Wrong place. Wrong time. Again.
Chapter XXIII 'The Daft Night Returns'*

'CGI Bulgaria New York Skyline by Edward Time Hopper' (Or something)

Bit Blurt: 10 Random Thortlets

1) Well, you're tempted to say there really ain't that much to notice here...

2)...but forging baldly onward...This is surely a contender for 'Most Anodyne 'Who' Ever', we're in a world of inoffensive.

3) Peter Capaldi does not wear or do fab-a-wacky funny well or naturally.

4) Matt Lucas is good here but could pan out either way over the longer haul.

5) Returning to our anodyne vibe, the new series trail is the most interesting thing on show here by a Star Monk's interstellar mile. Yerse...

'Daft Knight'

6) They bodge the split screen phone call scene- how can you bodge a scene like that? (I'm thinking Skinner's bubble bath moment in 'The X Files'- triumphant.)

7) Utterly underwhelming return from last Xmas's alien contingent.

8) Which Moffat even slyly/snarkily acknowledges with the '...multi-nucleated...infinitely adaptable...peripatetic nervous system' aside from the Doctor. Formless, faceless, forgettable...

9) This serves more as a commentary on the current (non) state of 'Who' than a story in its own right. A symptom of a bigger/deeper issue.

10) Grant/The Ghost (Justin Chatwin) and Lucy (Charity Wakefield) could've resolved this with zero input from the Doctor, outside the MacGuffin of the Doctor giving child Grant the gemstone.

'So do I push you or are you jumping?'

Oh brother, be careful what I wish for innit? Following the kitchen sink fanwank overload'n'horror of the series 9 open and close I was relieved when Moffat returned to the home-turf of rom-com land in 'The Husbands of River Song'. But there's a difference between playing to your strengths and playing it utterly,listlessly, soullessly safe...

'Splitting headache? Take Anodyne'

...For Mrs Gantry this was simply 'not British' or 'dark' enough. Younger sister, more casual fan, really enjoyed it. H'mm...Hand on heart, I enjoyed it too: Pleasantly daft, passed the time. But we've got another season of Moffat over-seen 'Who' plus (I suspect) a Capaldi outro Xmas special. And that worries the time trousers off me reverend, 'cos the Moffat 'Who' tank is abundantly obviously empty.

'Caught in the back'

Justin Chatfield and Lucy Wakefield are actually very decent here. Matt Lucas raises a chuckle here and there and looks very promising but isn't exactly uber-utilised. The Doctor's snack moments are wry enough, the 'Invasion' kiss-back of Harmony Shoal's Tokyo branch being identical to the New York one but ooh lordy...We actually got down to an analysis of the English/American/Scottish pronunciation of 'sure' (likely uber-textual piss-taking from Mrs Gantry) and maybe I should have led off me thortlets with that...really says it all.

'Over familiar (Scarlet) Feminism Moffatry'

An utterly vexed/perplexed, near-meaningless 8.5. The most anodyne 'Who' ever, I think this is actually review proof, which is quite the achievement Mr Moffat, it's just sort of...there, really. I can't get animated in any sense, angsty, angry or amazed. Wowza's...There are hints of (Doctorly?) change afoot with Nardole's closing comments, a Twelve in 'River Recovery' mode and a happier, new future but, h'mm...just again emphasizes a change on the main writer/producer front remains long overdue for 'Who' in me humble, aware as I am that Moffat's as much a victim of circumstance/timing as anyone here...Bloody hell. Capaldi remains a superb Doctor for meself but the series ain't always playing to his strengths, as with all the new series Doctors truth be told...

'Celestial Toy Breaker'

*Yes, I know I was burbling about a long abstinence and this one considered I may well question reneging but by Rassilon's Over-Convoluted Plot Device, I'm dyed in the wool; good, bad, alarmingly indifferent I'm with ya' 'Who'...
- A Xmas Turkey
- Crackertastic Plastic Novelty. That soon wears thin.
- The Comfy Slippers of Xmas Past.
- Worth Celebrating.
- Joyous Reverend, joyous.

'The Feast of Steven'

16Xmas1 - コピー
'...And that over yonder is the Fourth Wall. Which I shall now break with aplomb, eh?!'

Well, it seems to be de rigeuer to have a missing story/episode in a 'Who' list of any kind, so yes 'Feast of Steven'. Exactly how Xmasy this one is'll probably remain forever a mystery but I'd go as far as for Bill's outrageous toast alone.

'The Horns of Nimon'

'Turkey? I'm more in the mood for Ham.'

Just so Panto, no way was this not deliberate- 'He's behiiiindd you!!!'

'The Unquiet Dead'

'We're all scrooged- utterly scrooged!'

