Amy’s Choice

Amy's Choice

So here’s your challenge: two worlds.  Here in the time machine.  And there in the village that time forgot.  One is real, the other’s…fake.  And to just make it more interesting, you’re going to face a deadly danger, but only one of the dangers is real.  Tweet tweet, time to sleep.  Oh.  Or are you waking up?

The Dream Lord

Synopsis

Five years after Amy and Rory stopped travelling with the Doctor, they are living in Upper Leadworth.  Amy is pregnant, Rory is a doctor and everything seems idyllic.  Until the Doctor shows up by accident, leading to Amy to question whether she is really living in Leadworth with Rory or whether they are actually still travelling in the TARDIS with the Doctor.

Review

Amy’s Choice is, in my opinion, one of the highest points of one of the strongest series of Doctor Who.  It has some great performances by the three leads and the villain of the week and plays around with the idea of shared dreams quite nicely.  It also ties into the fairytale style feeling of this series, with the Doctor feeling like Peter Pan trying to tempt Amy away from his perceptions of domesticity and the associated mundanity.  It is surely no accident that Amy left Leadworth at the end of The Eleventh Hour in her nightie, an obvious parallel with Wendy Darling in J.M Barrie’s novel.  This story also largely removes the Doctor-Companion romantic angle that had been prevalent since the show’s revival – especially with early companions Rose and Martha.

Look around you.  Examine everything.  Look for all the details that don’t ring true.

Okay, well, we’re in a spaceship that’s bigger on the inside than the outside. 

With a bowtie-wearing idiot.

So maybe “what rings true” isn’t so simple. 

Valid point.

The Doctor, Rory Williams and Amy Pond

This is the first and, to date, only story written by Simon Nye, best known for being the creative force behind the sitcom Men Behaving Badly, but anyone afraid of a sitcom episode will surely have had their fears allayed within the opening minutes.  This story opens with an intriguing premise and has two of the leads utterly convinced that one of the scenarios is reality.  Nye’s script crackles with some great dialogue delivered with supreme gusto by the cast, highlighted especially well when the Doctor and Rory are bickering about which of the realities is real.  There is quite a lot of bickering in this story, but all of it seems believable, especially between Amy and Rory.  The dream in Upper Leadworth shows a reality in which Rory has got exactly what he wants, even if Amy isn’t convinced by settling down early.   In many ways, this is an important story for them. The conclusion of the episode shows that, if there’s a universe where Rory stops existing, Amy doesn’t want to be a part of it.  This sows the seeds of what is to come in this series and also links forward in time to their eventual departure from the TARDIS.  Amy does make her choice and that choice is Rory.  With other Doctors, this might have been mocked or been subject to angst and jealousy, but the Eleventh Doctor seems genuinely pleased that Amy has made this choice – after all, that’s what he wanted to happen after that scene at the end of Flesh and Stone.

Amy's Choice - Eknodines

The weakest part of the episode is undoubtedly the Eknodines, although this could be seen to be highlighting the weirdness of dreams.  There is something somehow amusing and sinister seeing old people inhabited by aliens shuffling after the cast, almost like a zombie movie.  Equally, the image of them tearing up items from Amy and Rory’s front garden in order to break into the house is darkly comic.  On the other hand, the star burning cold, whilst an impossibility, is a rather nicer idea and in the context of a science fiction show, possibly more plausible.  The reveal that both of these “realities” are dreams is really well executed.

The science is all wrong here.  Burning ice?

No, no, no.  Ice can burn.  Sofas can read. It’s a big universe.

Amy Pond and The Doctor

Amy's Choice - The Dream Lord

I’ll make no secret of the fact that I really like Toby Jones as an actor, and he is great here too.  Jones has the ability to raise the bar and plays off really nicely against Matt Smith.  Whilst Smith’s Doctor is almost immediately affable, the Dream Lord comes across immediately as sneering and evil and the scenes between the two are spiky and great.  I spoke earlier about the strength of the dialogue and Jones gets his fair share of decent lines.  He is particularly sinister in his scene with Amy alone in the TARDIS and the scene by the castle after the Eknodines reveal themselves.  The reveal that this is a manifestation of the darker sides of the Doctor is again something that isn’t surprising but works effectively.  As the story concludes, we are treated to a final glimpse of the Dream Lord, a reminder that, despite his external appearances, there is a lot of darkness in the Time Lord.

