And so onto 'Vincent and the Doctor', an episode of Doctor Who draped, perhaps unfairly, in expectations thanks to its high-profile deployment of the Richard Curtis Writing Machine. Book-ended in the modern day, 'Vincent and the Doctor' felt like a departure from the off, with an equally high-profile cameo from bone fide national treasure Bill Nighy as art expert and quick-history-lesson-for-the-kids Dr. Black.
Roaming around the MusÃ©e d'Orsay, Amy and the Doctor spy a mysterious, evil face in Van Gogh's The Church at Auvers and decide to pay the painter a visit in Provence. In the end, what we got from Curtis was a beautifully crafted love-letter to Van Gogh and a slightly naff monster-of-the-week run-around. Where 'Vincent and the Doctor' worked was in its sympathetic portrayal of the painter, tackling Van Gogh's later life with respect and reverence. If there's one thing to absolutely applaud, it's the way the episode never balked at exploring the effects of mental illness - particularly brave given Doctor Who's usually fluffy family exterior. We got insight into his situation and its impact on Van Gogh as an artist. Consider us slightly more educated.
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