The Ghost Monument begins where The Woman Who Fell To Earth left off – apart from this time we have some opening credits, now – with The Doctor (Jodie Whittaker) and the new trio of companions floating about in space and waiting for a Vogon Constructor Fleet to beam them up, but since Arthur Dent and Ford Prefect are nowhere to be found, how did they get out of it? You mean you haven’t watched it? Then get thee to the BBC iPlayer! I ain’t telling ya!
All I’ll say is that if they all ended up brown bread, the series would end pretty sharpish… so let’s get a shift on!
At this point, I’ll say that note that when I publish each review, I will assume you have seen the previous episode, but not the one I am reviewing, as I always assume that there are some people reading this who still have to watch it on the BBC iplayer (it does happen). I do have to assume you’ve seen all the previous ones, otherwise it would make for a very short review where I couldn’t say anything.
Hence, I’ll mention some non-spoilery points, but nothing major, and nothing I wouldn’t want to be spoiled for myself.
This time, Angstrom (Susan Lynch) is looking for ‘the final planet’, while Epzo (Shaun Dooley) needs to make some urgent alterations to his spaceship… Oh, and it’s a good job that those our heroes meet in space also speak English! Oh, but the TARDIS can translate languages instantly anyway… well, it would if she still had it.
As we’re told by Ilin (Art Malik, now with hair!), we’re at the final stage of the last ever rally in the twelve galaxies, and the finalists are the aforementioned gruesome twosome. To compete in this final challenge, they must cross the terrain, survive the planet, make their way to the other side of the mountains and reach the Ghost Monument. Whoever wins will get a load of cash and be taken away from the place, and the loser will get left behind.
There’s a number of humourous exchanges – no hugely memorable stand-out lines, but enough to give you a chuckle along the way, with Bradley Walsh making for a very good comic relief, and some bits which stood out slightly were:
- Epzo (pointing a gun): “Stay away from the boat.”
Angstrom: “You don’t get this to yourself.”
Epzo: “This blaster says I do.”
The Doctor: “We all know you’re not going to use it. It’s against the rules.”
Epzo: “…Maybe I don’t play by the rules…”
The Doctor: “Did you practice those lines in a mirror(?)”
and for one particular moment, the Doctor says: “Come to Daddy… I mean, Mummy”.
The Ghost Monument is another example of an episode which doesn’t have the most original storyline, but it’s aiming for humour and simplicity, and away from Steven Moffat’s way-too-dark and overly-complex mostrosities.
The remnants, which they encountered late on, talked to the Doctor about “The Timeless Child” and how “we see what’s hidden, even from yourself… the outcast, abandoned and unknown…”, but what’s that about? There was no other reference to it, but there’s always a story arc to each series so I expect more to come in forthcoming episodes, and amongst the fun in this episode, it also brought Jodie to quickly jump into serious mode when this subject was broached so, again, she’s making a great fist of this.
The lack of those opening credits really got on some people’s nerves last time, but I shouldn’t worry too much about such things as you could tell it was just going to be a one-off, and congrats to Chris Chibnall for trying something a bit different.
Kudos to him, also, for doing that by taking the TARDIS out of the equation for almost two full episodes. I’m not going to say how and when it came back, but didn’t the Doctor normally redecorate it themselves? Or did I miss that? This time, at least, the ol’ Police Box has done it by itself. A bit of dry ice works wonders, for sure.
It would be nice if they use it more than Moffat or RTD, so I remember when Matt Smith started and a comment was made about the swimming pool he’d installed (hence, why he was wet), but aside from that, it’s just been used as a means of getting from A to B and nothing more.
Next time: They go back to 1955, Montgomery, Alabama, and meet Rosa Parks (Vinette Robinson – The A Word), but that doesn’t stop someone coming around to blast them all into next week.
The Ghost Monument is available on the BBC iPlayer for a month.
Individual episodes can be bought in HD and SD here.
Director: Jamie Childs
Producer: Nikki Wilson
Writer: Chris Chibnall
Executive Producers: Chris Chibnall, Matt Strevens
Music: Segun Akinola
The Doctor: Jodie Whittaker
Graham O’Brien: Bradley Walsh
Ryan Sinclair: Tosin Cole
Yasmin Khan: Mandip Gill
Angstrom: Susan Lynch
Epzo: Shaun Dooley
Ilin: Art Malik
Voice of the Remnants: Ian Gelder
Previously on DVDfever:
The Ghost Monument is the second episode of Doctor Who Series 11.
Still reeling from their first encounter, can the Doctor (Jodie Whittaker) and her new friends stay alive long enough, in a hostile alien environment, to solve the mystery of Desolation? And just who are Angstrom (Susan Lynch) and Epzo (Shaun Dooley)?
The Ghost Monument is broadcast at 6.55pm on BBC1 next Sunday.
Read out review for The Woman Who Fell To Earth.
Check out the brand new trailer below along with a “Coming Soon” clip for the entire 10-part series!
Director: Mark Tonderai
Writer: Chris Chibnall
Also stars: Tosin Cole, Ian Gelder, Mandip Gill, Art Malik, Bradley Walsh
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.