Verdict: Simon Nye gives us a good story, focusing on the companion’s decision making and Arthur Darvill’s performance is particularly strong.  9/10

Cast: Matt Smith (The Doctor), Karen Gillan (Amy Pond), Arthur Darvill (Rory Williams), Toby Jones (Dream Lord), Nick Hobbs (Mr Nainby), Joan Linder (Mrs Hamill) & Audrey Ardington (Mrs Poggitt)

Writer: Simon Nye

Director: Catherine Morshead

Behind the Scenes

  • The only story in the series not to allude to the Silence or the Cracks, and therefore the only story not to be referenced in the finale.  It does, however, link to some elements of the Series 6 arc.

Familiar Faces

  • Nick Hobbs previously appeared in The Curse of Peladon, The Monster of Peladon and The Claws of Axos, and operated the Wirrn prop in The Ark in Space.
  • Toby Jones would go on to portray Straxus in the Big Finish audio box set Dark Eyes.

Best Moment

The scene with the Doctor and the Dream Lord in the Butcher’s shop.

Best Quote

Ask me what happens if you die in reality.

What happens?

You die, stupid, that’s why it’s called reality.

The Dream Lord and Rory Williams

Amy's Choice - Ponchos

The Claws of Axos

Claws of Axos - Axons

Obviously the Time Lords have programmed the TARDIS always to return to Earth.  It seems that I am some sort of intergalactic yo-yo!

The Third Doctor

Synopsis

A group of gold-skinned aliens arrive on Earth offering a seemingly magical element in return for fuel.  The Doctor sees through their seeming benevolence and uncovers their true nature, ultimately teaming up with his adversary the Master in efforts to take them down.

Review

It’ll be no secret to anybody who has read my other blogs about the Jon Pertwee era that it is one that I am immensely fond of.  I really enjoy the Third Doctor’s man of action, the UNIT Family (especially the Brigadier!) and Roger Delgado, however, that doesn’t stop me from seeing how formulaic things get.  The Claws of Axos is a solid, if unremarkable, story with a lot of familiar elements and I acknowledge that it is unfair to lay all the faults of Season 8 squarely at the door of this serial.

As mentioned above, all of the hallmarks of the Third Doctor’s era are here.  We have an interfering civil servant in the shape of Mr Chinn, played by Peter Bathurst, who gives a good performance as an utter jobsworth who seems to be equally despised by the Doctor, UNIT and the Ministry that he serves.  Chinn is shown to be the worst of humanity when he is presented with the Axonite, only wanting it to benefit Britain and being extremely reluctant even when instructed by the Minister to share it with the rest of the World.  There is somewhat of a see-saw of control in this story, as the Brigadier and Chinn are constantly vying to stay in control of the situation surrounding the seemingly distressed Axon craft, with the Brigadier, Benton and Yates arrested by the military at one point.  Whilst other civil servants have acted foolishly (see Geoffrey Palmer’s infected Masters in The Silurians) or acted antagonistically towards the Doctor and the Brigadier, Chinn seems completely callous.  When he wanders into the reactor room towards the serial’s conclusion, he is more concerned about the potential impact on his career than the fate of the Earth.

Ah, Mister Chinn.  Where have you been hiding yourself?  Canteen?

As it so happens, I’ve been doing your job!

Oh yes?

Trying to do something about the situation.

Which particular situation?

Axonite, Brigadier, Axonite.  Do you realise that Britain’s going to get the blame for all this? 

Britain or you, Mister Chinn?

Well, if you won’t get me the Ministry…where’s Hardiman?

Dead.

Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart and Chinn

Despite the story being quite formulaic, I do quite like the Axons.  There is certainly something about their gold faces and bug-like eyes which is rather unsettling and they are rather unique in the grand scheme of Doctor Who foes, seemingly being a benevolent force.  The costumes in both their humanoid and “raw” forms are quite effectively creepy and I like the idea of them being an embodiment of their ship.  Their plan is an allusion to the fuel crisis in the 1970s, with Axonite being gifted to the humans as a substitute fuel and a “chameleon element”.  When it is sold to humanity like that, it is perhaps not surprising that Chinn would take this attitude to hoard the supplies for Britain, and it is only with the intervention of the Master that Axos’s plan gets back on track.

