The Lazarus Experiment (2007)

The near half way point of the series is where the Saxon story arc gets a bit more involved in the story. The Doctor and Martha return to earth where the Doctor gets a less than warm response from Martha’s mother. Martha’s sister Tish has got a job with Professor Lazarus who starts off as an old man but a spin in his machine and he becomes a younger man. However he soon turns into a scorpion type thing and that’s when the Doctor’s job gets tougher. This story is written by Stephen Greenhorn who would go on to write ‘The Doctor’s Daughter’ the following year. The story sees Mark Gatiss finally make an on screen contribution to the series. After writing the superb ‘The Unquiet Dead’ in 2005 and ‘The Idiots Lantern’ in 2006 he gets to play a significant role. He plays Professor Lazarus who goes on a journey that is in connection with Harold Saxon.

The main plot in this story is a fairly good one. The Doctor gets to his thing of defeating an enormous creature. Lazarus is more effective and believable when he is younger. It’s quite a modern thing to be obsessed with looking younger. I quite liked this part of the story as it was a good idea and it was done well and it was standard Doctor Who stuff. However for me it was the stuff that happened in and around the church that I liked the best. Just when you thought the Doctor had defeated Lazarus, there was more and there was a great battle sequence which was imaginative and very enjoyable. I liked how after the drama is over its replaced with a sad moment of Lazarus back as a human. But there’s no time to reflect as Mrs Jones’ lack of trust towards the Doctor is heightened when some mysterious bloke whispers something in her ear. It’s the same way that Jackie Tyler was introduced where Jackie didn’t like the Doctor at first but soon warmed to him. However I think that Adjoa Andoh pulls it off better. The only downside of the Jones family is Reggie Yates who’s involvement is totally wrong. He cant act and his contribution to the show is just awful and its great that this is his last appearance in the show and he went back to being a stupid Radio 1 DJ.

Away from the Jones family, the supporting cast were very god. Mark Gatiss is a good screen presence. As a fan of the League of Gentleman and also of the Unquiet Dead, as Professor Lazarus he plays the role like one of the milder characters from the League of Gentleman. I also liked Thelma Barlow’s appearance. The former Coronation Street actress has a short time on screen as Professor Lazarus’ wife but is still just as important and is very good.

It’s good that their putting more Saxon stuff into it. I did wonder if we were going to meet the Master in this episode which when you think about it is quite obvious, he was never going to appear in this episode but I could hope. After a disappointing Dalek story it was good that they returned to form with this story that does a lot in just forty-five minutes. Stephen Greenhorn has written a good story and its complimented by some good direction and Richard Clark. It’s not the best story of the season but its certainly an enjoyable one.


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