I’m not a fan of Dennis Spooner’s Gnaws and now I’m not a fan of Chris Chibnall’s remake of it.
He hasn’t improved on it by weaving in the ‘topical’ plot. The cartoonish millionaires and politicians – Henry van Statten, Harriet Jones (MP, Flydale North), President Winters etc. – were an unwelcome feature of the Russell T. Davies era, so I’m not thrilled by the Trump-clone Robertson who has built an exact replica of Celtic Manor outside Sheffield. And what a waste of Chris Noth, whose character in Law & Order was so successful during his 5 year run that he came back in a movie and four seasons of the spin-off Criminal Intent. He is capable of so much more than this flimsy caricature.
The episode suffers from being rather slow to trap our heroes in Spider Hotel, having to open out the scope of the spider invasion with some rather fishy red herrings. That said, the reason for this was the transition back to Earth which was also the occasion for a lot of business that I rather liked (the Doctor’s “tea at Yaz’s” and Graham’s “sniffing coats” in his house of memories). Ultimately these were the best bits of the episode – and I liked the Doctor’s new policy of requiring informed consent when enrolling her “friends”.
I also like Tanya Fear’s Jade McIntyre. I hope we’ll see her again.
Much as I’m enjoying the pop songs in the soundtrack, I was as puzzled by the choice of Stormzy rather than Moby’s Spiders to lure the arachnids as I was by the lack of Metabilis crystals…