Claws of Axos - Master

Speaking of the Master, Roger Delgado is great as usual.  He is able to easily manage scenes like hypnotising the UNIT truck driver and using a frankly ludicrous disguise to get past Benton with his usual charming and suave demeanour, and it is perhaps difficult to see any of his successors in the role managing to pull this off in the same way.  The one element that doesn’t really work is the presence of Bill Filer, an American agent sent to arrest the Master, not helped by an accent that could be described as shaky at best.  Despite this, I’m still not bored of the Master turning up every episode, and it is nice to see the Doctor and the Master finally working together to defeat Axos.  Considering how spiky the Third Doctor has been in his tenure to date, it is not surprising to see his abandonment of humanity once he has an inkling of a way off the planet and the scenes with the Master and the Doctor in the TARDIS are a joy.  It’s equally nice to see the Master almost acting as the scientific advisor to UNIT and the Master’s frustration that the Brigadier won’t simply let him leave his fantastic.

Claws of Axos - Brigadier, Master, Filer

If I had one major criticism, it would be that Katy Manning doesn’t really have very much to do here.  This might be in part why I am not keen on the character of Bill Filer, as his role could have been much better filled by Jo, especially the initial discovery of the Master.  I do like Jo as a companion, so it is a shame to see her reduced to a bit part here, especially as she is one of two women who appear in this story.

Verdict: Whilst the story is almost a paint by numbers Earth invasion story, there are moments that redeem it from becoming completely formulaic.  This is probably helped by decent performances from the regulars, especially Delgado. 6/10

Cast: Jon Pertwee (The Doctor), Katy Manning (Jo Grant), Nicholas Courtney (Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart), John Levene (Sergeant Benton), Richard Franklin (Captain Mike Yates), Roger Delgado (The Master), Paul Grist (Filer), Peter Bathurst (Chinn), Fernanda Marlowe (Corporal Bell), Donald Hewlett (Hardiman), David Savile (Winser), Derek Ware (Pigbin Josh), Bernard Holley (Axon Man), Michael Walker (1st Radar Operator), David G Marsh (2nd Radar Operator), Patricia Gordino (Axon Woman), John Hicks (Axon Boy), Debbie Lee London (Axon Girl), Tim Piggott-Smith (Captain Harker), Kenneth Benda (Defence Minister) & Royston Farrell (Technician).

Writer: Bob Baker & Dave Martin

Director: Michael Ferguson

Parts: 4

Behind the Scenes

  • The first contribution to the show by Bob Baker and Dave Martin.  Originally envisaged as a six or seven-part story, it was scaled back due to issues relating to the budget.
  • The first appearance of the TARDIS interior in Pertwee’s era, and the differences seen here – the corridor between the main doors and the console room and the monitor screen being contained in a roundel.  When the TARDIS interior reappeared later, both features were gone.
  • An overnight snowstorm during location filming necessitated the line regarding the ‘freak weather conditions’ caused by the arrival of Axos.
  • The third and final serial of the Pertwee era to use the Patrick Troughton variation of the theme.
  • Bernard Holley previously appeared in The Tomb of the Cybermen and would reprise his role in The Feast of Axos.  Peter Bathurst had previously appeared in The Power of the Daleks, John Hicks had previously appeared in The Dominators, and Tim Piggott-Smith would go on to appear in The Masque of Mandragora.

Best Moment

Seeing the Master and the Brigadier working together is quite enjoyable.

Best Quote

What else can we do?

Oh, nothing very much.  Oh, I suppose you can take the usual precautions against nuclear blast, like, er, sticky tape on the windows and that sort of thing.

Hardiman and the Master

Claws of Axos - Jo, Doctor, Filer

The Age of Steel

The Age of Steel - Cybermen

The human race.  For such an intelligent lot you aren’t half susceptible. Give anyone a chance to take control and you submit.  Sometimes I think you enjoy it.  Easy life.

Tenth Doctor

Synopsis

On the parallel Earth, Lumic is starting to convert unwilling humans into Cybermen and it is a race against time for the Doctor, Rose and Mickey along with Pete Tyler and the Preachers to stop the Cybermen.

Review

I’d love to say that my problems from Rise of the Cybermen are magically fixed by the second part.  There are some nice moments here, however, the Cybermen do still feel quite hampered by the presence of John Lumic, their creator, who feels like a completely unnecessary addition to Doctor Who’s history.  The conclusion to their reintroduction to the revived series, this episode is better than it’s predecessor but could be so much better.

