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Published on April 8th, 2007 | by Christian Cawley

The Shakepeare Code Reviewed

Can The Doctor stop The Carrionites dastardly plans?Well look at that. All the fans who wanted to see the sonic screwdriver destroyed last week only to have their little faces saddened by it’s return at the end must be rejoicing now as we had an episode where the Doctor didn’t use it once.

No Sir, he stuck to his wits and in the end saved the day without once even mentioning it. He did however mention Rose again… why?

You have Martha with you, you’re in the Globe Theater with William Shakespeare and there could be witches about. For anyone else you would think you have enough on your mind, but sadly the Doctor is still thinking of Rose. A good companion, yes, but surely not one who deserves that much attention.

Over the years there were far better companions and stronger relationships held by the Doctor and yet he didn’t drone on about them every chance that he got. A friend of mine suggested that maybe Martha would have enough of the Rose comments and put her foot down to the Doctor explaining that she is here now and would appreciate it if he didn’t treat her like dirt. In effect putting an end to the Doctor’s whining about Rose.

If that’s the case, then please God let it happen soon. Say in, oh I don’t know, Gridlock?

But to be honest if this is my chief complaint about The Shakespeare Code then it would seem that we are in good shape.

In the past two series the 45-minute time frame seemed to not be enough. The stories felt rushed and the resolution was far, far too quick. But in these last two episodes alone it would seem that they writers have found their footing and learned how to make the single episode work.

During the course of one episode we met William Shakespeare, had Martha’s first trip through time, learned of a new alien race, a forgotten play by Mr. Shakespeare, and still had enough time to have the aliens hatching an evil plot with enough time for the Doctor to stop them.

I can truly say that this is the first time that I thought the 45 minutes seemed long. There were two times during the story that I thought the show was going to go into the "5 second resolution" time, but instead the show kept going. It was wonderful to feel three quarters of an hour seem like 2 hours, in a good way.

Not only was the writing of the story top notch but so to was the back ground CGI effects. The establishing shot had my friend and I so impressed that we each let out a "wow" under our breath. I am a tough one to please with CGI, to be honest, I usually think it’s ok, or very poor. I generally feel that it has no place on anything that is meant to be alive, but very good for backgrounds and solid structures and special effects as long as it is done well. This is the first episode that knocked my socks off. With the exception of the first CGI witch creature that the two actors conjured up anyway.

So there we have it, script, CGI, Rose… OH! Right, the actors.

Even thought the witch’s makeup may have been a bit OTT or standard, it is very safe to say that their performances were very enjoyable. Namely the head witch. She never once stepped in to the panto realm and often made you feel uneasy to be around her, which is good and you would think you should be around a witch.

Next we have the man himself. William Shakespeare. I bought it. I’ve heard for years how brilliant the man was and you only could take historians and literary majors words for that, but to see a man portray that brilliance with such class and style really makes you believe. I’m not sure it that’s a compliment to Shakespeare, Dean Lennox Kelly, or both, but either way it was a joy to watch.

From the nameless character to the Doctor himself this story was spot on. David Tennant was darker then usual while still portraying his wild and happy go lucky self. If this is what the rest of the series has in store for us then it seems Doctor Who has got it’s groove back.

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About the Author

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A long-term Doctor Who fan, Christian grew up watching the show and has early memories of the Graham Williams era. His favourite stories are Inferno, The Seeds of Doom and Human Nature (although The Empty Child, Blink and Utopia all come close). When he’s not bossing around the news team, Christian is a freelance writer specialising in mobile technology and domestic computing, and enjoys classic rock, cooking and spending time in the countryside with his wife and young children. You can find him on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.




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