Villordsutch reviews Doctor Who Series 10 Episode 4: Knock, Knock…
Directed by: Bill Anderson
Written by: Mike Bartlett
Bill – “He’s My Grandad”
Doctor – “Ahhh, come on! Father at least”
Bill – “Alright, Grandfather!”
When Doctor Who aims to frighten you, it really knows where those dark corners are in your mind, where you keep those little things you don’t like in your own cozy home, and brings them into light for everyone to see and to watch you leap two foot off your sofa. In this latest episode of Series 10, written by Mike Bartlett, you’re seriously going to be considering screwing down that creaking floorboard outside your bathroom by the end of it.
With Bill finally succumbing to student life and seeking ‘Student Digs’ with her new-found Uni mates, they’re led on a merry dance by an estate agent through numerous properties each as dire as the last, until a chance meeting with a pleasant looking landlord (David Suchet). He takes them to his rather grand home which, albeit old and rather creaky inside, is actually rather huge and cheap. After placing their name on the contract, they’re given the only rule: don’t enter the tower.
The Doctor becomes “A Time Lord with a TARDIS” for Bill and she has him transporting her boxes from flat to newfound home, though with one glance and a wet finger in the air he is instantly suspicious of this newly acquired student accommodation. Insisting that he investigates, Bill attempts to pass him off as her Grandfather and she ‘politely requests’ that he leaves allowing her to be a student. Though as the evening progresses, the newly rented accommodation isn’t as it appears and due to a rather perseverant Doctor and Bill’s Spotify playlist the house is investigated further, before the landlord arrives with a tuning fork in hand.
Frightening is the perfect word to describe this episode. This is Mike Bartlett’s first time penning a Doctor Who tale and he’s certainly captured this world spot-on; the trapped haunted house feel reminded me of the classic Horror at Fang Rock, and then inside the home certainly brought me back to Ghost Light (though granted they look completely different, I couldn’t shake the creeping feeling). The director Bill Anderson also uses classic – simple – scare techniques of knocking on walls and slamming doors to really ramp up the fear levels of “Knock, Knock” and it really works well.
Again, here Bill (Pearl Mackie) and the Doctor (Peter Capaldi) show us – the viewers – that they are an excellent Companion & Doctor. Bill is smart, comfortable and is more than aware of what is going on, ready to take charge when needed. Then we have the Doctor who can instantly portray to anyone watching that he knows there’s a problem. He speaks, smiles and moves with purpose also he’s paying close attention to what Bill is saying, which is fascinating. There is something special about Bill and I feel that may be revealed soon enough.
David Suchet is this week’s special guest and he’s playing a rather brilliant, apparently timid and pleasant landlord who manoeuvres around the home not making a whisper until seen, barely raising his voice. Seeing him face-to-face with Peter Capaldi and not even break into a panic is just perfect, even when being directly questioned.
Knock, Knock is an excellent episode and one that cannot be missed, though if you’re watching it with children or with an easily scared father/mother than you may want to make sure they have no hot drinks in their hand during the forty-five minutes of airtime.
One thing to note also, shortly after this is shown, over on the BBC iPlayer Knock, Knock will be played using special binaural audio. This creates a 3D surround sound effect for anyone wearing headphones, meaning you’ll be placed within the heart of the action in this nail-biting episode.
Doctor Who – “Knock, Knock” is on BBC 1 on the 6th May at 7:20pm.