Doctor Doctor Who Guide

And so the adventure continues for the Doctor and Rose.......

Each of the new season stories so far have managed to be nicely different from each other and this was no exception. The Unquiet Dead was always going to be a hard act to follow and this one, for me, did not beat it, but nonetheless there was much to like.

First the positives. I was deeply looking forward to a two parter simply in order to watch a story that didn't have to be wrapped up in 45 minutes via a handy vial of antiplastic, handy lever, or handy maid with second sight. Joy. That said, we have still to see how this story winds itself up but at least we have more of it! I am not against the new 45 minute format- all the episodes to date have nicely combined action and depth and whilst with parts one and three at least, I would have liked more time, it does have to be said that the padding that bedevilled some classic series stories is noticeably absent.....but it's just nice to have a story with more time.

Bringing Rose home was a nice touch- we have rarely been allowed to see how the Doctor's dipping in and out of human life affects the world around him in quite such a raw way as here. The error in the timing of Rose's homecoming and the subsequent embitterment of Roses' Mum and Mickey built up very well though it seemed odd that straight after being accused of abduction the Doctor was companiably watching TV with the family! Wouldn't he at least be taken in for questioning!?? Did something go on to alleviate this that we have yet to see...? Maybe the intent is that we fill in the gaps ourselves.

The alien quality of the new Doctor makes him an awkward presence- understandably he doesn't want to be involved in domestics when there's a bigger picture at stake- his exasperated look as Roses' Mum gets excited about a potential date while aliens put the world in crisis was a nice touch again- but his complete lack of empathy and constant rudeness may become annoying if left undeveloped by the mutual education that this Doctor/Companion team are supposed to be bringing. Whilst a kind of apology is made in Roses' flat, it seems un-Doctor like for him to not care about what Mickey (for one) has been through. That said, of course, the big picture of this season is intriguing....a Time Lord hardened by the loss of his world, carrying (perhaps) the burden of his extinct race, so desperate to keep saving the big world he loses sight of small details and lacks patience with people's parochial views of themselves and their world. The combination of the big worldview and the care of the individual is what has always marked the Doctor though, and I look forward to seeing how things pan out with this. Despite my mixed views on where we are at the moment with this aspect of RTD's Dr Who, there was unquestionably a need, after sixteen years with only one episode in the meantime, to rediscover our hero as an alien who the new generation of viewers could gradually get to know a la Hartnell. Overall the quality of the concept is what the Colin Baker era tried and failed to do. It's also understandable that his new, deeper loneliness would make him latch onto Rose with her open spirit and willingness to grow into a new horizon, but reject her smaller minded contemporaries as allies. Nonetheless, he could do with showing a little more care and awareness. Of course, this could all be answered in part two!!!

Moving on. The story in general built up well. We have not yet been shown how the aliens infiltrated parliament , but that's not a problem. There's time yet. The news reports etc were well injected into the flow of things and we got a real sense of England on a knife edge. The support acting from Noel Clarke, Camille Camouri and Penelope Wilton was of a high standard. The hospital/morgue scenes with the tension of holding the as yet unseen alien were excellent, and the augmented pig, with the underlying decoy idea, was a nasty concept hidden behind a comical manifestation. Good stuff. The Doctor's instantly taking command of the army was neat, very Tom Baker, and his concern as the pig was shot was nice too. A nice touch that could do, as previously mentioned, do with attaching itself to his affect on humans. At this point in time it seems to have been very easy to turn human bodies into zipped disguises given the quickness of the Army leader's transformation but again we still have more to see. Finally, a triple cliffhanger with Rose, Mum and Doctor all under attack in different places....what can I say? Sheer class!!!!! At first sight the slitheen looked a bit unconvincing but look better as they gain full size and lollop about a bit.

The alienised politicians made a mixed impression on me. These are creatures who are clearly having a gleeful time playing with their human cadavers and being ahead of everyone else and that's fine. In general the menace hidden behind a frivolous edge worked. That said their mass laughing scene was embarrassing and the flatulence- out of place, embarrassing, juvenile and borderline offensive. Nice touch to show a symptomatic problem with possession of humans but doing it this way was unfunny.

So there we go. In general, a good intriguing 45 minutes. Here's to part two. And the rest.

Filters: Series 1/27 Ninth Doctor Television