Mini-review: Doctor Who – 7×11 – The Crimson Horror

The invisible enemy turns red

In the UK: Saturday, 6.15pm, 4th May 2013, BBC1/BBC1 HD. Available on the iPlayer

In the US: Saturday, 8pm/7c, 4th May 2013, BBC America

Not worth a full review, more a mini-review this, I think, since despite the presence of Diana Rigg (and daughter) in the cast, a reference to Tegan and a nice joke about Tom Tom (the sat nav, not the fourth Doctor), this was a pretty meh episode. It started off well enough, going for northern comedy and Victoriana, which are writer Mark Gatiss’s real strengths. Rigg was good, everyone was acting fine, and despite being Doctor-and-Clara-lite, it was engrossing, right down to Murray Gold’s Sherlock-riffs in the soundtrack.

But then it just sort of carried on, progressively becoming thinner, more predictable and less interesting as it tried to deport itself not as merely a comedy, but as a proper Doctor Who story, complete with evil, incredibly shit-looking beastie (we’re talking Invisible Enemy shit, here). Not even an Avengers joke, more references to Clara’s significance and a certain Sontaran getting to shoot people for a change could lift it from the “When’s this going to end, again?” Which is a shame, because as a comedy, it would have been a really good episode, I reckon.

Oh well, it’s Neil Gaiman doing Cybermen next week, albeit with the addition of a couple of kids to the companion line-up. Fingers crossed, it should be better.


  • 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.

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