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Will The King’s pricker stand a chance against good old-fashioned Lancashire mud?

Doc and the stop trying to make fam happen are super-luted, the sixteenth-century version of super-jazzed, to be attending the coronation of Bloody Liz One, mate, except the TARDIS doesn’t know, ahem, witch way to turn and has ended up at Bilehurst Cragg, where the local landowner-ess is turning the village into a sausage-fest at the rate of one occultist hag a week.

At this moment, up creeps the local masked avenger, who turns out to be none other than jittery old King Jim the First, dodging Catholics and Satan on a crusade to cleanse the unwashed parts of his kingdom and finally make Mummy proud. Can Doc overcome the strange stirrings in the mud and old-fashioned gender conceptions to get to the biomechanical root of this puzzler?

Here's what we think of N152 The Witchfinders

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

3.4

Drew | @drewbackwhen

3.1

Here's what we think of N152 The Witchfinders

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

3.4

Drew | @drewbackwhen

3.1

Here's what you think 6 Responses to “N152 The Witchfinders”
  1. GP Haynes

    Our intrepid travellers find themselves in the 17th Century England Witch-finding period.

    We have two great guest stars. The first Siobhan Finneran, playing the resident Witch hunter, rather obnoxiously, which I feel is her speciality. But the wonderful Alan Cumming stars playing the “ Implied” Queer King James, something not totally historically inaccurate

    His performance is simply outstanding. I want to be entertained! Tick!

    The regular cast have plenty to do, with various sub plots providing them with some action and dialogue.

    Jodie gives a reasonable performance here, her bravery jumping into the river at the start was actually quite touching.

    But for me, the ending was just a little too neatly and quickly wrapped up, which somehow kind of spoiled the build-up.

    It was entertaining enough, but after a few strong episodes ( IMO ) , this was somewhat disappointing with the Aliens quite weak , and not entirely creepy, compared to what we’ve seen this season.

    All in all, I rate this as solidly average

    2.5 Not really threatening Muddy tendrils

    GP Haynes
    Down Under

  2. Daniel McGinley

    Did you know that women weren’t treated as equal to men in the olden days? You will do after watching this A-level Drama play.
    Some thoughts:
    – ‘Do not interfere with the fabric of history’ says the Doc. Drew nehW was right when responding to this particular bugbear in a previous review. Just let it go, it’s not worth getting bothered about. But it should be for a show about time travel. I’ll say it anyway: CONSISTENCY PLEASE!
    – Alan Cumming is a brilliant character actor with great facials and gives a strong performance. He does smarmy so well. The accent is over the place, however.
    – Correct me if I’m wrong but it appears Yaz actually has something to do and shows some signs of having some character. Maybe it’s just that the writer remembered to give her some proper dialogue and a bit of agency. Funny the difference that makes. Bravo!
    – Considering the content – did you know that women weren’t treated as equal to men in the olden days?, the moralising lecture count was surprisingly low at just two. That’s a season total of 18.
    – Graham in the hat = excellent.
    – The Doctor talked a lot. I mean a LOT. This might as well have been an audio adventure. That’s saying something in this exposition filled series. To quote graham from last week “you’re just making sounds now”.

    So to a rating. Well this episode was there. It existed. Hard to get enthused about. My rating: a Doctor Dunkin’ 1.9/5.
    PS Did you know that women… ah never mind

  3. Justforwhoo

    It’s a witch! It’s Satan! Why no friends – it’s episode eight yipeee! Oddly enough I ended up enjoying this one way more than I thought I did (no seriously, look at my thicc and chunky list of positives):

    1. Really good characterisation – I do wish they delved even more into the characters but I found that the book that the episode was based off does provide that.
    2. Better than average acting – is this what happens when actors actually have material to work with?
    3. The storytelling, the lore, everything was really well paced (except for the ending – let’s ignore the last eight minutes because what the fuck was that).
    4. The yassification of King James – don’t know how historically accurate him being queer was but hey I loved it.
    5. The being afraid to face yourself message was good but it did feel a bit rushed. I wished they’d spent more time on that over the Morax gobbledygook.
    6. Addressing the fact that the doctor’s a woman in a way that was appropriate for the context of the story – really well done.

