Doctor Doctor Who Guide

Reviews


List:
03 Jul 2006Army of Ghosts, by Mark Hain
03 Jul 2006Army of Ghosts, by Frank Collins
03 Jul 2006Army of Ghosts, by Dapo Olasyian
03 Jul 2006Army of Ghosts, by Billy Higgins
03 Jul 2006Army of Ghosts, by Robert F.W. Smith
03 Jul 2006Army of Ghosts, by Calum Corral
03 Jul 2006Army of Ghosts, by Christopher E Meadows
03 Jul 2006Army of Ghosts, by Eddy Wolverson
03 Jul 2006Army of Ghosts, by Joe Ford
03 Jul 2006Army of Ghosts, by Alan McDonald
03 Jul 2006Army of Ghosts, by Morgan Jenner
03 Jul 2006Army of Ghosts, by Nathan Blunt
03 Jul 2006Army of Ghosts, by Mike Eveleigh
03 Jul 2006Army of Ghosts, by A.D. Morrison
03 Jul 2006Army of Ghosts, by Angus Gulliver
03 Jul 2006Army of Ghosts, by James Winstanley
03 Jul 2006Army of Ghosts, by Ian Larkin
03 Jul 2006Army of Ghosts, by Jack Sprague
10 Jul 2006Doomsday, by William Davis
10 Jul 2006Doomsday, by Calum Corral
10 Jul 2006Doomsday, by Ali Ryland
10 Jul 2006Doomsday, by Richard Walter
10 Jul 2006Doomsday, by Will Valentino
10 Jul 2006Doomsday, by Morgan Jenner
10 Jul 2006Doomsday, by Alex Child
10 Jul 2006Doomsday, by Mark Hain
10 Jul 2006Doomsday, by Ian Bonham
10 Jul 2006Doomsday, by Paul Nicholls
10 Jul 2006Doomsday, by Joshua Pincus
10 Jul 2006Doomsday, by Phil Baron
10 Jul 2006Doomsday, by Jeffrey Hare
10 Jul 2006Doomsday, by Jonathan Hughes
10 Jul 2006Doomsday, by Angus Gulliver
10 Jul 2006Doomsday, by Paul Berry
10 Jul 2006Doomsday, by Alex Jones
10 Jul 2006Doomsday, by Ian Larkin
10 Jul 2006Doomsday, by Jeremy Crane
10 Jul 2006Doomsday, by Simon Fox
10 Jul 2006Doomsday, by Andrew Blair
10 Jul 2006Doomsday, by Frank Collins
10 Jul 2006Doomsday, by Simon Funnell
10 Jul 2006Doomsday, by Trish Brigden
10 Jul 2006Doomsday, by Rachel Sinclair
10 Jul 2006Doomsday, by A.D. Morrison
10 Jul 2006Doomsday, by Alan McDonald
10 Jul 2006Doomsday, by Billy Higgins
10 Jul 2006Doomsday, by Eddy Wolverson
10 Jul 2006Doomsday, by Mike Eveleigh
10 Jul 2006Doomsday, by Travis Butler
10 Jul 2006Doomsday, by Rob Fogwill
10 Jul 2006Doomsday, by Jennifer Kirkland
10 Jul 2006Doomsday, by David Gibbons
10 Jul 2006Doomsday, by Joe Ford
10 Jul 2006Doomsday, by Gary Caldwell
11 Jul 2006Army of Ghosts/Doomsday, by Robin Calvert
11 Jul 2006Army of Ghosts/Doomsday, by Rob Littlewood
11 Jul 2006Army of Ghosts/Doomsday, by Patrick Leach
11 Jul 2006Army of Ghosts/Doomsday, by James Tricker
11 Jul 2006Army of Ghosts/Doomsday, by Steve Manfred
11 Jul 2006Army of Ghosts/Doomsday, by Stephen Lang
11 Jul 2006Army of Ghosts/Doomsday, by Adam Kintopf
11 Jul 2006Army of Ghosts/Doomsday, by Oliver Bond
11 Jul 2006Army of Ghosts/Doomsday, by James McLean
11 Jul 2006Army of Ghosts/Doomsday, by Paul Clarke
11 Jul 2006Army of Ghosts/Doomsday, by Paul Hayes
11 Jul 2006Army of Ghosts/Doomsday, by James Castelli

Wow.....just wow.........

Not every episode can be hands down kick ass Doctor and enemy action, and as a matter of fact neither was this episode. This, however, IS Doctor Who. There have been a couple of episodes this season that just didn't seem to click. Love and Monsters was one of them. I know what they were trying to do, and kudos to them for going out on a limb and trying something different (which almost no show does anymore), but it just didn't work for me. The point is, when I was a kid growing up and watching this show, an episode like Army of Ghosts would have not only cemented me as a Doctor Who fan for life (oops too late) but pulled in anyone around me who even remotely enjoyed science fiction.

To start off, I am really....really sad that Rose is leaving the show. Sounds pretty much like she will die but whether she dies or not, this episode truly shows how great a team they are. As her mother says in the show, she has changed so much since the first episode of this new Doctor Who. Essentially she's the same girl who took the rope off the wall and saved the Doctor from the Autons but she is so much more confident and has simply grown as a human being. I disagree with Jackie though that she is turning into someone other than Rose Tyler just by spending time with the Doctor. Sure she isn't as much of a child but most parents would be happy to watch their children grow up into someone responsible and mature. So she cares more about the human race as a whole then working at a shop and eating fish and chips...this is a bad thing?

It is cool that Torchwood knows the Doctor, that they greet him the way they do and the dialogue is excellent.

"Wait, everything alien is yours...does that mean I'm a prisoner?"
"Of course, but we will make you comfortable...."

One of the admittedly nitpicky problems with the episode is how easy it is for the Cybermen to infiltrate Torchwood. I sure hope Captain Jack is able to help them turn into an operation that is prepared for that sort of thing. Which leads me into problem #2... would it have been so impossible to include Captain Jack in these last two episodes?! He was only the absolute best companion ever to appear in Doctor Who--so good he gets his own show for pete's sake. Besides an embarassing K9 and Company pilot, what other companion has gotten the kind of response that a new show is built for them? It simply would have been very cool for him to be there to see Rose off, and to show how he ties in with this mostly inept little group that was created to stop "the alien horde". Maybe he'll appear next week, but I'm not holding my breath.

Once again it's the alternate reality Cybermen which is not as cool as the ones that would actually know the Doctor and what kind of a threat he is but still...pretty cool. I am sad to say that the sudden appearance of ghosts around the world would actually cause us to destroy ourselves but in this episode I can suspend my disbelief enough to actually really enjoy this episode. Seeing Mickey was cool too. I'm not English so I'm not privy to any rumors or news but any chance he will be a companion? I know they were looking at some woman I never heard of but Mickey could be cool too. I couldn't stand his character at first but talk about growing up! He went from a cowering off and on boyfriend of Rose to a freedom fighter against Cybermen!

Overall, I got goosebumps watching this episode. Funny episodes are good, I don't mind space filler when there is good character development and acting in it but THIS is why I love this show. It has bits of humor to be sure but from the time the Doctor sees these ghosts he is on the ball trying to discover what they really are. When he sees the void ship he knows how wrong it is and when he is told that it does not belong to the Cybermen, his shocked reaction is so perfectly done, it makes me even happier David Tennant is such a perfect Doctor.

Other favorite scenes are when Rose tries to use the psychic paper and is caught because all Torchwood employees have psychic training and they can tell the paper is blank. Also how Torchwood has found all the alien tech that has crash landed on Earth for years and how they are using it to create a new British Empire. Also, the Doctor giving in, pulling up a chair and waiting for the inevitable "ghost shift". It freaks out the head of Torchwood so much she actually stops the shift!

Of course it would have been nice to have a different villain from the past emerge from the void ship but hey, I am not complaining. The thought of Daleks AND Cybermen on Earth, fighting each other AND us....wow!!!!

Last off I am very glad Rose's end will be on Earth. It was really the only way to do it. I'm sure it will be a sacrifice of some kind so as to alleviate any blame Jackie and Mickey would place on the Doctor, and it's the way her end needed to be. This was a near flawless presentation, and I really hope Doomsday will be a great send off for Rose and the Doctor (until next season that is...which starts WHEN?!).

Truthfully though with this kind of setup, I see no possible way it will be anything but...fantastic.

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Pride comes before a fall, they say. How ironic that on the day that England bowed out of the 2006 World Cup, Yvonne Hartman has the gall to assume the British Empire will rise again, Rule not, Britannia! The series has constantly tapped into themes of nationalism and identity formed in the crucible of the post-war decline of Britain as a world power and the timing of this episode was truly bizarre - we were beaten by the Portugese and then invaded by Cybermen AND Daleks. How much more can the country’s psyche take!

From the opening pre-credit sequence through to the nerve-shredding cliffhanger, this episode in particular closes the circle of narrative started in ‘Rose’. The opening narration is a clever and moving summary of entire development of Rose as a character. Complete with buses, chips, majestic alien landscapes and the two Doctors so dear to her heart. But this relationship with the sorceror’s apprentice of time and space is showing its age, cracking open just like the fault lines in the universe so wonderfully illustrated in Torchwood HQ. That direct narrative, so Bergmanesque, is telling us that Rose Tyler will die. But is this going to be a physical death? Or rather, the death of a soul, Rose’s soul, as the journey comes full circle.

Once again, we have Graeme Harper giving us that agonising slow burn approach, gradually ratcheting up the tension and astutely relieving it with some lovely bits of comedy business. His direction was quite superb, especially with the reveal of the Cybermen. There were echoes of ‘Tomb Of The Cybermen’ and ‘Earthshock’ visually as he went into a frenzy of editing as they burst through the polythene walls. He used the plastic to obscure their figures in a lovely cross reference to the ‘almost like a military display’ blurred figures of the ghost-shift. Lots of big close-ups too – with faces and objects looming out of the screen. Visual tips of the hat to ‘Evil Of The Daleks’ (TARDIS on a truck), Raiders Of The Lost Ark (Torchwood’s alien archive), Men In Black and James Bond movies (the design of Torchwood itself).

Narrative nods to the past withYvonne using the energy of the ‘ghost-shift’ echoing Professor Stahlman’s desperate search for alternate energy sources in ‘Inferno’ and the various ‘energy crises’ often featured in the classic series. And we all know there will be a price to pay.

The important scenes, apart from the moody pre-credits, included the Doctor’s ‘horrific’ reaction to Jackie’s observation of families coming back home as ‘beautiful’ and the brief scene where Jackie predicts Rose’s future with the Doctor. She sees a figure who ‘isn’t Rose Tyler’ – ‘not even human’ in 50 years time. Both scenes reinforce many of the themes that have been running through the series as a whole. The Doctor doesn’t do ‘domestic’ and is horrified at the thought of families being reunited. Does he think the dead should stay dead? And is Rose now effectively dead to her own mother? Jackie can’t recognise this woman Rose has become and doesn’t even think she is human. Has Rose’s humanity already started to drain out of her because of her desire to be with the Doctor (and not with her family) ‘forever’? Again, the narrative arcs back to ‘Parting Of The Ways’ in that this is the perhaps the pay-off for Rose getting ideas above her station and having airs and graces. Class mobility on a galactic scale seems to be a running theme. And one scene that should imprint itself forever is the ‘no escape at the top of the stairs’ Cyberman assault on Joe Public’s two up, two down in deepest, darkest Home Counties Britain. The Cyberman at the top of the stairs should leave most children dreading bed time!

And only Russell T Davies could take the ‘mother-in-law’ gag to new heights. Tennant and Coduri have a field day in some very amusing interplay when Jackie becomes Rose for a day! Jackie’s lip-curling as Yvonne shows off Torchwood’s assets is priceless and the Doctor’s horror at the thought of Torchwood recording his adventures in time and space with Jackie in tow was very amusing. Again, Davies also roots the story in the culture of the day with the brief TV cameos – the best being the scenes from ‘Eastenders’. They were perhaps a little self-indulgent and didn’t quite help the pay-off, particularly the scene of the Cyberman strangling TV host Alastair Appleton which although funny seemed too much of a stretch for me.

As the pressure cooker build up advanced, Murray Gold’s music really came into its own here. I don’t think he put a note wrong and the interlocking Cyberman and Dalek themes at the end were a fitting crescendo to the cliffhanger.

Thematically, we have an instance of the positive regression phenomenon all the way through the narrative; it is about going back over the same ground in order to go on, back through the layers of the unconscious in order to mature. Certainly for the Doctor and Rose this is the case – a re-match with the Cybermen and the Daleks and loved ones from the parallel Earth reappearing – indicates that this is the closing of a narrative in order to take stock, change and move on.

The Dalek sphere, denoting the ‘void’ and ‘absence’, is surely mirroring aspects of their being. They are void of pity, have an absence of compassion and humanity. But the sphere is also perhaps a reflection of humanity, is it our own nature being reflected back? Are the Daleks representative of our darkest unconscious drives, some of which are expressed in the hubris of the Torchwood agenda?

The ghosts (people who are not actually present) also provoke strong irrational outbursts of emotion, as if their invisible presence is felt long after they have left the room or are far away e.g. Grandad Prentice. Rose could also be viewed as a ‘ghost’ in relationship to her mother. The ghosts represent an aspect of the invisible psyche buried in the unconscious of which the ghost is only an image, representing that inner force. The ghosts are our own loss, our own guilt personified and this is really manifested when the in-human Cybermen materialise in their place. The Cybermen are a symbol of the institutionalised ‘loss of humanity’. And guilt personified comes in the form of brave Mickey Smith – defending the Earth. He is still an important cog in the machinery of Rose’s life, reminding her of her humanity in contrast to the void at the centre of the Lonely God’s unsettled journey through time and space.

A quick word about the regular cast - Tennant perhaps the best he's ever been here after some ups and downs throughout the series and Piper on the mark as ever. I felt that Camille Coduri got sidelined after the hilarious 'mother-in-law' routine and ended up standing about saying little for too long. Tracey Ann Oberman was suitable arrogant and haughty as Hartman. You could see her comeuppance a mile away but it was delicious all the same. And the bets are off it seems for Freema to be the next companion.

And so the episode concludes with every eight year old’s fantasy – Daleks and Cybermen in the same episode and ready to commence battle.Is this a wise move, I ask myself? Will the Doctor’s greatest foes be drained of their impact as they battle it out on Earth? Only ‘Doomsday’ will tell. Let us just be content with perhaps one of the greatest cliffhangers in the series’ history.

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This Episode is a bright shining star in an otherwise very poor second series. Up to date I have been underwhelmed by the 2nd year of the new Doctor Who, I have found the writitng to be infantile, cliched and and at times downright cheesy. A few episodes were a bit above average but that's the best I have been able to say about this series, that is until now.

Army of Ghosts has got me pumped!

Don't get me wrong, this episode still has a lot of the faults mentioned but the scope of the plot and sheer magnitude of the event just overshadows any flaws.

I mean we have Cybermen AND Daleks!! The episode built up very nicely to the climax and the reveal was very well done.

I am a Cyberman fan from childhood and was disappointed with their first appearance this year and did not hold out much hope for this episode. But somehow they seemed more menacing this time round than before! The scene with the kid trying to escape up the stairs only to see another Cyberman appear was great and I am sure will scare a lot of kids.

Mickey, who I do not normally like always seems to be at his best when directly involved in action. I liked him a lot this episode and his new can do attitude. I definitely felt he was competant enough to really save mankind.

The acting in this episode was actually much better than the norm. Even the minor characters played thier part unlike normally when we have been subjected to minor characters being overly theatrical. Raj the scientist was paticulary good.

The Torchwood Director, Yvonne actually came across very well, I expected her to be your normal TV baddie boss, who never listens till it is too late. She actually listened to the Doctor without appearing to be in awe of him or kow towing to him.

The Doctor himself was less his irritating self despite the Alonso cracks and the Ghostbuster bit. He did not gurn as much and I found him a lot more bearable! Rose was great as usual and I liked how she got caught out with the psychic paper. It seems to me she did not really believe it would work anyway!

I love Jackie Tyler and she can do no wrong in my eyes and really look forward to the second part where she meets her husband from the alternate Earth.

And lastly we have the Daleks and they look as evil as ever and this is coming from someone who always favored the cybermen but in this episode the Dalek appearance was justifibly the climax of the episode and has got me all excited for the conclusion.

Only good episodes give me the impetus to right a review and this has been the only one I have reviewed this season, lets hope the final episode lives upto all expectations.

Exterminate!!

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Now that was a bit good. Actually, that was a lot good. The penultimate episode of Series 2 promised much in the exciting trailer at the end of Fear Her, and it simply delivered all that and more, in the shape of this sparkling jewel in the second-series crown.

It just makes such a difference to story pacing when you have two episodes to play with rather than one, and the tempo was absolutely spot-on here. The best-structured episode of the series so far, Army Of Ghosts was in no rush to reach its climax, yet it still felt as though it cracked along at a good pace, with plenty of thrilling highlights along the way.

The first of those highlights was the now traditionally excellent pre-credits sequence, in which we learn that Rose is “dead”. I suspect – well, I’m absolutely certain – that Rose’s “death” won’t mean “death”, not with the concept of alternative worlds floating around. You could be said to “die” in one world, for instance, and go to another. You could “die” in another sense – inside – if, for instance, your parents were killed. A distinct possibility here, with the expected “reuniting” of Jackie and Pete. And, of course, you could die and go to Hell . . . which turns out to be eternal life. Or something. But it will be fascinating to discover how Rose’s end comes, and I shall hope to avoid serious spoilers before seeing the concluding part. A lot of credit (yet again) to Russell T Davies for his story-arc-building skills in both series to date, to bring us to this point.

And talk of story arcs brings me to Torchwood. Understandably, with a 13-part series upcoming, Torchwood was always going to play a prominent part in the “mothership” series, but it worked really well, with the little hints (albeit not particularly subtle ones) dropped in previous episodes pointing to here.

I enjoyed Tracy-Ann Oberman’s performance. She does have the look of a femme fatale, a Sharon Stone-type in Basic Instinct, a woman who could charm the pants from you, and then deposit an ice pick between your shoulder blades (or somewhere worse) or, indeed, a stone dog upon your head, which is what her character did in EastEnders. It’s unlikely Yvonne Hartman will be called upon to perform such malevolence, not with all that metallic competition around, but there was the hint of the fascist about her. I could certainly see her head to toe in a tight black uniform and jackboots, but perhaps that’s just me . . .

An interesting facet to the character of Yvonne is that she is driven by a desire to make Britain Great through Torchwood’s activities. In a sense, does that make her motivation – and that of those like her – akin to the basic “we will conquer and destroy all in our way” mantra of the Cybermen or the Daleks?

It was good to see Mickey Smith back. And quel transformation! The last time we saw him, Mickey was well on the way from “upgrading” from rather-wet-boy-next-door to all-action resistance fighter, and it looks like he’s well and truly the latter now. The excellent Noel Clarke clearly relished playing the action hero in Rise Of The Cybermen/The Age Of Steel, and he was in his element here.

And a word for Camille Coduri, too. She’s always been good for the lighter moments, with her wonderfully-wide eyes, and it was fun to see Jackie take a trip in the TARDIS at last. Obviously, she’s been carried along to Torchwood for a reason, and that’s just another intriguing question left open for the final part.

As well as the guest cast being in good form, David Tennant and Billie Piper also rose to the challenge of a very special story. Tennant was close to his Christmas Invasion best here. Yes, the Ghostbusters stuff and the decidedly-low-tech 3-D glasses were a bit daft, but so was Tom Baker’s scarf and the jelly babies and the rolling eyes, and he was a legend. This is just an aspect of Tennant’s Doctor, and I feel we will see the manic moments still evident, but toned down, in the next series. As I’ve opined before, in his quieter paces, of which there were plenty here, Tennant really does excel. I’d love to see him as a darker Doctor in Series Three.

Billie Piper always shines (Tooth And Claw excepted, when she was underwritten) when Davies scripts. Rose is his baby, more so than The Doctor, which was an inherited character, and we’ve seen throughout the two series how far she has travelled – literally and metaphorically. “You even look like him,” Jackie told her when she saw her daughter at the TARDIS controls. Obviously, how the end comes for Rose – in whatever form – is the big question to be answered next week.

That the Army Of Ghosts – there have been some great episode titles in this series, and this was another – turned out to be Cybermen crossing over from the parallel world we visited in Episodes 5 and 6 was no great surprise when we saw one of the metal giants lurking in Torchwood (nice touch to have them crashing through plastic sheeting, just like the old days!). But the revelation of the Army was – as we’ve come to expect from The Mill – superbly realised.

And then there was the end-of-episode cliffhanger. For me, nothing has ever topped the end to Episode One of Earthshock, and I honestly didn’t think anything would. When you consider that the image of the Cybermen materialising all over the world would have made a spectacular ending on its own, I wondered what on Earth (or beyond Earth) Davies could have up his sleeve to top that. Well, now we know! To have the flying Daleks – and a wonderful BLACK Dalek at their head – emerge from the slowly-opening sphere was simply breathtaking. A wonderful piece of TV, and I just wish I was seven or eight years old, and had no idea what was about to come. An image you would carry with you throughout your years, as I have of cliffhangars in The Green Death and Planet Of The Spiders at that age.

Another great score from Murray Gold, weaving in all his previous themes from both series, and it was all overseen brilliantly by Golden Graeme - and this is only the first half. The Doctor, Rose, Mickey and Jackie in a fight to save the Earth from Daleks AND Cybermen. In an episode called Doomsday. Just what the seven or eight-year-old would write, as Davies himself has said. Without having seen Doomsday, I can’t say for certain that this story will take high rank amongst the best Doctor Who stories ever, but Army Of Ghosts has been the pick of this high-quality Series 2. So far!

On a day in which Andre Agassi waved goodbye to Wimbledon and Andy Murray showed that he is a champion of the future, England played in a dramatic World Cup quarter-final and Zinedine Zidane of France showed that while age may take its toll, class is permanent, it says much for Russell T Davies that he could create a TV drama which lived with those unforgettable sporting moments. Dismiss out of hand anyone who says otherwise, THIS is Doctor Who. And this is classic Doctor Who. Enjoy.

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At last – a really terrific episode of Doctor Who from the show’s primary writer! Daleks, Cybermen, the return of Mickey, Torchwood and an army of Ghosts: this episode truly did pull all the stops out. And comparing it to last year’s season finale, the mostly execrable Bad Wolf/Parting of the Ways, is a real eye-opener; “Army of Ghosts” is just in a totally different league. And judging from the “next week” trailer, there is going to be significantly more harmony of plot here than in that two-parter, which was in effect one boring episode and one densely-packed story about something else altogether.

Brilliantly, “Army of Ghosts” managed to be interesting all the way through. From the beginning I was hooked - Rose and the Doctor’s voyage to an alien planet in the pre-credits sequence (a lovely and romantic special effects sequence for so short a time, as well), and particularly the Doctor practically dancing round the console operating the switches, really made me feel like I was watching Dr Who – more strongly, actually, than anything else in the whole of the new series so far apart from the closing ten or so minutes of “The Doctor Dances”!

Also brilliantly, in an episode in which ghosts roam the streets and the Daleks emerge at the end from a sinister sphere, Russell manages to show that the Cybermen are still a serious threat, and very definitely something to be afraid of. Despite their appearances being kept to a minimum for most of the running time, when they do appear to take control at the end they are truly awesome, and the Doctor’s line “not an invasion – it’s too late for that. It’s a victory” highlights the extent of the threat to the Earth as Cybermen appear literally everywhere; not only outside the Taj Mahal, but at the top of the stairs in a middle-class household somewhere in suburbia! The episode was epic in scale.

But is it a victory? Although we, the audience, all knew what was coming out of the sphere after the Dalek-gun effect in last week’s trailer, the appearance of three Daleks must surely surprise even the Cybermen, who have opportunistically followed the capsule into a new universe with no real idea of what is inside. Given that Daleks-versus-Cybermen has been the secret desire of probably quite a few fans for a while, and that Daleks-and-Cybermen-team-up is a close second, I think Russell knows what he’s doing here, and I hope he doesn’t receive any stick from his new fans for pandering to the “old guard” of fandom. With any luck, whichever route he goes down in the series finale next time (or even if he does both!), the scenario will be interesting to new fans of the series as well.

The portrayal of Torchwood was also sufficiently interesting. Having Chrissy from Eastenders as their chief is looking like quite good casting, as Tracy-Ann Oberman makes a quite charming villainess. Incidentally, the anti-Empire stuff missing from “Tooth and Claw” surfaces here; Torchwood’s motivation seems to be the creation of a British Reich. But it was nowhere near as bad as it could have been; the Doctor doesn’t deliver any stinging rebukes at all, which, though welcome, is rather out of character for him – he seems to be favouring the “I’ll ignore you then – you’ll soon come round” approach at the moment (viz. his doorstep conversation with Chloe’s mother in “Fear Her”).

Torchwood, interestingly, is portrayed as a fairly normal organisation – its employees even instant-message each other about being bored, while Yvonne, nominally (and actually) the villainess, indulgently ignores the romance blossoming between some of her subordinates. While this could have been inappropriate, I think this really pays off here –Torchwood, although conceptually a bit silly (how many secret organisations/locations are there in the UK? UNIT, C-19, the Glasshouse, the Forge, now Torchwood), is not just a one-dimensional assortment of ciphers.

