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Thicker than Water

Doctor Who: The Big Finish Audio Adventures #73
Paul Clarke

'Thicker Than Water' is a direct sequel to 'Arrangements for War', and like so many sequels suffers from the law of diminishing returns. The plot feels rather incidental; 'Thicker Than Water' finishes Evelyn Smythe's story, which is, perhaps not unwise.

'Thicker Than Water' takes place after Evelyn has ceased traveling with the Doctor and has settled down on Világ to pick up where she left off with Rossiter at the end of 'Arrangements for War'; they are now married, and during the course of the story Evelyn's health problems and past difficulties with the Doctor are resolved. The problem with this is that the strength of Erimem, Evelyn, Hex, Charley and C'rizz is that, unlike the television companions, we didn't know how or when they would leave the Doctor, meaning that anything can happen to them at any time. This is no longer the case with Evelyn, unless someone later makes the unlikely decision to flatly contradict 'Thicker than Water' (which would be rather ironic as, irritatingly, it contradicts Gary Russell's novel 'Instruments of Darkness', shafting continuity for those who follow the novels and audios in much the same way that 'Terror Firma' did. But I digress). Here, the Doctor and Evelyn resolve some issues; Rossiter tells the Doctor, "She's… disappointed. She wanted you to be at the wedding… She wanted you to give her away" as we learn that the Doctor sneaked away from the wedding and thought he wouldn't be missed. This later prompts him to confess, "I can't believe I've been so selfish, so childish" and tell his former companion, "I still miss you Evelyn." She thanks him for their time together and they have "one last dance." Evelyn also gets a surprise visit from the Seventh who tells her that Hex is Cassie's daughter, something that's been blatantly obvious to most listeners ever since we learned Hex's full name in 'The Harvest'. He tells her, "I wanted you to know that despite our personal tragedy, something good came out of it", to which she replies, "Thank you Doctor, that means so much." This is all very well, but with Evelyn's reaction to the Doctor after Cassie's death resolved in 'Arrangements for War' this, along with the fact that Evelyn's heart condition is no longer an issue (and that she finally tells the Doctor about it), draws a line under the Doctor and Evelyn's time together, effectively bringing their time to a close. Evelyn has since continued her travels with the Doctor in 'The Nowhere Place' and will apparently continue to do so, but from now on we know what ultimately happens to her; unless Big Finish have cause to believe that Maggie Stables will not be available to play Evelyn for much longer, this seems like an ill-advised decision from a dramatic point of view.

Despite this, 'Thicker Than Water' does capture the relationship between the Doctor and Evelyn very well. The flashback in Episode One illustrates that although Evelyn was nervous that Rossiter would be too busy to see him when she returned to Világ, the Doctor wasn't at all surprised when she told him, "It was amazing, we just picked up where we left off!" and knew perfectly well that she would probably be staying. He beat a hasty exit to cover his sadness and it's quite touching, as is the fact that when he turns up with Mel they are obviously delighted to see one another again, reminding the listener just how close a friendship the pair have formed. The Doctor has been reunited with old companions in various strands of Doctor Who fiction, but they rarely recognize him at first; Evelyn almost instantly recognizes the Seventh Doctor, telling him, "I can see it in your eyes", which seems perfectly in keeping with their relationship. Notably, when Mel says, "Doctor, we need to talk about your attitude… You've always walked a tightrope between genial and brash, but you were just plain abusive to those poor colonists" he replies that he's a lot mellower than he started out in this incarnation, and tells Mel that she should be grateful for Evelyn's calming influence. Given that he mellowed on screen between Seasons Twenty Two and Twenty Three this does seem rather like pushing the point a bit far, but does reflect well on Evelyn's time spent in the TARDIS.

Wisely, writer Paul Sutton does exploit this last opportunity to play with our lack of knowledge about Evelyn's final fate, and given that 'Arrangements for War' had a tragic ending, for most of the story things bode ill for Doctor Smythe. She is at odds with his daughter over the issues of whether to study the leftover Killoran technology or to destroy it, and she's suffering from headaches and storms out of an interview in a very grouchy fashion. So bad do her increasingly frequent headaches become that when she says, "All that fuss about my heart and now a migraine's going to carry me off" it seems entirely plausible that this might indeed be the case. Also, the obsessive and deranged Doctor Lawrence kidnaps her "for Sophia", because he takes Sophia literally when she tells him that her life would be so much easier if Rossiter had never married Evelyn, and no sooner has she been rescued than we learn, "Someone's been experimenting on these Killorans… Evelyn has been given Killoran DNA!" After all of these ominous signs, the eventual happy ending seems a bit pat and twee as Sophia removes the blood clot from Evelyn's brain, thus saving her life and the Doctor gives her some of his blood, providing antibodies that can deal with the Killoran DNA, and learns about her heart condition.

