S6(32)E04 – The Doctor’s Wife – Broadcast Discussion

14th May 2011 • Blog Post by Seb Patrick •

Sandman. Neverwhere. Stardust. American Gods. The Graveyard Book. Coraline. Anansi Boys.

The Doctor’s Wife? Find out tonight.

Seb Patrick once met Paul McGann, who immediately pretended to be Mark McGann. He writes for Den of Geek, BBC America, Film4 and the official Red Dwarf website, among others. He owns over thirty toy Daleks and wishes the Dapol factory tour was still open.

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13 Responses

  1. That was amazingly good. AMAZINGLY GOOD. AMAZINGLY GOOOOD! See, it was so good it made me do the cuddly Colin repeating it three times, each time louder.

  2. Seb Patrick

    Spoilers for my upcoming review – that was basically perfect. I’ve got a warm glow and everything.

  3. ChrisM

    I felt rather irritated by the characters at the start in the introduction, but once the episode took off… yeah it was very good.

    Very quirky! And great to see more of the Tardis, in more ways than one. And of course at it’s heart it’s an interesting character story.

  4. si

    I watched Doctor Who tonight. Simply wonderful. Then I watched Doctor Who Confidential. I always do this. That was simply wonderful, as well.
    Then I did something I rarely do. I watched Doctor Who again. Somewhat unbelievably, it was even better the second time.
    Then I did something I *never* do. I watched Doctor Who Confidential again. That ‘You Sexy Thing’ montage was one of the finest things that show has ever done.

    I was looking forward to The Doctor’s Wife so much, I was almost expecting to have over-hyped it, and thought I’d be disappointed. But my God. That was absofuckinglutely brilliant.

  5. si

    Oh. “The only water in the forest is the River”. As foretold in The Brilliant Book.

    Well, we don’t know what River that’ll be, do we?

  6. > Sandman. Neverwhere. Stardust. American Gods. The Graveyard Book. Coraline. Anansi Boys.

    Add to that Good Omens, A Study in Emerald, Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader, Black Orchid, Signal to Noise… OK I’ll stop there before I get to Don’t Panic.

    I’d made a half-hearted attempt to lower my expectations a bit, but then I gave up and let myself give into unapologetic AHHHH WOW IT’S THE NEIL GAIMAN EPISODE hype. And it lived up to it.

    One of my favourite science fictional concepts (Portal, the Culture, etc…) is the idea of sentient spaceships and buildings being aware of their own architectural structure and interacting with (or threatening!) the occupants of their rooms and corridors. So a baddie-controlled TARDIS as a haunted house was the perfect stage to take advantage of that.

    Even though the promise of seeing beyond the console room was limited to one corridor junction decorated in different ways (and somewhat well-worn ways, at that: “all work and no play makes Homer something something…”), Amy and Rory’s scenes mostly worked effectively. On the whole, it was along the lines of what I’d hoped Amy’s Choice would be when I first heard that that episode would be largely TARDIS-set.

    When the House messes with the gravity in the corridor, unfortunately the way the scene was directed didn’t quite convey the geography of the way the corridor was becoming a pit. (Budget limitations? Ideally it deserved a special effects shot as dramatic as the gravity flip reveal at the start of Flesh and Stone.) However, the idea was good, even if the execution wasn’t: that gravity would normally need to be redirected in that corridor was an effective shorthand way of conjuring up the wonderful image of the TARDIS’ structure being arranged something like Escher’s Relativity. (Incidentally, doing a quick Google search for previous times when people might have compared Who and Escher brings up Peter Davison’s first serial. Didn’t know about that!)

    As ChrisM says, maybe Idris and the other “family” characters were a little bit too self-consciously quirky and eccentric at first (slightly Delerium-esque?), but once she learned to tame her tendency of conducting conversations in the wrong order, her scenes with the Doctor were great. I loved the ideas that from her point of view she’s the one that stole the Doctor, and that to her it’s humans who are bigger on the inside, and her annoyance at the police box doors opening the wrong way.

    The more I think back, the more impressed I am with just how much was crammed into the episode: the Time Lords’ message cubes, the House living below the asteroid’s crust, TARDIS room deletion, Rory receiving telepathic messages from Idris, and the clips that flashed up to represent Amy’s memories and emotions unlocking the old control room…

    There were lots of great lines throughout the episode. And I loved the ending: “Bunk beds are cool!” Does the Doctor have a room? Happily at work on the console, there’s no need for him to answer…

  7. Rosti

    > “The only water in the forest is the River”

    My hope [noting that I’ve had no access to anything claimingto be spoilers] for this is either
    a)It’s very important that Pond *isn’t* in the forest, or
    b)It’s an overwrought spoiler-clue for the past, that would have been helpful in the forest on the Byzantium. Linear time is hard!

    But yes, cracking episode. Coherent thoughts later, perhaps.

  8. I thought it was fantastic.

    Suranne Jones often irritates me, but she was wonderful. Uncle was a beautiful performance too. Amy wasn’t irritating this time either.

  9. The Flatmate Of The Site

    My expectations may have been too high, as I was slightly underwhelmed. It seemed to suffer from the same problem as Victory of the Daleks, in that there wasn’t enough room to explore the initial scenario of the Doctor following a Time Lord distress signal. We’d barely got our heads around who the junkyard characters were before the TARDIS/Idris plot swung into gear and too over the episode. Like most fans, I was delighted to see more of the ship, and the House-induced illusions were extremely effective. Smith did his usual job, although some of the material seemed a bit more Tenant-orientated than what we’ve seen so far of Series Six. Good performances all round, and Gaimen’s fears that he’d found Rory hard to use weren’t justified by the product itself. My real issue with the thing was that it was probably just a bit too predictable. Every situation or question had the most obvious solution, with little sense of mystery; it would have been more of a shock if one of the missing Time Lords had been alive, or Idris re-entering the police box HADN’T allowed her to kick House out.

    Don’t get me wrong, I thought it was a very good episode, but wasn’t an off-the-scale masterpiece.

  10. Reboot

    > When the House messes with the gravity in the corridor, unfortunately the way the scene was directed didn’t quite convey the geography of the way the corridor was becoming a pit. (Budget limitations? Ideally it deserved a special effects shot as dramatic as the gravity flip reveal at the start of Flesh and Stone.)

    It didn’t flip, did it? I just took it that they’d happened upon an elevator shaft. where the “elevator” is the mentioned anti-grav rather than a physical platform.

  11. Seb Patrick

    Yeah, he mentioned the Zero Room bit in more detail in DWM – apparently Rory was going to get trapped in there, but because it’s designed for Gallifreyan/Time Lord physiology, he couldn’t levitate up to the exit, which was in the ceiling. Sounds like it would have been funny.

    I’m glad he’s already addressed the “Pull to Open” pedantry, too, with what would basically have been the same justification I’d have used ;-)

  12. Hendiadys

    This episode was superb. Those of you who thought this episode was superb get two points.

    This would have been episode three before reordering happened. Once all the episodes have been aired it’ll be interesting to see what we think of the reordering decision.

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