Saturday, April 03, 2010

The Eleventh Hour: I Predict A Riot!

'Hello, sorry to burst in. We're doing a special on television faults in this area. Also, crimes!'

So, then. Matt Smith is The Doctor. You might have noticed. Yer Keith Telly Topping likes him. He's funny and athletic, a bit bonkers and just a touch dangerous. He's got total mad hair and does weird things with his fingers and he says things like, when asked who he is 'I don't know yet, I'm still cooking' and 'I'm the Doctor, I'm worse than everybody's aunt' and 'you're Scottish, fry something.' And 'Twenty minutes to save the world and I've got a Post Office. And it's shut!' There might be a new face or two on the show, both in front of and behind the camera. There might be a new titles sequence, a new variation on the theme (which, I have to be honest, I'm still not entirely sure about) and a new logo, but the show remains, comfortably, comfortingly, Doctor Who. The self-same Doctor Who we all know and love and grew up with. Forty six years after William Hartnell, Matt Smith is the Doctor. A mad man in a box. He da man. Already. But, don't say that again, all right?

Karen Gillan is Amy Pond. Yer Keith Telly Topping likes her. He likes her a lot. And the camera just loves her. She's pretty and has hair the colour of burned rocks and legs that go all the way up to eleven. She's got eyes like pools of Mediterranean sea water and a beautiful little round face that speaks of innocence - both lost, and regained. A fairy tale princess whom the psychiatrists could never, quite, convince that it was her own fertile imagination which had created her Raggedy Doctor. She got more than her own fair share of great, spunky one-liners and was a quite brilliant feed to her new friend. 'You wanted to come fourteen years ago!' 'I grew up.' 'I'll soon fix that!' Shall we take that as a mission statement?

The Eleventh Hour. Yer Keith Telly Topping liked that. But then, it was The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat (Thou Shalt Worship No Other Gods Before He), what did you expect, something rubbish? It had pace and wit and swift changes of style - from an almost slapstick opening to some dark and dangerous territory later on. Light and shade circling each other in a merry dance. An English country village with a duck pond. An alien menace that threatens the entire earth. Some nasty aliens with big ugly teeth ('Will that door hold it?' 'Oh yeah, course, it's an inter dimensional multi-form from Outer Space, they're all terrified of wood!'). Mix in a mini-skirt, a Mini Cooper, a fire engine, Patrick Moore and a sense of magic and wonder and you have ... Doctor Who. Recognisably. New face, same style. Lots of style.

Fish fingers and custard? Not sure if yer Keith Telly Topping likes that - he's going to have to try it later on - although he's with the Doctor on the subject of baked beans. Bad, bad beans. Can the world be saved by a mobile phone text message, with a photo attachment? Yes, seemingly, it can. There was a great performance by the little Amelia (Caitlin Blackwood). Star material in years to come, that young lady. The charming wit of the episode ('Get a girlfriend, Jeff!'), the clever use of some stock Moffat motifs (the imaginary friend from The Girl In The Fireplace, the 'out of the corner of your eye' malarkey of Blink, the hospital setting and scary alien children of The Empty Child) all came together, beautifully, in the final fifteen minutes. This, then is Doctor Who in 2010. Big, loud, a bit Scottish, a bit ginger. A sexy new TARDIS and a sexy new TARDIS crew. Sound.

'Course I came back. I always come back ... Trust me, I'm the Doctor.' Yeah. That sounds about right to me.

6 comments:

Cameron Yarde said...

Very good review Keith.

chas_m said...

I should be lazy and just copy yours for our local DW club fanzine, but I suppose I'll have to write my own.

Still, excellent review of an excellent episode.

Mietek Padowicz said...

Not sure about the legs of our Amy Pond, compared to say Katherine Zeta Jones or Corrie's Carla Connor, but otherwise spot on. Love the actress playing little Amelia, almost wish she was the one starring as the assistant she's so good. Great start to the new Doctor, especially the Tardis, finally they take it seriously and are respecting the interiors. Waited for ever for it and wasn't disappointed. Happy down to my Whovian toes.

Kev said...

Agree completely that the "I grew up", "We'll soon fix that" exchange was absoluetly the direction that Steven "all-bow-and-scrape-before-him" Moffat is taking. I look forward to the ride.

Paul Mount said...

Nice review...but I take it that's 'The Empty Child' rather than the as-yet-unbroadcast-and-indeed-unmade 'The Stolen Child'?

Keith Telly Topping said...

Ah, *everyone's* a critic!