“The episode itself is absolutely barking mad.”
Mark Gatiss, in the behind the scenes bit
“And how will she locate the Doctor?”
“To find him she need only ignore all Keep Out signs, go through every locked door and run towards any form of danger that presents itself.”
“Business as usual, then?”
“Business as usual.”
The Doctor and Clara very much take a back seat - The Question is addressed but notably not answered, with the Doctor avoiding even mentioning that he doesn’t know - and Vastra, Strax and particularly Jenny step forward. Jenny Flint In An Exciting Adventure With The Doctor.
And as noted on io9, “Strax is right in that a frontal assault would actually solve all the problems in this episode...”
It’s a stealth Doctor-lite episode, and could easily have been played entirely with the Paternoster Row Irregulars - or with the new characters, an unfortunate heroic journalist, an assistant almost immediately forgotten about and a brother with a severe case of Unadventurous.
All sorts of mad things going on - the bell jars not least among them. A chilling image quite casually underplayed.
As SFX notes, there’s more than a little Carry On Screaming in the story.
Having Dame Diana Rigg (and her daughter Rachael Stirling) in the episode and then having Jenny in a catsuit (with a bustle) kung fu her way through some goons is just the tip of the story’s playfulness.
And yet in the middle Stirling brings a real tragedy which puts a different light on the laughs.
As inspiration for the game? Well, it’s not just Doctor-lite, it’s practically into another genre, something Doctor Who can of course do quite casually but here taken a bit further than usual, playing with styles like the flashback, it’s like a Hammer Horror Feng Shui adventure. Perhaps something to try as a break after a big session?
And an important lesson - be careful getting your photo taken in different points of history.
Next week, after a Horror that wasn’t really a horror story, will Nightmare In Silver be a nightmare?