Showing posts with label dr who reviews. Show all posts
Showing posts with label dr who reviews. Show all posts

Monday, November 18, 2013

REVIEWS: The Night of the Doctor

In a first for the site, as I feel it was a very special event, I've gathered reviewers from Blogtor Who (and some from elsewhere) to share their thoughts on the recent Doctor Who 50th Anniversary mini-episode, The Night of the Doctor. I've asked the regular contributors for their thoughts, but you'll also find the opinions from those who've worked on and written for Doctor Who too! Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below. Many, many thanks to everyone who contributed.

Review by Edward Russell
(Doctor Who Brand Manager)
Having the Eighth Doctor name-checking his Big Finish companions has sparked a debate about what is canon and what is not. Ultimately, there are no rules and it's down to personal taste. Well, that's my opinion, anyway!

I have a friend who rates Time Crash as canon but not Dimensions in Time - simply on the basis that he doesn't much rate the latter. And that's fine. If a fan doesn't want to consider the Big Finish stories as canon, they can simply assume that McGann's Doctor coincidentally met people called Charlie, C'rizz etc. Although that does rely on fans agreeing that the mini episodes themselves are canon, themselves!

Oh what the heck. It's all brilliant! Even the Doctor's less memorable outings are better than every other TV show, audio play or webisode put together and multiplied by twelve!
Review by Richard Starkings
(DWM comic strip editor, 87-89; Elephantmen creator)

For those of us who wondered for years -- YEARS, mind -- if the Time War had CAUSED the Eighth Doctor to regenerate or had just taken up so much of the Ninth Doctor's attention that he really just had not had the opportunity to check himself out in the mirror, here at last, in THE NIGHT OF THE DOCTOR we have our answer:

None of the above.

Finally, a seven minute minisode of sexy NEW WHO that must have proven itself just too kinky and esoteric -- too dark, dirty and distressing, perhaps? -- for CHILDREN IN NEED. Wham, Bam, thank you, Karn.

In 1996, as an expat in Los Angeles, I had watched DOCTOR WHO: THE MOVIE alone in my living room while every other American was tuning in to the season finale of ROSEANNE... and quickly and deliberately forgotten about it. Had the story begun with the swashbuckling introduction of Paul McGann delivered to viewers last week... had he rattled off names of long lost companions in the manner Eccleston and Tennant teased us with details of the Time War, you can't help but wonder if we'd have been so impressed and intrigued that we'd have insisted -- nay, demanded -- to be treated to three healthy seasons of the Eighth Doctor back in the days of dotcom explosions, implosions and aol dialup.

But how would FOX have known there was such an appetite for New Adventures of the Eighth Doctor? Without Facebook, Twitter and the iPlayer to measure interest, perhaps McGann's fate would have been quickly sealed nevertheless... At least now, Russell T Davies' queerest folk quote -- "Paul McGann Doesn't Count" -- has been contradicted by the most courageous Doctor of all... the one who may not have been part of the Time War, but was always a part of DOCTOR WHO, the one who made the decision to save the day... because even in 1996, we did need a Doctor after all.
Review by Tommy Donbavand
(Author of Doctor Who:  Shroud of Sorrow)

Four minutes may be long enough for the majestically returned Eighth Doctor to become bored in The Night of the Doctor (please, won't somebody bring him some knitting!) - but six and a half minutes of McGann magnificence is nowhere near enough to satisfy either yours truly nor, I suspect, many a fellow fan.

The Night of the Doctor was just, well... right. The script, the costume, the battered TARDIS, Cass's reaction to the revelation that her potential saviour is a Time Lord, the Sisterhood of Karn, the regeneration options, the 'hurt' pun, the youthful reflection and - most importantly - the version of the Eighth Doctor we've come to know and love through several seasons of utterly brilliant Big Finish releases. This was Doctor Who at its finest, and it has left us with an appetite for more.

Of course, we're now left with more questions than answers - but that's exactly how it should be. Questions like how has the Eighth Doctor remained neutral in the Last Great Time War? What have his fellow Gallifreyans done to deserve the damnation of the universe at large?

And, the biggest question of all... can we have more please, Mr Moffat?
BLOGTOR RATING 8.8888888/10
Review by Niel Bushnell
(Author of Sorrowline, creator of The Timesmith Chronicles)
There's something awkward and exhilarating about unexpectedly bumping into an old friend who you haven't seen for years. There's that odd mix of emotions - surprise tempered with curiosity. Have they aged well? What are they wearing now? What will they say? How have I changed since we last met?

