Doctor Doctor Who Guide

I love the way Russell T Davies is structuring this season. Present, Future, Past – followed by a return to Present. It shows the massively flexible format of Doctor Who for new viewers, and gives variety for us old timers. It’s also lovely to break with the long held tradition of Doctor Who that companions can’t return home. But it does this with a fabulous twist.

My initial reaction after having watched Aliens of London was mostly positive, but with a few reservations. I had laughed a lot, yet been fascinated and enthralled too. The Doctor bringing Rose back a year late brought all kinds of emotion to the surface. The situation is potentially tragic, but Russell T derives some humour mixed with the trauma – there’s a realism absent from virtually all of previous DW. The touching base with Roses home is unique in the annals of Who – and I think Russell T has really brought something special to the show by doing this.

The homely feel continues as the Doctor and Rose watch the unfolding drama on TV – something that we all would do. I loved the chaos of the Tyler household, with the Doctor desperately trying to concentrate on the reports. This was the scene too where Christopher Ecclestons Doctor really seemed other-worldly, even though he really should fit right in dressed as he is. It’s his attitude to the whole adventure that isolates him.

The spaceship crashlanding into the Thames is magnificent, particularly the much-advertised-already destruction of Big Ben. It’s a real surprise for us that it’s a surprise for the Doctor (if you know what I mean!). After Jackies concerned phone call it’s also wonderful to see the Doctor get ushered in to help. Learning from the missed opportunity of the 1st episode (the Internet Doctor Who) it’s also nice to see references to the past - UNIT, even if this organization have clearly moved on in the army from the past.

There’s a tremendous amount of humour in this episode, some of which initially had me squirming, before I remembered the target audience, and the realization of why emerged. The celebrated bodily functions of the Cabinet, for example, which is explained away as the aliens getting the gases of Humans wrong – fair enough. Also my nieces and nephews (4-10 range) loved it, and thought it was the best thing about the episode! The pig pilot took me a while to get my head around too – but then the Doctors explanation of this frightened enhanced creature brought the whole escapade into tragedy. Amazing I could feel sorry for a pig dressed in a spacesuit!

It was lovely to see Jackie Tyler again, wonderfully played by Camille Coduri. She was one of the stand-outs of episode 1, and I’m glad she pops back throughout the series. Roses character is considerably stronger with these touchstones to home. Mickey was better in Aliens of London. Like many others I found him a bit wet in episode 1. There’s better material for the actor here – and it’s great to see the rivalry between him and the Doctor thrive.

Of special mention too is Penelope Wilton as MP Harriet Jones. I’m absolutely delighted this is a 2-parter simply because we get to spend more time with her. It’s a lovely part, and already rivalling Simon Callow for best Supporting Character of the series.

Then there’s the Slitheen. There’s a strong Monster presence in Doctor Who – many claiming Doctor Who wouldn’t be DW without the Monsters. They are big part of the whole mythos, and it’s good to see them in force in the new series. Episode 2 showed the monster makers were up to the challenge for this series, and the Slitheen further enhance that. I loved the fact too that they were made, complete with nodding dog heads, rather than totally SFX. They are a bit cheesy as a result – but let’s do the DW thing and suspend our disbelief. SFX enhances them, but they seem to definitely be a product of Creature Workshop, complete with men inside. I loved that emphasized blink they have, kind of like a camera. It will be interesting to see them more in the over dramatically titled next episode World War Three.

Nice to see a Cliffhanger too, even though the Whats On for Next Week pretty much destroyed the reason for it! Great to hear the DW screech again.

Episode 1 of this 2 parter left me wanting more of this story – exactly the idea surely. The light-heartedness was more centre stage for sure, but DW is very much part of the fun/entertainment industry after all. I really enjoyed it. 8/10

Filters: Series 1/27 Ninth Doctor Television