Doctor Who – The Woman Who Fell To Earth Review (or “The Woman Who Fell To Earth But Showed No Signs Of Injury”)

October 12, 2018

Doctor Who is back, a woman has taken the lead role, and society hasn’t crumbled as a result.

Jodie Whittaker’s first episode – to give it it’s full title, The Woman Who Fell To Earth (but showed no signs of injury) – was a huge ratings success and has received acclaim from just about anyone who watched it.

Though I did see it when it was broadcast, I was away on holiday with friends, hence the delay in the review, but I’ve watched it again and am now ready to put the proverbial pen to paper.

So what did I think?

Doctor Who – The Woman Who Fell To Earth Review: What’s This One About?

The new Doctor arrives in Sheffield in the middle of a rather mild alien invasion. She makes new friends, but one of them dies. Then she accidentally takes them across the universe.

Thoughts – The Standard Opening Story

The first story for a new Doctor is always a tricky one. It serves to introduce the character and very occasionally like it does here, an entirely new supporting cast. As a result, history has shown that you’re not likely

I would have liked it if the first monster of the new season was a giant garlic bulb, out for revenge

to get the deepest of plots, and that’s exactly the case again here.

Watching it the first time, I enjoyed it because it was all new and the experience was about being introduced to those characters. Watching it the second time, it didn’t have that much replay value; certainly not a mere five days later.

But that’s just the way it is. The plot and the alien become second fiddle; they have to. And remember too before anyone says “But Spearhead from Space managed it ok”, that was over four weeks rather than one. I don’t think it’s a relevant comparison.

Much like Rose, The Christmas Invasion and – and I actually have to look this up because it was so forgettable than I don’t even know the episode’s name off-hand -Deep Breath, this will go down as one that will never top anyone’s favourite episode list.

The New Cast

Now since the episode was all about introducing the new cast, what were they like?

Well the two younger actor companions – Tosin Cole as Ryan and Mandip Gill as Yasmine – seemed fine enough. Character-wise, Yasmine is definitely the stronger one on first impressions, but that wouldn’t be too difficult since Ryan’s main attribute is a developmental disorder of the brain. Neither has come to the fore yet so I’ll reserve judgement.

Bradley Walsh’s character – Graham – seemed to have more about him, but maybe that’s because I personally paid more attention to him, to see if Bradley Walsh can actually act. What’s interesting is that while some of the people who watched it with me thought he was dreadful, I thought he was fine. He’s not the most lively character, but then why would he be? It’s like my dad being the companion.

And what about Jodie Whittaker and her portrayal of the Doctor? Well, my first impressions are that she is definitely suited to the role, but that she may need to tone it down a bit. Whittaker is a good actor (or should that be actress? My initial instinct was to go with the former) and definitely has that little spark that you need to play a character like the Doctor, but once or twice she came across as being overly wacky, and that’s not good. It was a bit like she was trying to do her best impression of David Tennant at times. That could be down to writing of course, but hopefully whatever the cause, the Doctor will be a little more subdued next time.

The New Vibe

It’s not just the change of cast that makes this season of Doctor Who different; the presentation has changed too.

All together now…
“Mon then”

They’ve gone for a more filmic look, which is great and they’ve also hired a new composer in Segun Akinola, which I have mixed feelings about.

What I mean by that is that I liked how understated the incidental music was, and the new theme tune is miles ahead of the last few there have been, but part of me will miss Murray Gold’s style.

While at times Gold’s stuff was overbearing, he would occasionally pull one out the bag that was absolutely tremendous. In the last couple of seasons, tunes like The Shepherd’s Boy, The Singing Towers and the as yet unreleased music from Peter Capaldi’s death scene in The Doctor Falls have made good scenes great. They are beautiful pieces of music.

I sense the less orchestral style might mean we get less of that, but I’ll wait and see.

That being said, Akinola’s output has been fine so far.

