TV REVIEW: Doctor Who 4.6 "The Doctor's Daughter"

Original UK airdate: 10/5/08

Written by: Stephen Greenhorn

Directed by: Alice Troughton

Rating:

THE ONE WHERE
On the planet Messaline, a “progenation machine” gives the Doctor a daughter, Jenny. Her destiny: to be a soldier in a war between humans and the fish-like Hath, that’s been raging for thousands of generations... Or, as Donna eventually works out, seven days .

VERDICT
They’ve given the Doctor a daughter! The nerve! That’s such an audacious move that by rights this should be a classic episode. Why, then, is it somewhat underwhelming?
Maybe it’s cos we’re not given much time to get to know Jenny (and you always suspect she’s a redshirt), so her “death” is not as affecting as it could have been. Maybe it's cos the story feels so enclosed. That's the trouble with alien planet stories - on the available budget, you're stuck in a factory, with just the occasional excursion out into a quarry at night. Maybe it’s cos of the story’s positioning: coming straight after the Sontaran story - also focussed on cloning and the rights and wrongs of militarism - some of the themes feel slightly over-familiar. Maybe it’s cos the plot (very old-school Trek) doesn’t quite seem to add up. If the war’s only a week old, and everyone was created by the machines, why is General Cobb an old man? Wouldn't any soldiers have lasted seven days? Why does the newly-built underground city look so knackered? And why would the construction drones stick date-of-completion plates all over it, anyway?
That all said, this remains a reasonably diverting run up and down some corridors , with occasional moments of sudden, moving depth. The Hath are wonderfully weird, Georgie Moffett is cute as a button, and David Tennant, given some touching material, bats it out of the park.

HIGHLIGHT
“I never would!”

TRIVIA
Georgie Moffett is The Doctor’s Daughter in more ways than one - she’s the real-life daughter of Peter Davison (Moffett is his real name - Davison is a stage name).

IT’S WOSSISNAME!
Nigel Terry (General Cobb) played King Arthur in Excalibur.

INFLUENCES
That corridor full of lasers is so Resident Evil.

NITPICK
If cloning an army is this easy, why don’t the Sontarans do it this way? And the Daleks? And... well, you get the idea.

SPECULATION
So, when are we going to see Jenny again? Season finale, anyone? They wouldn’t... they couldn’t... kill her off again , would they?

BEST LINE
Donna: “He saves planets, rescues civilisations, defeats terrible creatures... and runs a lot. Seriously, there’s an outrageous amount of running involved!"

Ian Berriman

More Info

Available platformsTV