Review: Doctor Who – 3×3 – Gridlock


Hey hey hey! That’s a bit more like it.

Sorry, that came out a bit more Krusty the Clown than I’d have liked.

But, Gridlock is definitely the first of this series’ episodes that I’ve really liked. Sure, if I were Ozymandias, king of lorries, I would be able to summon a vehicle that would be able to take me through all the plot loopholes, but it was still fun, emotional when it needed to be, and chockablock with continuity fun.

Spoilers ahoy. Go no further if you haven’t seen it yet

So first off, the Macra. Who saw that one coming?

Hands down you at the back who’s been reading the spoilers.

But seriously, the Macra? The not-at-all-well-remembered enemy from a single Patrick Troughton story that only has about three milliseconds of footage surviving in the archives? (Polly screams at monitor screen in TARDIS as she sees particularly rubbish crab claw appear. Edifying, huh?)

Imagine you’re the world’s greatest Doctor Who fanboy (ie Russell T Davies) and you’re given a chance to bring back anything you like from Doctor Who history: Yeti, Sontarans, Ice Warriors, Magnus Greel and the Peking Homunculus. Would you bring back the sodding Macra? No, me neither.

Having said that, weren’t they good? Very scary, nicely CGIed. Better when you couldn’t see them, mind.

Incidentally, why is it that every alien race the Doctor meets these days dominated the galaxy billions and billions of years ago and has since been forgotten about?

What to say about New New York? Bit more new new York than new New York, wasn’t it? At least, unless those forthcoming cheap Ryanair flights have a strange effect on the population of Manhattan and New York is swamped with Brits, don’t you think New New York should have had some I don’t know actual Americans in it and shouldn’t they all have been going along the freeway instead of a motorway – or maybe an interstate? Having said that, too, watching Who try to ‘do’ America again might be a “cradles head in hands” moment.

What’s that, Sooty? The next episode is set in 1930s New York? Oh bugger.

The continuity, both with new Who and old Who was very nice. Descriptions of Gallifrey were beautiful and chimed nicely with what had been before, David Tennant delivering them wonderfully. The Face of Boe was nicely done again and his parting words were bound to send shivers down the spine of fanboys everywhere. Letting the side down as always, though, was Murray Gold’s music of evil: fine by itself, but overpowering as incidental music.

I have to say that I’m really enjoying Martha Jones as a character and her relationship with the Doctor. I’m really not enjoying Freema Agyeman though. Sweet FA is just a little bit too full of frothy angel delight for my liking and even though she’s improving, she’s still not bringing anything like what Pipes did to her role as Rose. But seeing as DT is picking up the slack and turning this back into Doctor Who instead of the Rose and the Doctor show (he even saved the day by doing something with a computer. That’s old school, that), maybe we should be thankful.

BTW, was I mistaken in thinking that the orange guy was from the Tango ads? And was Bliss supposed to be a metaphor for Crystal Meth?

You may peruse other fine reviews of Gridlock here, here, and here. Let me know if I missed yours.


  • Rob Buckley

    I’m Rob Buckley, a journalist who writes for UK media magazines that most people have never heard of although you might have heard me on the podcast Lockdown Land or Radio 5 Live’s Saturday Edition or Afternoon Edition. I’ve edited Dreamwatch, Sprocket and Cambridge Film Festival Daily; been technical editor for TV producers magazine Televisual; reviewed films for the short-lived newspaper Cambridge Insider; written features for the even shorter-lived newspaper Soho Independent; and was regularly sarcastic about television on the blink-and-you-missed-it “web site for urban hedonists” The Tribe. Since going freelance, I've contributed to the likes of Broadcast, Total Content + Media, Action TV, Off The Telly, Action Network, TV Scoop and The Custard TV.