Doctor Doctor Who Guide

Previously, on Doctor Who....

We've marvelled at how, in reinventing the show for the 21st Century, post-Buffy, tv-savvy family audience, RTD et al have kept the show eerily familiar for us older fans. Sure, the action is faster as dictated by the 45 minute format, and the sets don't wobble, and the effects are actually effective, but the essence of the series is still that of the show we've loved for over 40 years.

But in Aliens Of London, we encounter an entirely knew concept - and a welcome one at that. Yes, over the years, many an adolescent boy has felt the first stirrings of something alien in his pants at the sight of the Doctor's companions. And yes, we've all hidden behind the sofa as the latest Little Miss Screamy is threatened by the alien of the week.

Yet, somewhat strangely, we've never really had an exploration of the aftermath of a young woman absconding with a 900-yr old timelord. OK, so there was a brief, throwaway line in Survival, but here we have a whole backstory about Rose's departure. And it works! Strangely, it fits right in with traditional Who. Set against the backdrop of an alien incursion, we hear about the 12 month search for Rose, the suspicion thrown at Mickey, and the suffering of Rose's mother. Its that classic Who mix of huge world/cosmos shattering events with a parochial subtext that has always played a big part of the show's appeal.

As for the main plot itself, its the usual high standard the new series has become synonymous with. The farting aliens wear a little, the gag is overdone a tad, but the plot twists are inventive and tidy. The cliffhanger (thank God they're back!) is right up there with Deadly Assassin Episode 3, Remembrance episode 1, and all your other favourites.

Tidy performances from the supporting cast, and a fleeting glimpse of UNIT, adds yet another success to the RTD vision of Doctor Who. And after 16 years of VHS and DVD watching, I find myself enjoying the fact I HAVE to wait seven days for the resolution. For the first time since I first heard a CND spokmesman, I'm really looking forward to World War III.

Filters: Series 1/27 Ninth Doctor Television