This weekend marks the tenth anniversary of one of Doctor Who‘s finest ever stories. So let’s take a look back at Steven Moffat’s unique ‘Blink’…
What more can be said about ‘Blink’ that hasn’t been said before? Casual viewers and hardcore fans alike seem to hail this one above all other Whos. Like many, it is your humble reviewer’s all-time favourite story, too. But just why is ‘Blink’ so popular?
The big reason why I think it stands as such an impressive piece of work – even after multiple, multiple viewings – is because of how everything feels necessary and perfectly pitched. Usually when you endlessly rewatch old favourites, you start to notice things that could be done better or bits that don’t make sense. ‘Blink’, however, manages to withstand such weary eyes and survive intact. One thing, even if it is not a fault, that does leap out now though is all the intrigue surrounding DVD easter eggs. It might have occurred to some already but you can imagine watching this in a few years time and thinking ‘aw bless, I remember ‘easter eggs.” Hopefully, due to the precision of everything else, this won’t date the episode too much.
Understandably, as they are perhaps the TV series’ scariest monster, the Weeping Angels are generally the most praised aspect of the story. For me, however, Carey Mulligan’s Sally Sparrow is just as integral to its success – as in her capable hands we remarkably never miss the Doctor, who is reduced to a fleeting guiding presence here. Mulligan is a very magnetic performer and it is no surprise that she has gone on to make it big in Hollywood (with an Oscar nomination to her name, to boot). Her characterisation is also superb. Steven Moffat is often criticised for his bolshy, flirty female characters but Sally is completely different. She’s brave, kind, mature, strong-headed and just a bit pompous and detached. As far as I am concerned, Sally is the greatest one-time character on the show ever. Imagine how amazing she would have been as a companion?
After their breakout success, it was a no-brainer that the aforementioned Angels would return (and, for what it’s worth, I really like their next two appearances, though popular opinion says they are far inferior) but I wish other elements of this episode had been repeated as well. Because of how well it works here, ‘Blink’ makes me wish there were more of these Doctor/companion-less adventures. Not only do they free up the main actors’ schedules they also make the Whoniverse feel more expansive and it reminds you that the Doctor can’t solve all of the alien shenanigans going on in the universe. Personally, I’d love one of these self-contained mini-movies every year. Or even a The Twilight Zone-type anthology show spin-off?
Despite being such an atypical episode, ‘Blink’ has proven itself to be one of Doctor Who‘s most fiercely acclaimed stories. Thanks to the Weeping Angels, Steven Moffat’s note-perfect script and a glittering lead, ‘Blink’ certainly isn’t a disposable episode that disappears when you stop watching it – rather it’s a veritable stone-cold classic. The perfect reminder for fans, or the perfect convincer for a newcomer, of why modern Doctor Who is so blinking brilliant.