“Concerto” Review

Easily the best opening to an episode ever… A woman enters a room, passing Cathy and a tall gentleman. She rips her blouse, picks up the phone, claims she’s been assaulted. The manager, listens in concern as she relates her story, and then throttles her. All the while, a pianist plays in the next room.

This is a lovely little episode, typifying the very best of the Cathy Gale era. As usual, the job Cathy is doing has been set up by Steed to her irritation (she was surprised to be asked as she was under-qualified, and rumbles Steed when he tries to tell her “they’ve finally recognised your potential”).  The scenes between Steed and his Russian counterpart are charming, and far more convincing than last week’s, with lots of drinking, chess and swapping hats. Indeed, Steed is generally on form in this one (“I rather enjoy opening other people’s letters myself”) although we see a rather brutal side to him when he kills a man with a telephone (a 1960s telephone being, of course, a  weighty weapon – hard to imaging bludgeoning anyone with an iPhone…)

Steed has a dog again (Junior). Cathy is better at chess than Steed, and she also speaks good Russian.

Steed makes a reference to Cathy keeping a gun in her garter (is this a callback to The Charmers?).

I’m not sure if it was every explicitly stated that Cathy has a PhD; but it’s confirmed in this. So she’s a Doctor – meanwhile, Steed goes by “John Smith”.

A gem of an episode, from Malcolme Hulke and Terrance Dicks.


About Simon Wood

Lecturer in medical education, lapsed mathematician, Doctor Who fan and garden railway builder. See simonwood.info for more...

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