Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Doctor Who: The Rings Of Akhaten - Spoiler-Free Preview

Doctor Who: Series 7, Episode 7:
The Rings Of Akhaten

Written by: Neil Cross
Directed by: Farren Blackburn
Produced by: Denise Paul

Executive Producers: Steven Moffat and Caroline Skinner

Broadcast date: Saturday 6th April 2013 at 6:15pm on BBC One.

Reviewed by Tom for The Gallifrey Times.

The Gallifrey Times have seen Series 7, Episode 7: The Rings Of Akhaten and have put our spoiler-free preview together:

After the modern city adventure that The Doctor & Clara had in The Bells Of Saint John, The Rings Of Akhaten takes the duo to... The Rings Of Akhaten, funnily enough.

The Doctor and Clara.
This is a really nice episode for Clara to be introduced properly to The Doctor and fans of the show. It has a likeness to the Russell T Davies episodes such as The End Of The World and The Fires Of Pompeii where Rose and Donna were taken on their first adventure respectively. We get a nice little scene where Clara is amazed that the TARDIS is.... yes you guessed it, bigger on the inside!

After we find out more about Clara's leaf, The Doctor asks her what she wants to see, to which she replies "something awesome". Clinging on to her book, 101 Places to See, the pair set off to the mysterious rings of Akhaten.

Festival Of Offerings.
The TARDIS lands on one of seven inhabited rings, and when I say inhabited, I do, of course, mean inhabited by aliens and this episode has dozens of them all in a buzzing marketplace where they are celebrating the Festival of Offerings. I've got to say that I think the episode gets a bit off track here and The Doctor & Clara probably spend a bit too much time looking at exotic blue fruit! 

Special effects are superb.
The prosthetic and
make-up teams have done an extremely good job with all of the new aliens, especially Dor'een! (There's a funny moment when The Doctor speaks to Dor'een after 'she' starts grunting at Clara.) Also of a very good quality in this episode are the special effects, courtesy of The Mill. They always seemed to deliver in all of the effects they did for Doctor Who and this episode is no exception with the Rings looking absolutely beautiful.

The singing is perfect.
Now, as much as I hate it, singing takes a very big and important part in this episode. The last episode that I can recall having as much singing as this one is probably Planet Of The Ood. Although all of the singing is pitch perfect, it's not for me unfortunately. However, Murray Gold has done a great job with the music. The only other gripe I have with this episode is that it doesn't really get going until around the midway point, but I suppose that's the case because we're seeing The Doctor and Clara bonding on their first real adventure together.

Merry, Queen Of Years.
Although we're not sure how the witty Clara is possible yet, Jenna-Louise Coleman plays her brilliantly and I'm really interested to see how her character progresses through the rest of Series 7. As for Matt Smith, his portrayal of The Doctor seems to get better and better in every episode we see, so no complaints from me for Jenna or Matt. 

Merry, who is the Queen Of Years, is just one of the succession of choristers who have been involved with The Long Song, a lullaby that keeps their Old God asleep. Emilia Jones (Aled Jones' real life daughter), who plays Merry, does a great job on both the acting and singing sides of the role. Because of Merry, we also get to see Clara's very empathetic side. 

The Doctor & Clara bond.
Overall, The Rings Of Akhaten reminds me a lot of Series 1 story, The End Of The World, and it's nice seeing The Doctor and Clara on their first real adventure together. We get to learn more about the leaf that we first saw in The Bells Of Saint John and slowly but surely, we're beginning to find out who Clara really is. It's just a matter of time before we find out just how she is possible.

The Gallifrey Times Rating: 7/10
Thanks to the BBC for the images.