Partners in Crime
|(Doctor Who Story No. 194, starring David Tennant)
- written by Russell T. Davies
- directed by James Strong
- produced by Phil Collinson
- music by Murray Gold
- 1 episode @ 48 minutes
Story: Donna Noble investigates a suspiciously
miraculous weight-loss pill being marketed in London,
all in the hopes that this is the same sort of trouble
that would attract the wandering time-traveling Doctor
that interrupted her wedding just over a year ago.
Her gently supportive grandfather Wilfred Mott soon
has more bizarre objects appearing in his telescope
than he ever bargained for....
DVD Extras (box sets only) include:
- Audio commentary by writer Russell T. Davies,
director James Strong,
and executive producer Julie Gardner.
- Doctor Who Confidential featurette: A Noble Return (8 min.) with
David Tennant (The Doctor),
Catherine Tate (Donna Noble),
Sarah Lancashire (Miss Foster), and
producer Phil Collinson.
- Alternate scenes with the late Howard Attfield (Donna's Dad) (7 min.)
- Deleted & extended scenes (4 min.) - introduced by writer Russell T. Davies
- Trailers & Promos
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.
Good old Russell T. Davies is the writer on this one, and he churns
out a piece of predictable formula - easily the least exciting season
opener in the past four years. There is a nifty idea turned sci-fi
premise concerning weight loss, which sustains about 5 minutes worth of
quality screen time, before it becomes repetitive padding.
Other than that, this episode only has the
interaction of its two season regulars to sustain interest, and really,
yet another companion shuffle is not all that riveting. Predictably
it forces us to endure the massively overused London, Earth setting
yet again, along
with the lacklustre domestic accoutrements that have unnecessarily
dogged the show since 2005.
Not smart. The plot's
action isn't anything to write home about - the usual running around
doing Who knows what, with the "vertical chase" some fans say is
a Davies hallmark. Davies also turns yet again to a female villain,
while muddling the line of who we should be rooting for. In the end,
it's all quite forgetable.
grace here is the presence of actor Bernard Cribbins, veteran of
the Peter Cushing Doctor Who film
"Daleks' Invasion Earth 2150 A.D." (theatrical remake of story no. 10),
as well as being a favourite from the regular cast of the
Carry On series of comedy films. Although only in a handful of
quiet character based scenes, with next to no impact on plot,
Cribbins makes each one come alive and become something truly
enjoyable to savour. Behind the scenes info reveals that he was
a very last minute replacement for the late Howard Attfield, who
played Donna's father in
"The Runaway Bride" (story no. 182).
I think Cribbins does the job better as Donna's grandpa, and
I'm certainly glad we have him in the role. Nice one.
Story structure is designed more for Doctor Who followers than
the brand new audience members that season openers should
be ready for. Considerable dramatic tension is built up as
a comedy plays out, with the two regulars on identical missions
who miraculously keep missing each other - but this only works
for a first viewing. Subsequently, once one knows the outcome,
a feeling of "Oh, let's get past this...." takes over. The actual
conflict of the story has little chance of out-doing these comedy
gags, being derived from things of such mundane importance as
weight-loss pills and stereotypical corporate cardboard cut-out
And in the midst of the intercutting of the Doctor's and Donna's
separate missions, the establishment of the TARDIS gets sidetracked.
The Doctor has an early scene in the interior, but newly acquired
viewers get no clue as to where this is. Shortly after,
Donna parks her car and runs off towards a building, not noticing
a police box materializing behind her. Great, but to complete this
idea for newly acquired viewers, we need to see the Doctor come
out of the police box and head toward same building, but the crew
sadly isn't smart enough to see the importance of this and include
the shot. Only regular Doctor Who viewers will get it.
To be fair, the TARDIS gets more of its usual good intro stuff
at the closing of the episode, but at that point, the usual
materialization/dematerialization nature of the machine is left
off-screen, while literal flying through the air is the bogus
substitute. Not all I want in an opening. For once,
the Christmas special
"Voyage of the Damned" (the previous story)
actually turns out to be better suited as a season opener, after
which this story works a bit better.
Murray Gold proves dynamic and brilliant with his music yet again,
kicking off with the one-two punch of his new version of the Doctor Who
title music and heading straight into a jazzed up version of Donna's Theme
now called "A Noble Girl About Town". Great. Many more staple cues
for the season make their debut, while some favourites from previous
years enjoy a return. Good stuff. Murray's got the necessary style for
this show's music nailed down really well by now.
A climactic crisis gives the Doctor a solid heroic final action
to perform, with a critical assist from Donna showcasing her value.
But it all seems a bit contrived, predictable, and uninteresting,
hyped up with more energy and panic than necessary. Not bad,
but we've seen better. Way better.
The final segments of this story feature a nice
"Close Encounters of the Third Kind"-style mothership gracing the screen,
one of the great visual effects of the season. But while managing to
ignite my imagination in the full-season trailers, it did considerably
less for me in this story, and is a bit underused and wasted here on this
trivial excuse for an adventure.
This adventure is littered with minor details meant to link into
future stories of the season - the "Atmos" stickers on the windshields
of the cars being a good example. But the worst is undoubtedly saved for
the end. As if the adventure itself didn't leave enough of a disappointing
taste in the mouth, we then get a silent, mysterious cameo by Billie Piper
as Rose. UGGHH! As if we hadn't had enough of her in seasons 27 & 28!
And after all the trouble Russell T. Davies had gone to to safely banish her
to where she would never come back, she's barely been gone a year before
poking her fake blonde nose back onto our screens. No doubt Russell was
trying to drum up extra interest in this year's stories - if only he knew
how such a cheesy move had exactly the opposite effect on fans like me.....
Music by Murray Gold
"Doctor Who" (Season 30 Title version),
"A Noble Girl About Town",
"A Pressing Need to Save the World",
"Corridors and Fire Escapes", and
"Life Among the Distant Stars"
are available on:
"After the Chase", and
"The Doctor Forever"
are available on:
is available on:
Well, this tale is definitely not the highlight of Season 30.
In fact, it will likely win the Wooden Turkey Award for worst story
of Season 30, which means the good news is that things only get better
from here on. So, enough said about "Partners in Crime";
there is much better stuff in store this season. Let's get at it....
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:
in the U.S.
|DVD PAL Region 2
14-episode boxed set
for the U.K.
|DVD PAL Region 2
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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