‘Smile’ (TV)



Please feel free to comment on my review.

🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

I’m afraid I missed seeing this episode on its initial TV transmission on BBC One on the Saturday. Thankfully, I was able to catch up and watch the episode on my tablet via BBC iPlayer on the Sunday.

I enjoyed watching ‘Smile’, the second episode of Series 10 of ‘Doctor Who’! It’s a great one with the Twelfth Doctor and Bill and has to be one of my favourites from the season as I was able to follow it.

I shared with Pearl Mackie at the ‘MCM Birmingham Comic Con’ in November 2017 that ‘Smile’ was one of my favourite episodes from Series 10. I’m sure she was so pleased to hear me say that to her.

This episode is by Frank Cottrell-Boyce. He previously contributed to the TV series with his episode, ‘In the Forest of the Night’ from Series 8. I enjoyed that story and I was hoping to enjoy this one too.

The episode begins with Bill and the Doctor in the TARDIS, where she’s just joined up as his travelling companion. I like how Bill asked lots of questions about the Doctor’s ship and how he can control it.

They are then interrupted by Nardole, who’s making sure the Doctor doesn’t go off planet due to the certain promise he made. The Doctor reassures Nardole he won’t and asks him ‘to put the kettle on’.

Oh by the way, Matt Lucas doesn’t have a major part to play as Nardole in this episode. He only appears at the beginning. I wondered why Nardole was in the series as he doesn’t seem to do much.

At least, not so far at any rate. I get that Nardole is meant to provide comic relief in the series, but it’s mostly bad comic relief at that. As I’ve stated in another review, this was all Steven Moffat’s idea.

I’m guessing Steven Moffat rolled Matt Lucas into the series as he happens to be a ‘Doctor Who’ fan. This is not a good thing if the character development doesn’t go anywhere. Or if it does, it’s so little.

I see now that Nardole had a purpose being there in Series 10 with getting the Doctor to guard the vault and everything. But I think Series 10 would have worked better if it was just the Doctor and Bill.

Anyway despite Nardole’s caution, the Doctor takes Bill with him on an adventure in the TARDIS. He asks her when – past or future? Bill says ‘future’. They both go and visit this off-world human colony.

This is in the far future. I found this an intriguing story about the Doctor and Bill visiting the colony world where all of the colonists were missing. This colony world looks so futuristic, stark and pretty.

Some of this episode was filmed in Spain at the City of Arts and Sciences in Valencia. The filming location looks spectacular and I’m so agog that it was real and not a set design or a CGI environment.

However the idyllic futuristic human colony world is not as it seems. As I said, the planet is empty without the human colonists to live in it. It’s just the cute-looking Emojibots and the nanobot Vardy.

I was pleasantly surprised to see Mina Anwar make an appearance as Goodthing in the episode. Mina played Gita Chandra, Rani’s mother in ‘The Sarah Jane Adventures’. She appears briefly in this.

I was shocked by some pretty horrific moments at the beginning of this episode. This was when people were getting killed and we see their skeletons and skulls. Mina Anwar did try to be so smiley.

Mina Anwar’s character Goodthing tried to tell Kiran L. Dadlani as Kezzia that their mother and a few other people were dead whilst smiling at the same time. This doesn’t work well as they get killed off.

I’ll explain more why this was the case when Goodthing kept on smiling and tried to tell Kezzia not to be sad. But it was really shocking and horrifying when the Emojibots and the Vardy soon killed them.

I like the Emojibots! They’re robots that use emojis for communication. It was fun and interesting to see these robots with faces like this 🙂 and faces like this 😦 a lot of the time throughout the episode.

The Doctor and Bill discover something is wrong on the colony world, as the colonists have been killed off by their grief. This is something the Emojibots don’t understand or know about in the story.

Incidentally, the Emojibots are played by two actors in the episode – Kiran Shah and Craig Garner. Kiran Shah has been in ‘The Hobbit’; ‘The Lord of the Rings’ and ‘The Chronicles of Narnia’ movies.

As well as the Emojibots, there are also a swarm of nanobots called the Vardy. These are robots that essentially create the walls and buildings that form the idyllic human colony world that we see here.

Unfortunately the Vardy are alerted by the Emojibots when someone experiences grief. They’re the ones that kill off people. This happens when you’re not ‘smiling’. Hence the episode’s called ‘Smile’ 🙂

The Doctor and Bill are given badges by the Emojibots which report on their emotions through emojis. This was an intriguing concept to see in the story, especially as the Doctor and Bill use them.

According to the DVD extras, it is amusing behind-the-scenes that Peter Capaldi and Steven Moffat don’t understand emojis when using phones. This is especially when Jenna Coleman uses emojis. 😀

I tend to use emojis all the time in my reviews on my blog, so it was interesting to see how Frank Cottrell-Boyce utilises this modern language to tell a ‘Doctor Who’ story. It feels modern and classic!

It also seems to be the only form of communication the Doctor and Bill have with the Vardy. It causes trouble as the Doctor and Bill experience sad emotions for the Emojibots and Vardy to react.

This happens when the Doctor and Bill are in the greenhouse area of the city-like structure of the human colony world and they see skulls and bones popping out of a fertiliser machine. So shocking!

