Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating 9/10
Cast: Peter Capaldi, Pearl Mackie, Matt Lucas, David Suchet, Mariah Gale, Mandeep Dhillon, Colin Ryan, Ben Presley, Alice Hewkin, Bart Sauvek, Sam Benjamin.
Knock Knock. Who’s always there? The tenth series of Doctor Who since its gallant return has been one of tea time horror, it might be going out a couple of hours later than the classic series under the stewardship of Tom Baker but all the hallmarks are there to encourage further the even most unconvinced television viewer that the B.B.C programme has moved Heaven and Earth to reflect both the times we find ourselves in and to generate where possible the image of a time when the Doctor had more than a few ghost stories and haunted houses in which to delve around in.
The distinction of having one of Britain’s most respected actors on set for the fourth episode, a man who has kept a nation enthralled as Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot, is only further evidence of the importance of the programme as both a vehicle to make people think and as good quality drama. By having the tremendous David Suchet guest star as Pearl Mackie’s characters Landlord, by having the filming take place in the very building that arguably one of Stephen Moffat’s finest creations, The Weeping Angels, first came to prominence and with the added allusion to the much loved haunted house genre, Knock Knock is about as satisfying as one can hope for.
That creak on the stairs, the small sounds of scurrying you can sometimes hear in the walls, the influence of a wealth and history of the ghost story genre, all come home to roost in Knock Knock and the sense of beauty and sorrow that surrounds it.
It is always assuring when the Doctor finds himself inside the locked room and having to deal with the problem in a calm and reasoned way, without being able to talk his way out of trouble with the use of a sonic screwdriver or relying on the Tardis to supply any answer. With only his reason and asking the right questions do we ever gain the right answers and it is still refreshing after fifty plus years to have a hero for a child resonate the ability to reason rather than fight their way out of trouble; it is the very real reason why so many, especially boys, need to see that compassion and reason can solve a problem without resorting to fists and anger.
David Suchet’s part is integral to this and one that should be noted for the way many will at first cotton onto the idea that his character deserves the adage of creepy, yet delve deeper, see beyond the prejudice placed there and what you have is just a man trying to preserve anyway he can that most special of bonds, family. It is in the cleverness of the writing that shows this only at the end, that makes the viewer think of what they wouldn’t do to to save that most precious person in their life.
An episode of sensory overload, for the defining audio experience; don’t ask who the Knock Knock is for, the walls always have ears, walls keep secrets.
Ian D. Hall