As for the regulars, Tennant is still on a high, totally engaging and commanding, whether trapping a ghost in a triangulation network, explaining about boots and footprints, taking a wrong turning in the corridors or making holes in plate-glass. Rose gets to demonstrate her independence and courage again, Jackie, though rather useless, doesn’t feel too shoe-horned in, and Mickey… well, he hasn’t done anything yet, but it’s nice to see him again (I was expecting him, but not in that capacity). Given that Pete Tyler and Mickey’s boring chum from “The Age of Steel” are also putting in appearances next time round, I can’t help but wonder if Russell hasn’t taken on too much for a 45-minute episode; but we will see.

Who else thinks Jackie and Pete and Rose and Mickey are going to get together and live in the parallel universe?

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A lot of us Who fans first fell in love with Doctor Who because of the cliffhangers. They were always well executed and always left you fearing the worst for the Doctor and his companions. But this week's episode finale for me was one of the best ever and it is full marks for the Doctor Who team for teasing us all the way that the cybermen were going to invade earth ... and then what do you know, the mysterious sphere has nothing to do with the metal meanies at all, and in all their glory, the Daleks take centre stage at the end of a thrilling episode.

In last week's review of "Fear Her" I had suggested that the new season of Who had not quite lived up to the same atmosphere as last season in terms of gravitas. Well, score that out. This was the episode we have been waiting for to showcase David Tennant at his best as Doctor Who.

From the opening scenes with Rose admitting she was on her final journey, to the generous homecoming and, fourth on-screen kiss for the Doctor, though arguably the least enjoyable, the episode had begun at a rattling pace.

The arrival of the ghosts was suitably mysterious and the Doctor's efforts to pin one down and find out what they were all about had more than a touch of Ghostbusters about it.

The arrival at Torchwood was similarly impressive and I really thought that Tracey-Ann Oberman was first class in the part and suitably sexy as well. I am sure a few of us wouldn't mind if she was the new companion but we'll move swiftly on! She was fantastic and gave Torchwood an air of true professionalism and authority.

The appearances of Derek Acorah, Tricia and Barbara Windsor were neatly done. The glorious finale with the cybermen invading Earth was marvellously done right down to the little boy trying to escape from the cybermen by running up the stairs only to confront another one! How many times were you in that situation as a kid when watching Doctor Who and imagining what could happen! Don't have nightmares, do sleep well is the BBC Crimewatch's message. Whether the same can be said for the Doctor after the finale of this epic story remains to be seen but it is shaping up to be one hell of a battle next week. The cybermen versus the Daleks and the Doctor, Rose, Mickey, Jackie and Rose's Dad re-united, I can't wait till next week's encounter. Just like it always used to be. The cliffhangers were the best!

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In "Boom Town," Margaret Slitheen accused the Doctor of riding into town, stirring up trouble, and then riding on out again before he ever has to deal with the consequences of his actions. While the Slitheen wasn't exactly an entirely trustworthy or unbiased source, we had an uncomfortable feeling then that she might have had a point. After all, hadn't the Doctor already ridden out of town after "World War III" without a thought to how those he'd left behind would pick themselves back up--not to mention, without making sure all the Slitheen were really dead? And her words would ring truer than ever in the very next episode, "Bad Wolf," when we found out that the Doctor's intervention to kill the Jagrafess and stop the news network's control in "The Long Game" led to a century of darkness and an even worse form of evil insinuating itself.

And now it's proven true one more time. The Doctor didn't hang around in the Cybermen's alternate universe for the long-term work of making sure the cyber-threat was truly neutralized. He thought they were finished...but "it's not the first time he's been wrong." And for the third time in two seasons, his failure to stick around and make sure is coming back to bite him in the arse. And the consequences for his companion may be even worse.

In a season that has seen more than its share of brilliant episodes (in particular, "Tooth and Claw," "The Girl in the Fireplace," and "The Impossible Planet/The Satan Pit" come to mind), "Army of Ghosts" stands out as one of the best. While some fans online decry it as blatant fan-sploitation and the result of a childish fanficky pre-occupation with "versus" battles, the episode is written very nicely and directed with just the right sense of timing. While there are a few moments of silliness, the episode presents an equal number of brilliant moments to make up for them. And all this in an RTD-written ep, yet!

A bit on the silly side is the first TV montage where channel-flipping brings up nothing but ghosts, ghosts, ghosts. Some fans decry this as rubbish, and at first it does seem a trifle overdone. But on the other hand, we've just been presented with a very disturbing sight: blurry ghosts walking about and nobody finding anything odd about it. We need the comic relief for catharsis, so we can laugh uneasily and relieve the tension those creepy ghosts have just brought out. And it does make an interesting contrast with "Aliens of London," where Rose suggests watching TV to learn more about the alien crash landing. Now it's the first thing the Doctor does.

Equally silly is the Ghostbusters riff...but again, this silliness is about to be balanced out by Jackie's "not human anymore" speech to Rose, so we sort of need that silliness so things don't get too heavy for too long. In fact, all through the episode you see the moments of levity alternating with the moments of spookiness pretty consistently--and pretty brilliantly. After all, if we're going to see someone get upgraded to Humanity 1.1 one moment, we'd darned well better get something like the Doctor stepping out of his Tardis to a standing ovation the next. It doesn't do to let us get too scared--or too amused. The direction in this episode, by classic Doctor Who hand Graeme Harper, is top-notch. (Harper also directed the other Cybermen 2-parter earlier this season, which was another excellent piece of work.)

There are some truly brilliant pieces of characterization in this episode, starting from the very beginning when we see Rose at several times in her life, mentally narrating that she thought she'd be with the Doctor forever, but this is the story of how she died. RTD certainly knows how to grab the viewers' attention. We're left wondering just what we're supposed to make of Rose thinking this to us while she's standing on a desolate Welsh beach looking bereft. What does she mean by "how she died"?

And then there's her mother, Jackie. It doesn't seem too promising at the beginning, with Jackie casually accepting the ghost as being her dead father (why not Pete instead, one wonders?) and Rose thinking she's gone off her rocker. But then we get Jackie's "not even human" speech to Rose--not the usual "I worry about what you're doing, gallivanting around the galaxy with a strange man" speech she's made in the past, but more of an "I worry about who you're becoming." This speech seems to have more of a resonance than Jackie's usual worries, because it's a lot harder to resent someone worrying about what you are than about what you're doing.

And then there's Jackie's "kidnapping"--which, her indignant protest to Yvonne Hartman notwithstanding, seemed to me to be rather intentional on her part; after all, she wasn't exactly waiting by the door trying to get out. No, Jackie had been dealing with the ghosts for two months that the Doctor hadn't even been there, and she'd blindly accepted one of them as being the spirit of someone close to her. She must have felt entitled to some answers--and no matter what she thought of the Doctor (and she seems to have warmed to him considerably, given her rather enthusiastic greeting), she would have known that tagging along would be the best way to get them.

When Jackie is grabbed by the Doctor and pulled out and introduced as Rose (one wonders if this was intentional on the part of the Doctor, so that Rose would have more freedom to operate--though given that he didn't even look inside before pulling her out, one also wonders if he was just being quick on his feet), you have to give her credit. she doesn't go to pieces--she stoicly plays along and, as far as banter with the Doctor is concerned, gives as good as she gets. (She has some great dialogue even before that, in fact--her deadpan threat about ending up on Mars is one of the episode's best lines.) For all that Jackie is often considered annoying, Camille Coduri has great comic talent to be able to play her that way--and great dramatic talent to make Jackie occasionally sympathetic when she has to be, in spite of all that.

Through this whole episode, we see that there really is more to Jackie than her shallow exterior lets on. We've seen flashes of this in "Aliens of London/World War III," "The Parting of the Ways," "The Christmas Invasion," and even "Love and Monsters," but "Army of Ghosts" is where we start to see our Jackie Tyler really come into her own, much as Mickey did in "Age of Steel." She may not be as quick on her feet and adaptable to new situations as Rose, but she's fiercely loyal and knows when to let her heart override her head.. She may babble on in social situations and misunderstand questions put to her (such as talking about the noise her neighbor heard in the basement when the Doctor asks her when it started), but she also knows when to remain quiet. Even many of the things she does say elicit more information from Yvonne. ("There's isn't a British Empire." "Not yet.")

Perhaps much of the babble and shallowness is protective camouflage. The way she goes from man to man (even vamping Eccleston in "Rose"), her badly-hurt feelings after Elton turned out not to be who she thought he was in "Love and Monsters," and her desire to believe that ghost could be her departed father--all of these bespeak a desperate sort of vulnerability and loneliness, especially since Rose has left the nest. But even with that vulnerability, at heart Jackie is one tough lady. She had to be, to raise Rose all by herself. You can see the contrast in the alternate Jackie from "Rise of the Cybermen/Age of Steel"--not tempered by having lost Pete and having had to raise a child alone, that Jackie is much more of a spoiled brat, even at the age of 40. Rose finds this out when she tries to relate to alt-Jackie as she would have related to her own mother, and gets yelled at for her troubles. You can bet that "our" Jackie would never have been caught by those Cybermen.

I wonder if Jackie and alternate-Pete will get together in episode 13, each seeing in the other someone like the person they've lost. It would provide a sort of closure--and closure seems to be one of the themes of this episode, beginning as it did with that recap, complete with the planet earth shot that opened "Rose," a shot of the Eccleston Doctor to remind us with whom Rose first fell in love, and "The Christmas Invasion." One way or another, Rose's story comes to an end with this two-parter. Mickey is back, and perhaps other familiar faces will be too. Old enemies are returning to settle the score. It's all coming together.

As for new characters, Tracy-Ann Oberman plays Yvonne Hartman with great gusto. This is not a truly evil person. Patriotic, even borderline fascistic, and a touch amoral, yes--but not evil. She's just management--much the same sort as the Editor in "The Long Game," though a bit more benign and less smugly secure. She's a "people person" who believes in knowing everyone's name and believes that group applause and feel-good platitudes make a team work better. Like so many other Doctor Who villains, going all the way back to "Tomb of the Cybermen," she believes that what she is doing will make the world a better place. However, unlike those others, she is at least willing to listen to what the Doctor has to say--even if it's too late by the time she does.

And speaking of "Tomb of the Cybermen," there are some great references to that and to other classic Doctor Who adventures here. The way the Cybermen slice through the plastic sheeting is just like the way they sliced through the polythene sheeting to emerge from their cryogenic cells in "Tomb." The Doctor refers to the Eternals, the immortal race from "Enlightenment." There are even links back to earlier Tennant episodes such as "The Christmas Invasion," where Yvonne admits to shooting down the Sycorax ship, and "Tooth and Claw," where Queen Victoria declared the Doctor an enemy of the crown. Even as small a touch as Rose exiting the Tardis with the same backpack she took inside in "New Earth" reminds viewers of what has gone before.

And then there's the return of the Doctor's oldest, best-known foe of all, for what promises to be the who-would-win (or "Who would win"?) fanfic battle royale of the century. Small wonder some are calling it fan-sploitation. (Well, actually they're using a somewhat coarser word, but I don't want there to be any problem with Outpost Gallifrey publishing this review.) Some fans are saying that RTD has sold out for ratings, that the script is full of cliches, and worse. All I can say is, I don't care--if they could exploit this fan that way more often, I'd be a very happy camper.

RTD was, for once, smart about keeping the big surprise a secret. Or at least almost smart. The trailer for last week's show had a shot in it--the Dalek extermination kill effect--that implied Daleks might be coming back. Fortunately, I managed to miss noticing that when I viewed the trailer myself. Apart from that, they did a remarkably good job of keeping a lid of secrecy on the cliffhanger--including blanking out the final scene from the preview copies they distributed. And what a payoff! They edited it just right--the shot with the foggy shapes emerging from the light, the cut back to Rose, Mickey, and Dr. Singh for just long enough for Mickey to say those aren't Cybermen and for your hindbrain to begin to recognize the blurry shapes... And then the cut back to the shapes as worst suspicions are confirmed, and icy chills running down your spine as the implications sink in...marvelous. I had thought that the episode was blowing the opportunity for surprise by revealing the Cybermen as early as it did--but as it turned out, it was a red herring--a distraction to keep the true surprise in abeyance. And thus we are left with what may be the best (or worst, depending on your point of view) cliffhanger in all of modern-day Doctor Who. Masterfully done, RTD.

Another clever moment is the failure of the psychic paper to produce the desired results. We already knew that someone familiar with it could recognize it when someone else was using it (from Rose and Captain Jack in "The Empty Child"). It only remained to see it fail to work on someone else to complete the circle. (Though I would give a great deal to understand how it was able to affect a mechanical lock.) The Voidship was an interesting concept, too, tying in nicely with the Tardis's inadvertent side-trip to the Cybermen's home universe. And Torchwood...Torchwood is a fascinating organization. The idea of an entire organization, over a century old, entirely dedicated to obtaining and reverse-engineering alien technology and keeping tabs on The Doctor is an interesting one. Yes, people will complain that it's a blatant retcon since they never appeared (or existed) prior to this series, letting the Doctor carry on his work during the UNIT years without any problems. But if we let that become an issue, we would then have to throw out all the other Doctor Who stories that were supposed to happen in a future year that is now a past year. The thing about time travel stories is you just can't think too hard about them or they fall apart.

Acting on the part of the regulars was excellent. Tennant was as much the Doctor as he ever has been, complete with little idiosyncrasies like running around setting up alien gizmos, walking the wrong way down corridors, and peering at things through 3D glasses. He is by turns contemplative, worried, dramatic, angry, even embarrassed on occasion...as well as "so very sorry." When he is met at the Tardis door by a squad of armed soldiers, even when he is explicitly told he is a prisoner, he is not fazed and indeed he carries on as if he were perfectly free and glad to be there. He knows that just because they say he is a prisoner does not necessarily make him one, and this is where he needs to be right now anyway so he might as well not kick up a fuss over it. And his theatrics--the broken glass analogy, the placid acquiescence to going ahead with the ghost shift--are perfectly Whovian. It's as Yvonne said, he does like to make a mess.

Rose is ever her plucky self--except in the pre-credits teaser, where she is more subdued. Fans are still arguing over the meaning of the flashback scenes--whether the fact that she's walking on a beach as she speaks her voiceover about this being how she died means that she's still alive after all, or whether what we're seeing is just another flashback, or what. In spite of that, she really isn't given that much to do in this episode, overall. She has a couple of scenes, but the spotlight for this part is mostly on the Doctor and Jackie. I expect we'll see a good deal more of her in "Doomsday," though.

It's good to see Noel Clarke again as Mickey, even if this 2-parter is likely to mark his swan song from the series as well as Rose's. It's interesting to see his new, hardened, "Rickyish" attitude, too. He's got more confidence in himself and more determination; he's been battle-tested and knows what he's made of. I wonder where that gun came from--the Torchwood warehouse, or the Cybermen's homeworld? And rounding out the cast of important characters is Raji James turning in a decent performance as Dr. Singh, a determined if frustrated Torchwood scientist who has "disposable extra" practically written all over him in felt-tipped marker. If he survives more than thirty seconds into the next episode, I will be very surprised.

Speculation is running fast and furious on the Doctor Who newsgroups as to exactly what Rose's "death" means. The fact that she herself is narrating it (as well as standing on a beach looking doleful during the voiceover) suggests that she must still be alive in order to be narrating it, as Doctor Who hasn't tended to go in for the existence of a life after death by which she could be narrating having died. But with RTD at the helm, anything is possible. Clinical death followed by resuscitation, faked "death" and relocation under a witness protection program (or even into the Cybus alternate dimension), getting turned into a Cyberman, regenerating as a result of her exposure to the Time Vortex last season, or even emotional trauma so debilitating that she "died" inside. Or it could very well be "the real thing." Who can say? One thing's for sure, this cliffhanger has gotten a lot of people talking.

"Doomsday" will hopefully answer a lot of unanswered questions raised by this episode. I look forward to it with trepidation, as RTD has allegedly promised to end Series 2 with a huge cliffhanger (though whether he referred to the cliffhanger on "Army of Ghosts" or another one on "Doomsday," I'm not quite sure). One thing's for sure: if Doomsday ends with a cliffhanger as bad as this one, which will have to wait 5 months for the Christmas special to resolve, I swear I am going to do mayhem to somebody.

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“We’ll always be okay you and me, don’t you reckon Doctor?”
“Something’s in the air. Something coming. A storm’s approaching.” – “Fear Her,” Week #11.

“…you consort with stars and magic and think it fun. But your world is steeped in terror and blasphemy and death and I will not allow it. You will leave these shores and will reflect, I hope, on how you came to stray so far from all that is good and how much longer you can survive this terrible life.” – “Tooth and Claw”, Week #2.

“…the valiant child who will die in battle so very soon.” – “The Satan Pit,” Week #9.

“This is the story of how I died.” – “Army of Ghosts,” Week #12.

And so is this it? Act I, Scene I, and Rose is dead? As I’ve documented above, the hints have been there throughout the season, but I never really believed it. I still don’t, and as in the mind-bogglingly beautiful pre-credit sequence it is Rose narrating her final story (albeit from a very ‘after-lifey’ looking beach) I think there may still be a glimmer of hope for our heroine. “More of a metaphorical death,” as my sister so sagaciously put it…

In terms of the stakes, Russell T. Davies has written “Army of Ghosts” much in the same vein as last year’s penultimate episode, “Bad Wolf.” It starts slowly, and Davies gradually cranks up the tension until we reach fever pitch. As Billie is leaving the show, it seems only fitting that her swansong should begin back on the Powell Estate in London, effectively where it all began. I love the first few establishing shots of the episode - Rose turning up with her washing for Jackie; Jackie planting a smacker on the Doctor… Jackie has got used to having her little girl show up every so often with the laundry and a Time Lord… its just business as usual. Only it isn’t; not this time. The Doctor and Rose turn their back for five minutes and they find that the world has gone mad. ‘Ghosts’ are everywhere; a part of everyday life, as accepted as cars and chips and Sky digital. Only their slimline stature masks what they are - “A footprint doesn’t look like a boot.” The Doctor doesn’t believe that they are people’s loved ones back from the dead, and interestingly, nor does Rose.

As we’ve not seen that much of her this season, I was pleased to see Camille Coduri play a major part in the controversial episode “Love & Monsters.” I can only assume that with Rose leaving the series, the Tyler entourage will be following her through the exit (one way or another…) and as such this two-parter is as much Jackie’s farewell story as it is Rose’s. In fairness, Jackie probably gets a damn sight more to do in “Army of Ghosts” than Rose, who for her part spends quite a while locked in the TARDIS inside the Torchwood Tower whilst the Doctor pretends that Jackie is Rose. Coduri is bang on form with her usual comic relief - “I’m forty!” “Ah bless!” – but again, we get to see her more vulnerable side; her maternal side. On top of that, she gets to see a slice of this life that her daughter leads, and it doesn’t look like she approves for a second. The look on her face as the Doctor ‘kills’ the Cyber-controlled humans in Torchwood Tower speaks volumes.

“…this woman… this strange woman… walking through the marketplace on a strange planet a billion miles from earth, but she’s not Rose Tyler. She’s not even human anymore…”

Jackie’s brief moment of reflection says a lot about her fears for her daughter. In a way, she’s gone beyond fearing that Rose will die off on some adventure – she’s more afraid that her Rose will just fade away, consumed by the woman that she is becoming. She also raises some salient points that were addressed through Sarah Jane in “School Reunion,” about what becomes of the Doctor’s companions when there is nothing else – when there is no one else – left. Compared to those like Ace, Mel, Peri, Nyssa, Romana, etc. who were all left to very uncertain fates by the Doctor, as well as those like Roz, Adric, Sara and Katarina who actually died on their travels with him, Sarah Jane got off lightly, and even the idea of sharing Sarah’s lonely fate terrified Rose.

“If it’s alien, it’s ours… for the good of the British Empire.”

“Army of Ghosts” finally introduces us to Torchwood, and I must say that it isn’t at all what I expected. After all the hype about Captain Jack’s forthcoming Cardiff-based TV show of the same name, I made the fundamental mistake of thinking that Torchwood must be the good guys. After their deplorable actions in “The Christmas Invasion,” I should have known better. Yvonne Hartman (Tracy-Ann Oberman) is absolutely superb as the woman apparently fronting this ultra-top-secret organisation. She knows the name of every single person working under her, yet she acts like a Nazi – she will justify almost any atrocity “..for the good of the British Empire.” Incidentally, I liked the little Eastenders in-joke – the Barbara Windsor cameo, with the ghost of Dirty Den (who was murdered by Oberman’s character in Eastenders) showing up in the Queen Vic! Not the first link between Doctor Who and the popular soap opera…

“They can shoot me dead but the moral high ground is mine.” That’ll learn ‘em, Doc! For Doctor Who fans, the role of Torchwood in the show’s mythology is fascinating. During the seventies, the exiled third Doctor (and occasionally the fourth) worked for UNIT – the United Nations Intelligence Taskforce. The Doctor had access to information above top secret, yet he’d never heard of Torchwood. And why? Well aside from the fact that Russell T. Davies hadn’t invented it yet, the Doctor had never heard of Torchwood because he is their public enemy number one – he was listed by name in the organisation’s charter set up by Queen Victoria shortly after her encounter with him in “Tooth and Claw.” Moreover, Torchwood works for the British Empire – not the United Nations. Suffice it to say, the Doctor is more than surprised when he finds out that this organisation not only exists, but that they have built a skyscraper (Canary Wharf, a.k.a. Torchwood Tower) to reach a spatial anomaly in order to exploit it for financial gain… only to allow these ‘ghosts’ to enter our world and destabilise the whole universe!

The source of this spatial anomaly is revealed to be what the Doctor calls a “Void Ship” – a supposedly impossible vessel, even by Time Lord standards, which has absolutely no atomic mass and can travel between parallel universes. And so the question is, who is in there? Who has the technology to exist outside time and space, in the place that the Eternals call “The Howling”? I think all the hardcore Doctor Who fans watching had an inkling…

“This world is colliding with another, and I think I know which one.”

And so the Cybermen appear en masse. En masse like we’ve never, ever seen them before. The scenes of them worldwide really convey just what an invasion force this is - “Bleeding through the fault lines…”, millions of ‘em!!! As the Doctor so brutally puts it – it’s “…not an invasion. It’s too late for that. It’s a victory.” The Cybermen have conquered the Earth, and that’s only half the cliffhanger. The Torchwood scientist, Dr. Rajesh Singh (Raji James), Rose and MICKEY (how the hell did he get here?) are sealed in a room with the Void Ship – a ship that suddenly activates, and much to the older, braver, more confident Mickey’s surprise, doesn’t contain any Cybermen…

“Mickey Smith, defending the Earth!”

… but instead, is full of DALEKS! And not just any Daleks – the DALEK SUPREME no less!

Daleks and Cybermen! Talk about fanw**k. I feel sorry for any episode that is going to get compared to “The Parting of the Ways,” but by the looks of things next week’s “Doomsday” is going to be every bit as epic as last year’s action-packed season finale…

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Is this the script where Russell T Davies has finally sold himself out to the fans? I would say yes and no with an emphasis on the no. But more on that later…

Season Two has been such an odd beast. Personally I think it has been stronger than year one, but not in the ways that I thought it would be. I thought by the latter half of year one that the series had found its groove but certain episodes this year have proven that there is still a lot for Doctor Who to learn in its new format. Certainly they seem to have mastered the new episode length with very few episodes this year feeling rushed or crammed (New Earth is probably the only exception to that rule but that for me is a bleed over from year one). The episodes I thought I would LOVE, I have been a bit indifferent about (New Earth, The Idiot’s Lantern, The Satan Pit) and the episodes I thought would pass by unnoticed have turned out to be real new highs for the show (School Reunion, Love and Monsters, Fear Her). I have already re-evaluated my opinions on some episodes; The Girl in the Fireplace has proven extremely re-watchable and given its mix of SF and history to be one of the best examples of its kind with a genuinely sumptuous production and Rise of the Cybermen/The Age of Steel are not quite as brilliant as my initial impression, being basically a huge action adventure but I will still champion its outstandingly visual direction. And astonishingly my absolute favourite of the year is still Tooth and Claw, easily my favourite episode of the series so far, tensely written, beautifully performed and with possibly the best direction Doctor Who has ever seen, this is an astonishingly good piece of television.

So how can Army of Ghosts possibly live up to all this excitement? It doesn’t really but then it is only part one of two and as a build up to an explosive climax it certainly tops last years Bad Wolf. There are a lot of plusses to this episode that I feel I should mention simply because they have never been done before and yet are such obviously winning ideas. Having Jackie travel in the TARDIS is fabulous and Camille’s gorgeous portrayal of this most ordinary women is (as ever) treasurable. Her reaction to being kidnapped (“If we end up on Mars I’m gonna kill you!”) is genius and the Doctor passing her off, as his deluded, aged, rubbish at tea companion is worth the admission price alone! Jackie reminds me a lot of Quark from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (no I don’t mean you can wank her off by tickling her ears!). Quark played such an important part in that show because he was the only person who pointed out the flaws and faults of the optimistic, jolly, nobody-can-beat-us Federation. Jackie fulfils a similar role in Doctor Who, asking the questions nobody wants to answer. Will my daughter survive this life? Can you guarantee her safety? In Army of Ghosts Jackie has an uncomfortable moment with her daughter when she confronts her with how much she has changed, how much she acts like the Doctor now and how if she continues this life of hers she will no longer be Rose Tyler. It is another (unsubtle but well written) that Rose is on her way out and I hope when the next companion steps into her shoes there is a Jackie to point out these very real dangers with travelling with the Doctor.