The relationship between the Twelfth Doctor and Bill develops strongly in this episode. Peter Capaldi and Pearl Mackie bounce off each other so well and I liked the interaction there was between them.

Bill gets curious about what and who the Doctor is and why he does the things he does when they have adventures. The episode shows Bill’s curiosity not just of the Doctor but of the world they visit.

I enjoyed the performances of Peter Capaldi and Pearl Mackie and I liked how the episode focused on the Doctor and Bill’s characters. I was getting to like Bill as a companion. She ticked all the boxes.

She makes a good companion to match with Peter Capaldi’s Doctor. Had Peter Capaldi done another season of ‘Doctor Who’, it would’ve been very nice to see more of the Doctor and Bill’s relationship.

That’s not what happens sadly. It’s such a shame as I think the dynamic between the Twelfth Doctor and Bill suits the show. I hate to say this, but it’s somehow better than the Twelfth Doctor and Clara.

I liked it when the Doctor seemed protective of Bill and got her to remain inside the TARDIS when he went back into that city-like structure on the planet. This is before Bill rejoins and accompanies him.

The description that Bill gives the Doctor about him being the ‘immediate helpline’ when trying to understand why he has his TARDIS look like a police box is so touching. It’s a very fitting description.

I also liked Bill’s reaction to when the Doctor told her he had two hearts. It takes a while for Bill to process the information whilst the Doctor’s babbling away. Also Bill eats blue fish-tasty cubes in this.

I enjoyed how the Doctor and Bill uncovered the mystery step-by-step throughout this episode. This is especially when they move from the white open-air city structure into a grubby spaceship interior.

It’s quite a contrast how the Doctor and Bill go into this grubby spaceship interior and discover the truth about what’s been going on with the Emojibots and the Vardy. The two also discover survivors.

The first is a young boy, Kaizer Ahktar as Praiseworthy, the son of Goodthing. It becomes a shock and upsetting for the boy when he realises his mother is dead, which is not good with Emojibots around.

The second survivor is Ralf Little as Steadfast, who is confused as to what’s going on. This is before he and the others lash out in anger, ready to defend themselves against robots about to kill people.

This is not a good idea as the Emojibots and the Vardy start attacking people and skeletons start crumbling all over the place. Fortunately the Doctor has this brilliant idea on how to save everybody.

He just…shuts everything down before resetting the Emojibots and the Vardy again. Yeah, that works. Thankfully the Doctor reprograms the robots so that they do not kill off the human colonists.

I found it intriguing how the Doctor had the Emojibots and the Vardy become the indigenous species of what was supposed to be the human colony world. The colonists do not own the robots anymore.

The Doctor persuades the human colonists to try and make peace with the Emojibots and the Vardy and not be homeless. He also sets an arrangement with the robots to ‘charge rents’ on the humans.

‘Smile’ has been an enjoyable and impressive episode from Series 10 of ‘Doctor Who’. I enjoyed the interaction between the Doctor and Bill as they do form a good Doctor-companion relationship here.

The Emojibots were pretty good in this episode and the plot was very tense and engaging throughout. This was an easy to follow episode and I liked that it wasn’t an overly complicated story.

The episode ends with the Doctor and Bill back on Earth. But to their shock, they find that it’s snowing and they’re standing on a frozen Thames. They also see this elephant approaching! What?!

The DVD special features on this episode are as follows. On Disc 1 of ‘Series 10 – Part 1’ of ‘Doctor Who’, there’s the ‘Smile’ – Inside Look’ featurette.

On Disc 2 of ‘The Complete Series 10’ of ‘Doctor Who’, the ‘Smile’ – Inside Look’ featurette can also be found on there. There’s also the ‘ 🙂 ‘ making-of documentary. On Disc 6, there’s the ‘Doctor Who: The Fan Show – The Aftershow’ edition for this episode.

Have you noticed me ‘smiling’ at the end of this review? 🙂

‘Smile’ rating – 9/10

The previous story

For the Twelfth Doctor was

For Bill was

For Nardole was

The next story

For the Twelfth Doctor is

For Bill is

For Nardole is

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Return to Bill’s Timeline
Return to Nardole’s Timeline
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2 thoughts on “‘Smile’ (TV)

  1. Timelord 007

    Excellent review Tim & i agree this was definitely a highlight episode & one i very much enjoyed, the Emojibots are a great addition & there’s a sense of urgency to the adventure.

    The chemistry between Capaldi & Mackie is there as they spark off one another & the episode gives a action packed pay off with the Doctor getting in on the action.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Tim Bradley Post author

      Hi Simon.

      Very pleased you enjoyed my review on ‘Smile’.

      I saw this episode again and it’s still a pretty good story showcasing the Twelfth Doctor and Bill’s relationship and the scary concepts of the Emojibots are brilliant. It’s sad that there are a few stories out of this season that are pretty good whilst the rest are average or cringeworthily bad.

      Glad you enjoyed the chemisty between Peter Capaldi and Pearl Mackie in the season. I enjoyed it too and it’s a shame it only lasted for this one season they did together.

      Tim. 🙂



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