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Published on October 5th, 2011 | by Scott Varnham

Death Is The Only Answer Reviewed!

The citizens of Great Britain may have been too busy mourning the demise of Doctor Who Confidential to really pay any attention yesterday’s culmination of the running “Script To Screen” segment. Death Is The Only Answer, a script written by four schoolchildren, aired as part of last Saturday’s episode “When Time Froze”.

Regular readers of Kasterborous may recall our various articles about this episode (including one where this very writer cocked it up big time, necessitating a rewrite), so it’s nice to finally see the episode we were waiting for. And if I had to pick one word to describe it, that word would be ‘weird’.

The episode’s roots are kind of obvious when you think about it, with Einstein (former Sheriff of Nottingham Nikolas Grace) being a universally recognised historical figure with wacky hair, the Ood being one of the most popular monsters to children nowadays (not to mention you can just slap a guy into a suit) and the fact that if they’d written the Weeping Angel (as I initially predicted) appearing in the TARDIS, that’s a situation that’s hard to write yourself out of. And Einstein turning into an Ood is just the sort of deliciously bonkers idea that young Doctor Who fans should come up with. Naturally it doesn’t make any narrative sense, but then the whole thing is only four minutes long…

(There may be some serious fans who will no doubt worry about where this fits into the Doctor’s timeline and how canonical it is; ultimately it makes more sense than the acid trip of Dimensions in Time.)

While the Einstein into Ood thing made little sense (as we saw in Planet Of The Ood, the last time we saw a change like that it happened gradually) I’m willing to allow it for the sake of these clearly passionate young writers. One thing that did bug me was in the editing of the episode, where a mysterious piece of music is interrupted by a triumphant one, with no apparent purpose other than to end the episode on a relatively happy note.

I also feel that the episode would’ve been better served if it hadn’t aired as part of a Confidential episode that was about the series finale and I hope that whatever response this episode receives won’t stop the BBC from running any similar competitions in the future (perhaps to older writers this time, hint), perhaps in a new series of Confidential (that’s another hint, BBC).

In any case, the entire thing is available here if you want to watch it and judge for yourself how well it turned out, although you might prefer to simply check the screen captures…

Doctor Who: Death is the Only Answer

Doctor Who: Death is the Only Answer

Doctor Who: Death is the Only Answer

Doctor Who: Death is the Only Answer

Doctor Who: Death is the Only Answer

Doctor Who: Death is the Only Answer

Doctor Who: Death is the Only Answer

Doctor Who: Death is the Only Answer

Doctor Who: Death is the Only Answer

Doctor Who: Death is the Only Answer

Doctor Who: Death is the Only Answer

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About the Author

In his spare time, Scott writes for Kasterborous, his personal blog at WordPress and the revived Starburst Magazine. He’s also on Twitter (as @Scott_V_Writer) where he tries to be interesting and verbose in 140 characters.




6 Responses to Death Is The Only Answer Reviewed!

  1. stlshawn says:

    This was obviously a rush job on editing, there’s even a few “strange” scene cuts floating about, and a bit of an issue with timing.

    But as for the writing,, Top Notch! Those kids did a fantastic job. Every story me and my friends wrote at that time ended in more of a monty python style, or with great battle scenes erupting from nowhere.

    But, the end,,,,, ahhhhhh matt,,,, ahhh director,,,, you guys could have improved something,, a closing line. I don’t blame the kids for that,,, the “Pros” should have known better.

  2. Patty says:

    Good heavens! Are you honestly criticizing school children now? The job these 4 children did was amazing so please just sit back and enjoy the ride.

    • ChrisL says:

      I agree, completely!
      To even think this ‘episode’ requires any form of critique is total nonsense, and as for whether the story should be considered canon… God help us!

      How about you all put it down as a bad dream The Doctor may have had one night and then move on. That way, the fact that none of it made any sense will no longer trouble anybody, and any supposed struggle to find a spot in which to place it in The Doctor’s timeline will also cease to be of any concern.

  3. Alex says:

    I was very impressed with the script. Even if it was polished at some point, the very fact a bunch of kids came up with this story – and that title! – this was top-notch. Added bonus points for the fact it ties into one of Matt Smith’s legendary fan-fic stories he wrote about the Doctor meeting Einstein. And the fact the Doctor knows Einstein actually connects with the original series (Einstein appeared in Time and the Rani) and I think he’s in a novel, too. As for its placement in canon – I don’t see an issue. There are plenty of gaps – including one lasting some 200 years – in which this may have happened. Or it could have happened when the Doctor travelled alone during Rory and Amy’s honeymoon, met Sarah Jane and got a new fez (seen in A Christmas Carol). It’s certainly easier to rationalize as canon than Music of the Spheres!


    • Do people actually call Music Of The Spheres canon? If they do, I’ve learnt something new today.

      My main issue with canon was that Einstein turned into an Ood, which is something that has only happened once, and as I mentioned above it happened gradually.

  4. Gareth Kavanagh says:

    Great title, great fun! Mean spirited review though….

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