There was something gloriously off kilter about all the early scenes, which is deliberate thanks to the ghosts and their effect on society. The idea of the Doctor and Rose returning to London to discover something is amiss and has been happening for a while is not a new one (Invasion of the Dinosaurs springs to mind) but works a treat at making the Doctor feel uncomfortable. Flicking through the TV channels didn’t really work that well, I did like the mental Chinese women and the ghost weather report but I wasn’t that impressed with Barbara Windsor or Trisha Goddard’s contributions. They really did feel like RTD going look how cool we are! What was exceptional is how he sets the stories on such a grand scale with ghosts swarming about across the globe. Since the show has come back it is no longer just London that sees the brunt of alien invasion, like The Christmas Invasion this convincingly puts events on an international scale which makes it seem all the more real.

Nobody who has been following the show could have missed the Torchwood references and now at last we get to see inside the institute. I can understand that fans are cross because this secret organisation has never been mentioned before and yet it has supposedly been under the noses of UNIT and the Doctor throughout all of his adventures. Come on guys if they are going to keep this show running they need to keep on adding new elements and this is the sort of conspiracy-cum-government organisation that really could have been kept a secret. Visually, it wasn’t as impressive as I was expecting being little more than a hangar and a control room but the ideas behind the organisation more than make up for it. Following on from Tooth and Claw’s inception of Torchwood it is wonderful to see that Her Majesty’s ideals have been nurtured and abused by this organisation, Yvonne’s suggestion that its sole purpose is to exploit alien artefacts and weapons to ensure Britain’s independence as an Empire is terrifying (but very interesting). The fact that Torchwood seems to be under the impression that it is better than the general public is also slightly worrying, as Yvonne says to Jackie the knowledge they have gained from alien effects are for their benefit alone. Nice continuity with the mention of the destruction of the Sycorax spaceship too.

The first half an hour is take it or leave it Doctor Who, with lots of nice scenes for everybody but really just marking time for the stunning last fifteen minutes. RTD has certainly learnt a thing or two about cranking up the tension because the climax to this episode is almost unbearably exciting. We all knew the Cybermen were coming back thanks to their appearance in last weeks teaser but that doesn’t affect their suddenly appearance behind the plastic sheet in Army of Ghosts. The design is so fantastic, isn’t it? And Graeme Harper shoots them so damn well that even just one comes across as a real menace. So how much better is it when suddenly the ghosts are revealed to be the Cybermen army bleeding through the fault lines of dimensions? The shots of them materialising around the world and smashing their way through a family home and menacing them on the stairs is truly classic Doctor Who. Suddenly this feels much more important (and especially more deadly than The Age of Steel because this is our world). Cybermen clunking through the streets has been done before but not with a budget like this and finally an invasion can look as realistic as it can be.

Of course this being the lead in to a season finale the surprises don’t end here…oh no there are two more returns which are punch the air fantastic. Surprisingly it was the appearance of Mickey (looking so lickably gorgeous I want one!) that thrilled me more. I was devastated at the end of The Age of Steel to see him leave and genuinely thought it was the last I would see of him. He seems more confident, more sure of himself and much more ready to take on nasties than he did before. If you watch this season from beginning to end (including The Christmas Invasion) it is Mickey not Rose who features the most development.

And of course there is that ending which half of fandom will be ecstatic about and the other half will want to crawl up and die. Cybermen and DALEKS? Is this the work of a producer who wants to deliver a genuinely classic slice of Doctor Who or a man who wants heavy ratings to continue by appealing to the very thing kids will salivate? Personally I think they can pull it off, given what I have seen so far but I can understand the scepticism, this is after all the ultimate fan wank.

It could be great, it could be dreadful but by the look of the teaser; Daleks, Cybermen, Jackie, Mickey, Jake, Pete, Rose’s departure…it certainly will be one to watch!

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Well, now.

For me, 'The Satan Pit' two-parter was the best of this season so far, but right now, minutes after episode 12 has ended, I want to go back and rewatch the episode immediately for the first time since 'Bad Wolf' last year.

The Doctor and Rose return to visit Jackie, only to discover that the ghosts of loved ones have been returning on Earth for two months, the result of activity at the mysterious Torchwood Tower.

Sure, there are some plot holes - peoples' belief in the ghosts being their loved ones having the strength to pull them further through the dimensional gap is pretty sketchy, and the Cybermen sitting completely undiscovered in a construction area which happens to be located in the most secure site in Britain (complete with alien technology) is rather ridiculous. Also, the Doctor's 'who ya gonna call?' was a little cringe-worthy.

Seriously, though, who cares?

The beginning of the episode screams 'epic tale coming!', with Rose's narration and suggestion that this is the story of her death catching us from the get-go. We even get a shot of Chris Ecclestone in 'Rose', back where this all began. From there, the story never lets go, choosing wisely not to dwell too much on the ghosts plot, instead allowing Rose and Jackie to once again question the dubious future of a companion of the Doctor's. We get more of a look at Torchwood and the lovely little surprise of Mickey's reappearance (unless, like me, you guessed that would happen back after 'The Age of Steel'). Much as 'Bad Wolf' was last season, 'Army of Ghosts' is really all set-up for the mouth-watering battle to come. Thankfully, though, Russell T Davies avoids the pop culture overload of last year's penultimate episode, settling for a genuinely amusing series of television clips dealing with the ghosts.

And the cliffhanger ...

I'd heard a suggestion in the tabloids months ago that the finale would feature a battle between the Daleks and the Cybermen, but I didn't actually believe it would happen.

I have no doubt Davies is going to be criticised for the move - it does seem like a fan's wet-dream rather than a viable story - but I'm more than happy to be optimistic and trust that the built-in payoff and excitement of a season finale will help carry the ambitious proposal. And, despite always preferring the Cybermen to the Daleks, I found myself leaning forward with a huge grin on my face as the screeching, evil creatures came out of that sphere. Exactly as I was last year during the Doctor's rousing 'I'm going to save Rose Tyler' speech, in fact.

Of course, this time, it looks like he's going to be able to do anything but ...

As for the other aspects of the production, David Tennant, Billie Piper, Camille Coduri and Noel Clarke have their characters down perfectly, the SFX is back to its polished best and Murray Gold combines a nice selection of past musical signatures for continuity with a newer, action-packed score.

Next week's going to be epic, no doubt about it. And if Davies can resist the deus ex machina resolution that slightly marred 'The Parting of the Ways', I'll be utterly delighted.

Bring on 'Doomsday'.

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One second. One second was it would take to have lifted "Army of Ghosts" from a being a fairly hum-drum episode to one that would go down in history as one of the most remembered.

I've never really felt compelled to write a review before. I almost did for "Tooth and Claw" as I wanted to recognise that perhaps (maybe) RTD, as much as I respect him for the quality of his earlier work, could write a really good episode of "Doctor Who". And I nearly wrote in to write one for "The Impossible Planet"/"The Satan Pit" to recognise it as one of the best "Doctor Who" stories fullstop, but to rank it the best story of seasons one and two of the revival.

So what is it that's prompted me to write about "Army of Ghosts"?

One second.

In the hope that RTD and the production team read these reviews - as well they should, for I have much respect for the opinions of the regular reviewers who feature on this site - I have to plead that they never ever again inflict such forewarning to an episode.

I refer, of course, to that one second of last week's trailer. The extermination.

We knew the Cybermen were back. And thanks to the BBC being unable to keep things quiet just another few weeks, we know that Rose is leaving.

There was more than enough to entice viewers for this week's episode... So why, for heaven's sake, did they have to show that one second extermination.

A week in advance, we knew the Daleks were back.

All throughout the episode I was thinking when are the Dalek's showing up... It was all too obvious very early on that it would be the cliffhanger.

And yes, the cliffhanger did get the heart pounding even knowing it was coming... But for someone who had no indication prior to last week's trailer that the Daleks were back, that cliffhanger could - in fact, it would - have blown me away.

I suppose there's an argument that, if I don't want to know what's going to happen in the next story, don't watch the trailer... But surely the trailer is supposed to tease the viewer, not give the whole game away?!

One second. One second we could have lived without.

Anyways - to review the episode so that I can justify my writing in, rather than ranting in! - the eipsode was clearly a prelude to something bigger... And next week is going to have to deliver a pretty spectacular payoff after such a middling affair... RTD take note of "The Impossible Planet" as to how to make a first episode something to rate on its own, rather than as a protracted introduction.

It was good seeing Jackie getting a trip in the TARDIS - miffed as she was.

And it was good to see Mickey back, 'though if the Cybermen were back, you kinda figured he'd be not too far behind. Next week, Captain Jack has to be back I guess. Torchwood not too far away in our viewing schedules.

But please, let's not see Yvonne Hartman much more. No great talent there.

And on that note, I'm relieved that the rumours of Adeola being the next companion were just that... Wouldn't want the Doctor travelling with a wooden plank, now would we?!

A so-so episode that lacked any suspense - the Cybermen knocking a door over, rather than shattering it! - but one that could have been saved by omitting that one second last week.

Regardless - I am looking forward to next week.

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What. The. Hell. Was. That?

Doctor Who's a funny old programme, isn't it? I mean, if you take it as a whole and select the bits that you can like without having to say "Well, it was done in the 60's," or "That's cos it's a kids' show really," or any of the other things that you need to say in order to justify it to someone who didn't fall in love with the programme at the age of 6, then there's still the fact that you have to bend over backwards to make a case for Doctor Who being any good. Right? You have to say: "Ignore the Mandrels, look at Logopolis, ignore the Slitheen, look at 'The Pool Scene' (yeh, 'Paradise Towers' was brilliant, wasn't it? Na, just winding you up kids, you know which pool scene I mean. Actually maybe you think I mean Leela's pool scene. Alright: Look at the pool scene in 'School Reunion'. Happy?)" And, you know, through the dross and the overacting and the plot holes and the rubbish science and the washing-up liquid bottles and the polystyrene bricks, you can usually rely on the actor portraying the Doctor to put in a good performance. Even in the worst stories, there's usually the Doctor to rely on. But that's just a teaser for my main complaint about 'Army Of Ghosts', let's have a quick bitch about everything else that was wrong with it, eh?

Blimey Torchwood's boring. Honestly, there better be non-stop scenes of Captain Jack Kirking it around Cardiff with every available species and gender of alien, because Torchwood as an organisation is very, very dull. You remember that big reveal of the 'shop floor' and how impressive it was supposed to be? Well, it looked like a couple of rooms loaned out from Buffy's season 4 Initiative. Remember? When the story arc was so crap its finale didn't even merit being the final story of the season.

What was all that clapping about? Were they mocking the Doctor, or is G Harper such a bad director that he told everyone to clap like that? Well, G Harper is a terrible director, there's no doubt about that. I thought the Cybermen stories were rubbish earlier in the season and this one failed to surprise by disappointing too. Shall I qualify this? Nah. You know I'm right. Just feel that empty space in yrself, deep down, that you made in yr heart when you heard that G Harper was coming back; that little void waiting to be filled with love and excitement. Now see that it's still empty. Maybe you told yrself that his stories were alright, maybe you even found some good bits in 'Steel Of The Cybermen' or whatever it was called and you freeze-framed them and pointed to them. But you and I know that that space in yr heart is empty and that Trigger was rubbish. And gargled.

Operate the blue switches! Those two great big ridiculous switches in the control room were hilarious! Come on. Straining, sweating scientists turning on the ghost shift regularly for no good reason at all, and it being perfectly fine every time until the 1001st. I bet they felt like right goons when they realised that they could've saved themselves the effort of heavy switch-pulling by merely tapping, tapping, tapping, tapping pointlessly on the keyboard like their cybernised colleages did.

You know, when I was little and Colin Baker said "I'll take you to..." and Peri never found out where and Doctor Who wasn't on the telly for 18 months and I learnt the word 'hiatus', I wrote a Doctor Who story. You probably did too. Obviously it was a terrible piece of fan-fic. I was a fan, it was fic and I was 10 or something. But you know what really gave it the hallmark of dreadful fanwank? It was the fact that it was an impossible and boring wish-list. Not only did it have Colin and Nicola meeting Tom and Lala, but it featured both Cybermen and Daleks. It also had some crap Spider creatures and Davros, but that is not the point. And now Russel has got to actually make that ultimate fan-fic. He's been allowed to do what people have been arguing about since Hartnell carked it: Daleks v Cybermen. Dalek

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A local shop here in Cardiff had a sign outside for a few weeks advertising 'OOD and DRINK'. Made me smile every time I walked past; imagining a very polite alien serving behind the counter. (They've fixed it now, unfortunately. Just thought I'd share that with anyone who might read this!)

In a very forced attempt to make this vaguely relevant, this season of 'Doctor Who' has made me smile, often. Laugh out loud sometimes.Even cheer occasionally.

Well, 'Army of Ghosts' hasn't bucked that trend.

Roses' opening voiceover was an intriguing 'teaser'...is this a voice from 'beyond the grave'? Is "died" metaphorical rather than literal? My own theory (no doubt wrong, but ya never know; I was right about Bad Wolf) is that traumatic events that occur in 'Doomsday' (I know, the clue's in the title.) result in the Doctor and Rose, ahem, parting ways...but she doesn't die. Someone close to her does, and she just can't go on...I'm glad I don't know.

Speculating further, knock-on effects could include a darkening of the tenth Doctors persona (I really like this Doctor, and we've seen glimpses of darkness, so this could well work in Tennant's favour...assuming he IS staying of course!) and less contemporary Earth stories. (Fair do's, we've had 8 out of 21 stories of this nature so far...hardly overkill.I mean, we had 39 episodes in a row at the start of the 70's with no travels in space *or* time!)

And...the end of the so-called Tyler 'soap'...an extended family of regular characters for the audience to identify with. It has largely worked for me personally, to be honest. A lot more identifiable to me than the 'UNIT' family. (Don't get me wrong; it's not a favourite, but I'm fond of the Pertwee era.) Hmm, maybe I'm still a bit prickly remembering my favourite era being dismissed as 'the Davison soap'...ah well, s'all a matter of opinion.

Back to the point! A brief list of things that made me laugh/smile this week. (stealing some recent reviewers approach!)

a) The Doctor getting yet more 'lip action', but not being very pleased about it.

b) The fun 'TV clips' ; especially Dame Barbara in (ahhhh!) The Queen Vic, yelling "Gerratamypub!!" Brilliant.

c) "Ghostbusters!!!"

d) "If we end up on Mars...I'm gonna kill you."

I know a number of people cannot stand Jackie; personally I've always liked the character, and think she's just getting better!

Of course, things start to get a bit darker. I enjoyed Tracy-Ann Oberman's performance very much. Her character is charming, worryingly patriotic and a bit 'happy clappy new management' -type person...be interested to see how she developes as she ends this episode clearly out of her depth...

And...it's 'Action Mickey'!!! Good to see the lad back, even though, rather annoyingly, I already knew via 'The Observer'...b*gger.

By the way, that 'extermination' shot in the preview for this episode I could've done without.

David Tennant mentioning The Eternals from a favourite Davison story got a cheer.

I'll pontificate more after I've seen how this story pans out. Come on, Saturday.

(Aside: The reviews of 'Love & Monsters' were fascinatingly diverse. Kudos to the review which made a great point about Roses' selfishness re: Jackie and added, with impeccable timing, "strident cow." That made me laugh out loud. And hey, I'm no conservative in any way or form, didn't like the,er, oral allusion cos it was rather cr*p and creepy in the context of the episode, and respect everyone's opinions.....however misguided they are!)

That's a joke, by the way. Hope we all enjoy a memorable concusion....soon see.

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A story directed by Graema Harper and written by RTD is going to be a curious thing, rather like teaming up Bob Baker and Dave Martin with Douglas Camfield: a bizarre combination of breathlessly action-packed camera work and a tongue-in-cheek script. That sort of sums up Army of Ghosts, though thankfully this time the script is a little more focused than RTD's previous efforts (though not the standard of his consumate Tooth and Claw) and runs along fairly smoothly and purposefully, though shows the usual signs of overt ambitiousness (packing in Torchwood, 'ghosts', military, Cybermen, Daleks etc.), domestic tedium (a superfluous reunion with Jackie in that bloody flat again; Jackie travelling in the Tardis), and totally inappropriate and jarring contemporaneous terrestrial 'jokes' (the Doctor's completely stupid 'I ain't afraid of no ghost' and his 'Come on my beaut-a-y!'), and, as usual, whimsical snatches of modern day popular culture (the rather silly excerpts from Trisha and EastEnders - thankfully very brief; the absurd ghost weather report and the derivative snatch of the Ghostwatch programme, lifted from the early 90s TV spoof hosted by Michael Parkinson.) Now we know where the Tenth Doctor gets all his peurile references from: watching Jackie's TV all the time! A far cry from the poetry-quoting Fourth and Sixth Doctors. Tennant is certainly the 'TV Doctor' (and sorry for spelling your name wrong in all my reviews by the Mr T, I left out one of the n's). And talking of parallel worlds, isn't it odd that while they show a snippet from EastEnders as the terrestrial programme it is, and should be, in the Who universe (though this has no place in it), the very actress who played the woman who killed Dirty Den - hence his ghost appearing in the Queen Vic - is cast as the episode's main incidental character. Very odd casting given the circumstances. Mind you, arguably nothing has been as controversial still as that scene from Remembrance of the Daleks with the TV announcer - now that was risky.

RTD is gifting the older fans a complete orgy of nostalgia in this penultimate episode: Cybermen and Daleks aside, there are also some subtle touches such as the sarcophagus standing next to the Tardis in the hangar (cue Pyramids of Mars) and the Tardis on a truck (cue Time Monster) (the new series is fairly good at these visual touches actually: in my review of Idiot's Lantern I missed mentioning that the roof aeriels of the houses were all shaped like swaztikas for instance). In all surface ways this is almost the most nostalgia-heavy Doctor Who story ever done (second perhaps to The Five Doctors) - one can only puzzle as to the conspicuous absence of UNIT in the proceedings, but maybe they'll make an appearance next episode.

RTD's 'polemics' are back with the revelation that Torchwood is committed to reviving the British Empire and, tellingly, refuses to use 'the metric system', obviously very territorial and anti-European. This is all actually quite a good touch (as were the lycanthropy insinuations regarding the Royal family in Tooth and Claw) and is perhaps needed in a show which traditionally conveys thinly-veiled political comment on the issues of the day, and with the rising tide of territorialism among many European states (not least the UK), this is, in my opinion, very welcome. It does however sit oddly next to the simultaneous thread of patriotism and Britishness running through most of the new series to date (ubiquitous Union Jacks throughout The Empty Child/Doctor Dances, Christmas Invasion, Idiot's Lantern and Fear Her). But I suppose what RTD presents us with is the difference between outright nationalism and diluted, Brit-pop-ish, Blairite, wet patriotism - Britishness in other words. Mmm. I'm still not a fan. Despite the ongoing liberal polemical touches to new Who, it still lacks the leftist radicalism of the old days (cue Ambassadors of Death, Claws of Axos, The Sea Devils, The Green Death, The Sunmakers, Kinda, Remembrance of the Daleks, Ghost Light and The Curse of Fenric, for example).

Army of Ghosts does have a certain energy, pace and drama about its direction which was also present in Harper's Rise of the Cybermen/Age of Steel, but this time we don't have a) Roger Lloyd-Pack to muck it up with ham, b) a sharper definition camera as opposed to Rise's blurry soap-opera one and c) none of the parallel Earth-setting nonsense (remember how difficult it was for the Third Doctor to get to the parallel Earth in Inferno? no to mention the Fifth Doctor's hilarious rant about how going to and from E-Space (a parallel universe) isn't like a 'taxi service').

The cliffhanger was obviously pretty climactic, but ranks as probably the most laboured ever in the show's history - and what on Earth are Daleks doing travelling in such a celestial sphere? Isn't RTD over-estimating their technological abilities? Well, let's see if this plot element is fully explained next week.

As for the Doctor's 1980s cereal packet paper 3-D glasses - well - again, hopefully these will be explained too, as the Radio Times hints this week. Otherwise, they look very silly and gimmicky - another idea thrown about by RTD down the pub no doubt.

Seeing the clip from next week, well, while aspects look quite promising, especially the genesis ark (Davros?), I'm sorry to see all those cardboard cut-outs from the parallel Earth are threatening to descend once more. Why? Just leave them be where they were. Having Micky return is one thing - and I admit that was very well directed when the lab assistant turned out to be he, with a wink to Rose - but not the entire cast of McRae's soap - including, inevitably, the parallel father of Rose.

Let's hope Doomsday delivers what is hinted at in Army of Ghosts, overall a reasonably engaging episode and RTD's second best-written one after Tooth and Claw.

6/10

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Well, that was one to raise the hairs on the back of the neck! As he did last year, RTD provides a penultimate episode that leaves me thinking “how the hell are they going to get out of that?”. I hope this year the ending is more satisfactory. If it proves to be so, this could be another story to go down in history as a true great – and we’ve already had at least two of those this year.

OK, so I had an inkling that the Daleks were going to make an appearance, and if the Cybermen broke through from their universe then I expected Mickey to follow. But both were handled cleverly. No, I didn’t notice that it was Mickey working in the sphere room until Rose saw him.

As for the mysterious sphere itself, I did realise the colouring in the room was rather like the Daleks from last year, and the sphere could almost be an enlarged ball from a Dalek case. So no mystery there for me, but even so it was quite hair-raising when the three Daleks emerged at the end of the episode.

But I am getting away with myself. Early in the story there was humour, as the “ghosts” appeared and the Doctor went ghostbusting. But it was handled well, even the scene from East Enders and other TV programmes. Perhaps RTD has learned how to package the humorous moments, for example I have no fondness for East Enders but I laughted out loud.

It was almost a Pertwee moment with the Doctor rushing out with his ghost detecting cones, and surmising that they might not be ghosts at all but that people just wanted them to be. With horror it slowly dawned on me that the ghosts might be Cybermen, I think there’s even a hint of cyber voice.

In the Torchwood Tower when the Doctor stops the “ghost shift” by gleefully telling Yvonne to go ahead and pulling up a chair from which to watch, I almost felt the script was very typical of Tom Baker at his best. But David Tennant handles it differently, with a zeal that even Tom didn’t have. That is why Tennant really is the Doctor in a way that Chris Eccleston wasn’t.

Oh the scene with the polythene in the building zone, quite terrifying. Graeme Harper knows how to pull off a frightening scene for sure! As it becomes clear that the Torchwood office employees have been taken over by the Cybermen, who have already broken into our dimension our attention turns to the sphere…and when the Cyberman states it is not theirs, the look on the Doctor’s face is wonderful.

So the sphere opens, and the Daleks are revealed. How will our friends get out of this one? Lets hope this time nobody swallows any magic dust and wishes the baddies away.

9.5/10

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Well .... Season 2 finale!

I promised myself I would not write a review until I had seen both parts at least a couple of times, but having read the reviews so far (and fiddled with a Sky + box) I thought I would throw caution to the wind and add my opinions now.

This series it's obvious that Doctor Who team have experimented in some areas and tried to improve in others, with mixed results as I am sure most people would agree (even if they don't agree which episodes work) for example I sat and watched Love and Monsters and loved every minute of it, however the person watching it with me kept saying "This isn't Doctor Who! Wheres the Doctor?"

So we, like the Doctor and Rose, have been on a bit of a bumpy ride recently and finally ended up back on Earth in the presence of the wonderful Jackie Tyler and slap bang in the middle of another mystery, this time concerning the apparent return of dearly departed loved relatives in ghostly form and the hugely name dropped Torchwood Institute.

Having read most of the spoliers, seen the pics and watched the trailer I sat there knowing what to expect, the Doctor, Rose and Jackie get mixed up with Torchwood, there'll be Cybermen, oh and Mickey and Pete will be back too, Rose is going to die (wonderful pre-lude and opening credits "This is the story of war on Earth .. the last story I will ever tell" - made me shiver) and possibly Captain Jack will be back.

I love Jackie tyler, and it was great to see her finally taking a trip in the Tardis, as well as the dialogue between her and the Doctor when they got to Torchwood. Over recent episodes I have had little good to say about Rose, going from most develped character to most annoying during the first half of the season so it was good to see her taking a more active role, off on her own to explore with the psychic paper.

My only niggle I would point out at this point is that Torchwood did not bowl me over, it looked like a very British version of Area 51 from Independance Day - hovering spaceship included. Yvonne's interaction with the Doctor was interesting but she doesn't quite cut it as a ruthless boss of a secret organisation that annoyed him so much in the Christmas Invasion. All those guards and no one noticed a few Cybermen hiding behind some polythene sheets?? Hmmmm...

If you take last years penultimate episode, I found it rather fustrating that even though I knew it was the Daleks - you didn't get to see them until the last few minutes because of the build up and nod to popular culture by RTD. This time though we get that still (great idea for Eastenders, but their characters always find a way of cheating death anyway!) and you get the Cybermen appearing much sooner to kick start the build up.

