Now that’s more like it. Time travel, skulduggery and a monster. Second time Doctor Who writer Sarah Dollard really pulled a metaphorical rabbit out of the hat with Thin Ice.
And while we’re talking hats, the 12th Doctor (Peter Capaldi) really looks distinguished in a Victorian top hat and tails.
It’s 1814, the Thames is frozen and the Doctor and Bill (Pearl Mackie) attend the last great frost fair on the river. They, however, discover that something in the water, a giant alien fish monster, is responsible for the river’s freezing. It’s also chained up and responsible for turning humans who fall through the ice into volatile rocket fuel.
Dollard delivers just the right measure of awe for the time travel part, and the right level of outrage as the Doctor and Bill investigate who might be behind this heinous subterfuge. Methinks the culprit they discover is more the brawn than the brains, perhaps the front man for a madman like, say, the Master!
The third episode of Series 10 has much in common with the Series 5 episode The Beast Below. In that earlier story the 11th Doctor (Matt Smith) and Amy Pond (Karen Gilan) investigate a captive star whale on whose back Starship UK sails through the void of space.
With Thin Ice it’s nice to see a bit of good, old fashioned, Doctor Who being served up as it explores the themes of exploitation of natural resources and racism.
Then there’s the overarching story concerning the Doctor and Nardole’s (Matt Lucas) guarding of a mysterious vault. Who and what can be knocking?
Let’s hope next week’s story is as engaging.