Random Observations

  • While I understand the need for a fresh start, I’d have liked an explanation for two things. One: How she survived that fall. Two: Does she have a Yorkshire accent as a result of her first story being set there, or is it just a coincidence?
  • From the moment the episode started, it was obvious that poor old grandma would die, but alas it was still a disappointment when she did.
  • But speaking of her, why would she expect her adult grandchild to start calling her relatively new boyfriend “Granddad”. Liberty hall…
  • The drunk guy definitely got what was coming to him. But the actor playing him was rubbish.
  • The “Tim Shaw” gag fell a bit flat. To me it felt more like something you’d expect in Red Dwarf.
  • An unfortunate knock-on effect of the Russell T. Davies era is that whenever characters in contemporary Britain don’t believe in the existence of aliens, it feels stupid. Then again if I was to take that to the limit I’d also argue that everyone on Earth should be aware of the Cybermen since the events of the Tenth Planet took place in 1986. But I’m not the sort of person who would do that, am I… 😉
  • Why is it that the Doctor – and I don’t mean the Jodie Whittaker Doctor, but the Doctor in general – feels like they only need one outfit? Yes, occasionally that outfit might vary very slightly but it remains true to a theme. Why not after the next story does she not wear something new and clean?
  • The alien pod looked like the biggest garlic bulb ever seen. I’d have preferred it if that was the villain.
  • The speech towards the end about accepting change as a good thing is that sort of breaking the fourth wall thing that I dislike, and to be honest, I don’t think it was necessary.
  • The list of guest stars they showed included a lot of people I either don’t know or are underwhelmed about. But in the room I watched it, cheers went up for Lee Mack and ‘Special Guest Star’ Chris Noth.
  • After watching the episode for a second time, I went back and put on the last few minutes of Twice Upon a Time for comparison. Watching it back, it feels very much like the difference between the end of the War Games (even down to the Doctor saying goodbye to two companions) and the beginning of Spearhead From Space.
  • The other thing to note is that the critics who have panned Peter Capaldi in recent weeks are wrong, and quite simply, are arseholes.

Doctor Who – The Woman Who Fell To Earth Review: Final Thoughts

This was never going to be an all time classic episode, and I don’t think it’s one that will be re-watched a huge amount but it did what it set out to do.

It also brought in new viewers; I know of a few people who watched the show for the very first time at the weekend, and enjoyed it. That can only be a good thing.

When Jodie Whittaker was cast, I wrote on this blog that I was unsure about the casting of a female, but that I would give her a chance. Fast forward fifteen months and I’d like to make it clear that as far as I’m concerned, the gender of the actor doesn’t matter. Whether or not I thought she might have been a little too wacky at times, that has nothing to do with her gender. The Doctor is the Doctor, and that’s the main thing.

There are people who hold an opposing view, and have vowed to never watch the show while a female is in the lead role. I don’t want to get involved in any arguments about it because even if I find that view daft (and to be honest, the sort of viewpoint that hints to a deeper, underlying issue away from the show) people are still entitled to not watch if that’s what they want.

But I suspect they’ll be missing out.

Because it’s still Doctor Who, and thankfully, it looks like society as a whole have taken it back into their hearts.

 

Remember that you can read selected Doctor Who reviews on this blog, and all reviews (up until Last Christmas) are available on Amazon in ‘Stuart Reviews Doctor Who’ books one and two.

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TV: Mr Mercedes Review

July 29, 2018

You probably think I haven’t been watching anything considering the lack of reviews on this site lately, and that’s half right.

There’s no doubt I haven’t been getting my money’s worth with my Cineworld Unlimited Card – I’ve been to five films in four months meaning I’m paying something daft like £15 per visit – but on the other hand, I have been keeping up with plenty of TV shows, and over the next few days will give my thoughts on some of them.

First up is a show I only found out about because of an article on the best TV shows that aren’t on British television.

Mr Mercedes is an adaptation of a Stephen King novel about a retired cop who tries to solve a two-year old case about a multiple homicide involving a car driving in to a crowd of people waiting to attend a jobs fair.

Knowing just how bad some of the recent Stephen King TV adaptations have been, I must admit to approaching Mr Mercedes with a sense of trepidation. Under the Dome, for example, started well enough but should have been wrapped up in one season, while The Mist was such a terrible show that I gave up after four episodes.

Mr Mercedes bucks the trend though, and was an enjoyable watch.

As a story, it retained my interest and unlike so many shows it didn’t begin to drag towards the end or sink in the middle, and that on its own is fine. But where I think the real strength of Mr Mercedes lies is in the characterisation and the quality of the actors bringing them to life.

Brendan Gleeson is the powerhouse of the show, and his portrayal of the hard-drinking ex-cop Bill Hodges is excellent, but the quality in general is very high, from his co-lead Harry Treadaway all the way down to…well I’d just end up naming every cast member because they are all good.

