Ahhhh. Now that’s more like it.
The Doctor’s Wife was the belter we’ve been waiting for – the episode that did everything The Impossible Astronaut was supposed to do but didn’t; the epic that The Day of the Moon tried, and failed, to be, and the jolly romp that had a bit more ‘yo ho ho’ than the Curse of the Black Spot.
In short, this was possibly the best episode since the Human Nature/Family of Blood two-parter with David Tennant.
And it even looked like an epic. Director Richard Clark took Neil Gaiman’s script and delivered something that was more like a Terry Gilliam film than a kids’ TV show, complete with creepy patchwork people, messages from long-dead Timelords, proper scares, funny jokes and – hoorah! – plenty of hot running-down-lots-of-corridors action.
For me, Doctor Who always works best when it isn’t about explosions, or aliens, or corridors and being too clever by half, it works when there’s something simple at its heart, when there’s some emotion in it, when there’s something to care about.
And who does the Doctor care about the most? Who has been his beloved companion for over 900 years? And who has just taken him to an asteroid scrapyard outside the universe and had its soul sucked into the body of a young woman by some mysterious alien force called House? His Tardis.
I loved Suranne Jones as ‘bitey mad lady’ Idris, into whose body the Tardis was transferred. (But, come on, admit it: you were thinking Helena Bonham Carter the moment you clapped eyes on her, too. Yeah, knew it.) And the way the relationship between this living embodiment of the Tardis and the Doctor developed was brilliantly portrayed; from the petty bickering of an old married couple to the realisation that this really is his one, constant love - and he can never talk to her again.
The more Matt Smith plays the 'madman with the box' the more I admire his acting, the way he can turn on a sixpence from showing the Doctor’s dangerous side to being, as Amy put it, just ''a boy and his box off to see the universe'. This is a boy who looks human but who has an innocence that gives him no real idea how people work. “Bunk beds are cool,” he tells Amy and Rory as he sets about building them a new bedroom. “A bed with a ladder! You can’t beat that!”
Fantastic stuff - clever, witty and enjoying playing with the idea of time and spacey wayceyness but without being smug or clever for cleverness's sake. Although it wasn't entirely perfect - the climax, where they finally defeated the mysterious House - was over a bit too quickly, but that's a small gripe.
Blimey. I’m actually really excited about next week’s episode. And that can mean only one thing.
Yup. They’re bound to cock it up again.