Steve Thompson

Doctor Who S8 E5 “Time Heist” (BBC One)

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Contains spoilers for the aired episode.

At last, an episode of Doctor Who series 8 that isn’t going to take a long, detailed treatise to review but can instead be covered succinctly and concisely in just a few paragraphs. That’s because “Time Heist”, the fifth outing for Peter Capaldi as the Doctor, foregoes the usual series arc connections and deep psychological insights and instead delivers purely and simply what it promises in the title: a rollicking bank heist adventure story, delivered with the appropriate timey-wimey layer of shenanigans to make the whole thing authentically Who.

duoFor reasons unknown even to himself, the Doctor and Clara (Jenna Coleman) have agreed to participate in a raid on the most secure bank in the universe along with two other individuals with unique talents, shapeshifter Saibra (Pippa Bennett-Warner) and tech-augmented hacker Psi (Broadchurch’s Jonathan Bailey). They’re pitted against the bank’s merciless director of security Miss Delphox (Line of Duty’s Keeley Hawes in deliciously icy villainess mode) who has at her disposal the services of The Teller, an alien telepath who can hunt down any guilty thoughts and then administer a quite shockingly gruesome punishment when called for. But the Doctor and his team themselves have help from someone who seems able to know exactly what tools to give them at any given moment in order to succeed… Read the rest of this entry »

Doctor Who: Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS (BBC1)

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Contains vague spoiler-y type things. Maybe.

Every year, I tell myself I’m not going to be dragged in to write a review of every single new episode of Doctor Who. Or at the very least, to keep them super-short. How much can there be to say week-in, week-out about a single show without looking like a complete geek, after all?

It turns out there’s invariably a lot to say (and as for looking like a complete geek – well, guilty as charged. I’ll live.) That’s because the show is so completely flexible that rarely are two episodes alike in style, tone and content, which is almost unique in an ongoing, non-anthology series. Two weeks ago we had a classic “alien monster loose in a ship,” last week it was as close to a “haunted house” story as it could get, and this week it was … Well. This week was certainly very different.

“Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS” was more of a visceral roller-coaster experience than it was a coherent story. You held on for dear life at the start and then concentrated on not letting go and getting thrown off by what followed. And at the end if left you dazed, confused, excited and breathless like few other Doctor Who stories in the show’s entire 50-year history. Read the rest of this entry »