Fear Her.



TV After the open warfare that pretty much broke out online after last week's episode (which I loved but won't mention the name of lest it causes anyone to throw chairs about) I almost watched tonight's episode wearing a crash helmet. Even I'm getting a bit tired of the number of episodes this season set on almost contemporary Earth (never mind a storm, there's another two of those coming) so the fact that this one would be set in just a single street in 2012 was a terrifying prospect on its own. Good job it's written by Matthew Graham and directed by Euros Lyn and had chills, spills and a bit with a cat then.

Because people like to compartmentalise these things into eras, this episode had the feel of the opening episode of Survival (without Hale and Pace) or one of those low key domestic short stories that turn up in Big Finish anthologies. The concept of a small child being possessed and essentially trying to take over the world isn't new, but the art school based process and scary wardrobe creature were more than enough to get me to clutch the duvet - even if I couldn't quite understand were the latter came from.

Really it was another demonstration of the fragile intangibility of what makes a great episode of Doctor Who and not. It could have been awful, but somehow the dialogue sizzled, the performances were top notch and the editing was really effective. Good to see Nina Sosanya again, who's marvellous in everything she does and little Abisola Agbaje as Chloe will probably be head of the school by Tuesday as she scares the hell out her classmates with just a whisper and a stare. There was also a return to a slightly less smug Doctor and Rose than we've been seeing of late. Yet again we saw that if you stick Tennant and Piper together, give them some good conversation to chew on and the room to act, the chemistry is hypnotic.

If Murray Gold's score filled the silences a bit too much (his Mickey Mousing was in full effect here) one could at least admire the fact that the episode pretty much got by with the minimum of cg, using drawings and props, which have that extra ingredient of tangibility, to great advantage. To a certain degree, red light flashing through a wardrobe door was far more effective than that brute at the end of The Satan Pit, although it's a shame we didn't see more of the animated line drawings. Seeing the Doctor moving about on paper would have looked great. Where's Cosgrove Hall when you need them?

Like the coronation in The Idiot's Lantern, seeing the Olympics was fun and even had some nostalgia factor for me because they used footage of the Manchester Commonwealth Games in 2002 where I was a volunteer (Press Office, MEN Arena, Netball). Seeing the crowd disappear from the stadium was a shocking moment and Huw Edwards, bless him, sold it really well. The cut to the empty commentary box was quite touching really, although I wonder who Bob is. My other question was why the opening ceremony had been relegated to BBC News 24 - will the ratings for all of the Beeb's digital channels have flattened out that much by then. It's a shame they didn't cook up a special channel that doesn't exist yet like the BBC3 that appeared in The Green Death. BBC Sport 24 anyone?

Some notes on the 'revelations'. Although new Who fans might have fell off their chair on hearing that the Doctor was a father once, how many people simply said 'Of course he is - what about Susan!' and how many other went reaching for their copy of Lance Parkin's AHistory to scribble in that extra bit of data. It seemed like a very deliberate addition though and Rose was given a moment to cogitate which means that it may have some bearing on a future episode.

And those final moments. I actually quite like it when the Doctor can see into the future - much as he seemed to through the tv movie - and it really was an 'ooh' moment even though we have an idea of what's coming thanks to Tennant's performance. Anyone else notice their stance was similar to the end of The Christmas Invasion? Whereas then it felt like a whole universe was open to them, this time it felt like it was closing in. Maybe that's why they've been frequenting contemporary Earth so much lately - the timelord has an idea that something is afoot and he wants to be there to face it rather than stay away. The fact that I care about this stuff, that I'm asking these questions must mean that the show is doing something right that it's still sucking me in.

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