Doctor Who ‘The Crimson Horror’ – Series 7, episode 11
This week was another great adventure from the pen of Mark Gatiss, featuring mother and daughter duo Diana Rigg and Rachael Stirling, who played a mother and daughter with a rather dysfunctional relationship. It also saw Clara don Victorian garb again, surely having to squeeze into a corset must jog at least one past life memory?
Just like Hide which melded horror and science fiction wonderfully, this week did the same with a period drama horror slipping into steam punk. Gatiss drew wonderfully on some of the iconic things in this era without the story getting too ham Victoriana.
From the outset, the aesthetics of The Crimson Horror were superb and immersed the viewer straight into the grime and polluted world of Victorian workhouses. Whilst the segment explaining how Clara and the Doctor ended up in Sweetville was beautifully stylised and really sent the audience spiralling back into this era even more. It was break from how Doctor Who is normally filmed and augmented the televisual experience elevating it to something more likely to be seen on the big screen.
Gatiss gives us some great reveals in this adventure that really does make the viewer gasp in horror, the worst was when we were shown the leech feeding off Mrs Gillyflower (Rigg). The other moment that made a chill run down my spine was when we saw a hand grab at Ada (Stirling). Gatiss plays with the horror of the story and it is one surprise after another which means there is never a dull moment in this episode.
I implore the producers of Doctor Who again to give Strax (Dan Starkey), Jenny (Catrin Stewart) and Vastra (Neve McIntosh) their own show because they make a delightful crime-solving threesome. The trio work fit together so well because of their differing personalities. Vastra has her mind, Strax his grenades and Jenny has her martial arts skills. It’s good television waiting to happen.
All in all The Crimson Horror was an unexpectedly action-packed instalment, with a great plot to match the gigantic scale. The story was fully realised and by the end of the 40-odd minutes it felt like we had been taken on an exciting journey and watched a film. Gatiss has produced a superb episode of Doctor Who. He even injects some shots of humour that work and make sure it is never too serious. This week certainly makes up for the all style no substance adventure that was Journey to the Centre of the Tardis.
In terms of the overarching storyline, this week our attention was drawn back to the mystery of Clara Oswald. Up until now it has been bubbling away in the background but it is slowly starting to come to the fore as the series nears its finale. The mystery unfolds even more as the kids she is looking after have found evidence of her time travelling adventures.
On a small note, there was a great little bit for the fan boys and fan girls tucked into the dialogue when the Doctor made reference to a ‘gobby Australian’, otherwise known as Tegan – one of the Fifth Doctor’s companions.
Something to ruminate on until next week is the fact that The Crimson Horror is set in 1893 while Cold War was set a century later in 1983, is there some sort of pattern emerging here? There are no coincidences when it comes to ‘Doctor Who’, so there is must be something else afoot beneath it all.
Next time on ‘Doctor Who’… The kids have blackmailed Clara into taking them on an adventure in the Tardis. The four of them end up at an amusement park that has been shut down after people keep vanishing. But it is worse than they could have imagined with the Cyberman turning up. Warwick Davies makes a guest appearance and what’s this about the Doctor being the saviour of the Cybermen?Tagged in: Diana rigg, doctor who, Doctor Who series 33, Doctor Who series 7, Jenna Louise-Coleman, matt smith, Rachael Stirling, steven moffat
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