- The one thing I'm NOT going to attempt to do in this review is mention all the mystery clichés that were lovingly pastiched throughout the show, because I'm sure that other people are more knowledgeable about the genre than me.
Nor was I intending to play Spot The Christie Title Hidden In The Script, but then I caved in on my second viewing and listed the ones I spotted anyway: The Body in the Library, N or M, Nemesis, Dead Man's Folly, They Do It With Mirrors, Appointment with Death, Sparkling Cyanide, Endless Night, Crooked House, Taken at the Flood, The Moving Finger, Death Comes as the End, Murder at the
Vicar's RageVicarage (GROAN). (I confess that I needed Wikipedia to confirm several of these!) Plus of course there was a Man in the Brown Suit (although he wasn't addressed as such on screen), AND Agatha was also responsible for Partners in Crime.
Anyway, now back to the usual blitherings...
- How on earth does a wasp manage to hold a lead pipe with one leg?
Either Vespiforms have secret opposable thumbs, or they have VERY sticky feet.
- "Flapper or slapper?" Well, it's more flapper AND slapper, isn't it, with Ten being the slapper.
- Hooray, it's Felicity Kendal! And since we've already had Richard Briers popping up in Torchwood, all we need now is Penelope Keith in The Sarah Jane Adventures, and it's a Good Life hat-trick!
- The Doctor saying NO to poor accent imitations was a nice little nod to Tooth and Claw. Funnier still was the gratuitous reference to "the ambassador's reception". For the benefit of non-British viewer, this is what we were all thinking of.
- "Some of these young boys deserve a decent thrashing." Well said, Roger, but I think Davenport probably deserves a jolly good Roger...
- "All the decent men are on the other bus." / "Or Time Lords." Another nice little nod to conversations past, specifically that bit in The Doctor Dances where the Doctor gets shirty when Rose doesn't count him as "men". Mind you, Rose was just being distracted by Jack at the time, while it seems that Donna really has got the Doctor filed in a totally separate cabinet.
- "The thrill is in the chase, never in the capture." Behold Agatha's warning to all shippers! Clearly she thinks it's all about the UST. When people cop off, it all goes horribly wrong. Just ask Reinette...
- "I'll pluck you in a minute." Puns about plucking always remind me of a certain song. Check out the MP3 at the bottom of that page for a real taste of Carry On style British naughtiness.
- "That's like meeting Charles Dickens and he's surrounded by ghosts, at Christmas." Groanworthy but forgivable. I was more amused by the though that there may well be no Noddy, but there was definitely a Big Ears...
- "I was taking a constitutional." Ah, those fond memories of Brideshead Revisited. It's those high-waisted trousers with braces, isn't it? And there was even a teddy on display, although in a different scene.
- I cackled at Felicity is hitting the bottle and her husband looking at porn and thinking about French ladies' knickers, but the wibbly flashback dream sequences really peaked with the Doctor's "exciting" Belgian adventure. Hey, at least they got to reuse the bow and arrows from Blink. Thriftiness with my licence fee: I approve of it (sometimes).
- The wasp's sting looked a bit like a unicorn's horn, I thought. It had that twisty gnarled quality.
- "Ginger beer!" As if that poor footman wasn't oppressed enough, now the Doctor's yelling at him in Cockney rhyming slang.
- I know I said last week I wanted Donna to get some action, but this was not what I had in mind. Still, now they've got the joke snog over, they can get on with the rest of the series.
- And then we get to the most unconventional relationship of the week: Lady Eddison found out that her beloved was a giant wasp but she didn't care! Perhaps she was just entranced by the size of his stinger? Whichever way you splice it, it makes poodles look comparatively appealing.
- Donna pulls no punches as she commits insecticide. Perhaps she needs someone to stop her, too? Then again, as she pointed out earlier in the show, a giant arthropod of a different variety DID steal her fiancé, so maybe she just has a few anti-bug issues to work out.
- For anyone who was curious about the book shown at the end, Death In The Clouds is not actually about giant wasps. (I wondered why I'd never noticed David Suchet battling giant insects on Sunday teatime telly.) Apparently there is a normal-sized wasp in it, but (SPOILER!) the wasp didn't do it.
- I note from the Beeb's Fact File that this was the first episode Catherine Tate filmed, and I think it shows: she was rather heavy on her standard Comedy (TM) mannerisms throughout, while in most previous episodes she's only delivered one or two lines in that way. Then again, the subject didn't really lend itself to dramatic subtlety or proper acting, both of which I know she can provide when required.
- In conclusion: a jolly romp. Didn't really do any more than that, but then again, it didn't aim to. If I had a criticism, it's probably that there was a lot of talking about and around Agatha herself, but it took a while before she had a chance to actually DO very much. Then again, perhaps the same can be said of Miss Marple et al, so at least it fits the circumstances.
Next week: it's San Marino versus Azerbaijan in a no-holds-barred fight for musical domination! No, hold on a moment, that's not Doctor Who, that's Eurovision...