Doctor Who The Magician’s Apprentice…


Doctor Who?
At the heart of Doctor Who is mystery…
Suspended airplanes and the Doctor encountering a young Davros… Two strong hooks, offering instant action and a moral dilemma in its opening. Good start…

Doctor Eek!
Doctor Who; scaring kid’s since 1963…
Missy’s indiscriminate killing was the most consistent part of her character, and her callous humour actually heightened her wickedness instead of downplaying what she’d done. A bit more if that and the Master might feel a threat again.

The hand mines were pure nightmare fuel! And, also a nice indicator of being on Skaro–but much better than scraps of latex and killer guard dog clams in previous stories. Yup. Killer guard dog clams. Clams: proving that classics have their dodgy moments. The snake man was also creepy and really well done. No papier mache Mara snake fired Who now. My other half commented at the end that it was a bit strong for a kid’s show–usually a sign that Doctor Who is on form.

Doctor Hmm…
When Doctor Who has a stumble…
A tank in mediaeval Essex. Some of that irreverent inconsistency for the sake of humour that we get so much of in new Who. The Doctor has given plenty of examples in the past of worrying about damage to the time line through such anachronisms. But, with a show that has taken so many liberties with continuity in it’s long history, and the pretty much bipolar identity crisis Doctor we’ve had in new Who it’s one of the easiest quibbles to let go if.

I did struggle with the return of Missy so soon. Especially after the ridiculous plan behind Missy making it rain Cybermen. I can accept them not bothering to explain how she survived, as the Master has had many ‘final ends’ without explanation before, but how easily she’s accepted by Clara and the Doctor was a bit inconsistent. I would’ve expected more of a reaction from Clara and the Doctor, but I guess the crisis of the moment didn’t give that time, and would be a bit inconvenient for the run time.

I think the contemplation of Missy’s relationship with the Doctor, 30 years on from the character’s introduction, is a bit late in the day to do. Had the series ended the Master with Roger Delgado in a story with Jon Pertwee, as suggested in interviews with Terrance Dicks and Barry Letts, where they would be revealed as brothers, it would’ve been great and a contained story for that era. As it is, the relationship between the Doctor and the Master has never been the same for me since the roles moved on from Pertwee and Delgado. The Master just needs to be an insane Moriarty and agent of chaos for the moral and ordered Doctor. That’s it.

Doctor Meh…
When Doctor Who doesn’t quite hit the spot…
Clara and Missy exterminated. Not convinced. The classic show is littered with near death cliffhangers and new Who has plenty of undone deaths for this to be robbed of any impact–or  this to be much of a criticism.

Doctor Ooh!
Those moments when Doctor Who gives geekbumps…
Having Davros and the Daleks back was awesome. There was real fan service in play here, from revisiting classic and new Who elements in the Shadow Proclamation and the Sisterhood of Karn, to the Dalek sets and city modelled on the originals from the very first Dalek serial, to the line up of Daleks through the show’s history, down to a siren sound effect lifted from ‘Destiny of the Daleks’, it was a love in for classic Who. It was great seeing the 80s type of Dalek in my home getting another bit of screen time.

Davros is my favourite Doctor Who villain, and hearing and seeing clips from previous Doctor and Davros encounters worked week to build the tension and history steeped between them. The best moment being where the dilemma of this story is foreshadowed by Tom Baker’s Doctor from ‘Genesis of the Daleks’. I have a little trepidation around Davros meeting the Doctor as a child and the inconsistency’s that potentially throws up for continuity, but I’ll hold off until I see what happens in part two. *please don’t be a Moffatt timey-wimey undoing of part one*

Doctor Well?
A show that can be different story to story will divide its fan base…
A strong start to the season in a show that, for me, had very much become a disposable experience I was thinking I could live without. Thanks to a couple of years of dire stories at the end of Smith’s tenure and a shaky start to Capaldi’s first year, largely because of Clara in my opinion, I felt zero interest or excitement for the return of Doctor Who–I’d even forgotten it was on this weekend. Now, with a measure of caution, I’m excited again for a show I’ve loved since I was a kid.


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