November 2015


Hiya guys,

I’m sorry but I won’t be doing a review of tonight’s episode of Doctor Who. It is my mother’s birthday, and I’m spending the day with her. I don’t have time to post a good review, and I don’t want to give you guys a sub-par standard.
Matt 🙂


Review: Doctor Who: Face The Raven

doc rigsy clara
Rigsy’s back!

If I was told to review Face The Raven with only one word, that word would be ‘flawless’.

It’s not the only word that would spring to my mind, however; emotional, intriguing, moreish, and heart-breaking would also be dancing on the tip of my tongue.

As I’m sure you’ve already heard, this episode is the final one starring Jenna Coleman’s character, Clara. For me, this is a hard pill to swallow. This may be quite a controversial opinion, but I think that Clara is the best companion of the New-Who era. Most people tend to gravitate towards Rose as being the best companion since the show’s return, and I probably would’ve agreed with them until this series. Originally, I wasn’t too keen on Clara as the companion back in series 7, she grew on me in series 8, but this series I’ve become a massive fan of the character. At times, she’s really made herself look like The Doctor’s equal, not just a lady awestruck by the wonders The Doctor had show her.

Anyway, back onto Face The Raven. The episode is written by Sarah Dollard, and it is the first episode she’s written for Doctor Who. And what an excellent episode it is. The pacing of Face The Raven is perfect, allowing time for some brilliant dialogue, wonderfully blended in with enticing mysteries, topped off with some fabulous character interactions. It was also a pleasure to see The Doctor and Clara play detective again.

It was also enjoyable to see Maisie Williams’ Ashildr (I don’t care what she wants to be called- she’ll always be Ashildr to me!) back for the third time this series. It is very interesting to see the development we’ve seen from her character in the 3 episodes we’ve seen her in. She a totally different character each time, and it’s a total delight. The actions of Ashildr also have massive repercussions, and it is safe to say that we definitely have not see the last of her.

There was also clearly great production values for Face The Raven; the sight of seeing a raven turn into some kind of grainy mist, as well as the beautifully done street in which 90% of the episode is set, really helped create a sense of atmosphere. The street being so tiny and compact made the episode feel more claustrophobic and tense.

Now everything beyond this point will contain SPOILERS


Dollard has the episode littered with foreshadowing, from Clara nearly falling out of the TARDIS flying high above London, to Ashildr stating how no harm will come to Clara. This, in combination with the dramatic irony of us already knowing that this was Coleman’s final episode, made the entire episode painfully tense. The episode made me uncomfortable to watch, but that was just because I absolutely couldn’t look away.

If you can’t yet tell what I’m getting at, then here it is: Clara Oswald is dead.

And perhaps an even harder pill to swallow than before, is that it could clearly be argued that Clara died because of The Doctor. Her travels with the Timelord, and her previous successes at saving the day had made her more confident, a little complacent and even a bit cocky that she and The Doctor will always save everything, and everyone. This lead her to taking a death curse off of Rigsy and giving it to herself, because she was certain that she (or The Doctor) would be able to find a way out of it. Unfortunately, she was wrong, and paid the ultimate price for it.

Let us take a moment to appreciate how incredible both Peter Capaldi and Jenna Coleman were once they had realised what was about to happen. The sorrow on Capaldi’s face, the dawning fear upon Jenna’s face. This, then combined with gut-wrenchingly emotional dialogue made my heart shatter into millions of tiny pieces. One particularly poignant piece of dialogue is when The Doctor says “What’s the point of being a Doctor if I can’t cure you“. That, ladies and gentlemen, was the moment I lost it. I honestly had to pause my television, weep, then watch the final moments of Clara Oswald with tears in my eyes.

It is important to state as well, that I don’t normally cry. The last time I cried was over a family death over 5 years ago. Now that record is broken, as I sat in my living room, tearing up over the death of a fictional character.

I’m too emotional to write anything more about Face The Raven. So let’s just wrap up by saying that it was a spellbinding episode, and an absolutely harrowing end for Clara Oswald.

R.I.P Clara Oswald.

Review: Doctor Who: Sleep No More

What's got The Doctor looking so perplexed here?
What’s got The Doctor looking so perplexed here?

Before I begin this review, it is very important to note that I absolutely loathe anything that is ‘found footage’, which unfortunately means that I am already slightly biased against this Mark Gatiss written episode.

