An incident with a mini-time-vortex and a fez alerts the Doctor to a disaster in the making: Albert Einstein is conducting his own experiments in time travel. Even stranger than that is the celebrated scientist’s sudden transformation into an Ood, with a cryptic, ominous warning for the Doctor.
written by the children of Oakley Junior School
directed by Jeremy Webb
music by Murray Gold
Cast: Matt Smith (The Doctor), Nickolas Grace (Albert Einstein), Paul Kasey (Ood)
Notes: Death Is The Only Answer was a short script selected by Steven Moffatt as the winning entry in the “Script to Screen” contest that was part of series six of Doctor Who Confidential, challenging young writers to create a short adventure for the Doctor. The finished mini-episode, running just under four minutes, aired as part of the final episode of the behind-the-scenes series Doctor Who Confidential, which was cancelled shortly before the episode aired. There are no clues as to where this story happens chronologically, or if it can be considered official at all.
LogBook entry & review by Earl Green
Review: The very enjoyable result of a search for enthusiastic amateur writers, Death Is The Only Answer brings Doctor Who back to some roots that it’s forgotten: a showcase for rising talent, not just whoever’s on the producer or script editor’s speed dial.
For once upon a time, no one had ever heard of Andrew Smith or Robert Holmes or Glen McCoy or Ben Aaronovitch. Each of them sent unsolicited “spec scripts” to Doctor Who and jump-started their careers. Well, maybe McCoy didn’t – he wrote Timelash. Still, it had to be a lot of fun. Even after the original TV series ended, whole careers were launched via the Doctor Who novels and audio plays: Paul Cornell, Kate Orman, Joseph Lidster, Paul Magrs… the list goes on. Discovering new talent has always been something that Doctor Who does. In what had to be one of the best things he did in the 2011 season, Steven Moffatt brought that back and sent would-be young TV writers across the UK scrambling to their word processors. Bravo! They should’ve made the top ten mini-episodes, frankly.
But wait! Death opens up a huge can of chronological worms (timewyrms?) in the continuity of Doctor Who, rivaling the infamous UNIT dating conundrum* in its complexity. The Doctor mentions that Einstein once tried to steal the TARDIS – and in fact, we may well have seen the famous scientist contemplating just that, when the seventh Doctor rescued him from the Rani in 1987’s Time And The Rani. But wait! That Einstein already had wild hair, a look he apparently doesn’t adopt until after Death Is The Only Option.
Then again, if anyone’s going to be capable of remembering that time is relative, it’s going to be Albert Einstein, right*?
If nothing else, the way some of the full-length scripts from the sixth series turned out, I, for one, would like to lobby for a return engagement by the children of Oakley Junior School. Their four minutes of fame is tremendously fun to watch – moreso than some of the forty minute episodes this season.
* not really