8th May 2010
Rory: “You know what’s dangerous about you? It’s not that you make people take risks; it’s that you make them want to impress you. You make it so they don’t want to let you down. You have no idea how dangerous you make people to themselves when you’re around.”
Writer: Toby Whithouse.
Director: Jonny Campbell.
Producer: Tracie Simpson.
Starring Matt Smith as the Doctor, Karen Gillan as Amy Pond and Arthur Darvill as Rory Williams; with Helen McCrory as Rosanna Calvierri, Alex Price as Francesco and Lucian Msamati as Guido.
Rory’s first trip in the TARDIS takes him to Venice in 1580. But the city is shut off, vampires roam the streets, and there’s something in the water…
This isn’t the stag party Rory was expecting.
What they thought:
7.68 million watched Toby Whithouse’s second Doctor Who script, his first being School Reunion, and with an Audience Appreciation Index of 86 (“excellent”), it seemed the new TARDIS team was a hit. As Brian J. Robb said in his review for Total Sci-Fi Online, “Matt Smith continues to impress as the new Doctor, developing his initial mix of Patrick Troughton and Peter Davison into something uniquely his own,” while “The decision to bring [Rory] aboard the TARDIS at the end is a welcome one.” But, as he goes on to say, there’s a lot to enjoy here:
“Most impressive about this episode is the location work, bringing a convincing Venice to life through filming in Croatia. It looks great, like a much more expensive production, and combined with Whithouse’s script makes for a terrific episode.”
The Guardian’s Dan Martin agrees:
“If The Vampires Of Venice proved anything, it was that this series has significantly raised standards for Doctor Who. It was beautifully shot, and there was plenty to pick apart: the way every part of the vampire mythos was explained away by Who pseudo-science was delightful; the stand-off between the Doctor and Rosanna was beautifully played; the dialogue as cracking as you’d expect from Whithouse; the Doctor and Amy getting over-excited about there being vampires cute; and the climactic shot of the Doctor scaling the tower in the rain was just the correct level of broad brushstroke.”
David Bradley, however, wrote for SFX: “the expensive-looking locations are let down by shonky special effects. When Isabella is dropped into the water she thrashes around and rather weakly cries, ‘They’re all around me!’ It’s hardly Jaws.” But he still gave the episode four-out-of-five, noting “it’s a wonderfully acted character piece with genuine moments of fear” and with “so many great lines of dialogue in this episode, it’s hard to single any out. But the Doctor’s reaction to Rory’s casual understanding that the TARDIS interior is in a different dimension sets the dry tone perfectly: ‘I like the bit when somebody says “It’s bigger on the inside!” I look forward to that.’”
DVD (Region 2) Information:
- Released as part of the Series 5 boxset in 2010.
- Also available as a ‘vanilla’ release with The Time of Angels/ Flesh and Stone.
- The Sisters of the Water are running from the cracks in time and the Silence – two themes running through the Eleventh Doctor era.
- Alex Price also narrated the accompanying series of Doctor Who Confidential.
WATCH IT IF YOU LIKE… THE MASQUE OF MANDRAGORA.