Doctor Who – The Doctor’s Wife review

Ahhhh. Now that’s more like it.

doctorswife
The Doctor's Wife - episode four of the new series of Doctor Who

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.

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Comments for: "Doctor Who – The Doctor’s Wife review"

Matt

G-d Damn are the British whining annoying b******s. You get great television like Doctor Who, which even when it's not at its best is still amazing, and you whine about them "cocking it up". You should be banned from a show as brilliant as Who if you're gonna be such a smug little ****.

Al

Well said that man. Doctor Who is fan-bloomin'-tastic, even before they fixed the wibbly wobbly sets.

As with Bond, the best incarnation is the one you grew up with, Peter Davison for me.

Until the re-generation.

I thought they would have a hard time topping David Tennant and Billy.

But ohh no. They don't give up.

They give Matt and Gillian.

And the twist of 'Sexy' stealing The Doctor. I love it.

Keep up the good work guys and dolls.

They call you mad if you're poor, eccentric if you're rich, normal if you're The Doctor.

Paul Eaton-Jones

The new Doctor is turning out quite well even if the stories aren't 10/10 [nearer 4/10] but at least he's a welcome relief from the appalling David Tennant. I couldn't wait to see the back of his clenched-teeth a la speed freak mania. His intensity was entirely unbelievable. Billy Pipier? As sexy as a sock full of cold porridge. Matt and Gillian are great but still have a long way to go to beat Tom Baker and Elisabeth Sladen.

Nistagmus

Re; Billy Piper as sexy as a sock full of cold porridge.

Either you find a sock full of cold porridge not sexy and Billy Piper equally.

Or are you saying you've been in prison recently ?

Shrewsbury Lass

Cock it up again?... What, when did they ever do such a thing? I have been an AVID fan since the Tennant days. I was apprehensive when Smith took over the role but he has been nothing but fantastic. Suranne Jones was amazing at the Tardis, I didnt half cry!

Mark

When did they ever cock it up?

Right, let's see (in no particular order):

Towing the earth back into place after the big fight with the Daleks.

The steam powered giant Cyberman walking through Victorian London

The Master being able to jump like a grasshopper and shoot lightning bolts

The Master being brought back to life by a coven of witches we'd never encountered before.

The entire earth shouting together in order to defeat the Master and resurrect the Doctor (with all the subtle Christ imagery RTD could come up with).

That'll do for now, but I can offer you more if you so wish.

Rational Anarchist

All those things you mention are RTD inventions. And I agree on all of them, but since Moffat took over, we've been treated to a much better, more consistent brand of Who, imo.

Dee

It's a question of quality of writing a lot of the time, and I stopped watching when storylines became full of holes and editing / directing just plain irritating. Watched the previous week because learning Gaiman had an episode coming up brought my attention back and I heard there'd be pirates / the black spot. Found it full of holes and, yes, irritating, with cuts that meant someone appears in a different world with nothing shown of how they got there.

However, I watched again for Gaiman's writing - and, as ever, he delivered, with a huge bonus in Suranne Jones (a young Frances Barber mixed with Helena Bonham Carter, I'd say). Also, I do like Matt Smith's acting. Remains to be seen if I actually watch another episode though...

Chris

Okay, let's try to put in a little perspective. I've been watching Doctor Who since the Pertwee Era, and have pretty much seen them all, and I've got to tell you that the current stories, production values, and acting are all better than before. As an "old" fan, it could be easy for me to be a cynic and say that nothing is better than the original, but I would be lying. Guys, although its well and proper to critigue the new show, let's be real...the current incarnation of the show is not only better than the original, but it is also one of the better fantasy/sci fi shows on the air. If any of you disagree, all you have to do is look at some of the current dreck on Tv.

mick

moan winge moan...you cant please all the people all the time.

I love matt smith as the doctor, this episode the dr's wife is one of the best ever.

If you dont like it dont watch it......no doubt you moaners are avid strictly x factor, dancing in the jungle, im a celebrity get me off the ice viewers...