Doctor Doctor Who Guide

In Dr. WHO’s past, companions would arrive back on Earth after a year or two away, to be met with a brief where’ve you been?, only to be brushed off with an instant request for supper or the like. This was more realistic - Rose’s pictures up as a Missing Person, with Mickey questioned as a murder suspect.

Russell T. Davies’ evocation of a UFO crash-landing into the Thames after having nipped into the Big Ben was completely fresh, bold, daring - post 9/11, hence contemporary. The image of the Big Ben impact received a lot of coverage and will I’m sure remain in the Top 100 Iconic moments of DR. WHO of all time.

Elsewhere, the script was fast-paced and visual. Only a moment prefaced The Doctor leading the U.N.I.T.? soldiers through the double doors (an Eccleston moment this) onward.

The domestic scene of The Doctor fighting for control of the TV remote in Jackie’s lounge to catch BBC News 24 bulletins of the UFO was just great. I caught the bulletins for this episode first on the website and I was very impressed. They were played completely straight, as Kenneth Kendall and Alex MacIntosh had done previously - mostly in the Pertwee era.

While The Doctor’s no stranger to earnest BBC news coverage of alien invasions (how many years has it been?) The Doctor’s having to “do domestic” in a sustained way for the very first time. He wasn’t even around when Benton & Yates were making corned beef sandwiches. Jackie (& Mickey) see inside the TARDIS. Jackie promptly calls the hotline and reports the Doctor as an alien. But far from being entangled in red tape, he's rescued by an Internet search engine - only to discover than the sinister Slitheen want all the experts in one room to electrocute.

The Doctor & Rose being feted in a chauffeur- driven limo to No 10 brought back memories when our leading man was an Establishment Darling - Hartnell in “THE WAR MACHINES” & Jon Pertwee - before Tom Baker rebelled against the thought of tea at the Palace and became a Bohemian again.

I personally thought the farting aliens wouldn’t have been passed by JNT for Season 24 or even Tom Baker in his wilder excesses, but the strength of the production as a whole reduced them to only a ‘passing embarrassment’. It was clear these were aliens having trouble adapting to human bodies. I experience this myself from time to time...

The overweight Regional politician was clearly John Prescott, so expect him to land a knock-out blow. And the PM who fell from the closet bore more than a passing resemblance to Tony Blair. Since this is set a year on from now, I do hope not.

The cliff-hanger was extended and played for all it was worth. The Slitheen worked to script as appearing either cute or menacing.

Personal Rating: 9 and a half / 10 (shame about the farts).

Filters: Series 1/27 Ninth Doctor Television