That's how it felt when I saw The Night of the Doctor. Had it really been seventeen years? The Eighth Doctor hardly looked older! It was a joy to see this old friend again. But, having re-watched it many times now, I'm left with a tinge of sadness and remorse for the could-have-been-Doctor. There are seasons of potential television adventures drifting away from us forever - missing episodes without a hope of ever being discovered in some dusty foreign cupboard.

So while I rejoice at the return of Eight I feel like I'm waving goodbye to the best Doctor we never really had.
Review by Philip Rowntree
(Regular contributor and theatre producer)
The Doctor… but certainly not the one we were expecting!

It is a cliché amongst fans of the show, but everyone has "their" Doctor. Not their favourite Doctor or the best Doctor, but "their" Doctor.  The Doctor they grew up with, the one that put a stamp on the show – for better or for worse – and Paul McGann was MY doctor.

As a child I remember waiting with my father at midnight, adorned with the Tom Baker scarf my mother had knit for me, so excited to get my very own VHS featuring a Doctor of my time.

I was sat in my office at work when I saw the minisode, and blimey o’Reilly, what a treat.  The wit, the corrective side remarks, the underplayed genius, the old fashioned sonic, the desperation of a man weary of war and an insight into the last moments of the eighth Doctor.

Aside from sentimentality, the story itself is a wonderful precursor to next week’s 50th anniversary story. 

I was never comfortable that the Doctor fought in the Time War, it always seemed to go against what the Doctor stood for.  However, knowing that his involvement came from a realisation that the universe no longer needed him, that the citizens of time and space could no longer see him for what he was and that they were so unwilling to accept his help based on the side he came from begins to go some way to explaining his decision.

Superbly written by Moffat and wonderfully acted by all, it was also wonderful to see Emma Campbell-Jones as Cass, who you may remember as Dr Kent from The Wedding of River Song.

Bravo Paul McGann and goodbye Doctor… You were my Doctor.
Review by Andrea McGuire
(Regular Blogtor Who contributor)
We’ve always known Steven Moffat is a master of deception, but who would have seen this one coming? Not me, that’s for sure.

In the pre-titles sequence we heard the already legendary “I’m a doctor…but probably not the one you were expecting,” and I confess that this grown woman wept tears of joy at the sight of Paul McGann in all his Doctor Who glory.

It’s so absolutely fitting and such a thrill to see McGann reprise the role for the 50th anniversary, barely showing a single one of the 17 years that have passed since the TV movie (blimey). And no wig.

In Cass’s horrified reaction to meeting a Time Lord, we’re shown how far the once-great race has fallen and the monstrous task the Doctor faces in stopping them. All nicely leading to the introduction of an extremely young looking John Hurt as The War Doctor.

In The Night of the Doctor’s too-short running time we’re given a glimpse into what McGann’s Doctor could have become as well as finally seeing his regeneration into his next incarnation. It was also heart-warming that Moffat brought the eighth Doctor’s companions from his Big Finish adventures into the fold.

In seven minutes Moffat has given us a slice of brilliance. And let’s face it; if he can do this with a mini-episode, what on Earth has he got in store for the big one? I for one can’t wait. 
Review by Richard Unwin
I help organise a London based social group for gay Doctor Who fans called The Sisterhood of Karn. (We’re a fairly normal bunch. Honestly - we don’t "dress up as nuns", as one recent first-timer had clearly been led to believe.) So suddenly seeing the cabalistic coven back in the Doctor’s life added yet another layer to the Smorgasbord of joy that this minisode offered up over its scant seven minutes. (And their surprise return hasn’t done any harm to our membership numbers either – suddenly everyone’s googling the Sisterhood!)

But the triumphant return of our beloved namesakes was really just the icing on the unexpectedly early anniversary cake. I was one of the lucky ones – someone who managed to see Night of the Doctor without being spoiled. Actually, I’d just woken up when it went live. (Yes, I know…) I was vaguely aware that we were due for some sort of bonus scene, but was expecting the usual comedy minute. When the camera cut to the Eighth Doctor I genuinely had to check if I was actually awake, or still slumbering in the sweet embrace of the Dreamlord. And then the sight of the words "Paul McGann" tumbling through the time vortex induced immediate alertness with the sudden shock of an adrenaline shot delivered direct to the probic vent.

