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DOCTOR WHO: Deep Breath / Review

Deep Breath
BBC One HD
23 August 2014, 7.50pm

Yes, take a deep one.

We've had all the hype, all the leaks (I wonder what Marcelo Carmargo was doing as the episode went out) and we're down to the brass tacks. Does Peter Capaldi live up to his promise? I'll get to that presently.

A new Doctor always precipitates some deft rearranging of the furniture. Back in 1966, replacing your lead actor was a risk in itself; in 1970 they did it again, went into colour and tweaked the format; and so on, and so forth. The series survived through changes of actor, rearranging of music, new titles, modes of production, not being on television at all... and as Capaldi himself self-effacingly admitted recently, he'll be loved by someone at least and he'll always be someone's Doctor. He knows the score.

And Steven Moffat's done this before, handling the change from David Tennant to Matt Smith in The Eleventh Hour, and in the scheme of things (yes, The Twin Dilemma and Time and the Rani I'm looking at you) Smith's debut was generally acknowledged as a particularly good example of how to introduce a new Doctor. And now Moffat has to do it all over again but the situation is trickier. He has to convince young fans an older actor can carry the show again. 

So, let's get the cosmetic changes out of the way. Cue the bold new opening titles, inspired by designer Billy Hanshaw's much viewed portfolio piece on You Tube. The problem I have with them is the music. For a graphically powerful set of images - whirling timepieces, clocks, cogs, stars and planets - Murray Gold has opted to go heavy on the chimes and a theremin. I'm all for an emphasis of the wooo-eeeeee-wooooo-oooo sections of the Derbyshire-Grainer original but I'm not sure this version works. It sounds a bit too pared down for me. Not quite the plus ça change I was hoping for. Hanshaw's version using Gold's older arrangement, with the Derbyshire whoops intact, is a better combination. However, it's a mere quibble.
'Here we go again.' 
The episode opens with a gorgeous shot, perhaps also a little nod to the dinosaur at sunset Chris Achilleos cover image of Invasion of the Dinosaurs. A dinosaur bellowing against a rusty coloured sky kids you into thinking you're back at the dawn of time until the camera pans away. The chimes of Big Ben provide a tantalising bit of schadenfreude as the dinosaur stomps across the Thames and puts the screaming abdabs up the crowd of Victorians rubbernecking on the Embankment.

Those chimes also sound a note of doom echoed by the tolling of the Cloister Bell as a vomited up TARDIS disgorges the Twelfth Doctor and a very worried Clara Oswald before the astonished gaze of the Paternoster Gang. Capaldi hits the ground running as a disorientated post-regenerative Doctor whose ability to recognise faces both familiar and unfamiliar, including his own, has been severely compromised. Clara's seen the Doctor abruptly change and she's not sure she likes this wide-eyed, grey haired Scotsman who decides to take five face down in the Thames's mud. As Madame Vastra so eloquently quotes a certain Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart, 'Here we go again.'

Re-establishing the Doctor's identity is one of the key motifs here. It's not just for Clara's sake, as the story takes great pains to emphasise, it's also for that young audience out there for whom Matt Smith was their Doctor. Us old hands can take it in our stride but a franchise's continued success with that group clearly concerns those calling the shots at the BBC. But Moffat astutely turns this into a treatise on pre-judging appearances and identities - from the gender of dinosaurs to the self-awareness of artificial intelligences - and satisfactorily provides Clara's character ('the not-me one, the asking questions one') with some much needed substance.

The otherness, the smile behind the veil, that lies beneath our outward appearances abounds in the story. Before the Doctor passes out on the shore of the Thames director Ben Wheatley, who makes a terrific job of this episode, opts for a series of point of view shots to emphasise the distances between us, the new Doctor and his friends. As the dark clouds of unconsciousness descend upon the Doctor we get a shot from his point of view, backing away from Clara, Strax and Vastra who are now rendered as even more alien to him. Wheatley then switches to a point of view shot of Clara and Strax looking at the Doctor as he backs away from them. Point of view is used sparingly in the current series but with Wheatley at the helm it crops up again in this story as does a later shot which breaks the fourth wall.

