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Cult Review

S04E06: 'The Doctor's Daughter'

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S04E06: 'The Doctor's Daughter'
Released on Saturday, May 10 2008

The concept was decent in theory. The Doctor has a hand in a machine instead of a bun in the oven and - voila - a Time Lady is born. Sadly, not even impressive performances from fictional father and daughter can save this dud.

'The Doctor's Daughter' throws up the usual issues about warfare and identity, but there is one main question that pervades the lumbersome 45 minutes: Martha Jones - what is the point?

Freema Agyeman is bubbly and conveys a wide-eyed sense of fun in the role, yet that doesn't excuse the dismal treatment given to her character in this story. Her subplot with the pitiful-looking Hath is very poorly developed and pointless, although the bizarre bog death scene is strangely moving because of Martha's emotional reaction. But were Martha's subsequent tears for the perished Hath or her own 'excess baggage' existence in the story?

The central human versus Hath plot is lacklustre and so 'by numbers' that presumably an abacus was used as much as a keyboard during the development of the script. In particular, General Cobb is pure cardboard cut-out villain. Bring back Soldeed from 'The Horns of Nimon' or Tekker from 'Timelash' over this contrived goon any day. Furthermore, the numerical sequences that Donna keeps pondering lead to a terribly underwhelming revelation about the duration of the war.

Georgia Moffett is sturdy enough as Jenny, giving her the right spirit, arrogance and compassion that befits a sprog of the Time Lord. She certainly deserved a stronger narrative context for her debut. Similarly deserving of a better surrounding story is David Tennant, who marvellously conveys the conflicting joy and gloom of his sudden return to fatherhood. Such moral dilemmas allow him to scrape back the layers of his persona and expose the raw, emotional soul of the lonely time traveller.

The Doctor and Jenny also trade some fascinating dialogue on whether the former is a fighting soldier or not, despite his refusal to use weapons. Does a clockwork mouse differ from a gun when the strategy behind its use may be militarial? Irrespective, the mouse deserves its own spin off show. It certainly has better characterisation and appeal than the Hath.

Underdeveloped and disappointing, 'The Doctor's Daughter' is not without the occasional flourish from Tennant and Moffett. Let's just hope that this story is a blip and the impending visit to Agatha Christie is a corker (which it definitely is!).


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