I find other faults with 'Thicker Than Water'. The Doctor takes Mel to visit Evelyn, with whom she gets on well from the moment they meet, where after Mel gets so little to do that her presence is barely worthwhile; the Doctor might as well have visited her whilst companionless after she left. The first two episodes are largely concerned with the aforementioned kidnap attempt, a subplot designed to make Sophia regret her harsh words about Evelyn but with in other respects feels like a dramatic cul-de-sac, with the unstable Lawrence being blatantly doomed. Lawrence is a red herring; nobody really refers to him again after his death, including Sophia who did at least consider him a friend, and he's there to conceal the fact that Szabó is the real "villain", until the Doctor and Rossiter enter the hospital towards the end of Episode Two and find Szabó's victims in Episode Three.

Szabó himself is motivated by revenge; he says of the Killorans, "Of course I tortured the Killorans, the foul beasts tried to kill us all." Whilst torturing them, he discovered that they heal wounds quickly, so he decided to experiment with their DNA. None of this is terribly original, and essentially makes him a stereotypical mad scientist, although thanks partly to the gift for characterization that Sutton displayed in 'Arrangements for War' and partly due to Patrick Romer's winning performance, Szabó does slightly subvert (or perhaps parody) audience expectations by sounding terribly jovial when he's explaining the plot ("I believe I am responsible for a vast increase in domestic violence in the city of late") and then almost casually committing suicide. Szabó is also a plot device to raise questions about Sophia's character, and we're obviously expected to think bad of her purely because she clashes with Evelyn a lot from the start. This is all a bit too obvious, making the revelation that she's actually a decent human being rather predictable, and when we learn that she has been signing fake death certificates because she thinks Szabó is a hero due to his willingness to sacrifice his career and reputation treating injured Killorans after the war.

Overall then, 'Thicker Than Water' is something a patchwork quilt, and feels as though it has been written to achieve goals rather than to tell a story. Despite this though, I do quite like it; the cast is uniformly excellent, Sutton writes his characters well, and Edward Salt's direction, which tends to be quieter and less focused on action than Gary Russell's, suits the story well. It is unfortunate though that I've said goodbye to Evelyn and any of her future appearances will lack the frisson of not knowing her fate.

Richard Radcliffe

There's many words to describe Paul Saints follow up to last years Arrangements For War. Enthralling and engrossing certainly apply. Emotionally charged would be two others. This is an author who has grasped the 6th Doctor/Evelyn relationship splendidly, and the listener is rewarded for spending so much time with these wonderful characters. This must also count as one of Big Finishs most important releases - simply from the revelations contained within.

I knew very little about this Audio before listening to it, and I was glad of that. It would be hugely difficult to give an accurate review of this Story without introducing some potential spoilers here - so there's the warning.

The 6th Doctor is travelling here with Mel, not Evelyn. The Doctor hasn't seen Evelyn for 2 years, but feels he'd like to check up on Mrs Rossiter back on Vilag. Evelyn went back and married Rossiter, you see - and the Doctor and her didn't leave each other in the best possible way. So it's Mel whose the Companion here, with the Doctor and Evelyn left to explore their relationship, and reconcile any differences that may have arisen before. Essentially this was so they could leave each other on the best of terms, not the worst.

After these initial revelations have been introduced in Part One, there follows a series of kidnappings and shady medical goings-on. I found the plot to be pretty good - especially the way it follows on from the Killoran/Vilag conflict of the Paul Saints previous audio. The introduction of Sofia, Rossiters daughter, was also a good move - especially as it brought in that Step Family dynamic (between Evelyn and Sofia) that is usually fascinating in any drama. It was pretty obvious though who was the major aggressor here, the actor in question playing it rather villainous right from the start. Sofias choice of male friends certainly left a great deal to be desired, but then some women attract the wrong sort always. Sebastian and Szabo were strange characters I found. Rather one dimensional, but obviously paling next to the strong personalities of the Doctor, Evelyn, Mel, Rossiter and probably Sofia. Mel is at times lost in this audio, but I can see why the producers of the story felt a companion was needed in addition to Evelyn. Evelyns story needed to be discussed with someone who travelled with the Doctor, and Bonnie Langford as Mel fulfilled this role admirably.

