My mouth had been watering at the very thought of watching this week’s episode. I probably looked like a baddy from “The Waters of Mars”, such was my excitement.
I utterly adore Gareth Roberts’ writing. Superlatives don’t do him justice. Entertaining and witty, he is a modern day Douglas Adams in search of his own “Hitchhiker’s” and that jewel is sure to come.
Last week I had been a little brutal towards “Time Heist”. When the thing you love lets you down, it is quite easy to lose your temper and sparks inevitably fly. But no such negativity for this week’s jaunt! Roberts has surpassed his own sky high standards with aplomb.
I admit to having a preference towards Earth-bound stories. To quote Jon Pertwee, they are so much more “Yeti on the Loo” – the threat is real. What’s more, we all identify with the school setting – we’ve all been there. “The Caretaker” follows in the tracks of Harry Potter and Grange Hill. How can it fail?
In recent reviews I have been longing for Capaldi to display some more moments of charm. Last night on Graham Norton’s chat show, Peter managed to win over Denzil Washington. Our leading actor was the perfect gent and a spell-binding racconteur.
And this was the episode in which his Doctor finally switched on the charm. By displaying possessive feelings towards Clara, he came across as more human and, as a consequence, more likeable. He reminded me of Jon Pertwee’s Doctor losing Jo Grant to Cliff in “The Green Death”.
Initially the Doctor had believed Clara to be going out with Adrian, just because he resembled Eleven. His disappointment in discovering that Danny was the real boyfriend was a joy to behold.
Twelve also had some excellent scenes with Courtney – these were his Eleven / young Amelia moments, albeit with a little more grit. Their interaction and bonding were touching. If viewers aren’t won over by this new Doctor by now, they never will be. Long live this new charming, sensitive and witty Twelfth. Not quite “Penry, the mild-mannered janitor” from Hanna Barbera’s “Hong Kong Phooey”, but near enough, relatively speaking, considering this Doctor’s past record. Should we say, perhaps, “Hong Kong Whooey”?!
The robotic villain was great – a mix of K9, Kamelion and Davros, all rolled into one – and it could outrace a “Paradise Towers” cleaner any day. Tonight’s foe also reminded me a little of the robot parrot from “The Pirate Planet” and the way it slaughtered the policeman was positively horrific.
The plot was linear, nothing complex for fans to whinge about here. The story was simple, all we had to do was sit back and enjoy. It was sheer pleasure to watch the interactions of each and every character in all of the scenes, bar none.
Chris Addison! Mr Missy! He played his slick and silky character with an almost Kenneth Williams-like snooty charm. I can’t wait to discover what in heaven is going on!
If Gareth Roberts is capable of such mammoth feats in story telling, he should at least be writing three episodes per season. Oh, make him showrunner one day, Mr Moff, because “The Caretaker”, like all of Roberts’ tales, is addictive viewing and infinitely rewatchable.