It's barely 3 months since your last episode of Doctor Who when, in common with many others, I said it would take me a good couple of years to get used to anyone else in the role you played so supremely well. I was always going to give the lad a chance because my grudge against Peter Davison for the heinous crime of not being Tom Baker hurt nobody but me.
I do feel just a wee bit guilty that within 2 episodes, the new TARDIS team has completely enchanted me. Apart from the first few bars of the the theme tune, it's utterly fabulous. It has comedy, a slight but very appealing mania, great stories and amazing chemistry between the leads and a much more even balance between them. I had plenty good things to say about the debut last week but last night's story was a superb follow up. There now be spoilers so look away if you don't want to know.
The episode starts with a distressing scene in which a young child who's clearly done badly at school is banished "below".
Then we cut away to Amy floating around outside the TARDIS in her nightie for goodness sake. Honestly there could be someone on earth with a telescope!
They then land on a 29th century Britain based on a ship after the population had to evacuate because of solar flares. Scotland, apparently, wanted their own ship. That was the scariest thing of the whole episode! Can you just imagine an eternity stuck in space with Alex Salmond?With no chance of escape? Truly horrible!
This was a very strange world though. The Doctor quickly realised that something sinister was being repressed. Something to do with the creepy "smiling" things in booths. Their faces went from creepy smile to frown to teeth baring demonic in the face of even a mild misdemeanour. The terror of a young boy and the subsequent grief of his young friend was the first sign that all was not well.
Every Who fan will have laughed when the Doctor solemnly told Amy that he didn't get involved in the affairs of others, a statement that wasn't credible to her even though she barely knew him. After all had he not established himself to the big scary eye thing last week as a major player in the protecting innocents from malevolent influence field?
I loved Amy's rebellious spirit which led to her first encounter with the very scary voting booth where she was shown the truth about what was going on and had to decide whether to forget or protest. Apparently everyone would die if just 1% protested. Instinctively she pressed forget.
We also meet the masked golden gun toting Liz 10 who is on the trail of what's going on too. It turns out she's the Queen. And, basically, she rules, mate. Her enquiries lead to our heroes being taken to the Tower where the dreadful truth is exposed to all.
It turns out that the ship and therefore Planet England Wales and Northern Ireland is being powered by a trapped and tortured creature. The Doctor is faced with 2 impossible options, releasing the creature and letting the British people die or continuing to let the creature suffer. He comes up with a third, of effectively putting it into a coma so it can continue to power the ship but, he angrily says, he'll have to change his name because he won't be the Doctor any more.
It was left to Amy to earn her place in the TARDIS by realising the parallels between the Doctor and this kind old creature, the last of its species who couldn't bear to hear children cry. She forced the setting free of the whale but it stayed to do its job willingly, glad to be out of pain.
The morals of this story are clear.
1 Discuss everything, repress nothing. Our taboos surrounding politics and religion are harmful. If we don't talk about ideas which worry us we allow them to flourish unchallenged.
2 Governments can use situations to commit terrible atrocities and restrict freedom on false pretences. War on Terror anyone? Opposing that mindset is risky but courageous and absolutely necessary.
One of the best comedy moments of the episode was when the Doctor and Amy were sent to the depths and he had to explain to her that the squishy thing underfoot was in fact a tongue. Very well done.
So, David, I'm sorry and all that. If it helps, my daughter says that you are still the best. You were brilliant but the series goes on in fantastic form. With Churchill and the Daleks to come, the next six days can't pass quickly enough.
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