The background story was all well and good, but background was really where it deserved to be. This, after all, was about the Doctor - and why Evelyns and his relationship turned so complicated. It's therefore a touch of genius to launch the story 2 years on from the departure of the definitive Big Finish companion, telling the past story in flashbacks that integrate with the current events nicely.

After I got over the initial disappointment of the possibility of losing my favourite Audio Companion, I began to realize this was the perfect and most suitable way for her to bow out. Leavings were mostly so rushed in the original Doctor Who, and Big Finish cover themselves in glory with their first such departure of this kind.

Not content with the monumental revelations about Evelyn, Big Finish then topped it with a penultimate scene so unexpected, and so brilliant. When Sylvester McCoys tones arrived you knew something significant was about to be revealed. Beautifully played this scene was too, making you wonder why McCoy finds it necessary to overplay his role in his own Audio Stories. Nonetheless McCoy and Maggie Stables were fantastic together, and the revelation amazing. I loved the fact that the Doctor Who Universe is cosmically balanced in this way, even though the mention of Cassie would have made the scene even more startling, rather than me having to play the scene back and then figuring out where Hex came from.

The final scene however even topped that. The Doctor and Evelyn finally get to say what has been in their hearts all this time. There is no over-sentimentality about it either. No over-emphasizing the emotion either that seems to plague so much drama. No, this was perfectly natural, and in keeping with this incredible Doctor/Companion relationship. It was a fitting and beautiful end to a marvellous friendship.

If this is Maggie Stables last story, then it's a wonderful finale. Personally I feel she will be back. Rossiter isnt' a young man after all, and I bet the Doctor would jump at the chance to continue his wanderings with Evelyn at his side. If this is the last, then it's a brilliant finale for one of the best companions Doctor Who has ever produced. Thank you, Evelyn Smythe, it has been a joy to travel with you. 9/10

Lawrence Conquest

Arrangements For War is not an obvious choice for a story that needs a sequel, with the action seemingly wrapped up, and most of the main characters dead, but considering the amount of times the Doctor turns up on Earth it is nice to see him make a return visit to another planet for a change. I still have a lot of problems with Arrangements For War itself as a story: despite it’s unique romantic themes and its engaging plot it does seem to be wildly over ambitious in depicting three separate countries and one alien species with half a dozen actors, and it also has a tendency to slip into cheesy melodrama. The good news is that Thicker Than Water is one of those few sequels which is actually superior to the original, and a lot of the flaws that hindered Arrangements For War have been smoothed over.

One aspect of Arrangements For War that didn’t convince was Evelyn’s romance with Rossiter, complete with Evelyn’s laughable instant career change as a brilliant politician, but it’s Evelyn’s romance with Rossiter that provides the hook for this story. At the end of Arrangements For War Evelyn left Rossiter to return to adventuring in time and space with the Doctor, but Thicker Than Water picks up the story three years later, with Evelyn having left the Doctor to marry Rossiter. Thanks to flashback scenes Thicker Than Water is essentially Evelyn’s departure story from the world of Doctor Who (though thanks to that handy gap Big Finish have the option of going back in time for more 6th Doctor and Evelyn adventures set prior to this should they so wish), and provides a touching send off for a character who has come on leaps and bounds in recent productions. The play also offers some closure on the events of the last few plays (stretching back to Project: Lazarus) that have been responsible for transforming the character from a fluffy ‘cocoa and slippers’ grandmother figure into a character with more emotional depth, not to mention the ongoing issue of her secret heart condition. In some ways this could be bewildering for those listeners not fully au fait with these previous adventures – and indeed this listener had no go back to Project: Twilight in order to fully understand the significance of the touching coda featuring an uncredited Sylvester McCoy – but unfortunately that’s just a side-effect of these audios being released sporadically over a number of years (has it really been five years since Evelyn first arrived?).

