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Doctor Who Season 11 Ep. 6: Demons of the Punjab

Imagine ‘Demons of the Punjab’ in the hands of Michael Bay. It would have been all explosions, up skirt shots, mild racism and for some reason Megan Fox would have been play the younger version of ‘Yas’s’ Nan (and possibly the older version to). Instead in the hands of director Jamie Childs Vimay Patel’s script was given the room it needed to breathe allowing the tension and heartbreak grow.

The British right wing press have been up in arms since the synopsis for ‘Demons of the Punjab’ was released earlier in the year. Their main concern seems to be that we Brits might not come across as overly friendly or competent in a story surrounding the 1947 partition of India. In fact despite a few side jibes at Montgomery the British got off quite lightly. The political focus mainly laid on the religious sectarian violence committed during this period of history. Sadly much like with the recent episode ‘Rosa’ it’s a subject that still feels contemporary.

 Away from the politics a tragic love story unfolded. ‘Yas’ persuades the ‘Doctor’ to go and see her Nan ‘Umbreen’ during her life in the Punjab and is shocked to discover that her Granddad was not her Nan’s first husband. In fact the younger ‘Umbreen’, who is a Muslim, is set to marry a Hindu man named ‘Prem’ and as the story unfolds it more and more obvious that a tragic awaits the young couple. It’s very hard to create tension when the ending is known, but the story, dialogue, acting and direction made the tragic climax to the story both edge of the seat and full of sadness at the same time.

The story was so strong that it wasn’t until a good three quarters through I noticed that the sci-fi elements of the story were almost a subplot. The twist with new aliens the ‘Vajarians’ was the only part of the story that was a slight let down. If only as it was a little obvious. They are definitely a race I’d like to see developed in further stories.

In previous reviews I’ve raved about how much I’m enjoying Bradley Walsh as ‘Graham’. Again he provided the episodes most heartbreaking moment, as he helped ‘Prem’ prepare for the ceremony knowing he was more than likely be murdered by the day’s end.

It’s not often I enjoy a love story, but I can make an exception for ‘Doctor Who’; an episode to savoir.

 Rated out of 10: 9

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