Doctor Who series 6 episode 8: Let's Kill Hitler

It's back. And it's definitely about time.

 

4 1/2 stars

 

 

Adolph gets serious

 

Air date: UK 27 Aug, 2011, BBC One

 

Did you know that before death you will feel a tingling sensation? No, nor did I, but that was just one of the many things learned during the preview screening of the newest Doctor Who episode, Let's Kill Hitler, at the BFI Southbank.

 

Despite its title, Let's Kill Hitler isn't quite the insanely arch romp that some people were predicting. Yes, it has tons of laugh out loud moments and several absolutely razor sharp one liners, but if you're expecting something akin to The Unicorn and the Wasp (with added River Song) then you're likely to be disappointed.

 

Picking up the action some time after the events of A Good Man Goes to War, the episode takes the wise decision to deal with the ramifications of River Song's recently revealed identity head-on. Moffat has taken some stick for calling the mid-season cliffhanger a game changer with some people criticising the revelation as somewhat underwhelming. If you fall into that category let us just say this: in episode 7 we discovered some facts. In episode 8 we learn the truth. And this truth plays out – despite the headline grabbing nature of the title – on a much smaller scale than people might otherwise expect.

 

This more contained scale allows the focus of the episode – entirely appropriately – to fall onto the show's quartet of regular lead characters, each of whom deliver some of their best work on the show.

 

Arthur Darville in particular has flashes of poignancy interspersed through some truly sublime comic moments, while Karen Gillan continues to impress when playing both the younger Amy and her more maternal, contemporary incarnation.

 

However, much as you'd expect, the real stars of the show are the ever excellent Matt Smith and Alex Kingston. The sparring between the Doctor and River takes on a whole new dimension here and both actors eat up the opportunity to go to toe with each other in a new way with absolute relish. Like the similarly unusual and hugely effective The Big Bang, Let's Kill Hitler is a surprisingly intimate, often cheeky and at times downright moving exploration of the weird time-tossed family that now exists inside the TARDIS.

 

One of the best scripts Moffat has delivered during his time as showrunner, Let's Kill Hitler is a massively entertaining episode that bristles with action, bubbles with ideas and overflows with both humour and heart.

 

Moffat and crew talk shop

Moving on from the episode, the post-screening Q&A was a good-natured – if largely uninformative – session with Matthew Sweet amiably chairing and Karen Gillan, Arthur Darville and Steven Moffat answering questions from both the chair and the crowd. Of far more interest was the trailer for the remainder of Series 6. Alongside the previously seen images of pterodactyls swooping, the Area 52 pyramid and the returns of both Winston Churchill and Craig Owens, we also got bizarre glimpses of a seemingly prostrate New Paradigm Dalek (did anyone really believe they weren't coming back?) and a sky full of… Minis attached to hot air balloons?!?

 

What can it all mean? No idea! But what we do know, beyond any shadow of a doubt, is that an Impossible Astronaut will rise from the depths of Lake Silencio and strike the Time Lord dead. We can't wait to find out who's under the visor…

James Peaty

 

 

Doctor Who: Let's Kill Hitler
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