Doctor Doctor Who Guide

Here’s what I was going to do. I was going to write a separate review of this episode, and then a full review of the Aliens Of London two-parter. And now, I find myself unable to do that. Why? Because the two episodes are so different from each other. So, so different. I shall explain…

We open with our cliffhanger, and the Doctor very quickly gets himself out of it. But remember, this was a three-tier cliffhanger! No matter. In one swift move, the Doctor solves every problem. For now. Cue titles. I gave a cheer. This set the standard for the rest of the episode. I cheered a lot. And laughed a lot.

Seriously, this was a hilarious episode. Right from the very beginning, with the Doctor’s pathetic-sounding explanation to the military about the alien cover-up, I was laughing every few seconds. We have a lot of chasing through corridors this time around, with another cheer from me. I’ve warmed to the Slitheen, too, partly due to the way blink, partly to the way they move. Velociraptors, anyone? A few belly-laughs later, the Doctor, Rose and Harriet (great character!) have locked themselves in the Cabinet room. And spend the remainder of the episode there.

This was a great move on the part of RTD, who’s delivered a script here that’s about as good as The End of the World. The Slitheen’s plan, with its subtleties and intricacies, is pure genius. Keith Boak has done a better job here too, and manages to keep the action going even while our main characters are stuck in a room for half an hour.

Oh! The dialogue! This is cracking stuff… the best RTD dialogue so far, and acted beautifully. Meanwhile, Mickey and Jackie are fighting off their own monster, and we’re treated to our first “gross monster explosion” of the season. Vinegar, Hannibal, “You kiss this man?”… gorgeous stuff. The Doctor and Mickey are again displaying a wonderful chemistry together, even when just talking on the phone.

David Verrey, by the way, delivers an excellent performance here as Joseph Green, the acting PM (although we all know what he really is). The direction and the music add to the atmosphere the moment he announces to the world that they are at war. At this point, I realised I was no longer laughing – I was too riveted by the drama. I’d always thought Joss Whedon had created an amazing thing with Buffy, a perfect fusion of comedy and drama. We all know RTD is an immense Buffy fan, and if you look at Queer As Folk, it’s obvious he knows how to pull off exactly the same fusion. Never has this been clearer than in World War Three. Did I say this was cracking stuff? Well… er, it is.

The effects, too, are gorgeous. That missile heading across England’s south-east had me completely convinced. The resolution of the story is perfect, and we all know Harriet Jones will make a wonderful PM.

But back to Rose’s domestic life. Camille Coduri as Jackie deserves a mention here for adding a bit more substance to her character, just as Noel Clarke did with his character of Mickey in the previous episode. I was really touched by the way she handled Rose’s decision to join the Doctor permanently on his travels. When I heard the closing sting, I sat back with a satisfied grin.

As a whole, I don’t think I could ever watch Aliens Of London followed by World War Three. Oddly enough, in the event of a huge new series marathon, I might even skip the former and move straight onto the latter. Like I said before, the two episodes are just so different! The acting, the script, the music, the direction, the effects, the pacing, the humour, the fear factor, the drama… with Aliens Of London, I really thought this series was about to go downhill, at least for a little while. Mercifully, World War Three proved me wrong. It only dipped for one week, then shot straight back up. My confidence in this series has been reassured. Bring on the Dalek!!!

Filters: Series 1/27 Ninth Doctor Television