The results are in for The Fires of Pompeii – 9.04m people in total (this includes "time-shifted" viewing) tuned in to watch episode 2. Gosh. Golly. Wow. That’s two weeks in a row with over 9m viewers.
The overnights for Planet of the Ood, however, stand at a paltry 6.9m – which is a shame as I think this is the best episode so far this series. A lot of other people agree that this was a "pretty good episode", such as Anna over at pop vultures:
This was a pretty good episode. It was nice to have a respite from the usual "humans rule, yay!" stuff, heartwarming as that can be. Here we see humans as slavemasters, and when a shocked Donna says "we don’t have slaves" the Doctor pointedly asks, "who made your clothes?" It’s a potentially heavy-handed (if perfectly true) line, but it works, as does Donna as a character. Her sheer enthusiasm and joy at this widening of her horizons is infectious, and to the surprise of viewers (well, me and most other critics), she’s becoming the show’s voice of reason and compassion. The moment when she overcomes her initial horrified revulsion and comforts the dying Ood is genuinely moving, as is her distress at the Ood’s Song of Captivity. For a while, she just wants to go home – and to my surprise, I found myself really hoping that she’d stay.
Anna’s comments about Catherine Tate are echoed everywhere we look. I think it’s fair to say that Ms Tate has won the audience over despite initial fears.
Planet of the Ood, a fun romp into classic Who territory according to one of those peculiar people over at the Behind the Sofa blog…
Planet of the Ood, on the other hand, is probably as purest episode of Doctor Who that we’re ever likely to get. The Doctor successfully takes down a tyrannical conglomerate in an isolated base that’s under siege from a returning monster – in just under an hour. If that isn’t classic Who (with an added splattering of New Adventurism) then I don’t know what is. We should be celebrating episodes like this instead of dismissing them out of hand. I just wish it could be like this every week.
I couldn’t agree more. Classic-styled Who AND an actual alien planet. What more could a long-time Who fan want???
Here’s one we missed from last week, Catherine Tate is to take to the stage in a revival of David Eldridge’s play, Under The Blue Sky, according to the Grauniad. The play is
a three-act drama revolving around the love-lives of six teachers, and punctuated by real life events such as the 1996 IRA bombing at Canary Wharf.
Of the play, the author says
"It took time, and so much fed into it – personal experience, years of listening to teacher friends’ gossip and a notion that linked the three relationships the play explores with moments in the last century of conflict."
This could be really good and would be an ideal opportunity for Catherine Tate to prove her worth as an actress – if the last three weeks of Doctor Who hadn’t already convinced you!
Could Eddie Izzard be the first actor to play the Doctor as a cross-dressing lesbian trapped in a man’s body? Interesting thought! On the other hand, he could play The Rani. I’d believe that.
That nice chap, Lizo, from CCBBCBCBCCBBCBCBCBBC (sorry, got carried away there) has reviewed The Sontaran Stratagem and notes that it is less emotional than previous stories but packs a worthy wallop
It’s the first of a two-part story, so there are a lot of things set up which won’t be explained until the next episode The Poison Sky.
But it manages to be an exciting, fast-paced 45 minutes which, while not as emotional as the last two episodes, keeps up the superb momentum that this fourth series has had so far.
And if you take a look over at Unreality TV you’ll see a nice extended video clip of this week’s episode, showing us "General Stahl of the Tenth Sontaran Fleet…Stahl The Undefeated." Very nice.
There’s a great article at the BBC News site about the BBC Radiophonic Workshop celebrating its 50th Anniversary by listing the "Four Sound Effects That Made History". One such sound was "The Broken Guitar"
One pluck of a guitar string became the famous Dr Who bass line. Derbyshire and Mills sped it up and slowed it down to get the different notes, and these were cut to give it an extra twang on the front of every note.
"It slides up to the note every time if you listen carefully," says Mills. "Delia fabricated the baseline out of two or three lines of tape.
"You’d be scrabbling around the floor saying ‘Where’s that half-inch of tape I wanted to play on the front of that note?’"
Fascinating stuff! Such a shame that the Workshop is no more, but they couldn’t compete in the modern world of samplers and ever more advanced computer systems.
The Telegraph has a story about the ever-so-lovely Freema Agyeman, which ends with a classic quote so we’ll let her finish off this week’s Newsround
For now, though, Agyeman is very happy with life as Dr Jones, and delighted by her return to the Doctor Who fold. Initially, she was worried that her first day of filming would be "like your first day back at school, when you worry that everything will be different". But thanks to all the familiar faces among the cast and crew it was "like [she’d] never been away".
"Being part of Doctor Who is like being a member of a club," she says. "Whether it’s sending someone a text, or meeting up to go out for dinner, everyone stays in touch. When you’re in the Doctor Who family, you stay in the Doctor Who family. It’s like a nice version of the Mafia."