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Doctor Who - Series Six - The Impossible Astronaut - Review

Doctor Who (2005) poster

Written by : published Wednesday 27th April 2011

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This review contains NO SPOILERS for episode one of Doctor Who series six.


In the current economic climate, broadcasters have no money. Commercial broadcasters are getting less and less from advertising, to the point that product placement has now been legalised in the UK, and public broadcasters are in the unenviable position of having an audience that want more, while the government is forcing them to pay for more things on the same license fee.

With the ever-present threat of programme cuts, ‘simulcasting’, and evening closedowns, broadcasters don’t have many opportunities to throw money at projects.

The safest bet for the BBC is Doctor Who, which continues on Saturday (BBC One, 6pm BST and BBC America, 9pm/8c) for its sixth series since being revived with Christopher Eccleston as the ninth Doctor. Like the previous series’ all the forthcoming episodes have been produced by the brilliant BBC Wales drama department, and for the first time the programme has gone stateside, for the series opener The Impossible Astronaut.

In this episode the Doctor reunites with Amy, Rory, and River Song, in the middle of a stereotypical southern landscape (Yes, the British can do cultural stereotypes as well. For every American programme and film that reference the Houses of Parliament, Big Ben and red phone boxes, we’ve sneaked another reference to southern deserts where people wear Stetsons, and a ‘typical’ view of New York City where the population continuously exclaim “I’m walking here”).

Matt Smith returning as the eleventh Doctor, continues to get more at home in the role, to the point that David Tennant’s tenth Doctor is now just a fond memory. Matt Smith has also landing the first BAFTA nomination received by someone in the role of the Doctor. Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill also return as Amy and Rory, and continue to help provide the correct mix of dialogue that gives as much entertainment to the adults in the audience as it gives the kids.

The cinematography once again is phenomenal, and is made a hundred times better by the beautiful locations at the beginning of the episode. Throughout the programme the sets are well made and hint at the beginning of a darker series for the Doctor. It is the writing however, that puts it apart from the other big budget dramas currently on television. The introduction of the beautifully written new adversary of mankind, The Silence, is particularly great, to the point I am running out of positive adjectives to describe it.

The programme’s growing fan base in America has helped the new series to reach more and more people on BBC America, with the new series holding the ratings record for the channel since it began.

Doctor Who does what most British Drama should, but doesn’t. It sells itself. Britain is constantly receiving the best in American TV, some of it is brilliant, The Wire, Mad Men, and Studio 60, some of it not as much. But there is little British TV crossing the Atlantic, and this is where Doctor Who should lead the way. It’s about time for British invasion.


Watch Doctor Who Online NOW.


About the author Peter Crowther

Peter Crowther

My name is Peter Crowther. I'm currently a Broadcast Journalism student at the University of Huddersfield, a Broadcast Assistant at BBC Birmingham and now a TV review writer for thetvking.com.

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