Now, despite not actually being broadcast at Xmas this wins out over some other contenders for meself. The trappings are there, crucially it feels Xmasy to me, the sentiment there with Dickens electing to return home to his family. Poignant close too.

'The Xmas Invasion'

'A Winter's (Sting) in the Tale'

H'mm...Kind of but not really vicar. Not sure that Xmas makes for a good 'Who' opening or closing Doctor outing. The dinner scene, yeah but as with many of the recent specials, fails to feel or look truly Xmasy.

'The Runaway Bride'

'Comedy of (T)Errors'

No, absolutely not. Lip service at best and blatantly obviously filmed in summer.

'Voyage of the Damned'

16Xmas6 - コピー
'Your Host, on 'Saturday Night at the Whovies' '

Outrageously yes. Over-stuffed to the gills, Xmas night disaster movie tropes all over the shop. It shouldn't work but it does. An unashamed

'The Next Doctor'

'Tonight I am (mainly) going to be televisions 'Doctor Who' '

And RTD does it again. Superficial skein of Xmasyness in the trappings but oh that sentimental two-hander of Tennant and Morrissey. Plus the Doctor actually stays for Xmas Dinner- marvellous! Victoriana always a sucker punch.

'The End of Time'

'If only Rassilon had had the Santa hat and beard...'

I mean, no, just...no way. Remarkably Xmasy in isolated instances, the sense of promises'n'resolutions unkept but really... is as far as I can stretch it.

'A Christmas Carol'

'Eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we....Quite.'

And then Moffat aces it straight outta' the gate...Outrageous timey-wimeyness plus genuinely moving Xmas shlock-

'The Doctor, the Widow and the Wardrobe'

'By the pricking of my thumbs, the clunking manifesto comes...'

Then manages to uber-cheese it, to a near gag-worthy extent come the close but still hits a comfortable

'The Snowmen'


Dickensian arcana, penny-dreadful capers.

Cruise control, whimsical Victoriana Xmasarama-

'The Time of the Doctor'

'Yes, it's got the tree and the trappings but it's not really putting the 'Special' into Christmas. Or vice versa.'

Indeed. An absolute balls up of an era-resolution and fails spectacularly at evoking anything even remotely Xmasy, plastic or otherwise-

'Last Xmas'

'Come on Twelve, you can ace this Christmas thing...'

H'mm, actually not half bad in some of the little, human touches and a genuinely uplifting ending, sooo...

'The Husbands of River Song'

'...okay, maybe next time...'

Perfunctory Xmasy-ness. Mildly more so than 'Time of the Doctor' which ain't saying much-

And as for next/circa now.....

'The Return of Doctor Mysterio'

'Yep, could be...'

But I'm guessing pretty average Xmas strokes in da' house, more a general re-introduction, attempted hard-sell leading into 2018 and Chibnall era 'Who'...

So that's a three way win for 'Voyage of the Damned', 'The Next Doctor' and 'A Christmas Carol', which, were I forced to call it...

1) 'The Next Doctor' (Sentimental)
2) 'A Christmas Carol' (Whimsical)
3) 'Voyage of the Damned' (Overdone)

WARNING: This post contains sentimental cheese. Although there's nothing wrong with cheese, sentimental or otherwise.*

The First TARDIS Take Off

FiftyThree1 - コピー

Wheels turning round, into alien ground...Thoughts of other times, leave them all behind...

The First Regeneration

Forever Changes-infinite improbabilities before (and after) breakfast, eh Reverend?

The Doctor and Victoria, 'Tomb' Episode 3

It's not where you come from, it's where you're at.

Close of 'Genesis' episode 6

Silver linings, even in the darkest times. Always hope , I'm with you on that Mr Moffat.

End of 'City of Death'

Carpe Diem! Seize the Daze.

'Caves of Androzani' Episode 3 Cliffhanger

Never give up on your friends/family/self.

The Doctor With The Snipers, 'Happiness Patrol' Episode 2

There is always another way.

The Doctor Is Delighted With His Shoes, 'Doctor Who'

'For some people...' Absolutely- celebrate the small things in life, get obsessed and stay obsessed.

'Vincent & The Doctor', The Doctor Takes Vincent To The Exhibition

Do what you've gotta' do-time will tell, as ever.

'Listen', The Closing Minutes

Hugs are good.

So yeah, that's what it says to me- a heartfelt Happy 53rd Doctor Who! But Mrs Gantry would like to draw another moral from the story, to take us up to a bonus eleven...

The Macra, 'Gridlock'

'It's stupid and funny. And be careful with crabs- they might nip your toes and big ones might eat you'

*As ever, it's a cakewalk for sneering lack-witticism and dullardry to be vindictive and violent but like the man said, it takes guts to be gentle and kind.

