New Series

Caves and Twins: Curse of the black spot

Curse of the Black Pirates of the Carribbean goes under the miscroscope. What was good, what was bad and what was totally Chibnall.

NB. No Caves and Twins for last week’s concluding part to the season opener as yet, largely because I still don’t know what to make of it

When I saw the trailer for this week’s episode, which is called Curse of the Black Pirates of the Caribbean, or something, I hoped that it wasn’t going to be an episode I could pretty much envisage in about three seconds with little more than a passing thought.

Doctor Who meets pirates is only a novel and exciting idea if you’re about four years old or a 50-year-old show-runner with two spots in the new block to fill.

The whole genre is so familiar and over-ripe that it can’t possibly avoid falling into a wretched pastiche, like a join-the-dot ‘scripting for dummies’ guide connecting cutlasses, planks, sirens, sharks and sirens to one another

Still, this is what we got this week. So was it Captain Pugwash or Captain Jack Sparrow?


Production values – Costumes, sets, dressing. The BBC doing what it does best (I understand it was filmed on location. Eh?).

Hugh Bonneville – Played it straight, unlike everyone else

The sci-fi bit – Hardly novel, but some nice coma-inspired visuals and the story was dying on its arse by the end of the second act.


Amy can sword fight better than pirates – and goes to the bother of putting on a stupid costume. Not even RTD would have pulled that nonsense with this beloved Wose.

Murray Gold’s terrible music – Any story that relies some of Murray’s patented Hollywood chintzgasm saccharine is in trouble from the get-go. Although that idea that it might send people to sleep seems amusing, it seems more likely that it would make them throw up a little in their mouths.


Captain banter – Whose is bigger, whose is better? Tedious.

Shover me hearties – Unfunny, self-satisfied, ‘look-at-us-aren’t-we-clever-doing-these-hoary-old-dialogue-cliches?’ dialogue.

Rory dies #533 – Seriously, how many times has Arthur Darvill had to play a death scene now? And why can’t The Doctor do CPR? Manipulative, nonsensical tosh.

Story arc stuff – Already irritating

In the latest DWM, Moffat reveals that the author of this episode pestered him for ages to be allowed to write an episode. Why, then, turn in 30 minutes of the most hackneyed drivel seen this side of Vampires of Venice followed by a pot pourri of Moffat greatest hits?

Doctor Who has always done pastiche, but here it just felt lazy. Things got a tad more interesting when the spaceship turned up, but then it turned into a Moffat pastiche. Weird.

This has been an extraordinary start to the series, but I’m afraid I’ve not been convinced by it at all thus far. And while I hated many of RTD’s efforts, and other stories on his watch, I never really felt nonplussed by it – until now.

Is the show-runner doing too much? Is Who fatigue setting in? Has The Moff misjudged his Nu Who a tad? Or am I just being a miserable bugger? Tune in next week…

• Caves and Twins? What are you dribbling on about?

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