5 December 2018: It Takes You Away review added.
26 November 2018: The Witchfinders review added.
Want us to let you know when we post a new review? Click here to join our mailing list.
PARTNERS IN CRIME
Buy this Dr Who DVD: UK
You know what they make soap out of? Fat. Is that why this is so frothy?
Meh. There really isnít a lot to say about it. Itís not a terrible episode, and itís not a wonderful one either. Maybe itís just personal taste: we like our Doctor as dark as our chocolate, so fluff doesnít do much for us.
A lot of what fails to glue us to the sofa is the seen it all beforeness of it all. Yet again Russell T Davies drags out (what appears to be at the beginning) the evil capitalist. This is not only repetitive but ironic. Why does he think the Beebís so willing to fork over for his star casting and whizzy special effects? Thatís right: because of the DVDs and the overseas sales and the licensing rights on all the little stuffed Adiposes out there. You know, the stuff that makes (ick!) money. Canít he give the profit-motive bashing a rest?
Whatís worse, this isnít just the standard template evil capitalist: itís practically a clone of Invasion Of The Bane, complete with icy queen bitch. We liked it then; that was because we hadnít already seen it.
As for the new companion, weíre cautiously optimistic. Theyíve sliced away all the ranting and shrieking that annoyed us to much in Runaway Bride and given Catherine Tate a much more nuanced character to work with, which she is more than capable of exploiting. Itís certainly a bold new direction in companions, and thatís a good thing all by itself.
As for the romantic elements which have plagued the TARDIS for the last few seasons, it seems as if theyíve set out their stall on that issue: Donna is just a mate. Thatíll certainly be a breath of fresh air after the humidity of all the longing looks and stuff. Although contrarily, weíre somewhat bemused by the general opinion out there that she couldnít be anything else. If Tate were playing her Nan character, we might be able to see it, but otherwise, huh? Sheís only three years older than David Tennant. Is it because sheís not twenty, a size zero or Miss Universe, or all three?
Although weíre depressed at the intimation that the companionís family will yet again be dragged along like toilet paper stuck to a shoe, at least Donnaís family isnít quite as annoying this time. The kitchen scene with her mother nagging is shot beautifully. As for Bernard Cribbins, some of us loved him (ďSo relaxed Ė by far the most professional of any of themĒ according to one) and the rest of us found the clichťdness of his scenes overrode anything else.
As for the aliens, who couldnít like them? As with the Judoons in last seasonís opener Smith And Jones, we love the fact that theyíre not evil or anything, just getting on with their lives. Itís a big universe, and at least some of the inhabitants, statistically speaking, have got to be cute and adorable rather than monsters bent on taking over the world.
Of course, that does raise a few awkward questions. Correct us if weíre wrong, but had the Doctor and Donna not interfered, wouldnít the galactic Supernanny have come, collected millions of unwanted lumps of lard and departed in the biggest win/win situation ever seen? And instead, thanks to the Doctor it all goes wrong? Shades of The Ark, eh? We donít mind the Doctor being the villain occasionally, but they should at least point it out. A bit of remorse wouldnít go amiss, either.
As for the rest of it, what else is there to say? Itís competent. The missing each other bits are well done. Sarah Lancashire does a good job: itís not her fault the partís so trite. Overall, though, we found it just the teensiest bit boring. As far as weíre concerned, the only moment that really catches fire in the whole piece is when the Doctor warns the nanny to stop what sheís doing: as ever, when David Tennant reels it back itís a hundred times more effective than any amount of sonic screwdriver brandishing.
Itís often said that a companionís first episodeís never any good. But this isnít Donnaís first episode. (Nor is that actually true: Smith And Jones is a total cracker.) Could have been better: as it is, we ainít bovvered. (Sorry.)
MORAL: Sometimes itís better to let it lie.
THE BELLS, THE BELLS
The call centre bits are hilariously uninformed. Naturally, Russell T Davies would never have soiled his hands with commerce, so he doesnít know this, but call centre staff donít drop their phones in the middle of a call for a meeting. Nor would they have trouble selling forty a day of a miracle fat cure that really worked: forty a secondís more likely.
OR NOT TO BEE
The disappearing bee story is true, unfortunately. One theory advanced is that mobile phone radiation is throwing the bees' navigational systems off.
GAS AND AIR
All those oh-so-hilarious gurgling noises reminded us far too much of the Slitheen.
TWO POUNDS OF LARD APPROACH EACH OTHER
There's something wrong with the maths here. The nanny says they have a million customers in Greater London alone, and those customers are each losing a kilo a night through the cat flap. Yet by the time the mothership turns up, she only has ten thousand Adiposes. What happened to all the rest?
NOW A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE
The Close Encounters spaceship is probably meant to be a tribute or something, but to us it just looked as lazy as the rest of it.
WHOLE LOTTA ROSIE
Thrilled to see Rose again? Well, no, actually. She seems about as impossible to keep buried as Jack in Torchwood.
Buy this Dr Who DVD: UK