The Family of Blood

When Mark Braxton suggested, in this week??????s Radio Times, that The Family of Blood might be worthy of a Bafta ??????on it??????s own merits?????? he wasn??????t exaggerating. This must be one best ??????new series?????? episodes yet.

Cornell does wonderful things with the characters he creates in his story and at the same time avoids the pompous ??????present day standards?????? judgment of people living in a different historical context. Above all Cornell achieves the tricky task of showing how awesome The Doctor can be.

It was what Andrew Cartmel, script editor for Doctor Who during the eighties, originally set out to do. In an interview contained on the Survival DVD he explained his intentions for revitalising the character of The Doctor. Clues given in various episodes would suggest that The Doctor was no mere Time Lord, but something far more, on a par (at least) with the likes of Rassilon, or Omega
. We would see a darker, more dangerous, side to The Doctor (or perhaps that should be the TARDIS/Doctor symbiot)?
In this episode Cornell shows us The Doctor performing his acts of retribution against The Family of Blood away from the eyes of any human witnesses, as though that is something an infant species shouldn??????t see.
All of this re-establishes and reinforces the The Doctor’s alien quality.

Freema Agyeman desrves a special mention for her acting skills as does Thomas Sangster (who I think would??????ve have made a great additional companion and been somebody the younger viewers could identify with).

Full marks for this story.

The BBC??????s Official Doctor Who website has a free e-book version of Paul Cornell??????s Human Nature.



    June 4, 2007

    Absolutely brilliant! I couldn’t wait to see how the story ended from last weeks episode and it didn’t disappoint!

    The writing was excellent. To see the Doctor in a completely new light, albeit weaker and rather more gutless can only be a good thing.

    I mean this story had something for everyone – for the sociologists and historians out there it showed a fairly accurate glimpse of life before the Great Wars, of the class distinctions and imperialist surety inherrent in being British at the time. For the feminists out there, the plot was driven by strong female characters, Martha with her gung-ho C21 attitude and Nurse, with her quiet but inimitable strength forged through grief over lost love past and present. For the hardcore SF fans there was plenty -ray guns, possession a la body snatchers, clever little devices that hold the key and square jawed two dimensional heros like the headmaster.

    Personally though I think two of the high points were,
    1. The Family’s bombardment of the village – did that hark back to Wells’ War of the Worlds for anyone else? It was exactly how I had imagined the aliens coming to Earth.
    2. The scene where Nurse and Mr. Smith sit at the table in in the abandoned Cartwright cottage – a parody of a happy home, a couple sitting down to a civilised tea, something neither character could really have and I think, a fond but sadly tinged reminiscence of a world gone by.


    June 4, 2007

    I thoroughly enjoyed this episode, with the exception of a really awful bit of americanisation of history which grated badly. At the school, the headmater told the pupils setting up the defences to “leave a clear field of fire for the Gatling Gun”. It wasn’t an american Gatling Gun, it was the far superior british Vickers .303 Machine Gun – and no public school headmaster with a school cadet force in that era would ever have made that mistake ! I do sometimes wish the writers would pay a little more attention to the details, moan, moan………..

    The Obvious Sontaran

    June 4, 2007

    The fact that this was an exceptional episode was confirmed by me when my wife sad that she thought it was quite good. For someone who doesn??????t like Doctor Who (or science fiction for that matter) to say that it must have been bloody fantastic!


    June 4, 2007

    I loved it too. I wonder if the family of Mr & Mrs Smith and the children actually existed in some way? Will he remember them in the future. I will also love a real fanboy moment in the future – one day we’ll get a glimpse of a girl with a ballon in a mirror, nothing will be said, we’ll just have to work it out for ourselves.
    Then there’s the idea of the scarecrow “watching over England” forever. Powerful stuff.

    Frank Sable

    June 4, 2007

    The Doctor??????s punishment of the ??????sister?????? reminds a bit of China Mieville??????s story ??????The Tain??????. (

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