Doctor Who

Series 6 - 3. The Curse of the Black Spot

Radio Times
Review by:
Patrick Mulkern

After the dazzlingly labyrinthine two-part opener, episode three sees the season arc put on pause. The Curse of the Black Spot by Steve Thompson (who wrote a Sherlock last year) marks a return to simpler storytelling as the Tardis trio indulge in a maritime romp that manages to be only intermittently rip-roaring. A 17th-century pirate ship is becalmed in a night fog and the sea dogs aboard succumb to an ethereal siren (model-turned-actress Lily Cole bathed in turquoise CG swirls). The Doctor walks the plank, Amy does a spot of rope-swinging and sword-swishing, while Rory is marked with the dreaded black spot. Hugh Bonneville is magnificent as grizzled Captain Avery; he's a naval officer gone bad, so Bonneville remains frightfully well spoken, rarely straying into ooh-aarrr cap'n territory. And don't embark upon watching this expecting something to rival Pirates of the Caribbean; this is the cash-strapped BBC after all. Avery can only call upon half a dozen "me hearties", for instance. It's atmospherically filmed (on a real brigantine in Cornwall) and mostly light-hearted fun, and while the emotional subplot that emerges may feel as limp as a trawlerman's discard, it's good to see Doctor Who testing un-navigated waters.

About this programme

3/13. The Tardis lands on board a 17th-century pirate ship stranded in the middle of the ocean, and the Doctor discovers members of the crew are being attacked by a mysterious and beautiful creature known as the Siren. As more buccaneers fall under the seductress's spell, the Time Lord struggles to gain the trust of the vessel's implacable captain and find a way to bring his troubles to an end. Guest starring Hugh Bonneville (Downton Abbey) and model Lily Cole.

Cast and crew


The Doctor
Matt Smith
Amy Pond
Karen Gillan
Rory Williams
Arthur Darvill
Hugh Bonneville
Oscar Lloyd
Lee Ross
Michael Begley
Tony Lucken
Chris Jarman
Carl McCrystal
Sea siren
Lily Cole


Jeremy Webb
Marcus Wilson
Steve Thompson