The Doctor and Donna arrive at an English country estate in the 1920s and meet none other than the renowned murder mystery writer Agatha Christie. The Doctor also realizes the importance of the date - it's the day when Christie famously disappeared for 10 days creating headlines across the country and around the world. History records that she reappeared 10 days later claiming to have no memory of where she has been or what she has done. They no sooner arrive than there is a murder, which Donna can't help but find it amusing since the victim is Professor Peach who was killed in the library with a lead pipe. In true Agatha Christie's fashion, the solution to the murder and Agatha's disappearance is found in a false identity and events that occurred long ago. Written by
Because of Agatha Christie appearing as a central character in the story, references are made throughout the dialogue to her works. Donna and others drop the names of several of Agatha's works: Murder on the Orient Express, Cards on the Table, Cat Among the Pigeons, Dead Man's Folly, Appointment with Death, Sparkling Cyanide (also known as Death Remembered), Endless Night, Crooked House, and Murder at the Vicarage. Also, the book that Lady Eddison reads in a flashback is another Agatha Christie work, 'The Murder of Roger Ackroyd.' See more »
When the housekeeper is lying on the ground, the 'stone' statuary moves on her stomach as she breathes, and then it is moved by 'Agatha Christie' when she bumps it with her knee. See more »
Yeah but think about it. There's a murder, a mystery, and Agatha Christie.
So? Happens to me all the time.
No, but isn't that a bit weird? Agatha Christie didn't walk around surrounded by murders, not really. I mean that's like meeting Charles Dickens, and he's surrounded by ghosts, at Christmas.
Oh come on! It's not like we could drive across country and find Enid Blyton having tea with Noddy. Could we? Noddy's not real. Is he? Tell me there's no Noddy!
[leans in close to her]
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I remember a time when Gareth Roberts was well-regarded by Who fandom. His New Adventures novels were well-liked and his Missing Adventures efforts were seen by many as some of the best of the 90's Who novels (including myself). Granted Roberts didn't help his dwindling reputation (a result of silly revisionist thought when fans decided to be pretentious and ignore these fun romps in favor of the 'challenging drama' of some of the NA's) with last year's extremely disappointing "The Shakespeare Code", but he has matched some of his finest work such as "The Romance of Crime" and "The English Way of Death" with "The Unicorn and the Wasp", a fun and exciting little adventure reminiscent in several ways of Doctor Who's other television murder-mystery, "Black Orchid".
The only real flaw in this episode was essentially the plot and the way it was executed. This has always been a flaw in Gareth Roberts' writing but he more than makes up for it (again) by injecting ample wit and style into his dialogue, which the actors really do justice here. I did think Catherine Tate slipped into her comedy routine a bit here which does injustice I think to the fantastic way she's developed her character over the last few episodes, but that's a minor complaint.
This is possibly one of the best-directed Doctor Who stories, well... ever. Graeme Harper first directed Doctor Who in 1984, debuting with the truly legendary "The Caves of Androzani" and following that up with the excellent "Revelation of the Daleks". Returning for the revived series of Who with "Rise of the Cybermen", Harper has proved to be one of the best and most unjustly ignored television directors out there. "The Unicorn and the Wasp" succeeds largely thanks to his direction of the episode, as he creates fantastic atmosphere and chooses his shots very carefully and very well.
Fenella Woolgar is terrific here as Agatha Christie herself and the story is just excellent, fun, humorous entertainment all the way through. The CGI effects in series four thus far have been miles ahead of what we've seen previously and the very, very well-done wasp(s) are proof of this. What a memorable and fun tale.
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