It didn't take a leap of imagination to realise the ghosts were Cybermen, I did enjoy watching them appear all over the world though, as well as the re-appearance of the new and improved Mickey, there is something very scary about Cybermen appearing at the front door and the top of the stairs though.

So the episode cliff hanger is set ... millions of Cybermen and only the Doctor can stop them, Rose and Mickey are trapped with a sphere that probably contains the Cyber Controller ... its opening ... hang on wheres the closing music ... what is coming out of it ... THUD! I actually fell off the sofa and screamed when the closing music finally cut in.

Of course it's gushing fan boy .. Cybermen AND Daleks ... some will hate it, but despite spotting a sly extermination in the previous weeks pre-lude I really hadn't expected it to be true (remember all the hype a few months ago when it was leaked - then nothing).

So it's all down to the last 45 mins ... and I expect there will be more sofa gripping moments as well as a few watery eyes by the end of it ...

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I tried to pretend that it wasn't going to happen. I saw the dalek extermination in the trailer at the end of Fear Her and thought, 'No, they wouldn't'. I'd even half convinced myself that the Torchwood boffins had at some point acquired a dalek gun for themselves. But then, I wondered, why zap a pedestrian with it? Then, a few minutes into Army of Ghosts, I saw that unopenable sphere and thought, 'I bet there's daleks in there.' And, of course, there were.

Two things are wrong here.

Firstly, Doctor Who has become pathetic at keeping secrets. The programme makers' desire for Radio Times covers and tabloid column inches has left them eager to spoil pretty much every surprise in the programme. It's a bit like having a cinema usherette wave you to your seat and say, 'Oh, by the way, Darth Vader is Luke's father' or 'Bruce Willis' character is actually a ghost' or 'Brad Pitt is a figment of Edward Norton's imagination'. Ah, oops, sorry if I've just spoilt anything for anybody there... And the makers of Doctor Who still carry on as if no one knows - keeping the cybermen hidden away in The Age of Steel until near the end, despite that week's Radio Times having several pages devoted to the mechanical monsters. And Army of Ghosts builds up to the 'shock' revelation that those friendly ghosts are actually... cybermen! (Yes, thanks, worked that one out.) And, if that wasn't enough, I mean, oh my God! You are just going to explode at this one, right, but, like, inside that black sphere are, wait for it... daleks! (Um, yes, kind of deduced that one too, thanks. And, thanks to the news and the good old Radio Times, I'm also fully aware that Mickey comes back and that Rose leaves at the end of the story. Oh, and thanks to the last trailer, I know that Rose's Dad and Mickey's mate also come back.) Correct me if I'm wrong, but one of the most enjoyable things about fiction, whether film, book or TV, is the suspense - not knowing what's going to happen next. It creates excitement, involvement, tension. And Doctor Who is severely lacking in all three at the moment.

Secondly, well, daleks and cybermen; cybermen and daleks. It's creative bankruptcy really, isn't it? It's the idea that teenage fanboys come up with. It's Aliens vs Predator, King Kong vs Godzilla, Freddy vs Jason. It's tired, it's predictable, and I can't believe we've got here by the end of only the second season. My brain curdles at the thought of what fanwank Russell T Davies and chums will come up with for season three.

Ah, Russell T Davies - he still needs someone to paper over the holes in his scripts. 'The Ghost Shift'... um, not quite sure I got that one. Another one of those 'if only we could harness it' energy sources, or something. And the cybermen 'ghosts' wander around looking like silhouettes of ordinary people - why's that then? And they convince, via - what was it? ESP or something? - that they're dead relatives come back to life. Um... And don't forget the in-jokes, 'cos Babs Windsor is chucking Dirty Den's 'ghost' out of the Queen Vic, and, like, Tracy-Ann Oberman, who's playing the head of Torchwood, actually killed Den in Eastenders! Tee-hee-hee... That's postmodern irony that is. I think...

And this week's Cringeworthy Tennant Moment (every episode must have one): well, it has to be his 'Who ya gonna call?' Yup, my toes went skyward; I'm guessing yours did too. Second prize has to go to the constant putting on of 3-D specs for no obvious reason. Duh...

There's the odd decent bit. Cybermen threatening a young family in their home is scary because it destroys that familiar safe haven, and a bird's eye view of the silver monsters marching down a city street is visually arresting. Yvonne Hartman makes for an interesting character, nicely inhabiting that murky grey area between friend and foe, and Tracy-Ann Oberman clearly relishes the part. She's soft on her juniors' romance, but steely with the Doctor, with her cheery 'Oh, yes' response to his asking whether he's a prisoner. Could have done without the clapping scene though. Camille Coduri also provides a reassuringly solid performance as Jackie. Even the Doctor gets a moment to shine with his glass-breaking demonstration and subsequent use of that 'couldn't care less' attitude to get Yvonne to halt the Ghost Shift. Shame he'd pulled the same stunt the week before though...

Overall then, Doctor Who seems to think it's one of those big, modern blockbuster movies, like The Mummy or Van Helsing. It's big for big's sake, overblown, everything and the kitchen sink. There are cool special effects, huge armies, worlds at stake. But it's all surface gloss with nothing underneath. It's emotionally uninvolving and I find myself not really caring what happens next. Which is a real shame.

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I thought it woould be interesting to add a review from a faithful Dr. Who fan who has been paying attention to things happening across the pond. I have always felt that the BBC has had something against Americans. I was extremely disappointed when they cut us off from Dr. 7 episodes for awhile (back in the 80's)and at that time, we had very little option but to wait. Now, we have the glorious internet and thanks to you Brits, we can watch Dr. Who without the year wait.

This episode has to be one of my favorites of the past two seasons, with The Impossible Planet close behind. However, I feel like the Satan Pit didn't live up to the first part and I was rather disappointed. I felt as though they had such a good setup that it could have been knocked out of the park. Sadly, it wasn't. Here, we see another perfect pitch and let's hope that this time that it is a home run and that the second part lives up to the first.

I too have felt that shows have been rushed. In Fear Her, we find the Dr. and Rose noticing a complicated mystery, and figuring it out in record speed and time and it's almost so unrealistic that it's hard to watch. I'm in my thirties now and would like to see things move at a bit slower pace and be a bit more realistic. I would like to see more two and possibly even three part stories. If you have a good story, don't ruin it by condensing it down too much.

This brings me to my last review and thoughts on this episode and the series as a whole. The character of Jackie and the one of Mickey are severely underused and overlooked. I understand the producer wanting to appeal to a younger, more hip crowd and that 20 something Rose was their answer to that end. But again, I like things a bit more mature and I would love to see Jackie go with the Doctor for a season or two. I loved their banter in this episode and would enjoy seeing more of it. Jackie would be a good anchor for the bouyant tenth incarnation of this Time Lord. Plus, she would allow this "aged" Dr. to act a bit more mature at times. I would also like to see Mickey join the Doctor. He could represent the younger crowd and appeal to them. How long has it been since the Doctor has had more than one young female companion at a time on air? Can anyone say Peter Davidson? That's an awful long stretch and I think it's a good time to try the multiple companions again. Any good show has a mix of personalities to play off of and the bubbly Doctor, grounded Jackie, and young, hot headed Mickey would make a splendid combination that these writers could use to make terrific stories.

So, here's to another good Dr. Who episode and hopes for many more. I will keep watching from this side of the pond in hopes for some more good things from the new Dr. Who.

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I find it astonishing that anyone, especially real Dr.Who fans, can criticise anything from this series and having seen Doomsday umpteen times since transmission I still can find no fault.

Quite simply Doomsday rattled along at a ferocious pace with great tight direction from Graeme Harper and an ensemble cast that rode into the sunset on the most glittering beast that could inhabit the regal mind of Russell T. Davies. Cybermen vs Daleks... .every fan's wet dream surely... .and the most heartbreaking finale that you could ever imagine. I am 40... but I wept and wept through the last 20 minutes-friends of mine who are 20 and NEVER cry...THEY wept! My mother wept! Only my dear wife remained immune and at least she had the decency the pass me a tissue and coimment on how Billie and David acted the socks off anyone else on television.

I love the way Russell develops ideas through the series...his hints and catches to reward the viewing regulars...and yet always remaining accessible. There really is something for everyone in modern Dr. Who...and that is what TV should be all about. Doomsday had tons of everything. Pete Tyler... ..! Wow... from a one off story in series one to this amazing return...his meeting with Jackie was just jaw droppingly wonderful... ..and then Mickey the hero...yet again coiming forward to kick butt.

Billie has become in two years, a skilled and subtle leading lady and although there were towards the end too many open mouthed gawps (watch the Satn Pit etc to see what I mean) she really had a tour de force here and her character really did come full circle(great idea to have her waking in her bed-shades of 'Rose'). She had brought an emotional depth to Rose and pulled aspects of the Doctor out of his reserved shell to expose what a vulnerable and shattered individual he is under all the bravura. David Tennant is God! Quite simply he is THE definative Dr. Who already...and he can act like there is no tomorrow. Once again in Doomsday we see him glide effortlessly and totally believably from light comedy to anguish and heartbreaking solitude. He has taken the role to new heights...and pity the man whjo will one day replace him (although please PLEASE stay David...4 years would be a great start!). The parting scenes were just so right for the adventures we have shared with them both... and I defy anyone not to cry when Rose says that she loves him...and he is so close to reciprocating. Yes...the Doctor is an emotional fellow and so he should be! Not bed hopping Kirk but a complex, multi-layered , multi-faceted alien who can experience a range of empotions and he NEEDS that depth to move his character on! More power to your elbow Russell...you are a GENIUS!!!!

And so Rose is no more... .I can't say Catherine Tate is my favourite actress as much of her work is derivative, but I am sure she will do us proud at Christmas... and as for Freema, well, if she isn't the MOST beautiful companion ever then I'll have to ask each one of you to step outside whom so ever disagrees. I can't wait for series 3... but what can Russell do to top this?

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After last week's classy finish, we were left gasping for more...

Maybe it is just me but the computer graphics and all those Daleks and cybermen do look very, well, computer generated. No surprises there obviously but what Doctor Who has done best so far has been the one to one relationships, particularly the "Dalek" episode from the first series.

It was all still very visually impressive though, and don't get me wrong, this is the stuff we always wanted to see from reading all those Dalek comics and annuals from the 60s and 70s.

There was some great exchanges between Rose and the daleks, as well as the Doctor who seemed to be very sure of himself. You got the feeling though that to a certain extent there was re-treading of old ground when the Doctor deliberately pushed Rose into the other dimension ... and of course, she came back again.

For me the highlights of this episode did not really involve the Doctor's two historic enemies but it was the coming together of Rose's Mum and Dad, and then of course, the grande finale when Rose disappeared into another parallel universe. It was great that Rose did not die. I think that would have been too upsetting and it does leave it open should she ever return. But I would have thought it would be more for a Sarah Jane Smith style School Reunion than a fully blown return.

Billie Piper gave a real tearjerking performance. She certainly wasn't the only one bubbling away.

Even some of the Dalek's lines were pretty funny during the story but the funniest was Jackie's reaction to meeting Pete Tyler again ... brilliant stuff.

In a sense, Rose got what she had always wanted as well going back to Father's Day as she wanted to see her father and be re-united with her parents again when Pete Tyler was alive. In the end she got her dream but at a cost in that she lost the man she loves in the shape of the Doctor.

There was plenty of intrigue about the episodes with the sphere hiding a dark secret then the Genesis Arc. I am sure a few of us who had been reading message boards in recent weeks fully believed that Davros was making his return but it was not to be... perhaps that might be another adventure.

The final parting scenes which were supposedly in Norway but my money was that it was a cold spring's day in Wales (!), were beautiful and eloquent. I thought the musical score really was first class throughout this two parter which really hit the heights.

While there have been some new monsters, I think the old monsters like Daleks, Cybermen, and even the good guys Sarah Jane and K-9 have been among the strong episodes, I would hope that more old baddies could come back as has been suggested. Ice Warriors and Yeti please in series three, NOT the sontarans or Sil! Let's go back to the hammer horror period of 60s Who!

The finale was quite brilliant with the Tardis spinning next to the heart of the universe as the Doctor actually managed to have some parting words with Rose in a beautiful exchange. Has a parting of the ways ever been as touching as this (Christopher Eccleston's leaving is on a par). I liked the fact that her mother burst forward to hug her at the end as the Dr vanished or de-materialised into another universe.

A neat little surprise cliffhanger for the Christmas special too. Should thurst the Doctor into a surprising new situation he has not been involved in before! All in all, an absolute epic of an episode. I still can't believe they crammed so much into 45 minutes as you were left gasping at the end of it. Altogether, it was a beautiful end to a beautiful story of the Doctor and Rose. Billie Piper has played an incredibly huge impact and leaves a void almost as big as the gulf between the Doctor and Rose in different parallel universes on an emotional level. Like David Tennant had to do when Christopher Eccleston left last season, Freema Agyeman has to step up to the challenge and showcase her acting talent as the two original lead actors from the new series leave along with the Rose's family who have all been terrific. There was a fresh and real vibrance about Doctor Who because of Rose and Rose's Mum played by Camille Coduri and of course, Mickey, played by Noel Clarke. The series has lost some very strong actors and actresses. I hope the show can continue and flourish and in the hands of Russell T Davies, who has shown himself to be a true admirer of Who old and new, the show is in very safe hands.

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Doomsday. A fitting name. For it was for Rose and the Doctor…

But wow. You know. Wow. At first I thought Daleks and Cybermen would be too much to handle. Too big. But RTD pulled it off! Everyone was supporting the Daleks of course- they had some great lines, e.g “This is not war. This is pest control.” The Daleks are just brilliant!

So Rose didn’t die. I thought she wouldn’t; there were too many hints implying that she would and of course nothing obvious ever happens in Doctor Who.

I had a theory that she may get stuck on a parallel world and the beach scene came very close…Especially when Rose mentioned a baby. But because there’s never been any evidence of a Doctor/Rose drunken pash then it wouldn’t have worked. Instead I was yelling “Not Mickey’s! Please not Mickey!” but it was a red herring. Thank god.

Bringing me onto Mickey…why does everyone like him? He’s turned from an idiotic coward to an arrogant idiotic poser. His pathetic attempts to flirt with Rose made me cringe. As if I’m not upset enough about Rose being trapped in another universe! But Mickey being there…

I’m loving Pete though. I think it was great that he, Jackie and Rose are together. Ignore Mickey. I liked him so much in father’s day I knew he’d have to come back. Like I know Rose will have to come back too. Preferably with Captain Jack. I loved the threesome! Haven’t seem them together with the tenth doctor yet. I can hope…

Yvonne. She was a bitch. I liked her. And Tracy’s very good at playing bitchy people. I wish she could be the new companion. What a combination that would be! I didn’t think much of Freema as Adeola. No. Not at all.

I thought the scene where Rose lets go of the lever was heart wrenching, especially the distraught expression on the Doctor’s face. The music teamed with Rose and the Doctor both leaning on the wall was heartbreaking but very effective. The beach scene was even sadder. Perhaps saying goodbye is harder than one actually dying? They know they’re both alive but they can’t be with each other. Terribly sad.

I’m trying to decide which is better. Parting of the ways or Doomsday? Loved the bad wolf reference in Doomsday, as if Rose had put that there because she knew what was going to happen, and made it be the last place to say goodbye. Rose told the Doctor she loved him (finally) but he was cut off just before he could! Very Satan Pit. Oh, she knows. He just can’t admit his feelings, can he? There was no kiss in Doomsday which annoyed me no end. Rose hasn’t had a chance to get her hands on the tenth yet (New Earth doesn’t count). That’s probably why I’m leaning more towards Parting of the Ways. A kiss, self sacrifice- and of course all the bad wolf stuff going on. Great idea. It makes Rose special and makes you think Is she, in effect, a Timelady now? Will she live on, for as long as the Doctor? I’ll be waiting for her to come back. It won’t be the same now she’s gone. But I’ll be watching, like the rest of you. Hoping for Rose and my 2nd favourite, Captain Jack, to return!

To conclude, Doctor Who is just excellent. The 2 series are the best television I’ve ever seen. Sure there’s been some slip ups like the Long game and Girl in the fireplace (Steven Moffat I’m disappointed in you) but all in all, in the words of the 9th doctor, “Fantastic.”

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And so an era comes to an end and the Tyler clan (et Mickey) are left to a "Rose"y future in the alternative Earth. And what a season which has played with just about every emotion possible - we have seen high drama, genuinely scary moments, humour, love, relationships, envy, sadness, bitterness and some mind blowing concepts. The fans have at times been critical of the more experimental stories with clear almost 50/50 splits with some of them. But Doctor Who is no longer specifically written for fans. It generates viewers of all ages and interests and whilst there is much to please fans it is important to recognise the way in which Doctor Who is now written and presented - to pull in as large and varied audience as it can - and that premise has worked extremely well!

Army of Ghosts had shaped up well - albeit giving Torchwood a sense of lack of direction. Doomsday picked up on last week's episode's strengths and us into a mad frenzied battle for Earth with mankind helpless in the path of destruction. The 4 elite named Daleks were on a mission and the mighty Cybermen stood no chance against the metal pepperpots - encased in force fields and with the ability to fly. Should we ever have doubted who would win in such a fight???

The story was of course set up to see the exit of Rose - just as the Auton invasion of London had been a means to introduce the Doctor into her life. Along with many other viewers, I had worked out the ending (well transfer to the alternate Earth that is) but it was a twist to see Pete run to Rose's timely rescue rather than Mickey - a nice twist!! And at last we saw the Doctor fully react to the loss of a companion - Rose had become more to him than any other now that he is the lone Time Lord. The tears seemed right - the unfinished sentence - well . . . he couldn't have actually told Rose he loved her could he? Full marks to David Tennant and Billie Piper for very fine and moving performances.

As with the Autons slaughtering shoppers in "Rose" there was something terrifying about seeing Cybermen in people's homes, on their stair landings, patrolling local streets and battling troops on bridges. And shots of London burning from the top of Canary Warf/Torchwood Institute - spectacular!!!! To be fair some of the CGE shots of flying Daleks were not as good as in last season's finale but I was still impressed! And the Daleks' method of extracting information from the brain was rather horrific stuff!!!

So as the closing titles flashed up - what were the unanswered questions? Well for a start, what happened to the Torchwood Institute on our Earth (with no Rose Tyler to advise)? Was it wiped out and will the new Torchwood series develop on a completely new set up?? And then the Runaway Bride - is Catherine Tate to be the new temp companion????? Well to quote the actresses most popular comedy character "I Ain't Bothered!" - what an unusual and unpredictable way to end the episode - especially after the high emotions of the farewells!

Congratulations to Mr RTD on an almost devoid of humour script that was very dramatic and to all the actors, production staff, musicians, special effects crew and back room boys and girls for making Season 2 so enjoyable and a treat for Saturday night!! Roll on the Christmas Special and Season 3!!!

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Russell T Davies and crew have given us an astounding gift in the wake of losing Billie Piper and the character of Rose - THE ABSOLUTE GREATEST DOCTOR WHO ADVENTURE EVER FILMED. Why should I mince words. In 2005, the current production team had taken a dismissed tired format and reworked the physical elements of the show to appeal once again to a mass audience, yet continuing to serve the loyal fan base that has kept the show alive all these years. In the resurrection of DOCTOR WHO, Russell T Davies kept the core spirit of the original show and everything that was laid down about the character of Rose and the souls who populated her universe, her mother, Mickey and the memory of her Father are finally brought together with "DOOMSDAY" in such a fascinating and entertaining way. One of the hallmarks of the new series has been its sheer entertainment quality and its product ion values. This is why the series is a critical and cultural success in England as well. DOOMSDAY, isn't so much a story about a battle between The Daleks and the Cybermen, it is the story of Rose, Mickey and her Mother and Father. ARMY OF GHOSTS has proven to be the primer for the setup of the century - armies of Daleks and Cybermen clashing for the future of Earth . This was more than just a story of earthly and universal domination, more than a fan's "dream" episode, and despite it hitting the high marks on all those levels as well, it proves that RTD and the talented professionals who put this show together every week populate it with wonderful characters you care about. Russell T Davies has cleverly woven the threads of those characters into many of the episodes over the past two years and DOOMSDAY succeeds on the most intanigible and untouchable level imaginable - the human soul and spirit of Rose and her disjointed family. Uncle Russell had this beau tiful vision for the Doctor and Rose - A Doctor who had been hardened by the Time War and softened in the end by the hand and touch of Rose Tyler, who actually became the most important entity in the Doctor's life and universe.

DOOMSDAY is without a doubt the fulfillment of that vision. Over the past two years we have seen unfold one of the greatest love stories ever filmed. When Rose and the Doctor meet, they are both damaged goods with gigantic gaping holes in each other's lives. While that relationship did work better with Eccleston's Doctor, and proved to be more strained in the hands of Tennant, Season Two did show different sides to the characters and explored further deeper aspects of the relationship. DOOMSDAY brought together all those elements and brings the story of Rose and the Doctor to a close. In DOOMSDAY, we see Rose , get everything she ever wanted to have in "FATHER'S DAY" , yet losing the most important thing she could ever had hoped to find in the Doctor. Throu ghout Season Two, Rose is faced with eventually losing the Doctor, and vowing within her soul never to turn away.And she stands by her Doctor's side until the inevitable and inescapable happens. In the end, the character is very realistically forced to accept everything that cannot be changed. Sometimes the hero doesn't win, and sometimes, like all of us, you must face your reality. When the Doctor was forced to close the door on the two colliding universes in DOOMSDAY, he ultimately closed the door on one of the absolutely, fantastically best eras of Doctor Who ever. Many Tv series have tried what Doctor Who has succeeded in doing in trump cards - noteably the X-Files, when the story has to deal with two characters that have fallen in love with one another, unknowingly and unintentionally. The final scenes between the Doctor and Rose on the beach in Norway where an unexpected treat especially since no further words were necessary after seeing the Doctor and Rose, standing Face to Face in separate universes with the unmoving and eternal void separating them...forever. These scenes were the most spectacularly emotional scenes ever filmed in Doctor Who.....And that single tear streaming down the Doctor's cheek....... Oh, this was DOCTOR WHO at its ultimate best folks, and cudos to the production team for pulling all this off. Everything in this episode worked so beautifully, I won't even attempt to suggest it could have been done better, because frankly, I don't think it could have. Graham Harper has proven once again he is one of the most prolific directors in the history of Doctor Who and British television, taking the show to adult levels without excessive campiness, his episodes seem to be the most "balanced" in the season two, and it is under his direction Tennant's character flourishes and exceeds expectations. Let's hope this balance becomes the "blueprint" for all future episodes to follow.

DOOMSDAY is also a story about the Daleks trying to revive the "Genesis Ark" and colliding quite beautifully with the Cybermen's vain attempts to "upgrade" another earth. Their goals are so pure and uncorrupted when you think about it. The Daleks want to dominate physically and externally exteriminating everything in their path, and the Cybermen in Season two seem more motivated to "upgrade" and relieve the human race of their emotional baggage by internally subjecting their brains to an emotional "cleansing" never more horrifically realized until the past season of stories. The Daleks and Cybermen could never form an alliance because they defeat each other from the outside in, and so the battle begins. If something was missing from RISE OF THE CYBERMEN and THE AGE OF STEEL, I think DOOMSDAY has made those episodes even more powerful in hindsight , thematically linking them though characters and concepts to almost create a continuing story. DOOMSDAY is burgeoning with one classic moment after another, but never more classic than the Daleks opening the Genesis ark when it astoundingly is revealed to be a timelord prison ship filled with millions of Daleks. Only in our wildest dreams! This episode also served to introduce the full blown TORCHWOOD concept to the series , and I was hoping to see an ongoing rivalry between the Doctor and TORCHWOOD and it remains to be seen how the two different tv series will progress from this point on, and cross reference each other in future episodes. Only time....will tell. I tend to enjoy the concept of the Doctor on the outside, looking in. The character is a revolutionary anarchist at heart and while season two has seen his earthly presence turn into an internet cult noticed by a few overzealous misfits like we saw in "LOVE AND MONSTERS", the character still and should al ways remain an outsider. I think TORCHWOOD will soon be moving away from being a "people" organization and tighten its grip into a fist. More so after the loss of its director who went to her death "serving Queen and Country" only to steal a scene in a triumph of humanity as a crimson tear falls from the Steely metal face of the Cyber body she found herself imprisoned in. A reminder once again of the victory of the human spirit over the steely cold mechanisation of encroaching technology! Once again, DOCTOR WHO, at its finest!

It’s almost inconcievable actually that DOOMSDAY succeeded so omnipotently on as many levels as it did. The story should have been literally ripped apart in having to serve as many purposes as it did, including going back to Season One and tieing up loose story arcs from the Time War through to FATHER'S DAY and even "BAD WOLF", ultimately bringing Jackie and Peter Tyler together and healing Rose's dysfunctional fragmented family. Everybody wins here....except the Doctor and Rose , who lose each other forever. In celebrating the best of DOCTOR WHO, we forever must deal with the loss of one of the best companions ever to grace the TARDIS.

