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S6-E3 The Curse of the Black Spot

S6-E3 The Curse of the Black Spot

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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.


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 & Crew

The Doctor Matt Smith
Amy Pond Karen Gillan
Rory Williams Arthur Darvill
Avery Hugh Bonneville
Toby Oscar Lloyd
Boatswain Lee Ross
Mulligan Michael Begley
DeFlorres Tony Lucken
Dancer Chris Jarman
McGrath Carl McCrystal
Sea siren Lily Cole
Director Jeremy Webb
Producer Marcus Wilson
Writer Steve Thompson
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