Doctor Who is finally back after a little over a year and all the waiting for the 60th-anniversary specials. It has been a hard time but we’re finally here and Russel T Davies has delivered as promised.
The Star Beast is the first of three 60th anniversary specials where we see David Tennant return to the role of The Doctor but not the Tenth incarnation, the fourteenth.
Why that face? Why has it come back? These are questions you’ll be hearing a lot of during this episode. This episode follows The Doctor as he’s caught in a fight to the death as a spaceship crash lands in London. But just like always, Destiny brings Donna his way.
Having David Tennant return to our screen as The Doctor is amazing and it’s great to see that he still has that charm. The combination of the writing and his performance is outstanding as the Fourteenth Doctor.
From within the first 20-30 minutes of the episode, you’re able to see him as a distinctive incarnation of The Doctor and not just replaying the Tenth. There are also still hints of the Thirteenth Doctor’s behaviour within him and it makes it all the better to help distinguish which Doctor, David is playing.
David Tennant is not the only star to return, Catherine Tate returns to reprise her role as Donna Noble. It’s like she never left our screen, bringing the Noble attitude we all know and love back onto our screens.
Her involvement in this episode is a way bigger one than I expected and instantly brought back memories of her previous adventures with The Doctor.
This episode is more than just your regular episode and for the first time in a long time, it was able to tackle some complex themes and make them connect with the story being told and the characters being involved. One of which is newcomer Yasmin Finney who plays Rose, Donna Noble’s daughter.
There’s actually a hilarious scene early on in the episode that relates to her name that I think everyone will be able to laugh out loud at.
Rose’s identity is woven very well within the story and Russel T Davies does an excellent job of connecting it to past stories. This is one moment where I did wish we got a little more time as it already did feel like a special moment but one that ended too soon. Some time could’ve been spent less during the second act to help extend the final act.
Unlike previous episodes of Doctor Who, Disney is officially involved with the show, meaning it’ll premiere on Disney+ for the first time, but that’s not all. The budget has tremendously increased and you can see the money on the screen.
At times it felt like I wasn’t actually watching Doctor Who with how good everything just looked, the set design was incredible and the practical work on the monsters for this episode was amazing. The cinematography was also unmatched and fitted celebrating 60 years of Doctor Who.
Many hardcore Doctor Who fans might know this information already but a Doctor Who creature returns, but this time it appears in live action for the first time. The Meep first appeared in 1980 in a comic strip for Doctor Who magazine and now he finally gets to grace our screens. For people unfamiliar with him, you’re in for a treat as he was truly one of the best creatures we’ve received in a long while.
Like with any other new Doctor, we also get some new upgrades like for example his brand new sonic screwdriver. As previously seen, it seems to be a mashup of all the different sonic screwdrivers he’s used since his ninth incarnation, once again honouring the 60th anniversary.
Its looks aren’t the only thing special about its design. It now has some new features that have never before been seen and thanks to this budget from Disney, it only makes the VFX so much and worth adding all sorts of new things. This gives me hope for having all sorts of new gadgets we might get to see The Doctor use in the near future.
It wouldn’t be a Russel T Davies episode without the wonderful composer, Murray Gold. Gold manages to bring back many familiar scores and has them sneaking around the entire episode. As well as the wonderful score, there are also other Easter eggs thrown throughout the episode that all hint back to previous episodes of Doctor Who. Russell T Davies manages to honour the 60th anniversary of Doctor Who in more ways than one.
Final Thoughts + Rating
Doctor Who truly feels back and The Star Beast not only sets up what to expect from the 60th anniversary in terms of story and scale but for the rest of this new era. Wild Blue Yonder has only intrigued me more with The Star Beast closes off its episode in natural Doctor Who fashion, teasing what’s to come next and keeping us in suspense.
This is an amazing way to kick off the 60th anniversary and if it continues this way, I can expect it to not only be better than the 50th anniversary but to also expect greatness from Ncuti’s first season.
Doctor Who: The Star Beast officially premieres on BBC One on November 25 and on Disney+ internationally.
Rating: 9 out of 10