Of course the possibility of the impossible will always exist in Doctor Who and the Production team leaves behind enough possibilities for a reunion - we have not loss Rose Tyler forever. Perhaps there are other chapters still to play out and concievably, there is plenty of room for the BBC to imagineer a Big Screen theatrical venture reuniting Chris Eccleston with Billie Piper as "a space in time" revisited. It is apparant that the story of Rose may have been in Russell Davies head from the moment she stepped out of that department store and into the TARDIS. Of course , now, the series must totally recreate itself once again, and it will be interesting to see the direction that will be taken with Freema Agyeman's Martha Jones character when the third season begins. Thank you to Russell T. Davies, Julie Gardner,Phil Collinson, Billie Piper, David Tennant and the entire cast a nd production crew for making the second season a wonderful and entertaining ride through space and time.............Shine on you crazy diamonds!

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I'll miss Rose Tyler. I think many of us will.

Good luck to Billie in her future ventures - she really has helped bring "Doctor Who" back to this new world. I work in retail and I can't help but smile whenever - almost every other day - I see a kid get excited over a new Doctor Who display in store: DVD, book or magazine, these kids are just so enthusiastic about it all.

I criticised RTD last week for poor writing in the sci-fi world. I stand by that - and would ask that he gives more stories to the likes of Matt Jones, Mark Gatiss, Tom MacRae and Rob Shearman (I would love to see a story on screen to match "The Holy Terror")... but oh my does RTD write character stories well.

Sci-fi doesn't seem to be the point of "Doomsday". In deed, the Cyberman/Dalek confrontation is kinda lacklustre in the end, 'though kudos for the work that went in to the scene on the bridge, and the "they will fight you" pay-off... No matter what, we will not lay down.

But this is really Rose's story. And what a send off... From her dying scream to the denial of her Doctor's love, this farewell has to be the most emotional of all of the Doctor's companions... 'Cept, maybe, Sarah Jane's eventual "goodbye" just a few weeks ago.

RTD is a writer of human character - QAF ably demonstrated that, but the scene with Rose and the Doctor parted by a wall a universe apart was the best thing about this whole second series... This gut-wrenching separation was superbly acted by David Tennant and Billie Piper, but was supported by a most emotion-inducing soundtrack.

This 30+ fella had a lump in his throat and I don't mind admitting it!

As for the cliffhanger... I am intrigued.

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WOW! That was bloody amazing!. Russel has proved once again that he more than capable of writng amazing stuff ( odd when you consider the pile of drivel that was "Love & Monsters"!) but we'll forgive him for that!. In an episode that rounds off the series it finally raps up Rose's story, and presumably also closes the chapter on the Doctors envolvement with Jackie, Pete etc etc.

I felt a little dissapointed that we didnt see more carnage outside ( i. e people being massacred !, thats allways good ) but ive nothing really negative i can say about these last two episodes, and, like the last season ending, blew me away. I did however notice one large plot hole....

Once the cybermen are in OUR universe they set up a "processing" department behind some plastic sheets ( like you do) at Torchwood. Well whats wrong with that i here you say.. well.. the Doctor explains that because the Cybermen and Daleks have been through the dimensions there covered in this void stuff which eventually leads them to being sucked back though etc, etc, BUT...

The Cybermen processed in our dimension hadn't been anywhere, including poor old Yvonne Hartman who is presumably now sitting back in her office ranting " I did my duty for Queen & country" while sipping a coffee!. maybe she and the rest of them will create a progressive folk duo and go off and conqueror somewhere else!. And did anyone actually see any Cybermen being sucked back through anyway?.

One other thing that baffled me was why do the Daleks refer to the device as a Genisis Ark?. As cool as it may sound, what relation did that bare to the final device which is revealed to be in simple terms as a prison cell?. I was expecting some sort of rebirth or cloning device?. Hmm.

Ive praised him before, and ile do it again. Loved Murray Golds work. The kind of person who can write music that can reduce a grown man to tears must be doing something right!. All praise to him, but credit must also go to Piper and Tennant for wonderfull performances, especially in the last few scenes.

And what of dear old Catherine tate at the end... hillarious!.

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170 days is just WAY too long to wait!!!

If you haven't seen the Confidentials for the each part of the finale, I would advise you to go out there and get them. What this group puts into this show is what makes it one of the best shows on TV period, not just in the area of Science Fiction. Imagine if great writers like Terry Nation and Pip Baker, directors like Ron Jones and Barry Letts and producers like Verity Lambert and John Nathan-Turner had the full support of the BBC when they were working on this show. Imagine if all of the people involved in Doctor Who from 1963 on did not have to worry (near as much anyway) about budget constraints or high up executives who thought they knew everything about everything people wanted to watch on television.

I'm not saying the 2005/2006 teams had it easy by any means. Just easier. If the writer or director had ideas for the show, there were people on the set who would say "You can do this, this and this but you have to stop at this". Most times, the director was able to do what they envisioned when reading the scripts for the show. Imagine that!

This season was a roller coaster to be sure. Without Chris Eccelston, without his gritty portrayal of the Doctor who has just lost his entire race could the show continue on or would the 2005 and 2006 seasons be another 1996 movie and make the show fall away into obscurity once again? No matter what you say about certain aspects of this season, the general consensus has to be that David Tennant grabbed this role by the family jewels and ran away with it. He has the forceful nature of Eccelston, but has also shown the compassion of the Doctors that came before him. His love for the human race and awe of their potential. Perhaps it was the writing more than Eccelston's skill as an actor but these were traits lacking in Series One. Again, for one season, the Doctor had experienced more pain than he ever had before. Eccelston's performance was brilliant and what the show needed to break away from familiar patterns and show just how damaged this Timelord really was.

In 2006 however, with the introduction of Rose into his life as well as her extended family, the Doctor had begun the healing process and could once again show some of his jovial nature. David Tennant performed this brilliantly from the first Christmas dinner in "The Christmas Invasion" to talking about Earth's future history in "New Earth" and on and on throughout the season. He would not allow people like Harriet Jones, the werewolf cult monks or even Torchwood to hurt the human race but also would he not automatically solve every problem the human race had (even though he often wanted to). His perfomance from day one was brilliant and, once again, exactly how the Doctor needed to be portrayed at this time in his life.

On to Army of Ghosts and Doomsday. The epic nature of having Cybermen and Daleks at the same time alone would have made this finale a Doctor Who's wet dream besides the fact that the episodes were very well written and acted. The introduction of the "Genesis Ark" was an excellent way to bring millions of Daleks once again appear from nowhere. Inside, I was hoping that since it was Gallifreyian technology it would somehow be able to jumpstart the Timelords back into existence, but the fact that it was a prison for millions of Daleks was an awesome concept and turned out to be a much better plot device in the long run. I loved Gallifrey and the Timelords but I really believe that dumping all of that excess baggage that every Doctor since Hartnell had to deal with is still the best thing for the show. The scene where the Daleks and Cybermen meet was fantastic! As they say in Confidential, the Daleks have their own set of emotions and the disgust and superiority the Daleks feel toward Cybermen was palpable. 5,000,000 Cybermen against one Dalek would be an even fight. Brilliant! One doctor and you (the Daleks) are actually scared. Brilliant! This was a flawless meeting and even though the threat of the Cybermen was the driving force of 3/4 of the two finale episodes, the Daleks showed themselves to be the true enemy of the human race and the Doctor. The Daleks had time travel technology, they had the weapons to attack and kill Timelords and the Cybermen were really just humans dressed up in armor with superior technology. Superior to humans that is.

The end of Rose Tyler was handled perfectly as well. I'm sure many hardcore fans would probably think it was a cop out for her not to have died. Underneath all the battles with Jake and his commandos, all the special effects, all the flash of Torchwood there is this emotional story of the Tylers, and the reunion of a family. It's all done so brilliantly you almost forget about the huge battle that is raging on outside. Jackie and Pete show that they are meant for each other whether they are from the same universe or not. Pete is still the same guy, it just so happens one of his "wacky ideas" happened to work on his world.

This episode had a lot to cover. 5,000,000 Cybermen and (with the help of the Genesis Ark) millions of Daleks had to be defeated, and as most of us knew by now Rose had to die. It was obvious to most fans though that Rose's death had to be no fault of the Doctor's both for his sanity as well as Jackie's whose promise he gave that he would protect them both. The Void radiation, in my opinion was ingenious. Here was a way for all enemies to be taken out at once and Rose and the doctor would also be susceptible to its' effects. The way Pete stepped in and saved her was awesome and since we all knew Rose would be leaving in this episode, it actually created a feeling of fear when she was being pulled into the void! It was actually a surprise when Pete jumped in and caught her! This is no small feat in 2006 television!

I believe this finale was perfect Doctor Who in every way. Yvonne bucking her Cyber upgrade and having a small part in the Doctor's victory, Jake jumping in and saving the Doctor, Pete's emergence as a leader and a parallel Torchwood all added to a story that could have just been a big Cybermen/Dalek brawl. What could have just been a 45 minute special effects laser battle was instead a great story of heart, of human ingenuity and the Doctor's evolution. They even came up with a way for him to truly say goodbye to Rose and it is not an easy message for Rose to get which makes it all the more believable and well done. He doesn't even say "I love you" which is just so perfect!

Bottom line, Series Two was perfect in my mind. Ups and downs to be sure but then again Series One was not 100% perfect (farting Slitheen anyone?). What makes this show perfect is what made 2005 perfect. This is a show that has been around for 43 years. Taken as a whole, this revamp of the classic Who retains the Tardis, sonic screwdriver and the Doctor's incredible brain and puts it in a modern context we can all relate to. It adds a complexity to characters and emotions that could never have been realized in the early years of this show. In this way I believe it is on par with BSG or any of the other shows considered to be top tier Sci-Fi. More than that though, it would appeal to its' target audience perfectly. People young and old can enjoy this show and, once again, in 2006 with all that we've seen on television this is no small feat.

Cheers to RTD and to the entire cast and crew of Doctor Who Series Two. 170 days simply can't come fast enough!

And what's with the Runaway Bride?!

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Ok, as usual, I let this one stew for a bit. I've watched it time and time again, once it's dark enuf to enjoy on the Projector and not on some small telly screen.

I've decided this was FAB. It had it all, RTD has taken a few risks this series, and I love him for it. A show, or books, or Audios, or Comics, or Magazines, cannot last this long without risks. RTD has taken Dr Who and done it. He pulled it off BIG time. I watched Star Trek become formalistic and tedious (and I hate think that about ST) but it did. Star Gate went a little further and updated it's self. Buffy and Angel went further in how wonderfully they would take risks. We have had this in Doctor Who, but 10X more. Daleks and Cybermen? I need a tissue and a few private moments in the bathroom. Daleks, Cybermen, and the brilliantly built up 'Torchwood'? I will txt u when the bfroom is free. There will be no bog-roll left though.

We were promised epic, and we got it. This, like “The Impossible Planet” and “The Satan Pit” will end up in my edit suite, and get spliced together. For no other reason, than they are movies, and so well realised, it shocked me. I loved the cliff hanger, but I know the resolution now, so can boot up any Linux edit suite and put the 2 together. I can watch the Movies, that the BBC Wales are throwing at us, and adore them. I will still buy the DVD set, but sometimes, like the re-edit on 'Star Wars' ep.1 that did the rounds on the net, we know fans like to make changes. In this case I'll simply bang 2 ep's together to make a film.

Where does one start a review though? How does one describe a series finale that left my having to put my t-shirt in the washer because it was so wet with tears? Tears of joy, Tears of shock, Tears of Hope, Tears of Laughter? Ben (the B/F) went and watched on a chair, because he was ashamed sitting next to me on the sofa (he's a cold wally at times tho!)

Hope. Hope was good. He seemed defeated, but always Hope. I like that in a script. Many years ago when I was 16 I re-wrote the Bible, as a stage play to see how we'd cope with Jesus being born today, in the UK, in a tiny town. The Kids acting for me had done years of Nativity scenes at younger Schools, and Parents had watched about the same amount. I wanted to do the story, but re-engage the Kids and Parents. We did. (All the music was composed on an Amiga 500 for the techs!)

RTD seemed to want something in this Ep, that he got. I understand that, because if you take on a BIG story and try to re-invigorate it, it is hard.

He fed every fan's Dream, I think. Cyberman -vs- Daleks. The Doctor and the Humans were great. They were in the middle, and lost the fight As they should. If they wanted to win against the Daleks, they would need an upgrade.

As a season finale, it was perfect. Total 'Who' heaven. The music was a stunning effort, Goldis slagged by people in reviews, I think they are utterly wrong. The CGI was lovely, again at times the CGI is dissed, but I see lovely images that beat and other show because these guys LOVE 'Who'.

Acting was again TOP. Billie needs another BAFTA, and if our US friends have any sense at all, they need to reward her as well. DT also should have an award, because he is the best Doctor since Troughton. However America will easily deny this. Finally though, RTD deserves another award State Side for the Best Drama we in the UK have, and the Best you in the UK will ever have.

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For the last thirteen weeks or so I’ve been saying nothing could compare to saying goodbye to Christopher Eccleston as The Doctor. Indeed the emotion of the last episode of Season One was unsurpassable in my eyes, we were saying goodbye to the best Doctor I’ve ever had. Well today, we said goodbye to the best companion I have ever had.

Rose Tyler, gone forever?

That was unbearable. I cried so hard I had to run upstairs to stop spraying everyone in snot and tears, it was heartbreaking. How anyone can dare to slate RTD’s writing or Billie Pipers acting is beyond me, because that was without doubt the best telly we’ll see this year. What a corker of an episode! The millions of imprisoned Daleks shooting out of the genesis ark into the surrounding sky, and the sheer volume of the battle was breathtaking! The Cybes walking through estates while people watch in terror, the Daleks flying through the skies and their one-liners were superb this time, they even added some comedy to it. Nick Briggs as the voice of both The Daleks and The Cybermen was wonderful, and Graham Harpers direction was top notch. I’m so glad The Daleks beat the Cybes and proved once and for all what people have been debating for decades. The Daleks DO kick Cyberman arse. I don't think RTD could have done it any other way tho, to be fair The Daleks managed to wipe out the Time Lords, as well as themselves, so if The Cybermen had beaten The Daleks, that would have weakened the power of The Timelords. I reckon anyways.

The whole story gripped from the opening line to the closing credits. All through this season I’ve thought Rose has been a bit cocky, slightly annoying sometimes too, but for the last 15 minutes I realised just how fantastic she’s been and I really didn’t want her to go. Not yet, not for another season at least. I don’t want to never see Jackie, Mickey or the wonderful Pete again. Earth stories just won’t be the same now, how can they be?

How can we warm to anyone else as much as we did them? Surely now the stories will have to be mainly set away from earth, on other planets and other galaxies rather than try and copy the Tylers? Who knows?

What I do know is whatever happens, RTD will surpass himself yet again. Of that I have no doubt.

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What a wonderful episode! It had suspense, drama, love, hard sci-fi, great acting, and the kind of war fans have wanted for thirty years. Put simply, what precisely did it lack?

Without a doubt, this is the best script RTD has written for the show thus far. The direction was also quite superb. While Graeme Harper may have thrown some of the fans, especially those in this forum, for a loop with the "Army of Ghosts," he returned true to form with this installment. The Daleks were vicious, callous, and powerful. In lieu of the insane creatures we met at the end of the 9th doctor's reign, these were the original, genuine article and it was a pleasure to see them in action doing what they were designed to do. For their part, the pan-dimensional-Cybermen were also a return to the past; they were cold, calculating killing machines whose pride and anger, as in past scripts, came out very strongly. The wonderful exchange between these two classic adversaries was brilliantly written. The Daleks referring to the Cybermen as pests and nonchalantly dismissing their destructive potential was fascinating, a distinct contrast to the ethical dilemmas faced by the humans in "Pete's world" who found it hard to blot out these metal monsters so carelessly. The humans, while opening the breach in both realities and helping spur the events of this episode and the prior one, were kind, strong, and compassionate, displaying precisely the qualities that endears the Doctor to his "favorite" planet.

RTD did his homework and maintained tradition and history. The Daleks recognize the Cybermen based on their form and function, describing them as lifeforms that "resemble" the Doctor's historical adversaries. The Daleks home planet of Skaro is referenced. The "background radiation" from series 1 that releases the Dalek from his shackles is elegantly woven into the fabric of this story and explained satisfactorily for the plot to be consistent and believable. And how about Pete's jeep? That was a U.N.I.T. vehicle, complete with camouflage!

For the sake of the young audience and heart-sick Whovians everywhere, it was a stroke of genius to reunite Rose with her family at the expense of traveling with the Doctor. She made her choice and the Doctor allowed her to stay and do what she wanted to do - the repercussions of which were due to the mission and not a well-meaning plan. It allowed both characters to remain true to themselves and to sacrifice for each other without some cheap, tidy ending.

My only qualms with the plot, minor as they may be, are: Why was there a Torchwood in Pete's reality since Torchwood was a consequence of the Doctor's involvement with Queen Victoria in a different reality? Why would the Timelords stick several million Daleks into a TARDIS-like prison instead of just obliterating them all? Or, put another way, couldn't the time war have ended a bit less disastrously if the Timelords had simply placed ALL the Daleks into one of these devices and then tossed it into the void?

Potential plot holes aside, this felt like classic Doctor Who. The love between the two main characters was palpable - not the kind of adolescent puppy-love found on American television but a true adult relationship. Seeing that adult relationship come to a close was hard to watch, partly because the "old team," as Rose put it, was a great one and partly because the breakup was inevitable.

Let's hope the strong characterization and high-quality scripts are continued in series 3.

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Since the start of the year there have been two television “events” I have looked forward to; the World Cup and the second series of Doctor Who. In many ways my experience of one has mirrored that of the other: I felt slightly let down by the footy, and not just because of England’s typically early departure. The football on display was easily the most mediocre of my lifetime and the final was decided by yet another penalty shoot-out – exciting to watch but an unsatisfying conclusion to the world’s biggest sporting event.

I was hopeful that Doctor Who, which like the World Cup had been patchy in parts with only the occasional moments of brilliance, would redeem itself with a barnstorming finale to make up for the mediocrity of “New Earth”, “Tooth and Claw”, “The Impossible Planet/”The Satan Pit” and “Fear Her.

Happily, after the intriguing events of its immediate predecessor “Army of Ghosts”, “Doomsday” came along and instantly made me forget the many things that have bugged me in this series – the Doctor and Rose’s laboured “chemistry”, the rubbish acting from all concerned in “The Impossible Planet”/”The Satan Pit”, the smug in-jokes and cringy hug in the latter episodes and a great deal of Billie Piper’s acting in every episode – for, well, a while at least!

“Doomsday” was an example of the Russell T Davies era Who at its very best – epic storytelling involving the world in danger combined with strong character development for several of the players, particularly the Tylers and also Tracy-Ann Oberman’s Yvonne, who it transpired was more a misguided patriot than an evil fascist.

The episode continued, logically enough, where “Army of Ghosts” left off, with the dramatic realisation that the Daleks, and not the Cybermen, were responsible for bridging the gap from the alternate universe of “Rise of the Cybermen”/”The Age of Steel” to ours. The malevolent pepperpots were desperate to protect something called the Genesis Ark from enemy hands at all costs – we know this because they helpfully said to Rose and Mickey “We must protect the Genesis Ark at all costs”.

Rose managed to blag the Daleks into thinking she was too important to kill by convincing them she knew loads about their history, and the new, cannier Mickey, fresh from three years fighting the Cybermen in an alternative reality (as you do), followed her lead. Sadly, the bloke from Eastenders who played one of the much-maligned members of the Ferreira clan (appearing here as a Torchwood scientist) was not so lucky, and was plungered to death in a gratifyingly grisly scene.

The Doctor and Jackie, meanwhile, were trapped upstairs with the Cybermen, who were also busy explaining away their plans – is it any wonder that both the Doctor’s biggest foes consistently fail in their world-domination schemes when they can’t shut up telling him and his mates what they have in store for them? Schoolboy error.

Anyway, the whole point of the opening scenes was to provide an excuse for the Doctor’s two great enemy factions to confront each other, which they promptly did. Anyone who had a fiver on the Cybermen to win would have been gutted, as the Daleks’ guns proved to be more than a match for their effete looking wrist lasers.

The Daleks, incidentally, were given some cracking lines in these opening scenes. When warned by the Cybermen that the two sides were now at war one of them cockily replied: “This is not war, this is pest control!”. It added: “Cybermen are superior to Daleks in only one way; how you die!” and boasted that four Daleks were enough to take on the millions of Cybermen who were now present on our Earth.

Sadly, the Cybermen did not reply: “Oh yeah? You and whose army!”, but if they had done they would have received an emphatic response – the Genesis Ark (remember that?) was actually a Dalek prison ship stolen from the Time Lords. Inside were millions of the little buggers, kept in such a small device thanks to Time Lord technology i.e. it was bigger on the inside.

To be honest with you I got a little bit lost after that but I do know that Mickey’s new Geordie mate Jake popped up along with the alternate Pete Tyler to help save the day. The Doctor concocted some scheme or other that would conveniently send both the Cybermen and the Daleks to the Hellish “void” between the two realities. The only downside was that all of his companions, including Rose, would have to permanently relocate to the alternate Earth.

Rose predictably rebelled and ended up staying to help the Doctor. She looked like she was going to fall into the void herself but was then saved at the last minute by Pete, who took her to the alternate reality and out of the Doctor’s life. The end – except for a poignant epilogue where the Doctor managed to use the TARDIS to project an image of himself to a beach in Norway, which in no way looked like the Welsh coast, to say a final goodbye (and to learn from Rose that Jackie was up the duff, thanks to a quick moving alternate Pete).

This episode offered a fitting end to the second series and to the Rose-era as a whole. It wasn’t perfect – there were gaping plot holes: why did the Yvonne Cybermen still have a free will? The Daleks apparently needed the touch of a time-traveller to open the Genesis Ark but how did they know they would find one on our Earth (or did I miss something here)? Also, how thick must be the Cybermen be if they cannot crack reality-hopping technology when even that Geordie fella off CBBC can do it via a handy device that fits into the palm of your hand?

I liked the direction and the effects were mostly OK, even if the Cybermen’s guns seemed to be not much more impressive than the weapons you get at your local Laser Quest. The use of music seemed to be less obtrusive than in previous episodes; I particularly liked the mellow tune used in the epilogue, when Rose followed the Doctor’s voice to the Welsh, sorry Norwegian, coast.

Humour was used sparingly and to good effect, such as Mickey smirking that a battle between a Dalek and a Cyberman was like “Stephen Hawkins versus the speaking clock”. The meeting between Jackie and the alternate Pete was funny and poignant; especially amusing was the look on Mickey and the Doctor’s faces when Jackie said there hadn’t been anyone else since her own Pete died! I loved Jackie telling the Doctor to shut-up when his convenient parallel universe spiel was over-shadowing her and Pete’s moment. Compare this to the unfunny opening scene to “The Impossible Planet” when Rose jokes that they could simply go back to the TARDIS and leave at the first sign of danger, and her and the Doctor collapse with laughter – this is how you do knowing self-parody without appearing smug.

Remarkably, the dramatic finale to the Doctor-Rose story arc managed to overshadow the Dalek-Cybermen aspect to such an extent that you were almost glad to see the back of the old villains so that the emotional denouement could play out. Maybe that has been Russell T Davies’s greatest achievement since he brought the show back, to create characters you actually care enough while placing them in ever more ridiculous situations each week.

Either way, I’m hopeful for the next series for a variety of reasons: David Tennant clearly has the potential to get even better in the role, the prospect of new material, including Stephen Fry’s postponed script (imagine how mad that one will be!) and – sorry to harp on about this – no Rose. Hopefully, the script writers will take their queue from Tennant’s vastly different portrayal to Christopher Ecclestone’s and write Martha as the anti-Rose: not so touchy feely and maybe even prone to disagreements and antagonism with the Doctor (after all, the chirpy Dick Van Dyke routine would get on anyone’s nerves after a while, no matter how big the TARDIS is).

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First off, lets sort out the important things; the Daleks are SO NOT needed in this episode. Why? Because (a) a suitable threat is already posed by the Cybermen and (b) like most of this fantastic new revamped 21st Century Doctor Who series the DR WHO series is no longer just about monsters, celebrity guest stars and special effects (Yes! Resurrection of the Daleks I am talking about you) this series is now an official DRAMA series and it’s about characters and their interactions and this one was, in the words of an old friend, FANTASTIC.

I consider myself a normal, beer guzzling, football loving, girl-adoring bloke and yet I freely admit tears were streaming down my face on watching this episode. I have never felt the need to write a fan letter to the Dr Who offices, but on seeing this episode I felt a great need to write a letter to Russell T Davies, Julie Gardner and Phil Collinson to tell them how unbelievably grateful I am to all their hard work on this new series. I am PROUD to be Doctor Who fan something I have found very hard to say since the sad days of Sylvester McCoy’s admirable efforts against terrible scripts.

Billie leaving is the greatest sad point of this episode and on seeing her leave (the cause of the aforementioned tears) I find it inexplicable to think that this is the same person who I was so disappointed had been cast as the Doc’s assistant back in late 2004. Billie Piper I owe you an apology. Not only have you been a fantastic assistant, but you are also clearly a FANTASTIC actress. Actions do speak louder than words and her and Tennant’s portrayals of friends separated across universes without ever being able to see each other again is just the most poignant scene ever seen in Doctor Who (although the Doctor’s farewell to Sarah Jane in School Reunion is damn close). The music is fantastic, the acting is top notch and, well, I am speechless. Last series, it was “Father’s day” and “Parting of the Ways” that had me in tears, this year “School Reunion”, “Girl In The Fireplace” and now “Doomsday” have shown this cynical fool that Doctor Who is now no longer just a kids show, no longer a joke…Doctor Who is now top class TV and deserves all the accolades it will undoubtedly get.

