‘The Beast Below’ (TV)


Please feel free to comment on my review.

Starship UK with the Smilers and the Winders

This episode by Steven Moffat features the second TV appearance of Matt Smith’s Doctor with Karen Gillan as Amy Pond. I first watched this episode at my best mate Stephen’s house back in April 2010.

In this episode, Amy has her first trip in the TARDIS and still in his nightie. The Doctor takes Amy to the far future, as they visit the Starship UK. There, the Doctor and Amy find a dark secret of the starship.

The concept of a Earth colony aboard a starship, crammed into sections to hold the population of the UK is an intriguing one. It does seem far-fetched, but the idea is plausible in a futuristic scenario.

Had this been a two-part story, it would have been nice to have explored more of the world of Starship UK. But then again, due to the story, I might as well ‘forget’ instead of ‘protest’ about it. 😀

There’s a ‘bringing down the government’ atmosphere to this TV episode, as I’m sure was Steven Moffat’s intent. The starship’s population are made to forget the horrible truth with their existence.

This episode however focuses on the character journey of Amy and how she develops as the Doctor’s companion. It was intriguing to see Amy on how she viewed events aboard the Starship UK.

It’s also intriguing how Amy views the Doctor as she comes to understand what kind of man he is. Karen Gillan delivers a good performance as Amy, adding new layers to her character as she goes on.

I wish I could go back and appreciate Karen’s effort into her performance as Amy at that time. Her interpretation of a companion is so intriguing, as she balances both the humour and the seriousness.

Matt Smith’s Doctor is also good in this episode. He’s still finding his feet as the Doctor and is attempting to find new ways on playing the characters, balancing both humour and seriousness too.

The Doctor notices something is wrong with Starship UK, as he sees a girl crying and water in glasses not vibrating. During the episode, he uncovers more truths, which don’t please him as he finds out.

In the episode, Sophie Okenedo guest stars as Liz 10. I’ve seen Sophie before in the Alex Rider film ‘Stormbreaker’. It was a delight to see her in this episode, as she plays ‘the bloody queen’. Gory!!! 😀

Actually, no! Liz 10 is short for Queen Elizabeth the Tenth. That’s right! There are ten Queen Elizabeths in the future! I like how Liz 10 knows the Doctor and also his history with the Royal Family.

The episode also features Terrence Hardiman as Hawthorne, a government head on Starship UK. Lately, I’ve seen Terrence in BBC sitcoms and he has also guest starred in ‘The English Way of Death’.

There are also child actors that appear in this ‘Doctor Who’ episode. These include Hannah Sharp as Mandy and Alfie Field as Timmy. Both these child stars are good and I like Amy’s scenes with Mandy.

The monsters are the Smilers and the Winders. These are weird robots and cyborgs with faces that go from happy, to stern, before becoming red-eyed angry when someone is close to know the truth.

Eventually, it gets revealed that the Starship UK is piloted by a star whale. The star whale has been tortured by the humans to pilot the starship forwards. It’s something the Doctor gets so angry about.

After the Doctor gets angry with Amy, threatening to take her home and deciding to kill the star whale, Amy realises something. She makes Liz 10 press the ‘abdicate’ button, freeing the star whale.

I like how the episode ends with the Doctor and Amy reconciling and hugging each other, after what’s just happened in saving the star whale and Starship UK. It’s a tender moment between them.

‘The Beast Below’ is a pretty good ‘Doctor Who’ episode from Series 5. It’s not the most action-packed of episodes, but this does feature some nice character development for Amy and the Doctor.

The DVD special features on this episode are as follows. On Disc 1 of ‘The Complete Series 5’ of ‘Doctor Who’, there’s ‘The Video Diaries – Part 1’.

On Disc 6, there’s the ‘Doctor Who Confidential’ episode ‘All About the Girl’.

‘The Beast Below’ rating – 7/10

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2 thoughts on “‘The Beast Below’ (TV)

  1. Timelord 007

    This is actually a half decent story which is sadly let down by a very weak climax, Matt & Karen have amazing chemistry together & i liked the concept of the story but it lacked mystery & suspense towards the climax & just fizzled out.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Tim Bradley Post author

    Hi Simon.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this episode.

    It would have been nice if this was made as a two-parter, as it would have been more interesting to see the tension developed and absorb more of the world of Starship UK. I enjoyed Matt Smith and Karen Gillan’s chemistry together and it was interesting to see how the Doctor and Amy bonded in their earliest episodes.

    Yeah the climax is rather weak and it would have been nice if the resolution of the problem to the star whale and Starship UK had been stretched out a bit in order to appreciate the emotional tension and mystery of the story.

    Thanks again, Simon.

    Tim. 🙂



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