Doctor Who (David Tennant) – The Unicorn and The Wasp, and Silence in the Library

Gareth Roberts writes the script for The Unicorn and The Wasp which first aired on 17 May, 2008, and sees the Doctor (Tennant) and Donna (Catherine Tate) arriving in 1926 England.

They invite themselves along to a party and find amongst the guests, one Agatha Christie (Fenella Woolgar). When a guest ends up dead, the Doctor poses as an investigator from Scotland Yard, but soon Time Lord and Companion find themselves caught up in an alien mystery that ties in with Christie’s actual disappearance.

It’s a fun murder mystery with a bit of a twist. It takes all the tropes of an Agatha Christie story, and gives them that Doctor Who nudge, as we learn about a giant wasp flying around, one that can assume a human shape if needed.

I love the interactions between the Doctor and Agatha, as he falls into the role of investigator, and the glimpse we get into her life, as fictionalised as it is, makes the author so much more real than just a name on a book cover.

The flashbacks are a lot of fun, and I wonder if we’ll ever hear about Charlemagne and the computer.

Still, watching Christie and our heroes solve the mystery and discover the real reason for the giant alien wasp, and all the secrets that this group is keeping is a lot of fun.

I rather enjoy this episode every time I come across it, and I think it’s one of the best of the season. But things are about to really get shaken up…

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Enter River Song (Alex Kingston).

Silence in the Library introduces the much loved River Song, and we had no idea how much she would affect the series back when this story first aired on 31 May, 2008.

Written by Steven Moffat the story, at the time was all about the Doctor and Donna arriving on a library planet, and coming across an archaeologist, Song, and her team, who are slowly being whittled down by the shadows inhabiting the library.

Known as the Vashta Nerada, the shadows are frightening, and when they take over a person, killing them, their sealed space suits ghost for a few moments with the victim’s mind, causing catchphrases like “who turned out the lights?”

But now, the story is just as important for its revelations about River. We didn’t know who she was then, but she certainly knew who the Doctor was.

The story interweaves, and has a connection with a little girl, (Eve Newton) and her doctor, Moon (Colin Salmon), the reveals are done nicely, even as the Vashta Nerada claim more and more victims.

But lets be honest, re-watching this episode, it’s all about getting a look at River Song, and how she fits in the Doctor’s life. Knowing everything we do now about her, this episode and it’s follow-up (it’s a two parter that ends in a cliffhanger), especially its ending is all the more emotional – yeah, I got a little weepy.

Next week the survivors enter the Forest of the Dead… spoilers…

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