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DOCTOR WHO – WILD BLUE YONDER (2023): regeneration or degradation?

The second of three planned anniversary specials starring the Fourteenth Doctor sees the show get back to some basics, but there’s still a lot to be learned before the Fifteenth Doctor hits the small screens later this year. Wild Blue Yonder showcases many science-fiction troupes seen many times before through Doctor Who’s history: an abandoned spaceship, a silly looking robot, many unanswered questions, and a journey to the unknown. It is classic Doctor Who – but still with problems.

As a standalone story it suffers from some padding issues, a runaround tale as The Doctor and Donna, escape, escape, escape from alien menaces and a resolution that leaves far too many questions unanswered as The Doctor is thrown into labyrinth of the next adventure which will take place within contemporary London – sigh (Although the madness to be depicted perhaps reflects the dysfunctional UK at the moment; then again perhaps not – Phil). The writing from Russell T Davies has improved from next week, at least there’s a story with a central plot. There are a few loose ends, and the resolution is a little farcical; there are still elements of cartoonish humour here, which need to dematerialises fast.

Compared to last week’s episode filled with BEMs – bug-eyed monsters, cute cuddly aliens and the walking-talking zombie soldiers, the show has managed to redeem itself with a stable story that can at least trigger some degree of attention and fascination within watching audiences, but the show is still plundered with unfunny comedic and expositional overkill. Please just get on with the story instead of having the characters sit down and talk, talk, talk. Visually stunning at times, and confined to a single location, the episode makes great use of the small cast of characters (there’s only The Doctor and Donna), and Wilfred Mott is given a nice little cameo appearance at the end. It’s a farewell to the late great Bernard Cribbins that deserved nothing less.

So, with the final episode hitting the television screens next week, will Doctor Who grow from strength to strength, with the return of the Celestial Toymaker; there’s so much potential to be unlocked from the toy chest of potentiality, or will the show take a step backwards and become a shadow, yet again,  a mere whisper of the greatness the show once was under the guidance of Russell T Davies.


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