DOCTOR WHO: In The Forest Of The Night - Spoiler Free Review

What immortal hand or eye, could frame thy fearful symmetry...
Here's our spoiler free review of In The Forest Of The Night.

"What big eyebrows you have Grandma..."

School seems to have changed a lot since I was there. Can't say we ever had a sleepover in a museum. Just the option of it would've been a huge surprise back in the day - although likely not as much of a surprise as waking up the next morning to discover London (and indeed, the world) has been reclaimed by vegetation!

In the Forest of the Night is very, very different to anything else we've seen in series 8 of Doctor Who. It's not as dark, or as tinged with horror as recent episode have been, but it is in no way a Robot of Sherwood-esque romp. There's also no 'monster of the week' as such, which initially stumps the Doctor, after all he can fight monsters but he can't fight physics!

What we do have is a very layered, emotional mystery from the pen of first time Who writer Frank Cottrell-Boyce. He fits a lot in to this story, and although there are clear sprinklings of Moffat to further the Doctor/Clara/Danny arc, it doesn't compromise what feels like Cottrell-Boyce's vision. It's actually first time all round, as we have new-to-Who director Sheree Folkson behind the camera. Her choice of angles and shots really give this episode something of a unique feel, an interesting one at that. Both writer and director would be welcome to return for series nine.
I'll readily admit that in advance I was hesitant about In the Forest of the Night. The trailers and promotional material just weren't cutting it for me, and as much as I realise that Doctor Who is a family show...

...look at all those pesky kids! After all, it'll take a lot more than Ellis George's portrayal of Courtney Woods to erase the memory of Nightmare In Silver's Angie & Artie!

But lightning has struck twice (or possibly even thrice) this season as young Abigail Eames delivers an outstanding, emotional performance as Maebh. And a damn good job too as her role is very important to the story, much more so than Courtney's was during her trip to the moon. Her scenes with the Doctor are amongst the highlights of this episode.

That third lightning bolt comes in the form of Harley Bird, you may know her as the voice of Peppa Pig (honest). She's grown up somewhat, but here as Ruby she 'snorts' her way through some very realistic teenage girl material. Maybe we should just get Cottrell-Boyce to write all the Doctor Who episodes involving children. He clearly excels in this area, as anyone who has seen or read Millions will testify.

It does seem as if they blew the CGI budget on Flatline as there are times when it's not quite up to the recent high standard we've become so used to. Adequate rather than exceptional would be a fair description for this one in regard to certain areas of the effects. But this does not at all detract from another rock solid episode of Doctor Who.

In fact the only really disappointing thing about In the Forest of the Night was the trailer for 'Next Time' and the realisation that this amazing season is almost over.
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