by Steven Moffat

Directed by Douglas Mackinnon
Starring Peter Capaldi, Jenna Coleman
and Samuel Anderson

I should say that although this is a spoiler~free preview, there are some points about this episode that might be spoilery for some. But if you’ve seen the recently released promotional pictures from the BBC then don’t worry, read on without fear.
Though the Next Time trail for Listen gave the illusion of this being the “spooky” episode, there’s much humour to be found here. Peter Capaldi, despite walking around the TARDIS alone talking to himself like a loon for a lot of the story, gets a number of belly laughs – mainly at the expense of co-star Jenna Coleman.
Clara is finally going on a date with handsome man Danny Pink, though things don’t quite go to plan (well, it IS Doctor Who after all). The Doctor, on the other hand, obviously has a lot of time on his hands and debates and explores the notion of a creature that could perfect the act of hiding. Something is haunting everyone’s dreams, apparently, and the Time Lord is oh-so curious; questioning if we are ever really alone…
And, without wanting to use the word “tropes”, there are a couple of very familiar Steven Moffat tricks/ticks going on here – through some timey~wimey fun, everyone’s favourite Gallifreyan and Clara end up at various time zones in the past (recent and incredibly distant) and future. If you’ve seen the promo pics you’ll see that Samuel Anderson is playing man from the future Orson Pink, a descendant of Danny.
Anderson is terrific in these dual roles and Mr Pink is fitting in to Doctor Who superbly, proving to be adept at the comedic nuances of his contemporary character and the more sombre facets of his future Robinson Crusoe. His soldier history is again broached.
Interestingly, Clara takes charge once more and this series has seen a huge shift in the portrayal of the character. In fact, The Doctor’s companion asserts authority in a seismic way in terms of the mythology of the show. And this brings me to one of the more contentious issues in Listen.
The fall-out from this episode is going to be fascinating (within fandom, I doubt the normal viewing audience will care), Steven Moffat has pulled another whammie. As with The Name of the Doctor (where we found a new Doctor), The Day of the Doctor (where the Time War was rewritten) and The Time of the Doctor (where the regeneration cycle was, erm, tampered with), Listen features a moment that will raise eyebrows in a fashion that even Mr. Peter Capaldi would envy.
A very, very brave move from the current showrunner. Ultimately, though, a move that will upset and irritate many.
But, let’s go back to where this preview started – scares. Listen is dense with atmosphere and full marks to both director Douglas Mackinnon (who previously helmed eps such as Cold War and The Power of Three) and composer Murray Gold for creating such a mood. Throughout the ep, their talents are evident.

In particular, there’s one scene that will have younger viewers scampering away from the telly at great velocity. It’s brilliantly executed and shiver-making in the extreme. I’ll wager, there’s also a few adults that may be also be sleeping with the lights on later that night.

Listen, like Deep Breath before it, is slower in pace and takes its time within the scenes, exploring the characters and the reality of fear and this unseen monster in everyone’s lives. At times it may feel like a retread of the concepts first seen in Blink or with The Silence (and there’s even another nursery rhyme thrown in for good measure to complete the Moffat-isms) but this is an intriguing instalment, and one that will ruffle feathers.
Thanks to the BBC


  1. Typical Blogtor. Highlight the contentious things that'll irritate the 'fans' (well, the obsessives who take a family TV show far too seriously) instead of the brilliance of the episode (yes, I've seen it) itself. More stoking the anti-Moffat fire from the RTD loving site.

  2. I don't see anything particularly Moffatt-bashing in this, and in fact on the whole this looks like a positive review to me. You're just popping the popcorn in anticipation of how the fans will react to a looming bombshell. You're not passing judgement on it, which I find quite amusing in a playful, Doctorish kind of way that I think both RTD and SM would appreciate. 😉

  3. Really Anonymous?
    Either this is seriously tongue in cheek or indeed you yourself are not a Moff fan!
    Just bashing the good Blogtor for the hell of it huh?

  4. I think its a clever idea to have a descendant of Dannys appear maybe this Orson is a hero or something it might make the doctor like him better and the preview was great.

  5. Well his views on Moffat aren't exactly a closely guarded secret. They are pretty much parallel to my views on RTD, but even I'll praise Midnight (whilst pointing out numerous tired RTD troupes because I can't help myself, and I find it hard to admit that he produced a good script)…

    Put in that context this review actually has me the most excited of all them (even more so than those calling it one of the best episodes o f all time).

  6. "Well his views on Moffat aren't exactly a closely guarded secret."

    I'm baffled, utterly baffled to this "anti-Moffat" garbage that I'm being tarnished with.

    Go find some evidence of this first.

    As another note, for anyone's attention reading this, I personally moderate ALL comments. They don't get published without me seeing them.

  7. Not spoiler free at all. We didn't know that character wasn't an old version of Danny, so – that's a spoiler.

  8. Greig

    I did state at the start of this preview:
    "I should say that although this is a spoiler~free preview, there are some points about this episode that might be spoilery for some. But if you've seen the recently released promotional pictures from the BBC then don't worry, read on without fear."

  9. I thought "Listen" was the single worst Dr Who episode I have ever seen—and I have seen all of the new and almost all of the old.
    Moffat has taken the series off of a cliff. I'm sure I'm not the only one who feels this way.
    Moffat's over the top sentimentalism is "slimey-wimey" and flaccid. Time for a reboot on the writing side. Not even generally good acting can save the 8th series.

  10. I feel very weak. I needed to find out what this contentious issue was. Ive found it and I love it. So no harm done really I'm still totally stoked for this episode


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