As the Doctor takes a nap, Clara's inability to see beyond the Doctor's outward incarnation is challenged by Madame Vastra. These scenes allow for a more considered approach to character and explore Jenny and Vastra's domestic milieu both comedically and emotionally. There's, forgive the allusion, breathing space to add some nuances to the Paternoster Gang as well as to Clara. Vastra's take on seeing beyond the veil, on the ability to dress up or dress down, to pass as normal in straight Victorian society is configured with Clara's concerns about the Doctor.

Her inability to accept his change marks her out as a stranger in the Paternoster circle. Vastra's position in polite Victorian society is a demonstration to Clara that when the Doctor regularly changes his appearance, the core of his being remains intact. He dons a new face, a new veil, to gain acceptance in the societies he comes into contact with. As Jenny reminds Clara when she mourns the absence of the Doctor, 'he's not gone, he's upstairs.' The Doctor looks different but is still present. It's a terrific scene that touches on acceptance, tolerance, age and expression and denial of desire between Jenny and Vastra, Clara and the Doctor.
'Who frowned me this face?' 
Moffat also has a lot of fun with Capaldi's and Neve McIntosh's Scottish accents. Vastra is the only one the Doctor can understand at first, someone who hasn't developed a faulty accent ('you all sound all... English!') and has a recognisable voice he can respond to. This is also underlined with the delightful scene with the tramp in the alleyway after the Doctor, gallivanting about in his nightie à la Pertwee in Spearhead From Space, witnesses the spontaneous combustion of the dinosaur and plunges into the Thames.

It is de rigueur in a Doctor's introductory episode to have scenes where the Doctor self-examines his latest regeneration. Capaldi shares this superb moment, where the Doctor is rather dark and threatening, with Brian Miller, husband of the late Elisabeth Sladen. Like many of his predecessors, having the new Doctor recognise his face in a mirror is a way for him to overcome these delusional misidentification symptoms.

It is also interesting to note how the Doctor ponders on where his faces come from, suggesting we might eventually get an inkling as to why he resembles Roman merchant Lucius Caecilius Iucundus from The Fires of Pompeii and Torchwood's Home Office permanent secretary John Frobisher. 'Who frowned me this face?' he asks the tramp before he remonstrates with him about eyebrows that could take off bottle tops and how, being Scottish, he can 'really complain about things now.'

There is also the motif of characters physically and spiritually assembling a sense of themselves through the story. Strax examines Clara to test her fighting fitness, praising her 'enviable spleen' but also reveals her subconscious desires and drives: 'deflective narcissism, traces of passive aggressive and a lot of muscular young men doing sport.' The Doctor, naturally, is settling into a new body, gathering together memories and attributes. This is an analogue with the steampunk Victorian droids who, over the centuries, are constantly repairing and regenerating themselves from the resources around them, human beings.

Moffat returns to the world of the repair droids seen in The Girl in the Fireplace and, although there is much horror and abjection generated from their appearances, their reappearance lacks some of the earlier episode's resonances and threatens to diminish its original reputation. That said, the scene in the restaurant offers us not only a great insight into the relationship between this new Doctor and Clara, played extremely well by Capaldi and Coleman and with a strikingly different chemistry than that she established with Matt Smith, but also the creeping sense of horror, the sound of uncanny clockwork in the air, as they realise they're bickering in a room full of automata.

Automata of the Victorian era were also a symbol of the impact of the Industrial Revolution and the period's debates about human nature and human beings as organic machines so it is quite appropriate that the droids are used within this setting. The symbolism of the automata striving to find 'the promised land' is cleverly used as a counterpoint to the humanity that Clara wants to find in the new Doctor. There is a collapse in the boundary between humans and machine in Deep Breath, underlined by the flesh and blood heroes needing to take that deep breath and pass as machines, to briefly deny human feelings, in order to survive the droids' attention or attack.

Ben Wheatley again returns to his use of the point of view shot here as Clara. seemingly abandoned by the Doctor and holding her breath for too long to escape from the droids' lair, passing as a mechanical being, is undone by her body's capacity to store air in its lungs. Wheatley's imagery is dreamlike and we see the edges of her vision blurring and reddening, a swirling recall of a memory as she passes out. It is this memory, of a challenge from a pupil in her class at school, that provides her with the strength to dismantle Half-Face Man's threats. It's also a mark of her faith in the Doctor, that he will return in the nick of time, that 'if the Doctor is still the Doctor, he will have my back.'
'You probably can't even remember where you got that face from.' 
When Clara is rescued from Half-Face Man, an unsettling performance from Peter Ferdinando, the episode summarises the debates about the boundaries between human and machine. The Doctor also squares his own conscience when he realises he will, in all likelihood, have to kill the droid in order to prevent the other droids from murdering Clara and the Paternoster Gang.

