Ace, played by Sophie Aldred, are conjuring the scene in a soundproofed booth.

Dr Who may have been successfully resurrected on television in 2005, but it had already reappeared six years earlier in the shape of audio plays released on CD, a format that has been thriving ever since. Big Finish Productions has created more than 180 plays featuring “classic doctors”, as the pre-2005 Doctors are known.

And if you want them in America you can get them mail order from Mike’s Comics along with figures, books and all the Doctor Who stuff you will ever want, just in time for Christmas!

…again this week and remembering what I wrote the day after Christmas last year when I first saw it:

There is every probability that this was written just after his election and that Russell T. Davies was and/or is a member of the hopey-changey Obamacult. I suspect British actors are even farther left than Hollywood so it would be no surprise. It is also possible that he is making fun of said cult but I doubt it.

Alas the shooting schedule and the filming didn’t account for the crash and burn of international opinion of the president, it gives the episode an anachronistic quality will make many conservatives laugh at the reminder of those foolish messianic days.

Wikipedia states that Shooting began in March of 2009 (for non controversial stuff it’s an ok source). That likely means the writing took place right after the election.

It was something to see the change in international opinion since the episode was broadcast, in just 7 months his domestic popularity has also dropped like a rock.

At the time it was on, I was annoyed, couldn’t I escape the Obama Messiah syndrome even in Doctor Who? Today looking back seeing that the nation has been mostly cured of that odd illness it brings a smile, like that of a person remembering a rough patch that is behind him.

The end of the obamacult has been a healthy thing for a society. Let’s hope the media remembers the lessons learned.

You know almost every season you run into an episode of Dr. Who that I find so bad that I make it a point to skip it when it comes on. In Series 1 it’s The long game, not that it’s so bad but the other ones are so much better, In series 2 it was Fear Her, the single worst episode of the new series bar none. Series 3 had 3 below average episodes but the one I skip is Last of the Time Lords (The resolution was so bad that I find I just can’t watch it) In Series 4 it was Midnight and here in Series 5 we have Vincent and the Doctor..

The Doctor takes Amy to an art gallery where is spots something odd in a Van Gogh so back in time he and Amy go to investigate. Richard Curtis of Black Adder fame wrote this one and I would have expected a whole lot better from him but although the acting is actually pretty good, and there are some real tender moments but as a whole the story is so pedantic and the plot so uninspired that there is no contest which episode I would least like to watch of this series.

Where does it rank in the annals of badness of the revised series? behind The Long Game, ahead of Last of the Time Lords and just above or just below midnight depending on my mood. (It goes without saying it beats Fear Her but Fear her ranks with the worst of the entire series since 1963 and it takes some level of badness to get that low.

If you have an errand to run that can’t wait, this is the episode to run it during. Particularly since the quality is about to take a serious upturn.

Rating **

Last episode: Cold Blood

Next Episode: The Lodger

The time of the Angels brings back two of the most interesting characters from the 10th Doctor’s time both created by Stephen Moffat. The first being River Song Played by Alex Kingston from Silence in the Library and the second the Weeping angels from Blink.

Alex Kingston has a lot of fun with this role (and will have a lot more later in the season), the interaction with the Doctor really works. Considering that in real life Kingston is old enough to be Matt Smith’s mother although on camera he is centuries older (I say millennia as I’m an audio fan and the doctor lies 903 is way too low) than her, there is real chemistry here, and there will be more to come.The tweaking of the Angels is acceptable and the cliff hanger at the end of this first of a two part episode really works.

After seeing this episode you won’t be able to wait for the next one, and lucky for you you don’t have to.

Rating **** 1/2

Last episode: The Victory of the Daleks

Next Episode: Flesh and Stone