Doctor Who: Season 5, Episode 10

Vincent and the Doctor (5 Jun. 2010)

TV Episode  |  TV-PG  |   |  Adventure, Drama, Family
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Ratings: 9.2/10 from 4,315 users  
Reviews: 21 user | 21 critic

Visiting a museum, the Doctor and Amy are especially excited with the gallery for Vincent van Gogh. Many of van Gogh pieces are displayed, including "The Church at Auvers (1890)". However ... See full summary »



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Episode complete credited cast:
Nik Howden ...
Chrissie Cotterill ...
Sarah Counsell ...
Morgan Overton ...
School Child
Andrew Byrne ...
School Child


Visiting a museum, the Doctor and Amy are especially excited with the gallery for Vincent van Gogh. Many of van Gogh pieces are displayed, including "The Church at Auvers (1890)". However there is something irregular discovered on the painting - a small alien image within a window pane. The Doctor quickly takes Amy back to 1890 where they locate the troubled artist that upsets the locals, cannot pay his bills, and is able to see an invisible monster that no one else is able to see. Written by racliff

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

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5 June 2010 (UK)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

16:9 HD
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Did You Know?


Richard Curtis had been fascinated by the life of Vincent Van Gough. Though it was a subject he knew "quite a lot" about, he still read a 200-page biography of Van Gogh, which was more research than he normally would have done if working on other projects; he took Van Gogh very seriously. As such, he wanted to be "truthful rather than cruel" and refused to write any jokes about Van Gogh's ears after he famously cut one of them off. See more »


When the Doctor is hit by the Krafayis after being told by Vincent to jump to the left, at 29:37 there is a second where you can see the wire above Matt Smith that was used to swing the Doctor into the stone wall. See more »


The Doctor: Come on, we'd better get you home.
Vincent Van Gogh: Where are you staying tonight?
The Doctor: Oh! You're very kind.
See more »


Featured in Doctor Who Live: The Afterparty (2013) See more »


Doctor Who Theme
Written by Ron Grainer
Arranged by Murray Gold
Performed by BBC National Orchestra of Wales
See more »

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User Reviews

15 June 2013 | by (The San Francisco Bay Area) – See all my reviews

Wow. Few things on TV move me like this episode has. Incredible stuff. The Doctor giving Van Gogh a glimpse of his legacy was just emotionally jarring in a good way. A friend of mine suffered much the same condition as Van Gogh. He had been able to pull out of his sways, which initially were just mood sways, but then as he sought treatment, became real emotions about real abuse he was suffering at the hands of the very doctors trying to help him. His tale is yet to end.

But here the Doctor and his Scottish companion visit the legendary painter and tackle a giant outer space turkey bent on wreaking havoc in the rural country painting getaway that is Van Gogh's home. I have to say, as far as monsters go, I think the production team didn't go the whole nine yards for this episode. They had a budget to meet, so probably grabbed the first thing that came into their head and said "that's our monster" (I'll bet one of the writers was eating a chicken sandwich at the time they were brainstorming the plot).

The space-turkey/chicken (I say it's a turkey, but the guys on the BBS call it a chicken...whatever) never really gives us his motives for being a malefactor. He is in fact a stock villain for this entry in Who-ness, and runs amuck with vengeful thoughts on his mind sparked by fear of being stranded on Earth. Van Gogh helps resolve the plot.

But even though the plot is brought to an end, it's the story of Van Gogh himself that is the focus of this episode. How did a man who was so renown as a painter succumb to the dark recesses of his own self generated despair? We don't know. We will never know. That's one of the mysteries of severe depression. We're given a glimmer of hope in this episode for those suffering this condition, and it is indeed a very real hope. But depression by itself, is not always fueled by logic, and therefore things can go wrong.

It's a nice intimate episode. There are no major alien invasions here. The Earth itself is not on the precipise of disaster. The universe is not in danger of collapsing. There's a giant raptor like aggressor present, but otherwise this is one of the more intimate Who episodes. Think of the few "good" episodes of Season Three original Trek, and you'll know what I mean.

The important thing about this episode is that the historic figure here, Van Gosh, was not mad. He knew the difference between right and wrong, but his personal outlook and inability to keep himself fueled was an interior war that no amount of the Doctor's Tardis nor Sonic-Screwdriver could address.

A good watch.

11 of 11 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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