As with most of my reviews, I don’t plan on spoiling the plot for those who have yet to see it, so I will sum it up by saying that it’s definitely worth your time, and that I hope the upcoming second season strays far enough away from the original that it doesn’t become like so many other shows and out-stay its welcome


TV Review: Colditz (1972-1974)

April 1, 2018

Over by the self-service checkout area at Sainsburys last Christmas was a selection of classic TV boxed sets, including the likes of The Saint, Danger Man and Survivors. I suggested for a Christmas present from my parents that they just choose one at random that I hadn’t seen, and hoped for the best that I’d enjoy it.

They got me the 1972-1974 British drama, Colditz.

And I loved it.

It was obviously a show I had heard of, but my knowledge of the plot only extended as far as it being about British POWs held in an ‘escape-proof’ castle.

But there’s a lot more to it than that.

Yes, there are lots of escape attempts, but it’s mainly about the relationships between the prisoners and also between the prisoners and their German captors. And it’s the latter relationship that I found the most engrossing.

I think it’s fair to say that by and large, the Germans in WW2 dramas and movies are presented as the evil enemy, and yet in Colditz – based as it is on the experiences of those who were in the POW camp at the time – this isn’t the case. Coming under the jurisdiction of the Wehrmacht rather than the SS or Gestapo, it’s run by mostly honourable people – Germans of the Old School – who are at pains to ensure that their prisoners are treated fairly and within the terms of the Geneva Convention. Yes, in the second season the writers include the entirely fictional boo-hiss villain, Major Mohn for the purposes of added drama, but it’s the likes of the Kommandant (played by the king of 1970s BBC drama, Bernard Hepton) and his chief of security, Ullman (Hans Meyer) who are the ones that reflect the type of German who ran the camp. In fact, I found myself rooting for them thanks to their restraint in the face of being constantly tested by British officers often acting like children.

With solid acting all the way through, and a cast – both regular and guest – of fine actors that you’ll probably recognise, Colditz is the sort of drama that you just don’t seem to get anymore. It’s slow building, it has episodes based around one-off guest characters (and the finest example of that is the jaw-droppingly good Tweedledum, about an officer who pretends to everyone around him that he has gone mad in a bid to be sent back to England on compassionate grounds), and the entire quality of the show rests on the strength of the acting and writing.

It certainly made me invest in it emotionally and come away from the final episode wanting to learn more about the realities of the way the camp was run.

I would offer Colditz my highest recommendation. In an era of throwaway NetFlix shows that are often pretty dull, this is one of the finest dramas I’ve watched in a long, long time.


TV: Save Me Review

March 18, 2018

*Note: Because of the nature of this review, there are spoilers concerning the conclusion of the final episode. If you want a very brief non-spoiler point of view, I’ll say it’s worth watching but sags a little in the middle.

So anyway…

In a recent interview, Save Me writer and lead star Lennie James admitted that it was always the intention for the new Sky Atlantic show to have a second season; it was commissioned on that brief.

Alas that’s the way TV networks operate nowadays and the results are mixed. A show like Line of Duty can support a story told over multiple seasons because there’s a background plot that runs throughout, but each season focuses on a specific storyline or character. Meanwhile there are so many other examples – and Under the Dome is the one that immediately springs to mind – where you can just see that the story doesn’t have enough about it to justify another run, and yet it gets one because it makes financial sense for the network. It’s a case of financial reward over creative satisfaction.

Having polished off Save Me last night, I fear it falls in the second category.

This is a show about Nelly, a guy whose 13-year-old daughter – who he hasn’t seen for years – is kidnapped. Initially he’s suspected of being responsible, but it turns out pretty quickly that someone who was pretending to be him contacted her on the internet and lured her into a trap. Because of the very specific information about Nelly’s life used to by the kidnapper to attract her, Nelly realises that it must be someone he knows from his local pub who must be responsible, and takes on the burden of solving the crime.

Now if I was going to write that for maximum creative effect, it would be told from beginning to end in one go. Nelly would find the person responsible and then from there find Jody (the daughter) either alive or dead.

As it turns out, Nelly does work out the culprit and even gets as far as finding out where Jody’s being held captive by a local paedophile ring, but in the end he finds another girl instead.

It just seemed like such a flat ending.

Over the course of the six episodes, Save Me was mostly about Lenny and his relationships with characters around him, and it did a very good job of giving those characters a back-story and a potential motive for wanting to kidnap Jody. And though some of the characters were a bit odd – Jody’s mother played by Suranne Jones isn’t written as being particularly bothered about her kidnapping and is more interested in getting pissed and having sex with Lenny behind her partner’s back – they all get put under the microscope.