Although, I must applaud how different this episode was from the rest of the series. Whilst Sleep No More was, in my opinion, far from perfect, it pleased me to see that Doctor Who isn’t afraid to take risks, and bring a style of direction that we have never seen on TV before.

The entire episode is shot in first-person, with the audience seeing things from different character’s point-of-views. As I mentioned above; I am not a fan of this style, but at times I genuinely liked it. Seeing just in front of the characters, with only a flashlight illuminating their path was hugely immersive, and made this lacklustre episode have a bit of a scary bite to it. However, having the whole episode this way almost neutralised the impact of it. After about 20 minutes of it I was feeling a tad motion sick, but I’m guessing that might just be my opinion because of my strong disliking of this creative choice.

On a more positive note, Peter Capaldi was fantastic again, and it was especially captivating to have him talking directly into the camera. Jenna Coleman didn’t get as much screen time as I would’ve liked because I think the banter between The Doctor and Clara is one of the best aspects of Capaldi’s reign as the Timelord.

The final words The Doctor says before the credits roll is “It doesn’t make any sense!”, and I have to agree with him here. This episode felt as though it was running entirely on the first-person camerawork gimmick. The post-modern direction of the narrative, with Reece Shearsmith’s confusing character regularly interjecting with a muddled monologue just didn’t interest me, and I felt like it had the opposite effect the director, Justin Molotnikov may have intended. I imagine he had hoped these monologues straight into the camera, into the audience’s eyes, would plunge us deeper into the story. But that just didn’t happen to me, I just found that these took me out of the flow of the narrative just as it was getting good.

Sleep No More is high-reaching but unfortunately doesn’t manage to reach the highs of previous weeks episodes. This doesn’t mean the episode wasn’t a pleasure to watch, it was okay, but the story just isn’t compelling enough and I couldn’t get past my hatred of the ‘found footage’ model of filming.

Unfortunately, for me, the best part of the episode was when they showed us a preview of next week’s episode.

Review: Doctor Who: The Zygon Inversion

WARNING: Embargoed for publication until 00:00:01 on 03/11/2015 - Programme Name: Doctor Who   - TX: 07/11/2015 - Episode: INVERSION OF THE ZYGONS (By Peter Harness and Steven Moffat) (No. 8) - Picture Shows: ***EMBARGOED UNTIL 3rd NOV 2015*** Osgood (INGRID OLIVER), Clara (JENNA COLEMAN), Doctor Who (PETER CAPALDI) - (C) BBC   - Photographer: Simon Ridgway
The Doctor and Osgood with Clara…or is that Bonnie?

Last weeks The Zygon Invasion was a very good start for this two-parter, setting up all the necessary ingredients for a delicious part two, and The Zygon Inversion does not drop the ball with this quality. Thus leading not just to a tasty 45 minutes of Doctor Who, but to an episode that just leaves you incredibly satisfied by the time the credits roll, whilst at the same time being unsatisfied because it makes you want to see even more Doctor Who straight away.

Whilst a lot of kudos must be given to Steven Moffat and Peter Harness for creating such a fantastic episode on paper, true thanks must go to Peter Capaldi and Jenna Coleman for bringing this episode to live so excellently. Capaldi is an absolutely incredible actor, but his talents have been mainly underutilised so far during his reign as The Doctor. We saw during brief moments in the series his deepest acting capabilities, yet in The Zygon Inversion, these capabilities are allowed to shine brightly throughout.

Let’s not forget Jenna Coleman’s performance too. She’s pulling double-duty throughout the episode as both Clara, and her Zygon counterpart, Bonnie. Every thinkable emotion was portrayed wonderfully by Coleman; anger, vulnerability, sadness, resilience being amongst my favourites.

Osgood fans should be very happy with this episode because we finally got some character development for her. And it happened! The Doctor invited Osgood on board the TARDIS- but she rejected him. I know, surprise right! However, this was undoubtedly serious character development for her. For as long as I can remember, her biggest dream was to travel with The Doctor, but she’s realised that her priority now has to be on protecting the Earth, showing how she’s clearly evolved as a character, by putting others before herself.

All those in favour of an Osgood spin-off please raise your hand!