There are moments here that work really nicely and most of these are down to Graeme Harper’s direction.  The scenes with the Doctor and Mrs Moore walking through the Cybermen-filled tunnels leading to Battersea Power Station are beautifully shot and nicely atmospheric.  Harper’s experience of directing the original series definitely stands him in good stead and this definitely shows through here and shooting the Cybermen from low angles certainly makes them feel intimidating.  There are some nice emotional moments here, like the scene with the Cyberman remember who she was prior to conversion, revealing that she was Sally Phelan and converted the night before her marriage.  Call me a sentimental old romantic, but that really gets me every time.  Equally, even though I know that Mrs Moore’s demise is coming every time, it doesn’t lessen its emotional impact.  A scene that did take me by surprise, however, is a very brief one in the episode’s closing moments when Rose returns home to see her mother, and when Jackie asks what’s happened and the Doctor can only answer that they went ‘Far away.’  It’s a lovely moment, where the acting achieves more than pages of dialogue ever would.

Equally, Mickey finally has some development.  Following on from the death of his doppelganger Ricky early on in this concluding episode, Mickey finds a place for him to be happy and not trailing around after the Doctor and Rose, which feels like a lovely moment of seizing control of his future.  I wish I could say that this feels like it has been coming from Rose, however, from my other Tenth Doctor reviews you will see that I am not a fan of how the show has treated Mickey generally.  That being said, the fact that he kisses Rose before running off with Ricky does suggest that he hasn’t entirely moved on from her, despite her ambivalence towards him.  Rose’s reaction to her decision to stay on this parallel Earth feels slightly false considering what we’ve seen before.

The Age of Steel - Cybercontroller

I feel as though the writer, Tom MacRae, and potentially Russell T Davies (depending on how much he rewrote), don’t really know what to do with the Cybermen.  They seem to just be there for large periods of this story, not really doing anything except being pawns in Lumic’s game for World Domination.  The fact that the Doctor is able to save himself, Pete and Rose early on with the sonic screwdriver without really explaining what he did really irritates me.  The story does feel extremely derivative of Genesis of the Daleks, especially when he debates whether causing the destruction of the Cybermen by overwhelming them with emotion is the right course of action.  Equally, Lumic feels utterly superfluous – not every adversary that the Doctor faces needs a Davros style creator, and Lumic feels utterly ridiculous here.  Ultimately, the audience doesn’t really care when John Lumic gets converted into the Cyber Controller by the Cybermen because we haven’t really spent enough time with this character to care about his ultimate fate.

The Age of Steel - Pete Rose Doctor

Verdict: The conclusion of the reintroduction of the Cybermen is enjoyable if slightly underwhelming, with the titular antagonist taking more of a back seat in this concluding part. 5/10

Cast: David Tennant (The Doctor), Billie Piper (Rose Tyler), Noel Clarke (Mickey Smith), Camille Coduri (Jackie Tyler), Shaun Dingwall (Peter Tyler), Roger Lloyd Pack (John Lumic), Andrew Hayden-Smith (Jake Simmonds), Helen Griffin (Mrs Moore), Colin Spaull (Mr Crane), Duncan Duff (Newsreader), Paul Kasey (Cyber Leader) & Nicholas Briggs (Voice of the Cybermen).

Writer: Tom MacRae

Director: Graeme Harper

Behind the Scenes

  • In a scene that was deleted from the final episode, it would have been revealed that Ricky and Jake were lovers.
  • There are references to Tomb of the Cybermen, including the Cybermen being able to kill with electricity from their hands, using mind control and characters being surprised by a decoy Cyberman.

Best Moment

A scene that I had forgotten but one that plays really nicely – the brief scene between Rose, Jackie and the Doctor towards the end of the episode.

Best Quote

I’ve been captured.  But don’t worry, Rose and Pete are out there.  They can rescue me.  Oh well, never mind.

The Tenth Doctor

The Evil of the Daleks

Evil of the Daleks - Dalek Emperor

Synopsis

The Daleks capture the Doctor to distilling the human factor, believing that this will mean that it will make them invincible.  The Doctor appears to be co-operating with them, making Jamie question his faith in the Time Lord.

