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TV Review By Calum

DOCTOR WHO Series 11 Episode 4 – ‘Arachnids in the UK’

Written by Chris Chibnall

Directed by Sallie Aprahamian

SYNOPSIS

After many attempts the Doctor has finally brought Yaz, Ryan and Graham back home to modern-day Earth, just in time for tea at Yasmin’s. But they soon discover that something strange is happening with the spiders in Sheffield.

FIRST THOUGHTS

WARNING! People with arachnophobia should have a cushion at the ready to hide behind whilst viewing this episode! You have been WARNED!!!

After the thought-provoking historical we had last week in ‘Rosa’, it feels good that ‘Arachnids in the UK’ is more of a fun romp for the family to enjoy.

WRITING

Chris Chibnall has given us a pretty basic ‘Doctor Who’ story – where the Doctor and her friends arrive in a place and find a mystery and a few monsters to deal with – but Chris succeeds by filling the script with warmth, humour, thrills and chills.

The strong characters continue to be a strength in Chris’ writing. There are some wonderful moments with our main protagonists. I absolutely love the scene where the Doctor is about to say farewell to her friends (but doesn’t want to, the Doctor doesn’t like goodbyes), but then once invited to have tea with Yaz, she lets out a big smile and shouts “Definitely!” It’s just a lovely piece of writing that touched my heart and had me grinning.

The story is very well paced, there are some brilliant lines of dialogue dotted around, my only little niggle with this is that the ending was a little rushed (only a little though). It had the set-up, in a way it had the moment, I was sad (won’t say why, no spoilers), but it then moved on to the next scene a bit too quickly for me.

Performances

Jodie Whittaker is really making the role of the Doctor her own, I adore the quirky nature that she brings to the character. The scene I mentioned earlier where the Doctor is saying goodbye to her friends and the final few minutes of the episode are my favourite Doctor moments of ‘Arachnids in the UK’. Jodie absolutely nails those scenes.

Mandip shines as always as Yasmin Khan, and her character gets a bit more development here as we are introduced to her family. I thought it was great how we had a story-arc for Yasmin, where she starts as being quite keen to return home, but then the minute she steps back into her flat she remembers how much her family can drive her up the wall sometimes, making her want more TARDIS adventures. It’s a lovely storyline contained within the episode, and Mandip does really well with her performance.

Tosin Cole is brilliant as Ryan Sinclair, and the same goes for Bradley Walsh as Graham O’Brien. The two work very well together, there are some beautiful moments between the two as they come to terms with returning home for the first time since Grace’s death, and there’s a wonderful moment where both characters start to bond a bit more and consider each other as family.

The guest stars are good here, but I wouldn’t say they were as memorable as some of the previous guest stars we’ve had in this series so far. We have Chris Noth delivering a strong performance as Jack Robertson – an American running for president, but I do think he was a bit too ‘I’m a bad guy, hate me!’ character - I would’ve liked a bit more detail into why his character is the way he is. Shobna Gulati does very well as Yasmin’s mother, Najia Khan. I love how she keeps pestering Yasmin to find out exactly who the Doctor is, and some of her guesses had me giggling. And I love the mother-daughter banter between Najia and Yasmin.

Direction:

New ‘Who’ director Sallie Aprahamian knocks it out the park with her directing debut for this series.

We’re back in modern-day Sheffield this week, and I was a little worried that this episode wouldn’t look that great, especially when we’ve had some stunning visuals from the many time-zones we’ve visited in the last few episodes. But Sallie brought some amazing shots to the screen.

We have a fantastic sequence of the TARDIS flying through the time vortex, and Sallie gave a great sense of atmosphere to the hotel scenes.

The giant spiders were brought to life by CGI and they were really creepy to look at, they had their moments of frights which had me on edge, and the sound design in their movements was a fantastic layer added to the creepiness.

FINAL THOUGHTS

I honestly really liked this episode. Sure it wasn’t as hard-hitting as last week's but I’m glad it wasn’t. All it was for me was just fifty minutes of fun and creepy monsters, and that on a Sunday night works really well for me.

‘DOCTOR WHO: Arachnids in the UK’ result = 9/10
Catch up with the new ‘Doctor Who’ , or return to a previous series, on BBC iPlayer,
You can also find 10 series' of Doctor Who on Netflix!

© Calum Brown Visable Inc

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Images taken from www.doctorwhotv.co.uk

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