It's 1913 and John Smith is a middle-aged teacher who works in a private school where he is assisted by his doting Maid Martha who was previously employed by his father. John has his head frequently in the clouds. He has recurring dreams which he jots down details of in his journal and recounts to Joan Redfern, the school's plain, kind-hearted Matron. They involve an alien time traveler who calls himself the Doctor who journeys through time and space in a blue box, picking up numerous companions along the way. But he wonders if it's all really just the dream. As John and Joan's feelings become more and more apparent is there more to Martha's concerns over Mr. Smith than just mere infatuation? Events begin to take another twist when a mysterious, other-worldly family with an army of animated scarecrows make their presence known. Written by
Actors Thomas Brodie Sangster (Tim Latimer) and Harry Lloyd (Baines) both appeared on Game of Thrones as Jojen Reed and Viserys Targaryen, respectively. See more »
Tubular metal scaffolding (of the kind that the Doctor dislodges with a thrown cricket ball in order to save the woman and child from a falling piano) was not in widespread use in the UK until the 1930s. Before that, wooden scaffolding poles were employed, lashed together/into position with rope or something similar. See more »
Head in the clouds, that one. I don't know why you're so sweet on him.
He's just kind to me, that's all. And not everyone's that considerate, what with me being a...
Exactly! Good old London Town!
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In order to give the slip to some enemies that have him cornered, the Doctor chooses to erase his own memory. Using the old alias of John Smith, he winds up as a teacher in a finishing school in 1913. Now completely human, he must deal with human feelings such as true love. Martha is tasked with keeping an eye on him while the crises passes, but as always with the Doctor's adventures, it's not quite that easy.
Now THIS is what I'm talking about! This is everything a good Doctor Who tale should be, an extremely well-acted, captivating, marvelous story with memorable, suitably threatening villains and no over-reliance on CGI. If the second half holds up as well, it'll be ranked amongst the best episodes of Who in decades.
My Grade: A+
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