Doctor Doctor Who Guide
We come to the first two-parter of the series (or is it? both episodes have different story titles, and neither is sign-posted as being parts 1 or 2?), that alone brings back nostalgic memories of early 'Sixties' Doctor Who, where fans have ever since argued over what is the proper story title for stories such as 'The Daleks' or 'The Edge of Destruction'! So well done Russell T Davies for re-introducing story titles for each individual episode, and re-creating even more heated debates on what the proper story title might possibly be for this particular two-parter and future ones! Don't worry everybody, I'm just being sarcastic, I have better things to do with my time than think about something as trivial as that, but I'm sure some fans will have sleepless nights over it!

Now back to the story (or episode?) itself. It opened with a brief re-cap from episode 1 'Rose' , reminding viewers that Rose has a family, boyfriend and past. This nicely sets up this near-future adventure which reintroduces these elements. The Tardis arrives in the pre-credits sequence only for the Doctor to discover that Rose hasn't been returned 12 hours after she originally left, but rather 12 months!

All this is a rather slow and predictable opening, but things soon pick up when the UFO flies overhead and hovers over London's landmarks and finally crashing through Big Ben and falling into the Thames. This particular scene is wonderful and superbly filmed, the model sequences here are some of the best ever presented, and all the partial-authentic News 24 stuff following was very well done and added more credibility to the whole proceedings. It was great seeing the Doctor sat down watching the tele, only to have Rose's flat populated with friends and family constantly talking in the background and effecting the Doctor's concentration. Very much something I can identify with!

The Doctor being confronted by the army was another fantastic scene, and then seeing that Pig in a spacesuit, was astonishing and is something that you could only find in Doctor Who. The Doctor's reaction to it's death was very moving and surprisingly effective, and what about those farting aliens, well, they were certainly something new to Doctor Who, and the big kid in me found these moments very funny (I'm easy to please!).

When we see the Slitheen revealed by their unmasking towards the end of the episode by unzipping their foreheads (and how great was THAT effect, it helpfully explained how Scaroth and the Foamasi probably concealed themselves under very convincing human skins). The cliffhanger ending was brilliant, and with the Doctor and friends in immediate peril it brought the whole thing to an adrenaline rushed finale! Shame then that it was followed by a teaser for the follow-up episode, it kind of took the shine off the ending somewhat. What a missed opportunity!

Still, overall the episode was pretty good and ticked most of the right boxes, it was funny, dramatic, shocking and action-packed. Billie Piper is still magnificent and lovely as Rose, and Christopher Eccleston as the Doctor is great, the best Doctor since Peter Davison in my opinion. Now you must excuse me, but my bowels are about to release something quite fowl I think. 8/10

Filters: Series 1/27 Ninth Doctor Television