Tooth and Claw

DVD NTSC
Region 1
14-episode
box set

DVD PAL
Region 2
14-episode
box set
DVD PAL
Region 2
plain 3-episode volume
(Doctor Who Story No. 173, starring David Tennant)
  • written by Russell T. Davies
  • directed by Euros Lyn
  • produced by Phil Collinson
  • music by Murray Gold
  • 1 episode @ 45 minutes
Story: The Doctor and Rose find themselves accompanying Queen Victoria to an estate in Scotland named Torchwood House, which has secretly been taken over violently by a band of local monks. Traps hide within traps as a mysterious creature grows in strength in the cellar.....

DVD Extras (box sets only) include:

  • Audio commentary by writer Russell T. Davies, visual effects supervisor Dave Houghton, and supervising art director Steve Nicholas.
  • Doctor Who Confidential featurette: Fear Factor (12 min.) with Davies, Houghton, David Tennant (The Doctor), Ron Donachie (Steward),
    director Euros Lyn, fight co-ordinator David Forman, visual effects producer Will Cohen, animation supervisor Jean-Claude Deguara,
    fearmonger Steven Moffat, and DW Magazine editor Clayton Hickman.
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Outtakes

In-Depth Analysis Review

by Martin Izsak

WARNING: This review contains "SPOILERS", and is intended for those who have already seen the program.
To avoid the spoilers, read the Buyers' Guide version instead.


Although the setting and subject matter of this tale don't particularly interest me, it can be proudly held up as an example of how to make such things appeal to a wide audience. Skilful story structure and plotting, and the inclusion of elements of humour and subplots all help make this rather standard outing into a modest success.


"Tooth and Claw" won't win huge points for its setting. After taking us to a place that barely qualifies as an alien planet, writer Russell T. Davies brings us right back to Earth, in the past, and wallows in the importance of the ruling British hierarchy once more. Ho-Hum. At least the production puts a mysterious cultural twist on it, with the opening shots and music evoking a strong Celtic feel, and a bit of fast-action wirework evoking the style of a Matrix / Kung-Fu movie. Nice.

The Doctor and Rose don't get a great intro, with their scene in the TARDIS interior coming off as a bit silly. Although attempting an interesting dramatic moment as they step out of the doors, the story sorely lacks the reaction that the Queen's caravan must have had upon witnessing the materialization of the TARDIS. And the audience misses out on the satisfaction of seeing the effect themselves. Considering the low quality of the goings on in the interior, the camera would have been better placed outside during materialization. The Doctor and Rose's subsequent exchange with the Queen's guard is successfully entertaining though.

Older fans will remember Pauline Collins as spunky Samantha Briggs in "The Faceless Ones" (story no. 35, 1967), where she turned down the offer to have her character join the TARDIS crew and become a regular on the show. Now some 39 years later, Collins is sporting a new look, and completely immerses herself in the role of Queen Victoria. She is thoroughly believable and enjoyable, and still knows how to run along corridors and deal with the unknown. Good show.

Those who appreciate a good creature to terrorize folks get a doubly excellent helping here, as the CGI crew deliver one of their best works yet. This adversary of tooth and claw has similar appeal and style to those in the popular video game series "Doom", and is another major element of this adventure's success.

Where some of the later action goes through some predictable dynamics, the outcomes are not quite as easy to predict, and the story maintains its surprise twists and turns and its mysteries that need solving. The body count is a bit too high for my tastes; I think Davies could have cut back and still have had both an equally successful story and equally successful building block in the season's larger arc.

Murray Gold delivers some wonderfully rich & fast rhythms to get one's blood pumping during the action scenes, with the opening monk section being one of the highlights. Later sections for the creature courageously attempt to fuse this rhythm with a grand, bombastic melodic theme, which doesn't turn out anywhere near well enough to justify the number of times it is repeated, both on screen and in the track later put on CD. Luckily these sections are still carried by the rhythm. Not to be overlooked are all the other wonderful cues in the story, such as during Queen Victoria's introduction, or the sequence with the kitchen preparations and Rose looking for a good dinner outfit, or the delightful bits as mysteries are solved, and solutions are discovered. A very entertaining score.
Music by Murray Gold
A suite of 3:51 duration is available on:
Audio CD - Doctor Who by Murray Gold
Silva Screen SILCD1224

More info & buying options

"Tooth and Claw" comes to a very satisfying conclusion, being both clever and emotional, and giving the Doctor all due heroics. David Tennant's score in this department at this point in his run is now three for three, all from Russell T. Davies scripts. Excellent. A subplot for Rose comes to a humorous payoff, the TARDIS makes a satisfying dematerialization, and another piece of the season's larger story arc comes into play. Nice.


"Tooth and Claw" may not quite rank as a great or classic story, but it is definitely a solid one with much to recommend it, and it is a good example of the growing quality of Season 28. Enjoy.



This story has become available on DVD.
Click on the Amazon symbol for the location nearest you for pricing and availability:

DVD NTSC
Region 1
14-episode boxed set
for the North American market:

DVD PAL
Region 2
14-episode box set
for the U.K.
DVD PAL
Region 2
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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Read the In-depth Analysis Review for the next story: "School Reunion"



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