The Vampires of Venice
The Doctor: I like the bit when someone says “It’s bigger on the inside!” I always look forward to that.
Production Code: 1.6.
Story Number: 207.
A story, that while it could be said to feature many “traditional” Nu-Who scenes, also very much has new-to-the-programme elements…
It’s not only Nu-Who traditions that this story features: the Classic tradition of using ’50s, ’60s, ’70s British Horror films as inspiration continues here too (begun, in earnest, during the Fourth Doctor’s era), with the look of the Vampire ladies a seeming nod to this era of cinema. Helen McCrory (as the “Vampire Countess”) in particular is superb at conjuring up the atmosphere of these films.
There are familiar “types” of scenes from recent years (Nu-Who) present in this story though – an alien trying to reason with and convince the Doctor of their plans for the Earth and making reference to the end of Gallifrey (School Reunion), as their alien people have fled some crisis (Rose, The Unquiet Dead.) It’s not the Time War that aliens are fleeing these days though it seems, rather “the Silence” which seems to have something to do with all these “Cracks”.
Rise Of The Cybermen is recalled too, though with the scenes of a companion’s boyfriend onboard the TARDIS and being uneasy with his girlfriend’s adventures with the Doc. This is the real core of the story, beyond the Vampire stuff, how Rory and Amy are brought together by the Doctor.
The new-to-the-programme elements are how the Doctor reacts to this sort of “romantic triangle” aspect to the story. By now we realise “the Doctor dances”, (thanks to various stories of the Nu-Who era) but this is a Doctor who seems even more relaxed with the idea of “dancing”, checking out the ladies of Venice (just after the TARDIS arrives), and preening in the mirror before turning round to greet the “buxom” Vampires (as he refers to them later.) He has a certain flirtatious attitude to his diplomacy with the Vampire Countess that isn’t quite like any previous Doctor.
This fresh and different portrayal of the (still Doctorish) Doctor is one reason it’s more than just a glossy retread of scenes from previous stories. All in all, a very good story which has great scenes of humour.