Doctor Who Season 5–the Facebook Marathon: Part 8

The adventure continues.

March 12, 2011, 12.38 pm. After cleaning my brain from the previous story, it’s a relief to have another self-contained, non-epic, intimate story about people. And strange invisible beasties.

NB – as before, if your name or image is on these screenshots and you’d rather it wasn’t, PM me on Facebook and I’ll edit the image. Thanks!

Having tried one guest writer, it’s time for Moffat to wheel out the big guns. Step forward, writer of the excellent Blackadder and romcoms that I can’t stand – it’s Richard Curtis with:

Season 5, Episode 10: Vincent and the Doctor

Taking Amy’s mind off Rory’s recent death (which she doesn’t remember anyway), the Doctor takes her to a Van Gogh exhibition, giving him the chance to wax lyrical in the established new series style about how bloomin’ marvellous a historical figure is. Backing him up is a surprise cameo from a beloved Brit actor whose own name was linked to the role of the Doctor a few times:

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The Doctor has spotted something ‘evil’ in a Van Gogh painting, so it’s off to 1890 Provence for a word with the man himself. They find him getting drunk in a French cafe with some rather odd accents:

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Van Gogh is being played (quite brilliantly) by well-known Scot Tony Curran. I cast my mind back to my earliest acquaintance with his work:

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Our heroes track down the mysterious alien, only to discover it’s a wounded creature that doesn’t mean any harm. Ben spots the hammer-subtle parallel with Van Gogh himself:

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Meanwhile, I’m luxuriating in the director’s skill with a camera:

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Amy and the Doctor try to see the sky through the Doctor’s eyes, resulting in a magical cross fade into one of the man’s best known paintings – the one Don McLean kept going on about:

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Having dealt with the alien, the Doctor tries (unwisely, as it turns out) to deal with Van Gogh’s depression. This is achieved via a trip to the future, where the tortured artist can listen to Bill Nighy unwittingly describe his genius while a mopey Athlete song plays in the background:

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Still, despite the transparent emotional manipulation, I still really enjoy the story. To judge by comments throughout, I’m not the only one:

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An atypical story then, but a hugely rewarding one, Curtis’ sensitive writing ably assisted by Curran’s excellent performance. I’m forced to agree with Stuart’s comment from a few episodes ago – the hit rate in this second half of the season is much more consistent!