Visit the official Doctor Who website

Visit the official Doctor Who website
Look to the future

Asylum seekers...

Asylum seekers...
Refuge of the Daleks

Doctor Who picture resource

Doctor Who picture resource
Roam the space lanes!

Explore the Doctor Who classic series website

Explore the Doctor Who classic series website
Step back in time

Infiltrate The Hub of Doctor Who spin-off Torchwood

Infiltrate The Hub of Doctor Who spin-off Torchwood
Armed and extremely dangerous

Investigate The Sarah Jane Adventures

Investigate The Sarah Jane Adventures
Fearless in the face of adversity

Call on Dani’s House

Call on Dani’s House
Harmer’s a charmer

Intercept the UFO fabsite

Intercept the UFO fabsite
Defending the Earth against alien invaders!

Uncover the secrets of the Dollhouse

Uncover the secrets of the Dollhouse
Programmable agent Echo exposed!

Hell’s belles

Hell’s belles
Naughty but nice

Love Exposure

Love Exposure
Flash photography!

Primeval portal

Primeval portal
Dressed to kill or damsels in distress?

Charmed, to be sure!

Charmed, to be sure!
The witches of San Francisco

Take on t.A.T.u.

Take on t.A.T.u.
All the way from Moscow

Proceed to the Luther website

Proceed to the Luther website
John and Jenny discuss their next move

DCI Banks is on the case

DCI Banks is on the case
You can bet on it!

On The Grid with Spooks

On The Grid with Spooks
Secret agents of Section D

Bridge to Hustle

Bridge to Hustle
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Life on Ashes To Ashes

Life on Ashes To Ashes
Coppers with a chequered past

Claire’s no Exile

Claire’s no Exile
Goose steps

Vexed is back on the beat!

Vexed is back on the beat!
Mismatched DI Armstrong and bright fast-tracker Georgina Dixon

Medium, both super and natural

Medium, both super and natural
Open the door to your dreams

Who’s that girl? (350-picture Slideshow)

Monday, 12 June 2006

The Voice of the Woolf


"Doctor Who" has always been at its best when veering more towards horror than science fiction and although both "The Impossible Planet", and its conclusion "The Satan Pit", are dressed in sf iconography this two-parter is ultimately a tale of terror. It may be set on a planet improbably orbiting a black hole, which could well be read as a metaphor for the irrationality of any religious belief system, in that trust in a supernatural being is fundamentally empty for not being grounded in the laws of physics, but this was a story dealing with the impulses that steer human beings away from the light and into the dark. The steel cable in the lift shaft snaps because the Beast in the pit doesn't want the Doctor's voice of logical scientific reasoning to be heard above its putting the fear of God into the personnel of Sanctuary Base 6.

And, in the Beast, what a voice to be tempted by! Gabriel Woolf makes a remarkable return to "Doctor Who", after an absence of 31 years, having last appeared as Sutekh the Destroyer in the fourth Doctor story "Pyramids of Mars". It is particularly striking in the closing stages of "The Satan Pit" when acting-Captain Zack, Danny boy and Rosebud are fleeing certain death, confined together in a spaceship, as a fire-breathing Toby reveals himself to be still possessed. I suspect that children would've found this more frightening than the superbly realised computer-generated monster itself. On this level, this story is pure Boys' Own stuff. The rocket taking off is straight out of one of those annuals you get for Christmas and, as a result, makes episodes eight and nine oodles more like old "Doctor Who" than anything that has gone before!!

3 comments:

Stewart M. said...

I found "The Satan Pit" to be the most satisfying of the year, but we're treated to lashings of Tennant's worst hallmarks - 'everybody, watch me think aloud and realize all the obvious connections because i'm mysterious and sexy!' and the 'look I can roar just like I did in the Christmas special!' bits being among the cheeziest and most embarassing in the series' four decade history.

karensff said...

I loved these two episodes. I have to say though I disagree with Stewart. Tennant is a little OTT but I have grown to like that about him. He is trying to make his own Doctor and it is working (although I think there is some Tom Baker influence there). I agree that kids will probably find Toby's eyes glowing red to show the Ood he was one of them scarier than the beast itself. Loved it all.

Stuart Douglas said...

I think the problem with Tennant is he's lacking the gravitas to make some of his more shouty moments work.

I'm thinking of things like 'IT IS DEFENDED' from The Christmas Invasion and his various 'this stops now because I say so' moments. Some of these are great lines and should set up this Doctor as the opposite of the Damaged Doctor of the Eccleston season, but because Tennant plays the Doctor as skinny geekboy it just doesn't come off as it should.

tIP/tSP is, however, the highlight of the last two seasons for me though - just as many plot holes as any other story but because it's all done so well in the main, I find it doesn't bother me half as much as the two previous two-part disasters AoL/WWIII and RotC/AoS (and that's before I had even considered Tim's excellent point about the black hole having religion/science aspects.