Doctor Who: Arachnids in the UK – Review

A lightweight fluffy (hairy?) monster of the week episode for Doctor Who appears to be a bit of a let-down after last week’s Rosa Parks historical episode.

That’s aside from the episode title which appears to be a riff on the Sex Pistols’ debut single which may go over the heads of terrified kids who will watch this episode.

Jodie Whittaker again impressed but there’s an emerging risk that she’s going to overcook the quirky Tennant-esque delivery while trying to be ‘otherworldly’ as the Doctor.

Yasmin – Yaz – (played by Mandip Gill) was finally given some nuance as we met her family and her relationship with them – especially her mum Najia (Shobna Gulati, Coronation Street).

Bradley Walsh continues to impress as Graham who is still trying to deal with his grief from the first episode.

The extra running time seems to be giving our characters a much more rounded background but for a series that is seeking a more cinematic look and feel there are still some moments of glaring plot weakness.

The tension was successfully racked up in the opening act but all that unravelled when the spiders emerged in what quickly became a massive B-movie cliche.

That’s all very well if played with the right tone but not everyone appeared to be on the same page and the conclusion did seem rushed and left glaring plot holes hanging.

There’s a corporate villain played by Chris Noth (famously Mr Big in Sex and the City) who was deliciously pantomime but his gun-toting fire first, think later stance looked out of place when you consider just how this episode ended.

Sadly, some of the antics later on would have taken the story down a more believable path had the police been called (or UNIT) at several points – Yaz certainly should have said something as a police officer.

And the modern pop (and grime) culture references in this season may date horribly but we at least arrive at the reasons why the Doctor’s friends want to continue travelling with her and they willingly board the TARDIS for more adventures.