Tooth and Claw was an episode in the traditional Doctor Who mould, with a classic mixture of horror, mystery and sci-fi neatly put together. It was rather unlike most Russell T Davis episodes, and didn’t have the typical RTD weaknesses, but it also lacked some of that RTD magic.
The story was nicely atmospheric, with a remote Victorian estate taken over by evil monks, and our heroes besieged by an alien werewolf, all in a moonlit Scottish landscape. Throw in Queen Victoria, and the mysterious contraptions left behind by the previous Lord, and it’s a great setup for a Who story.
The plot drives along nicely, keeping you wanting to know what happens next. And for once, RTD’s plot makes good sense and avoids convolutions and a profusion of subplots. And as the plot rolls along, there are plenty of scenes of terror, and plenty of nice one-liners.
But what is missing from Tooth and Claw are those moments in Who that reach the parts that other shows seldom reach. Moments that are moving and thought-provoking, maybe even profound. Strangely, New Earth had many more of those moments, even though it also had more weaknesses than Tooth and Claw.
So, I think I’d rate Tooth and Claw as 7/10, good Whovian fare. One to watch and enjoy, but perhaps not come back to time and time again.
For discussions of RTD’s strengths and weaknesses see the Tamino BadWolf topic: RTD – The Good, the Bad and the the Ugly, plus many other threads in the forum, such as episode discussions of The Christmas Invasion.
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