I am not going to go into the details of the story (frankly, Cybermen vs Daleks turns out to be a disappointing mismatch…then again I have ALWAYS preferred Cybermen over the pepperpots so I do feel the metal men have been treated badly in the …er…war stakes) because this story was ALWAYS going to be about Rose leaving the Doctor and this fan was pleasantly surprised and hugely emotional at the end…Dr Who team – job done. I look forward to Series 3 (Christmas Episode not so much. Am I bovverred that Catherine Tate is the star guest?...Er…Yes!!!??), but either way, this series has been a huge success (the woeful “Fear Her” and “The Idiots Lantern” aside) for production, stars and writers and I for one have been hugely impressed. Well done, Who Team. I was well impressed and goodbye Billie. And before you go “I just wanted so that you’ve been fantastic…Absolutely fantastic…And you know what?” You will be missed greatly.

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A very memorable episode - although not for the reasons I might have expected. To be honest, I feel that the conflict between the Cybermen and the Daleks was little more than a backdrop to Rose's departure. Although there were some elements of it that I enjoyed, there were more aspects to the 'showdown' that left me unsatisfied.

Firstly, the mismatch; John Lumic's Cybermen wouldn't be in the same league as the Daleks, for centuries. The nearest a Cyberman came to scoring a killer blow against a Dalek, was in their first encounter bitching contest. Aside from that, the poor old Cybermen had no better chance against the Daleks than the rest of us. Second, poor special effects! For the first time in the new series, a really unconvincing 'superimposed' look, as Dalek Sek (or whatever his name was) hovers above London with the Genesis Ark. I feel as if I'm stooping to a really low level of criticism for mentioning it, but have perhaps grown used to there being less effort involved in the suspension of disbelief, in recent years.

Third - the 'Genesis Ark.' Anyway, where did this Dalek 'Jesuit Order' come from? And the Genesis Ark? Why on Earth (or anywhere else, for that matter) would the Time Lords imprison millions of Daleks in anything? How long was their sentence? Could they get time off for good behaviour? How did they shepherd all those Daleks in there in the first place? ('Move along, please... Oh, and we'd prefer it if you didn't fire that thing in here...'). If it was a prison ship, where was it going? And then to lose the thing to the first four Daleks to happen along...

Fourth; 'You shall not pass!' Very 'Monty Python and the Holy Grail'. I know it was a case of Emergency Upgrading (they'd obviously realised that five million wasn't going to be enough) - but it must have been a real slap dash job to leave old loyalties, old vocal cords and old tear ducts in place. Or was that an oil leak? As I say - sloppy workmanship.

Fifth - Missed opportunities; 1) I haven't missed Davros at all, cropping up like a pantomime villain in every classic series Dalek story after 'Genesis'; but if you want those Daleks to keep coming... Perhaps after his emergency time shift, Dalek Sek might go questing for him... 2) Why wasn't Mondas explained in the Parallel Earth vein? All this 'twin planet that drifted off on a journey to the edge of space' was embarrassing even in the Sixties. The early Cybermen could just have easily have come from a parallel universe... 3) Is there a parallel Doctor? As there was no Rose and consequently, no 'Parting of the Ways', is he still Christopher Eccleston? There might have been scope for an alternative ending, there...

Things I did enjoy;

First: Mismatched as they are, the Daleks and the Cybermen are still great; the 'upgrading process' depicted in the new series is truly horrifying - much more so than the 'first an arm; then a leg; then a bit of brainwashing; then...' approach seen in 'Attack of the Cybermen' and 'Tomb of the Cybermen.' The idea of real, former people in there is nightmarish. Well done, chaps. Daleks - love the look; love the trademark arrogance; I like my Daleks with a bit of personality; this was a bit of a cameo, compared to 'Dalek', though.

Secondly: Rose's fate. Enjoy is the wrong word. >From Jackie's point of view, the Doctor has wrought miracles, uniting her family in a way that never would have been possible, keeping his word to keep Rose safe and making her rich into the bargain. Since he regenerated, she even seems to have forgiven him for turning her down, in her dressing gown. Rose also has her family and her boyfriend back - but can she ever be happy? Ever since 'School Reunion' she's been fighting off the idea that, like Sarah Jane, she'd be abandoned one day, replaced by someone new. When she asks the Doctor's image 'Are you alone?', I sense more than just concern for the Doctor's welfare. And then, cruelly, his time expires just before he can say to her what no Doctor has ever said to a companion. A very moving moment. I find it hard to be optimistic for her future happiness with Mickey, despite his having worked so hard to deserve her love. Maybe she is in the Void, after all. I liked my idea of a parallel Ninth Doctor. I'm just soft, I suppose. Dramatically, we were given a much better ending. But it must have taken a callous scriptwriter indeed, to treat her so.

Ah well. On we go. May we hope for a more consistent series, next year?

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After last year's finale which I felt suffered from "deus ex machina syndrome" and left me feeling disappointed, I was somewhat concerned that RTD might do the same again. But there was also a voice in my head which said, "no, RTD seems to have listened to the criticisms".

What we had was certainly an entirely satisfying end to the series, and an emotional farewell to a well liked companion.

I'm sure others will dissect the plot, so I'll say that I was genuinely impressed with the origin of the Genesis Ark, I hadn't seen that twist coming! The final solution was good, and played out well with both the Doctor and Rose working together to rid the world of the Daleks and Cybermen.

If I have a criticism it is that the sentimental ending was a couple of minutes too long. Don't get me wrong, I am a sentimental guy and I am very sad to see Rose leaving. She has proved to be one of the best companions ever. But I'm not sure we needed five minutes of mush.

My wife thought the "testosterone battle" between the Dalek and Cyberman upon first meeting each other was overdone. Otherwise it was a very strong episode. A shame perhaps that we couldn't see more of the Daleks and Cybermen fighting in London but I imagine that was expensive!

Visually much of this episode, like the last, was stunning. Graeme Harper also paced things beautifully. Though I do recall looking at my watch and wondering "how will they solve this in the time remaining?" I never felt the resolution was rushed, unlike some stories this year.

A thrilling conclusion to what has been (Love & Monsters excepted) a very strong season. In a year when a fine story such as "School Reunion" was a comparative disappointment, we were treated to a final two-part adventure that could go down as a great. Only time will tell! Thank you Russell. Thank you Billie Piper.

9/10

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It is easy to ignore the fact that in todays easily taken forgranted world of multi channels and the internet, we are probably in the middle of a sci fi/ fantasy film and tv golden age.

Any comic or cult tv fan should be doing cartwheels at the moment as all those ideas which only ten years ago were the stuff of dreams become a reality.

These past few years have been saturated with new Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, sci fi and superhero films. Now not only are we enjoying a full second series of Doctor who but we are also getting so many wish lists ticked: return of Sarah Jane, Cybermen and finally that ultimate fan boy dream: Daleks v Cybermen.

It may seem an obvious idea and it may seem curious now that such a thing doesn’t ever seem to have been seriously considered in the past, but that is most probably because it is a very dangerous idea in that it promises much more than it can probably deliver. Really apart from a good shoot out, there isn’t a whole lot of mileage in the idea, much as the Alien V Predator film proved, its hard to tell a story about two protagonists who are both bad guys. But you cant blame the production team for pulling out this particular trump card and for the most part the Daleks V Cybermen scenes came across as very well executed, but probably really in need of an extra episode and a feature film budget to do full justice to the scale of the idea. Really though the Daleks and Cybermen were pretty much the background story, the real star of the show was Rose and Russell T Davies did us proud with a beautiful exit for this most special of companions.

The story in essence touched many of the same bases as last years Parting of the Ways 2 parter (sic), we had the slightly frivolous opening, followed by a slowly building mystery, all out war and finally the revelation that the Doctor and Rose must once more be parted to save the world. Thankfully the BBC’s publicity department can be congratulated on this occasion for keeping Billie’s departure under wraps for sufficient time, thus allowing her departure to carry its full dramatic weight and not be diluted over 13 episodes of anticipation and speculation as Eccleston’s was last year.

In her final appearance Rose bowed out with one of the best departure scenes ever written for a companion, it is astounding to think how casual the exits of many previous companions have been, and Russell showed how to do it properly. It was unashamedly emotional and anyone out there with a heart who has enjoyed Billie’s performance must have been struggling to hold back a tear. I must admit I have not been totally convinced Billie’s heart has been in it this season, in some stories you got the impression she was marking time a bit, but for her exit she was back 100%. The whole Tyler family reunion thing could have come across as a bit twee and convenient, but it worked and I think brought everything full circle in a most satisfying way. While I have sometimes accused the new series Doctor of being perhaps a little too human, here I could quite happily make that concession and allow him those tears as we realise that the two friends will never see each other again and the Doctor must once again continue his lonely voyage. It was one of the most heartbreaking scenes I have ever witnessed on television and was impeccably scripted and played. Although I am sad to see Billie go, I hope that the character never returns as any future cameos will only tarnish this great exit.

I was vehemently critical of the Rise of the Cybermen 2 parter on these pages several weeks ago and I am glad to say several parties involved in that story redeemed theirselves here. Firstly the superb Shaun Dingwall got some material finally deserving of his talent. Father’s Day was my personal favourite of season 1,due in no small part to Shaun’s portrayal of Pete, I was so disappointed then when Age of steel gave him very little to do and he seemed to walk through the story like a spare part. In Doomsday he got to show some real grit and while much more weary than the old Pete, he got to once more play the hero as we saw the scene when Rose rescues Pete in Father’s Day mirrored as he too snatches his daughter from the jaws of death.

I had also found Graeme Harper’s direction on the first two parter a bit lacklustre and at times amateurish, but this story was much improved and more in line with the work of his new series contempories. The Cybermen weren’t at their best in ROC/AOS either and came across as very clunky and toy robotish, while I am still not totally won over by the new Cybermen, their movement was a lot better in this story and the way they were shot gave them much more physical prescence. The biggest drawback on the new Cybermen however is the voice and the light up mouth, they are big hulking creatures, but the voice for me at least goes against that impression and weakens them. I know the production team are trying to evoke the whole sixties thing, but to me it feels laboured and the monotone delivery is too similar to the Daleks. They also came across a bit like cannon fodder for the Daleks. The story really did need that extra episode after the genesis arc opened to portray the full extent of the Dalek Cybermen invasion/war and its effect on the planet as a whole. We were still denied the Daleks actually being seen on terra firma. The shots of the arc opening and the Daleks flying over London were terrific stuff, as were their brief face offs with the Cybermen, but we really wanted to see much more. The battle had barely begun before it was time for the denouement.

And what a denouement it was, there were some liberties taken with logic particularly in the notion that thousands or millions of Daleks and Cybermen could be pulled into the breach so tidily with the Doctor and Rose hanging feet away from them and not even getting nudged, but the epic edge of the seat nature of it made that easily forgivable. For a moment as the realisation that Rose could possibly die for real seemed a possibility, we saw the full extent of the Doctor’s emotional anguish. David Tennant’s characterisation has at times been a little too flippant for my liking, but in these final scenes he proved he has the full dramatic range needed to portray a really great doctor and I hope he will tone down the smart arse aspect of the character down a bit in season 3.

And so that was it, another 13 weeks of Who gone far too quickly, and while a backlash against the series seems to have developed in some quarters, hopefully this episode will silence any critics, far from running out of steam as some seem to suggest, this story proved that when they put their minds to it Doctor who can still weave that magic. The season hasn’t been perfect, but has built on many of the strengths of last year while discarding some of the weaknesses. There hasn’t been any episode anywhere near as embarrassing as Aliens of London or Boomtown, and even some of the quieter stories such as Fear Her or Girl in The Fireplace have been far more memorable than the likes of The Long Game. The season arc has also payed off better than last years Bad Wolf and while the Torchwood references were sometimes a little overbearing, one can see with hindsight in stories such as School Reunion or the Girl in the Fireplace that the signposts were there for the Doctor and Rose’s parting. I think next year possibly needs to see a move away from earth, I have started to hear a lot of comments made that a series about space and time travel seems to end up on present day earth with alarming frequency. Impossible Planet proved it could be done, so more alien planets please.

I wasn’t quite what to make of the ending, obviously it was designed to surprise the audience who probably expected the episode to go out on a melancholy shot of the Doctor. It certainly did its job in providing an unexpected twist, but somehow fudged the cliffhanger with the puzzled exchange between the Doctor and the Bride not quite hitting the mark. We all know now that Catherine Tate is not the new companion, but I wonder how many people would have fell for the idea, if they had kept the announcement of Freema Agyeman back for a bit longer.

So all in all a hearty well done to all involved in this story, and particularly to Russell T Davies who when he pulls out all the stops can create some truly astonishing television, he is not too great at atmosphere or plotting , and has a sensibility which veers too much towards camp for my liking, but when he imagines Doctor Who as a sweeping blockbuster epic with action and emotion to match, nobody does it better.

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I hope I'm not the only fan who felt slightly disappointed by that episode! It seemed to me like the first half of the episode was a Doctor Who fan's dream and the second half was one of those times where I'm left longing for a return of the 60s-80s original. So I'll review the episode based on those two halves.

The best place to start would be the Daleks vs. the Cybermen, which I must say although totally underplayed was extremely enjoyable. In the week leading up to the episode I expected the result of the war to be a stalemate, with Davis making sure that no faction seemed more powerful than the other. But how wrong was I??? As the black dalek said correctly, all 5 million Cybermen could have been wiped out by the 4 daleks, and to my knowledge not one Dalek was killed during the episode (Okay in theory when they were when they entered the void but none were killed by human or Cybermen). I also found the black Dalek (or Dalek Sek - but I'll move onto that in a minute)'s remarks on the extermination of the cyber race being "pest control" and that they were only superior in that they were "far better at dying" highly amusing.

Again after finding out the Daleks would have names after watching Totally Doctor Who I was sceptical of the result as it would either result in two things - the dreaded "human factor" (perhaps not to that extent) Daleks of Evil of the Daleks or the type of Daleks you'd find lurking in the pages of the Dalek Chronicles (let's face it, anyone would read that strip wanted a red and gold Dalek called Zeg). Luckily it was the latter, the Cult of Skaro seems like a great idea to me, a group higher than the emperor. It sort of reminded me of the Supreme Council mentioned in Planet of the Daleks.I just hope that there will be further references to this elite group in future series'. Another interesting addition to this episode was the Genesis Ark, and although I was hoping for something more integral to Dalek history (The emperor for example, or even what remains of good ol' Davros), the idea of a TARDIS technology prison holding millions of Daleks ensured that they were the dominant species of the episode. Although what baffles me is why the Time Lords would want to just imprison that many Daleks instead of destroying what is apparently the biggest threat in the galaxy...

Unfortunaly that's where my praise of the episode ends. After further watching I realised that neither the Cybermen or the Daleks were actually essential to the plot, and in fact any two alien armies could have invaded Earth and the plot wouldn't have been any different. The fact it contained Daleks and Cybermen was just a lure (even though I find no attraction in the new Cybermen - they're too Genesis of the Daleks for me). Also the fact that the Genesis Ark contained millions of Daleks seemed like they were just reusing Parting of the Ways ideas. Then of course there were certain continuity issues. If everything that had travelled between dimensions was sucked into the void, what about the newly created "Torchwood staff" Cybermen? How did Yvonne manage to keep her voice and personality intact when Cybermen remove individuality? And when Pete returned to save Rose, surely the fact that he was soaked in the background radiation or whatever it was and that Rose hit him pretty hard would result in them both being sucked into the void?

Many will probably disagree with me on this as well, but the whole love issue doesn't work for me. What could have been an explosive 40 minute battle between Dalek and Cyberman was scrapped for a 20 minutes of Jackie and Pete discovering each other and an emotional goodbye between the Doctor and Rose. Was the Bad Wolf bay scene really necessary? And like many I had been led to believe she was going to die, and I felt slightly cheated by the fact she didn't (Russell T Davis is adamant that Doctor Who is about survival. You're missing facts again Russell, must we bring up Earthshock? Or go even further back and mention the Dalek Master Plan?). Ahwell never mind, I'm sure it's because they'll want to bring her back once Billie Piper fails elsewhere.

So in conclusion, a pretty average episode for what could have been one of the best in Who history. I much preferred Parting of the Ways, and the only good thing I see that came out of the episode is that for once they made the Daleks didn't all die (Dalek Sek escaped, and hopefully others). So roll on season 3, and hopefully the return of some Mondas cybermen to show these Parallel ones who are the real Silver daddies!

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They say that it is better to travel than to arrive. They might be wrong in this case...

Doomsday concludes Russell T Davies' 'epic' season finale. It was described in the Doctor Who Confidential that followed as 'event television' and trying to 'create the sense that you're in a big action movie'. But why this attempt to turn a television programme into something that it's not? Why discard the intimacy, the personal scale that television affords in favour of vacuous Hollywood-style stunts and special effects? Is this really what modern TV audiences want?

There are millions of cybermen, and then, thanks to the Genesis Ark, there are millions of daleks as well. Plot, such as it is, takes a back seat for the clash of the titans. And it's epic. God, I'm getting tired of that word - I just hope Russell and co are too. Lots of tiny CGI splodges whizzing over London did little to raise my pulse rate. But, admittedly, lots of tiny CGI splodges whirling into Canary Wharf did provide a few (probably unwanted) giggles. As did the 'handbags at dawn' first confrontation between the two monsters. 'You tell me your name!' 'No, you tell me yours first!' 'You lot are unelegant!' (shouldn't that be inelegant?) 'We don't care!' 'Hmph! That much is obvious!' I think the Cyberleader threw a Bacardi Breezer over the Black Dalek shortly after that...

Fortunately, there's a blissful reunion for Jackie and Pete (if that's the right word for a meeting between two people who, strictly speaking, have never met). It's both touching and funny. 'You look old.' 'You don't.' What a gent... 'There was never anyone else' - I'm surprised Mickey and the Doctor didn't burst out laughing at that one. And 'I don't care about that... How rich?' Camille Coduri and Shaun Dingwell play the moment just right. They, and their characters, will be missed.

Then it's back to 'delete', 'exterminate', 'delete', 'exterminate'. Yawn. There's some silliness with Yvonne the Cyberman, her patriotism and voice somehow surviving the cybernisation process, pointlessly zapping some of her metal mates while shedding an oily tear. Um... Those daft levers are back; wearing 3-D spectacles lets you see 'void stuff'; and hanging onto some big magnetic clamp things stops you getting sucked into oblivion, though the force can drag cybermen off their feet from outside the Taj Mahal. Oh, and Pete can pick the exact moment to materialise and save Rose. Yup, Russell's patented plot holes and bonkers ideas are still much in evidence. Ho hum...

But then, magically, fantastically, he does it. Just as the story threatens to collapse into an overblown heap of mindless noise and CGI, Russell gives us two people on a beach, just talking. And it's perfect. Emotionally wrenching, as it had to be, and hopelessly romantic - 'I'm burning up a sun, just to say goodbye' - Rose's final scenes prove to be the highlight of the story, if not the season. David Tennant's ghostly appearance on the beach echoes Christopher Eccleston's hologram scene from last year's final episode, and is equally moving. For the girl who thought she would spend the rest of her life with the Doctor, when given just two minutes she can't think what to say. It feels so painful and it feels so true. Some have criticised the apparent erosion of Rose's 'strong' character, but I think they are missing the point. The Doctor took her out of her dead-end existence and showed her that there was a better way to live her life. And now she's never going to see him again. I think she's allowed to be upset! The two leads are faultless, making the scene emotional, but never mawkish, and Davies' dialogue sparkles. Haunting stuff.

So, the destination proves better than the trip to get there. Doomsday, by in its closing minutes remembering that small, beautiful events are what life is all about, ends the new Doctor Who's second season on a much-needed high note (well it does if you ignore a mood-destroying appearance by Catherine 'No, I'm not bloody bovvered' Tate). It's just a shame that it took so much lazy, overblown nonsense to get there.

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And so we reach the end of series two. I have felt a mixture of emotions about the whole thing I have to admit.

Army Of Ghosts promised a huge amount and set us up for an epic battle between the two greatest and most fearsome alien races that the Doctor has ever encountered. I was expecting a very grand affair, knowing that so much budget had surely been reserved for this final episode, given that Love & Monsters and Fear Her had saved so much thanks to their limited scale. I thought world armies would be brought into the mix, whole cities would fall and the human race would seriously be threatened as the battle of the giants continued about them. Perhaps I was being overly optimistic. On a few occasions over the past fifteen months I have found myself expecting a little too much. A great deal of fanfare was bandied about when news that Doctor Who was returning to Saturday nights with a lavish no holds barred budget. I remember being hugely disappointed by the terrible photoshop-ing of Chris Eccleston's face onto the Kennedy photo in Rose, and the slightly cartoonish Nestene consciousness, but was placated by the reassuringly expensive shots of the Slitheen craft crashing into the Thames, via Big Ben. The Christmas Invasion certainly didn't disappoint, so why did this gargantuan confrontation between the Daleks and Cybermen feel a bit like a drunken bitch fight on a late night episode of Big Brother..?

Okay, we had some nice scenes. The gun battle in the Torchwood hangar was nicely noisy and colourful, as was the Cyber encounter with the army on the bridge, but the majority felt just a bit underwhelming. It seemed that the daleks were only threatening one streetful of people before they got sucked back into the void, and just why were the Cybermen STILL standing outside the Taj Mahal having appeared there several hours earlier? Were they just wondering where to go first? Maybe I'm being unfair but I just thought these two menaces were decidedly un-menacing. Perhaps given a little more time than 45 minutes there might have been opportunity to understand what sort of battle plan both sides had in mind, but long before we got a chance to hear what that might be the Doctor had quickly decided to ditch his companion of two years and send her to a parallel universe forever more, thus neatly despatching both enemies from all across the globe through a hole in the wall at the top of a towerblock in London (via one window)

I feel I'm being wholly critical about this episode and I shouldn't be. There was much to enjoy. The lighter moments with Jackie running up and down the staircase constantly on the run from Cyber conversion were pacy and exciting, with just the right amount of humour. Her reunion was Pete was also delightfully handled "how rich?"/"how very?"! It was also nice to see that Yvonne Hartman's wonderfully full character from Army Of Ghosts wasn't completely wasted as she defended the Torchwood office from the onslaught of more Cybermen, her belief in her cause so strong that she had partially resisted full conversion.

And so to the departure of our wonderful Rose Tyler. Much had been made of the news that Billie Piper would be leaving the TARDIS at the end of the series, and so much had been written suggesting that she would be killed off that I felt almost certain that this wouldn't be the case. I absolutely loved the final scene in the Torchwood Tower - such a brilliant age old dilemma of having to risk your life to save the lives of many and how fitting that such a brave and gutsy character as Rose should have had no hesitation in risking hers. As she did her duty and thus massively increased the force of the pull into the void I was reminded of that heart stopping opening scene in the film Cliffhanger as the female character gradually loses her grip on safety and falls to her death. So we were here with Rose being pulled into oblivion. I suddenly felt that maybe the papers had been right and we were going to have the first companion self sacrifice since poor old Adric. As the Doctor and we, the audience, realise she had lost her grip on that lever I felt genuinely shocked and saddened, and then such huge relief as Pete zapped himself across universes one more time to take back his (sort of) daughter. To know that she would at least be happily ensconced with her old family and Mickey was some consolation, albeit she would never set foot again in her own world and was, in those terms at least, dead.

The epilogue on the beach in Norway was a nice touch and, although it laid on the emotions in spades, I was glad that Rose and the Doctor were given a chance to say goodbye. To this day I still find myself suffering moments of sadness when I think of Peri suffering life as a warrior queen to King Ycarnos, just wishing the Doctor would come and finally take her home! Let's resolve that situation in a future series PLEASE!!

And finally a nod of appreciation to the closing moments in the TARDIS. How fantastic that not so much as a smidgeon of a leak of this information ever got out into the public domain (as far as I am aware at least). This was the most genuinely surprised I have been to see someone appearing in Doctor Who since the Brigadier turned up in Mawdryn Undead. Catherine Tate played her indignant lines just perfectly and I already cannot wait til Christmas Day to see how these two get on.

So all in all, Doomsday was far from the episode I had been expecting when the Daleks emerged from the void ship at the end of Army Of Ghosts, but it was still a thoroughly enjoyable 45 minutes of television and, as has been said in the press recently, proved once again that this is far and away the best home grown drama on television at the moment.

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Well, what a finale. Daleks vs Cybermen, all out war, Torchwood and Rose's departure. So how good was it exactly? To be honest, I've read a lot of reviews poo-pooing Russell T Davies' scripts, but I think he's a bloody brilliant writer and I'd like to see his nay-sayers do any better. Of course, the main attractions were the war between Doctor Who's biggest baddies and Rose's impending (supposed) death. The all out war between the Daleks and Cybs was on a huge scale and well worth watching. Fanwank? Yes. Wishlist? Yes. But by God, as I've said before, we may never get to see another chance for this to happen so it HAD to happen now. The bitchy Black Dalek sparring with the Cyberleader was superb and a lovely touch to what otherwise could have been boring robots talking to each other. The Black Dalek had obviously been taking lessons from Cassandra. And I know what you're gonna say, but the Daleks have always been a touch camp, so just let it be, OK?