It's rare moments like this that make me rejoice in my fandom. What a warm and fuzzy and wonderful treat. And what a startling surprise! Hooray for it being kept (mostly) secret. (Like many, I’d heard rumours of McGann’s return, but had dismissed them as utter rot months ago. Along with whispers that The Web of Fear had been found – such nonsense! Ha!) And finally having the Eighth Doctor’s regeneration scene… That actually alters the metaphysical landscape of my brain! But now that he’s changed into John Hurt we’re going to need an awful lot of Tipex to update those teetering towers of reference books…

I don’t know where they’re going with the whole "War Doctor" thing. And I love not knowing. Night of the Doctor adds great chunks to the mythos whilst simultaneously weaving more magical mystery and intrigue. I’m more excited than ever about The Day of the Doctor now - this tasty entrée has me salivating for the main dish like an Androgum between courses at the Savoy.

But before the big day, I’ve got an awful lot of new Sisters to welcome to the coven, and these (fabulous) habits aren’t going to sew themselves. Sacred flame, sacred fire…
Review by Gem Kendrick
(Regular Blogtor Who contributor)
It’s been seventeen years since Paul McGann first stepped inside the TARDIS and cemented himself as part of the long history of Doctor Who, in a single movie appearance that left fans crying out for another glimpse of the man in the role. A glimpse that after so long they thought they’d never get.

But they were wrong.

And, seventeen years later? It was well worth the wait.

In a seven minute scene McGann returned shocking the world and taking it by storm. After such a long wait it would have been so easy for the moment to have been a let down, but it was anything but. Seeing his Doctor in action once again was a pure joy, nothing short of spectacular, and impossible not to drink up every moment of his screen time.

The episode itself is the perfect glance into the life of a Doctor who has been woefully short on screen time. Thrust quickly into the often talked about but rarely seen Time War, the viewers run the gamut of emotion, from his attempted rescue of a person in need to his eventual acceptance of what must come next, and the regeneration so many had been crying out to see. Each beat perfectly played out by McGann.

A week away from the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who, and it couldn’t be a better time to be a fan. After this, what other surprises might we have in store?

Are you excited? I know I am. 
Review by Emrys Matthews
(Regular contributor and theatre director)
Where to start?

How great is it to see Paul McGann's Doctor back on our screens, whilst also sad to know that we probably won't see much of him again. It seems a shame to exile him to a prequel although. my oh my, does it handle it with style and panache. It's massive shock - one after another: the Eight Doctor is back. Boom! He crash lands on Karn and the Sisterhood of Karn are on hand too. Boom! And, finally, we get to see that regeneration! Boom!

It's a little frustrating that he's regenerating into John Hurt and not Christopher Eccleston. It's like the problem hasn't been solved but moved along. Although let's wait and see what happens in the 50th!

I think my favourite moment has to be when McGann name checks his Big Finish audio companions before he regenerates. "Charley, C'rizz, Lucie, Tamsin and Molly." This simultaneously legitimises and pays homage to McGann's brilliant audio adventures.

And, it also acts as a beautiful farewell.
Review by Jack Bowman
(Contributor and Audio drama director/producer)

Showrunner Steven Moffat takes the writing duties for this special in a pleasingly uncharacteristic, linear story that takes us through the final moments of the Eighth Doctor's life. Also thrown in were some beautiful touches for fans of Tom Baker's era with the return of the Sisterhood of Karn, and for the fans of the Paul McGann Big Finish audio series, not to mention his old-style Sonic Screwdriver last seen in 1996.

McGann is on witty, sparkling form, burning up the screen in style and this beautiful coda to was was his one-and-only performance as The Doctor reminds us how well-deserved and rewarding his on-screen come-back is. Hopefully, the genuine excitement to this surprise appearance will warrant a more substantial return in the future - we've had The Eighth Doctor's beginning, and now we've had his end; perhaps some more of the middle?

Everything about this minisode production exuded class - first-rate direction, casting, acting, FX work and scripting. The only small issue I could take is that the pacing of the Eighth Doctor's decision to effectively die to become "The War Doctor" feels incredibly fast - as if a few emotional beats were skipped over, rushing through moments that needed to get to the dramatic, game-changing climax.

