Doctor Doctor Who Guide

As the first Second Part of a previous story, this very much feels like writing a review I have already written. I’ll try and separate the 2 as best I can. I never have reviewed the Classic show in separate episodes (or Big Finish for that matter) – but the nature of the new series means that thinking has changed – and 13 reviews will result. A separate episode title also emphasizes the new episode.

For those who loved Aliens of London, it’s like an extra helping of goodness. For those like me who thought it was an entertaining slice of new Who, even though not upto the excellence of previous episodes, then mixed feelings arose. It would be nice to see Rose in her home environment again. Would the Doctors jealousies be strengthened? Jackie would in it more – plus point. Mickey would be in it more – the characters growing on me. More Harriet Jones – excellent. More overweight politicians – no thanks. Runaround in Downing Street – sounds fun. More Big Bouncy monsters – increasingly not so sure about more of them.

The original title of 10 Downing Street actually suits this episode far more than the overly dramatic one used. It’s not as sensational – but this World War Three business just never really convinced. It never happened for a start.

The Cliffhanger was nicely resolved, and that’s where the runaround started, in very effective doubles for the real place may I add. I’m not completely struck on the Music employed in the new series – and this was another example of it not quite gelling to the action smoothly. It was fun seeing CGI Slitheen chasing after our heroes though. The tense scene with Rose and Harriet hiding in a back room was also effective. The Doctor took the rise too much though – especially as he kept opening the doors to gloat at the Slitheen – why didn’t they just go for him then? But then the Slitheen were so incredibly slow – except when they were CGI!

The standard of the supporting cast has been excellent this series – and Harriet Jones more than lived up to her introduction in the previous episode. A caring, compassionate MP may be a contradiction to the popular view – but that’s exactly what we get from Penelope Wiltons lovely portrayal.

The fat MPs were better this week too. I was really impressed with David Verrey as he faced the press, in an attempt to get the access codes. I also enjoyed the mellowing of the Doctors attitude to Mickey – as he finally showed his mettle. The whole UNIT business on the Computer was a ridiculously contrived solution, but fun all the same.

However the Slitheen never quite made the grade as Monsters for me. The intergalactic Scrap Merchants was a good idea – very Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy, but they were a bit embarrassing overall. I thought the new Doctor Who was going to play everything straight. I thought Russell Ts Script took the mickey of the aliens a little too much. The whole gastric emissions, that continued forcefully throughout this episode, stripped them of any scariness and seriousness. Maybe Russell T knew this, so had some fun instead. Certainly my nephews and nieces were not remotely scared by them.

I really don’t care for big blobby monsters anyway, in any show. Doctor Who is better when it doesn’t have too many, and it looks like there aren’t this series – and that’s good. Most of Doctor Whos Monsters are rubbish anyway – but I suspect I may be in a minority with that theory. Saying that though DW has got it right in numerous occasions (Ice Warriors, Sontarans, Sea Devils) – but the Slitheen are not one of them. For every 1 brilliant DW Monster, there’s a dozen rubbish ones.

What I particularly enjoyed about this episode actually had nothing to do with the main threat though. It was the wonderful interplay between Mickey, Jackie, Rose and Doctor. I was happy for the main threat to disappear 35 minutes in, as that provided some excellent character scenes for these wonderful personalities. That’s what enthused me about World War Three – the way Rose was pulled this way and that. Mickey levering himself onto the bin at the end, waiting for Rose, was lovely. Let’s get the marvellous Jackie in the TARDIS too, just for a few adventures – now that would provide some tension for the Doctor.

Never short of entertaining again, the 5th Episode continued the bizarreness and silliness of Aliens of London. It’s hardly the best bit of Doctor Who I have ever seen – but it’s professionally performed and produced. It’s just wonderful to talk Who with my work colleagues, most of who watch it, but were never fans. They see it as a light-hearted romp – and who am I to disagree. Light-hearted romps have always had a place in Doctor Who – with this being as fine an example as you will find. 7/10

Filters: Series 1/27 Ninth Doctor Television