Richard E Grant
For the better part of five decades now, the ITV network has been trying to find something to pit against the eternal appeal of the BBC’s Doctor Who. Back in the 1970s the campaign started with Timeslip and The Tomorrow People and then later moved on to Sapphire and Steel and most recently the big-budget Primeval. They’ve all had varying degrees of success (I’m a huge fan of Sapphire and Steel for example) but none of them have come even close to dethroning the Time Lord from his position of preeminence in the field.
If the pre-publicity for Jekyll & Hyde is to be believed then this was to be the network’s latest attempt to come up with a credible rival to Doctor Who. In which case I would have to say that despite being created by the talented and successful Charlie Higson, then its aim is spectacularly off. Read the rest of this entry »
Not, I should immediately make clear, by the story and events of “The Name of the Doctor”, the series finale of the extended staccato season 7 of Doctor Who. As has so often been the case with Steven Moffat’s work down the years, what appeared at the outset to be brain-scrambling head-twister of a puzzle is by the end almost charmingly simple and straight-forward by the time it’s explained – and I mean that as a sincere compliment, an example of the craft of writing at its highest level.
Most of us had already figured out that the secret to Clara Oswald (Jenna-Louise Coleman) was that she had somehow been ‘split up’ and scattered (“like confetti”, as the show itself described it) across all of time and space in a manner akin to the fate of the last of the Jagaroth from the classic serial “City of Death”; all that this new episode did was provide the mechanism for how this did indeed come to happen, and why it was that the Doctor kept running across her. It was not coincidence, it turned out, but an essential part of the design – no accident but rather completely unavoidable. Read the rest of this entry »
Contains spoilers, although I’ll try and be as gentle as I can…
I really should know better by know than to allow myself to get too excited about Doctor Who specials. After all, they’ve had a pretty patchy history, with last year’s “The Doctor, The Widow and The Wardrobe” the worst of the bunch. On top of that you’ll recall that I was less than happy with the way that the so-called ‘Series 7A’ ended with “The Angels Take Manhattan” so it’s not like I was feeling particularly in sync with the series at the end of 2012. But all the advance word of mouth about this year’s Christmas special was so positive, and all the preview clips released were so good, that I lowered my guard and allowed my expectations to rise rather too unrealistically – to the point where it would have needed “The Snowmen” to be one of the best Who outings in years just to meet let alone exceed them.