New Series

Caves and Twins: The Bells of St Trinians


It was called something like that, wasn’t it? I can’t be bothered to look it up I’m afraid. Was the world really crying out for a pastiche of an RTD season opener? A modern-day invasion-y thing, some London landmarks, a shouty Doctor who can’t be heard over the terrible music during action scenes, a smart-arse “sassy” female companion and some technology references. It was only a surprise that Trinity Fucking Wells wasn’t in it.


– I liked seeing The Great Intelligence as the baddie. Was this a modern-day Web of Fear? A London Invasion, the Intelligence, the, er, web? Only not very good, obviously.

– I still, just about, like Clara. But if she’s going to turn into another wisecracking, eyebrows-raised, lip-licking, down-boy Moffat Female Character that won’t last much longer.

– I quite enjoy Matt Smith. But I wish his Doctor could be turned down a bit.


Hard to divorce any elements from the whole, really. But it was so lacking in ambition, so workmanlike that you could imagine boxes being ticked – a crashing plane, a flying motorbike racing through London, the Shard, the internet. Whispers of Moffatt’s writer’s block, lack of energy, his divided time, his dodgy priorities and diminishing interest in the series seem validated by such lacklustre stuff as Bells of St Wotsits.

Clara. We’re clearly supposed to be on the edge of our seats about who Clara is. I’m not. I’m not really bothered. I think this Companion Arc template is past its sell-by-date, frankly. Jenna-Louise Coleman is playing the part well, but I’m not convinced she’s very interesting – and this fractured identity macguffin isn’t working for me.

Murray Gold’s music. It seemed to me that Gold was a lot better of late. But the guy cannot score action scenes. He simply can’t do it. All of his music when there’s fighting, running, driving or battle is laughably bad. The score during the scene tonight when the Doctor and Clara were biking to the Shard was so terrible I almost turned off the television.

• Overall, forgettable. Though not actually as bad as any of RTD’s season openers, this one had all of the ingredients. It was like seeing Horns of Nimon during Season 26. We keep hearing about how Doctor Who needs to move on from the past but watching the Bells of St Thingy – and knowing that Tennant and Piper are coming back – it seemed like someone had turned back the clock. I suppose that having a time machine makes such things academic.