Doctor Who returns to our screens after a keenly felt absence on the 30th of March with ‘The Bells of St John.’ We attended a preview screening of the episode and present to you our five, spoiler-free, things to look forward to. Of course, if you’d like to go in knowing absolutely nothing about the episode, then it’s best to stop reading now and simply know that we really enjoyed it. However, if you’re happy to find out a few things that happen in the first five minutes of ‘The Bells of St John’, then please continue…
1. Companion chemistry
This is the third appearance for Jenna-Louise Coleman (after ‘Asylum of the Daleks’ and ‘The Snowmen’) but it’s her first episode as a bona fide Doctor’s companion. The Doctor is understandably anxious to find out why this young woman keeps cropping up time and and time again but, after a reminder of the events of the Christmas special, the mystery takes a back seat to the episode’s main storyline. Which is nice, because it allows the relationship between the Doctor and Clara to grow at its own pace, which in turn allows for the great chemistry between Coleman and Matt Smith to flourish.
2. London calling
It goes without saying that one of the great things about Doctor Who is that the stories can be set anywhere and in any time. But it’s a bit of a treat to find the Doctor and Clara racing along the Southbank and up towards Trafalgar Square on a Triumph motorcycle. Director Colm McCarthy makes the most of shooting in London’s capital and it looks beautiful.
3. Online evil
‘The Bells of St John’ finds the Doctor pitting himself against a contemporary foe. Anyone looking for Wi-Fi who clicks on a particular network symbol makes themselves a target for the monster in the ether. We won’t tell you too much about it but, well, we all know how much we love our Wi-Fi. The human representative of this villain is portrayed by…
4. Celia Imrie
The wonderful Celia Imrie (The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, The Borrowers) has terrific as the sharp-suited Miss Kislet, the admistrator of the Wi-Fi menace. She’s got some fantastically cruel one-liners, all delivered with a bone-dry deadpan and just the beginnings of a wicked grin. Again, it’s difficult to talk too much about her character without straying into spoiler territory, but let’s just say that a high bar has been set for the other villains in Series 7 Part 2.
5. A roaring good time
We all love a scary episode but there’s a lot to be said for a good adventure, and Moffat’s clear goal here is bringing the Doctor back with a bang. ‘The Bells of Saint John’ is fast, funny and exciting. Matt Smith gets some nice physical comedy to play with, some fantastic one-liners and enjoys the return of his Doctor’s favourite bits and pieces (are jammy dodgers a spoiler?) It’s also a very cinematic episode; the big stunts and special effects help to make sure that you won’t be getting up to make a cup of tea until it’s over.
Right, that’s your lot for now. We’ll post a full review nearer the time but we hope this has whetted your appetite!
Doctor Who returns with ‘The Bells of St John’ on 30 March 2013. You can buy Series 7 Part 1 on Blu-ray for £15.25 at Amazon.co.uk