But, fan that I am, I did spot one continuity glitch. The Intelligence comes fully into being in The Snowmen: “Something terrible is born”; “Now the dream outlives the dreamer and can never die.” The year is 1892. However, when Troughton’s Doctor first thwarted the Intelligence in The Abominable Snowmen, a serial set in a Tibetan monastery, it had been controlling the high lama Padmasambhava for “nearly 200 years”. The date was 1935. Mmmm...
Anyway, enough already with Great blooming Intelligence, I hear you cry. What about all the sexy new stuff – like the title sequence, the new Tardis and, vitally, the new companion?
In Asylum of the Daleks, I found Oswin’s perkiness a tad wearing – but then she was a woman in denial that she was actually the maddest Dalek in the asylum. However, I was completely won over by Jenna-Louise Coleman in The Snowmen as she switches with apparent ease between Clara, the perky Nancy-like barmaid, and Miss Montague, the hoity governess with her secret, common voice. Importantly, she has an instant rapport with Matt Smith’s Doctor.
If I was unmoved by her death (another top secret of course), it’s because Clara still looks so decorous after falling hundreds of feet through the sky. I know this is family viewing, but it’s plainly silly that she isn’t the slightest bit crumpled.
More effective are Clara’s final words – “Run, you clever boy. And remember” – exactly the same as Oswin’s in Asylum. Didn’t you just know they’d come back to bite the Doctor? Moffat is a master of these clever touches.
There are lots of lovely images (the Jack and the Beanstalk-like spiral staircase leading to the clouds), and my favourite moment being the truly wonderful effect of the camera (and hence the viewer) following the Doctor and Clara directly through the police box doors into the huge Tardis interior. Has this effect ever been achieved before..? I may have forgotten. And how was it done? Where’s BBC3’s Doctor Who Confidential when you need it!