I had previously mentioned that the only thing that I felt lacking in The Zygon Invasion was that it didn’t pose the moral questions, like Harness’ previous episode, Kill The Moon, had. However, this quibble certainly doesn’t apply to this episode, as this may be the most morality based Doctor Who episode in years. During a spine-tinglingly superb scene towards the end, based around the mysterious Osgood boxes, The Doctor heart wrenchingly discusses the futility of war, and the importance of diplomacy; themes that are so relevant and applicable to today’s society, and also very close to the heart of The Doctor.

What was one of my favourite aspects of The Zygon Inversion was that the conflict was resolved in such an understated way, but it didn’t make you feel as though you had been undersold. We didn’t get big explosions, or impactful deaths. All we needed for a five-star ending was great dialogue and fabulous acting, both of which were delivered in spades.

Remember a few weeks ago, how I was jubilantly raving about how fantastic the final 10 minutes of The Girl Who Died was? Well, the final 20 minutes of The Zygon Inversion is like that- just on steroids. Although, thankfully, unlike The Girl Who Died (my least favourite episode of the series), The Zygon Inversion is a fantastic quality throughout the entirety of the episode, but it is risen to a stratospheric level in the final act; making it easily my favourite, and probably the best episode of this already brilliant series.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child: Dream Casting

Okay, so by now everybody has heard that there will be an official 8th Harry Potter story being released in 2016.

Is it book? Nope.

Perhaps a new movie? Wrong again.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is a play and will open for preview performances in May 2016 at the Palace Theatre London.

When this was announced I was hugely surprised because I genuinely thought that J.K Rowling was done with the Harry Potter universe. Thankfully, I was wrong and we now get to dive further into this magical world she created.

Now, I’ve mentioned J.K Rowling, but it would be very wrong of me not to say that she hasn’t completely written this story herself. As far as I’m aware, she’s created the story, but co-writers Jack Thorne and John Tiffany have then moulded it into a big brilliant play.

The interesting thing about the Cursed Child is that it is split into two; much like the final two Harry Potter films. You can either watch both parts in one day, or watch them over two consecutive days. This is a cool twist and it means you get more content for your money.

Major boast moment: I’ve actually got tickets to see Harry Potter and the Cursed Child in August next year and I’m so excited!

This is why I’m taking an ultra-special interest in the play; including fantasy casting.

So far only two characters are confirmed by the synopsis below. One being Harry Potter himself, the other being his youngest son, Albus. However, as Harry’s wife is mentioned, I would consider it likely that we will see Ginny in some role.

It was always difficult being Harry Potter and it isn’t much easier now that he is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband and father of three school-age children.

While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted. As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: sometimes, darkness comes from unexpected places.”

Below are my personal casting ideas for Harry, Albus, and Ginny. The other Potter children (James and Lily) aren’t confirmed to be in the play but I would assume they’d appear too, considering that the rest of the Potter clan are there. However, I will wait for that to be confirmed before I post my casting opinion for those roles.

It is also worth noting that I will not be including stage-exclusive actors and actresses, simply because I’ve only been to 2 West End shows (The Book of Mormon and Miss Saigon– both was incredible by the way!) and I do not know enough about them to consider them for a role.

Anyway, without further ado, here’s my casting picks for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child:

Nick James as Albus

 This is Nick James. He’s an English actor who is most well known for his role as dyslexic school-boy Hank Zipzer in the CBBC children’s show based off the books written by Henry Winkler.

I feel like he has the right look to be a Potter child and definitely has the acting ability to play a complex character.

Rafe Spall as Harry


Rafe Spall is an actor more well know for his work in movies, such as Prometheus, Life of Pi and I Give It A Year. He has got stage experience however, as Ronald in 2012 production of Constellations, among other roles.

He’d be in the right age barrier to play Harry Potter, and definitely is able to play this new, overworked Potter.

Keeley Hawes as Ginny


Keeley Hawes is a well-known British actress and has starred in many UK TV shows, such as Ashes to Ashes, The Tunnel and the adaption of J.K Rowling’s The Casual Vacancy.

I feel that her existing relationship with Rowling could give her the edge over other more stage-savvy actresses. She is also a very capable actress, who could make a marvellous older version of Ginny.

As soon as more roles are revealed, I’ll do a revised version of this post and give my two cents on the casting for those roles too.

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