Published on May 7th, 2008 | by Christian Cawley
The Poison Sky Reaction
While Doctor Who this Bank Holiday weekend might have only made 5.9 million viewers on the overnights, it was still the second most-watched TV show of Saturday.
As with previous episodes, reviews have been largely positive, too, so put the lower figure down to the sunny Bank Holiday (long overdue) in some parts of the country, as well as people taking holidays. And take heart in the fact that with Doctor Who largely off air in 2009, the 2010 series could still be placed in a winter timeslot.
In The Stage, blogger Mark Wright declares that
Helen Raynor’s script manages to keep everything together, and it’s no mean feat to juggle everything the story requires.
Which in the second part of the story is definitely true, picking up as it did from the lacklustre conclusion to The Sontaran Stratagem.
Much more interesting however is the use of Martha…
I love Martha whole heartedly, always have, but there’s something about Tate’s performance that shows up the weaknesses in Freema Agyeman’s acting style. She is still cracking, but Tate has layered Donna with great skill that makes you consider Martha in a different light. Donna feels much more solid and real than any companion we’ve previously had, with the possible exception of Sarah back in her prime.
Aside from the odd bit of gurning, Donna is just brilliant, never more so in her reaction to the Doctor’s near death. When did we ever see a companion hitting him because she’s so angry he nearly left her? It saddens me to see Martha coming off as second among equals, but that’s progress for you.
I feel this is a little unfair, but raises some very good points – Martha was badly handled both by the script and by the director. She may not be the Doctor’s companion anymore, but that doesn’t mean Agyeman can’t be pushed; it does mean however that lines such as "Doctor it’s Martha, and I’m bringing you back to Earth" can be excised in favour of something that doesn’t sound like its from a cheesey US family drama. Agyeman is better than that.