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Vincent van Gogh gingerly flirts with Amy Pond while Doc is chased by the space chicken in his godmother’s rearview mirror

The Doctor, trying to fill Amy’s Rory-shaped void by actually doing normal tourist things with his infinity box, takes her to the Musee d’Orsay, where they make a startling discovery.

In Vincent van Gogh’s The Church at Auvers, some malevolent, chicken-shaped, oil-rendered force of evil is lurking in one of the windows. Off they go to screw with history!

Thus, they plop to Auvers, where Vincent gingerly flirts with Amy, The Doctor unearths his godmother’s rearview mirror, and a space chicken kicks the bucket.

 

PS: Apologies for how tipsy things get in this one.

Here's what we think of N070 Vincent and The Doctor

We rate Doctor Who stories on a scale from 0.0 to 5.0. For context, very few are excellent enough to merit a 5.0 in our minds, and we'd take a 0.0 Doctor Who story over a lot of other, non-Whovian stuff out there.

Leon | @ponken

4.5

Drew | @drewbackwhen

3.9

Marie | @hammashandjelly

4.7

Here's what we think of N070 Vincent and The Doctor

We rate Doctor Who stories on a scale from 0.0 to 5.0. For context, very few are excellent enough to merit a 5.0 in our minds, and we'd take a 0.0 Doctor Who story over a lot of other, non-Whovian stuff out there.

Leon | @ponken

4.5

Drew | @drewbackwhen

3.9

Marie | @hammashandjelly

4.7

Here's what you think 5 Responses to “N070 Vincent and The Doctor”
  1. Michael Ridgway | @bad_movie_club

    The Quiet Undead 2 with Vincent Van Gogh and an invisible chicken.

    Things I liked:

    1. An attempt, half-hearted though it was, to address mental health issues.
    2. The scene with Vincent in the gallery, and the Doc, Amy and Vincent staring at the stars (sentimental tosh but sweet).
    3. Clever easter egg visuals of Van Gogh paintings.
    4. 1st and 2nd Doctor nods
    5. Bill Nighy

    Things I liked EVEN MORE:

    This episode breaks new ground in the niche horror genre of murderous farmyard animals. Fine examples include: ‘Black Sheep’ (2006) and the ‘GodMonster of Indian Flats’ (1970) featuring mutant killer sheep; murderous pigs in Aussie horror film ‘ Razerback’ (1984) and Evilspeak (1981); killer cows in Irish horror films’ ‘Isolation’ (2005) and ‘Dead Meat’ (2004); and killer chickens in Mexican rip-off of Hitchcock’s ‘the Birds’ called ‘Beaks’(1971) and ‘Poultrygiest: night of the chicken dead’ (2006). ‘Vincent and the Doctor’ however features, to my knowledge, the first gigantic mutant-alien killer chicken (a giant chicken features in 1976 film ‘Food of the Gods’ but it doesn’t do much). However naff this episode is (weak story, slow pacing, dodgy effects, having an invisible monster (cough, cheapskates), low body count, rubbish monster death from a blunt easel, lack of fallout from Rory’s death…etc) much respect should be given for enriching this horror genre with the chicken.

    3.5/ 5 giant mutant-alien chicken clucks (1.5 points for the episode; 2 points for the giant mutant-alien chicken).

  2. Tracey from America | @yecartniatnouf

    Complaint:

    Just one nitpick. It is *incredibly* distracting to hear the name pronounced like “Van Goff” when anyone I’ve ever heard says it like “Van Go”.

    Good stuff:

    Wow, what a beautiful episode. Visually it’s just stunning. The light is pouring all over everything, bringing out the yellows and blues. I buy into the idea that this is the reality Van Gogh was painting from- thank you set design and lighting!

    The Doctor jabbering while Vincent paints is great. “Is this how time normally passes?” Must be disorienting to be a time lord and feel you’re misunderstanding time.

    Oh he rejects the sonic. Interesting.

    One of the nonregulars rightly pointed out in your Amy’s Choice review that THAT episode was insensitive in regards to the topic of mental health. I’m not an expert by any stretch, but THIS episode seems to do a better job.

    It’s quite a nice scene of them in the field looking at stars. I have a beautiful memory of three friends and myself lying in a field looking at stars this way. And it was during this scene that my daughter suddenly said- “Wait, he’s the guy who painted Starry Night!?”

    More comments from TfA’sDaughter:

    Vincent knows Amy lost someone. How does he know? I mean Rory was erased FROM TIME!

