Tag Archives: David Tennant

Tooth and Claw

Last night we watched the second of the new series of Doctor Who, Tooth and Claw, which finds the Doctor and Rose trapped in a Scottish mansion with Queen Victoria, and being stalked by a werewolf.

Overall I thought this was a much better episode than the rather lacklustre season opener last week, starting off with an attention grabbing pre-credit sequence as martial-art trained monks take over the house and put the occupants of the house into the cellar, together with something in a cage. In the best tension building style, you don’t actually see what is in the cage, only the terrified reactions of the other people.

The arrival of the Doctor and Rose is another one of the TARDIS navigation mistakes where having aimed for Sheffield in 1979, the Doctor overshoots slightly in both time and space, and ends up on a bleak Scottish moor in 1879. Worse than that he walks straight into a group of jumpy soilders who are escorting Queen Victoria by road to Balmoral after the route of her train has been blocked.

Of course the take-over of the house, and the blocked railway are connected, with the creature in the cage being a werewolf, and the monks planning to use the werewolf to take over the throne.

In essence this is a reworking of a classic horror story plot, with the cast trapped in the house with the monster. However there are some nice touches. For example David Tennant does a great bit of acting as the Doctor putting on a Scottish accent. Whilst he maintains the accent at the beginning, once the monster appears he forgets his accent and drops back to the Londonish accent he has used before. Bear in mind that Scottish is David Tennant’s native accent. There is also a nice intertwining of history and fiction, with Queen Victoria travelling with the famous Koh-i-Noor diamond which Prince Albert had cut by almost 42% of it’s original size to increase it’s brilliance, but was dissatisfied with the result. In this episode the reason for the cutting was said to be so that the diamond could be used as part of a trap for the werewolf, where the cut and it’s increased brilliance were vital.

The central monster was impressive, especially compared to the last appearance of a werewolf in the show back in 1988. Here techniques similar to the way that Gollum in Lord of the Rings was realised in the recent films were used, with actors taking the part of the monster being digitally replaced with the werewolf.

There were also a number of elements to keep the fans happy. Firstly the Doctor introduces himself as Doctor James McCrimmon, a reference to previous companion Jamie. At the conclusion of the story we also get to see the beginnings of Torchwood, the secret organisation referred to first in the Christmas special, and now it seems formed by Queen Victoria in response to the events in this episode, for which she entirely blames the Doctor. Rather than the usual happy ending where everybody is grateful, instead Queen Victoria banishes the Doctor and Rose warning them never to return.

Certainly it was a very enjoyable episode, and perhaps would have been better as a season opener than New Earth last week. However next week we have the much anticipated School Reunion, for which there is the prequel TARDISODE sequence and trailer already available from the Doctor Who web site. Can’t wait…

Doctor Who – Children in Need

Now it has to be said, that the involvement of Doctor Who with Children in Need, the BBC‘s annual fund raising telethon has been a bit mixed. Whilst the Twentieth Anniversary special, The Five Doctors, was broadcast as part of the evening back in 1983, we also have the Doctor Who/Eastenders disaster that was Dimensions in Time… So tonight, Russell T continued the association, and provided new seven minute episode of Doctor Who. (But with only about three-and-a-half minutes of actual new stuff…)

So how was it? I’m glad to say that there is no comparison between tonights scene and Dimensions in Time – indeed there was no special Children in Need type crossover at all – this was just straight Doctor Who, complete with a recap of the last episode.

It picks up from the cliffhanger at the end of the last series. First off we have the new Doctor discovering that he is thinner before, and that he has more hair and sideburns! However Rose is not so sure, initially convinced that the Doctor has been kidnapped and substituted with an imposter. She’s not sure about the new look, even asking if he can change back. Eventually the Doctor offers to take her home, and sets the controls for a Christmas visit to Earth. However, then things start to go wrong. More of the time energy that caused the regeneration appears, and the Doctor starts exhibiting a split personality, one saying that the regeneration has gone wrong, the other taking the TARDIS faster and faster, heading towards a crash landing on Christmas Eve…

As I said, this was massively better than Dimensions in Time. Whereas that was trying to cram in as many people as possible, this was basically a compressed two handed character episode, we had a touching moment where the Doctor convinces Rose that he isn’t an imposter by reminding her of when they first met, funny moments with the Doctor checking out his new body, and when he decides to take Rose home. You also get a brief flavour of the new Doctor, before the split personality takes over. All in all a great introduction to the special Christmas episode, that goes out on Christmas Day itself.

If you missed it, or even if you didn’t, the mini-episode is available online at the Children in Need web site. Also included are a set of snippets with Tennant and Piper giving out the phone number for Children in Need, under various names, rarely their own! The website also gives you a chance to donate to the appeal online, of course the whole reason that this mini-episode was produced.

