Doctor Doctor Who Guide

Five minutes after this episode ended, a friend who is also a life-long DW fan called to say how much he had enjoyed it : proper Dr Who was what he called it. And yes - there was, as always, much to enjoy.

For those who think Russell T Davies shouldn't be sending up aspects of our own reality, hallo-o: he's always done that (go watch Casanova inventing the lottery, or buying a mansion with a room specially for wrapping presents in), and for me, it's part of the charm of the whole thing. The Doctor calling You want aliens, you've got 'em - they're here inside Downing St, or I think you'll find the Prime Minister is an alien in disguise followed by blowing up the entire area with a guided missile, should have put broad smiles on the face of any adult watching who isn't running around for the May 5 show-down.

Murray Gold's music, slated by many, has always worked for me.

The direction and technical work is incredible, given the budgets and tight time scheduling.

And in this first two-parter, finally we had the kind of pacing that the classic series had, and which personally I prefer (though as Russell T Davies says, cliff-hangers are best used with care - though the one here worked pretty well).

This episode was slower than the first, and with the Doctor, Rose & Harriet locked up in one room most of the time, the momentum had to be carried by the other actors. After the twists and turns of Episode 4, I found it a bit of an anti-climax, with a fair bit of indeterminate running around. Time for fleshing out relationships, like Mickey and Jackie. And cue lots of cracking one-line dialogue and one-off scenes to compensate. Having the General say to the acting Prime Minister in the lift, Your body is.. magnificent was a cheerful salute to the gay audience too.

What I found less than impressive was the underlying rationale - that the Slitheen are basically interplanetary scrap metal merchants, trying to reduce the Earth to radioactive slag so that they can sell it off in profitable chunks. Wouldn't Mars or Mercury do just as well, if that's all they want? And couldn't they have found weapons elsewhere to do the job, rather than have to concoct an elaborate plan to get humanity to do it with nuclear missles? Was this something to do with their ritualised hunting instinct?

And at the end, the Tardis has obviously become exactly that Number Nine bus that previous Doctors would never have considered. When Rose leaves, it was like watching a family send-off at the local coach or railway station. Is this Doctor that desperate for companionship? Even Mickey or Rose's mother could have climbed aboard without much fuss.

The zips we saw in Episode 4 (surely a CGI oversight, which will hopefully be rectified in the DVD release) were thankfully missing in this episode, too, though the farting was back (but as part of their cheerfully ruthless indifference, it doesn't bother me the way it has done other viewers, especially as it has an explanation. The Gelf changing from silvery-blue into red flaming for no good reason other than to indulge our love of horror staples and a good climax was for me far less impressive).

I can see myself watching this again, and enjoying it.

And although, so far not one episode has hooked me in a way which makes me definitely want to go on watching, I am enjoying the series, and judging by the ratings, so are a lot of other UK viewers. Hopefully as other writers come on board (so far only one episode has not been an RTD one), we will begin to see a broadening of style and some refining of the humour to include the adults watching, as well as the kids of all ages.

Filters: Series 1/27 Ninth Doctor Television