A little later this week, the reaction round-up – I’ve been trying to calm down after seeting over so-called Doctor Who fan Gavin Fuller’s attempt at a review in The Telegraph.
It hasn’t worked.
Short of turning this into a personal attack on someone who clearly is a fan of Doctor Who 1963-1989 (perhaps not even that late) can I just point out that anyone who wrote this review (presumably for money) either:
- was pissed
- was reading
- wasn’t watching at all
Fuller’s review doesn’t just express a dislike of the episode – it betrays the fact, through several “plot holes” that were clearly explained and related in the script, that the guy (a former Mastermind champion, no less) has no more business to be reviewing Doctor Who than BP have opening a chain of coastal resorts.
On a more positive and relevant note, SFX finally awarded a new episode of Doctor Who 5 stars! Their summary is perfect:
…this is a genuinely magical episode of Who, high on atmosphere (the cobbled, monster-bothered night-streets of Provence) and bursting with charm (just watch Smith and Nighy bonding over their bow-ties, all Four Weddings English awkwardness). Itâ€™s reliably witty, of course â€“ Curtisâ€™ Doctor is a riot, whether namedropping that â€œghastly old goatâ€ Picasso or lamenting, â€œIs this really how time passes? Really slowly, in the right order?â€ â€“ but thereâ€™s a striking note of melancholy, too.
SFX have been threatening full marks rarely of late, so its good to see that for them at least the current series has given us a great episode.
Sam Wollaston, reviewing in The Guardian, expressed hidden love for the episode in a series of back-handed compliments alternating with affected dislike for Richard Curtis’ work.
There are jokes too, because this is Curtis. It’s witty and clever; a starry night is suddenly, magically, The Starry Night. At times it’s ever so slightly irritating; yes, yes all right, we get and know that VvG wasn’t appreciated, even by himself, during his life, no need to go on and on about it.
The Independent’s Tom Sutcliffe appeared to greatly enjoy the episode, particularly the late scenes as van Gogh was brought forward in time to an exhibition of his work at the Musee D’Orsay… a moment which begs an interesting question:
It didn’t do to think too hard about the implications of this invention, given what actually happened in history. Did Vincent then go back to Arles and think “I really must be going nuts if I believe in time travel. I’d better end it all”? If you didn’t think too hard about it though it worked.
Finally, Gallifrey News Base reported that Vincent and the DoctorÂ was watched by 5 million viewers according to overnight figures, a total that includes BBC HD and one that is also likely to increase as delayed viewing is factored in.