Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating 8.5/10
Cast: Peter Capaldi, Pearl Mackie, Matt Lucas, Michelle Gomez, Emma Handy, Beatrice Curnew, Stewart Wright, Solomon Israel, Jamie Hill, Rosie Jane.
How easy is it to swallow a lie, to take what you read as the gospel truth and all because it fits in with your narrow view of the world is the truth you seek without having to investigate further. False News has become the word of our times, perhaps the rise in social media has become part of the problem as certain people, certain organisations, have invested their time and energy to promoting The Lie of the Land.
The big lie is always easy to swallow for some, the empty rhetoric, the soothing words, the handshake covered in the snide remark and the comforting arm around the shoulder delivered by one you thought was benign but secretly was plotting against you, to make you reliant on them, to be seen only as a child with no thought of your own; this is the big lie facing humanity as politicians in many countries deny, contradict evidence and truth and whitewash them into painting life as a fight against something that is not there. This is the lie, perpetuated on all sides, for in the best traditions of George Orwell, The Lie of the Land is what keeps a nation unified.
Toby Whitehouse’s contribution to this surprising three-part story is one that grabs at the many straws offered by George Orwell in the book 1984, the sense of the lie that inhabits the truth, the realisation that the boot treading on a human face forever has not only come true but is almost welcomed as a form of state control over the population, the fear that we are being manipulated by images the Government wants you to see because it suits their purpose of propaganda and deceit.
The Lie of the Land is in many ways a very important episode, it asks the question of what you would do to see the truth and would you be happy in that realisation, the smile on your lips concreted on and become unquestioning servant, a slave to happiness or be positive enough to take up arms in the form of knowledge, of research and dispelling what you know to be the biggest lie of all, that Government, that anybody suggesting they have your interests at heart, is nothing but a falsehood. Watch out for that comforting arm, it could just be the handshake of insincerity and danger.
A superb episode which apes life in this age to its frightening maxim, all nations are built on one lie or another, Toby Whitehouse has recognised that and bought forth a compelling episode in the realms of Doctor Who.
Ian D. Hall