RTD, in the allotted time, managed to squeeze in a hell of a lot, and chief among them he did not commit the cardinal sin of forgetting to expose exactly why these two races are so monstrous. Firstly, the Cybermen yet again impressed me and touched me more than the Daleks. They are Us. When they converted Yvonne (who genuinely liked) and her as a cyberman later crying oil that really shook me. In Yvonne, we had a wonderful portrayal of a deeply flawed but very human woman who was more than aware of the fate she awaited (and more than aware after, which is so bloody gruesome. Just chilling). The Daleks, too, mass produced killing machine's emerging from the Genesis Arc prison TARDIS reminded me of a plague of killer wasps long before the bit where they were all sucked back into Canary Wharf in a giant swarm. Funny, I've never thought of a prison TARDIS before, but what a good idea!

And of course, there's the Tylers, which is where the only major flaw in the whole story comes about. Well, I say flaw, more of a hindsight suggestion - constructive criticism. I really think it would have been better introducing Pete and Jake in the first episode instead of shoehorning them into the second and just allow the whole script to b-r-e-a-t-h-e a little. That way, when the Daleks emerged at the end of Army of Ghosts, we would have been concerned for them too and still be wondering how they and Mickey had got through the void. But hey-ho.

The big thing we needed for this episode was a big pay-off. A pay-off to wrap up the whole Rose story spanning two years, complete with all the Tylers and hangers on. We got them all - the whole family, and it was wonderful to see Jackie and Pete fighting in the corridor then suddenly realising that they really are who they are (if you see what I mean) and they need each other. I am incredibly fond of happy endings, and RTD is right when he says Doctor Who is ultimately optomistic. The story of the Tylers and Mickey had to be rounded off in a neat way to allow the Doctor to move on and be that lonely old traveller again, the way he's always been. I think we got it, too. A bigger role for Jackie went down a storm, and deservedly so, as Camille Coduri has been an utter delight. It was brilliant to see her sparring with the great Shaun Dingwall again, who really should have been cast as Max Branning in EastEnders. We got a lovely bitter-sweet ending with all the Tylers together, shut away from the Doctor forever (?) and Rose is back in her shop with a complete family. Bitter sweet indeed. But somehow, it's probably saved her.

David Tennant has proved he really IS the Doctor. By turns, he wild and maniacal, deep and brooding, intense and funny and lovely. The only other person to achieve this in his portrayal of the Doctor was Lord Tom of Baker. I love David Tennant as the Doctor. He carries me away with him to the point I forget he's acting and he actually is the Time Lord. Now that really is acting. Well done, David.

And we had Catherine Tait at the end. Bizarre.

I am a huge fan of RTD's vision of Doctor Who and I am not ashamed to say so. Thank you to the production team for another year of the best programme in the world. And thanks to Joe Ford, my fellow reviewer, for such an entertaining read over the last three months. I've heard the Ice Warriors are the big baddies for Season Three... shame... I was kind of hoping it would be the Sontarans or Sea Devils...place your bets now! Til Christmas then!!

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Now this was a perfectly enjoyable piece of television. It had emotional content, it had drama and it had action. It just didn't feel like the climax to anything, and I don't think it was anything to do with Catherine Tate (I don't see how that couldn't have been part of a 'Next Time...' trailer though).

The dialogue was good throughout, and while it felt strange to see the Daleks and the Cybermen essentially having a massive bitch fight at each other, no-one could deny that it was not very entertaining telly. The Daleks were portrayed as the ultimate evil in this episode to the fullest extent possible, but at the cost of the Cybermen being humiliated almost as badly as they were in Silver Nemesis. Okay it took special effects to kill them this time, but it was still ridiculously easy to do so. Also why did they just stand around in the family home looking dramatic? Where they baking them muffins? Cybermen would either take the family for conversion or kill them, not hang around like an annoying relative at Christmas. And for two of the Doctor's deadliest enemies, you really think one of them would've thought 'Hang on, I could just shoot him!' by now, especially in this episode. David Tennent is, of course, possibly the best Doctor when it comes to just talking at his enemies. Not to death, like McCoy, but just into confusing them into telling him enough information to continue the plot. For the two biggest enemies to be involved it does take a lot of suspension of belief that they don't even attempt to kill the Doctor.

Otherwise, a fun fast paced episode ensued, but it felt more like a middle of the series episode. Wotsername of Eastenders got converted, and we didn't especially care. Then just as there was some sort of setup with the Doctor being in one dimension and Rose being in another, which seemed very promising, it was straight into the emotional stuff. The Jackie and Pete scene went on a bit without really affecting me on an emotional level. I was glad when the aliens who were supposed to be invading the planet FINALLY catch up with the heroes. I could imagine the Cybes saying to each other on the stairs 'Are we good to go?' 'Nah, the cleavage lady is talking to the cockernee ragamuffin, we have to wait until the music gets drama- OH CRAP IT'S US! WALK LIKE YOU'RE CONSTIPATED! WALK LIKE YOU'RE CONSTIPATED!' The Jackie/Pete interplay got better as it was established that the characters had grown apart due to the differences in their respective realities. Nice bittersweet moments ocurred later in the episode.

Oh aye, and the Genesis Ark is a Time Lord artefact which the Doctor hasn't heard of (which I personally find hard to believe). It is also a Time Lord Prison for Daleks. How monumentally stupid are the Time Lords that they decide to IMPRISON millions of the most evil and dangerous beings in the Universe in a handy travel sized container? A race they are at war with? Did Romana bring them in line with the Geneva convention? How stupid would you have to be? On the plus side, a very nice idea by RTD to have named Daleks with slightly more character to them. Made these Daleks seem slightly more dangerous, apparent inability to shoot anything while they're in Exposition Mode notwithstanding.

Then the episode appears to be extremely rushed in order to fit everything in. The Doctor has a very simple plan which he executes flawlessly apart from Rose. She stays behind either: A - because she is brave and loyal, or B - because she is bloody minded and silly.

Technically she wouldn't have had to be a hero if she had obeyed the Doctor's instructions and stayed in the other universe, and if the Doctor wanted her to go through in the first place presumably he had a plan to get both levers down then she didn't have help in the first place. Meh, I suppose the Doctor was just wrong or something.

Then we arrived predictably at the heroic set piece complete with slo-mo 'Noooo!' moment and fortuitous if completely unlikely piece of redemption for Cyber-Pete as I shall be calling him (he went all cold and clinical, rather like a Cyberman no less. Gosh RTD is clever sometimes). Then we got the leaving scene. This was lovely. That's the third or fourth time this series we've got the Doctor hovering on the 'L' word (Sarah Jane, Mme de Pompadour and Rose twice), and it was nice to see him cry on screen as you imagined he may have been on the verge of doing all these years.

Then Catherine Tate appeared and the drama was undercut somewhat. Not Catherine Tate's fault of course, I just felt like they could've put that after the credits.

All in all less of a big climax that PotW, but overall a fun episode with a load of nice scenes to remember it by.

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A thrilling episode, with some genuine moments of greatness, that had an awful lot of work to do in its short time and just about managed to do so. However, as a conclusion to the Rose story, it became a victim of its own sentimentality and, just as it approached its apotheosis, the whole thing came crumbling to the ground.

Firstly, how appropriate it was that the coda to this episode was played out on a windswept beach in Norway. Well, an alternative Norway. The Scandanavian sagas see the progression of the cosmos not as a smooth and stable progression but as a constant struggle between opposing forces, those of creation and order against those of destruction and chaos. The War In Heaven played out with Cybermen and Daleks over Canary Wharf.

'Doomsday' situates its themes very firmly in Scandanavian myth, from their concept of the beginning of the cosmos as one vast open void that could easily stand in for the denoument of the Cybermen and the Daleks being swallowed into the Void to Torchwood Tower representing the mighty tree at the centre of the world that spreads its roots into the lands of the dead and the living (the two alternate universes perhaps?)

'Doomsday', for me, was more about about symbolic and actual acts of reproduction, surrogate mothers and fathers and their children than playground shooting matches between the two big bads of Who.

Ever since 'Father’s Day', we’ve realised that Rose has been in search of a father figure, a proxy Pete, and the Doctor has been that to a point. Here, the Doctor and a version of Pete swap places. Rose’s story has been about creating an alternate family unit and both she and Jackie have, through the Doctor, been striving to find a catalyst for this. The series has very much from the start been about the feminine principle, the bonding between mother and daughter and lost or surrogate children, especially Mickey and perhaps even the Doctor himself. The series has focused on the relationships between parents and children as representative of eternal self-renewal. Jackie’s scene in ‘Army Of Ghosts’ when she predicts Rose will become a stranger is her way of infusing her daughter with knowledge of the larger dimensions of life and death and to provide her with a sense of her problematic destiny.

The Rose story has very much been about a teenage girl having her personal relationships overloaded with archetypal content (e.g. the Doctor) and in the end it is down to her mother to enable her to detach from this and become her own woman. The death we witness is of the Rose we’ve seen with the Doctor, the child Rose. By the end of 'Doomsday', and her separation from the Doctor, she recognises that she has been forced to become the woman she needs to be to survive and carry on.

Jackie and Rose have, as I’ve said, been looking for another Pete Tyler and in 'Doomsday', the alternate Pete replaces the Doctor as a catalyst and reunites the disparate elements of the ‘family’ – Rose, Jackie and Mickey. The crucial moments where this happens are in the first meeting in the corridor between Jackie and Pete where despite their own counter arguments they discover they need each other. It’s beautifully played and the reaction shots from Noel Clarke, David Tennant and Billie are superb, especially the raised eyebrows at Jackie’s ‘there’s never been anyone else’. Later, the Doctor and Pete exchange looks of understanding and complicity when they mutually agree that the best course is to get Rose and Jackie back to the alternate Earth. Pete drives much of the narrative and ultimately returns in time to save his daughter before she plunges into the Void. In fact, Pete and Jackie are operating on the same level as the Doctor and Rose, individuals in each couple willing to sacrifice and redeem themselves to save the other.

The feminine principle also runs throughout other areas of the story – the Daleks and their Genesis Ark (a mobile womb perhaps), Yvonne’s upgrade by the Cybermen and Jackie’s pregnancy are all aspects of symbols of fertility in the story.

With the main plot concerning the reuniting of the ‘family’ unit, the sub-plot is driven by the Daleks at the expense of the Cybermen, I feel. They did descend to being little more than cannon fodder which I was hoping the current series and this particular story would avoid. It was the Cyber slaughter of’ The Five Doctors’ all over again.

So, whilst the idea of a Cyber-Dalek confrontation was in principle a good idea, it didn’t completely live up to its promise. It looked spectacular, particularly the flying Daleks over London, but in the end, much as I enjoyed it, I wondered what exactly was the point. At times, it seemed little more than two street gangs amusingly name calling and pulling tongues at each other. Despite this, I think the further echoes of the Time War, use of Time Lord technology (a genuine twist which no one saw coming) and the Cult Of Skaro were very exciting additions to the ongoing mythology.

Unfortunately, you couldn’t really say the same for the Cybermen. In fact, a scene which could really have embellished the true horror of Cyber conversion was badly misjudged. The Cyber-Yvonne was risible in my opinion and it struggled to emulate similar scenes in Mark Platt’s ‘Spare Parts’ which handled this sort of material considerably better. The Cyber-tear was just another tear too far and a contrived plot point.

Talking of tears, when we get to the last ten minutes of the story, why are we then subjected to a very drawn out epilogue? I felt the tragedy of Rose’s departure worked perfectly well up to the section where the Doctor walks away from the wall in Torchwood HQ and the screen goes black. Murray Gold’s music, which hadn’t really distinguished itself this time, picked up and the beautiful scene of the two main characters separated literally by a wall of their own grief was fantastically played by Tennant and Piper. There was then the longeur of Rose being woken by a dream and all of them packing off in the jeep to Norway.

The last goodbye on the beach was again over-long but played very well and beautifully shot. However, the cut to Tennant in the TARDIS with some rather obviously applied trails of glycerine on his cheeks really sent this crashing to the ground. It smacked of fake sentimentality for me and sucked away any genuine feelings that were being articulated. I have no problems having the Doctor in tears and being upset at leaving Rose but this was a bungled scene and, for example, Jo’s departure in ‘The Green Death’ was better handled and felt subtle, honest and genuinely moving. It was very odd watching these last scenes, as I felt I’d got more catharsis out of Pete and Jackie reuniting earlier and now I really didn’t feel that moved by all of this. Certainly the final scene of ‘The Girl In The Fireplace’ wiped the floor with this and Tennant played that so much better and it evoked more emotion without the recourse to tacked on tears. In the end I was rending my garments in frustration rather than sadness.

Other than the ending, this was a great episode, not a patch on last year’s ‘Parting Of The Ways’ because it really had too much to clear up for 45 minutes to cope with and it tried much too hard to impress and came undone with the burst of over-sentimentality at the end. Graeme Harper marshalled the action with his customary skill (the lovely mix between the two Torchwood’s was great), it looked a million dollars, moved along at a good pace and was genuinely thrilling at times.

And did we really need the rather jarring Catherine Tate cameo? Only 170 days will tell.

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In Series One of the new Doctor Who, Russell T Davies's scripts, quite correctly in my view, came in for a lot of criticism. I think it has taken him a while to find his feet writing Science Fiction, but this series (apart from New Earth, which was a bit lacklustre) his scripts have been daring, exciting, courageous and bold. This was no more evident than in the finale of Series 2, Doomsday.

The first 35 minutes of the episode were classic Doctor Who, with the twist that so much money had been spent on it, it looked incredible. Daleks and Cybermen looked just superb and it was almost impossible to imagine how they were going to get out of the situation when millions of daleks started to pour out of their Time Lord prison, the Genesis Ark. Perhaps there wasn't quite enough Dalek vs Cybermen action, but what there was made the hairs stand up on my neck, and I was on the edge of my seat for most of the episode.

I'd also like to say here that I loved the Dalek vs Cybermen bitch fight. Russell T Davies managed to breathe some new life into the Daleks when he reintroduced them last year, so that they ceased to become one-dimensional tinpot dictators, but actual characters. He continued that this year, and the result was hilarious and entertaining. I want to see more of these bitchy daleks in the future, and as the chief bitch Black Dalek managed to escape, let's hope there'll be more soon...

The death of Tracy Ann Oberman's character (or, as Russell calls her, Tracy Ann Cyberman) was amazingly noble, and an emotional moment. She acted beautifully in this episode, and you almost wanted more of her. Luckily her sacrifice gave Jackie Tyler a few moments grace, enabling her escape down a stairwell and an emotional (and well-played-out) runion with Alt-Pete. What could have been a mawkish, sentimental moment was beautifully written, beautifullly acted and shot. Russell's brilliant blend of humour and pathos worked amazingly well here and gave us a much needed breather from all the chaos and shooting going on above ground between Daleks and Cybermen.

But if Alt-Pete and Jackie's reunion was emotional, Russell had something much bigger up his sleeve for Rose Tyler's departure. OK if I want to be critical, the way to destroy the Daleks and Cyberman was a bit deus ex machina but that's nearly always a problem with Russell's scripts, but Russell doesn't care about that anyway. He wants to get to the emotional heart of the story: how you get there is less important to him. And so what really worked, so fantastically well, was Rose being almost sucked in to the void and rescued by her Dad (what a beautiful way to end that particular story arc) and then trapped in another dimension unable to ever travel in the TARDIS again. Their final meeting, at Norway's Bad Wolf Bay, was touching, desperately sad, and beautifully written. But even better than that the acting was the sort of acting that you would never expect to see in a TV science fiction show. David Tennant proved what a superb Doctor he is, and Billie Piper played her despair and grief in such a way that I couldn't hold back the tears. I didn't realise just how much I had come to care about these two characters over the last two years, and once the tears came they didn't stop. It was beautiful writing and wonderful acting. And when the camera returned to the TARDIS, with tears streaming down The Doctor's face, I wondered if I'd ever recover! He'd never looked so lonely in that enormous TARDIS as he did at that moment. Yes, if you want to be picky, this 'trapped in another world' thing was a bit "His Dark Materials", but in story-telling there is no such thing as a new idea really, and it worked brilliantly for these two characters. And anyway, have we really seen the last of Rose? I'm not convinced.

But how could the programme end there? Luckily we had the arrival of the brilliant Catherine Tate as The Bride, which ended the episode on a real moment of humour. Tate's eponymous comedy show on BBC2 has received numerous awards and divided the nation. You either love her or hate her (I happen to think she's brilliant) but, like Love and Monsters, I think her appearance will divided Doctor Who fans, until we see the Christmas special. Nevertheless the look of shock on the Doctor's face was absolutely brilliant, and it's a great set-up for the Christmas episode. I can't wait (only 170 days to go!) and before then, I'm getting married, so life is going to be eventful, to say the least.

Now the rumours abound that Russell T might leave the show at the end of next series. I really hope not as he's really come into his own this year with his brilliant scripts. They're more daring (Love and Monsters was a bold, brave and brilliant attempt to try something different with the show's format) and much more rounded and, let's face it, if it wasn't for him, Doctor Who wouldn't have been back in the first place. And so, next from the Whoniverse we get to see Torchwood. Once I've recovered from the emotional trauma of Rose's departure, I'll be ready for more Russel T. Bring it on!

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As a child I watched Doctor Who with my dad. I did watch from behind the sofa (really) and I quite enjoyed it from what I can remember. John Pertwee was my first and I have memories of Tom Baker but the others sort of passed me by. Well I was a growing girl and Robin Hood was much better looking!! Shallow I know but nothing's really changed I am sorry to add! So when the ninth Doctor showed up I was keen to enjoy this with my own young family as I had with my parents so long ago. And enjoy it we did, I have breed two serious Doctor Who fans and if that's my legacy then so be it, but I digress!

So we have reached the last episode of the tenth Doctor and I must admit this last week has gone so slowly, we waited with such anticipation and we weren't disappointed. All that we were promised and more. Daleks and cybermen galore all the action a young family requires. I could talk endlessly about plot building and anticipation and all the things serious fans and eloquent reviewers need to tell you but this episode was so much more to me. I am sure you have guessed where I am going by now. I'm a women after all and technical is way over my head (stop nodding boys, I've probably read more science fiction than you've had hot dinners) and I know my sonic screwdrivers from my flux capassitors and I know a dilithium crystal when I see one!!

For me this was pure emotion, forget techno speak and void stuff. I sobbed my heart out for the last 15 minutes and I'm not to shy to say it. Not much makes me cry, 'Titanic' couldn't you see that coming, 'Ghost' get a grip, but this, I so wanted him to save they day and for the Doctor and Rose to live happily ever after. We all know that was never going to happen but for something to make me care that much has got to be good.

I realise you are probably all saying, what does she know she's only watching because she fancies David Tennant, true, I do think he's quite tasty but I also know a good story when I see one, with decent actors who know there job. The sets and scenes were as detailed and well put together as always, the story flowed naturally and we will ignore the various plot gaffs (including that no one thought to chain down the TARDIS, void stuff and all that). Oh and what's wrong with a pretty boy just to keep the girls happy, you've had years of pretty girls!

This second series has had its critics, but for television to be able to provide so much for so many, then they must be getting something right. A mighty end to a mighty series and I just can't wait for the next.

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The season finale for David Tennant's first season as the Doctor ends with a bang - or rather, quite a lot of bangs. Russell T. Davies and his production team did the impossible and created a season finale even more thrilling than 'The Parting of the Ways'. And not only thrilling, but emotionally satisfying as well.

Waiting a week for 'Doomsday' to air seemed like a century after the revelation of the final scenes from 'Army of Ghosts'. Davies took a big chance bringing the Daleks back again for another season finale, and it paid off with interest as far as I'm concerned. I'm sure my mouth was hanging open when the voidsphere revealed its cargo, and I had to lift my jaw off the floor when the Genesis Ark opened up and revealed its contents.

There's not much more that a Doctor Who fan could want from the series than to see two of the Doctor's greatest nemeses in battle with each other. But to top that off we also have the departure of a companion from the series - a companion who's forged a deeper bond of attachment with the Doctor than any companion we've seen before. This episode will no doubt be one of the most memorable farewells in the series history. It was done tastefully and effectively, for all practical purposes killing off the character, which is much more satisfying than seeing her suddenly decide to go home or remain on some alien world, and much less shocking than actually letting her die. Kudos to Davies for coming up with such a clever resolution.

I was particularly impressed with how well the script balanced the action plot with the quieter emotional moments. Taking several minutes out of the story to reunite Jackie and Pete was risky, as it could have interrupted the flow of the action and cut the suspense, but it didn't. I loved Jackie's dialogue, revealing her as a genuine person with all the flaws and weaknesses that entails. The dialogue throughout the episode felt very geniune from all the characters. In such an action-oriented story with a big finish, it would have been easy for Jackie and Mickey to get lost in the shuffle, but their parts were carefully managed to give them special moments without taking anything away from the rest of the plot.

The best emotional scenes, of course, were the scenes between the Doctor and Rose, first grieving over their parting and then struggling to find the right words to say goodbye. The dialogue was again excellent and very real, particularly the Doctor misunderstanding Rose when she tells him the name of the Norwegian beach she's standing on. David Tennant and Billie Piper have already impressed me with their acting talent, and I was fascinated by David Tennant's performance as he revealed a range of emotions, often just through his eyes.

Graeme Harper's direction is superb in this story, from terrific scenes of masses of Daleks swooping over London to the intimate shots of the Doctor and Rose on either side of the impenetrable wall between universes. The lighting and cinematography perfectly complement his style. It was particularly effective how simple lighting changes and set dressing were used to differentiate between Pete's Earth and 'our' Earth. And if I were Billie Piper I'd keep a still of that shot of Rose on the beach (from the opening recap) in my resume' portfolio.

The music, too, was a highlight for this story. The theme that plays while Rose and the Doctor stand forlornly with their cheeks pressed against a wall is caught in my brain now and won't get out. It was an interesting combination of musical elements that created a very appealing tune and emphasized the emotion of the scene very effectively. I hope the BBC will release a soundtrack CD soon if they haven't already.

I've now viewed this episode on 3 occasions, and while I don't feel that any single episode can be considered 'the best episode ever' this one certainly ranks in my Top Ten list. I may not watch it as often as I watch some of my other favorites, however, because it's just too painful to experience those wrenching emotions repeatedly. But any programme that can make me laugh, scream, and cry all in one episode is something I'll always appreciate.

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Just to get it out of the way first, despite my instinctive dislike of the interminable Doctor-Rose love arc, I have to say that Billie Piper's performance in the rather bleak denouement of Doomsday was very touching and believable and drew out my sense of sympathy for a character I have otherwise found increasingly irritating. It also, ironically, inspired Tennant's best moments yet as the Doctor: brooding, slightly detached, paternal and visibly moved. But my irritation with Rose has not been so much to do with Piper's acting, which has mostly been of a high standard compared to many former companions (just compare her with Victoria, Jo, Adric, Peri and Mel and it's clear Rose, despite her annoyingly 'chavvish' aspects, is generally played pretty strongly by Piper), but with her characterisation and the intrusiveness of her growing infatuation with the Doctor. Well, it had to come to an end sooner or later, and I'm glad it has. Having said that, Piper's emotive performance on saying goodbye to her Timelord in shining armour - her convincing stuttering out of 'I love you', cringeworthy and absurd though this implication is, especially considering the Doctor's an alien - was impeccable. Having said this though, for me still this was all out of place in this programme; not so much her infatuation with Him, but the further implication that the Doctor requited it in some sense. And this was implied here though thankfully the Doctor didn't get to finish his verbal recipocration of Rose's sentiment. Thank God. But his tears afterwards say it all anyway. Maybe ultimately this was a direction the show had to go in eventually, in order to 'grow up' in a sense, but then, Doctor Who isn't and was never meant to be Star Trek or - much as I love it - Blake's 7: that is, the pivot of Who is the seemingly asexual, alien nature of its main protagonist, and RTD's humanisation of the character has been mostly lazy and feckless, arrogant and ill-conceived, and only really on this occasion has proved to work dramatically, with the Doctor's palpable sense of loss and lonliness on the final farewell to the most emotionally demonstrative companion he's ever had. I know RTD can't be entirely to blame for sexualising the Doctor as this was tragically first manifested in the appalling 1996 movie - which also heretically implied the Doctor was half-human - but that's still little excuse. The fact remains, in a far more sexually literate culture than when the series was last on our screens in 89, RTD, his finger ever on the pulse of zeitgeist, felt it was necessary to bring romance into the TARDIS. But the inevitable effect of this move is the dilution of the central character's enigma and alienness. This, in my view, has generally been damaging to the drama of the series. I wouldn't have been quite so prudish had the Doctor requited an infatuation with a Time Lady (as, let's face it, the implication was often there, though infinitely more subtly, between the Fourth Doctor and the second Romana - cue City of Death and the Doctor's mournfulness in Full Circle, after her departure the previous story). Hartnell's flirtation with Camica in The Aztecs aside, there's never really been any other hint of the Doctor's amorousness; even the Fifth Doctor's bond with Tegan seemed pretty one-sided on her part (cue Enlightenment), though, again, he was visibly emotionally drained at her sudden departure in Resurrection of the Daleks.