The main storyline is split into two distinct halves which helps to keep things interesting: the first half revolves around opposition to the scientific examination of Killoran technology which results in both Evelyn and Mel being kidnapped, while the second half takes a different turn, as it examines mysterious goings on at a hospital where Evelyn had her heart defect cured. It’s a little difficult to understand exactly why people are so opposed to the examination of Killoran technology (lets face it – if Earth repelled an alien invasion tomorrow would you expect the various governments to simply destroy any surviving alien technology within fully investigating it first?), but Sutton helps makes it more credible by tying it into emotional conflicts – whether it’s the step-mother / daughter conflict of Evelyn and Sofia, or the wildly misguided passionate gesture of an admirer of Sofia – people do have reasons for their actions here. Ultimately, Thicker Than Water can be said to be an examination of the dysfunctional relationships between two fathers and daughters: both with Rossiter and Sofia, and also the oddly similar relationship between the Doctor and Evelyn.

Packed with well-drawn characters, an interesting plot, some defining character moments in the lives of the TARDIS crew, and plenty of action and adventure, Thicker Than Water is a massively enjoyable adventure, and a fine send off for Doctor Evelyn Smythe.

Just don’t mention Real Time…

Steve Manfred

"Arrangements for War," the story to which this is a direct sequel to, had four main things in its favor that made it my favorite audio of 2004. One was the romance story for Evelyn and how that worked on both her and the Doctor. Another was the romance story between the characters of Princess Krisztina and Corporal Marcus Reid and the wonderful performances those actors both gave us. A third was the wonderful performance by that story's chief villain. And fourth, but certainly not least, was the music and sound design by Steve Foxon, which was the best I'd heard in some considerable time. "Thicker Than Water" sets itself the task of trying to follow up that story, but only partly succeeds I feel because only two of those successful elements are either present or successfully substituted for this time around, while the other two are not.

By far the most fascinating aspect is the "what will happen to Evelyn" part of the story, which shows us (in flashbacks) Evelyn's eventual decision to leave the Doctor to go and marry President Rossiter, her old flame from the previous story, and their wedding, and then in the "present day" shows us the Doctor paying her a belated visit, carrying Melanie Bush in tow. That this should be Evelyn's eventual fate seems very fitting, and I much like the idea that after marrying Rossiter, she uses her "first lady" status to push a political cause that she believes in, namely studying and exploiting Killoran technology left over from the invasion. I like that she chooses to get involved in this cause as it's not the sort of thing she would've done before she met the Doctor, and clearly shows us how much she's changed in her travels with him. I also very much like that she at least tried to get her heart condition seen to (though the plot would later reveal that it really wasn't), taking advantage of the fact she's on an alien planet to get the treatment that I've long thought she should've sought ages before this while still travelling in the TARDIS. The effects of her travelling with the Doctor are also well illustrated in his reactions to her and at the joint misunderstandings between them over the way she left and how he didn't return to see her wedding, but how they by the end of the story patch that up by doing a renewal of the wedding vows, allowing the Doctor a second chance. (I love that Rossiter essentially did that for them - what a great guy!)

And then there's the most fascinating bit of all, when suddenly near the end, after the plot's been seen to, the Seventh Doctor turns up for one scene and darn near steals the entire show to tell Evelyn how he's now travelling with Thomas Hector Scofield, and confirms the suspicion many have had since "The Harvest" that Hex is indeed "Tommy," the son of Cassie the Vampire from the "Project: *" audios, and giving Evelyn some extra hopeful closure on the Cassie tragedy.

All of this tying up of all of the loose ends of Evelyn's storylines begs the question "why" since up until now there'd been no indication that the fans were tiring of Evelyn stories. While the door is still open for more in the future, simply telling stories in the gap between "Medicinal Purposes" and the flashbacks heard in this one as they do with any of the TV companions, I can't help but think they aren't intending to do as many plays with Evelyn in the future or they wouldn't have bothered wrapping this stuff up now. Gary Russell has said in the past that this sort of end-tying-up is only the sort of thing he would want to do if Big Finish were coming to the end of their license from the BBC. I know that's not happening, so the only thing I can think of is that something's up with Maggie Stables, and that she has either asked to be less involved in future or for some reason knows that she can't be as involved as future. If the latter, I do hope it's because of professional commitments rather than for any other reason. My curiosity as to what's behind this decision is definitely piqued.

That Evelyn material all worked exceedingly well and is enough reason by itself for anyone to listen to this story. Another one is a quite excellent character in this story's main villain, Dr. Szabo, played by Patrick Romer. He's written as the epitomy of a dispassionate, amoral doctor who's so professional you want to smack him, and Romer plays that magnificently. He has the intelligence of a Nobel prize winner and the bedside manner of a brick wall, a wonderful combination for a villain. I particularly love the bit where he casually tosses Melanie down an open lift shaft.

