Series eleven kind of played it safe, didn’t it? The first three episodes are an Earthbound introduction, a way-out-in-space odd one, and a celebrity historical. They’d done that before a few times.
For the way-out-in-space, it’s Chris Chibnall’s “The Ghost Monument,” which claims to be a race adventure, but it feels like Chibnall had never seen any previous example of this trope. That certainly could be a good thing, but I don’t think it is here. This episode needs somebody the audience can root against. Race stories should have a villain. And more competitors. Yeah, this one claims that it started with 4000, but we only join the proceedings when it’s down to two.
Anyway, it doesn’t matter whether you’re racing through space or Avengerland, you need somebody to root against, preferably somebody who cheats. Even an earlier Doctor Who space race, “Enlightenment”, had a larger-than-life cheating pirate for a baddie. All “The Ghost Monument” really has is an astonishing location. Part of it was filmed at the abandoned Macassar Beach Pavilion, which is being reclaimed by nature. If I was shooting films or television in South Africa, I’d find a reason to schedule something, anything here.
Our son honestly didn’t remember a minute of this one, which was great, because it was all new to him. He’s still at the age where people reacting to the TARDIS’s apparent small size is the funniest thing in the universe. The new interior, though? Yuck.