A star rating of 3 out of 5.

Get your fans at the ready and prepare your dance cards - it's time for Doctor Who to go Rogue with its new Regency episode.


Written by Kate Herron and Briony Redman, Rogue follows the Doctor (Ncuti Gatwa) and Ruby (Millie Gibson) to the Regency era, where they're living out their ballroom dreams at the beautiful home of the Duchess of Pemberton (Indira Varma).

Of course, it's an absolutely beautiful episode visually, with actual Bridgerton choreographer Jack Murphy stepping on board to give the episode that undeniable feel of the Ton. Cue a glorious ballroom dance, a risky chat in a library with a lady fearing for her honour and a few declarations of "You cad!", and we've got ourselves an episode of Doctor Who Does Bridgerton.

There's dancing! There are duels! There's dishonour! But, of course, in true Doctor Who fashion, there are also monsters lurking around every corner...

So, when the Doctor and Ruby discover a drained corpse in the shrubbery and a mysterious bounty hunter by the name of Rogue (Jonathan Groff), who seems very nonplussed by all the death happening around him, it becomes clear that not everything is as dazzling as it may first appear.

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Ncuti Gatwa as the Doctor and Millie Gibson as Ruby Sunday in Doctor Who episode Rogue dancing in a ballroom
Ncuti Gatwa as the Doctor and Millie Gibson as Ruby Sunday in Doctor Who episode Rogue. BBC STUDIOS 2023,James Pardon

Rogue is a huge tonal change from Dot and Bubble and 73 Yards, and is better for it - it's exactly what you'd want from a fun Regency romp in Doctor Who, while providing a genuine sense of danger. It has its silly and laugh-out-loud moments (largely as a result of Gatwa's glorious line delivery) without compromising too much on its story.

As always, the casting is a coup. After Gatwa's Doctor was largely sidelined in the last two episodes, he's back at the helm in Rogue, sharing the spotlight with Groff.

There's only so much we can say about how the episode plays out for the pair, but it's safe to say it's always a treat when the Doctor meets his match - and Rogue certainly lives up to that. Quick-witted and enigmatic, Rogue won't be a character anyone will forget in a hurry.

We also get to see much more of the Doctor's mischievous and spontaneous side, and it's a joy to see Gatwa back where he belongs as the main star of the episode after a couple of Doctor-lite adventures.

Indira Varma, who we previously met in Torchwood as Suzie Costello, is slightly underused as the Duchess of Pemberton, but she still has some fun moments - as does Gibson, who continues to shine as Ruby Sunday.

Chuldur in Doctor Who episode Rogue walking through some large wooden doors
Chuldur in Doctor Who episode Rogue. BBC STUDIOS 2023,James Pardon

Of course, every Doctor Who story has to have its monster, and unfortunately this one is a little forgettable. It functions just fine as a Doctor Who villain, and it's definitely interesting - but it certainly won't be one for the ages, and struggles to make its mark when there's so much going on elsewhere.

Thankfully, though, there's enough happening in the episode that the lack of a memorable monster doesn't mean it falls to pieces.

While the Bridgerton parody is also a lot of fun, it also perhaps wouldn't have hurt to limit the amount of outright references to the show - it'll be clear to anyone what the episode is doing without the series getting a name check at every opportunity.

Those issues aside, however, Rogue is a lot of fun and the kind of relief we'll perhaps be needing ahead of the "devastating" two-part finale.

Despite a slightly forgettable monster, the final act is still gripping, and it provides an unexpectedly moving and emotional end to the episode (with Murray Gold once again knocking it out of the park with his beautiful score).

Rogue isn't a classic for the ages, and it's not the best outing in season 14 - but it is the kind of Doctor Who episode you'll want to stick on as a comfort watch in years to come. Even with the drained corpses.

Doctor Who continues on Saturday 8th June. Previous seasons are available to stream on BBC iPlayer.


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