42 (2007)

42 is a story that tries to be different by having the story play out in real time. A typical 21st century episode of Doctor Who is usually around the 42 minute mark so that the BBC can plug their programmes. Written by Torchwood producer Chris Chibnall, I was fairly excited about this episode especially as it came after a mini-break. Sadly however it wasn’t to be what I was expecting.

Firstly the story is dull. It’s almost as it RTD thought of the title and thought ‘That’ll do, we’ll just bodge a story together’. With 42 minutes until the ship goes into the sun, there is suppose to be a sense of tension and finding time moving quickly, yet with this story it was moving slow that it was felt you could get out and walk and you’d make it. Then Martha spends a chunk of the episode going around with that gonk who appears in Waterloo Road answering a series of questions to get through a door, like it’s the Crystal Maze their on.

There are some good things about this episode. Visually it’s amazing and inside the spaceship is also pretty good as it creates the impression that the ship is out of control. It’s just everything else doesn’t work. Michelle Collins doesn’t do it for me especially as when I see her I think of Cindy Beale in Eastenders even though it must have been a decade she was in that show. Her performance in this was mediocre and wasn’t particularly strong. On the other hand, David Tennant and Freema Agyeman are superb in this. Despite being stuck with the gameshow role in this episode there are a few chances for Freema Agyeman to show how good she is. I thought Tennant was good because all the jokiness had to be put to one side and the Doctor gets taken over with the light and the image of him with the light coming out of his eyes was a truly horrific moment. There is a sense that he was shook by what happened which isn’t normally what happens to the Doctor. However we sit through 40+ minutes of dullness before we get to the thrilling stuff and it’s the continuation of the Saxon story-arc. Was it intentional for Martha’s mum to be quite so dislikeable? I only ask because every time she has been on screen I just get wound up as if she’s been designed to increase my blood pressure.

42 is a disappointment and is the weakest story of the season. It does very little drama wise with the supporting cast not doing what they are suppose to do. Chris Chibnall is a good writer but on this occasion he has delivered us a dud.


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