TV Review – ‘Kerblam!’ (Doctor Who)

kerblam doctor who

SPOILERS ALERT!!!

“If you want it, Kerblam it!”

Hello everyone! 🙂

Welcome to ‘Bradley’s Basement’ blog and I’m Tim Bradley!

‘Kerblam!’ is a fantastic ‘Doctor Who’ episode! I loved every minute of it! It has to be my favourite episode out of Series 11 so far! It’s my type of ‘Doctor Who’ story! I loved the character development; the story and the twists and turns featured throughout. I came away feeling happy from watching this!

This episode is by Pete McTighe, who makes his first contribution to the series. It’s a very clever episode with a unique idea of a futuristic retailer servicer like Amazon. Oh by the way, I do get everything I want from Amazon and still will after seeing the episode despite the good messages in it.

There was a special preview for this episode on Children In Need night as well as the lovely special piece featuring 9-year-old Anna Mark which I also saw that Friday. I managed to watch the special preview for ‘Kerblam!’ on the ‘Doctor Who’ YouTube channel, which I’ve now subscribed to fairly recently.

‘Kerblam!’ begins with the Doctor, Graham, Ryan and Yaz in the TARDIS. They’re visited by a robotic postman who the Doctor calls ‘the Kerblam man!’ Wait! I’m a little concerned how the Kerblam managed to get inside the TARDIS through the ship’s defences. Shouldn’t the Doctor be worried here?

Ah well, it’s nothing to worry about as the Kerblam man delivers a package to the Doctor before it leaves. The Doctor opens the package and it happens to be…a fez! Ah, so fezs are still ‘cool’ by the time we get to the Jodie Whittaker era! Goodness, it took a while for the Kerblam delivery service to deliver!

Matt Smith’s Doctor must have been impatient when he ordered the fez. 😀 I think the fez looks good on Jodie Whittaker’s head. Maybe she should’ve kept it on throughout the episode. She’d make a good Tommy Cooper. 😀 The TARDIS team also find bubble wrap and a message on the packaging slip.

The packaging slip has the words ‘HELP ME’ on the back. This concerns the Doctor and her friends as they soon go off to the Kerblam retailer on Kandoka’s moon. The Doctor takes on Ryan’s ‘brilliant’ suggestion of going undercover. They pass themselves off as new workers to uncover what’s going on.

Inside Kerblam, the Doctor and friends meet Julie Hesmondhalgh as Judy Maddox, who is the ‘head of people’ of the retailer service place. And yes, I did check! It is Julie Hesmondhalgh who played Hayley Cropper in ‘Coronation Street’. I didn’t realise that it was her when I was checking her up on Wikipedia.

There’s also Lee Mack as Dan Cooper, one of the human workers at the Kerblam facility. I have seen Lee Mack in a few episodes of the BBC sitcom series, ‘Not Going Out’, and enjoyed him in that as well as in this. I liked Dan Cooper, a father working at Kerblam. I was saddened what happened to him in this.

There’s Callum Dixon as Jarva Slade, who is a stern business executive at the Kerblam facility. I enjoyed Slade’s character in the episode and was initially convinced at first that he was the bad guy. But as the episode progressed, it turned out not to be the case. I was surprised in finding out who the villain was.

The episode also features Claudia Jessie as Kira Arlo and Leo Flanagan as Charlie Duffy who are workers at the Kerblam facility. I liked these two characters. It’s clear when they meet up that the two are romantically attracted to each other. It was a huge shock when I found out what happened to the two.

The Kerblam men, who are robots, are voiced by Matthew Gravelle. I did find the Kerblam men robots quite scary, especially with their smiley faces and electronic blue-glowing eyes at times. The robots put my Dad and me in mind of those Postman Pat robots we saw in ‘Postman Pat: The Movie’ in 2014.

Jodie Whittaker excels as the Doctor in this episode. I feel her performance as the Doctor has got better and better throughout this season. The script for this episode works to her strengths as a character, as she’s determined to solve the mystery of who sent the message to her in her fez package.

I liked the combination of humour and drama in Jodie’s Doctor for this episode. She seems good in connecting to people, especially when she and Ryan talk to Kira in dispatch. The Doctor is also pretty serious when she’s threatening Judy Maddox and Jarva Slade not to stand in her way and not lie to her.

Bradley Walsh is brilliant as Graham in this episode. Sadly he gets the job of janitor in the episode when the Kerblam man give Graham a mop and a bucket of water. I couldn’t help laugh at that and Graham’s reaction to it. But it does not stop Graham in finding out at his end what goes on at Kerblam.

I enjoyed the scenes Graham has with Charlie, who’s also a janitor, when they talk about the workplace and how he connects to him on a friend-to-friend level. Graham, as a janitor, has free access to what goes on in the Kerblam facility and is able to relay to the Doctor what’s really going on inside the place.

Tosin Cole is equally good as Ryan in the episode. Ryan is able to use his experience of working at a warehouse when he’s working in the dispatch department at Kerblam. Ryan comes across as rather confident in this episode. It demonstrates how travel in the TARDIS has broadened his mind to things.