As he must unlock the cold, hard logic within himself he also implores the machine to seek out its human qualities and do the honorable thing and save lives by self-destructing. This confrontation between Time Lord and cyborg is also about the machine discovering that to be human is to be mortal and that it must accept finitude and death. The notion of where the Doctor got his new face from, how he has constructed himself, is also restated in the rhetorical question he asks of the Half-Face Man at the climax of the episode.

As the Doctor interrogates the Droid, they both stand facing the mirrored surface of a tray and the Doctor states: 'You probably can't even remember where you got that face from.' Wheatley's shot of the tray reflecting the face of the Doctor on the tray as the machine considers its recycled origins is a wonderful moment of visual shorthand for the idea of the constructed nature of the self.

Does the Doctor throw Half-Face Man from the escape pod, literally a vehicle of abjection with is human skin balloon taking it over the London rooftops, or did it commit the ultimate act of sacrifice? Did it overcome its basic programming or did the Doctor murder the creature? Again, Wheatley inserts a modicum of doubt by including a brief shot of Capaldi, stony faced, looking up from under those furious eyebrows and directly into camera. It's rather spine-tingling and implies the darker nature behind the new face.

When we arrive at the end of the episode, Clara's doubts about the Doctor remain unresolved and it appears he has abandoned and forgotten her. She considers joining the Paternoster Gang but Vastra convinces her the Doctor will return for her. When the TARDIS does arrive, she steps into a redefined interior. The lighting is warmer, there are bookshelves along the walls. Quoting the Second Doctor, she offers of the changes to the TARDIS, 'You've redecorated. I don't like it' and is probably saying exactly that about the Doctor himself.

Even the Doctor remains unconvinced of these changes but he is sure of one thing, he's more his own man again. Moffat underlines that the romantic associations between the Doctor and his companion are a thing of the past and we are on a new footing with the relationship between him and his companion. The Doctor firmly states, 'I'm not your boyfriend', which for Clara he never has been, and qualifies this assumption as a mistake on his part and not hers.

A phone call from Trenzalore, from the Eleventh Doctor, offers a salve to Clara's trouble accepting this older man as the same Doctor she knew. Rather like Cho-Je appeared to the Brigadier and Sarah in Planet of the Spiders to give the regeneration of the Third into the Fourth a little push, the Eleventh parts from Clara suggesting the new Doctor will need her help to adjust and acclimatise. And as the Ninth Doctor found his feet by sharing some chips with Rose, the Twelfth sets out to bond with Clara over a coffee. Or is that coffee and chips?

And there are mysteries yet to be solved. Who is the Mary Poppins-like figure of Missy and what is the paradise she inhabits? Is she the woman in the shop who gave Clara the Doctor's number and placed the ads in the newspaper? Why does she refer to the Doctor as her boyfriend and then claim of his new accent, 'Think I might keep it.' Let the speculation begin. 

Deep Breath has, at its core, a re-defining of the Doctor-companion relationship and Moffat and director Ben Wheatley handle this to great effect. Visually, the episode looks sumptuous and, along with the setting up of the Twelfth Doctor's modus operandi, the tone achieved is just that bit darker, just that bit more serious. Of great importance here is the way Clara's doubts are often placed centre-stage, giving Jenna Coleman some much needed character development, and how Jenny and Vastra's relationship is given some weight and furthers the integration of positive cultural and sexual differences into the series.

Capaldi nails the sharp humour of Moffat's lines but the plot isn't much of a departure from his signature tropes established as far back as The Empty Child, of half flesh-half machine opponents doggedly following their protocols, of remembering and forgetting and the power of the uncanny. Whether this signature will alter much is debatable as he tends to fall back on tried and tested motifs. Deep Breath does perhaps outstay its welcome at 75 minutes and might have benefited from some trimming but it's a very promising start for the Twelfth Doctor and Capaldi.

COMPETITION IS NOW CLOSED - congratulations to winner Miche Doherty

Competition time again! For our third giveaway, we have two more Doctor Who books from BBC Books and Ebury Press to tantatlise and delight you. Simply answer the question below to enter the draw. 

