Doctor Who – Vincent and the Doctor

Right. I will get all of last season reviewed before the new one kicks off, even if it kills me.

I have to say that “Vincent and the Doctor” was one of the highlights of the season for me. If there’s one thing I do like about the new style of writing that’s crept in over the last few series, it’s the expansion of Doctor Who‘s flexible format. It really is possible to tell any story. Of course, there has to be action, adventure and a monster, but sometimes that can take a back seat and act as a sub-plot to a story that is in essence a character play. In this episode, Richard Curtis does just that. This story is really about Vincent van Gogh. It’s an exploration of his emotional problems, his character as a human being, and the relationship he develops with the Doctor and Amy.

As such, though, it has a major downside. In a 45 minute episode, there isn’t really enough time to explore such a complex character properly, especially when your format obliges you to spend some time fighting a big, weird alien gribbly. That said, the episode wasn’t without its truly poignant moments. The Doctor’s attempt to give Vincent some hope by taking him to see a future gallery of the work that nobody’s buying came across very well, for example. And it must certainly have provided some education for younger viewers about van Gogh’s career.

I suppose, on balance, I have to say that this episode could have been even better. The alien was interesting and the way that Curtis involves Vincent in the plot is inspired, but perhaps my yearning for a more biopic interaction between Vincent and the Doctor is an argument for bringing back the old “pure” historical episodes of the 60s.

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~ by Scary Rob on 10 March, 2011.

2 Responses to “Doctor Who – Vincent and the Doctor”

  1. I would like to ask you a question about a blog that you wrote many years ago. Trying to contact old friend, doing the whole searching on the Internet thing and have horrible feeling it’s the phil you wrote about. Was he six foot three, long blonde hair and tattoos on both arms? Had two brothers and a mom who makes honey? I would appreciate any news. Becky

    • Hi. I’m very sorry to take so long to get back to you.

      I don’t know if Phil’s Mom made honey, but he was tall and blonde and I’ve certainly met two brothers. One of them called Rob. He was working at Aston University as a lecturer, researching forensic linguistics. If it’s the same Phil Newbury, I’m sorry you had to find out this way.

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