Doctor Doctor Who Guide

Well, after a week's break from the pen of Russell T Davies, the man himself has returned with a brand new script, this time dealing with the after effects of Rose's departure with the Doctor. Thanks to some fantastic acting and writing, the audience gets to experience a whole gamut of emotions, as we are taken back to England, where Rose is reunited with her family and friends...

Russell T Davies has often said that he can write sparkling dialogue without any effort whatsoever. 'Aliens of London' proves that he is certainly capable, but if he does it as easily as he says he does, then I am in awe. This script simply crackles with life and vitality, and I was in awe at the structure and balance. We move from domestic drama all the way to Earth-shattering revelations, so large is the scope of this tale.

The story arc doesn't seem to move any further forward, although an initial scene with a young boy spray-painting Bad Wolf made me sit up and take notice. That aside, Russell simply focuses on telling a gripping story, with revelation piled upon revelation. In my mind, he is quickly earning the title of the 21st Century version of Bob Holmes, in all honesty. I love this guy's writing, and this episode has everything I love in scripts.

Christopher Eccleston and Billie Piper turn in some charged performances, with Chris getting a chance to really show off his comic ability. Meanwhile, Billie gets to take the dramatic focus, with her really showing off her range as an actor in scenes with Camille Coduir and Noel Clarke. We've been very lucky, as an audience, to get such a fantastic pair of actors for our leads. Almost makes me sad we're losing Chris very soon.

The guest cast are generally rather good, although I must admit to being rather off-put by the cabinet officials who have been replaced by the Slitheen. Their constant giggling and grinning seemed a bit excessive, especially when you consider they were constantly farting (which ended up being better handled than I'd originally imagined). I must admit, however, that Naoko Mori gets my vote as the sexy female scientist!

The production values are generally very impressive, and the locations and sets used to realise this episode are all pretty much flawless. Not a wobble in sight. I was very impressed by the use the production team put the Cardiff Royal Infirmary to, as it looks damn nice on screen. As well as that, 10 Downing Street looks nice inside, even if it was a bit over-satured with red. Oh well - a minor flaw in a very impressive episode.

Obviously, in future years, when it comes to looking at the special effects, everyone is going to almost always talk about the space ship which crashes into Big Ben. It's a well realised scene, looking fantastic. The combination of CGI and model work looks great, with special thanks to Mike Tucker for his work. I do, however, have to admit that the Slitheen transmutation sequence was a bit ropey, as was that space pig costume.

Keith Boak generally does a pretty good job with the direction on this story, with his use of the camera giving the whole thing a rather important feel about it. One was never left in any doubt that the events we were witnessing were big. However, no overview of this epic quality would be complete with special mention of Murray Gold's incidental score, which is fantastic. He's been great on the series, and this episode is tops.

Overall, 'Aliens of London' is a great episode of Doctor Who. I doubt it will ever go down in the history books as a classic, but it's certainly a gripping piece of action-adventure, with some wonderful gags chucked in to keep everything in balance. Russell T Davies is quickly showing just how well he can handle the series, and with examples like this it's easy to see why. He can even write great cliffhangers!

Overall Score: 5 / 6 (Very Good)

Filters: Series 1/27 Ninth Doctor Television