Doctor Doctor Who Guide

With the teaser trailer setting expectations high, Aliens of London fails to deliver as much as it promised - with moments of silliness marring an otherwise solid plotline.

The episode starts off wonderfully, with Miss Piper continuing to shine as Rose. It is one of the highlights of the new series to see the companion acting realistically, struggling as someone really would, amidst numerous interactions that arise from her normality clashing with extreme situations. This is particularly joyous given the tendency to excess of Mr Eccleston as the Doctor. The scene with Rose's late return was wonderful, with plenty of amusing comic moments and cultural references thrown in. I thought that Mickey was much better here than before; the viewer was able to sympathise with his anger, relief and resentment of the Doctor.

The overall concept for the alien invasion was intriguing with a suitably surprising and salivating plot twist to keep the viewer interested. Much to my surprise, the augmented pig actually worked... although I am guessing not everyone will agree with me on that! The Slitheen plan is well organised, planned in detail and highly manipulative. Continuing with the positives, the special effects were again superb.

Unfortunately, the story was greatly weakened by the cabinet ministers at the centre of the plot. Rather than enhance the sense of mystery or suspense, they destroy it. The farting was part of a wider problem with their portrayal, with none of them managing to prove convincing at being members of parliament. Disappointing.

The potential for the news footage to add to the realism of the occasion and overall sense of panic was again wasted. Perhaps they feared a War-of-the-World panic should anyone have inadvertently tuned in and it was too believable, but it was sometimes embarrassingly bad and it was often unclear about the passage of time involved.

Aliens of London was yet again good entertainment but failed to match the previous stories, frustratingly because of a basic but important weakness to make the menacing and calculating aliens sufficiently believable as human leaders. The episode ended up being lighter than I had anticipated but, following from the particularly creepy Unquiet Dead and with the (hopefully) scary Dalek to come, perhaps this is not surprising in retrospect. If the new Who is to appeal to a broad audience of children, it can't be too dark. And despite the failings, it is still a fantastic romp and - dare I say it - much better than a great, great deal of the old series!

Given the announcement was this week, I would also like to state my support for David Tennant as the Tenth Doctor. Aside from being a fine actor, he is also enthusiastic about the show which I think is important. Let us hope that the quality and, moreover, the great fun of the show continue and that everyone can get behind Mr Tennant as they did Mr Eccleston.

Filters: Series 1/27 Ninth Doctor Television