The Night Of The Doctor was released on Paul McGann's birthday - and I can think of no better tribute to one of the most underused, charismatic and lovable Doctors in the TV series' history. Yet again, we're left where we were in 1996 - asking the BBC if can see more of McGann in the role on-screen, pretty please? In the mean time, my thanks to everyone at BBC Wales for this extra special anniversary treat.
Review by Gavin Dunbar
(Regular contributor & Camera Obscura bass player)
Much like everyone else, I have spent most of the last six months wondering who the John Hurt Doctor would turn out to be. Would he be the Doctor before he was the Doctor, pre-fleeing Gallifrey, would he be the brutal Time War Ender, or would he be somethng else, a Valeyard-esque dark side to the Doctor's persona.

The Night of the Doctor clears up this issue thats had us all theorising and wondering. It also managed to do something that in modern television terms is almost impossible, it came as a massive surprise. Paul McGann, returned to our screens in the role that by his own admission, to him existed far more in the audio dramas of Big Finish, where he got to really get to grips with the character and develop his Eighth Doctor.

It shows that with the Time War, everything is turned on its head. Our hero bundles in to save the day, but the day isn't to be saved. Time Lords striking as much fear into people as the Daleks do. The Doctor, a man of peace, is left facing the fact that the only way peace can be achieved now, is by taking arms and joining the war to finish it.

So we finally get to see the Eighth Doctor regenerate, we get to re-visit Karn, and see the sisterhood, and we get some blinding writing from Moffat, and a full on performance from McGann. This minisode ticks all the boxes, right down to a young Hurt going to war at the close. Its a massive nod to the history of the show in its 50th year, and an important prelude to the Day Of The Doctor signifying whats coming in the future. 
Review by Nick Fraser
(Regular Blogtor Who contributor)
FINALLY.  All those years waiting for the Eighth Doctor to show up, and he crashes the party at the last minute. 

Only it’s clear he’s been travelling in a very different universe to the one we last saw him in.  Where Time Lords are now feared as much Daleks, and the sight of TARDIS causes would-be companion Cass, facing certain death, to choose…certain death.  Post-crash, The Doctor finds himself at the tender mercies of Ohila, Priestess of the Sisterhood of Karn, with the same choice.  He chooses life, but at huge personal cost.

It’s a small story, hinting at a vast backdrop.  Given a four minute warning, the Doctor characteristically lists the activities with which he could fill the time.  Surprising then, he uses very little time and thought for such a massive change of heart(s).

It’s lovely to have the Doctor’s Big Finish adventures endorsed, as the Doctor salutes companions we’ve only ever heard but not seen.  And at last we get to see his regeneration, though clearly a particularly agonising process, divesting himself of his Doctorishness.

Clare Higgins (Ohila) conveys a thrilling sense of urgency during The Doctor’s last minutes.  Her splendid efforts are slightly undermined though, by the “haunting” incidental music, which leached some of the pace from this desperate situation.  Also, the concept of a miscellany of “character trait” elixirs of life put me in mind of an array of Sodastream flavours. 

But step forward once more for one final Doctorial flourish, Paul McGann. Better late than never! 
Review by Sarah Talbot
(Doctor Who fan)
“I’m The Doctor. But probably not the one you were expecting.” - How right he was!

On 14/11/13 Paul McGann was back as the Eighth Doctor; and it was worth waiting for! The Night of the Doctor was tightly written with Moffat excelling at what he’s best at, quick dialogue and even quicker characterization.

Beginning as seemingly normal Doctor Who adventure, with The Doctor arriving on a plummeting ship to save the brave pilot Cass from certain death, the next seven minutes would prove anything but.

When The Doctor told Cass: “It’s bigger on the inside,” it was shocking to see this normal enticement cause terror as Cass realised exactly who The Doctor was. We see how destructive The Time War had truly become when Cass claims The Time Lords are no better than the Daleks. Cass showed such character; I was actually saddened when she died, when she and The Doctor crashed on Karn. Here he met The Sisterhood of Karn who knew the fate of the universe relied on The Doctor; by temporarily giving him life and a chance to regenerate. It could have so easily seemed like a ‘hand wave’ but it didn’t. Moffat used old school logic to his advantage.

