Last night’s Doctor Who featured a famous face: noted fantasy writer Neil Gaiman, of Sandman, American Gods and Stardust fame. Well, it didn’t feature his actual face, although you can see that in Doctor Who Confidential. But still, he wrote the episode, which is exciting for dorks everywhere.
So with anticipation high, can “The Doctor’s Wife” deliver? And, um, does it feature anyone married to the Doctor?
The Junkyard Box
Happily, yes, it was really good. I know that sounds inevitable, but even with a proven writer at the helm, it could have gone wrong. A sentient or humanised TARDIS is one of those Doctor Who stories that they must shy away from actually doing, in case they mess up and ruin the concept for everyone else. I imagine it took a writer like Gaiman pitching it to get the story greenlighted.
But with his characteristic whimsical touch and dreamy feelings, it works here. It helps that Matt Smith gives one of his best performances as the Doctor, along with a great Suranne Jones as Idris.
A Nancy Boy
I’m thrilled that I haven’t heard anyone complaining about the title being misleading, in that there was no River Song in this episode, nor any other character literally married to our hero. I remember when the “Doctor’s Daughter” turned out to be a speed-clone; what a lot of internet moaning that was. But Gaiman’s idea of “the Doctor’s wife” seems to have been accepted. Good.
If I had to complain, I suppose it’s a shame that Poor Rory ended up looking like a victim again. It worked perfectly well in the context of this episode, but come on, let him save the day just once. He’s earned it in sheer volume of humiliation and suffering.
So, nothing dramatic, they’ve just let Neil Gaiman come in, do his magical fairy tale thing and leave. I suppose if you’re of the opinion that Doctor Who should be hard sci-fi, rather than borderline-fantasy, you might find that annoying. But I’m not, and I thought it was a really lovely episode, well worth the wait.
Obviously I think you should watch it on iPlayer if you haven’t already. Also, you probably shouldn’t have read that quite spoiler-heavy review I just wrote.