    And I completely forgot Vincent went to 2010. The topic of Van Gogh can really only be done in a bittersweet way, and I think Doctor Who pulled it off.

    Rating: Starry starry night

  3. Trenton Bless | @trentonbless

    This is possibly my favorite Eleventh Doctor episode, hands down.

    Vincent van Gogh is my favorite artist. Seeing him in that place with the Doctor was like a dream. I loved every second of it.

    The person playing Van Gogh really looked like him and it was so wonderfully acted. Academics will spot anachronisms (even I can tell you Van Gogh was painting sunflowers before 1890), but surely none can grumble at writer Richard Curtis’s mission to touch the hearts of viewers, especially children, with the story of a troubled genius unappreciated in his own lifetime.

    I hate to say it, but Rory being dead for the first time really works. This episode wouldn’t work with Rory being there. (Love you, Rory) Karen Gillan is at her sympathetic, luminous best here, and Matt Smith is just remarkable. Dashing around Provence with his daft, mirrored gizmo, he is channelling second Doctor Patrick Troughton from bow tie to bow-legged gait. And as we all know, Patrick Troughton is indeed my favorite Doctor, so bonus points on that!

    Like with Vampires of Venice, this episode was filmed in Croatia. However, you wouldn’t know that just by looking at it. This looks like the fields of Province that Vincent painted and envisioned with the colors he saw. Speaking of colors, the scene at night when the Doctor, Amy and Vincent lying in the fields was just breathtaking.

    But the best scene by far was the scene in the art museum when the curator sang praises of Vincent while the artist himself was standing right there. Doctor Who doesn’t often make me cry, but this makes me cry every time. It’s even more tragic when Vincent still kills himself. As the Doctor himself once said, “you can’t rewrite history, not one line”. It’s never more apparent than it is here.

    Overall, this story is so good. If you are a Classic Who Fan, the elements of the 60’s historical is there, mixed in with the invisible monster (anyone can design a visible monster, but to design an invisible monster takes a special kind of clever) makes this story an amazing work of art. 4.3/5

    P.S., if you really like this episode, check out the movie “Loving Vincent”. It’s a movie about a man investigating the mystery surrounding Vincent’s suicide and it’s animated in oil paintings similar to Vincent van Gogh’s style. I saw it at an independent theater last year when it came out and I was amazed. Visually it was stunning. Check it out if you haven’t. I mean, it’s been nominated for an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature, so it must be good!

  4. Star Wars Syl | @starwarssyl

    Hey guys! Been listening to your New Who podcast for a few months now. It always makes me smile, so thank you for consistently adding to my pile of good things.

    Vincent and the Doctor! This is my absolute favorite Doctor Who episode… but I do have a couple questions. “I know evil when I see it, and I see it in that window.” Except, he apparently doesn’t. Why not, “I know when something does not belong, and that does not belong there” instead? Also, “If you paint it, he will come.” But… why? It’s blind. How would it know it was being painted—? And why does being blind mean it doesn’t eat its food anymore—?

    The museum guide and the Doctor squeeing over bow ties was adorable, and there were many delightful moments: “Maybe you’ve had enough coffee now,” Vincent mixing up left and right for a moment, and the Doctor’s complete inability to tolerate waiting with any sort of grace.

    This episode has heart, and though this was my fourth time watching it, it still made me tear up. All in all, I’d rate this as 4.8 paintings Vincent did not paint over to sketch on.

  5. David E

    Ok then

    After all my vitriol about the rubbish ‘lets just put some scales on a human face’ silurians we come to a Matt Smith story that I cannot hate…try as I might.

    Also Amy isn’t so ‘I’m just so obviously a confident woman’ and striding around and shouty in this one. We don’t hear her scream ‘ROARRAYYY!’ in this at all. That gooseberry has been erased from existence and the show is better for it. In fact, neither of them are being irritating in this…was this written for a previous Doctor?

    Tony Curran as mister VG is fantastic. The story revolves around him and he is utterly convincing and compelling. Great casting. The scene where he’s in his bed having a bad time and the Doctor can’t do anything to help him is inspired. I would have been so annoyed if the Doctor had cured him. In a science fiction show we get a very realistic portrayal of mental illness and the realities of it.

    The only floating turd is the creature. It looks bad, both in design and execution..either that or it was meant to look a bit pathetic and ugly. What is it called again…? Crayfish?

    I wonder what this would be like if it was a pure historical.

    Probably the highest rating I’ll give a Matt Smith episode, 4.4.

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