It was at this point where McGann give his best performance, with Eight realising that this world no longer had a place for him. This was the end of his story, and it was a gallant goodbye, giving fans something they had wanted for years. In saying farewell to his companions Eight ensured Big Finish became cannon. And as the longest serving Doctor, seeing it through the wilderness years, I was pleased to see Paul McGann get the recognition he so rightly deserved.

We were given a brief bittersweet glimpse of the Doctor he always was…a good man.
Thanks again to all my wonderful contributors and special guests who gave up their time to feel the love for Paul McGann and share their brilliant thoughts - very much appreciated by old Blogtor. And I hope everyone reading this got a kick out of it. I have nothing to add to these lovely reviews except to further the adoration for Paul in this remarkable performance from him. An absolute star and a such a good Doctor Who.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

REVIEW: The Power Of Three [spoiler~free]

Series 7, Episode 4
The Power of Three
Starring Mark Williams Jemma Redgrave and Steven Berkoff

Written by Chris Chibnall and directed by Douglas Mackinnon

Debuts: Sept 22 (UK & North America)

What a lovely, charming episode this is. After some of the nastier episodes of this series, featuring a rather questionable "breaky" old man (Solomon in Dinosaurs) and then a misguided genocidal scientist (Kahler Jax in Mercy), comes a story to warm the cockles of your heart and remind you why Doctor Who is such an amazing television experience.

Right from the offing, we're placed firmly in chez Pond as they discuss "normal" versus "Doctor" life - and it appears they want to make a choice between the two. But which life will win? Everyday, out-of-date yoghurt in the fridge life? Or the not-so-everyday dinosaurs 'n' cowboys 'n' Daleks life?

It's a real conundrum for the couple who seem to embrace being in bed by 11pm, supping copious mugs of unspecified hot beverage and spending time with their friends. Instead of traveling with The Doctor, on this occasion, the Time Lord finds himself staying with The Ponds as the Earth is "invaded", slowly, by mysterious cubes.

This slow invasion is handled superbly, evoking the Russell T Davies era with heavy use of rolling BBC News and some terrific celebrity cameos [which I'm sure you may have read about elsewhere, but not here - Ed.]. The Doctor's restlessness is also portrayed with style as Gallifrey's finest finds it oh-so difficult to sit for even an hour without creosoting a fence or indulging in his mad football skillz [that's soccer for various international territories - Ed.]. Whereas Brian Pond (née Williams) can veg for hours, alone with his thoughts.

And, like a number of RTD tales, the alien threat is merely the backdrop to Team TARDIS and the realisation of exactly where the threesome are in their strange relationship. The Doctor does come off as a peculiarly insensitive and solipsistic, even petulant, individual as his demands aren't met from his chums (plus ca change!). We've seen a different Doctor this year, and The Power of Three continues this trend, all leading up to something I'm sure...

Dealing with the INVASION OF THE CUBES is UNIT, fronted by a new scientific advisor (of sorts), Kate - played by Jemma Redgrave (pictured below). The accomplished actress immediately fits in to Doctor Who, much like Mark Williams did two weeks ago in Dinosaurs.  Redgrave is solid and incredibly sympathetic in her portrayal of The Doctor's new BFF, everyone warms to her within the blink of an eye. It's heartening to see UNIT with such a strong and likable PiC (that's "Person in Charge") with such a deep and engaging back story.

Future companion?
Director Douglas Mackinnon, who stoutly handled the Sontaran two-parter back in 2008 (also an Earth invasion story), finds the lightness of touches needed for the tone of the story (constantly framing The Doctor, Amy and Rory in a three-shot - reaffirming their connection), with an almost sitcom-esque style for the Ponds' home life (and if you've watched Pond Life, it will feel very familiar to you), countered by the intense sci-fi and deep dark tones of the final third (which give off a definite Star Wars vibe).

Chris Chibnall, the writer of this episode, packs a great deal in to the 42 minutes or so; both in expression (the drama of the invasion and the internal dramas each character is facing with their interpersonal relationships) and in nods to the history of the show [I call it "Whostory", or "Whoeuvre" - Ed.]. I won't divulge, but there will be a lot of very happy Who-fans during this episode - with each reference more delightful than the last. Chris firmly posits The Doctor as man, a very human one at that, who need his friends to lighten up his life just as much as they do him.

