Wow! What can we say about this stunning, ambitious and very eerie episode in advance? Well, so little really. Lots of snippets have already got out there, in the press and online, especially as a fair chunk was filmed in broad daylight in the middle of Central Park in front of hundreds of onlookers.
Of course, you’ll know from the title that the Weeping Angels are returning. And they’re as implacable, wicked and creepy as ever. “There was something about the Weeping Angels and New York that just seemed to make sense to me,” says showrunner Steven Moffat. “It’s always good to find a new form for them and we’ve got little cherubs this time.”
Alex Kingston is back, too, as River Song, looking like she’s just stepped out of The Singing Detective. She gets her usual quota of sassy lines but also some scenes with emotional depth to play. The only other big star (well, there is an even bigger one but we can’t mention her) is Mike McShane. He was a familiar face (and bulk) on Channel 4 in the 1990s in the improvisational comedy show, Whose Line Is It Anyway? Here he plays Grayle, a wealthy and very unpleasant collector.
The entire episode is set in New York (mostly in Manhattan) but of course it couldn’t all be filmed there. A cemetery – oooh, a cemetery! – features in the narrative and that was a location in Llanelli, Carmarthenshire, according to Doctor Who’s producer Marcus Wilson. “We composited backgrounds from stills taken while we were in New York.” It looks pretty convincing.
He spoke to RT about the logistics of filming in the US: “We were there for a week with a small unit by American standards. We didn’t take any Angels. They were all added in post [production], as was the Tardis by the Brooklyn Bridge. It took a long while to set up, getting permissions and visas, but the New York team, who’d worked on Law & Order, made everything run very smoothly. We even wrapped early on the last day.”
But what is going to happen to the Ponds? Will one or both of them die? Moffat has cooked up a poignant farewell, for now saying only: “There will be tragedy. It’s a heartbreaking farewell to Amy and Rory.”
Matt Smith says: “They go with a bang and a tear. It was terribly sad when they left.” Rory has already died several times in the series – does he face the same fate now? “You will have to wait and see,” is all Arthur Darvill will say, while Karen Gillan says: “Steven has written such a fantastic ending. I expect tears!”
Well, there certainly were tears in my house when I watched this episode with former Doctor Who star, Katy Manning. Check out our verdict on The Angels Take Manhattan directly after the episode has aired.
Patrick first joined Radio Times as a teenager in the black-and-white days of 1984. A career in journalism led to ES Magazine, Time Out, rival TV guides and Doctor Who Magazine. The Tardis returned him to RT in 2005, since when he’s been reviewing Nordic noir and Sicilian vice, saucy sitcoms, the BBC Proms and the further adventures of the Time Lord. He lives in the Smoke but prefers a sea breeze.