So did you work out Bad Wolf?

So we’ve just watched the final part of Doctor Who, and it was definitely a great episode.

Daleks with the Tardis

Rather than an entire forty-five minutes of dalek mayhem it was split into four parts, with the daleks in only the first and third parts. Surprisingly the cliffhanger with Rose trapped on the dalek spaceship was resolved pretty quickly with the Doctor landing on the flight deck, and the reveal of the new style Dalek Emperor (a bit more spectacular than the 60’s version), and then the Doctor escaping back to station 5 to defend the Earth.

Old style Dalek Emperor Dalek Emperor 00s style

Then we have what seems as if it is going to be a long bit of filler with the Doctor, Rose and Jack preparing for the oncoming dalek invasion, but this gets a lot more interesting when the Doctor sticks to his promise, and sends Rose back home – tricking her knowing that she wouldn’t go willingly, so then intercut with the preparations, we get Rose back in the past.

Then the daleks invade, but with Rose still stuck in the past.

It is interesting to note at this point that Beth has never really found the daleks frightening, possibly because unlike me she didn’t watch them as a child. However she said after one particular scene in tonights episode she now finds them frightening! The scene in question involved the hundred or so civilians who were left on the station. The daleks only need to enter the station near floor five hundred, so the civilians are left out of the way down on floor zero. However part way through the action, the daleks stop their march on floor five hundred, and divert to floor zero just to exterminate the hundred unarmed civilians. Other classic moments are when one character, stuck in a room with the daleks trying to cut through the door, turns round to see three daleks float up outside the window. You don’t hear them say exterminate, just see the lights flash before the window shatters, and then she gets exterminated too. As with most dalek stories it is absolute carnage, with every human apparently killed.

Meanwhile, back in the past, Rose is trying to work out what to do, and sees Bad Wolf everywhere, and she realises that it is a message, telling her she can get back. Although she can’t fly the TARDIS, remembering where the Doctor tells her that the TARDIS is telepathic, she tries to open the TARDIS console in order to get back to help the Doctor. Ultimately she gets the console open, and the TARDIS takes off.

Back on the station, the Doctor has built a device that will destroy the daleks, but will destroy the Earth too. Surrounded by daleks, the emperor challenges him to do it, which he cannot, at which point the TARDIS appears, containing Rose, but transformed by a golden light. At this point we finally find out about Bad Wolf – it is Rose, or at least Rose with the help of the TARDIS. In a classic paradox, the Bad Wolf references through history have been scattered through time by Rose to bring her to this point, so Rose has created the Bad Wolf references in order to become the person that creates them – confusing.

Anyway, the Rose/TARDIS superbeing destroys the Daleks, but ultimately is going to die because she can’t contain the power of the time vortex she has absorbed. In a gesture of self sacrifice, the Doctor absorbs the power himself (through a kiss), and takes her into the TARDIS.

With the TARDIS in flight and Rose regaining conciousness and not remembering anything, the Doctor reveals that he can’t contain the power of the time vortex either, and explains about regeneration, preparing her for the possible changes to come. Then we get a pretty spectacular regeneration as the power of the time vortex explodes outwards, two lines and a quick smile from the new Doctor, David Tennant, and then the credits roll.

Regeneration

All in all, a great episode, and a brilliant finish. Some of the best bits were the daleks, especially the ones at the window, and a time paradox that, unlike the Star Trek efforts doesn’t annoy me!

Interestingly, I’d half guessed the Bad Wolf thing watching the documentary before the show, wondering whether it was significant that Bad Wolf is painted on the side of the TARDIS earlier in the series (particularly as that picture has been pinned on Russell T Davies wall behind his desk all the way through Doctor Who: Confidential). However I didn’t get the Rose bit until just before it happened, I kept expecting someone else to appear as Bad Wolf!

The whole regeneration was well done, and does pose the question of whether it was filmed with the main episode, in which case they knew about David Tennant when the news of Chris Eccleston leaving leaked, or was added later. Anyway, I look forward to Christmas, and then to series number two of the new run.

Building Up to the Finale

The BBC are going all out with the build up to the final episode of the current series of Doctor Who, even going so far as to suggest that fans avoid the internet so as not to be tempted by the daily teasers and clues on the www.badwolf.org.uk site!

I’m still no nearer to working out who or what Bad Wolf is, however a quick glance and the cast list for the episode on Saturday shows two names playing the Doctor, so it looks like it was always planned that David Tennant would take over at this point. It will certainly be interesting to see what happens, and how the changeover occurs.