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After a steady start the promise of good things in the 14th series was realised in “The Devil’s Chord” with references to ‘aeolian’ (a musical term referring to the diatonic scale with five tones and two semitones in each octave), a natural minor progression of notes linked to the devil’s chord usually thought of as a minor chord showing that some serious research had been done to try to make a rather whimsical story sound a bit more believable. I suppose the easy way would be to use music as an instrument of torture or hypnosis to subjugate and control, so credit must go in terms of originality.

It is not entirely clear what motivation the brilliantly played villain Maestro had for taking pride in the elimination of tuneful music to the extent of condemning London to decimation on a nuclear winter scale. However, there is a link back as the Celestial Toymaker from the Hartnell and Tennant years is recalled, today’s Doctor seeming genuinely frightened and helpless, implying that the Toymaker was one of his fiercest adversaries.

So, the Doctor had to improvise and we kind of guessed there would be a musical battle of the notes somewhere along the line. The point that music had been restored is made with a flourish at the end with a flamboyant dance sequence that fills then empties the EMI Recording Studio in Abbey Road. It’s all good family entertainment; it’s just a pity that The Beatles ‘lookalikes’ didn’t look much like the actual Beatles. And, by the way Marlena Shaw’s ‘California Soul’ seemed an odd way to take us back to 1963 in London when it was actually released in 1969 and had no link with the birth of The Beatles.

The third one in the series divided our household, but for me it was a step forward- if you’ll pardon the pun considering the Doctor has one foot on a landmine on an alien planet where war is raging. This is a war with a difference though for there is no enemy. I liked the themes running through it: the futility of war, the war industry, questions of mortality and faith, proper sci-fi/ fantasy, and very well performed.

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