April 7, 2008
Doctor Who - Partners In Crime
There's something very easy to forget about the new Doctor Who once the series has ended, and you cast a critical eye back over all thirteen episodes: it's tremendous fun.
The first episode of a new series always seems to bring that back home in full force, reminding us what we've been missing and reinvigorating our faith. Partners In Crime was that perfect series opener.
All my doubts were cast away about Donna and Catherine Tate. I thought Tate gave a wonderful performance, not just the full-on comedy but also some touching moments, the scenes with Bernard Cribbins being particularly great. She portrayed a character in such a way that - pay attention here Torchwood - I actually believed in her. There were plenty of genuinely funny bits: missing each other repeatedly at the start of the episode, the mime between the windows, the "You want me to mate!?" scene. I think the relationship between Donna and The Doctor is going to refreshing after three series of unrequited love.
It was a slightly different Doctor Who episode in that it was funny and that the villains were cute, obviously CGI, cuddly things (Adipose) (well, apart from Sarah Lancaster's amusing Super Nanny impression). And yet some people still died (which made me laugh). And some of the Adipose got run over with a squelch (which made me laugh too). The story was enjoyable nonsense, all of it really just a vehicle to bring Donna and The Doctor back together, which it did with style,
Finally there was the great shock of seeing Rose at the end. Nice tease. Cross dimension weirdness going on there?
I also listened to the commentary on the episode (available on digital TV when the episode was re-shown on Sunday). It was not only entertaining (Tennant and Tate make a great double act), but also revealing (producer Phil Collinson providing some interesting nuggets): Billie Piper was not included in the preview cuts of the episode for fear that it would be leaked, many of the scenes were more complicated to shoot than they look with many composites, etc. Last series the commentary was available as a podcast too, and is well worth listening to for an insight on the creation of the show.
You can watch it all again, multiple times, on the BBC iPlayer. Although the official Doctor Who site has taken a hammering and is very slow at the moment.