What's missing from this story, however, is an entertaining "guest" plot amongst all the other characters, such as we had in "Arrangements for War." The forbidden romance angle from there is here replaced by rivalry between Evelyn and Rossiter's daughter Sophia and by political arguments between Sophia and her friends and the government over what to do about the Killoran technology (and DNA) that's littered all over the planet after the invasion, which escalate into kidnappings and other criminal events. There wasn't much about this plot I found very interesting at all, and my attention started to wander every time these characters started arguing amongst themselves over what to do, what they'd already done, and what was being done behind their backs. I also didn't much care for when pieces of this plot intruded onto Evelyn's, with that nonsense about the injection of Killoran DNA into her and other people and making them aggressive, as though they're less hairy, less scary werewolves. This is the sort of "DNA is magic" bad science fiction that the latter-day "Star Trek" series got stuck in a rut about, and the less of it we have in "Doctor Who," the better I feel.

And what was also missing was that wonderful sound design and music from Steve Foxon. Here it's being supplied by Andy Hardwick at ERS, and it's just not in the same league. There is a point late in the story where he lifts the "garden" sound ambience of Foxon's from the earlier story for use in a scene in that same garden, and that's when what we're missing in this really hits home. I don't know the reasons why he wasn't assigned this story, but whatever they were, I wish they'd found a way to work around them and get him on this.

One last little touch I liked was the Vilagian name for a helicopter, which was "blade shuttle." That's cute. I'm a little perplexed why we're told at one point that it'll take 30 minutes to get to the hospital with their patients in one, however. The medical helicopters around here can do a 50 mile trip in a lot less time than that... more like 10 minutes.

Overall, I'd say 7 out of 10 for this story. Not as good as "Arrangements for War" was, but still very good indeed.

Joe Ford

I want to thank Big Finish. They have offered me the perfect jumping off point for their Doctor Who range. I have long been disillusioned about the quality of their adventures for a good few years now and have always been on the precipice of deciding that 14.99 is just too much to spend every month on a range of such variable quality. However there was one character who kept me coming back, who made sure I at least kept eye on what was going on with Colin Baker’s Doctor, who made the series genuinely worth listening to.

Doctor Evelyn Smythe. Played by the wonderful Maggie Stables, she has taken the character and the series to unexpected places and proven to us that there is still so much more for Doctor Who to explore. Here is a woman who genuinely compliments the sixth Doctor, primarily because she is as dotty and as brusque as he is and as such she has positively humanise the leas likable Doctor and turned him into someone far more accessible, likable and charming. With Evelyn by his side the sixth Doctor is the best Doctor, bar none. Not only that but the writers have always been kept on their toes with this character and the level of quality in the sixth Doctor/Evelyn stories is unrivalled in Big Finish’s catalogue. Just look at some of those titles The Marian Conspiracy, Bloodtide, Project: Twilight, Jubilee, Doctor Who and the Pirates, Arrangements for War…quality stuff and no mistake.

Thicker than Water is the end of an era. But it’s a satisfying one. It pulls Evelyn’s adventures together into one self-contained story, one that it will be my pleasure to dip into again and again. Would there ever have been a story good enough to push Evelyn out of the TARDIS in? I doubt it so Paul Sutton doesn’t even bother. Instead he sets Thicker than Water after she has already departed and now the Doctor has the unforgettable Melanie Bush by his side. However Sutton realises we can’t just hop from Medicinal Purposes where Evelyn is perfectly content travelling by the Doctor’s side to this without any kind of explanation as to why she left so he includes a number of Buffy/Angel style flashbacks throughout the narrative to chronicle her decision to leave and her building of a new life in the country Vilag.

Arrangements for Water was a pretty stunning audio, all told. It featured some fantastic sound design and music, a rock solid plot, which kept throwing up surprises and a heartbreaking examination of the Doctor/Evelyn relationship. If anyone was going to write this story it had to be the man who wrote this. Step forward Paul Sutton, who provided one more surprise in his debut audio and that was the burgeoning relationship between Evelyn and Rossiter, a politician who was trying to secure peace between two states. It could have been awful, a stodgy romance between two old dears sounds like the recipe for melodramatic mush but thanks to some great dialogue and the fantastic chemistry between Maggie Stables and Gabriel Woolf it turned out to be the best thing about the story. Their relationship opens up some surprising information about Evelyn and allows us to see her in a softer light. The scene where she breaks down, tired of her heart condition, running away from the Doctor and thinking about her dead mother, is a real grab the hankies moment.

