Doctor Who (2005– )
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Smile 

In the far future, at the edge of the galaxy, there is a gleaming, perfect city. This brand new human settlement is said to hold the secret of human happiness - but the only smiles the ... See full summary »

Director:

Lawrence Gough

Writer:

Frank Cottrell Boyce (as Frank Cottrell-Boyce)
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Cast

Episode complete credited cast:
Peter Capaldi ... The Doctor
Pearl Mackie ... Bill
Matt Lucas ... Nardole
Kiran L. Dadlani ... Kezzia
Mina Anwar ... Goodthing
Ralf Little ... Steadfast
Kaizer Akhtar ... Praiseworthy
Kalungi Ssebandeke ... Nate
Kiran Shah ... Emojibot
Craig Garner ... Emojibot
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Storyline

In the far future, at the edge of the galaxy, there is a gleaming, perfect city. This brand new human settlement is said to hold the secret of human happiness - but the only smiles the Doctor and Bill can find are on a pile of grinning skulls. Something is alive in the walls, and the emojibots are watching from the shadows, as the Doctor and Bill try to unravel a terrifying mystery... Written by Emily reddom

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Certificate:

TV-PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

22 April 2017 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

BBC Studios Wales See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

Color
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Mina Anwar also was a regular in the spin off series of The Sarah Jane Adventures (2007) as Rani Chandra (Anjli Mohindra)'s mum, Gita. See more »

Goofs

When the Doctor picks up the skull he holds it with one hand on the base and the other on the top but in the next shot he is holding it with both hands on the sides. See more »

Quotes

Bill Potts: Why are you Scottish?
The Doctor: I'm not Scottish, I'm just cross.
Bill Potts: Is there a Scotland in space?
The Doctor: They're all over the place, demanding independence from every planet they land on.
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Connections

Featured in Whovians: The Pilot (2017) See more »

Soundtracks

Doctor Who Theme
Written by Ron Grainer
Performed by BBC National Orchestra of Wales
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User Reviews

 
Innovative with a quirky threat that parallels "The Girl in the Fireplace"
22 April 2017 | by The-Last-PrydonianSee all my reviews

Marking the second episode of the tenth series, "Smile" also marks the first adventure Peter Capaldi's twelfth Doctor has with new companion Bill Potts (Pearl Mackie) since she joined him in the TARDIS. A colourful, somewhat quirky episode which is also more innovative and original than last weeks never the less highly entertaining "The Pilot", it's also a more colourful one, with both Capaldi and Mackie being the only two actors on screen for the majority of the story. On the planet, Gliese 581d[, a group of colonists are slaughtered by their robot servants called Emojibots when they display feelings on unhappiness. Not so long after, the Doctor and Pill sans Nardole (played by Matt Lucas, who makes an all too fleeting appearance) arrive on the world where they find the colony deserted apart from it's robotic inhabitants. Puzzled by the lack of human presence, the Time Lord begins to investigate. However not before he and his new companion have their ears connected automatically to a network via their nervous system, meaning they can communicate to each other through their ear, and they are given discs which using emoticons reflects the emotions they are feeling. Before long, the Doctor comes to the realisation that their emotions could determine their fate.

Straight from the off, I thought this episode would have a fair amount in common with the 1988 classic series story, "The Happiness Patrol" and I'm glad to say that beyond the theme of being sad could be a death sentence, any similarity beyond that apart from it being set on a planetary colony ends there. With nothing subversive and political below the surface of it's inventive exterior, early on there is an eerie sense of foreboding that director, Lawrence Gough who also manages to capture the isolation and deadliness of the robotic threat. When it's all said and done, it can be deemed as a cautionary tale which taps in to man-kinds over reliance on technology and how, when it can become a hindrance rather than a help. The emojibots here make for a genuinely unsettling foe, if that is the right word to be used given the context of their ultimate motivation which is revealed before the end. A sublime creation in both concept and execution, there a testament aesthetically to the design team behind the series who do a fantastic job in bringing the colony to life.

As with last weeks "The Pilot", the chemistry between Capaldi and Mackie is perfectly solid, the relationship between the two now well and truly cemented with the latter making for an excellent foil to her older co-star. Capaldi once again captures the curious nature of the Time Lord perfectly who here eventually takes on the role of diplomatic mediator. Mackie as Bill, also once again captures the wide eyed wonderment and awe that the character experiences.

If there is a flaw, is that the story perhaps reaches it's climax a little too soon, with everything being wrapped up too expediently without allowing more time to dwell on the plight of certain characters. That being said, the story thematically does brilliantly capture the essence of the power of grief, and how the robots failure to grasp the concept given their programming which manages to parallel the series 2 episode, "The Girl in the Fireplace".

For all it''s innovation and originality, "Smile" marks a an overall satisfying outing which while flawed, marks a continual upturn in the quality of the new series which thus far is proving to be a more rewarding experience than Series 9. If it keeps on this trajectory, I can see this being a good 10th series, and with the episode ending with a neat little coda which acts as an eye-catching means to seagueway in to next weeks adventure entitled "Thin Ice", I can't help but be excited.


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