NOT "hideously ugly"?
The threat of the countdown cubes is, as previously mentioned, slight; though they do reveal a horrific power. And also a new villain behind it all. Well, new to us. Turns out The Doctor is all too aware of the species attempting to cube the world. It's perhaps the only weak/dubious part of the plot, as the invasion and its intentions are slightly clumsily handled in the remaining few minutes of the story. Indeed, little time is given to the main "monster", Steven Berkoff (pictured left), a great pity as he's a tremendous actor and I would have liked to have seen much, much more from him.

In some ways this is an incredibly brave type of episode to air immediately before the heartbreaking finale. Some may regard it as a bit of fluff, without any real drama or menace, but The Power of Three isn't concerned with threat of cubes, but purely with the joy of love; the love between the Doctor and his friends. A reciprocal relationship that is both confusing and exhilarating. And a relationship that is about to end.


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

REVIEW: Let's Kill Hitler [SPOILER~FREE]

It's very difficult to write a spoiler~free review of a story that is almost entirely constructed of surprises. Let's Kill Hitler goes from one mind~smacking reveal to another; it's an episode of moments. Big, big moments. Huge, even. The fact that the title alone includes the name Hitler speaks volumes. The Series 6, Part 2 opener is about as bold as Doctor Who has ever been.

So, I shan't be spoiling any of the delightful surprises in store for you (and there are many, all in varying degrees of WOWness). It does, however, leave little left to actually discuss. As seems to becoming the norm with SteeMo, the actual plot plays second fiddle to the endless array of MoffTrix.

Due to this, there's a slight feeling of deja vu as Moffat's previous big~hitting moments get churned out again; a tad repetitious. But it's so much fun that you may not care about such things. And there's a lot of fun here right from the get~go as Amy and Rory attract The Doctor's attention in a novel fashion as they look for an update on the whereabouts of their daughter.

Juxtaposing the Pond's familial strife (Melody's kidnap) is the titular villain himself (who receives nothing in the way of pleasantries from our heroes) and a surprisingly massive sci~fi element (or, rather, tiny). Though these merely act as backdrop to the revelations and further mysteries to come.

From a production stand~point, Let's Kill Hitler looks stunning and the direction really blasts along covering action, comedy, romance (urg!) and sci~fi with some style. There are even some real moments of horror that may disturb younger viewers (hell, it freaked me out a little!). Points off, though, for the shoddy use of BBC promotional pictures in one scene (rendering what should have been a wonderful moment rather cheap) and the slightly~less~than~effective jellyfish~type robots.

Those expecting answers and resolution after the events of A Good Man Goes To War will be left wanting as Moffo has given some answers but thrown up even more questions regarding characters and the events of Series 6. But, like any good opener, it's an attention~grabbing fun~fest, littered with some of SteeMo's funniest Who gags and a performance to savour from the goddess Alex Kingston.

Guide to Series 6, Part 2
New images from BBC America trail
Mark Gatiss in the Series 6, Part 2 trailer?
Let's Kill Hitler episode synopsis
BBC America Fall 2011 trailer
REVIEW: Torchwood Miracle Day Ep 7 [SPOILER~FREE]

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Top 10 Doctor Who Stories of 2010

Cliche? Yes, but why not. Here's a run down of the Top 10 Doctor Who stories broadcast on television during 2010 as thought up by the staff here at Blogtor Towers (I say "staff", it's just me). Feel free to add your own in the comments section and thanks for visiting during 2010 - it's been a lot of fun.


It was such a joy to watch Matt Smith act out this wonderful scene from this year's Proms, that I felt I had to include it in the Top Ten. Going further than Davey T's heart~warming Music of the Spheres from 2008, Mazza actually appears in the Albert Hall (much to the crowd's amazement). A cracking outing with Smith never more delightful. Watch it HERE.

9. Victory of the Daleks
If only the new Daleks got to say: "It's a hump. I wear a hump now. Humps are cool!" then maybe some fans would have welcomed the 2010 update of Skaro's finest with more gusto. This wasn't to be the case, of course, but as I stated previously - I have no issue with their new look. Victory looked beautiful and played out like a good old~fashioned World War II romp - just as it should have. Writer Mark Gatiss added warmth and humour to his Churchill, creating quite the comedic spark between the PM and The Doctor. Read the original review HERE.

