A star rating of 4 out of 5.

Leave everything you think you know about Doctor Who at the TARDIS door for 73 Yards - you won't need it where we're going.


Four episodes in, and season 14 is well and truly into its stride, which means it's time for a trip the sunny Welsh coast. The TARDIS materialises on a beautiful clifftop, with the Doctor and Ruby ready for an adventure - only, it ends up being a much darker and much stranger trip than either of them had expected.

After Steven Moffat's widely-praised chamber piece Boom, 73 Yards couldn't be much more different, diving head-first into horror for the first time this season for a surprisingly dark folk tale. At the heart of the episode is a chilling mystery involving a woman seen in the distance, but there's much more to the journey than that.

Thankfully, much has been kept under wraps about 73 Yards. It's one of the most mysterious episodes of the season so far and, unlike the first three, we still don't know a huge amount about the plot - something that pays off.

For those waiting to watch any time after that midnight release, you'll want to stay spoiler-free now more than ever.

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Millie Gibson as Ruby Sunday in Doctor Who episode 73 Yards gathered on a cliff top looking at grass
Millie Gibson as Ruby Sunday in Doctor Who episode 73 Yards. ,BBC Studios,James Pardon

In moments reminiscent of Russell T Davies's first reign as showrunner, there are chilling links to the present day, in the form of Aneurin Barnard's politician Roger ap Gwilliam, as well as a touch of the supernatural and, of course, a large dash of the time-wimey.

Despite those familiar elements, it's incomparable to any other Doctor Who episode - and for the better.

This is something new for a new era of Doctor Who. Plus, by episode 4, Davies has earned a bit of freedom to let his imagination run away with him. He's introduced his Doctor and companion and has put in the groundwork - now's the time to go a little off-piste.

Tonally, we well and truly leave the uncomplicated and slightly sillier nature of Space Babies and The Devil's Chord behind, in favour of a claustrophobic yet wide-ranging, ambitious, haunting and downright weird tale.

There's a lot we can't talk about at the moment - and a lot we couldn't explain even if we wanted to - but rest assured, we're in for another treat.

Aneurin Barnard as Roger Ap Gwilliam in Doctor Who episode 73 Yards in a suit standing behind a lectern fist-pumping
Aneurin Barnard as Roger Ap Gwilliam in Doctor Who episode 73 Yards. ,BBC Studios,James Pardon

In terms of the cast, it's an absolute masterclass from Millie Gibson as Ruby Sunday. The actress has already had plenty of time to shine in the first three episodes of season 14, but none more so than now, with a new challenge thrust upon her in pretty much every sequence.

It's an absolute treat when the companions get to shine, and now is exactly the right time in the season for it, showing off Ruby's intelligence, wit and resilience.

Gibson easily takes us through confusing sequences, tense moments and brutally soul-crushing scenes, as well as bringing her signature humour to the show, once again proving why she was the perfect choice for the role.

Elsewhere, Dame Siân Phillips certainly doesn't disappoint as Enid, and Barnard is all too convincing as Roger ap Gwilliam - here's hoping we'll encounter him again at some point.

73 Yards is certainly not perfect, and fans will be coming out the other side with a lot of unanswered questions. While some of them could have been explained better in the episode, others add to the riddle of the story. It's executed well enough that we don't mind a little mystery remaining at the end - but there is a limit.

There are many who will argue against Doctor Who leaning more into the fantasy. It's not always a perfect fit, and can cause a few moments that feel like a cop-out. After all, fantasy needs to have its rules too.

But at the same time, when done well, it opens up a whole new world for Doctor Who and a sense of freedom needed for the series to thrive long after its 60th birthday.

73 Yards might not be faultless on that front, but it's certainly a step in the right direction.

Doctor Who continues on Saturday 25th May on BBC iPlayer and BBC One. Previous seasons are available to stream on BBC iPlayer with episodes of the classic series also available on BritBox – you can sign up for a 7-day free trial here.


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