The Story

The Evil of the Daleks is another Patrick Troughton story which is mostly missing from the BBC Archives, having been wiped in the early 1970s, with only episode two having been recovered.  Ironically, The Evil of the Daleks was the first story to be repeated on British television, being re-broadcast in the gap between Seasons 5 and 6, with some new framing narration performed by Patrick Troughton and Wendy Padbury (the new companion as played by Wendy Padbury) at the start of the first episode.

Evil of the Daleks - Dalek Jamie Victoria

This story actually serves as an introduction for another new companion, Victoria Waterfield, played by Deborah Watling, who leaves with the Doctor and Jamie at the end of the story.  With the story starting with Victoria’s father Edward stealing the TARDIS in Victorian times, this means that the Doctor is travelling with two humans from different eras of humanity’s past.  Edward’s eventual sacrifice at the end of this story leaves Victoria as an orphan, something that will lead to one of my personal favourite Doctor speeches in the next story, The Tomb of the Cybermen.  Victoria would stay with the Doctor and Jamie until Fury from the Deep, which continues a tradition of only having companions (apart from Jamie) travel with the Doctor for a single season.

The Evil of the Daleks was at the time intended to be the final appearance of the Daleks on Doctor Who.  Their creator, Terry Nation, intended to sell them to American television and so the decision was made to give them a final send-off from their parent show, as there was some talk of this Dalek spin-off being broadcast in Britain on ITV.  David Whittaker’s story did kill off the Daleks in the final scenes of the story, however, producer Innes Lloyd was told at the last moment not to make this a final end.  This was achieved by putting a glowing light inside one of the wrecked cases of the Daleks, suggesting that something had survived.  Of course, the Daleks would return, however, this would be their last appearance for five years, reappearing in Day of the Daleks opposite Troughton’s successor, Jon Pertwee.

The Evil of the Daleks - Destruction of the Daleks

This makes this story the first season finale to feature a recurring adversary of the Doctor’s and marks the end of Troughton’s first season as the Doctor, marking a successful transition of lead actors and securing the future of the show.

Cast: Patrick Troughton (The Doctor), Frazer Hines (Jamie McCrimmon), Deborah Watling (Victoria Waterfield), John Bailey (Edward Waterfield), Marius Goring (Theodore Maxtible), Alec Ross (Bob Hall), Griffith Davies (Kennedy), Geoffrey Colville (Perry), Jo Rowbottom (Mollie Dawson), Brigit Forsyth (Ruth Maxtible), Gary Watson (Arthur Terrall), Windsor Davies (Toby), Sonny Caldinez (Kemel), Robert Jewell, Gerald Taylor, John Scott Martin, Murphy Grumbar & Ken Tyllsen (Daleks), Roy Skelton and Peter Hawkins (Voices of the Daleks).

Writer: David Whitaker

Director: Derek Martinus

Behind the Scenes

  • John Bailey, who plays Edward Waterfield here, had previously appeared in The Sensorites and would go on to appear in The Horns of Nimon.
  • The Evil of the Daleks was voted as the best Doctor Who serial ever by readers of Dreamwatch Bulletin in a 1993 poll celebrating the show’s 30th Anniversary.

 

The Timeless Children

This post contains spoilers for The Timeless Children.  If you haven’t seen it yet, please turn back now and come back after watching.

The Timeless Children - Doctor and the Master

Welcome, Doctor.  Are you suffering comfortably? Then, I’ll begin.  Once upon a time…No.  Once upon several times, before the Time Lords, before everything we know, there was an explorer.

The Master

Synopsis

The Cybermen are on the march.  The last remaining humans are hunted down.  Lies are exposed, truths are revealed, and for the Doctor, nothing will be the same again.

Review

Well, that was no Battle of Ranskoor Av Kolos.

We had the Master, Gallifrey and the Cybermen and some answers, yet more questions to send some of us away scratching our heads.  With Sacha Dhawan’s arrival at the end of the previous story, Ashad and the Cybermen take a backseat to a story that delves into Time Lord history and the truth behind the Timeless Child, which is a bit of a shame as they are possibly the most interesting take on the Cybermen we have seen in the revived series, but this new Master certainly feels like enough of a threat to the Doctor and universal survival.

