Published on May 22nd, 2007 | by Christian Cawley
A thrilling “against-the-clock” space-set episode of Doctor Who, or The Imposible Planet‘s very close sister? 42 has split fandom – or perhaps some of them just stared into its heart for too long?
The Stage‘s Mark Wright appears to have similar feelings to mny of us about Torchwood adventure Cyberwoman, writer Chris Chibnall and guest actress Michelle Collins – but it doesn’t stop him from enjoying 42, particularly enjoying some “deft” script-editing:
With these sci-fi, spacey plots, we might have seen a loss of momentum from… the on-going story arc involving… the mysterious Mister Saxon. Cleverly, thanks to Marthaâ€™s now souped-up mobile, sheâ€™s able to phone her mum. And it looks like Saxon has got his claws into Mrs Jones, with some nasty looking people sitting in the background, tracing the intergalactic call.
The fact the story allows room for this important sub-plot to still breathe is down to some nicely deft script editing. I donâ€™t want to rush the series on, but Iâ€™m now pant-wettingly excited about the usually epic climax weâ€™ve come to expect from previous series.
Meanwhile, SFX rated the story highly (4.5 stars!), although reviewer Richard Edwards failed to mention director Graeme Harper’s work once, so things must be slipping at SFX. Well, he isn’t mentioned directly, anyway…
Both Tennant and Agyeman get to show off their emotional range – Agyeman, in particular, is unafraid to put herself through the wringer – and the scene where the Doctor shouts “I will save you” as Martha is launched, helpless, away from the ship in an escape pod, provides the seasonâ€™s most powerful moment so far. Of course, it doesnâ€™t hurt that, in a brilliantly audacious move, the sceneâ€™s shot in near-silence; frankly itâ€™s genius.
Outpost Gallifrey reported the episode as attaining audience figures of 7 million on the overnight count, a share of 36%, and an Audience Appreciation figure of 85 (Excellent) – but what did Martha Jones think of her adventure?
According to her MySpace blog, she was scared by the Doctor’s vulnerability…
The Doctor was possessed by a sun and… he was scared. He told me that he was scared. Which, again, you’d think would be a good ‘finally he’s not being such a bloke’ thing but it wasn’t. It was probably the most terrifying moment I’ve experienced since we started travelling together. Just him saying those words, made the Universe so much bigger and… yeah, basically it was terrifying but, hey, some good came out of it! I think it’s brought us even closer together as I did, kind of anyway, save his life.
I wonder how he’ll cope in Human Nature…?