Saturday, 14 May 2011

Neil Gaiman and Doctor Who: A match made on Gallifrey

After all the build-up and excitement surrounding Neil Gaiman (aka @neilhimself)’s episode of Doctor Who, “The Doctor’s Wife”, fandom can breathe a collective, satisfied sigh. That was quite possibly one of the most special and uplifting examples of genre TV that has been on our screens in many years.

I watched it next to a 5 year old and my lady, which is a heck of a test for anything I want to see, but the 5 year old loved it and even my girl enjoyed it, and she’s a tough one to entertain. Granted, she kept on mentioning that she couldn’t shake the idea of Suranne Jones having been in Coronation Street for so long, but for the most part she behaved. It’s like the idea of the bloke from Home and away being Thor- mad, but perfect.

The episode was perfectly formed to these eyes- a well-paced script, a great cast and the fulfilment of something that has long been craved for by a lot of people (all I’ll say is CORRIDORS!). It had everything that Saturday evening TV needs in its diet; comedy, excitement and a lot of heart. The Mill supplied some glorious visual effects in order to bring Gaiman’s lovely script to life, and the look of the whole thing was just sumptuous.

Matt Smith and the gang really get their teeth into the story too, and it really felt like one of those moments where everything falls into place and works perfectly. The performance of Suranne Jones as Idris brought to mind Queenie from Blackadder and a fictional Helena Bonham-Carter, and her chemistry with Matt Smith’s increasingly wonderful 11th Doctor was a joy to behold. The links to the classic series and the new era were mixed in beautifully, and this episode is possibly the perfect thing for a new viewer to watch. It has everything.

“The Doctor’s Wife” is a beautiful episode of Doctor Who, but it is also a fantastic example of how family entertainment can be just scary enough for kids whilst still being compelling viewing for adults. No matter how many witty tweets I put up to @neilhimself, they’ll get lost in the million and a half followers he has, so instead I’ll say it here: Thanks you, Mr. Gaiman, for doing us Doctor Who fans, old and young, proud, and also to Steven Moffatt and everyone else involved for giving one 5 year old the best bedtime story ever.

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