The Timeless Children - Ashad

I’ll start with my biggest issue with the story, which is the role of the Cybermen, who do feel underserved here and do ultimately end up as a new army for the Master, which does certainly feel like a waste of this new take on the Cybermen.  They ultimately only end up killing one of the human survivors, which feels a bit bizarre considering that the large guest cast here are mainly cannon fodder, with one obvious exception.  Ashad does still bring a large amount of threat to the story, with the scene with Yaz and Graham hiding inside Cyber suits – a plot element which the story somehow manages to play straight and avoids lengthy passages of the companions trudging about in Cybersuits, potentially thankfully.  Ultimately, the Cybermen’s plan is a bit rubbish, wanting to wipe out all organic life, which the Master is perfectly right in poking holes in and suggesting a new plan for the Cybermen to dominate the galaxy.  From the moment that Ashad is taken out of the picture via the Master’s Tissue Compression Eliminator, the Cybermen are essentially set dressing, waiting for Ko Sharmus to blow them up in the final moments.  I would like to see the Cybermen be a threat on their own, so I was quite pleased to see that they weren’t working with the Master before this story, however, the fact that they end up working together disappointed me.  I’m not sure how well it would have worked to have them as entirely separated plot elements though, so maybe this is a no-win scenario.

After playing relatively safe with canon and ‘established’ lore in Series 11, Chris Chibnall has somewhat resolved to tear the rule book up here, most notably in Fugitive of the Judoon introducing us to a mysterious new Doctor played by Jo Martin.  The Timeless Children does have to provide us with some answers to questions raised here and shows us the origins of the alien that we know as ‘The Doctor’.  This story shows that the Doctor was found at a mysterious boundary to another universe and that this Timeless Child was the base genetic code for the Gallifreyans, permitting them the ability to regenerate, rewriting what we had previously been told about the role of Rassilon, who isn’t mentioned by name here, in the foundation of Time Lord society.  Whilst it might not be a shock to discover that the Doctor is the Timeless Child, the child’s treatment at the hands of her adoptive mother Tecteun and the Time Lords more generally is more of a surprise.  Previous incarnations of the Doctor prior to Hartnell are revealed to have been working for a mysterious Time Lord secret police – potentially a precursor to the Celestial Intervention Agency – who ultimately wiped the Doctor’s memory.  This is also revealed to be what the Ireland scenes with Brendan last week were – a way of covering up previous Time Lord interference in the Doctor’s life.   Whilst we get some of the Doctor’s backstory, the central mystery still remains – we still don’t really know more about the Doctor and where she came from.

The Timeless Children - Master and Ashad

The Master takes centre stage for a lot of the story, with the Doctor paralysed in the Matrix Chamber on Gallifrey and the companions fleeing the Cybermen, and it cements Dhawan as a great Master.  This incarnation is seen to be more vicious than other incarnations, his heel turn on Ashad being a prime example of his aggression.  He and Whittaker really spark off each other in their scenes in the Matrix and his fury at his discovery that there has always been a part of the Doctor inside him all along is utterly believable in this particular incarnation.  We are still no clearer on where he falls in the line-up – whether he is pre- or post-Michelle Gomez, but I don’t think it really matters.  His creation of his ‘perfect army’ of Cybermen with the ability to regenerate also seems a bit bizarre, although the image of Cybermen wearing Time Lord headgear is great despite the concept being ridiculously daft.  Despite my reservations about his presence reducing the role played by the Cybermen, I really like this incarnation of the Master and I am certain he will return at some stage.

Timeless Children - Graham and Yaz

The Doctor certainly goes through the emotional wringer in this episode, and Whittaker is great here with dealing with the revelations and her determination to sacrifice herself to stop the Master and the Cybermen is fantastic.  Her farewell to the companions is so heartfelt and reminiscent of the ending of the first series, with the Doctor packing her companions off to safety on Earth. Obviously, the audience know that she won’t go through with it, but the moment that Ko Sharmus steps into her place to finish off the Cybermen still works well.  We also get a welcome but all too brief appearance from Jo Martin, which looks like it might be the last time we see her, but she does deliver some of the most important dialogue to save the Doctor from the Matrix.  The companions largely have reduced roles but there are some important character moments, like Ryan being able to accurately throw a bomb to stop the advancing Cybermen and Graham and Yaz’s interaction on the Cyber Carrier, which made me 99% certain that one of them was going to die.  Whilst the companions and the Doctor end this story separated, I wouldn’t be surprised to see them crop up in the festive special for a farewell adventure with the Doctor for one or all of them.

