The Doctor exits the TARDIS to the welcome of many guns, and then that stupid Churchill impersonator with the squinty eye and the chomping cigar hanging out his mouth pushes through his men and smiles at the Doctor, and the Doctor runs into his arms and they giggle and pet each other like dachshunds, and I mean, what is the point of even having Churchill in this episode if it's just going to be a weird joke about Churchill? Dickens, Shakespeare, Reinette, the various Queens: They were all involved, real people, who took part in the stories. This is just like those creepy robot dolls at Disneyland or the Mormon Temple that talk when the light shines on their creepy faces. Plus he reminds me of Baron Harkonnen for some reason.
...Wait. He totally was the Baron Harkonnen. How retarded. And I'm sure any number of Anglophiles can't wait to inform themselves and each other that Ian McNeice is a national treasure, because any British actor that makes it past fifty becomes a global institution for some reason -- I think, essentially, "I have heard of his name!" or "I saw him in some Jane Austen retread!" or "He was in one episode of that goddamned show where the guy is a cop!" is generally enough reason to make this claim, not that I'm any closer to understanding what the big fucking deal about Bernard Cribbins actually is -- but in this case, it's a fail.
And not entirely, but mostly, his fault, because it's cardboard cutout with no reason to be in the story, and no heft or depth to the character beyond winking at Amy and being winked at in turn, as she goggle-eyes at him about how much she's learned and how important history is from how he stood around harrumphing around his cigar while incredibly stupid things happened for an hour. Which is, you know, why actors have jobs: To add a soul to the words on the paper. Even if those words are sparse and fairly meaningless.
So for no reason I can see, the Baron tries to requisition the Doctor's TARDIS key, and they do a lot of You Old Bastard finger-wagging in each other's faces, and Churchill's all, "Think of what I could achieve with your remarkable machine, Doctor! The lives that could be saved!" Which, was Churchill known for coveting remarkable machines and I'm not getting it? Is there a reason he would be sneaky and creepy about the TARDIS? I am fully willing to admit it; my historical knowledge is entirely limited to things like murdered heiresses and who Lord Byron fucked and the details of most battles of Alexander's campaign against Persia, but other than that it's just a whooshing chasm filled with pop music and celebrity meltdowns. Even still, I never got the sense that Winston was the type to steal your time machine.