Well, looks like Bedtime for Reality all round, to misappropriate the dear old Dead Kennedy's, but this 53rd Anniversary month I have mainly been revisiting early Tom, with the resultant wittering...

'In science, as in morality, the end never justifies the means'

Regenerated Doctor assists UNIT avert Giant Robot assisted apocalypse scenario.

Previously: Ambivalent

One I've always had an inconclusive relationship with. Never feels quite up to snuff for an opening adventure for a new Doctor but still daftly enjoyable in a crap kind of way. I gave it a 7.

This Time Out: Expectations Exceeded
Tom's good although almost unlikable (smug/glib) at points early on. Sarah's spunky, the Brig and Benton fifth and sixth wheels, especially with Surgeon Lieutenant Sullivan in the mix. The Robot costume is great, there are some crap (in)action sequences but the real star of the show is Professor Kettlewell's hair. Edward Burnham is great value. But 'I'll show that wretched woman' from the Brig- oh dear. Harry also becomes a bit of a fifth wheel prior to taking off with the Doctor at the end of episode 4 but Ian Marter is very good value.

The Brig and especially Benton are way better utilized in the second half, you can see the real person with Benton. John Levene is great. I could've seen him as a possible alternative in the Harry role through Season 12 actually. 'Doll' Sarah and Action Man UNIT victim actually out-crap the infamous Palitoy tank, Christopher Barry directs pretty deftly overall though. No, I'd bring this up to a 9 and colour meself a fan. Job done and expectations exceeded. Lawks.

Robot4 - コピー
'Beyond hair'

'The Ark in Space'
'Have a jelly baby, Vira...'

Man turns into insect- discovers remnant of humanity; cue explosion.

Previously: Ambivalent.

Always difficult. The head knows there's a great concept and some good stuff here. But man the heart'n'gut have trouble loving it. Gave it a 13 previously mind.

This Time Out: Expectations Dashed.
Somewhat astonishingly, this comes out just below 'Robot' this time out with an 8.5. The latter being, frankly, simply more fun. Boy this is over-earnest. I fell asleep around the rousing 'humanity' speech in episode 1. The design work is very good but way over-lit. The Wirrn, icky in concept are crap in the execution. Though never has a man (Kenton Moore) acted so impassioned to bubble wrap. Things picked up a tad in the final episode on this watch. I've always had a bit of a soft spot for Rogin and his not wanting trouble with 'the space technician's union'. But no, despite a passingly good mark I was underwhelmed/really having trouble with this one this time out.

'To bubble wrap or not to bubble wrap- that is the question!'

'The Sontaran Experiment'
'I will kill you all now. But first I have other matters to attend to.' Well quite.

Ugly sadism against a windy backdrop- a sketch by R.R.Bennett.

Previously: Ambivalent
Yeah, I've always passingly enjoyed this one while getting carried along by the general consensus that it's okay but 'slight'...Still good for a 9 last time out.

This Time Out: Expectations Met
It's good for a 9 again, expectations very squarely met although I really quite enjoyed it. Sarah's famed 'Linx!' gaff, is, as others have pointed out, no gaff at all as the Sontaran hasn't even removed his helmet at this point. I think the second episode is better than the first, more happening but the direction and location work are great and make it very watchable. Harry is hilariously posh. In his third transmitted but second filmed story Ian Marter continues to be excellent but is sadly already clearly surplus to requirements. But as with 'Robot' just pips the supposedly superior 'Ark' this time out. And watch for the 'Monster of Peladon' trumping moment with 'Terry Walsh as Doctor'- he leaps into view over a rocky outcrop in long-shot, wig and hat ahoy and it's simply hysterical.

'Trolling for the victim mentality, no bridge required- subtle as a boot in a fanboy's face'

'Genesis of the Daleks'
'...though the Daleks will cause untold havoc and destruction for thousands of years, I know that out of their great evil must come something good...'

You can reinvent history- every line. Again and again and again.'

Previously: Ambivalent

Always been in the 'more to be admired than loved' camp. I went with an 11 previously, with various caveats.

This Time Out: Expectations Exceeded

Well blow me down...The lynchpin around which all of Season 12 revolves, I'm going with a straight 13 this time. It's easily the best story of the season and next to the non-existent 'Power'* likely the best ever Dalek tale. There are some great cliffhangers and moments along the way- the nameless mutant looking down on the Doctor's group in the first episode. Ronson's execution. The Davros-Nyder two-hander. Major props to both Michael Wisher and Peter Miles. Tom Baker is extraordinarily good but he ain't the focal point here, that'll be the black-hat contingent.

