As a lifelong fan of Doctor Who (BBC1) I was always going to watch the current series – even if just to get it over and done with.
Because for the first time, I haven’t been as interested in the Time Lord’s current adventures in space and time as in what’s coming next.
And what’s coming next is the return of the insanely talented Russell T Davies, the man who single-handedly rebooted Doctor Who for the modern age with Chris Ecclestone then into the golden age of Who that was David Tennant.
That he will run the show again restored my hope in the Tardis and all who travel in her, after watching the series go into a tailspin of mediocrity with current showrunner Chris Chibnall’s pedestrian and derivative scripts.
Credit to Chibnall for casting the first woman Doctor – but why then write stories for her that were stale on arrival?”
Credit to Chibnall for casting the first woman Doctor – but why do that, then write stories for her that were stale on arrival? Poor Jodie Whittaker was at times a minor character in her own show.
I settled into the current offering, Doctor Who: Flux, just to see out one of Chibnall’s last kicks at the ball.
Then something weird happened. It became good. I mean, really good in the latest episode.
The Village Of The Angels was proper, old school Doctor Who with the return of one of the most disturbing monsters of the new era, the Weeping Angels. They’re the ones that if you blink, send you back in time to feed of the energy of your lost life.
It twisted along quite nicely, with quite a few jumps and scares to send the little uns scuttling behind the settee.”
Set in the 1960s, it was creepily satisfying and gave Whittaker a chance to positively shine as she battled against the creatures as they besieged a quiet village.
It twisted along quite nicely, with quite a few jumps and scares to send the little uns scuttling behind the settee.
Not only that, it all joined up and made sense. Not always guaranteed in the Chibnall era, so I suspect that guest co-writer Maxine Alderton was the angel on that one.
Flux is a six-episode story and has built up a good head of steam, with enough intrigue and sense of wonder to make Doctor Who watchable again – especially with the addition of John Bishop who is surprisingly excellent.
In fact, it almost makes me wonder if I’ve been wrong about Chibnall. Nah… let’s have Rusty back in the big chair, please.
I’ve joined Team Rose and Giovanni
Strictly Come Dancing (BBC1) kept us sane last year – in the dark days of lockdown, it was the glittering highlight of the week.
Ditto this year. It has waltzed back into our lives with the familiar pattern of going from “Who are they?” to “Aren’t John and Johannes good?” to almost, but not quite, seeing if you can get Team Rose and Giovanni sweatshirts online. John and Johannes have swept away the same-sex couple debate, while Rose has raised awareness about the deaf community.
The only irritation is the constant cries of “fix” from folk when their favourites get put out. There’s no fiddle, it’s just the fickle nature of the voting public and you have to live with it – unless Rose and Giovanni don’t win.
Adele has a comedy career waiting for her
At first glance, An Audience With Adele (ITV) might be taken as a shill-job for her new album, 30.
Sure she sang some tracks from it, but she also sang her classics, interspersed with banter from a star-studded audience, including Alan Carr and Emma Thompson – who had her dancing shoes on.
Adele isn’t just a stunning voice, she’s really, really funny. It was an entertaining night – and opens the door to a career in comedy if the singing doesn’t work out.
Creaky castle is as dank and dull as celebs
Why have the producers of I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here persevered with setting the thing in a cold, dank, uninteresting castle?
After last year’s dull escapades in deepest Wales, they should have either rested the thing until they can get back into the jungle or tried to find some other location to at least keep viewer interest up.
And does the creaky old building theme extend to some of the celebrities – I do use the word loosely – creeping around the corridors like relics from days of yore.
Whoever ends up King or Queen of the Castle this year should issue a royal decree – the show should either be back Down Under or off the box altogether.
Movie Of The Week: Hulk, ITV 4, Monday
This Hulk isn’t a slick and shiny child of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
It is the creation of Ang Lee, who had found global box office success with Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon before he took on the big green guy.
But when Hulk came out in 2003, it seemed that Lee had reached less into the paintbox for his martial arts action epic and more into the palette of his earlier human dramas, such as The Ice Storm.
His superhero outing came across as an unsuccessful mash-up between striving for dramatic depth and watching Hulk smash. There wasn’t enough of either to keep audiences happy. It didn’t help that Eric Bana phoned in a cold performance as the troubled Bruce Banner.
Hulk is a bit of a footnote to what followed, but it’s still worth a watch to see how far Marvel films have come.