    Also unrelated to this episode but it’s dawned on me that series eleven gives off the same vibes as series seven – no real arc, all stand alone episodes and overall stock standard filler episodes. Penny for your thoughts?

    BEST BIT: the first thirty nine minutes.
    WORST BIT: the last eight minutes.

    I’d rate this a 4.3/5.0. Peace out and take care.

  4. Kieren Evans | @kjevans2

    So this one. First up, I found it very hard to take Alan Cumming seriously in this on rewatch. He was definitely acting for a different show. Other than that, I quite like it. Maybe a little slow in the beginning after the initial opening scenes. Also the gang have to be thankful that the Morax like to build up tension so there was time for them to turn up and save King James at the end. Bit of a trope isn’t it?

    I suppose evil alien creatures possessing dead bodies isn’t exactly original, we’ve had it before in Who with The Unquiet Dead being an obvious example. But this episode is a fairly decent version of it. Actually, thinking about it, disturbing an ancient site and releasing a great evil is similar to stories such as The Daemons, The Awakening, and I suppose The Eaters of Light. So yeah, not really original but yeah I like it. Everyone in the gang had something to do, and I like Graham, Ryan and Yaz having their own adventure following the mud zombies whilst the Doctor was having issues with King James.

    Other than the maybe not very original plot, it’s Alan Cumming and his King James that just don’t gel for me with this one. So I think it’s 3.6/5 ducking stools actually being funky alien locks

    Cheers
    Kieren

  5. Maxwell Rayner | @thetruemisty

    Who Back When Podcast Release Date (24 July 2022)
    BBC Broadcasting Date (25 November 2018)
    Directed By: Sallie Aprahamian Written By: Joy Wilkinson

    This episode felt really short, I just pressed play and then it ended. This episode is a top 5 for rewatching and I will probably watch it again in another year. I love the way the doctor shakes off Yas quickly at the beginning. For just my own sake why couldn’t we just leave Ryan with James. The tree being a prison and the doctor just hitting it was not a good ending to the story, it could use a more physical spell making scene where they need to cast a spell to banish them . I did like the visual effects of the episode and was giving Knock Knock vibes with the make up. The shot of Alan Cumming when the companions are telling him to command the doctor to be lifted was perfect. The writing for this story was better but some lines just didn’t sound or sit well. However a good cast for this episode as well as the doctor saying if they were a man they could do the job quicker was good. When the doctor is tied up she says some amazing inspiring things which is brilliant when it comes to the overall story arc. We get one more good part when we see Becka Savage begging for her life to be saved. I give this episode a 3.2 / 5 Tree stump prisons which are just as effective as Chris Chibnall’s writing.

  6. Michael Ridgway | @bad_movie_club

    Likes:

    • Camp King James. More of him please.
    • Zombie mud tree aliens. More of them please.
    • Graham’s witchfinder hat. More of that please.
    • As someone deathly allergic to horses, I agree with Becka – ‘creatures of Satan’. Less of them please. In fact, kill em’ all.

    Beefs:

    • Why didn’t the zombie mud tree aliens kill the Doctor and co. when they knocked them out? One had a friggin’ axe. Chop em’ all up, morons!
    • The zombie mud tree aliens were all revealed and resolved within about 7 minutes. Should this have been a two parter? I wanted a zombie mud tree alien attack on 17th Century London!

    Rating: 3.1/5 reanimated bodies that should have totally resorted to maggot infested rotted corpses post-possession.

    An aside: Boris the crooked knobface has resigned! Harrah! Although this does bring to mind the Seventh Doctor’s final line in the cliffhanger of Episode One of Silver Nemesis, if you know what I mean (wink wink).

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N153 It Takes You Away