The Bells of Saint John (2013)

The 33rd series of Doctor Who returns and in its 50th year it’s perhaps the most important start to a series since it began. Despite it effectively being the middle of the series it does very much have the first episode of the series feel to it. The story odes a bit of a juggling act where it deals with the story of the week yet addressing the Clara story arc. The episode begins with the Doctor dressed as a monk and it made me chuckle because I wondered what the Meddling Monk would have made of seeing him dressed up as a monk again. The story of the week deals with Wi-Fi and how it can be used (along with other social media) to pretty much capture your soul and it’s going to be interesting in 20 years explaining to people what Twitter was/is to a new generation. Using current things and turning them into a threat is something that Doctor Who has for years and it continues to do it effectively here.

Matt Smith is back to his usual best and shows why he is a good Doctor. It’s almost like the departure of Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill along with the interesting storyline following Jenna-Louise Coleman’s character seems to have given a new freshness to Smith’s performance and he should have won over any critics by now because this was a good performance. Jenna-Louise Coleman is continuing to be a very good addition to the show. The story of Clara continues to intrigue. Celia Imrie is the big name in this episode and it’s a good piece of casting. Her role did remind me of Ms Foster in the 2008 episode ‘Partners in Crime’. More in terms of style as Imrie plays Miss Kizlet a lot more seriously than Sarah Lancashire did. The character seems like a strong individual until she is returned to normal she shows a vulnerability which shows why Imrie is such a good actress.

There are plenty of things that you chuckle at. The book that Clara looks at in the beginning was written by Amelia Williams (Amy Pond). The Doctor pulls out a fez and opens up a pack of Jammie Dodgers and then there is the phone ringing which it last did in the 2005 episode ‘The Empty Child’. It’s almost like its Steven Moffat’s attempt to calm people down and get them settled into the return of the series after what has been a rather erratic scheduling style over the last two years or so. These little chuckles are always good to put into an episode and they don’t become overbearing.

The return of the Great Intelligence (Richard E Grant) was a fantastic way to end the episode. It was obvious that it would be him but that didn’t make it any less good to see. The way that the Great Intelligence gets Miss Kizlet to hit the factory reset button was quite fun. This was a very good episode and it seems like the rest of the series is going to be as good as it needs to be in the 50th year.


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