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Series seven, episode 12
Mark Gatiss takes a turn in the writer’s chair tonight and there’s more than a hint of Royston Vasey about the Victorian Yorkshire mill town which is the setting for this latest adventure. Why are successions of petrified, bright red and waxy bodies washing up from the river? And what is the sinister Mrs Gillyflower up to behind the gates of her new town, Sweetville?
For the most part, this feels inessential in terms of overall plot direction, but it’s still a lot of fun thanks to real-life mother-and-daughter turns from Diana Rigg and Rachael Stirling and Gatiss’s trademark grotesque invention. There’s also a return for old reliables Vastra, Jenny and Strax in an episode that keeps Clara and the Doctor on a slow simmer, only to raise more big questions about their history right at the end. Intriguing, funny and, once or twice, delightfully gross.