Doctor Who - Series 9, Episode 1


Taking time out from pulling hats out of rabbits and sawing the boss in half again, steven harris gives us his own take on Doctor Who: The Magician’s Apprentice...

Okay so I’m a total Who nerd and I knew the mist-ravaged planet with the stupidly anachronistic weaponry was Skaro within seconds. I didn’t realise the kid in the field of Hand Mines (very Almodovar) was Davros though. Not till he said his name was Davros, anyway.

If Davros made the Daleks, who made Davros? An excellent question and one that merited some always welcome footage from Genesis of the Daleks. Which was obviously a nod to Tom of the Bakers and also an excuse to show other incarnations of the Doctor in conversation/confrontation with Davros - Other Baker, Peter Davison, David Tennant, other Scottish One. And did you catch the mention of a bow tie? You did? Well, did you spot that Capaldi was wearing Troughton Trousers? I did.

There was something very Pertwee about the way The Doctor and Missy sort of team up. Delgado’s Master and Pertwee’s Doctor Three occasionally did clever science stuff together before the Master’s inevitable betrayal. No change here then, even if the Master wears a dress and is as mad as a whole storeroom full of boxed frogs nowadays. She is also a tiny bit sexy.

Didn’t series openers used to be fairly light so that audiences could catch up with where the Timelord is at and how tricksy it might prove to get him out of forthcoming scrapes? None of that here: from the off the mood as well as a lot of the actual visuals was darkness, murky darkness. And Missy and Clara are dead.

Of course they won’t be dead by the end of the second part of this particular two-hander (the whole season is a sequence of two-parters, apparently. Ooh, cliffhangers ahoy!). I mean, Missy was already dead and then back to life in a way a little too reminiscent of Moriarty’s apparent return at the end of the most recent series of Sherlock. And Clara has to stay alive at least until the end of this series when she will either be deposited back into a more humdrum but stable existence outside of the Tardis or be killed in massive shocker to boost ratings (apparently 2m fewer people tuned in to watch this series opener than they did last year - Philistines).

Anyway. Some running. Some punning. A wee bit of funning but mostly darkness personified as UNIT, Daleks from many periods, Missy, Shadow Proclamation, The Sisterhood of Karn and Davros all play a part in building up to the possibility that The Doctor has gone back in time to shoot Davros in the face while he’s still a young boy. Davros, not the Doctor.

All brilliantly shot, all sublimely acted, all deliciously scripted. Those missing 2 million are really big time losers. Oh Missy you so fine…

Image - BBC