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“It’s got the power of a god and I just sent it to its room” May 30

You wait 16 years for a great episode of Doctor Who and then three come along at once.

From the wonderful resolution of the cliffhanger to the glorious denouement of the story, The Doctor Dances positively sparkles. The script is packed full of terrific ideas (“Squareness gun. Like it”), good jokes and lovely dialogue. The interplay between the Doctor, Rose and Jack is great fun (“Who looks at a screwdriver and thinks ‘This could be a little more sonic’?”) – the sort of scenes familiar to viewers of the writer’s award-winning previous work, from Press Gang to Coupling. Steven Moffat is the only writer on the series who’s been scripting TV for as long as Russell T. Davies and it shows.

My only niggle plotwise is that the nanogenes don’t seem to try to turn the Doctor human (given that his DNA is presumably quite different from human DNA) but I’m sure The Fans can come up with a reason. Quite frankly, when an episode is as good as this, who cares?

There are shocks and surprises throughout. Jamie appearing in his room; Mr Lloyd’s dalliance with the butcher; the possessed typewriter; and the answer to “Are you my mummy?” Murray Gold’s score is his best of the series so far: evocative, suspenseful and never intrusive.

All these elements build up to a thrilling, positive finale. The idea is terrific, that after such a dark story everyone not only survives but is physically better than before. (Which counterpoints one of the best “classic Who” stories, The Caves of Androzani, in which nearly everyone – including the Doctor – dies.) For the first time in a while, the Doctor explicitly saves the day. Jack gets to straddle a bomb, Dr Strangelove style (is that “Bad Wolf” in German on the side?) and everyone lives happily ever after.

In summary: this two-parter is possibly the best Doctor Who story ever made. As one friend texted me, “Steven Moffat's got the moves.” Could there be better news than that he’s writing for series two?

2 Responses

  1. 1

    I missed the Doctor saving the day. I thought that he just talked other people in to doing it for him…

  2. 2

    He does it much more proactively here though. He’s standing right there and very explicitly makes it happen.