Listen, Yaz, um…If we don’t get out of this…

We will get out of this.

Yeah, well…I know, but I’m just saying, if we don’t…I want you to know I…I think you’re such an impressive young woman.  Never thrown by anything.  Always fighting.

Thanks.

You said to the Doc that you thought she was the best person you’d ever met.  You know what, Yaz?  I think you are.  You ain’t got a time machine or a sonic…but you’re never afraid and you’re never beaten.  I’m going to sound like a…like a proper old man, but you’re doing your family proud, Yaz, you really are.  In fact, you’re doing the whole human race proud.  S-Sorry.  I haven’t offended you, have I?

It’s the nicest thing anyone’s ever said to me.

Oh, right.

You’re not such a bad human yourself, either.

Not su…?  Is that it?  I’ve just said all them lovely things about you, and all you give me is “You’re not such a bad human”?

Mate, I’m from Yorkshire – that’s a love letter.

Graham O Brien and Yasmin Khan

Finally, that ending – the Doctor imprisoned for the acts of her previous incarnations certainly tees up an interesting premise for the Special – I’m intrigued to see how the Doctor will get out of this one.

Verdict: The Timeless Children certainly provides some answers, and Dhawan and Whittaker are superb.  The Cybermen are a bit underused and their plan is a bit daft, but this does close off a strong season well. 8/10.

Cast: Jodie Whittaker (The Doctor), Bradley Walsh (Graham O’Brien), Tosin Cole (Ryan Sinclair), Mandip Gill (Yasmin Khan), Sacha Dhawan (The Master), Patrick O’Kane (Ashad), Ian McElhinney (Ko Sharmus), Julie Graham (Ravio), Alex Austin (Yedlarmi), Rhiannon Clements (Bescot), Matt Carver (Ethan), Seylan Baxter (Tecteun), Kirsty Besterman (Solpada), Paul Kasey (Judoon Captain), Nicholas Briggs (Voice of the Cybermen & Judoon Captain), Matthew Rohman, Simon Carew, Jon Davey, Richard Highgate, Richard Price, Mickey Lewis, Matthew Doman & Paul Bailey (Cybermen) and Jo Martin (The Doctor).

Writer: Chris Chibnall

Director: Jamie Magnus Stone

Behind the Scenes

  • There are so many references here – to name a few, we have a brief mention of the Doctor and the Master running away from Borusa through the Citadel of Gallifrey, several references to The Deadly Assassin and a fleeting mention of Kamelion. Most importantly, it states that the mysterious incarnations seen in The Brain of Morbius were previous incarnations of the Doctor.

Best Moment

The Doctor breaking out of the Matrix, showing all of her past incarnations, with the theme underneath – including solving some questions that have bugged people since The Brain of Morbius.

Best Quote

Where do you fit into all of this?  Were you me all that time ago?  Were all my memories of you erased?  Did they force me back into becoming a child?  How many more of me are there out there?

I don’t have those answers.  But say I did, would they even help?

Of course they would.  All this, it means I’m not who I thought I was.

Because your memories aren’t compatible with what you learnt today?

Yes.

Have you ever been limited by who you were before?

Ah.  Now, that does sound like me talking.

The Doctor and The Doctor (Jo Martin)

But, it could have so nearly been this:

So come on, Doc, what are you thinking?

One option left  I have to use the Death Particle on Gallifrey.  On my home.  On the Master and his new breed of Cybermen.  

Are you sure you want to do that?

I’m sure I don’t want to do that but there’s not alternative.  If the Master and the Cybermen get off this planet, they’ll be unstoppable.  I started this with Shelley and the Cyberium, now I have to finish it.  Alone.

What?

The TARDIS will take you back to Earth.  All of you.  You can settle in the 21st Century.

You’re not serious.

Deadly.

What about you?  You detonate that thing, you’ll die too.

That’s the way it has to be.  And I would do that in a heartbeat for this universe.  For you…my fam.

We’re not letting you go! You’re not doing this!

Get off me, Yaz.  Please.

Yaz.  Come on.

Live great lives.

Graham O’Brien, The Doctor, Ryan Sinclair, Yasmin Khan and Ravio.