Sunday, 11 June 2017

Dr Who — Series 10: Episode 9 — Empress of Mars

11th June, 2017.

Oh, now don’t you just HATE getting old?

You don’t?

I do.

If there’s money involved.

I managed to get to Brentwood High Street today: to a cash machine.
  • Shoved my card in the thing.
  • Check my balance.
  • Requested a tenner.
  • Took my card out.
  • Walked away from the machine …
Having forgotten to take the money, when I took my card.

By the time I got back to the cash machine?   (A short fat guy running down the High Street was possibly quite a site.)

The tenner had — understandably — gone for a burton.

I’d kick myself.

Except I’d very probably miss.


There are, of course, upsides.

I’ve learnt a lesson, today.

Not to walk away from untended money: or, at least, to check in the branch — assuming it’s open! — to see if lost money’s been handed in.

And that sometimes?

Frustrating days have upsides: in this case, some quality time with my family.   A call from work: offering a couple of extra shifts, on a Sunday, at hours I can comfortably — for the most part — travel.

Oh … and the BBC’s excellent iPlayer service.

 Well, a boy’s got to catch up with this week’s episode of Dr Who, somehow … 


Written by Mark Gatiss, Episode 9 — Empress of Mars — opens in NASA’s Mission Control: as its latest Mars probes finally starts transmitting.

The Doctor, Bill and Nardole are there when that picture arrives, is decoded … 

And found to say “God Save The Queen*”.

Our heroes can only investigate.   To find that, in the caves under the Martian surface, there’s enough oxygen to keep a fire going in what looks like a late Victorian British Army campsite.

Manned by late Victorian British Army troops, helped by an Ice Warrior nicknamed Friday.

He’s managed to helped them build a huge drill: so they can dig for minerals, fight off evil aliens, and enslave the locals by selling them opium†.

You can tell things will go just a bit … gooey … can’t you … ?


Now … 

Have I enjoyed tonight’s little steampunk outing?

Yes, I have, actually.

Most of season ten has been a very enjoyable, dark, Hinchcliffe and Holmes style horror fest.

Very much my style of Dr Who.

But, with perfect timing — just after the doomy Monks Trilogy — comes Empress of Mars: a much needed dose of fanboy levity that possibly only Mark Gatiss could put together.





Homaging the Pertwee era?

Oh, LORD, yes, did you SEE Alpha Centauri at the end, there?

I don’t know if it’s the best episode, this season.

But between the great cast, an old monster, high production values … and a Mark Gatiss script that‘s pure entertaining fun?

We’ve got a solidly wonderful episode.

*      It could’ve been worse, it could’ve said “Hello, Sweetie …”

†        OK, I’ve read something of Britain’s history: just enough to write entertaining pub quizzes.   So, assuming I’ve got things right?   The Opium Wars — between Britain and China — were started after Britain got hooked on tea.   The only country that produced tea?   Was China.   We controlled British India: then the source of much of the world’s opium.   We bribed many Chinese tea workers to steal tea bushes, seeds, cuttings, what have you, so we could grow our own tea.   And bribed them with LOTS of free opium.   The Opium Wars started after the Chinese Empire, understandably, objected.   We ended up with tea: and Hong Kong.   Portugal ended up with Macao.   China … ended up with a grudge … 

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