Doctor Who: The Shakespeare Notebooks
Justin Richards

Many people know about William Shakespeare's famous encounter with the Doctor at the Globe Theatre in 1599. But what few people know (though many have suspected) is that it was not the first time they met.

Drawn from recently-discovered archives, The Shakespeare Notebooks is the holy grail of Bard scholars: conclusive proof that the Doctor not only appeared throughout Shakespeare's life, but had a significant impact on his writing. In these pages you'll find early drafts of scenes and notes for characters that never appeared in the plays; discarded lines of dialogue and sonnets; never-before-seen journal entries; and much more.

From the original notes for Hamlet (with a very different appearance by the ghost) and revealing early versions of the faeries of A Midsummer Night's Dream, to strange stage directions revised to remove references to a mysterious blue box, The Shakespeare Notebooks is an astonishing document that offers a unique insight into the mind of one of history's most respected and admired figures. And also, of course, William Shakespeare.

Doctor Who: The Official Quiz Book
Jacqueline Rayner

For over fifty years, Doctor Who has been one of the nation's favourite programmes. Now you can discover just how much you know about it.

Straightforward or fiendish, easy or horrendously difficult, all 3000 questions in this book have one thing in common - a certain traveller through time and space. From Ace to Zoe and Axons to Zygons, it covers every single one of the almost 250 Doctor Who stories that have been broadcast since 1963.

So put on your brainy specs, pour yourself a nice glass of carrot juice and prepare to discover if you have the knowledge to graduate from Time Lord Academy...

COMPETITION THREE: DOCTOR WHO BOOKS

Cathode Ray Tube has one each of the paperback Doctor Who: The Official Quiz Book and the hardback Doctor Who: The Shakespeare Notebooks to give away to one lucky winner courtesy of BBC Books and Ebury Publishing. Simply answer the question below and submit your entry via email.

  • - This competition is open to residents of the UK only but not to employees of BBC Books and Ebury Publishing or their agents. 

  • - Entries must be received by midnight GMT on Saturday 23 August 2014.

  • - This offer cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer and no cash alternative is available.

  • - No responsibility will be accepted for delayed, mislaid, lost or damaged entries whether due to system error or otherwise.

  • - Only one entry per visitor per day. No multiple entries allowed. Entries sent using answers posted on competition websites will be deemed void. We know who you are!

  • - The winner will be the first entry with the correct answer drawn at random.

  • - The winner will be contacted by email. The books will be posted one week after the competition closes (unless delayed by postal strikes).

  • - The judges' decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into.

  • - Entrants are deemed to accept and be bound by these rules and entries that are not in accordance with the rules will be disqualified.

  • - By entering the free prize draw, entrants agree to be bound by any other requirements set out on this website. Entry is via email to frank_c_collins@hotmail.com. No responsibility can be accepted for entries not received, only partially received or delayed for whatever reason. Paper entries are not valid.
Question: In the episode The Shakespeare Code, when the immortal Bard flirts with the Doctor, how many academics are said to have punched the air?

Email your answer to the question above, with your name and address, and we'll enter you into the prize draw.

Good luck!

COMPETITION IS NOW CLOSED
(Congratulations to our winner, Lee Barrett)

Not allowing the dust to settle, let's get on with our next competition. A bundle of three books, again courtesy of our friends at BBC Books and Ebury Press.


Harvest of Time
Alastair Reynolds

A forgotten enemy. An old adversary. A terrible alliance.

From a ruined world at the end of time, the vicious Sild make preparations to conquer the past and rewrite history. But to do it they will need to enslave an intellect greater than their own...

On Earth, UNIT is called in to examine a mysterious incident on a North Sea drilling platform. They've hardly begun, though, when something even stranger takes hold: The Brigadier and others are starting to forget about UNIT's highest-profile prisoner.

As the Sild invasion begins, the Doctor faces a terrible dilemma. To save the universe, he must save his arch-nemesis... The Master.

Tales of Trenzalore: The Eleventh Doctor's Last Stand
Some of what happened during those terrible years on Trenzalore is well documented. But most of it remains shrouded in mystery and darkness. This is a glimpse of just some of the terrors the people faced, the monstrous threats the Doctor defeated. These are the tales of the monsters who found themselves afraid - and of the one man who was not.

