Doctor Who XXXIV(8).5: Time Heist
Alison Graham in Radio Times had told us not to expect much, but she was wrong to imply that this was Doctor Who off the boil. Time Heist showed what can be done with a small cast of speaking characters, a series of confined settings and lots of thoughtful lighting, as well as pulling off more successfully the misunderstood monster trope last seen in Hide. I’m at my parents’ at the moment, and they came in just as the unsuccessful criminal was having his brain liquefied by the Teller; my father exclaimed that this was post-watershed stuff (appropriate, I said, that Doctor Who will be straddling 9pm from next week) and my mother (at the sight of the concave skull) exclaimed that this was horrible. They returned for the last ten minutes, however, and my mother expressed sympathy for the imprisoned female Teller. While some concern was expressed for children watching, I think this episode’s horror had as much if not more resonance for adults as it would for the younger audience.
Capaldi is demonstrating his versatility and the mercurial nature of this Doctor; the way he hugged his arm after Saibra embraced him was expressive of a deeper awkwardness than non-tactility. Keeley Hawes was quietly magnificent with a few well-chosen performance notes. The Teller was the most expressive new alien creature seen in years, though where spacesuits are concerned BBC Cymru Wales clearly have a long-term agreement with makers of orange fabric.