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Tony Curran gives a wonderful performance as Van Gogh, both enigmatic and full-blooded, and the scene when the Doctor takes Van Gogh to the future to show how his work will be remembered as heartbreaking (Amy learns that the painter committed suicide weeks after their encounter).Fun fact This being a Richard Curtis affair, there’s a guest appearance by Bill Nighy as a bristly art expert.
However it’s still a powerful tale, with Adelaide’s suicide being one of the most shocking scenes of the Russell T Davies era.Fear factor For many Who fans, the death of K9 is far more terrifying than the bat-like Krillitanes.Thankfully, he’s quickly replaced by a Mark IV model.Members of the crew are being infected by an intelligent water-borne virus and despite the crew and the Doctor’s best efforts to counteract it, the base has to be destroyed to prevent it infecting Earth.Although its destruction is a fixed point in time, the Doctor decides to rewrite history and rescue the last three survivors of the crew.This plan is defeated, and K9 Mark III sacrifices himself to ensure the destruction of the Krillitanes.
Very rarely in Doctor Who do we see the effect that meeting him has on the lives of those around him, and never before have we seen the impact on a former companion.
Fear factor There is something rather grim about the watery infection in this story.
The blackened mouth and cracked skin of the victims and the way in which it is suddenly revealed is spine tingling.
But, with the help of Tennant and Smith's Doctors (and all the other Doctors), he managed to rewrite his time line and instead hide Gallifrey somewhere else in time and space.
It managed to be both an incredibly touching and staggeringly tense episode that stuffed in as many nerd-references as you could wish for, as well as the return of Billie Piper and - in an unexpected twist - Tom Baker in the show's final moments.
Fear factor It’s not really about that, though Tony Curran’s account of a man possessed is spine-tinglingly good.