Doctor Who season 10 episode 4: Knock Knock by Mike Bartlett.

Knock on wood, from here in there are spoilers!

Bill (actress Pearl Mackie) is now a full-time student and with five other students looking around for accommodation at the start of a new university year together when offered a very good deal by an old man (actor David Suchet). All they see are spacious rooms and a good deal. It isn’t until the Doctor (actor Peter Capaldi) helps Bill move her belongings, which mysteriously changes from loads of boxes to two that he realises there’s something not quite right with this house. Despite Bill wanting him to go away so she can have some elements of her life away from him, the Doctor insists on coming back and confirms the many problems with the house. No electricity, no washing machine and a mobile telephone dead zone amongst other things. Hands up all those who realise with the change in lighting that they are in a creaking haunted house that is also consuming the students?

From here, you’re on your own. In many respects, although this is a heavy special effects episode, this is another bottle show. From the looks of things, this appears to alternate every other episode. The mood of the house is first rate and this is also the first actual reference to Bill’s sexuality although a polite no would have worked just as well. The biggest puzzle is why when the old man/landlord uses a tuning fork tapping the walls, the Doctor doesn’t consider using his sonic screwdriver and its absence until near the end now seems more like a plot convenience. I’ll resist the temptation of saying that there is some wooden acting involved here simply because Eliza (actress Mariah Gale) does a good job.

Some elements of the story remind me a little of the McCoy regeneration story ‘Ghost Light’ with a heavy dash of the film ‘The Legend Of Hell House’ (1973) and a very early ‘Doctor Strange’ story but then this is a ghost house story. The twist ending is hardly new and none of the students seem dismayed that they’ve lost all their belongings.

The mood is very good it’s just that the students don’t seem to be much more than window dressing to the plot. Considering that this isn’t the first bunch of students to have gone missing in mysterious circumstances, you do have to wonder why the Doctor hasn’t turned up before. How bad does trouble have to be before he appears?

Oh, there’s a hint of who is in the vault but I’ll bet it’ll come as no surprise to anyone making a good guess. Oh and it appears that Time Lords like Mexican food.

(c) GF Willmetts 2017

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