Doctor Who, Mummy on the Orient Express - TV review: Foxes and Frank Skinner make memorable cameos

It may have been Clara and the Doctor's 'last hurrah' but it was the guest stars who really stood out

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The Independent Culture

Famous faces pop up left, right and centre in this series of Doctor Who. From Peter Capaldi's The Thick of It co-star Chris Addison to Line of Duty's Keeley Hawes.

British pop star Foxes’ oh-so-cool cameo as the singer of the Orient Express  is brief but memorable. Her bluesy rendition of Queen’s "Don’t Stop Me Now" oozes sex appeal and adds a touch of Twenties glamour.

However, it would have been nice to have seen the chanteuse take on more  of an acting role. After all, both Kylie and Katherine Jenkins have had substantial parts on the show in the past, not to mention former pop star Billie Piper. This reviewer has a sneaking suspicion Foxes might have proved a rather talented actress.

 

And the burning question is: What happened to Foxes when the Orient Express ruse was lifted? Was she a hard-light hologram or did she get obliterated when Gus started destroying parts of the galactic train? It was really quite unclear.    

Frank Skinner (yet another familiar face and self-confessed Doctor Who fanboy) appears as the train’s chief engineer Perkins. He acts his socks off, in what we can only imagine is a dream role for him. Perhaps surprisingly, he has the makings of a companion.

Perkins is just the kind of male assistant the Doctor has been looking for. Forget the pathetic, weedy types like Mickey Smith or Rory Williams, the Time Lord needs someone both useful and resourceful who doesn’t ask stupid questions.

Speaking of companions, Clara’s minimal involvement this week continued to assert how unnecessary her presence is. Sadly, she seems to be less relevant as the weeks go by and the guest stars outshine her. While Jenna Coleman's acting remains strong, her poorly conceived and written character fails to charm.

Clara's uncertainty is confusing and underlines the shortcomings of her character. One moment she's ready to leave the Doctor and in the next she wants to see the stars, blaming poor, old boyfriend Danny.     

Capaldi meanwhile continues to delight with his abrasive Time Lord. The reckless regard for human life is shocking yet refreshing. Don't get on the wrong side of this Doctor.

This week's episode from Jamie Mathieson is otherwise a delightful outer-space romp with a rather scary Mummy, hence the later start this week to prevent giving children nightmares.

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Next week on Doctor Who… An alien life force is dissecting humans as it tries to understand three dimensions in ‘Flatline’.

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