The Girl in the Fireplace
plain 3-episode volume
|(Doctor Who Story No. 175, starring David Tennant)
- written by Steven Moffat
- directed by Euros Lyn
- produced by Phil Collinson
- music by Murray Gold
- 1 episode @ 45 minutes
Story: The Doctor, Rose, and Mickey discover an
adrift 51st century spacecraft connected to the fireplace
of a young girl's bedroom in 17th century Paris. While
the Doctor's heroic curiosity compels him to solve the
riddles of her clockwork nightmare, he soon finds himself
even more challenged to face her growing infatuation with him.
DVD Extras (box sets only) include:
- Picture-in-Picture commentary by actors
David Tennant (The Doctor),
Sophia Myles (Reinette),
and producer Phil Collinson.
- Doctor Who Confidential featurette: Script to Screen (12 min.) adding
writer Steven Moffat,
director Euros Lyn,
art director Lee Gammon, and
executive producers Julie Gardner and Russell T. Davies.
- Deleted Scenes
Buyers' Guide Review
by Martin Izsak
(A more in-depth analysis, containing "SPOILERS" and intended
for those who have already seen the program, can be accessed
Yet another adventure from writer Steven Moffat will have you glued
to the edge of your seat trying to figure out exactly what is going on,
as was the case with last year's
"The Empty Child" (story no. 168).
Outwardly, many things are now different, but inwardly, there are perhaps
a few too many similarities, making one wonder at times if such repetition
at half-length is worth it. But "The Girl in the Fireplace" has a few of
its own outstanding unique elements too, and deciding which of Moffat's
stories is best will not be easy.
The opening setting of 17th century France once more dashes our hopes
for a real alien planet. Is this too much to ask of the new production team
of this show that used to do alien planets all the time? Hopes rise though,
as the TARDIS materializes aboard a spacecraft in deep space. Now maybe
we'll get somewhere. So where exactly is this craft? Listen closely,
or you'll miss it. The Dagmar Cluster, 2.5 galaxies from Earth.
It looks pretty much like something seen in
"The Empty Child", wherever that was. Repeat.
The TARDIS materialization is heard but not seen
this time around, so David Tennant now gets his first five stories under
his belt with not a single proper materialization in any one of them. Weird.
In the end, not very satisfactory.
But, on the bright side, Tennant is preferable to Christopher Eccleston,
and instead of Captain Jack Harkness, we have Mickey Smith.
Improvements on both fronts. Yes, Mickey
is finally traveling in the TARDIS. If Eccleston were still the Doctor,
Mickey would be stealing the whole show at this point, but luckily David
Tennant can more than hold his own. Mickey gets a lot of great bits in
this story, boosting its ratings with me no end. Good show. Here's lookin'
at you, Mick.
The hidden underlying premise behind this story....
but then I can only get into such spoilers in the
In-depth Analysis version of this review.
Once again, there didn't seem to be any thematic point to this
bizarre intellectual pretzel of a setup beyond freaking the audience
out, so I found myself feeling detached and disappointed after my
first viewing. Then, that night, I had a nightmare about....
well, the content of the story. Okay, Moffat has tapped into something
primal and archetypal with his premise, so I'll give him back some points
on this one. I'm a converted believer now. Kudos.
Even so, it's important to remember that nightmares are but
a distraction from the real emotional heart of this tale....
Reinette as Romantic Interest / Companion?
Rose had better watch out. Here's yet another more interesting
and attractive character for the Doctor to invite on board the TARDIS.
Reinette could make such a better companion. And there's so much more
going on romantically. Another great opportunity to replace Rose...
Murray Gold creates some wonderful new pieces for this story. Most
famous will be the haunting romantic theme for Reinette, made available
on CD. There's also some great light-hearted stuff for Mickey's exploration
of the ship, and some excellent underscore for the nightmare
Music by Murray Gold
The final cue (3:44 duration)
is available on:
As an intellectual, figure-out-the-plot-riddles type of story,
"The Empty Child" is probably the better narrative. But this counts
for little on repeat viewing, when more lasting emotional elements
come to the fore. In that sense "The Girl in the Fireplace"
takes the cake. It wonderfully elaborates on an idea only spoken of in
"School Reunion" (story no. 174),
and drives a huge emotional charge through it. A very unanticipated style
of story that adds brilliantly to the texture of Season 28. Nice.
This story has become available on DVD.
Click on the Amazon symbol for the location nearest you
for pricing and availability:
14-episode boxed set
for the North American market:
14-episode box set
for the U.K.
plain 3-episode volume
U.K. format only
Note: The full season sets
contain commentaries, behind-the-scenes
featurettes, and other extras.
The smaller volumes only feature the plain episodes.
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