Do we need the horn spoiler? Is there anyone in the space-time continuum who doesn’t yet know that at the end of BBC One’s 90-minute Doctor Who special, The power of doctorwhen the 13th Doctor, Jodie Whittaker, regenerated (glittering and blazing like a billionaire’s malfunctioning space rocket), she transformed into the 10th Doctor, David Tennant (“I know those teeth!”), instead of, as advertised, 14th Doctor, Ncuti Gatwa (of Sex education). Now, as Russell T Davies returns to helm Whovian, there will be three episodes featuring Tennant before Gatwa properly takes over.
It was goodbye to showrunner Chris Chibnall and the first female doctor, after Whittaker’s four-year tenure. You have to wonder if Whittaker, an accomplished actor, is partly relieved to leave behind the relentless punishments of Whovian fan-trolls. While she wasn’t the greatest doctor ever (especially, too much SCREAM), she was far from the worst; even the casual viewer could see that Who’s problems (rudimentary plot; clunking scripts; special effects of Argos sale items) went well beyond his performance.
In any event. It was a beautiful send-off, filled with action (from body-swapping to volcanoes) and pathos: a harrowing final icy break for the Doctor and his companion Yaz (Mandip Gill) atop the Tardis. Elsewhere there were adversaries: the Cybermen, the Daleks, the Master (a spiritually over-the-top Sacha Dhawan). There were also departing allies, including Graham (Bradley Walsh) and Dan (John Bishop), and former Time Lords, including Colin Baker, Peter Davison, Paul McGann, and Sylvester McCoy. (Yes, there was definitely an air of “who they could seduce/afford,” but let’s not spoil the warm fuzzes.) Also, former bandmates: Tegan (Janet Fielding) and Ace (Sophie Aldred) and, more later, during rather awkward Whovian-Friends Reunited-like scenes, everyone from Bonnie Langford to nonagenarian William Russell, who appeared in the original series.
Nostalgia is wonderful, until it regenerates into a sickening, over-reverent blockage. Turn 60 next year Dactor Who must stop being attached to its own history and mythology. For starters, on the fringes, even in the ditch, the Daleks and the Cybermen; These days, they’re about as menacing as Iggle Piggle. I also wonder if it’s a mistake to bring Tennant back: it could be read as a wavering of confidence. Admittedly, this seems unfair on the vibrant Gatwa, blurring what should be its grand entrance. I hope I am wrong about this.
While aiming to be an edgy commentary on cancel culture, an exercise in ethical Top Trumps, the one-time TV event Jimmy Carr destroys art missed big time. The basic premise included Carr presenting purchased artwork by “problematic” figures: Adolf Hitler (watercolor), Eric Gill (print), Pablo Picasso (pot), Rolf Harris (painting) and more. After listening to debates from art experts (as well as contributions from the likes of Janet Street-Porter), a studio audience decided to blast with a flamethrower, spray with a paintball gun, attack with tiny blades etc.
The result was bizarre: art and essay-Seen meets Kilroy. First, Hitler – “problematic”? Talk about a gift for understatement. A clearly nervous Carr (author of a Holocaust “rib tickler” on her Netflix show) couldn’t resist cracking some shocking jokes. (Example: “Anyone who wants to save Hitler, move to the right…that’s the far right. ”) There was continued confusion about who/what was being judged. The standing audience (confused, embarrassed) looked like they got lost en route to Later… With Jools Holland.
Although it was a waste of money, there were no really worthwhile works. At £25,200 the Picasso was the most expensive, but it still looked like something the untrained eye would overlook at a local party bric-a-brac stall. Some hearts were in the right place and there is a fascinating program to be made about the rights, wrongs and contradictions of cancel culture. It was not this.
In the first series of BBC One The pact, Rakie Ayola portrayed a detective investigating the murder of a brewery chef. In this second six-part series, also written by creator Pete McTighe, she plays social worker Christine, whose adult children feel threatened by the arrival of a troubled young man (Jordan Wilks) claiming to be her son. .
Again located in Wales, this new Pact retains the central premise of the first series – a deadly mistake exacerbated by ruinous decisions – and steeps it in modern gothic melodrama. While some characters are likeable (Aaron Anthony’s vulnerable younger son; Mali’s compassionate daughter Ann Rees), others (like Lloyd Everitt’s older brother) are conflicted and unstable. Even Christine hesitates between calm and nurturing and matriarchal and domineering.
For me, this new series, while well-acted, isn’t as engrossing – as divinely tense – as the first. Pact. But you could do worse than hang on to the big twist – it sneakily comes out of nowhere.
Should Peter Capaldi (another former Doctor) venture into Hannibal Lecter territory – wasn’t Malcolm Tucker deranged enough? In Devil’s hour, a six-parter created and written by Tom Moran, produced by Steven Moffat, Capaldi plays an incarcerated and murderous psychopath, Gideon, somehow attached to a new serial killer case. Lucy (Jessica Raine) is his Clarice, a social worker prone to prophetic visions and waking up every night at 3:33 a.m. during the so-called Devil’s Hour.
Lucy also has a strange, blank-eyed son straight out of The sixth sense. In effect, Devil’s hour is overloaded with horror motifs, like a Buckaroo cooler about to spurt out: from Gideon (abrasively lit, vibrating with wickedness) to the spectral tinkling music in the credits, which sounds like The Exorcistthe theme played on a xylophone broken by Halloweenis Michael Myers.
The two episodes I sampled involve a murder investigation (with detectives played by Nikesh Patel and Alex Ferns), Lucy’s visions of a child in peril (point to a blood-splattered comforter), and her encounters with Gideon. . “What is the worst thing you have ever experienced? he intones, once again lit as if holding a torch under his chin around a school trip campfire. Devil’s hour is a hot contender for the worst title of 2022, as well as overworked, derivative, and likely to get even more ridiculous. I rather take advantage of it.
Star rating (out of five):
Doctor Who: The power of the doctor ★★★
Jimmy Carr destroys art ★★
The pact ★★★
Devil’s hour ★★★
What else am I watching
Covering the Bible, the Cambridge Stormzy Scholarship set up for disadvantaged black students, and Christmas, it kicks off a new series of Theroux interviews.
The final episode of dark, shining game of thrones the prequel ends on a (devastating) high. It’s so much better than the parody of Amazon Prime Video Rings power – Jeff Bezos must be pissed.
BBC iPlayer/BBC Scotland
From filmmaker Stewart Kyasimire (Black and Scottish), comes this series of dramatic shorts about a Scottish-African wedding from the perspective of six guests, including a gambler uncle and a bartender. It debuted on iPlayer, then aired on BBC Scotland.