Let it Snow is penned by Justin Richards, and features the Ice Warriors. Richards is a celebrated writer and Creative Cosultant to the BBC Books range of Doctor Who books.

The Krynoid returns in An Apple a Day by George Mann, author of the Newbury & Hobbes steampunk mystery series, as well as numerous other novels, short stories and original audiobooks.

Strangers in the Outland by Paul Finch sees the return of the Autons. Paul Finch has previously written for TV crime drama The Bill, and has written two Doctor Who audio dramas for Big Finish - Leviathan and Sentinels of the New Dawn.

And finally, evil mind-parasite the Mara reappears in The Dreaming by Mark Morris. Morris has published sixteen novels, among which are Stitch, The Immaculate, The Secret of Anatomy, Fiddleback, The Deluge and four books in the Doctor Who range.

Summer Falls and Other Stories
Summer Falls by Amelia Williams
In the seaside village of Watchcombe, young Kate is determined to make the most of her last week of summer holiday. But when she discovers a mysterious painting entitled 'The Lord of Winter' in a charity shop, it leads her on an adventure she never could have planned. The painting is a puzzle - and with the help of some bizarre new acquaintances, she plans on solving it.
(Inspired by the Doctor Who episode 'The Bells of Saint John')

The Angel's Kiss by Melody Malone
Detective Melody Malone has an unexpected caller: movie star Rock Railton thinks someone is out to kill him - and when he mentions the 'kiss of the Angel', she takes the case. At the press party for Railton's latest movie, studio owner Max Kliener invites Melody to become their next star. But the cost of fame, she'll soon discover, is greater than anyone could possibly imagine.
(Inspired by the Doctor Who episode, 'The Angels Take Manhattan')

Devil in the Smoke as recounted by Mr Justin Richards
On a cold day in December, two young boys, tired of sweeping snow from the workhouse yard, decide to build a snowman - and are confronted with a strange and grisly mystery. In horrified fascination, they watch as their snowman begins to bleed... The search for answers to this impossible event will plunge Harry into the most hazardous - and exhilarating - adventure of his life.
(Inspired by the Doctor Who episode, 'The Snowmen')

COMPETITION TWO: DOCTOR WHO PAPERBACK BUNDLE

Cathode Ray Tube has one set of three paperbacks, Harvest of Time, Tales of Trenzalore and Summer Falls, to give away to one lucky winner courtesy of BBC Books and Ebury Publishing. Simply answer the question below and submit your entry via email.

  • - This competition is open to residents of the UK only but not to employees of BBC Books and Ebury Publishing or their agents. 

  • - Entries must be received by midnight GMT on Wednesday 20 August 2014.

  • - This offer cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer and no cash alternative is available.

  • - No responsibility will be accepted for delayed, mislaid, lost or damaged entries whether due to system error or otherwise.

  • - Only one entry per visitor per day. No multiple entries allowed. Entries sent using answers posted on competition websites will be deemed void. We know who you are!

  • - The winner will be the first entry with the correct answer drawn at random.

  • - The winner will be contacted by email. The books will be posted one week after the competition closes (unless delayed by postal strikes).

  • - The judges' decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into.

  • - Entrants are deemed to accept and be bound by these rules and entries that are not in accordance with the rules will be disqualified.

  • - By entering the free prize draw, entrants agree to be bound by any other requirements set out on this website. Entry is via email to frank_c_collins@hotmail.com. No responsibility can be accepted for entries not received, only partially received or delayed for whatever reason. Paper entries are not valid.
Question: What is the date of Amy and Rory's wedding?

Email your answer to the question above, with your name and address, and we'll enter you into the prize draw.

Good luck!

A quick message from your esteemed editor:

Yes, readers, it has been a long time.

To cut a long story short, I've been a bit busy. First of all, a new full-time job has taken up much of my waking hours so there hasn't been any posting here since the New Year. I'm also still debating with myself as to what to do with Cathode Ray Tube so I also took a little sabbatical to try and work that one out. Not come up with an answer... yet.

In the meantime I have not been idle. A series of essays for MovieMail kept my incisive research and writing skills from going rusty during March and April. Coppers and Spies: The Evolution of the British Action Hero tied in with the high-definition release of series one of The Professionals and dipped back into the television archives to trace the predecessors to that entertaining if politically incorrect guilty pleasure. Articles were posted on The Sweeney, Z Cars, Dixon of Dock Green and the slew of 1960s shows from ITC, everything from Danger Man to The Persuaders!

