Goddamnit Russell T. Davies! This, THIS, is why we get so annoyed. When you write, when you just let go of whatever the hell your agenda is and stop pushing that message you seem to hold so dear, and just write, then you come up with this. The second of the three Doctor Who specials to celebrate the 60th anniversary just aired and it was… excellent!

There is a reason why the re-launch of Doctor Who was such a success after many years away. Why it contains episodes that aren’t just good since the relaunch, but good across the whole 60-year spectrum of all things Who. It is because everyone knows that you can be one hell of a writer. Interesting, dark yet playful, funny yet with a sense of menace. Genuine peril.


Why would you need to ruin it by the clumsy insertion of an agenda that lands, every time you do it, with such a thud that it snaps a viewer right out of the mood and makes them think they are being preached at?

The second of three special episodes, The Wild Blue Yonder, stands on its own two feet as a great episode of Doctor Who. It starts shakily. Isaac Newton (not yet Sir) is taking a stroll in his apple orchard when a blue box crash lands from the sky. Immediately you notice something that makes you fear the worst.

Isaac Newton is played by an actor from the Indian subcontinent. BBC colorblind casting strikes again, but nobody seems to be casting a blonde guy with blue eyes as Malcolm X in their world. It is almost as if this only goes one way?

Leaving that jarring “clunk” of current year aside, this scene does give Donna and the Doctor some excellent, and fun, dialogue just before the still-malfunctioning TARDIS from the first episode sends them into the proper adventure. And what an adventure it is.


Finding themselves stranded on a mysteriously deserted spaceship, complete with ominous periodical announcements and something… someone… on board with them it suddenly becomes a truly excellent episode of Doctor Who, and a damn good sci-fi outing in general. It plays the Who Goes There / The Thing angle really well, and is about as frightening as a family show screened at 6:30pm on a Saturday can get away with. On a sci-fi scale, it was as good as a decent episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation or anything Doctor Who has done since the relaunch.

It dips into the Doctor’s backstory and legacy well, and gives plenty of depth to the return of Donna Noble. It also features the return of a character that genuinely warms your heart when they appear.

The only trouble now is that you know that you have only one episode left of The Doctor and Donna, reminding you why how good this show can be when it really tries.

It also frustrates because, as I said at the start, it reminds you just how well Davies can do this shit when he just gets on with the damn job.


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