Doctor Who Review: In The Forest Of The Night

The Doctor thinks the TARDIS has landed in the wrong place, but a little girl in a Red Riding Hood-like coat points out that there’s a forest in Trafalgar Square and isn’t it lovely?

Cast and Crew Information

Peter Capaldi as the Doctor
Jenna-Louise Coleman as Clara Oswald
Samuel Anderson as Danny Pink
Abigail Eaves as Maebh
Jadon Harris-Wallis as Samson
Ashley Foster as Bradley
Harley Bird as Ruby
Michelle Gomez as Missy
Siwan Morris as Maebh’s Mum
Harry Dickman as George
James Weber Brown as Minister
Michelle Asante as Neighbour
Curtis Flowers as Emergency Services Officer
Jenny Hill as herself
Kate Tydman as Paris Reporter
Nana Amoo-Gottfried as Accra Reporter
Eloise Barnes as Annabel

Written by Frank Cottrell-Boyce
Directed by Sheree Folkson
Produced by Paul Frift


There’s a forest in Trafalgar Square. And the rest of London. And the rest of the planet.

High Point

Danny might be the world’s most tolerant boyfriend.

Low Point

The last scene on Earth was quite definitely the worst bit of Who since… umm… probably some time in Colin Baker’s tenure.

The Review

A definitely original take on a post-apocalyptic overgrown city scenario – without the apocalypse and with added scenes from Little Red Riding Hood.  Five out of six.

The effects are required often to show London landmarks with trees all over them. Unfortunately this is not always very successful. Three out of six.

The story takes an interesting tack but I’m getting used to that this series. Four out of six.

The acting is extremely variable. The regulars are mostly as good as ever, but some of the guests are best left unmentioned. Three out of six.

The production team probably had a lot of fun erecting traffic bollards and lampposts in the middle of a forest, but the whole thing never really looks right to me. Three out of six.

The emotional response isn’t great. Kind of a warm, fuzzy feeling really. Maybe the world’s been threatened with total destruction a few too many times on Doctor Who now for me to care that much. Three out of six.

Overall, I think it was a fairly weak episode which nonetheless had some interesting things to say. Four out of six.

In total, In The Forest Of The Night receives twenty-five out of forty-two.

9 replies on “Doctor Who Review: In The Forest Of The Night”

  1. I dunno, do you count the “If you remembered how things feel you wouldn’t have war. Or babies.” as part of your low-point? Because I thought it was one of the most perceptive lines ever written about Mankind.

  2. I’d have gone with the kids as my low point. One dimensional stereotypes. Check. Unrealistic adult ideas about what modern kids are actually like (do writers ever have kids of their own?). Check. Poor dialogue. Check. Typical child-acting (or lack there of). Check. Although given the previous points, is it any wonder child actors have such a hard time of things given how unrealistic their roles must seem to them and (by definition) lack of extensive acting experience. The one part that did make me smile was the retort to Danny’s Pink continually refering to the group as “team”. The only saving grace for me in this was that Abigail Eaves’ managed to did a good job of the supposedly vulnerable Maebh, without which I’d have probably have just switched off.

    The Doctor had some gone lines (“If you remembered…” stood out for me too) and, rather surprisingly (especially for Capaldi’s Doctor), seemed to understand the children better than anyone, especially the true nature of Maebh’s situation. Despite the interesting premise, some good to excellent work from the regular actors this was definitely the weakest episode of the series for me. Yes it’s a family show and as such it’s got to cater for an audience age range that starts with ‘tweens, but it’s managed to do that quite well up to now without forgetting about the more mature part of the audience.

  3. Clearly we’re not even supposed to address the science in this episode. The premise certainly could work for an obviously magical world. Even given its frequent shifts of genre (always a part of the show) I’m not certain this ep knows what it wants to be.

    • Hehe, I just realised I completely suppressed any thoughts about any kind of even remote scientific accuracy on this one…

        • There’s usually some loose connection to something that’s almost science. This one is just a mess– especially in resetting the world after the events end. It manages to be less plausible than their recent lunar reset, and that’s saying something.

          • True, but in this case I think they were actually trying to tell a fairy tale, rather than a science story or the original premise of a historical narrative. With Maebh as Red Riding Hood, a discussion of Hansel and Gretal, and so on, I suppose it’s only fair that we should just accept the kind of just in time and deus ex machina events that are typical in fairy tales. Combine that with the Doctor’s comments about selective memory and real events becoming myth and you have a clever answer to how all these weird things can happen yet somehow fail to have any significant lasting impact on the world.

          • Yeah, most the times it’s in the “Hey that’s not really science but whatever” territory, but this week was firmly in the “Don’t think about it don’t think about it DON’T THINK ABOUT IT!!!” column…

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