You write the reviews: Doctor Who, BBC1
Friday 11 April 2008
The fourth series of Doctor Who came with a barrage of pre-publicity that involved David Tennant and Catherine Tate, along with the creator of the latest series, Russell T Davies, appearing everywhere and anywhere. The hype tended to obscure the worries of fans over the casting of Tate as the new regular companion, Donna.
Her first appearance, in the 2006 Christmas special, brought unfavourable comparisons with the rogues' gallery of characters from The Catherine Tate Show. No amount of special effects would placate the audience should it be faced with the Daleks failing to bother her mouthy schoolgirl, Lauren. "Partners in Crime", the first story of the series, was a welcome step forward from Tate's previous appearance, but it unfortunately failed to dispel all these worries. The mimed, lip-reading reunion between Donna and the Doctor, for example, avoided slipping into farce only by a quality performance from the excellent Tennant.
In keeping with the first episodes of the previous three series, "Partners in Crime" underlined the relationship between Time Lord and companion. It also introduced this season's repeated theme, was awash with humour and pop-culture references, bulged with impressive special effects, and captured viewers with exciting stunts. Sadly, the episode's obviously expensive CGI creations, the Adipose, were more suited to a show for younger viewers. The Japanese kawaii influence in these fat-based life forms was jarring in a series capable of producing genuinely frightening monsters.
"Partners in Crime", though, had at its core an interesting concept and a strong plot. Not only was an alien civilisation prepared to sacrifice millions of humans to ensure the continuation of their species, they were unwilling to get their hands dirty, employing a third party to carry out their evil plan. Sarah Lancashire not only chewed the scenery but positively devoured it as the matron entrusted with the scheme. The guest-villain role has become much sought after since the resurrection of Doctor Who, and Lancashire grasped her opportunity well. Similarly, Bernard Cribbins, reprising his role from the 2007 Christmas special, was a delight to watch as Donna's "Gramps". It was a nice touch from a show that began with another eccentric grandfather 45 years ago.
And so the new series of Doctor Who ground the occasional gear as it pulled away, but I will stick with it. Experience has taught me that for every "Love and Monsters", there is a "Blink", and that every journey has to start somewhere. "Partners in Crime" was a good place to start.
Peter Batchelor, graphic designer, Chandlers Ford, Hampshire
Game of Thrones
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 VMAs 2015: Was Nicki Minaj and Miley Cyrus' awkward acceptance put-down real or staged?
- 2 If you're not already angry about the migrant crisis, here's a history lesson to remind you why you really should be
- 3 Rules on 5p plastic bags likely to lead to arguments at the check-out
- 4 Chaos breaks out in courtroom as father attacks killer of three-year-old daughter
- 5 Blood Moon and Supermoon: September to bring brightest – and dimmest – full Moon of the year on same night
X Factor hopeful Mason Noise: 'How is Cheryl Fernandez-Versini in the music business, let alone a judge on the show?'
Trevor Noah, Edinburgh Fringe review: New Daily Show host warms up in inspired style
X Factor 2015: Ratings drop almost 2 million compared to last year's launch show
VMAs 2015: Kanye West runs for president, Nicki Minaj calls out Miley Cyrus and the list of winners in full
VMAs 2015: Taylor Swift and her buddy Kendrick Lamar clean-up at awards - full list of winners
Climate change: 2015 will be the hottest year on record 'by a mile', experts say
'Women only' train carriages: Jeremy Corbyn unveils radical move to tackle public harassment
Jeremy Corbyn calls Osama bin Laden's killing a 'tragedy' - but was it taken out of context?
Black holes are a passage to another universe, says Stephen Hawking
Tony Blair attacks Jeremy Corbyn's 'Alice In Wonderland' politics
Theresa May says migrants should be banned from entering the UK unless they have jobs lined up