The issue of Ryan’s dyspraxia does get addressed in this episode, especially when he, Yaz and Charlie have to go into a conveyor belt chute and when he and Yaz join Charlie from one conveyor belt to the next. But he overcomes his hesitation and lack of confidence in that area and survives well in the story.

Mandip Gill is very good as Yaz in the episode. I enjoyed the scenes she shares with Dan when they’re collecting stuff from the Kerblam warehouse shelves. Yaz gets to learn from Dan how he misses his daughter and she shares her family background too. She almost has a run-in with some Kerblam men here.

Thankfully she manages to escape and rejoin the Doctor and friends in order to share her experiences of what happened with the Kerblam men. Yaz also gets to use her police officer skills in this episode, especially when she manages to pin down the actual bad guy in the tale even for a few brief moments.

I did enjoy some of the continuity references featured in this episode, including the ‘robophobia’ mention from ‘The Robots of Death’ as well as the fact the Doctor had robotic friends. They don’t get mentioned, but I can guess two of the Doctor’s robotic friends were K-9 and Kamelion from the series.

The Doctor makes mention of the fact that she met Agatha Christie in an encounter with wasps from ‘The Unicorn and the Wasp’. Did she really have to make mention of that?! 😀 Also, the Doctor uses Venusian aikido in this episode as she did in ‘The Ghost Monument’. Still not enough custard creams though! 😀

This episode was funny, exciting and had a lot of tense moments that had me on the edge of my seat when I saw it. I was so amazed by the twists and turns featured throughout this episode. You think for one moment it’s going to end ‘happily ever after’; then the next, “Wow, I didn’t see that one coming!”

The villain’s plan was interesting in that it reflects the 10% human workers working at the Kerblam facility not being treated well and that packages sent by Kerblam men are going to be sent to customers with explosive bubble wrap to ruin the retailer’s reputation. That in itself is pretty horrible.

I could be pedantic and say that Ryan popping the bubble wrap in the first scene set in the TARDIS didn’t set off an explosion like it should’ve done. But honestly, the ones who sent that message to the Doctor with the fez could have known of the villain’s plan and they sent harmless bubble wrap instead.

I like how the episode ends with the TARDIS foursome gathered together in the console room and Yaz asking the Doctor to see Dan’s daughter at home to tell her about her dad. It was a pretty touching scene and this goes to show how truly caring and compassionate the Doctor and her three friends are.

‘Kerblam!’ is definitely one of the highlights for me from Series 11 of ‘Doctor Who’. I loved every minute of this episode and it works well for the Jodie Whittaker TARDIS team. I don’t know if any future episode will surpass this one, but I can definitely say this is one of my favourites from this season.

Next week’s episode is called ‘The Witchfinders’ by Joy Wilkinson.

Thanks for reading!

Bye for now!

Tim. 🙂

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4 thoughts on “TV Review – ‘Kerblam!’ (Doctor Who)

  1. The Doctor is obviously not a Prime member lol.

    OMG this is weird but you have expressed my exact thoughts on this amazing episode, i too agree this is my favourite episode so far, good performances by the cast but Jodie in particular, she’s a bit like Columbo in that she doesn’t miss a trick & very aware of her surroundings.

    What hooked me is there wasn’t a syrupy happy ending, Dan wasn’t magically brought back to life, Kira remained dead & Charlie wasn’t redeemed, it showed that actions have consequences on what choices we make & Charlie doing what he did cost him Kira who he lovingly liked.

    Tense, funny, scary, well acted, creepy robots.

    5/5.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ah I see what you did there, Simon. Amazon Prime! Although I’m not sure the Kerblam service has a prime system. Maybe that’s why the Doctor got her fez delivered late by Kerblam. 😀

      Many thanks for your comments, Simon. So glad to hear that ‘Kerblam!’ is your favourite episode out of Series 11 so far too. I was clapping in applause after my parents and I watched this episode saying it was ‘fantastic’! My Mum and Dad enjoyed the episode very much too. The cast were very good throughout this episode, especially Jodie Whittaker. Interesting comparison you’ve made with Jodie’s Doctor to Columbo. I’ve never considered it that way, but yes you’re right since she’s more of an observer rather than an interferer when she and her friends have adventures in the TARDIS. It’s also shown in how she investigates things when something’s amiss in certain places in time and space.

      It was sad how these characters turned out with Dan getting killed; Kira getting killed and Charlie turning out to be the villain. But the shock twists were well-handled in this episode and it all seemed to come together very well with what’s been going on in this episode. It also strengthens the supporting characters’ actions as well as the TARDIS regulars in the episode.

      Very pleased this episode worked well for you as well as for me and that you’ve rated it highly like me. So far, Series 11 of ‘Doctor Who’ has been very promising.

      By the way, I had the ‘Dr. Thirteenth’ Mr. Men/Little Misses book come in the post yesterday from Amazon. Thankfully the bubble wrap didn’t explode. 😀

      Many thanks Simon.

      Tim. 🙂

      Like

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