Suranne Jones (Idris) and Eleventh Doctor (Matt Smit) - The Doctor's Wife - (BBC)
Suranne Jones (Idris) and Eleventh Doctor (Matt Smit) – The Doctor’s Wife – (BBC)

The Doctor’s Wife

First Broadcast May 14th, 2011 @ 6.30pm (7.97m viewers)

Doctor Who appeals to a wide variety of people, some of them accomplished authors. Neil Gaiman has written numerous books which led to movies such as Stardust and Coraline but his imaginative mind was also perfectly suited for a TV show he had enjoyed earlier in life, Doctor Who. ‘The Doctor’s Wife’ was Gaiman’s first foray into the Whoniverse and was built around the concept that only a fan of the show could’ve considered, what if the TARDIS came to life? This idea allowed for the relationship between the Doctor and his constant companion to be explored for the first time and the results are beautiful.

Neil Gaiman, Suranne Jones and Mat Smith (c) BBC
Neil Gaiman, Suranne Jones and Mat Smith (c) BBC

The plot of the story focuses on the mysterious entity ‘House’, sadly not the American head of Diagnostic Medicine at Princeton Plainsborough hospital, attempting to infiltrate the universe to find sources of energy to consume. House’s previous sources of sustenance had been TARDIS travel machines but those were likely to be in short supply necessitating this new strategy. The junkyard planet of TARDISes and patchwork people provide some lovely visuals and it’s lovely to see an Ood and an old TARDIS set make reappearances.

Suranne Jones was cast as Idris, the character who becomes the vessel for which the TARDIS’ consciousness inhabits. She had previously appeared in the Sarah Jane Adventures as an animated Mona Lisa in perhaps the only real low point of that show. However in this story she is sublime, balancing quirky madness with the gravitas required to deliver a personification of the much loved Time and Space machine, all of which culminates in the TARDIS’ essence returning to her home.

Memorable Moment (Spoiler Warning)

Idris (Suranne Jones) - Doctor Who - The Doctor's Wife (c) BBC
Idris (Suranne Jones) – Doctor Who – The Doctor’s Wife (c) BBC

If you are a Doctor Who fan and made it through the emotional scene of the TARDIS saying “Hello, Doctor” then you must be chiselled out of stone. Matt Smith, although not a Doctor Who fan before joining the show, manages to connect with the material in a spectacular way, his tears triggering them from the audience also.

One of the greatest compliments a Doctor Who story can receive is that the script would be equally as strong no matter which Doctor and companion team was in the TARDIS and this is one story which does manage that feat. Whilst Matt Smith delivers the “fear me, I’ve killed all of them” with an icy resolve, every incarnation would deliver it in their own unique style, for example, a testament to the highly polished adventure created by Neil Gaiman.

Cast:

The Doctor  – Matt Smith
Amy Pond – Karen Gillan
Rory – Arthur Darvill
Idris – Suranne Jones
Nephew – Paul Kasey
Uncle – Adrian Schiller
Auntie – Elizabeth Berrington
House – Michael Sheen

Crew:

Writer – Neil Gaiman
Producer – Sanne Wohlenberg
Director – Richard Clark

Also First Aired On This Day…

  • The Gunfighters: Johnny Ringo
  • Father’s Day
  • Doctor Who Confidential : Time Trouble
  • Doctor Who Confidential : Bigger on the Inside

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