Doctor Who: The Crimson Horror – spoilers

SweetvilleFirst Aired BBC1  18:30 4th May 2013

Director: Saul Metzstein
Writer:  Mark Gatiss

The Doctor: Matt Smith
Clara Oswald: Jenna-Louise Coleman

Mrs. Gillyflower Diana Rigg
Ada Rachael Stirling
Madam Vastra Neve McIntosh
Strax Dan Starkey

This review includes spoilers, including the images above.

Mark Gatiss’ second episode this time round, his earlier one being Cold War. While that episode was a tense drama this one is more a comedy drama set in 1898.

This started out very much as though it was going to be a ‘Doctor light’ episode. We are re-introduced to the Silurian detective Madam Vastra and her household, her lover Jenny and her butler Strax. This setup is wearing thin on me, while Madam Vastra kept her self a secret this worked but now she seems to make almost no attempt to remain hidden. Strax’s attempts are even worse. I find them amusing, but that doesn’t excuse the situation. I’d rather see Madam Vastra living in secret in a big house with perfectly normal occupants and Jenny being a chambermaid for the house who knows that the Silurian is hidden beneath. Strax… he’d be best in a modern or future setting, maybe with Clive Langer and Rani.

The main story takes part ‘up north’. It being a slightly comedic episode there are plenty of digs about the North. Not least the setting of Sweetville. Mr Sweet, Sir Titus Salt… the reference is obvious.

I’ll be frank, I expect more from a Mark Gatiss episode. I liked this episode but it could have given more script-wise. The acting however, mother and daughter team up, real and fictional, was marvelous. Diana Rigg and her daughter Rachel Stirling were both marvelous. I can’t fault the direction this episode either. What I am criticising is the humour I think; personally this would have worked better as a drama with mild humour. I have nothing against jokes about the North… not being defensive, those I would have left in. Those or Strax… not both.  The pathologist scenes though, I particularly enjoyed the enthusiastic pathologist.

The Nanny gets busted at the end of this episode by nosey kids… and she sees a picture of her dead self from the Christmas special…

Next Episode: Nightmare in Silver

Previous Episode: Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS

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