Episode 6 is just electrifying, one of 'Who's' very best ever. Plus Dalek breaking of the fourth wall at the end. Nice. Less is always more with the Daleks, which is majorly the case here. Ian Marter and Lis Sladen are both superb, turning what could sometimes be quite cripplingly leaden feed dialogue to gold. Sheer alchemy vicar. Yes, we have that such as the 'assaulted by gristle' episode 5 cliffhanger but honestly, this remains eminently watchable, generally superb direction and acting. A true 'Who' great.

*Sorry guys, I just can't get that animated about an animation. I mean, I'll buy it, fer sure but...nah...Somebody make like an alchemist and spirit up the originals.

'To come back and be wildly overwritten by Moffat...yes, yes, I would do it!'

'Revenge of the Cybermen'

'I say, what about the Commander? Aren't we going to stop and say cheerio?!'

Cybermen return to do a (disco) last gasp death shuffle.

Previously: Fan

One I've always had a soft spot for/indulged. Good enough for an 8.5 last time out.

This Time Out: Expectations (mildly) Dashed
It's all go indeed. Despite some lovely location filming and good pace it slipped just a tad to an 8. What with glowering Kellman and Harry Sullivan plus doughty Commander Stevenson in the mix, it really is the most Boy's Own of all 'Who' stories. Entertaining enough but ultimately vapid.

So yeah, Season 12...a weird one. Opening and close, 'Robot' and 'Revenge' really do feel like Pertwee hand me downs. 'Sontaran Experiment' is what it is, 'Genesis' really is all that and 'Ark' the shock of the new but quite overrated/mild case of Emperor's New Clothes. We're roundabout a 9.5 for the season as a whole on current reckoning for meself. excellent, if truncated stuff, occasionally stunning. Yerse.

'Leader, are we really that disco?'
A reversal of last time, ten stories I feel were way underrated/unjustly lowly placed in the last DWM poll with the full 'yer mileage may vary' acknowledgement...

'The Rings of Akhaten' (233)

I really find this one quite jolly, can't understand the opprobrium it seems to command. Looks great and largely plays great, yeah ol' sun-shiny big face at the end is a stretch too far perchance but it doesn't derail it for meself. I'd certainly sneak it into the Top 200 someplace.

'Expansive Leaf Emoting- c'mon and luv da big space face!'

'The Doctor, the Widow and the Wardrobe' (229)

Same with this, I reckon some place around 160 would be fairer. It's a great showcase for Matt Smith/Our eccentric Eleventh and the minimal support cast are all good to very strong. The cringe-worthy girl-power moment at story's close certainly doesn't derail it.

'Embrace the wooden festivities!'

'The Horns of Nimon' (223)

Oh, c'mon, this is just joyous, out and out inanity, 'Who' '79 Vintage letting its hair down and putting its platforms on with considerable (inane) finesse. Somewhere in the Top 150 fer sure for my grotzits.

'RRROARR Power!'

'The Time Monster' (222)

Now this, this is just godlike, the easy highlight of Season 9 alongside 'Day' for meself. As funny'n'fun as 'City of Death' if admittedly not quite the wit but glorious, just glorious. Around 130 I'd say vicar.

'How can you not love it?! You can't? Oh.'

'Love & Monsters' (220)

Fandom hang your head in shame. This is godlike, bathos'n'pathos in equal measure and whip sharp smart. Respect to RTD and one of our best guest turns ever from Marc Warren. Top 30, likely higher for meself.

'Melancholia Superbus innit Vicar?'

'Delta and the Bannermen' (217)

Fun, plain and simple. Sheer energy, recall non-fan casual viewer friends at uni telling me 'Who' had got its mojo back. Top 150 someplace fer certain.

'Woooo! Hisssssss!!! Slamming Reverend, slamming.'

'The Krotons' (207)

A far, far cleverer, tighter script debut from Bob Holmes than ever given credit for. Well spooky ambient sound work, superb monsters'n'concept, just under budgeted and flatly delivered by some but one of Troughton's better outings,I'd put it about 100 reverend.

'Hum it don't diss it'

'The Gunfighters' (202)

Very funny, very smart and fairly slick for the time. A real quality late period Hartnell, Top 75 for meself.

'Okay, I'll take us back and rig the poll- Top 10 it is!'

'The Invisible Enemy' (196)

The first episode is one of the best ever but the whole thing bowls along with inane invention, I can even forgive the Giant Prawn at the heart of the Swarm. And some surprisingly good FX work amidst admitted shonkiness but no, Top 100 some place for meself.


'The Smugglers' (194)

The penultimate Hartnell and a poignant, Indian summery coda for the true First Doctor era before the harsh reinvention of 'Tenth Planet'. Lovely. I'd bump it up by at least a hundred places.

'A Hartnell Indian Summer of no little worth indeed. Lovely.'
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Kert Gantry

Author:Kert Gantry
Loving the Who from a very early age and invariably banging on about it. Hence the blog.

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