The Magician’s Apprentice – Doctor Who Series 9 Episode 1 – The DVDfever Review

The Magician's Apprentice

Back to the present and with The Doctor, Missy and Clara are teleported away darn Sarff (see what I did there?), Bors was actually revealed to be a Dalek. Either that, oir he’d been in the vicinity of an exploding Dalek and one of them buried their plunger in his forehead.

Away out in space, the Doctor continued his sink into depression, bemoaning, “How scared must you be to seal everyone of your own kind in a tank… Davros made the Daleks, but who made Davros?”

And when the pair finally met, Davros looked positively bored to see him, but then he’s an old fart, now. His enemy played back surviving archive clips of old conversations they’ve had, so Moffat’s just filling time there. There’s also age-old dialogue from Davros about how the Dalek/Doctor war “will end tonight”, despite this happening EVERY time the Daleks pop up! They get wiped out. They return. This is getting stupidly tiring.

Then, usually a murdering loon, Missy figured out, due to the lack of artificial gravity, that Davros’ space station is a planet and not an actual space station. Why hide the planet? Because it’s Skaro and it’s been rebuilt. You could see that coming a mile off, the minute we correlated ‘daleks’ and ‘planet’. As the big baddie grumbled, “Where does an old man go to die? To be with his children.”

With the Daleks now surrounding the two female characters in the show, more lame dialogue ensued:

    The Doctor: “What are they going to do?”
    Davros: “Who knows? You know what children are like.”

And how did the TARDIS get there? Well, it’s on Skaro because it has been “procured”, even though the Doctor can normally snap it back with his fingers to get to his location whenever he’s aeons away from it.


Missy and Clara go on the internet to figure out who has the best five-letter name.

For no apparent reason, Missy decided to cause a diversion, saying the Daleks need her, a Time Lady, to operate the TARDIS. In goading them, they kill her.

At the end of the episode, Clara was trapped in the room with a dozen bloodthirsty Daleks, but there was zero sense of peril felt. They wanted her to run. She did run. They exterminated her. So, has Clara finally gone the way of Danny Pink? I bet she hasn’t, even if Jenna Coleman is leaving the show. However, if she has then good – I, amongst others, have had enough of her. She should’ve gone at the end of the last series, but clearly they’ve kept her as a temporary transition.

After the Doctor’s look of disgust, Davros told him: “Compassion. It has always been your greatest indulgence.” As a friend of mine has said about the last series, it’s more like “the Moffat’s indulgence”.

A supposed cliffhanger followed with the Doctor going back to the young Davros, intending to kill him and solve all the problems, like a big red reset button, but the ‘Next time’ clip showed Davros still moaning like an old twat, and a stack of random scenes ensuing. Still, at least they put the ‘Next Time’ clip *after* the credits, so you don’t have to leap for the pause button any more if you want to avoid spoilers. Instead, you have to leap for the mute button as the shouty announcer kicks in 🙁

Overall, The Magician’s Apprentice was another whole load of style over substance. Mostly, fancy locations in search of a plot. Where’s the great writing from Moffat that we saw in Blink? He really is believing his own press and he’s killing this show. Then again, we don’t want Russell T Davies back, either. So who else can rescue it, now?

The Magician’s Apprentice is available on the BBC iPlayer until October 19th.

Doctor Who Series 9 Part 1 is available to pre-order on Blu-ray and DVD, and individual episodes can be bought in HD and SD here. And click on all the images in this review for the full-sized version.


Victor Meldrew as Davros

Score: 4/10

Director: Hettie Macdonald
Producer: Peter Bennett
Screenplay: Steven Moffat
Music: Murray Gold

The Doctor: Peter Capaldi
Clara Oswald: Jenna Coleman
Missy: Michelle Gomez
Colony Sarff: Jami Reid-Quarrell
Davros: Julian Bleach
Kate: Jemma Redgrave
Jac: Jaye Griffiths
Mike: Harki Bhambra
Bors: Daniel Hoffmann-Gill
Boy: Joey Price
Kanzo: Benjamin Cawley
Mr Dunlop: Aaron Neil
Ohila: Clare Higgins
Voice of the Daleks: Nicholas Briggs
Shadow Architect: Kelly Hunter
Alison: India Ria Amarteifio
Ryan: Dasharn Anderson
Newsreaders: Stefan Adegbola, Shin-Fei Chen and Lucy Newman-Williams
School Girl: Demi Papaminas
Daleks: Barnaby Edwards and Nicholas Pegg
Soldier: Jonathan Ojinnaka


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