The Day of the Doctor Review

So yesterday Doctor Who did it. It hit the big 50! To mark the occasion a special episode was created, something that looks back over Doctor Who’s past but also sets it in a new direction.

‘The Day of the Doctor’ has been anticipated by fans for months, or maybe it was just me. Not only is it 75 minutes long and go into the depth of the Time War, it also features the return of David Tennant’s Doctor.

The Day of the Doctor - Smith and Tennant

It’s said that everyone has their doctor, the one who was on when they were a kid. Well I grew up with David Tennant and I’m thrilled for him to be back. It was wonderful to see the inside of his battered old TARDIS again, see the blue gleam of his Sonic and of course hear his trademark cry of ‘Alons-y’. We also saw Billie Piper return as Rose, a role she’s reprised so many times over the years that it feels like she’s never left.

The Day of the Doctor was very much an episode aimed at the fans. David Tennant was there for the fans, even though he wasn’t really needed. Billie Piper was there for the fans, even though any guest actress could have taken on the shape of ‘The Moment’. The Time War was there for the fans, the Zygons were there for the fans, the past Doctors were there for the fans, the Queen Elizabeth I story arc was wrapped up for the fans. I really feel sorry for the casual viewer due to the sheer number of references to the past that popped up.

The Day of the Doctor - DaleksThese included the opening titles (done in the style of the 60’s titles) and the opening shot which showed a policeman strolling down the road past a sign for Totter’s Lane Scrap Yard. My favorite part by far was Tennant’s reaction to Smith’s TARDIS. “You’ve redecorated, I don’t like it.” A great nod there to the tenth anniversary special; The Three Doctors.

The episode had two plots. One was concerning the Zygons, who are taking over Earth by hibernating in paintings and then taking the places of random members of UNIT. This bit was ok, the Zygons were scary enough however the resolution was a bit rushed, and we never really heard the end due to the whole ‘Time War’ bit. Jemma Redgrave returned as Kate Lethbridge Stewart, a role we saw previously in Series 7 as well as the Classic ‘Home Video’ story ‘Downtime’. Although her role wasn’t huge, Redgrave excelled herself as the UNIT leader who is not afraid of destroying London to save the World.

The Day of the Doctor - The War Doctor

The second plot revolved around the Time War and John Hurt’s mysterious incarnation of our favorite Time Lord. Here we see the Daleks invading Gallifrey and Hurt repeatedly firing a gun at the wall instead of the Daleks. Hmmm? He then steals the moment and takes it to a remote hut to detonate it. There the moment’s consciousness materialises in the form of Rose and brings the Doctor’s three incarnations together.

Now here is where things turn interesting as the Doctor’s figure out a way of NOT destroying Gallifrey even though we’ve spent 10 year feeling sorry for him for killing everybody. They’re plan was to freeze Gallifrey in a single moment in Time, which then gets hidden somewhere in the universe. Of course they don’t do it on there own and get the help of all the previous Doctors. We were all expecting it, all anticipating it and yes it happened, the past Doctor’s popped up. But not just them, Peter Capaldi’s 12th incarnation also popped up, Moffat just couldn’t resist it could he?

The Day of the Doctor - Rose

So that’s it, they’ve saved Gallifrey and undone 10 years of countless children’s emotions. Hurt regenerated, Tennant ran off to meet some Ood and Smith met the mysterious curator of the London Museum who happens to look like an old Tom Baker (it was Tom Baker).

All in all, a great episode. It had it’s ups and downs, just like everything does. It was nice to see Tennant back, and even Tom Baker was nice surprise. Here’s to another 50 years!

The Escape Artist Review

It is a really terrible thing to see a man with everything he ever wanted; the perfect job, the perfect home, the perfect family, descend so utterly and completely, to become capable of murder.

This is what we see happen to Will Burton; a rich and successful lawyer whom we met just three episodes ago, at the start of David Tennant’s compelling new drama; The Escape Artist.

David Tennant in The Escape Artist

In that time we have seen this man go through an unspeakable loss, finding his wife dead in front of him, killed by a man he just let walk free from a murder charge. What’s more we see the murderer walk free again, aided by a woman Burton know’s as a colleague and a friend. Toby Kebbell gives us an amazing performance as Liam Foyle; the unhinged sociopath with a taste for violence. He goes about his business in such a carefree way, a speaks in such a reassuring tone, that the audience can become chilled without him even raising his voice. He truly is one of the best villains I have seen on the BBC, since Andrew Scott’s performance as Moriarty.

But without a doubt, it is David Tennant who gives the greatest performance as William Burton is changed into an empty shell, a man entirely fixed on revenge and a man with the perfect mid capable of delivering it. The confrontation between these two perfect charecters is chilling, leaving the audience wondering who they want to triumph.

Toby Kebbell and David Tennant in The Escape Artist

In the end, Burton walks free, the man he loathes dead but yet still a devestating hole in his family.

David Wolstencroft, the writer of this brilliant drama, really has to be commended for packing such a compelling story into a three part drama which in no way feels rushed. Whoever did the casting should also be acknowledged as the entire lot gave brilliant performances with great acting also coming from co-stars Sophie Okonedo and Monica Dolan. The BBC really needs some more dramas like this, my knowledge of the criminal court has really improved.

Doctor Who vs Merlin

Well this is a first, me updating my blog not three days after my last post!

Anyone who’s Saturday nights consist of sitting in front of BBC one with a mug of coffee and a plate of toast, will have noticed that recently two big BBC rivalries have been broadcast in quick succession.

That’s right I am talking about Doctor Who and Merlin. For years the young and the old have argued about which of these now classic dramas is the best, and today I am going to be answering that question.

Let us start with Doctor Who. Doctor Who used to be one of my favourite shows. Every Saturday I would sit down, eager for another episode of David Tennant charging about battling monsters. Those were the days.

In 2010 not only David Tennant but also head writer Russell T Davies and Executive Producer Julie Gardner would be leaving the show. I was upset but still willing to stick by the new doctor; played by an unheard of actor Matt Smith as well as Steven Moffat who had written for Doctor Who before.

However when the show returned it was filled with weak storylines, week plots, week acting and weak storylines. I hated both the 5th and 6th series and Matt Smith and the team have only ever tried to pull themselves together for the 7th series.

I watched Merlin ever since it started in 2008. If anything Merlin was a completely opposite case to Doctor Who, starting worse and then progressively getting better.

Merlin follows a young boy, struggling to protect his secret of magic, in a kingdom where he would be killed if it be discovered. During this he befriends the legendary Prince Arthur, serving girl Gwen and Court Physician Gaius.

In a way, every episode was mainly the same but you can’t help loving Merlin.  The progressive storylines, the changing characters, the great dragon who is in it less and less.

So I think you will see by now that Merlin has definitely overthrown Doctor Who. Sherlock however is a different matter…