Doctor Who Review: The Doctor’s Wife

Last week’s episode was a bit of a disappointment, but this week’s was written by Neil Gaiman.

And no matter what the title makes you think, this story doesn’t have River in it.

Cast and Crew

Matt Smith as The Doctor
Karen Gillan as Amy Pond
Arthur Darvill as Rory
Suranne Jones as Idris
Michael Sheena as the voice of House
Paul Kasey as Nephew
Adrian Schiller as Uncle
Elizabeth Berrington as Auntie

Written by Neil Gaiman

Produced by Sanne Wohlenberg

Directed by Richard Clark

Originally shown on the 14th of May 2011


“I’ve got mail!” exclaims the Doctor – a Time Lord distress beacon which leads them to a strange place outside the universe.

High Points

  • “Sometimes I hate being right.”
  • “Don’t get emotional. Hmm. That’s what the orange girl says.”
  • TARDIS interior corridors! At last.
  • “No, but I always took you where you needed to go.”

Low Points

From a production standpoint one can understand it, but I’d have liked to see an older control room.


Originality: So we’ve seen some of these elements in other things, but Gaiman glues them together kind of sideways. Five out of six.

Effects: Some lovely in-flight CGI this week. Five out of six.

Story: I was initially uncertain about the backstory here, but the more I think about it the more it does fit with the series canon (as far as Doctor Who has any canon, that is). The Doctor is a highly unusual Time Lord, and his relationship with his TARDIS is extremely strange. Five out of six.

Acting: I really enjoyed Suranne Jones’ performance, and Michael Sheen’s voice work was spot on. The regulars gave us their usual performance, perhaps slightly too insane from Matt Smith. Five out of six.

Emotional Response: It’s a bit of an emotional rollercoaster for the characters, but it didn’t carry me with it as strongly as I might have liked. Four out of six.

Production: TARDIS corridors! I was disappointed to find them so plain and samey. Couldn’t the mad running around have gone through a few random rooms as well? Oh yes, I know, budget. Four out of six.

Overall: It’s a great deal better than last week’s episode, and really a lot of fun all round. Five out of six.

In total, The Doctor’s Wife receives 33 out of 42.

13 replies on “Doctor Who Review: The Doctor’s Wife”

  1. Did anyone else feel that the “I always took you where you needed to go” line was channeling the late, great Douglas Adams?

    • Especially since Douglas Adams was his mentor! OH yeah, He gave his nods.

      *I* Miss Douglas Adams…

  2. Wouldn’t River be in “The Doctor’s Sister?”

    Okay ep, but I expected more from Gaiman.

  3. That was a fun episode. My high point was “Did you wish really hard?”

    Episode title was a hell of a huge tease though.

  4. So then, to continue our rampant speculation from weeks past,

    Is River the TARDIS, much older and more experienced with human body-ness?

    The idea that the TARDIS will manipulate Amy’s child (perhaps to become her and the Doctor’s child) seems more likely. The building of a human-body sized TARDIS for herself, or her offspring (the spacesuit), also seems likely given the events (and spare parts!) of this episode.

  5. Hi long time lurker. I posted before while following Battlestar Galactica but somewhere along the way I lost my login. I had to re-register because I loved this episode and want to throw my two cents in on this season’s (series’) big mystery.
    Spoilerized (I hope):
    The child is the Doctor. It is his new body (bodies). He is running out of regenerations no matter how you count them and the show’s writers need a mechanism to give him another dozen regenerations. The space suit kid isn’t killing the Doctor, it is transferring him into the new body by killing the old one, permanently, in the middle of a regeneration. I will call this new body switch a meta-regeneration. But wait, you say, the child is a girl! Time Lords do change gender during regeneration. However, from the way the 200 year older doctor was acting, he knew he was going to die. It might be that he is not sure he will be the same doctor after the transfer. The meta-regeneration could switch his personality like the regular regeneration does, or depending on whether they want to keep Matt Smith, the meta-regeneration might play by different rules and let him stay him.

    To be really freaky, the meta-regenerated Doctor might be River. That way he marries himself. The old Doctor and the new met-regenerated Doctor have children the old fashioned way and so begin a new race of time lords.

  6. Sorry, I messed up the spoiler tags. But really, nothing I said spoils anything except the season opener.

    I am betting on meta-regeneration. Not the River is the Doctor marrying himself scenario. However, this theory makes him steal the life force/soul/body of the child which would be evil. To make it not evil, the baby is the Doctor from the start. This is done with the full cooperation and knowledge of Rory and Amy in a Holy Spirit like visitation on Amy by the Doctor’s life force. Said life force is somehow capture in an empty jam jar or some other more science fictiony container and, in a future episode, after the death scene releases it from his body. The life force is then transferred back in time to Amy where she conceives, incarnating the Doctor into the child.

  7. Reading the title of this episode did make me realize this, however…

    The only water in the forest is the River (Song)[/Spoiler]

  8. Regarding the interior corridors bit, I was reminded slightly of the Tom Baker episode where they spend long minutes travelling through random bits of the Tardis, mostly going through the same set of stairs, courtyard, doors, etc., repeatedly. I suspect that was also a budget-saving measure.

    Did anyone else have a flash back to the “Cube” movies while watching the chase through the Tardis?

    • Not so much Cube, which made an art form out of set-redressing, but I recalled that Tom Baker episode.

      Didn’t he walk past himself at one point in that one?

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