Now that we know who kidnapped her – even though the reveal came thanks the disappointing Terry Nation style trope of “Hold on a minute; the only way you’d know that piece of information is if you are the kidnapper” – and more to the point now that we know who didn’t kidnap her, those characters seem largely redundant going forward.

And there’s the problem. Save Me ends on a note of the viewer feeling short-changed by the ending, and concerned that to have the story resolved one way or the other, they’ll have to endure a second season that doesn’t appear to have the legs to make it worth watching.

That being said, if you want to live for the moment and enjoy it for what it is now, the first season is mostly an entertaining watch up until the ending, although it does slow down to a crawl in episode three.


Stuart’s Entertainment Review (The Detectorists, Peaky Blinders, Manhunt Unabomber etc)

February 12, 2018

A roundup of some of the shows I’ve been watching lately…

The Detectorists

Because this is considered a ‘gentle’ comedy, I made the mistake of thinking that it was something akin to Last of the Summer Wine. In actual fact, this show is probably the best BBC sitcom in a long, long time. It’s not what I would consider hilarious, but it has its moments. The main thing though is that the characters are likeable and relatable and the story across all three seasons is one you can invest in.

It’s feel good and charmingly British.

Peaky Blinders

Perhaps less charmingly British, but British nevertheless is Peaky Blinders.

Packed with big name actors and some absolutely brilliant performances, it’s entertaining and gritty throughout.

It’s not exactly the most original of plotlines – a family rise to prominence in a historical setting – but that setting is a good one, and the story does progress as the show goes on.

I also liked how it used modern music instead of stuff that perhaps might have seemed more fitting to the era.

Manhunt: Unabomber

What I like about this show is that it’s an apparently mostly accurate retelling of a genuine FBI case, so while it’s not the most exciting show you’ll ever see, it is at least informative and interesting.

Running for only 8 episodes, it doesn’t outstay its welcome, but if I had any criticism, it would be that the time hopping, non-linear nature of it seemed unnecessary.

The Good Place

I thought I’d written a review of The Good Place after I watched season 1 on NetFlix last year, but apparently not. And I’m glad I didn’t because I probably would have said I thought it was a bit light and no more than average. I kept watching though and just finished off the second season this evening, and I’ve got to seriously recommend it.

It’s not a laugh out loud comedy – indeed I don’t really remember ever doing that while watching it – but what it is is clever. It makes you think while still being fun.

And unlike so many other shows there’s genuine development, not only of characters, but of plot; the show is now in a completely different place (no pun intended) than it was at the start.

Like I say, I’d recommend it highly. It’s well worth your time.

Lovesick

Previously known as Scrotal Recall on Channel 4, this show was bought by Netflix and renamed as something that perhaps has more marketability.

I’d never seen it before Saturday, but I’m hooked now and have binge watched it over the last couple of days.

It’s a bit derivative of How I Met Your Mother (the leads may as well be called Ted and Barney) but it has that more adult, British twist to it in terms of the language and the style of humour.

More than the other two comedies in this list it’ll make you chuckle, but it also has a story that’s decent enough to sustain it.

Riverdale

Watched the first episode but it didn’t grab me. I think Pretty Little Liars has filled my ‘Teen Drama for BFFs’ quota for the next wee while.

Danger Man

A much older show, but I’ve recently started watching the 1960s Patrick McGoohan ITC show.

For when it was made it does seem high budget, and though the episodes tend to resolve far quicker than they should, it’s a decent watch.

Of course, knowing me as you do, dear readers, part of the fun is identifying the actors who have appeared in Doctor Who at one point or another.

Let’s just say when Patrick Troughton showed up with his Salamander voice on, I was pretty thrilled.


Doctor Who – Twice Upon A Time Review (“I Shall Miss Him; Yes I Shall Miss Him”)

December 25, 2017

There’s been a little tradition on the Stuart Reviews Stuff blog since 2013, and it’s that I never write a Doctor Who Christmas Special review on Christmas Day.

And maybe it’s that I’ve wanted time to digest it or maybe it’s because it’s Christmas Day and I just haven’t been bothered, but I feel that it’s time to change that.

Because this Christmas Special is that little bit more special. It’s an episode that I have been waiting on with both a sense of feverish anticipation and a large dollop of dread.

Anticipation not only because it is a regeneration episode, but also it’s one that follows on from the great cliffhanger from The Doctor Falls and has the First Doctor in it.

