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The Lie of the Land

The final part of the Monk trilogy saw the Doctor, Bill and Nardole on a mission to uncover the truth. But what did our reviewer make of it?


BBC ONE BROADCAST Saturday 3 June 2017

When humanity falls, there will be a lot of milling around on backroads. In woolly pullies. This is the gloomy prognostication Doctor Who has shown us in The Sound of the Drums, Turn Left and The Stolen Earth. And now in The Lie of the Land as, once more, we come outdoors to shuffle despondently. We’re not even getting much vitamin D; alien regimes arise offseason. If you’re going to join me in a purposeless vigil by the local Magpie Electricals, bring your hat.

Of all Doctor Who’s Earth invasion stories – and how wonderful a series could have such a back catalogue – Toby Whithouse’s might well be my favourite. Sure, like all the others, it surrenders at the end to the requirement to put everything back as it once was (as per the Memory Crimes Act of 1975, presumably instigated to erase the first Zygon invasion attempt), but before we get to that it maintains a powerfully tight focus. Although there are spoof shots of Monk statues in situ around the world, there’s no prolonged attempt at depicting global chaos. No sequence with a mass of lollygaggers falling under a saucer’s shadow – which never completely worked for me anyway. Although cropped out of shot, one would always still somehow be aware we were close to the edges of this crowd. But here, we experience the takeover as Bill does, not in the thick of the action, but with helicopter blades, police sirens and baby cries as ever-present background noise. This is the alien takeover as most of us might witness it, which is indoors.

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About Doctor Who Magazine

Contents include: • exclusive interviews with JOHN SIMM (the Master) and MICHELLE GOMEZ (Missy) • an exclusive preview of the series finale, THE DOCTOR FALLS • showrunner STEVEN MOFFAT reveals what's going on behind the scenes in PRODUCTION NOTES • the adventure continues for the Doctor and Bill in part 3 of the latest comic strip story, THE SOUL GARDEN by Scott Gray, with art by Martin Geraghty • reviews of THE LIE OF THE LAND, EMPRESS OF MARS and THE EATERS OF LIGHT • The Fact of Fiction looks at 1981's THE KEEPER OF TRAKEN • the latest books and audios are reviewed • previews of forthcoming releases •prize-winning competitions, official news, the WOTCHA! column and much, much more!