Tooth and Claw

Tardisode: A big egg falls to Earth. Three hundred years later, Tim the Enchanter from Holy Grail gets eaten by a werewolf.

* Pretty sure the pre-titles sequence of a slow-mo kung-fu fight in red pyjamas was a BBC One ident from the time.

* The Tenth Doctor can do a pretty good Scottish accent, can’t he? Tennant seems to alternate between his natural voice and a slightly posher version from scene-to-scene. One unfortunate side-effect of returning to this story in 2017 is that spooky tales being told in exaggerated old-fashioned Scotch accents now make me think of Athletico Mince. It’s lucky the werewolf didn’t have the face of Brian McDermott.

* What’s Samantha Briggs from The Faceless Ones doing posing as Queen Victoria a hundred years in her past? She’s very good indeed, and I like the idea of her being so clued-up about the paranormal, and streetwise enough to protect herself by shooting an evil bald monk. I sometimes forget about this one in the pantheon of celebrity historicals, but it’s a good example of the subgenre.

* I was not amused by Rose’s constant attempts to make Victoria say “we are not amused”. Or by them pausing the action to hug and laugh at the fact they’re facing a werewolf. It was around this point that Tenth & Rose’s larking about began to grate a little bit, and it was the first time that there’d been a development that I didn’t like. It feels like they’re not taking the situation seriously, which rather undermines the plot, and it makes for an awkward juxtaposition when the death and destruction starts happening.

* The werewolf transformation is very brief but pretty good. It’s all about the bone-cracking sound effects. There seems to have been lessons learned from the first series in terms of how to use effects sparingly in order to make them more effective; minimalism being planned at the writing phase and used to fuel creative directing, rather than having to improvise out of necessity at a later stage when they’ve realised they were too ambitious.

* In an episode that concerns an extremely bad wolf, we learn a lot more about this year’s buzzword, Torchwood. In fact, between seeing the Institute being founded here, and already having seen what they can do in The Christmas Invasion, I can’t recall what else there is to reveal ahead of the Battle of Canary Wharf. It’s by no means a Bad Wolf style mystery like I remembered, more of an in-universe trailer for the finale and the forthcoming spin-off series. Victoria spells out the entire back-story, and thinking about it, “beware of Torchwood” isn’t a bad philosophy to have.

* What was all that about Victoria potentially being bitten? It was set up to be the classic thing from any werewolf or zombie film where someone’s been infected but they soldier on for a bit before they transform, but instead it was just a set up for some ridiculously over-acted jokes about the Royal Family being secret werewolves. Yeah, Ten and Rose as a combo are really starting to get on my tits whenever they’re not in immediate peril.

* Fave lines that I’d previously forgotten: “Margaret Thatcher, eeeurgh.” / “I’m Dr James McCrimmon from the township of Balamory.” / “Well, that’s true of anything if you wait long enough.”

RATING: 7

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