Another week, another disguise for the new Doctor. They tried to drown Ben last week but on hauling up the rope discover that the slippery seaman (snigger) has ‘done a Houdini’. After swimming to the quay he is greeted by a familiar looking redcoat… I love how although it’s only him and Ben the Doctor stays in character with a Cockney accent even after he’s peeled half his fake moustache off! I wonder where one obtained a fake moustache in 18th century Scotland. I also love how he only peels one half off! The Doctor is definitely having more fun now that he’s young again.
The Doctor shows Ben his stash of weapons, and this time proves he can do a Scottish accent: “a few wee gifties” indeed! He’s either seen more of Earth off-screen than we realise or he’s just a natural mimic. Two disguises and three different accents in one story, what better choice of actor could they have picked for this part, than a well established character actor?
The two of them are reunited with Kirsty and Polly. Polly comments on the Doctor’s change back to his original outfit, saying she preferred the dress. The Doctor’s like a sad puppy after finding his clothes dumped on a rubbish tip – that was very funny. Ben and the Doctor make plans to infiltrate the Annabelle and pass the prisoners their weapons but this story’s new gutsy version of Polly is having none of it. So she and Kirsty will hand out the weapons instead.
Later the Doctor gets aboard the ship and is dragged to the solicitor Grey where he does his Herr Doktor routine again and shows the man the ring that he took from Kirsty, which used to belong to Prince Charles. The Doctor tells him that he happens to know that the prince is aboard the ship disguised as one of the prisoners. The Doctor says he wants 10,000 guineas for the information.
Meanwhile the two girls make it to the Annabelle by rowing boat and Kirsty gets to speak to her father again. They pass over the weapons to the delighted prisoners.
Grey has agreed to the Doctor’s terms, who then goes below deck with Trask to identify the ‘disguised prince’. He points at a ‘sleeping’ Jamie! Jamie hasn’t had an awful lot to do up till now but from this point on he becomes a bit of a hero, leaping to his feet (he wasn’t really asleep), along with all the other prisoners, and much sword-fighting and shouting ensues. Trask gets thrown overboard by a triumphant Jamie.
So the only thing left to do now is get back to the TARDIS so the Doctor and friends take Grey with them as hostage. The prisoners decide to sail to France and Perkins persuades them to take him as an interpreter.
Ben and Polly watch the Annabelle sail away. Polly’s sadness at not having said goodbye to Jamie seems odd considering their paths barely crossed during this story. But the piper hasn’t gone anywhere and pops up behind them, offering to guide them back to the cottage.
This all feels like an episode ending but it’s not over yet. An encounter with redcoat soldiers allows Grey to escape. Having lost their hostage the Doctor wants to use Ffinch instead it seems. “Dear Algy” is having a crafty smoke outside an inn when the Doctor’s gang pounce on him: “Oh, this really is too much”, he protests. But it seems to me he protests too much because I think he’s quite taken with Polly. A pompous colonel emerges from the pub and gets cross with Ffinch, asking who the “vagabonds” are. The Doctor claims to have been taking Ffinch to the prince’s hideout and so they depart with him. After they’ve got to the cottage and explained about the dodgy solicitor’s slave trading Ffinch changes his tune and when Grey and the sergeant appear he rounds on them. The crooks insist it was all above board and that they had signed contracts and everything. But the Doctor and friends deny all knowledge of contracts. Grey reaches in his pocket for the contracts but they are not there. Ffinch orders the sergeant to arrest the solicitor.
Lucky Algy gets a kiss from Polly before departing, and the Doctor ‘finds’ the contracts in his pocket. His innocent “How did they get there?”made me smile.
Now here’s something new: Polly asks the Doctor if they can take Jamie with them, and the Doctor agrees as long as the boy teaches him to play bagpipes! I really can’t imagine the old Doctor approving of coaxing someone to join them, unless they had nobody left and nowhere to go, like Vicki and Katarina. Companions have up till now been mostly accidental travellers. And Jamie initially insists he’s alright thanks, so he’s not exactly begging to come with them. He obviously relents though, and they take him to the TARDIS where he momentarily hesitates, before tentatively stepping through the blue doors…to be taken who knows where, who knows when, facing who knows what! So they pretty much tricked him into joining them, right? I mean he couldn’t possibly conceive the dangers he had in store, so without being pre-warned was hardly a willing passenger! I’m sure the Doctor’s people wouldn’t approve of this sort of thing. Bad time travellers!
Well that was a nice change of pace after the Dalek one before. Not half as good, but refreshingly different, and it’s these changes of pace and style that I love about Doctor Who. I wonder where we’re going next week…