1.Hugh Bonneville’s Beard
I’m not sure what I can say about Hugh Bonneville without being arrested. But he does have a nice beard. And as a troubled pirate not sure why he’s doing what he’s doing, Hugh excelled. He was a kind of middle-class pirate who would give anything to be at home on his patio sipping on a Pimms, but that’s just not going to happen is it? The real life Avery disappeared in the late nineteenth century according to Wikipedia and his missing loot was the basis of the plot in a sixties episode of Doctor Who, The Smugglers. And if you don’t know the significance of The Black Spot, it’s time to hit your Treasure Island.
Just no one use the word ‘romp’, okay?
2. Hoist The Rigging, Splice The Mainbrace, Spin The Plates.
Never has an episode of Doctor Who felt so much like filler. Well. maybe, apart from those six episode jobbies from the seventies that only had enough plot for three episodes, necessitating a number of runs up and down corridors. After the two parter set up all those intriguing plot possibilities, here the plates are spun without anything actually being progressed. Amy is still both pregnant and not pregnant. Amy and Rory know the Doctor will die in two hundred years but can’t tell him. And we get another look at Amy from some other-dimensional force played by Frances Barber. These kind of episodes are fine, lovely even, but not just after you’ve left several plots dangling. Mind you, saying that, can you count how many things switched from red to blue in this episode? Amy’s fingernails, the Doctor’s bow tie, all tieing into that quantum pregnancy no doubt.
3. A Press Gang On A Pirate Ship
Lee Ross played Kenny for the first three years of Steven Moffat’s Press Gang. Moffat even gave him the chance to feature and plug his part time rock band in the show. How did Ross replay Moffat? By leaving the show for a film that never happened. Good to see it’s all water under the bridge now. Or across the ocean. And he’s playing Boatswain. Although with Clive Wood, Matt Kerr from Press Gang as a Centurion in The Pandorica Opens, will we have a Press Gang actor in every season now? My vote for Paul Reynolds!
Of course Boatswain also disappears without any explanation. Obviously taken by the Siren. But when and where?
4. Amy The Pirate
Okay, I think I prefer this to the policewoman kissogram costume. Just saying. And I bet having all this Pirates Of The Caribbean promotion at the moment doesn;t harm, especially that music at the beginning.
5. Lily The Siren
Again, this is that traditional trope in Doctor Who, “something for the Dads” isn’t it? And now that I am a dad, I appreciate it more and more. Of course just as I’m getting in the mood…
Yeah, okay, enough of that. Bunny boiler, obviously.
6. “Wheel, Telescope Astrolabe, Compass, A Ship’s A Ship”
It’s nice when oldey worldey people get sci-fi more than they should be meant to. Steve Moffat did it with The Girl in The Fireplace, and we get it here too. No screaming to the hills, just understanding the fantastic in terms of the mundane.
7. I Thought He Was Meant To Be A Doctor
So… how come they wake up in a corridor and don’t get sent to the healing chamber? You are in the most miraculous invention of all time, the TARDIS. And there’s nothing to help revive poor Rory than some poorly carried out CPR? I’m sure the wiggly lever would have helped.
8. Next Stop The Planet Of Zomalya
Well done Doctor. You have loosed a band of criminals into space with a big powerful space ship. I don’t know about you but Space Pirates don’t have a great reputation, do they? Although hang on, wait a minute, looking at this picture… is this Blake’s Seven?
9. Spin Those Plates!
10. That Trailer
You know Neil Gaiman was saying we’d be seeing something we haven’t seen since War Games?
The Time Lord summoning cube, there.
11. Bonus Bit
From Doctor Who Confidential afterwards, a wonderful piece to camera by Matt Smith, actually better than he’d done in the entire episode, persuading children to enter a Doctor Who writing competition, jumping from excited to worried to confident in a double heartbeat.
I want to be aged nine to eleven.