Better late than never, it’s time for our roundup of reviews and reaction to Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS, the tenth episode of Doctor Who Series 7 (or if you prefer, the fifth episode of Series 7b).
A slow drop in the overnight ratings has been a characteristic of the current run of Doctor Who, with the series apparently failing to set Saturday nights alight in its anniversary year. SFX report that 4.9 million viewers tuned in, although this drop is mitigated by the show once again claiming just under 30% of the available audience.
While the final figures (remember, time delays such as home recording on VHS/DVD/Sky+/TiVO are official, iPlayer and downloading from Bittorrent is not!), nice weather and a general malaise against tired Saturday night scheduling on BBC One isn’t helping Doctor Who.
You, dear reader, may have been one of the 521 voters who made their thoughts about Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS known. Although once again a largely positive reaction, the split between “good” and “okay” was telling, with 47.6% (248 votes) demanding “More! Again! More!”, and 37.62% (196 votes) considering the adventure “A good episode, but not the best.” A higher-than-usual 14.78% (77 votes) of respondents were dissatisfied, requesting “Can I have a Big Friendly Button to regain the last 45 minutes?”.
Did Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS promise more than it could deliver?
In the press roundup for Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS, we’ve opted to steer away from the newspapers and instead look at the thoughts of two genre websites and one news site with a Doctor Who fan writing for it.
First of all, the big gun – SFX. With 3/5 stars, they must have some good reasons for such a low rating, right?
“Even a casual viewer understands the iconic place of the TARDIS within the show’s lore and history. So “Journey To The Centre Of The TARDIS”…? That’s going to be special, right? Full of moments of awe and wonder.
Sadly no. It’s disappointingly average. A reasonable, bog-standard, sci-fi corridor run-around complete with handy-dandy reset button ending.”
“Office Whovian Darren Sykes” is the man with his finger on the TARDIS’ pulse in the Boston Standard, but in awarding a mediocre 6/10 he observed that:
“…the story’s initial promise was soon eroded after 30 minutes of wandering around rather drab grey corridors and no sense of any progress really being made.
“…the rather grey utilitarian look of them, offered more of the blandness you would associate with a spaceship on Star Trek, than a rickety Gallifreyan Type-40 disguised as a police box.”
Over on Cultfix, Adam James Cuthbert compares the episode with The Doctor’s Wife, and also enthuses over the climax
“The plot, while straightforward, if unremarkable (‘ticking-clock’ scenario; the future negating itself by interaction with the past), does have an excitable, tense build-up. The climax, as the characters are surrounded by Time Zombies on either side, is impressively staged, with an almost apocalyptic atmosphere to the events, the characters bathed in the hellish, hypnotic radiance of the Eye of Harmony.”
All in all, the summary seems to be that the episode didn’t reach the heights it aspired to. Don’t forget to read all three of these reviews in their entirety.