Quirky, oddball, psychological – three great words that do no justice to an excellent episode of Doctor Who. Amy’s Choice was a rarity – an episode that felt quite different to anything that had gone before, despite minor similarities with 1968’s The Mind Robber and 1964’s The Edge of Destruction.
We’ll have a full review up later this weekend – but I just want to reflect on an episode that personally took me by surprise. I was personally underwhelmed by Vampires of Venice, an obvious retread of many of the same concepts as 2006’s School Reunion. On first glance, this shouldn’t be a surprise, as both episodes were written by Toby Whithouse – yet he’s the creator of the popular Being Human. There really isn’t any excuse for a blatant reuse of an earlier script idea.
In sharp contrast, Amy’s Choice came from the pen of a man who hasn’t worked on Doctor Who before, is best known for his long-running “New Lad”Â sitcom Men Behaving Badly (starring Martin Clunes, Neil Morrissey, Caroline Quentin, Leslie Ash and Harry Enfield at various stages of its long existence). As a fan of this show, I was heartened when I heard that Amy’s Choice featured “dream sequences” – a couple of episodes of Men Behaving Badly feature short, hilarious dream sequences, a theme that Nye has of course developed in the remake of the Reggie Perrin story.
However I had no idea that the latest episode of Doctor Who would be quite that good. It wasn’t quite Blink or Human Nature – but it is a superb story, with excellent performances from the principal cast of Smith, Karen Gillan, Arthur Darvill and guest Toby Jones, and is certainly a highlight of this current series. We’re halfway through the run now. While things haven’t been as thrilling as the 2007 run (The Face of Boe! The Master! Blink! Human Nature!) – which long-running readers of this site will know we regard as the finest of all – there is still a feeling of something devastating waiting in the wings at the end. With no obvious crack or silence in the episode this week, it was also good to get a break from the series arc/threat…