Doctor Doctor Who Guide

I was feeling pretty good about the new series through Rose, knowing it needed time to bed down. Episode 2 was amusing but some of the more irritating bits of the first episode remained but then I thought The Unquiet Dead was a serious piece of business.

Then it went a bit funny again. Don't get me wrong, I liked Aliens of London very much, but it had too much of a spoof about it, the farting aliens were particularly annoying. Some of the lines made me wince and the over-acting (a la Space Quest) of a couple of the aliens got very tired.

I love the development of Rose's story and the effect her disappearance from the Earth had on those around her, something that was never really explored before that and it brings a good emotional level to the series we rarely saw before. Rose could just as well be Ace, but we didn't see much about emotion when Ace came 'home.' (I think it was Ghost Light). Rose is coming along well as a companion but the litmus test will of course be how she handles the Daleks.

World War III, though, was not as good as one might have expected. The aliens were cool as they rampaged through Number 10, but, again, there were irritating, puerile things about the story that others have already pointed out in previous reviews for other eps - namely the really poor incidental music and the reliance on some dud gags to move things along. And the security forces were too thick for words. UNIT barely rated a mention through the story and here was Mickey breaking into the UN with a weak password like buffalo. You have to be kidding, right?

Christopher Eccleston also returned to his grinning loon interpretation that I had hoped to be gone after first-ep nerves and in some parts of the story appeared a little too callous for my liking. The Doctor is a compassionate guy and wouldn't have previously watched a companion struggle to get through a door to safety with a silly wave from the lift. And I'm over the re-born sonic screwdriver. Where are the Sontarans when you need them?

Technically the episode was good, the aliens looked terrific as I've already said and the editing was good if a little disjointed in parts. The wreckage of Number 10 was quite convincing and the way Harriet Jones took off to take control while Rose and the Doctor slipped away was nice.

On a story level, Russell T Davies' attempt to trash corporate greed just plain missed the mark. There are so many cool ways to do that and this isn't one of them. I know he had to find a motivation, but the fact it was all for the benefit of a family corporation was pretty dull and, it has to be said, predictable. How would I have done it? I don't know...but then, no-one has offered me the gig, so I'm not giving anything away. Pay me to think and I reckon I could do it. Are you listening, BBC? And the dismissal by the press that the whole thing was a hoax. Um...the PM's dead as is most of the cabinet and a fairly hefty chunk of the government's advisory committee. How was Harriet going to just step into the breach? Or maybe I need to watch that bit again.

The scripting remains good and exceptionally cohesive one story to the next, this is a great re-invention of the series. Rose gets good lines and the way the other characters react to Rose's slow de-sensitisation (?) to what's going on around her is a nice plot device - it's waking us up to the fact that where the Doctor goes, so does death and destruction. It started out as a sort of joke, but has evolved well and is woven into the story quite surreptitiously and then BAM, you're reminded.

Aliens and WWIII didn't do it for me but it certainly hasn't destroyed my faith in the series. Unquiet Dead was such a fine episode and the trailer for Dalek looks equally impressive. Aliens and WWIII were bankers, but entertaining enough.

Filters: Series 1/27 Ninth Doctor Television