So here we are, three years later and Evelyn has settle with Rossiter on Vilag. The flashback to her departure with the Doctor is brief but speaks volumes, his childish dismissal of their time together and wish to run off back out into the universe says so much without having to say anything. The emotions brewed between them in this story are very potent, especially when we discover that Evelyn married Rossiter and was eager for the Doctor, her best friend, to return and give her away. This sounds terrible, faux-soap operish nonsense but it is a testament to the relationship Colin Baker and Maggie Stables have built up over these years that this material is heartbreaking. The Doctor has never had a friend like Evelyn before, someone who in all practical sense plays the role of his wife. She was his confidante and his friend and they were more than intellectually matched. When she walked out of his life he felt hurt and alone, further reason to love this tempestuous incarnation. Her delightful reaction when he pops back with Mel is wonderful.

Talking of which, this is another great audio for Bonnie Langford who notching up a fair few classics of her own. Her chemistry with Colin Baker is as frisky as ever and their first scene together is a particular highlight. Whilst Evelyn will always be the sixth Doctor’s ultimate companion in my eyes Mel would come a close second, it is astonishing how well the two of them work together in this story. That was the moment I really wanted to get to in this story, when Mel and Evelyn get to be a companion duo. I mean honestly, would you take these two on?

Could the plot possibly match up to all the heavy character work going on? Not really, but it has a bloody good go anyway. There is an interesting back-story running through concerning the Killoran invasion in Arrangements and the desire of the academics (including Evelyn) to study the devices they left behind. This sets Evelyn up against Rossiter’s daughter who is widely opposed to the idea. Cue: assassination attempts, kidnaps, horrid experiments, torture and mother in law/daughter in law arguments. There’s a lot packed in, the lighter character based first episodes leading into a complex plot of intrigue, highlighted by some smashing twists later on. Why is Evelyn so grumpy of late? What happened to those Killorans who were injured but not killed during the invasion? And who (and why) would anyone want to kidnap Rossiter’s new wife?

The Doctor and Rossiter get to spend a lot more time together in this story than they did in the former and it is quite fascinating to compare Evelyn’s old suitor to her new one. There is none of the embarrassing she’s mine you might expect, Sutton is too disciplined a writer to insult us is with that, they share a strong affection and concern for Evelyn that is a delight to see. When Rossiter turns on the Doctor and gives him the slap in the face he needs (not literally, he tells him how heartbroken she was when he did not turn up at the wedding) the Doctor’s pained, quiet reaction is a revelation. The race against time conclusion to save her life is every bit as exciting as a climax should be and with both the Doctor and Rossiter desperate to see Evelyn survive the stakes seem higher than ever.

All of the juiciest stuff comes in the last episode including a well-timed and surprising visit by the seventh Doctor, making one of his briefest and yet best appearances in any Big Finish audio. There is a twist here that will leave regular Big Finish listeners reeling and to give it up during a sixth Doctor adventure when it concerns somebody who has no relevance on his life whatsoever is daring in a way this company hasn’t been in a long while. I loved it, and I hope the information can be used effectively in the seventh Doctor’s adventures now.

Its another atmospheric production but I expect nothing less these days. Big Finish have been churning out these CDs for years now and their behind the scenes crew know exactly what they are doing. Everything sounds authentic, gunfire, rebuilding, parties, tortured victims (I’d love to see them recording that!) and I was once again planted right in the story. It was Ed Salt’s first Doctor Who story after directing a ton of Bernice Summerfield audios and he does a fine job. With material this good it would be hard to get it wrong but he utilises some techniques that work a charm, especially during the flashbacks, which I fear would not have been as effective in the hands of some other directors. He certainly gets the emotional content spot on and again you may find yourself reaching for the hankies before the end.

The final scene is a perfect conclusion to the Doctor and Evelyn’s relationship. If they had no further material together after this I would be more than happy to leave their relationship here. When she tells him the she loves him it is the climax of a relationship that has been exquisitely nurtured and rather than reaching for the sick bucket I could barely hold back the tears.

A wonderful partnership comes to an end in real style.