Doctor Who: Tooth and Claw

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.

9 replies on “Doctor Who: Tooth and Claw”

  1. babasyzygy says:

    Funny…
    It’s funny you should call this mostly a new plot… with the exception of how goofy Rose was being, this could have come right out of any of the Tom Baker or Peter Davison seasons.

    Which I really enjoyed, by the way. I think the 4th and 5th Doctors had way too many of these period pieces with a wacky alien twist, but once in a while they’re nice and it helps reinforce the continuity between the old Doctor Who and the newer seasons.

  2. J_W_W says:

    Another Highpoint
    I liked the ending of the episode as well, where the queen creates the Torchwood institute. BTW: when does that show start?

    Oh, and you’re right, the door scene was very good. As for other effects I really don’t mind if the effects on Dr. Who aren’t quite right, it wouldn’t be quite right if they were perfect.

    All in all I thought this was a nice episode.

    • Eldhrin says:

      Re: Another Highpoint

      I liked the ending of the episode as well, where the queen creates the Torchwood institute. BTW: when does that show start?

      Oh, and you’re right, the door scene was very good. As for other effects I really don’t mind if the effects on Dr. Who aren’t quite right, it wouldn’t be quite right if they were perfect.

      All in all I thought this was a nice episode.

      Heh, it wouldn’t be British TV if the effects were perfect :-)

      • joe__gee says:

        Re: Another Highpoint

        Heh, it wouldn’t be British TV if the effects were perfect :-)

        At least, it wouldn’t be Doctor Who. :)

        -Joe

    • joe__gee says:

      Re: Another Highpoint

      All in all I thought this was a nice episode.

      Completely agreed. This was old-style Doctor Who, with some chills, a few thrills, and very, very familiar pacing. It reminded me of the many slow Sunday mornings snuggled up on the couch in a warm afghan, hot cup of coffee, waiting for the local PBS affiliate to start up that familiar music so I could spend an hour and a half with the Doctor, with Leila, or maybe Sarah and Harry? :)

      I can’t WAIT til next week. Sarah Jane Smith and K9!!! W00h00! :)))

      -Joe

  3. Kaki says:

    Much better…
    … than I had feared when I saw the preview last week.<p>

    • Grounded says:

      Re: Much better…
      Hmm. I’m not getting the Doctor Who love. Tennant is excellent, but everything else is just so…bleh. 6 out of 6 for the acting is pretty damn generous ;)

  4. TheScarf says:

    Somebody please get help for RTD
    This show desperatly needs more creative input than just RTD’s. Compare Rose to the Christmas Invasion, New Earth to End of the World and the Dickens and Queen Vic episodes. Way too much recycling. Compare Dr#9 and Dr#10, they are the same persona, every other Doctor was far more distinct from the one before.

    These episodes are feeling more and more like self indulgent fanfic you can find on the web, and I’m tired of Dr. Who being used to push a partisan political message. Does everyone at the BBC think that all of Britain would go ‘Marget Thatcher: Boo’ or do they just not care about winning audience share from that part of the population? She’s been out of power for ages, give it rest!

    What is really frustrating is how close the show comes to greatness at times, only to cop out at the end. Best one so far is ‘Father’s Day’ in my book.

    • y42 says:

      Re: Somebody please get help for RTD

      She’s been out of power for ages, give it rest!

      This is especially funny because the whole plot revolves around someone who’s been out of power for a hundred years longer than Tatcher.

      My my, how wrong of them to give us a joke in their foreshadowing of matriarchs of the past.

Comments are closed.