Doctor Who – The Ghost Monument

  • Doctor Who (2005) Season 11 – Episode 2
  • Air Date: 14th October 2018, 18:55 (GMT)
  • Writer: Chris Chibnall. 

Well, I as live and breathe and emit gasses. I just started this blog a couple of weeks ago, got excited by it, threw some quick articles up, then left it for a bit thinking “It’s new, no-one will see this for aaaages yet.”

Turn up just now. TWELVE new comments awaiting my approval! Blimey! Such a thing has never happened to me. Little bit stunned, but rolling with it. Will read all those later and try and make words do sense back at them.

But for now – Another Episode of Doctor Who just aired! And IT WAS BRILLIANT!!!

[HERE PROBABLY MOST LIKELY BE MOAR WHACKING GREAT SPOILERS. I DON’T ACTUALLY KNOW YET, CAN’T CONFIRM, AS HAVE JUST STARTED WRITING AND PREDICTING FUTURE IS ALWAYS EMOTION (SAYS YODA). BUT LETS PUT THE WARNING HERE JUST IN CASE, EH? PRETEND RIVER SONG IS LOOKING SMUG AT YOU. WE CONTINUE….]

Sorry about the River Song mention just then. She’s not in this one. I don’t think she’ll ever be back, sadly, and now I’ve made myself a bit sad thinking of her. ANYWAY….

Tonight’s episode was an absolute cracker! Starting from that jaw-dropping finish of last week’s inaugural episode, we rejoin our heroes as they slowly die in the absolute nippiness of un-centrally heated space. The Doctor stares, shocked and probably saying rude words inside her head, as her companions all seem to have joined her in this beautifully-shot awfulness.

And then, a rescue! [AH, THERE *ARE* SPOILERS. GOOD THING I DID THE WARNING] Not, as I had imagined, the Doctor doing a techno thing on a techno-gubbins, but the second thing I thought of – but didn’t mention last week and now everyone will think I’m making this up – a spaceship suddenly arrives! Hooray, they’re saved!

And here we go into the new titles sequence! Woohoo! First impression – lovely. The effects sequence used here is just a delightful thing to look at, so bright and colourful in the way only computer generated effects can be. I ADORE it.

Second impression: blimey, that was a bit quick, wasn’t i? None of the triumphal poncing around, languorous lap around the opera-house of the Murray Gold era, no sir! Bit of tune, bit more of tune, title fanfare (also a bit sexy, very delicate CGI lighting on it) – then WHOOSHONWITHTHESHOW. Blimey (reprise) – we’re off to a fairly rapid pace so far!

Let’s keep things a bit vague from here out, shall we? No need to get really detailed about stuff. How about lots of “Squueeeeee!” noises instead? Or maybe something inbetween those two things? Alright then. Glad that’s settled.

Last word on music. I love the subtle music in this show now. So so so much better than the brass pomp of yesteryear. Really good in this episode too.

“Iiiiii’m a Lumberjack and I’m OK. I sleep all night and I work all day”

SO our heroes make it down to a planet, which is beautifully deserty. I do wonder where they shot that. It looks foreign but is probably Brighton or somewhere else stunningly prosaic/a bit shit. By the way, by this point you’ll have noticed that the special effects are two things: 1) Being used sparingly. A BBC budget is clearly in effect. 2) That doesn’t matter because the effects are GORGEOUS. That shot of the ship on the planet when they’re setting off on their walk….yum, I could just lick the screen when stuff like that appears. But you’ll notice you only see it once. Any other shot just has spaceship legs, which are a lot cheaper to do.

Things move rapidly. A menacing chap arrives in a holographic tent (That’s not much of a spoiler). Turns out plot exposition plot, more plot = episode is going to be a perilous journey across a dangerous and mysterious planet! Art Malik is in this bit. He’s dead good. As an actor, I mean. As a character he’s a morally indeterminate. You’ll see what I mean.

You’ll also see that thing that every Dr Who fan wants to see, all the time. The OTHER bit of the Doctor. The bit that makes the noises and carries them about. Ship of Dreams. TARDIS. Clever Blue Box. Only a glimpse, mind. But enough that you know – as I knew  – they’re going to find her this episode. Hooray! But will she want to see the Doctor, or will she run away again?

Jodie Whittaker is really good as the Doctor. All I said about her last week is still there and I love it. I’m going to love this Doctor, I can feel it. She’s like Eleven, but Northern (and female).