They're quite good so please go and read them. There are further plans for these articles so keep 'em peeled as Shaw Taylor once advised us.

Plenty of other lovely bits of writing due for various publications this year and next and you'll soon be hearing about those.

Books... for free!
Meanwhile, you may have noticed that we have a new Doctor about to make his debut in the first episode, 'Deep Breath', of the new series of Doctor Who this month. By way of celebration I've got a pile of Doctor Who books that are crying out for a new home and you lucky lot can win them. All titles are courtesy of those brilliant people at BBC Books. So this week I'm running a couple of competitions to get the ball rolling.

Oh, and I know what you're asking. Is Cathode Ray Tube going to cover the new series when it starts on 23rd August? Let's see, shall we.

COMPETITION ONE: DOCTOR WHO THE MONSTER COLLECTION

This competition is now closed. Congratulations to the winner, John Seaman. 
 
All eight paperback reprints, with their bold, modern covers, of Prisoner of the Daleks (by Trevor Baxendale), Scales of Justice (by Gary Russell), Sting of the Zygons (by Stephen Cole), Shakedown (by Terrance Dicks), Touched by An Angel (by Jonathan Morris), Corpse Marker (by Chris Boucher), Illegal Alien (by Mike Tucker and Robert Perry) and Sands of Time (by Justin Richards) can be yours.


Cathode Ray Tube has one set of eight paperbacks, The Monster Collection, to give away courtesy of BBC Books and Ebury Publishing. Simply answer the question below and submit your entry via email.

  • - This competition is open to residents of the UK only but not to employees of BBC Books and Ebury Publishing or their agents. 

  • - Entries must be received by midnight GMT on Sunday 17 August 2014.

  • - This offer cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer and no cash alternative is available.

  • - No responsibility will be accepted for delayed, mislaid, lost or damaged entries whether due to system error or otherwise.

  • - Only one entry per visitor per day. No multiple entries allowed. Entries sent using answers posted on competition websites will be deemed void. We know who you are!

  • - The winner will be the first entry with the correct answer drawn at random.

  • - The winner will be contacted by email. The books will be posted one week after the competition closes (unless delayed by postal strikes).

  • - The judges' decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into.

  • - Entrants are deemed to accept and be bound by these rules and entries that are not in accordance with the rules will be disqualified.

  • - By entering the free prize draw, entrants agree to be bound by any other requirements set out on this website. Entry is via email to frank_c_collins@hotmail.com. No responsibility can be accepted for entries not received, only partially received or delayed for whatever reason. Paper entries are not valid.
Question: In which story did the Doctor claim: 'You can always judge a man by the quality of his enemies.'

Email your answer to the question above, with your name and address, and we'll enter you into the prize draw.

Good luck!

DOCTOR WHO: The Time of the Doctor / Review

The Time of the Doctor
BBC One HD
25 December 2013, 7.30pm

Your stomach's fit to burst and only until you force down yet another luxury chocolate or another branded bit of confectionary from a selection box do you realise that perhaps you've overindulged at Christmas. Yet, you keep going back for more. You pile into turkey, Christmas pudding, mince pies as if you've never seen such a feast before. But you've seen it and eaten it all before. You do it every year.

Sorry, I was digressing. Just thinking about my Christmas dinner again. Oddly enough, the after effects - flatulence and indigestion - did not abate watching The Time of the Doctor. For an end of era story, featuring a regeneration to boot, it felt as if Steven Moffat was devouring a running buffet of the last three seasons under his auspices. Another bowl of fish custard, anyone? One more slice of turkey?

DOCTOR WHO: The Day of the Doctor / Review

The Day of the Doctor
BBC One HD / Red Button 3D
23 November 2013, 7.50pm

Television anniversary stories in Doctor Who are strange affairs. They have to strike a balance. On one hand they are expected to cram in fan-pleasing moments to acknowledge the rich history of the series, to be fronted by multiple versions of the Doctor and they demand the presence of iconic monsters; and on the other hand they have to have a decent but straightforward plot, a narrative that will appeal to the widest possible demographic and hook the many family generations who enjoy having Doctor Who in their lives. Previous anniversary stories have tackled this balancing act with varying degrees of success.

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