Arriving in Scotland in 1879, the Doctor and Rose encounter Queen Victoria… and something rather less pleasant.

A review of the latest episode to air in the UK.

Cast and Crew

David Tennant as the Doctor
Billie Piper as Rose Tyler
Pauline Collins as Queen Victoria
Ron Donachie as Steward
Michelle Duncan as Isobel
Ian Hanmore as Father Angelo
Ruth Milne as Flora
Derek Riddell as Robert
Jamie Sives as Reynolds
Tom Smith as the Host

Written by Russell T. Davis

Directed by Euros Lyn

Originally shown on BBC One in the United Kingdom on Saturday the 22nd of April, 2006.

Synopsis

After missing their destination by a hundred years, the Doctor and Rose cross paths with Queen Victoria… and something else.

High Points

  • Rose on finding the maid showed that she has learned something.
  • The gradual revelation of the backstory to the episode.
  • A nice take on the origins of the werewolf.
  • ‘I said, I will buy you time sir.’

Low Point

This is 1879. Where did they get that red dye from? Why does the teaser look like a low-quality imitation of the BBC One channel ident with the martial artists?

The Scores

Quite a nice fresh plot this week. No plot is entirely original of course, and this isn’t the most original we have ever seen, but it’s not hugely predictable either. Four out of six.

This is probably where last week’s effects budget went. Computer-generated animals don’t come cheaply, and they should come less cheaply than this. It’s very good, but movies have spoiled us. Unfortunately the first visit to the observatory showed some very poor blending of real and generated elements. Four out of six overall, but some elements were very good.

The story was a vast improvement on last week. Unfortunately it felt a bit rushed. I think it would have been better if we’d had more build-up and discovery of the situation – a full hour’s episode, or perhaps a double episode, would have told this story much more effectively. Five out of six nonetheless, for it is a good story.

Again the acting is excellent. Six out of six.

A decent emotional response. The BBC rate this episode quite high on their informal scale of scariness, and while I feel that the pacing spoiled what scariness it might have, it does get the blood moving at times. Five out of six.

The production people need to look a little harder at their setting. Where does a group of Scottish monks get bright red obviously modern martial arts clothing from? Viewing it in its original timeslot does not help, as it is the exact same shade of red worn by the various dancers and martial artists featured in the current BBC One channel idents. Fortunately, everything else about this episode was very well done – particularly one shot showing both sides of a door (you’ll know the one I mean). Four out of six though.

Overall, I am glad of the improvement since last week’s disappointing episode, but things need to improve more to match last series. Four out of six.

So Tooth and Claw is left with a grand total of thirty-two out of forty-two.