New series, new companion, new big bad? We know the ingredients, but what flavour are they this year?

Cast and Crew

Matt Smith as The Doctor
Jenna-Louise Coleman as Clara
Manpreet Bachu as Nabile
Sean Knopp as Paul
James Greene as The Abbott
Eve De Leon Allen as Angie
Kassius Carey Johnson as Artie
Geff Francis as George
Celia Imrie as Miss Kizlet
Robert Whitelock as Mahler
Dan Li as Alexei
Daniella Eames as Little Girl
Antony Edridge as Pilot
Fred Pearson as Barista
Jade Anouka as Waitress
Matthew Earley as Man with Chips
Isabella Blake-Thomas as Child Reading Comic
Richard E Grant as The Great Intelligence

Written by Steven Moffatt

Produced by Denise Paul

Directed by Colm McCarthy

Series Produced by Marcus Wilson

Originally shown on the 30th of March 2013

Premise

In London, a mysterious organisation are abducting consciousnesses via their wifi networks, while in the year 1207 the Doctor is freaking out some monks and looking for Clara.

High Points

  • “A few hours ago you knew nothing about the Internet, and you just made a joke about Twitter.”
  • “Is it a snogging booth?”
  • “No one loves cattle more than Burger King.”

Low Points

  • Why do the sinister organisations always set up shop in the most famous building around? It did let him show off the motorbike though.

Scores

Originality: It was a bit reminiscent of The Idiot’s Lantern with the alien that lived in the TV signals, but an early twenty-first century twist on it, and the reasons behind everything were rather different. Four out of six.

Effects: There are some lovely graphics over the opening, and some excellent bits of nonsense code floating around elsewhere. Oh, and people without the backs of their heads on. A bit more effort on the plane would’ve been nice. Four out six.

Story: This is going to lead to more stories I’m sure, but it’s satisfactorily self-contained. There were a couple of nice little twists on the way, and the ending was, well, you should watch it and find out. It didn’t always go as one might have anticipated. Five out of six.

Acting: We know that Coleman and Smith can both handle these parts, and they do with a certain amount of relish. Special mention for Celia Imrie as an excellent evil executive. Five out of six.

Emotional Response: A good fun game of cats and mice in physical and online worlds with about the right amount of sinister scary bits thrown in. It is a family show after all. Five out of six.

Production: A story like this inevitably shows many shots of computer screens. The imaginary UI for this episode is actually marginally plausible although rather heavy on the transparent backgrounds. I also rather liked the blueish ambiance in the evil HQ, and the latest iteration of the theme music deserves a mention. This time they’ve ditched the strings and given us the iconic Doctor Who rhythm in a wonderful synth bass. Five out of six.

Overall: I wonder how many wifi passwords are rycbr123 after this. I enjoyed it, despite its technical implausibility. This is not our world, after all. Five out of six.

In total, The Bells of Saint John receives thirty-three out of forty-two.