Sunday, 29 August 2010

Vincent and the Doctor

Anyone who doesn't think that Doctor Who is one of the greatest shows on telly should have their telly confiscated.

I'll put my cards on the table. I have something of a weakness for Richard Curtis stuff (obv. not the Vicar of Dibley). Yes his stuff can be ridiculously middle-class and twee at its worst, but the guy did Not the Nine O Clock News, Blackadder and I Notting Hill, which I consider to be the finest fairy tale in living memory. So I was almost as pleased and surprised to read that he was doing Who as I was pleased to see that Gaiman was doing Who.

The title of the episode was clever in so far as we were all clearly meant to think "Ah this is the Celebrity Historical romp for this series". However, if anything that turned out to be Victory of the Daleks with its cartoon Churchill and Spitfires in space. This is far from a romp. It is however a wonderful character piece. I get the impression that Curtis has wanted to write this story for a while but lacked the vehicle to do so. The flexibility of Who's format allowed him to tell this story and get it on prime time TV. In some ways it reminds me of The Also People in so far as the plot and the monster is simply a reason for the characters to talk to each other. Indeed the use of the "invisible" (cheap) monster was the only thing that held the episode back. I get that the Kids probably expect a monster, but if you are barely going to show it on screen, why bother? Similarly I could have done without the Athlete track at the end. That felt like the Doctor Who confidential house style rubbing off on the parent series. It was over-egging the pudding.

Anyway these are minor flaws in what was an otherwise brilliant episode. A story of the Doctor and Amy given a deeply wounded man a few moments of joy and grace.

In many ways this was a return to the ethos of the Hartnell era. Taking the show back to the idea of following one man's travels through time and space. We need more episodes like that, they don't all have to be about the mosters of the good of the Doctor fighting the evil of the Baddy. We should have a few more bits of character based sightseeing.


Anonymous said...

When are you going to write about the last two stories in season 5. I has been months since they aired on television!!!!!!

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