Bradley Walsh continues to impress. He’s a very decent actor, and approaching middle age myself I am comforted that he’s a companion. He does some running – as all companions end up doing – and I loved how he had to stop for breath. That’s me, that is. Unfit and old and loving being on an alien planet. He might be my new favourite.

Crikey blimey this planet is dangerous. Millions of flesh eating bacterial microbes in the water, eh? No place for a sodastream.

Boat trip. New companion Ryan Sinclair gets a chance to speak his engineering brain, impressing the Doctor. Poor old Yaz gets a bit short-changed this week. Not much to say or do. I’m hoping she’s some kind of hideous alien being with a dark secret that’ll come out as time goes on. Not sure why I want that, I just do.

Alien planet, my arse, Doctor. This is still Sheffield.

Speaking of which, an encounter with a deserted building complex full of killer robots that shoot like stormtroopers and sentient killer tarpaulins that speak (no, am not joking here) starts laying down some very Moffat-ian mythologising – “The Timeless Child” indeed (uncontrollable shudder of pleasure), I lap that shit up, I really do. MOAR PLEASE. Also, hints that some things with “Tim Shaw” last week are linked to stuff happening this week, too. I SEE YOU, Arc Plot! I do love an Arc Plot. Have a string of full-blooded adventures but tie them all together with tiny threads that weave into their own adventures later on. It’s fun for all the family. If Doctor Who is too complicated for you, you’re too old to be watching it. Complexity is healthy.

..shush now, MEGA-spoiler approaching!

THEY FIND THE TARDIS!!!! And despite appearing to be in a spot of trouble earlier in the episode (and at the start of this scene) she’s actually okay. Not just okay but all better and recovered from her Doctor-explodo incident! Shiny new paint on the outer shell (St Johns sign is white text on Black???). Doctor gives her a cuddle, all raw affection. Awwwwwwwww. TARDIS, notably, lets her cuddle and does not run away or attempt another murder. Doctor, in mid cuddle, tells TARDIS she is sorry but has lost her key (Any Sheffield peeps reading: that’s your cue to go look for it) and door pops open for her. I was looking for the Tennant finger-click but no.

And then….and then….

You know I mentioned Matt Smith’s first episode in my last Dr Who post. And right at the end of that we get a TARDIS interior reveal? Same here. VERY similar, actually, but without the Scottish girl in her nightie blocking the view with her great ginger noggin (I’m Scottish too, so be careful what commentary you make about that – we’re a feisty bunch). No, it’s a great BLONDE noggin blocking the view this time – progress, of a sort.

I was no less excited – I was off my couch and kneeling as close to the TV as I could get, trying to see through the HD pixels and past the Doctor’s head. She’s….The TARDIS is VERY different from what’s come before but also similar? Hexagons are there but not as the famous roundels. Almost looks like the coral is back around the console….but it isn’t. The console itself looks….grown, organic (stop thinking of coral, dammit) but still has the usual assortment of ancient, dichotmous bric-a-brac on it. It appears to be all on one level again, unlike the last one. Reminds me of Ten’s TARDIS quite a lot, but much more claustraphobic. Tighter spaces. Not the great expanse around the centre like there used to be for Rose’s Mum to play Shelf Ornament. It’s a fascinating design, and on screen for way too little time this week to really get familiar with it. But like the Doctor staring agog at her new (old) new ship, I love it too. Yes, already – leave me alone.

The agony, the ECSTACY. “Hello, Sexy”.

God, I love the TARDIS. I wanted to kidnap Suranne Jones for the longest time. Oh, you sexy.

End Credits. Instead of the frankly bizarre list of cast who will be appearing this series we got last week, this week we get a proper ‘Next Time on Dr Who’ bit. Time travelling proper begins. Into the dim and distant 20th century! Looks all a bit ordinary until man shows up with laser blaster firing bright blue bolts which is NOT 20th Century as far as this one-way time-traveller remembers it anyway.

This was a cracking episode. Great pace through it, a terrific energy. Lots to see, actors all being fabulous and giving great performances. Bit of mystery dropped in to keep us intrigued. TERRIFIC special effects. Great new monster tarpaulin thing. And Ryan gets to go all commando Call of Duty after which the Doctor tells him off but then she does something amazing by way of tuition for the lad.

Dr Who is back, folks, and apparently in safe hands, although on a Sunday night now which caught me by surprise but isn’t the death slot that it used to be, in the digital age. And, to the person who asked in the comments, YES I WILL NOW BE DOING THESE EACH WEEK. 🙂 There’s only, what, 10/11 more? Easy peasy.