Doctor Doctor Who Guide

Well, it took 5 episodes, but we have now officially reached "Worst Episode Ever" of the new Doctor Who. The last paragraph, incidentally, may contain spoiler material for episode 6, but nothing major.

It all started when last week's cliffhanger had its tension reduced somewhat by the appearance of a fit & healthy Doctor viewed in the "Next Time" teaser. The cliffhanger was further undermined by a far-too-speedy resolution in the last shot of the pre-title sequence for "End Of The World".

Overuse of the farting effect of compression continued to annoy, turning sections of the plot into something akin to the children's shows Pip & Jane Baker turned out in the 1980's. Fears that multiple doors in a corridor during a chase scene might lead to some kind of Keystone Kops sequence were thankfully not realised...

Then the alien plot is revealed - and is actually a bit naff. A bit like the West Lodge's plot for Argolis in Leisure Hive, but with less finesse and imagination. And the plot is resolved a good 10-15 minutes before the end of the episode.

Which brings me to my final gripe for the first two-parter. Last week, I applauded RTD for being the man to write a story that explored the ramifications of a companion's sudden departure into time and space. I still think this is a valid concept to explore, but, as is the case with the 9th Doctor's backstory, something to explore when the plot allows. It should complement rather than replace the action. But with the Slitheen seen off by about the 32nd minute, this subtext (to quote Rupert Giles) rapidly becomes the text.

On the plus side, we have a stirling performance (for once) from Mickey, as he realises his differences with the Doctor are petty in the face of global peril. Jackie turns in a credible performance as Rose's mum, more intent on her daughter's safety than that of the world.

Eccleston's occasional "grinning idiot" approach seems to be lessening in its visibility, and a superb poignancy is reached as the Doctor is faced with a final option, that means saving the world could lead to Rose's death.

Whilst "World War III" represents the worst plotting of the series thus far, the CGI and physical effects are still of a high standard, and the "Next Time" sequence sets the pulse racing as we get our appetites whetted by the re-appearance of the Daleks!

The subsequent episode of Doctor Who Confidential had a sneak preview, including a shot that pays obvious homage to the pepperpots' first ever appearance 40 odd years ago....

See you next week....

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