Simon's Bookcase

Reviews from Lord Taylor of Glencoe

Doctor Who: Winner Takes All


Winner Takes All: Jacqueline Rayner, July 21—25 2014
My rating: ♦♦♦◊◊

WinnerTakesAllJacqueline Rayner pulls it out the bag and gives this series what it needs: a thoroughly decent episode. The basic premise involves the Quevills (alien porcupines) cranking up their long-running war with the Mantodeans (alien praying mantises) in order to breach their force field. To do so, they create a video game and hand it out to humans, not telling them they are controlling kidnapped people in a real maze to the Mantodean stronghold to detonate a piece of kit that will scramble their enemies.

Rayner is absolutely spot on with her characterisation. She nails the Doctor, Rose, Jackie and Mickey with perfect voices. Nine is on top form and shares some priceless dialogue with Mickey. Robert is a great guest star, slowly and carefully fleshed out and easy to care about.

The villainous Quevvils are difficult to define. Sometimes they seem comical, and at others quite threatening so I’m not sure how to take them. They are described often as interchangeable and there were some missed opportunities to let us really get to know them. The brutish Darren Pyne, on the other hand, is brilliantly sculpted.

What makes The Winner Takes All so much better than The Clockwise Man and even The Monsters Inside is that Rayner doesn’t waste loads of time on introspection. The books do provide an opportunity to explore the inner thoughts of the characters in a way that TV can’t, but Rayner seems to realise that endless discourses on the fear of the threat, the wonder of the TARDIS, the marvel of the alien creatures and planets and Rose’s relationships with the Doctor and Mickey are unnecessary. She understands these are common themes that need only be acknowledged and left at that.

Although the banter between Rose and the Doctor can occasionally grate, in the main it’s well written. It maintains the tone of the TV series more than its predecessors do, and could be easily be an episode of the show. For the first time, it feels like a genuine continuation of that story and a very good effort.


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This entry was posted on July 25, 2014 by in 3 star, Doctor Who and tagged .

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@Queen_UK Adolf Hitler agatha christie Alan Clements Alastair Campbell Aldous Huxley Aleksandr Orlov Alex Shaffer Andrew Neiderman Anthony Burgess Arthur Miller Bateman Ben Brooks Ben Elton Bram Stoker Bret Easton Ellis C.J. Cherryh Carolyn Jess-Cooke Charles Dickens Chuck Palahniuk Dan Brown Dante Alighieri dashiell hammett david baldacci David Brin David Glattauer David Kirkpatrick David Line David Tennant David Wolstencroft Dylan Jones E.L. James Edgar Allen Poe Emilia Fox Eoin Colfer Erica Spindler Frank Peretti Gabrielle Lord Gareth Roberts Geoff Ryman George Orwell George R. R. Martin George W. Bush Gillian Flynn Gillian Slovo Graham Greene Guy Piran Harper Lee Harriet Lane Herman Koch Ian Rankin J.K. Rowling Jack Thorne Jacqueline Rayner James Herbert James Patterson Jasper Fforde Jeff Green Jeff Kinney Jeffrey Archer Jem Lester Jenny Robson Jeremy Clarkson Jerry B. Jenkins Jim Thompson John Crowther John Green John Grisham John Tiffany John Verdon Jonas Jonasson Judith Kerr Juliana Foster Justin Richards Kaci Hill Karen Levine Keeley Bolger Louis Walsh malorie blackman Marissa Meyer Mark Haddon Mark Z. Danielewski Martin Sixsmith Mary Higgins Clark Mary McNamara Matt Haig Matthew Ravden Michael Berry Michael Connelly Michael Morpurgo Michael Quirke Miguel de Cervantes Mike Lancaster Morris Gleitzman Morton Rhue Neil Sinclair Nick Hornby Nick Page Patricia Cornwell Patricia Stotley Patrick Ness Paula Hawkins Paul Johnston Peter James Phil Allcock R.J. Palacio Rachelle Dekker Raymond Chandler Richard Bachman Robert Louis Stevenson Robert Ludlum Robin Cook Robin Kirkpatrick sandra brown Sebastian Beaumont Sharon Osbourne Stella Rimmington Stephen Cole Stephen King Steve Lookner Steve Lyons Stuart MacBride Sue Townsend Suzanne Collins ted dekker Terry Pratchett Tim LaHaye Tim Randall Todd Strasser Tom Avery Tom Bower Tom Cain Tom Hoyle tony blair William Golding William P. Young William Shakespeare