Dread because it’s the end of the Peter Capaldi era. And no, it’s not “Oh no, the Doctor is going to turn into a woman” dread, because I find that sort of mindset to be troubling, if not utterly pathetic; instead, it’s

I wanted to be part of that group hug

dread because it is the end of the Peter Capaldi era. I’m not suggesting for a moment his episodes have been the better than any other Doctor, and the updated episode rankings for the upcoming print versions of Stuart Reviews Doctor Who will reflect that,  but I will 100% nail my colours to the mast and say that he is my favourite and the absolute best actor to play the Doctor. He’s been superb and I will miss his Doctor greatly.

I’m not sure I’ve ever thought of it like this before, but while Doctor Who is one long and continuous series that has run since 1963, the style and tone that each actor brings means that to an extent, whenever they depart, it feels like it’s the end of the show as it is, rather than it simply being a case of a new person taking the role and keeping the plates spinning.

 

And that’s generally ok, because for as long as I’ve been watching, whenever an actor has left the part I’ve felt it was time for a change and have looked forward to it. But not this time. I really didn’t want the Capaldi era to end because of his quality, and so now that it is over, I feel quite sad.

But you’re reading this to find out my thoughts on his last episode – Twice Upon A Time – and as such, I’ll get to it.

Doctor Who – Twice Upon A Time Review: What’s This One About?

The Doctor(s) come to terms with regenerating.

Thoughts – First, The Story

In the run up to this episode, I’d read that because it was to be broadcast on Christmas Day, Steven Moffat wanted to keep it quite light and uplifting.

In fairness, he achieved that, but in all honesty up until the last 15 minutes it was so light that it was a bit of a nothing episode.

It seemed a little bit like Moffat felt having the First Doctor there was enough to carry things along, but if you were to take every other element of the episode to that point except for the First Doctor and all the little

Three cheers for sexism!!

nods to fans of the show who were familiar with him, then you’d be left with something that failed to deliver.

Put simply, the story was that glass people found a problem with time based around a WW1 soldier who should have died but didn’t, the Doctor goes to speak to a Dalek to find out what was going on and then when he realised it wasn’t a diabolical scheme, he went and sorted it so that the soldier didn’t die.

I mean…it’s not exactly The Girl in the Fireplace or Blink levels of sophistication is it?

There were lots of funny lines of dialogue which amused me, but as a story, it really wasn’t up to much.

The acting, however, was.

Of the four main actors, everyone – including the deserved Stuart Reviews Stuff whipping boy Mark Gatiss – was excellent. No, despite what Steven Moffat has said, David Bradley does not play the character of the First Doctor exactly as William Hartnell did, but he tried his best. If anything, the problem with him was that he was written as an old relic from a bygone age, and as a result of that, he couldn’t have played the part the same, but he was still very good. And Pearl Mackie too played the part to her high standard.

As for Capaldi, well I dare say every review I’ve written while he’s been in the part has been a love letter to his talents, and it won’t surprise you that I thought that again.

And that leads us to…

The Regeneration

So while the first 45 minute were pretty light, the last 15 minutes delivered in spades.

When it came to it, I think everyone knew that Peter Capaldi would deliver a strong farewell monologue and that it would supported by the sort of powerful incidental music to bring out the emotion of the occasion.

The Captain was revealed to be The Brigadier’s dad, and throughout the world you could hear the sound of not a single person being surprised

That’s exactly what happened.

Outside the ship (yes, I did love the reference to how the First Doctor called it a ship), there was the sadness of his final conversations with Clara, Bill and Nardole heightened by the music from the death scene of The Doctor Falls and then inside when he decided he would regenerate, it was a more stirring music.

And you know what? It didn’t actually matter what he said – because I’ve watched that bit twice now and the words themselves didn’t have that much to them – but it’s how he said it. It was sad and yet uplifting.

Then once the regeneration actually happened, we were – much like with the last two changes of lead – left with a new Doctor in a chaotic and dangerous ‘To Be Continued’ situation.

And though I’m sad that it won’t be Peter Capaldi in the role when the story does continue, it’s still a story I can’t wait to see.

The Ends of Other Eras

This episode of course didn’t just close the book on Peter Capaldi’s time with Doctor Who; it’s also the end for Murray Gold and Steven Moffat.

I’m sad to see Gold go, even though it probably is time to give someone else a shot. What’s noticeable about Twice Upon A Time is how much music is reused.

I could be wrong, but I’m sure I’d heard every bit of it before, but when you consider that the aforementioned track from The Doctor Falls was new only six months ago and is absolutely one of the top three pieces of incidental music in Doctor Who history, he obviously has a lot left in the tank.

Moffat though I am glad to see gone.

