Doctor Doctor Who Guide

Having recovered from the shocking decline of quality witnessed in "The Unquiet Dead", I'm glad to say that this was a return to form. I am worried, however, that all the episodes I've liked thus far have been by the same writer. It doesn't give me much hope for the non-Davies episodes.

In any case, there was a genuine sense of excitement to this episode, something which was lacking from the previous two. For once, I wasn't already ahead of the characters as they were puzzling things out. And I loved the city of London's reaction to the extra terrestrial visitors: the excitement is palpable, but underneath it things are pretty much as they've always been. Rose's mum is far more concerned about where her daughter's been and making sure her guests all have a drink than the world changing events going on a few miles away.

Speaking of Rose, it's nice to see the real impact of her choosing to up and leave her life, instead of this being swept under the carpet and ignored. Are the problems with the TARDIS going to be a continuing theme this series? It stretches credibility somewhat if this has happened two episodes in a row by pure coincidence, but to much better dramatic effect here than in episode three.

It's childish and stupid, but there's something about people running around corridors with guns that never gets boring. More of this, less floating spectres and giant rotor blades please. And I'd never thought I'd say this, but: well done, BBC special effects department. Not only are the Slitheen genuinely alien in appearance, but the shot of the spaceship taking out a big chunk of Big Ben was wonderfully done.

Two minor complaints: firstly, I don't know if I was supposed to be disgusted at what was done to the alien-impersonating pig, but I wasn't ("it must have been terrified" the Doctor says sadly, as if he's talking about an Iraqi child with no limbs). I mean, come on, how can you feel sorry for a pig in a space suit? I suspect this is supposed to be tongue in cheek, so I will let it go.

Secondly, the farting. I know to at least half the population (the male half, predominantly) that farting is the funniest thing imaginable. But there could have been any other number of signals used to denote when a supporting character is actually an alien. Nose bleeds, random vomiting, narcolepsy... all of these obvious solutions are much funnier than farting.

Having said all that, this was the best episode of the series so far, and thanks to the series' first cliff-hanger, promises a lot for the second part.

Filters: Series 1/27 Ninth Doctor Television