8. A Christmas Carol
With superb production values and cast, the recent special delivered the typical Christmas outing - full of OTT set~pieces and fun (Monroe and the shark) but failed to satiate the need for new Who. Gambon was satisfactory and Jenkins proved to be a real treat but the lack of threat for the 4,000 or so people on the ship "hurtling" towards its doom wasn't realised as The Doctor seemed to be having a great time fannying about in time and space. His time~jumping as a solution to the plot is problematic - an issue shared with the finale. It seemed like an awful lot of work when he could have just simply gone back and stopped the ship leaving in the first place, perhaps? But, that's missing the point. As my old minister used to say, it's not the destination that counts but the journey. And at Christmas, the journey was suitably festive.

7. Amy's Choice
Parallel and imaginary worlds are a well~trod route in sci~fi but writer Simon Nye's take on it was surprisingly refreshing. The TARDIS has rarely looked so eerie and the uneasy mood evoked Hartnell's claustrophobic The Edge of Destruction. Toby Jones proved to be an excellent adversary in the form of the Dream Lord, treating us to a performance that would not have looked out of place in The Prisoner or The Avengers. His glimpse at the end hopefully suggests that the chimerical one could appear at any time...

6. The Pandorica Opens/The Big Bang
I lurve Alex Kingston almost as much as Cathy T but even her appearance couldn't cover over the, erm, cracks (gah~roan), in the series finale. The Pandorica Opens was utterly gripping and suiting of a finale with one of the the most incredible pre~titles sequence the show has delivered. Truly time and space~spanning with direction, set~pieces, monsters, actors and score to match. For me, however, it comes undone in The Big Bang. Again, another great opening with Pond in the Pandorica but the Bill & Ted~based nature of The Doctor's to~ing and fro~ing within time and the repetitive nature of people "dying" only to come back to life (which happened a lot in this series) left me a tad concerned (and slightly bored).

5. The Lodger
Gareth Roberts is something of machine, constantly churning out very high quality stories for both Doctor Who and The Sarah Jane Adventures (in fact, I would say his SJA tales are even better). The Lodger once again demonstrates Roberts' marvelous gift for perfect~pitched comedy in a science~fiction context - a trope that Matt Smith devoured with much hilarity. More impressively, he made James Corden immensely likeable and sympathetic. Intriguingly, the "TARDIS" from this episode popped up in the recent Series 6 trailer.... But two words for Mr Roberts: Meglos, really??? Read the original review HERE.

4. The Eleventh Hour
Without a doubt this series saw the best opener any Doctor was gifted and within seconds Matt Smith inherited the role with frightening ease; "Fish Custard" has gone down in the annals of Whostory as has Miss Pond's skirt... Accompanied by stout direction and one of Murray Gold's most beautiful scores, Series 5 started like no other establishing Moffat's new world within minutes. Read the original review HERE.

3. The Time of Angels/Flesh & Stone
Sometimes sequels aren't as good as the original but The Moff put that tired cliche to rest with an incredibly cinematic and gripping two~parter featuring his Weeping Angels. So many highlights and memorable scenes to mention but I'll cite Father Octavian's tear~jerking and magnificently noble final words: "I think sir, you knew me at my best". Perfect. And then there's the always VFM Alex "Yummy" Kingston - stealing every scene she was in, adding to the mystery of River Song with every breath. Made all the more remarkable that this was the first story to be filmed - the production team really hit the ground running.

2. Vincent & The Doctor
Richard Curtis writes almost~the~best story of the year? Who would've thunk it? The Curtain~ator, as he's known round these parts, deftly transferred his ample talents as sitcom/rom~com writer to the show and, in a series curiously bereft of much emotion, made one empathise and sympathise in equal amounts with The Doctor, Amy and the titular painter. Gloriously shot and scored, Vincent and the Doctor transcended the Saturday tea~time telly spot delivering a finely crafted and moving piece of art. Read the original review HERE.

1. The End of Time Part 2
Incredible to think that Davey T's swansong took place just a year ago but there it is. I haven't been as moved by any piece of television in my life as I was by the final twenty minutes or so of this truly mind~boggling end to David Tennant's time in the TARDIS. Bernard Cribbins and Davey T may have been the greatest duo we never saw on a regular basis and Russell T Davies displayed he knows how to make achingly good Doctor Who. He is much missed. Read the original review HERE.