Yes, he occasionally can still write well, and this year brought us one of the better companions in Bill Potts, but I totally get why so many people are sick of him. The show needs a freshness in terms of how it’s

Meanwhile, this is the exact moment that lots of angry repressed middle aged men kicked their TVs in and stormed off, threatening never to watch the show again.

written; a new perspective and bit of rejuvenation.

There is – as much as it appeals to me – too much time given to referencing past stories and events.

The show essentially needs the sort of shake up that it was given in Series 7 back in 1970 if it wants to stay relevant and popular in the eyes of the general public rather than just Doctor Who fans, and I hope Chris Chibnall can provide that.

So thanks for a lot of good times Steven Moffat, but as the old saying goes, off you pop.

Random Observations

  • Endemic of the sort of problem I have with Moffat’s writing is the character of The Captain. The moment I saw that first trailer, I – and I’m sure most of you – said “I bet he’ll turn out to be Lethbridge Stewart’s dad”. Gosh, I was shocked to find out that’s exactly who he was.
  • The running joke about the brandy provided plenty of laughs.
  • As did the sexist lines by the First Doctor about how women should be cleaning and how he’d give Bill a jolly good smacked bottom.
  • The Doctor really must have scarpered away from Ben and Polly pretty bloody fast, eh?
  • Maybe that should be a random observation in my Tenth Planet review?
  • I personally would have liked The First Doctor to be portrayed slightly more heroically than he was.
  • And as you might have guessed, I let out a sigh of despair when I realised that the Daleks – or a Dalek – were in it. Let’s hope they get left behind for the next few seasons at least.
  • Had this been just another Christmas story, the bit about the 1914 truce would have been fitting. As it was, it felt like the potential emotional impact was smothered by the regeneration.
  • My family and girlfriend all took the piss out of me before it started, saying I’d probably cry. In fact, after our Christmas dinner and before she left the room to go watch a different TV show elsewhere (the philistine), my mum rather cuttingly said “Don’t cry too much now”. Well sod the lot of them, I’m happy to admit I shed a tear or two in the last few minutes, and there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s a testament to the quality of the presentation.

Doctor Who – Twice Upon A Time Review: Final Thoughts

Well, there it is, the end of the Peter Capaldi era.

I think I’ve made it clear already, but I’ll say it again…

He might not have always had the best material to work with, but he always made the best of the material he had to work with, and that is why he is so good.

And it’s why – to be like Steven Moffat and provide a reference that only the Doctor Who superfans among you will get – I shall miss him. Yes, I shall miss him.

But I won’t miss Moffat.

 


TV – The Crown Season 2 Review

December 13, 2017

When it comes to watching Netflix Original series, my most regular complaint is that the shows start well but tail off badly. Whether it’s drama shows like Luke Cage or Ozark, or true crime shows like Making of a Murderer, I’ll get bored and barely muster up the will to finish them.

I think part of the reason for that is that there’s not enough story to last the course, so everything slows down to a crawl and they inevitably rely on time-wasting tropes such as the flashback episode that nobody wanted to see in the first place.

But The Crown is a bit different; well…maybe except for the flashback episode, because in the new season there was one that went back to Prince Philip’s childhood, and it was by far and away the weakest of the entire run.

Apart from that though, The Crowd is a consistently entertaining show that manages to stay fresh and interesting throughout. I think the reason for that is that it tackles a variety of major issues that happened in the UK and abroad late 1950s/early 1960s rather than just sticking with the same thing, like so many other NetFlix shows do. So while the first three episodes are about the fallout from the Suez Crisis and Prince Philip’s trip around the world on the Royal Yacht Britannia, it then moves on to other topics like Princess Margaret’s relationship with the future Lord Snowdon, the view of the monarchy being out of touch following a disastrous speech by the Queen at a factory, the Ghanian Crisis, JFK, the Profumo Affair and the revalations about the former King and his relationship with the Nazis (and by the way, what an absolute bastard he was, eh?).

That kept me engrossed and educated, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

And it’s well enough acted too, with Claire Foy being particularly good as the Queen and deserving of all the credit she gets. I’m not sure if Matt Smith is that good or if I just see him as Matt Smith and therefore can’t separate him from his performance as the Doctor.

If I was to have any complaint – as churlish as it is – is that the actors playing the parts are perhaps a little too good-looking for the characters they play, but hey ho.

Anyway, this is definitely a show you should watch. I’m yet to come across anyone who has anything but praise for it.

If you’ve not seen it, that’s your next couple of weeks sorted.