Doctor Doctor Who Guide

Being a long-time Doctor Who fan is, at the moment, something of a treat - people keep coming up to me and saying "You know, you were right, it's actually very good!" And tonight's episode got the thumbs up from the previously uncommitted in our house (although, after last week's murdering corpse, the smallest viewer - 2 year's old - had to make do with only the first 50% of the show).

Tonight's episode rattled along and paid homage to that most familiar of Who storylines - the taking of central London by aliens ... and these ones were undeterred by the congestion charge (although I did pick up on the quip about Ken Livingston). And the first multi-part story gave us our first cliff-hanger (and a decent one is was too). But ... the story doesn't seem to have got very far as regards the main action. Aliens have landed in London and taken on key positions of authority - the Doctor knows that the spaceship in the Thames is a decoy and now all 'alien experts' (that is experts ON aliens, as opposed to experts who happen to be aliens) are now trapped in 10 Downing Street where they can be eliminated. Don't get me wrong, it's still a great story (I especially liked the line about a spaceship ploughing through Big Ben was "just too perfect"), but it feels a bit slow compared to the snappy one-parters.

While I'm feeling in critical mood -

1. The "Rose-returning-home" plot is something completely new for Doctor Who and a storyline that us 30-somethings will need to get used to. It did seem to get in the way of the action in this episode - although it was very well performed throughout (good line about Micky not seeing anyone else; "mainly because they thought I was a muderer").

2. Connected to 1 - I hope the "vague romance" thing between Rose and the Doctor can be alluded to rather than overtly mentioned (which is more in keeping with the traditional perspective of the show). It wouldn't be out of place anywhere else on TV, and it's not detracting from things here, but I would hate it to become central to the series. Maybe others will disagree, maybe it's just the older fan in me being used to a more paternalistic Doctor who dominated rather than allowed the companion to have such prominence.

3. The grin accompanied by "fantastic!" is obviously here to stay, so I'll just have to accept it. However, it would be better if the Doctor could respond with a little more gravitas when the world around him explodes.

4. Have the BBC made their first SFX bungle? The little heads on the aliens don't appear too realistic when the creatures are in motion - they appeared to bounce a bit like one of those "back of the car" toy dogs. Maybe it's about getting the balance between horror and humour that the BBC spokeman was talking about last week ...

5. ... finally, farting aliens are no problem, but please, PLEASE don't have this "emerging" as a key plot twist - "We're safe, Doctor, the aliens have all left and returned to their planet ..." -RASSSPPPP!! - "Oh my God, they're behind you!"

These "not-particularly-large-grumbles" aside, this continues to be very, very good TV and the show manages to combine storylines on many different levels (something which the best of the 'classic' series managed to do on occasion).

Filters: Series 1/27 Ninth Doctor Television