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Saturday, 30 March 2013

The Bells Of Saint John (I guessed what that meant!!!)

And breath. After far too long a wait Doctor Who is back! And, judging by the reaction to tonight's episode - The Bells Of Saint John - online, it didn't disappoint! So what did we get?

Well, the episode title was just a clever play on words. The Doctor, having spent a long while almost alone in a Cumbrian monastery investigating the Clara issue, receives a call on the TARDIS phone: they are the Bells of Saint John, geddit?

And on the other end of that line is Clara, in present day, in need of tech support - she can't seem to connect to the internet. Next thing you know The Doctor and Clara are off on their first (third?) adventure!

The episode got straight to the point. Something sinister within the wifi seems to be capturing people's "souls" and holding them. Camouflaged "Spoonhead" robots are stalking the streets, acting as walking base stations.  

It seemed that Celia Imrie's Miss Kizlet was behind it all - until that last minute reveal which sets the series up as we plough on.

As series openers go, this was up there with the best of them, combining a clever, creepy threat with enough chatting time to flesh our new companion out. And she's lovely! Jenna-Louise Coleman was superb. I'm reserving the right to bleat more about just how wonderful she is as the series progresses. I think it is safe to say that she's made a massive impact on the fans. I wonder how many people will be to embarrassed to complain after their social networking accounts are hacked - it'll be their own fault for changing every password they have to 'rycbar123'...

Matt Smith, too, is completely back on form. He seems to have shaken off his awkward "I'm a bit awkward yet still super-cool" cloak that covered so much of his Doctorishness toward the end of the last half of the series. He's more like "Series Five Doctor" than he's been since, well... series five.

The Bells Of Saint John was action packed enough to keep the adrenaline up but had plenty of quiet pauses, into which (it seems) the production crew have slipped plenty of clues, references, hints at the "bigger story" and nice little nods to the past. Keep your eyes open for the return of Page One!

All in all, I personally loved this new episode and it seems that most others I've spoken to loved it too. There's lots more to come and much more of the mystery left to uncover. Who is Clara Oswald? Or maybe... maybe... What is she? Maybe? Maybe. We've got seven more episodes to see before we're going to get a full answer to the question that is inevitably going to be the through-thread to this half of what could be the best series of Doctor Who since its return!

Stay tuned!

Saturday, 23 March 2013

Doctor Who Finally Returns!

We've waited long enough but next weekend - on March 30th - Doctor Who finally returns with the sixth episode of its seventh series, The Bells Of St John, starring Matt Smith as The Doctor and Jenna Louise Coleman as his most recent companion Clara Oswald.

Something's using the WiFi for nefarious means in episode six, and it's up to the Doctor and recently refound companion Clara to put things right. But rest assured, the doors will be opened onto a bigger mystery. One that may even be beyond the Doctor's comprehension. Who IS Clara Oswald?! Why does she keep popping up?! 

Don't expect all the answers at once because Moffat and the gang have eight episodes ready to thrill us with before we're thrown head first into the 50th Anniversary celebrations this Autumn - celebrations that have already divided fandom, despite nobody really knowing what we're going to get.

But before we get there we can expect to see deadly enemies, old and new, as well as some welcome friends of yester-Christmas. Packed with special guest stars (Celia Imrie in this first episode) as usual, this run promises to be every bit as thrilling as ever!

Below you can see the prequel to The Bells Of St John which was released online today by the BBC. It's very sweet and sets up the mystery to come very well, even if that ending is signposted from a mile off. I have a feeling this next eight episodes could be some of the best we've ever had.

Unfortunately, they could be some of the last episodes to feature Matt Smith as the Doctor. Rumour has it he's set to regenerate in this year's Christmas Special. I hope, but not disrespectfully, that Moffat goes with him, opening the series up to new talent. It did wonders for the show when Moffat took over and it's about time the same happened again.

So with any luck, this time next Saturday I'll be penning an excited intro post to what some reviewers have called "the best series opener we've ever had" (though The Eleventh Hour will be a tough one to beat). Only time will tell! And there isn't that long left to wait. Let's do this.

Here's the prequel to The Bells Of St John: