The Doctor and Liv arrive in London in the 1960s, expecting to find the Eleven or some sign of him. The Doctor pays a visit to the National Gallery, where he finds that a mysterious stone tablet dating back to ancient Greece, and a mysterious collection of artwork bequeathed to the Gallery after the death of its reclusive owner, has the experts stymied. One of those experts, Helen Sinclair, is none too pleased to find that the Doctor and Liv Chenka have broken into her office, but she’s even more shocked when a colleague – who has been obsessing over the collection of paintings – is killed. When the Doctor examines those pictures, he notices something that Helen’s unfortunate colleague reported: there’s a woman with red hair in each one, and she seems to be moving, as if to summon him. Liv notices something similar about another of the paintings, but sees nothing unusual about the one the Doctor is examining. The Red Lady is calling to each of them…and if they keep looking at her, she can escape from the paintings and dominate their minds forever.
Cast: Paul McGann (The Doctor), Nicola Walker (Liv Chenka), Hattie Morahan (Helen Sinclair), Caroline Langrishe (Red Lady / Rachel), David Yelland (Walter Pritchett), John Voce (Albert Kennedy / Professor)
LogBook entry and review by Earl Green
Review: A superbly creepy stand-alone story, The Red Lady may well bring us the creepiest new adversary for the Doctor since the Weeping Angels first appeared on TV. The scene in which the time travelers fight to look away from her and get her out of their minds is positively scary, with McGann making it positively terrifying that even the Doctor is not immune to her spell. Strangely, all of this is only very tenuously connected to the character of the Eleven – the Red Lady is merely a problem that the TARDIS team happens to encounter as they try to track their new quarry. That’s not a bad thing, but a bit of a surprise to find in the first story following the Eleven’s introduction.
Helen’s introduction as the new companion is handled interestingly: for much of the story, she does not welcome the Doctor and Liv’s presence or help. As usual, as the list of people who can explain what’s happening around here dwindles until it includes just the time travelers, Helen finds herself a bit more cooperative but still adversarial. After all, her attempt to help save the world costs her her livelihood, leaving her with virtually no choice but to join the Doctor and Liv aboard the TARDIS.