What a thoroughly enjoyable one-off! No evidence of Rose this week, nor of any grander conspiracy in motion, but that really didn’t matter. The Doctor and Donna arrive in England, 1926, at a dinner party attended by Agatha Christie, and there’s a murder! Whodunit?! It couldn’t be Professor Peach – he was murdered with lead piping in the library! Was it the fabulous Lady Felicity Kendall? Was it her son or his footboy lover? Was it…the famous jewel thief The Unicorn? And will Donna end up with copyright for the books Christie hasn’t written yet?
Perfect timing – a thoroughly old school, old fashioned murder mystery, with high campery and fantastic, pitch-perfect acting. Tennant shines in particular, clearly having a ball trying to out ham Tate. It’s wonderful that in this series they’re trying to show just how alien he is – this time displaying an amusing conceit in getting out of being poisoned. And taking a week out just to have a relaxed, enjoyable romp really strengthened this series in contrast to series 3. Having Felicity Kendall as almost the only straight character (in both senses) was almost as much fun as the gay suggestivity. I can’t think of anything I didn’t love – from Tennant’s Ustinov-esque unveiling of the murderer, to the plot – using the real mystery of lost time, which was never accounted for by the real Agatha Christie.
No doubt when the series resumes post-Eurovision interruption, we’ll get the conspiracy resumed in some manner, although again it won’t matter – the next two episodes are written by Steven Moffat (he of ‘Blink‘ fame), guaranteeing perhaps the best episodes of the series. I can’t wait.