Midnight (2007)

Midnight is a story that is slightly different compared to previous regular-lite roles. This story is Donna light and the next story is Doctor light. This gets through the logistical problems that were created when the BBC decided they wanted 14 episodes but only give the team enough time to film 13 episodes. This story also marks the 50th episode of Doctor Who to be made in the new era. This is also a cheap episode in that there is very little in the way of effects. The title refers to the planet Midnight but its sort of a jokey title because we see very little of it, what we do see however is very beautiful.

The story sees the Doctor on a crusier when mid-flight it develops a fault and the passengers and crew are under attack from a mysterious threat. There is a wonderful eerie sense that runs through this episode and its to do with the claustrophobic setting. The cast are in a box essentially. There is nowhere the run and nowhere to hide and that fantastic in a drama. What I really liked what the bold step of no-one trusting the Doctor. Normally everyone just accepts what the Doctor says and accepts that he is going to take charge but that doesn’t happen here and it puts the Doctor on the back foot for the first time in a long time.

If I had to pick a fault with the story then it would be that the story takes a little bit too long to get going. It seems like its going to be a typical Tennant story but then when the crusier breaks down it gets going. The thing that makes the story good is not knowing what is outside trying to get in.

The story benefits from some fantastic acting. David Troughton makes his third Doctor Who TV appearance and in my mind his best. He plays Professor Hobbes and everytime that he was on screen I enjoyed the story even more. This story also sees Lindsey Coulson appear as Val Cane who appeared in two stints in the BBC soap Eastenders. However I think the star of the show was Lesley Sharp as Sky Silvestry. Sharp is a very good actress and she steels the show here. Her character starts off very likeable and nice and is soon taken over. The bit where she is repeating everything the Doctor is saying is very creepy.

The directing is something that I often overlook in doing a review for Doctor Who but in this story its one of the things that makes it stand out. There are some wonderful shots especially the shot where Sharp has her face to a wall and we see the wall with a silhouette. It’s a great moment and its credit to Troughton that she manages to get so many good shots in such a confined space and makes it interesting.

Tennant puts in his best performance of the series, actually for quite some time. There is a sense of being vulnerable and it’s an odd thing to see this. Tennant seems to revel in not being the one in control and as a viewer its refreshing to see it. Without Catherine Tate he manages to shrug off the humour and give us a performance that shows us why he is such a good Doctor. The fact that things don’t go the way that he wants is something that the Doctor is not use to and that’s a good thing to see because the good guy doesn’t always win and this proves it.

So Midnight is my favourite story of this series. It’s a very dark episode for a Tennant story and its well written and very well directed and all the performances are top notch and for a milestone episode in the new era of the show, it’s a fitting way of celebrating it.

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