So what now then? Rose has apparently gone, though the likelihood of her returning one day is left open by her existence in that oh-so-difficult-to-return-to parallel Earth. Time will tell if RTD and the boys will decide to move on from this rather infantile preoccupation with the Doctor's capacity for human romance, with the dawning of the new companion next season: if the same sort of relationship is developed again with a new companion, I will really give up all hope on the new series ever fully rising above the level of sci-fi soap opera. This said, the appearance of Catherine Tate as an Essex-style bride in the TARDIS at the end of the episode was not only totally misplaced after the torrid farewell to Rose, but also I predict indicative of a fast-approaching abomination of a Christmas episode. With a title like The Runaway Bride, I feel Christmas day may be spoilt somewhat by a possible pantomime episode. I reserve judgment till Doomsday.

Talking of which, this episode itself. Well, my love of Who has always been much more down to the scripts, characters and concepts rather than the monsters. The essential theatricality and verbosity of the classic series is what drew me in in the first place; the detail of plots and scripts; the effortless imagination of scenarios; the absorbing, often intellectually-tinged escapism of it all; the suggestiveness of concepts and plot elements rather than always trying to visualise them, often mainly to do with lack of budget. New Who, for the first time, has the cash to show us practically everything suggested, but in a perverse sense this, for me, detracts from the power of the drama dormant in the show, and ironically cheapens it all in a way, to the level of Hollywood or US sci-fi. I think it also makes the writers much lazier, being able to rely more than ever on special effects etc. Doomsday is a good example of this techological complacency in the new series - the only consolation is some well-pitched battle sequences between the Daleks and Cybermen, the kind of scenes I would have loved as an eight year old but that now as an adult I find rather tedious and comic-strip. Doomsday's impeccable visuals (though the flying Daleks I thought didn't look that great) and fast action pace in no way distracted me from a fundamentally facile plot and conceptual laziness. In short, this episode, despite a truly emotional ending, was a big let down after the build-up of Army of Ghosts.

What we get really is one big winding up of the Tyler family saga/parallel Earth Tyler saga in an implausible implosion of scriptural laziness and plot conveniences: now, apparently, it's possible for the parallel Earthlings to simply hop back and forth by pressing big yellow medallions. Just like that. Yes, the Doctor points out how impossible such technology is. To which we get a hackneyed, non-falsifiable explanation from Jake that the parallel Earth has its own Torchwood but that the people's Republic found out what they were doing and seized on it. Mmmm. Ludicrous. As is the fact that their new President is called Harriet Jones. Come on. The Whoniverse has contracted massively under RTD: we now have an almost continually Earth/London/Cardiff-bound TARDIS, a future in which the Earth is controlled by the National Trust (why not International, for crying out loud?), a previous Doctor who has a consciously Salford accent ('All planets have a North'), a series of alien menaces that prowl around the same South London estate, and now even an impossibly parochially related parallel Earth where there's an identical Tyler family and Micky etc. Talk about suspension of disbelief. But I won't go on.

Other criticisms: the cop-out of the Genesis Ark arc, very disappointing - it would have been nice to have had Davros back finally - obviously not going to happen - but instead we get a vague thing about it being of Timelord technology (which even the Doctor finds vague for goodness' sake), and the Ark is basically a sort of TARDIS prison from which inevitably ejaculate millions of CGI Daleks swarming around Canary Warf (my, MI5 have been busy - or should that be MFI). Meanwhile the Cybermen are getting rather clumsy, falling over all and sundry to the Daleks' exterminators like so many empty suits of armour. I've decided I don't like these new models much: they seem to cumbersome and too robotic, the essential menace of the old ones being their obvious organic element. Basically these new ones are robots with human brains. The production team (and possibly Harper) have overdone their stomping noises to the extent that they're actually a bit embarrassing. Their voices are good and quite Troughtonesque, but there's something essentially lacking from them and I can't put my finger on it. At least, not as easily as on a parallel Earth transmat medallion. The focus on the moral and dehumanising aspect to the Cybermen is a brave and fruitful development in the new series, which I applaud; however, the shot of the Cybernised Yvonne shedding a tear of patriotic pride was implausible and clumsy, a perhaps irresistable play on the tear-duct design of the Cybermen's eyes. I hate to say it, but Harper has delivered the kind of direction in this episode and debatably the previous three that seriously poses the question: did your stunning talents die out with the old series? Rise of the Cybermen and Ghosts/Doomsday are not a patch on Harper's classic efforts (two of the best directed stories of all time); only Dalek from last season showed similar flair to Harper's old series' classics, but that was by a different director.

On the good side, there were a couple of scenes which shone in Doomsday both scripturally and directorially: first was the scene of the Cybermen rising again to the chanting of 'We will irradicate all class, sex, race' etc. 'and make everyone the same, like us' - a possible chilling comment on the misguided idealism of Communism?; and the shot of the Doctor gloating through the Dalek's vision, saying 'No wonder you're always screaming'. Doomsday needed many more scenes like these, but sadly, it didn't.

Doomsday was a disappointing climax to the second series overall, though with an affectingly emotive farewell scene. But it was full of cliches, plot-conveniences and cop-outs, and seemed to try and mimick the superior (though over-rated) Parting of the Ways finale to the previous season, but failing ultimately due to lack of believability and originality. Doomsday was the climax to the Tyler soap opera and the Doctor-Rose arc, and so was inevitable, but I do feel it could have been pulled off much better than it was, without so many continuity intrusions from the previous two series and frankly, without the Daleks, who seemed generally superfluous to the plot and weren't done full justice. Is it just me, or are the Daleks rather boring without Davros?

5/10 - on a good day.

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So that's what all the parallel universe business was about back in episodes 5 and 6.

It speaks volumes that Russell T Davies should build such a large part of the season around finding a way for Rose to leave.

In 'Doomsday' we had a very different finale from last year's 'Parting of the Ways'. Where that was about saying goodbye to the Ninth Doctor, this year's end was all about Rose.

Indeed, the actual meat of the episode served as a mere appetiser. The war council between the Daleks and Cybermen was delicious and the shots of the two races in battle were thrilling, if a little thin, but there wasn't a great deal of mass invasion action going on. It's a pity we were so locked down to Torchwood Tower. The story didn't quite live up to the expectations built by last week's excellent precursor, but it was clear very quickly that the escalating war was merely a way to get us to the Doctor and Rose truly parting. As soon as the Doctor started to talk about 'void stuff' (the most amusing story conceit since anti-plastic) I could see where things were going.

Have to admit, though, my heart was in mouth as Rose was dragged towards the void. He can't! I thought. Davies can't do that! That's worse than just killing her! But, of course, he didn't. From this point, Piper and Tennant give their best performances of the year - the Doctor's anguished scream as he watches Rose sucked to her death is agonising. And even if Davies stole the two-people-separated-by-worlds idea from Philip Pullman, and the 'two minutes' notion from Joss Whedon, the couple's goodbye is genuinely heartbreaking. Inevitable, also, that the Doctor never gets to say 'I love you.'

As for the cliffhanger, well, Catherine Tate in a wedding dress fills me with dread (Peter Kay-itis playing up) but I'll wait until Christmas to see.

Season 2 overall has been a mixed year. I have definitely felt a gap at times where year one's darker side used to be. 'The Christmas Invasion' started things very promisingly and still features one of David Tennant's best performances. The opening of the season proper was probably its strongest point - 'New Earth' might be a little dull, but it has a colour and vividness that some later stories lack. The lack of payoff for the Face of Boe plot is hugely frustrating, though. If it's a season 3 setup, sticking it in the first episode of season 2 seems insane.

The run from episodes 2-4 was as good as anything Doctor Who has ever had and 'The Satan Pit' two-parter is my favourite story of the relaunched series by a mile. It's just a shame that in the mix we also had a rather muted 'Rise of the Cybermen', a banal 'The Idiot's Lantern' and the misstep that was 'Love and Monsters'. Too many episodes set in London locations in quick sucession, too, lead to a samey quality in the second half of the season and detracted from the otherwise-enjoyable 'Fear Her'(it's pretty bad planning that only 'The Satan Pit' two-parter breaks this pattern in a run of 9 episodes from 5-13).

Overall, though, still great television and things are really nicely set-up for season 3. The Doctor is alone again, heartbroken, and hopefully will be wary of letting anyone else in too soon. Let's just hope that Davies avoids the temptation to use 'The Runaway Bride' as a way to get the Doctor over Rose quickly so he and Martha can have merry japes across the universe. Let's see some more darkness (just look at how wonderful Tennant is when he's given more than 'wacky/angry' to play with), let's sow a denser arc (like Bad Wolf but with a nicer payoff) and let's have The Master, please. Played by Tony Head, preferably.

Now what the hell am I going to do over summer?

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So much happened in Doomsday (in truth, maybe TOO much happened) that it’s hard to know where to start this review. The beginning is usually a good place - even though, technically, that was also the end, with Rose’s “this is the story of my death” message being reprised before the opening credits.

An example of how much had to be packed into this episode could be gleaned from the pre-credits sequence – surely the briefest we’d had, and an indication that there was no time to waste!

That was why writer Russell T Davies quickly wrapped up the contributions of the surviving featured Torchwood key personnel (those from this Universe) – although it was a nice touch to later bring in Cyber Yvonne, complete with female voice – I’m assuming that was Tracy-Ann Oberman, and that Nicholas Briggs’ talents (and ring modulators) haven’t quite enabled him to perfect a gender voice change.

The main business of the early part of the episode was the match of the day which everyone wanted to see – the clash between Cybermen and Daleks, which had been set up by the thrilling arrival of Skaro’s finest at the end of Army Of Ghosts.

It’s a question which has been debated by Doctor Who fans throughout the 40 years that both have been part of the public consciousness. Cybermen or Daleks - who would win in a fight? It’s never been a contest for me. The Cybermen are wonderfully large and menacing but they are, by definition, men – and women! – in rubber (or the 21st-century equivalent) suits. The Daleks are more alien and, since they were given “wings”, infinitely more deadly. When a Cyberman first appeared in Army Of Ghosts, it was a thrill – but nothing compared to the Daleks arriving on the scene. That’s still always a move-to-the-edge-of-the-seat moment, and these are few and far between in TV watching.

That longed-for first meeting between representatives of the two great armies – in a corridor, where else? – was an exciting moment but, of course, there was never any question of the Daleks allying themselves to an “inferior” monster – and nor should they, even at a numerical disadvantage of five million to just four!

Even the Dalek voices are greatly superior, much more clearly defined and easy to follow. As in Rise Of The Cybermen/The Age Of Steel, I have an issue with the Cyber voices. A dedicated fan would have no problems deciphering them, as they’re concentrating deeply, and used to the variances in alien voices. I’m sure many more-casual viewers – the vast majority, without whom there would be no TV Doctor Who – would have missed several lines of Cyber dialogue, not that there was much. It’s rare that I can categorically say I prefer one aspect from the old series to the new version but, for me, David Banks’ Cyber Leader voice is greatly superior to Nicholas Briggs’ version.

It’s a little surprising that Briggs was voicing both Cybermen and Daleks – although, to be fair, you certainly couldn’t tell they were the same man. Perhaps Briggs’ Cyber voice may grow on me given time, because I should add that I love his interpretation of the Dalek voice – and the different affectations he brings to each one.

Plot-wise, I thought (and, as always, you have to take the episode time constraints very much into the equation) Doomsday worked really well, though there was no massive surprises, apart from the Daleks’ arrival. From ’way back in Episodes 5 and 6, the widowing of the alternate Pete Tyler meant a “reunion” between him and “our” Jackie was a fairly-obvious route for Davies to take. Pete and Jackie’s meeting wasn’t my favourite part of the episode. I didn’t really buy the leaping into each others’ arms, and this was one of the sufferers of trying to cram too much in, though it was acceptable in terms of plotline. Being a “boy”, at the time, I was rather enjoying the Cybermen-Daleks skirmish and wanted to see more, and all this human stuff rather butted in! Obviously, it would have been great to see extended monster fight scenes, but I suspect we’re talking budgets here, and the money ran out. So we had to make do with a couple of token zappings.

The Genesis Ark being a dimensionally transcendental (or should that be transcendentally dimensional) prison ship for millions of Daleks was a decent idea, and the sight of the Dalek army flying through the London sky with the Cyber army below certainly gave the impression of an epic encounter. However, with the flying Daleks, there was a sense that we’d kind of done that in The Parting Of The Ways, and there was more than a few moments of déjà vu with that great season finale as this year’s denouement grew closer.

That was certainly the case as The Doctor again opted to send Rose away from danger, this time to the parallel Earth to play Happy Families with Jackie, Pete and Mickey (due to time constraints, sadly little more than a bit-part player here). Choosing The Doctor over her mother just emphasised the depth of Rose’s love for him. This time, she didn’t need a series of Bad Wolf messages to find her way back to her Doctor – and that led to the dramatic (as opposed to emotional) highlight of the episode, as our dynamic duo clung onto life by their fingertips (literally) as the monster armies were sucked back into the void, apart from The Black Dalek, of course . . . guess who’s coming back for Series 3?

Although I’ve always felt that Rose wouldn’t die in the conventional sense and would probably end up with the others in the parallel world, it did cross my mind for a moment that Davies was going to allow her to be sucked into the void, and her “this is the story of my death” message was sent from there, where she was trapped for eternity. Killing off Rose in this way would have been an incredible piece of TV, but Davies has said this wasn’t an option. And he was right. The viewer has travelled an incredible journey with Rose and, despite the emotional sledgehammer of a companion’s death, the way she has been written out leaves more than a glimmer of hope that one day she will return . . . and one day, she shall, she shall! If you can get in and out of a parallel world once, you can do so again somewhere down the line in time and space . . .

Rose losing her grip, and letting out a chilling scream as she slid towards her death was as dramatic a moment as I can remember seeing on TV, never mind Doctor Who, for a long time. It really was big-screen stuff. “Daddy” Pete suddenly appearing to rescue her, just as she’d done for him in last season’s Fathers’ Day, was also a perfectly-acceptable exit route.

Outwith death doing them part, this was really the only way Rose could leave her Doctor, and made for some emotionally-charged scenes, with them pressing their faces against each other from opposite Universes especially touching. And I preferred that moment to the “projection” of The Doctor to Rose in the parallel world. Again, this idea was too similar to The Parting Of The Ways, but you could forgive Davies that (could forgive him anything really – the man is a legend for bringing this great show back to us!) as it offered further opportunity to tug at the heartstrings some more, as the final goodbyes were said. And, though the two lead actors didn’t need much help, Murray Gold’s score really accentuated the moment once again. It was another tough writers’ call whether The Doctor would say the “l” word after Rose had and, again, Davies got it right – though the tears of a Time Lord said more than any little word ever could.

The only thing about the episode which really totally surprised me was the closing scene, and I wonder how late a decision the inclusion of Catherine Tate was, in what was effectively a trailer for the Christmas Day (as it almost certainly will be) episode. My instant reaction was “wrong call” and that it spoiled the moment but, thinking about it, leaving the series on a question mark rather than a full stop might have been a smart move. A difficult one to assess.

The natural ending was The Doctor alone in the TARDIS, devastated at the “loss” of a loved one, although that was pretty much the conclusion to The Girl In The Fireplace (for a different blonde – one who actually did die!). In fact, in retrospect, Steven Moffat’s excellent episode might have been better moved to Series Three. There were too many similarities between The Doctor’s reaction to Reinette and Rose’s departures.

None of the supporting cast got much of a look-in here, but there was plenty of good stuff from David Tennant and Billie Piper. Both probably had their best episodes of the series.

I thought Tennant was superb in Doomsday – especially in terms of an emotional acting performance. Totally believable, his “projection” scenes were not quite as iconic as the ninth Doctor’s hologram when it appeared before Rose after sending her back to Earth in The Parting Of The Ways, but it was still moving. The TARDIS is in safe hands, and I can’t wait to see how he deals with life after Rose . . . and runaway brides!

And then there was Billie. What can one say? If she didn’t get a BAFTA last year, she probably won’t get one this year, but Rose has been an amazing character (probably the best-ever in Doctor Who, and I say this as a Sarah Jane devotee) and Billie Piper has brought her to vibrant life from Day One.

In many ways, this whole show could easily have been called Doctor Who and Rose Tyler – because it’s always been a team of two equals. From that very first eponymous episode of Series One, Rose has been just as central to proceedings to The Doctor. So many great moments – being chased by Autons; that “run for your life” first meeting with The Doctor; displaying her gymnastic prowess to save the Earth (for the first time) from The Nestene Consciousness; kissing Mickey goodbye and running into the TARDIS; watching the Earth about to die from Platform One; her first encounter with a Dalek; kneeling by the side of her dying dad; hanging from a balloon in the middle of an air raid during The Blitz; dancing with Captain Jack atop an invisible spaceship beside Big Ben; looking into the TARDIS and the TARDIS looking into her; turning the Daleks to dust as The Bad Wolf; being chased by gun-toting Santas and a spinning Christmas tree; her “my monsters were bigger than your monsters” tete a tete with Sarah and the realisation that she hasn’t been The Doctor’s only companion; being trapped inside a TV set by The Wire; being split up from The Doctor on The Impossible Planet; being attacked by a giant scribble . . . and then there was Doomsday!

If ever a scene epitomised how much Rose has developed since that first episode, it was that eye-to-eyestalk encounter with The Black Dalek, as she told it why she and her friends should be kept alive, and faced the monster with no fear. She could have been The Doctor in that moment, and Piper played it to perfection.

I think she has an extra gleam in her eye when she tackles these heavyweight scenes, and she certainly relishes the action scenes, such as being gradually sucked into the void. She also “does” emotion, and her tears at the end were thoroughly believable. It was a rather-extended goodbye, but very worthy of the character and the actress.

She won’t be a hard act to follow, she’ll be an impossible act to follow. Sometimes, you don’t appreciate what you have until it’s gone, but Doctor Who has survived the loss of great characters dozens of times before, and the show will go on. As it always has done.

Although it didn’t quite match the promise of Army Of Ghosts, mainly because of all the plots strands having to be hurriedly tied together, I still greatly enjoyed Doomsday, and I’ve loved this whole series. Having written this review – as all others from the new series – on one viewing of each episode, I’m looking forward to watching all 13 again to see how it all dovetails together. And to see if how much analysis I’ve got wrong!

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Russell T. Davies and his team have done it again. “Doomsday” encapsulates everything that is good about the new series. My Dad will hate the mushy stuff, but with 95% of the episode nothing but top-drawer action, this episode truly has something for everybody. Quite simply, it is magnificent. Flawless, even.

So how can you top last year’s masterpiece, “The Parting of the Ways”? How can you go one better than 200 Dalek ships – that’s half a million Daleks – invading the Earth of the far future, the departure of a companion and a regeneration? You do the only thing you can – you take one of your own childhood fantasies, and you make it happen. Daleks vs Cybermen; “Stephen Hawking vs. the Speaking Clock”; whatever you want to call it. This kind of episode is exactly the sort of thing that fans have always dreamt of; the sort of thing that casual viewers of the show automatically assume has happened before, but in reality, even in the ‘expanded universe’ of books and audio dramas, has never, ever occurred*.

The Cybermen’s idea to form an alliance and “…upgrade the universe” together is quickly rejected by the Daleks, who interestingly come across as the bad baddies, if that makes sense. If you have the Doctor vs the Daleks or the Doctor vs the Cybermen, then it’s easy, a story of good vs bad. When you have (as the show’s unprecedented FIFTH** Radio Times cover of the year proudly proclaims) Daleks vs Cybermen, then it’s heel vs heel. Baddie vs baddie. Who’s side do you take? Many people choose to go for the underdog, but even with millions of Cybermen against four Daleks, I’d still class these relatively newborn Cybermen as underdogs any day of the week. The Daleks just electrify every scene that they are in; they raise the bar just that little bit higher; and, in “Doomsday,” they absolutely kick ass!

“This is not war! This is pest control!… You are superior in only one respect. You are better at dying!”

The banter between these two cybernetic races is a joy to listen to. From the Cybermen’s mockery of the Daleks’ “…inelegant design”, it’s very difficult to believe that there isn’t just a little bit of human emotion left inside them. The Daleks, on the other hand, are always emotional – genetically bred blobs of pure hatred. That’s why they come across as more evil than the Cybermen. Because they are! Cybermen are just automatons, doing what they have been programmed to believe is right. Of course, one could argue the same point about the Daleks, but at the end of the day Daleks can feel.

And the Daleks aren’t the only ones kicking ass. In her final episode, Billie Piper gives her best performance yet as Rose. In just forty-five minutes she shows just how far she has come since we first met her as a bored teenager in “Rose.” In the opening moments of the episode, she saves the lives of Mickey and Raj (at least temporarily) by making her knowledge of the Daleks and their Time War immediately clear. In the same vein, we get to see Mickey – an older, wiser, braver Mickey who has crossed the void (something the Doctor said was impossible) - try and save the Earth. Arguably, he has changed and grown even more than Rose has since we met them both. I knew that “The Age of Steel” wouldn’t be the last we’d see of him; he may have found himself a happy home with his alternate Grandmother, but with things left open with Pete Tyler and the Cybermen there were simply too many loose ends that just had to be tied up, and inevitably Mickey would have to play a part in that. So I called that one, but my prediction/hope about the resurrection of the Time Lords was wide of the mark – but only just. As the Daleks wheeled out “…all that remains of the Time Lord homeworld…” – a device they call the “Genesis Ark” – I thought I’d been blessed by some strange prognostic power, but alas, it was not to be.

“If these are gonna be my last words then you’re gonna listen... The God of all Daleks, and I destroyed him!”

By this point I thought Rose was a goner; gunned down by a Dalek Supreme. Once again, I was wrong. My fiancée could have been forgiven for thinking that there was something wrong with our sofa – I wasn’t behind it, I was on the edge of it, constantly jumping up and down. It was like England vs Portugal all over again, but whereas with watching England there’s always a winker like Ronaldo to spoil things, you can always have complete faith in the Doctor to save the day. Well, almost always. Just as things couldn’t getter any bleaker for Rose; for Mickey; for Earth, the Doctor waltzes in and has a bit of a chinwag and a catch-up (much to the Daleks’ annoyance) and then goes on to reveal a few important facts. Firstly, the Doctor doesn’t have a clue what this “Genesis Ark”, which is a bit of a worry.

Secondly, it is confirmed what many fans suspected – the Doctor was actually a soldier in the Time War, out there on the front line. The Doctor actually put his moral scruples aside and fought. Whether this was the eighth or ninth Doctor we still don’t know, perhaps we never will – a little bit of mystery never goes amiss in this series!

“I was there at the fall of Arcadia… some day I might even come to terms with that.”

As I mentioned in my review of “Fear Her,” the writers have been much braver this year about acknowledging the show’s past, not only on TV, but now it seems, the books too that got us through the 90s. Russell T. Davies could have made any old planet name up and stuck it in that sentence, and either way ninety-nine per cent of the audience wouldn’t have been any the wiser, but he didn’t – he wrote Arcadia, and put a few smiles on the faces of Doctor Who readers worldwide.

Thirdly, my ears weren’t deceiving me in the opening minutes – “Dalek Thay…” – these Daleks have names! According to the Doctor, these four Daleks form “the Cult of Skaro” (the first time the Dalek homeworld has been mentioned in the new series!); Daleks whose mission it is to think like the enemy, so much so that they even have names. Now this small part of the episode – which to be honest, didn’t affect the plot at all; these could just as easily have been four generic Daleks – opens up so many storytelling possibilities, and will no doubt form the subject matter of many a future novel, audio or even TV episode, especially considering the Dalek Supreme’s blink-and-you’ll-miss-it “emergency temporal shift” before his army is sucked into the void.

“Doomsday” is certainly an appropriate title for this episode; “Armageddon” could have been another. The scenes of destruction, especially when seen from the Doctor’s purview in Canary Wharf, are absolutely staggering. When the Daleks actually open the “Genesis Ark”, and millions of the blighters come flying out of that old Time Lord prison ship (“ahh… so that’s what it was”), the Mill manage to top last year’s epic finale, at least in terms of the visual effects. Millions of Daleks flying through space is one thing, but flying through the air above London? Swarming around Canary Wharf like insects? The visuals are simply mind-blowing, and in terms of the storytelling, the stakes have never been higher. This isn’t some far off invasion in the distant future. This is here and now. This is war on Earth. Today.

“Cybermen will remove sex and class and colour and creed. You will become identical. You will become like us.”

I mentioned earlier that I think Daleks are more evil than Cybermen, as well as much more dangerous. Whilst I believe that to be the case, I think that the Cybermen are a much more frightening monster than the pepper pots from Skaro. Why? A Dalek will just gun you down, or maybe ‘mind probe’ or torture you a bit first if you’re very unlucky. Cybermen, on the other hand, take you, dissect you, remove all that is human, and turn you into a unthinking, unfeeling monster. It’s the whole Darth Vader / Borg kind of idea, only the Cybermen came first, and the Cybermen are worse. In “Doomsday,” we experience the horrors of Cyberconversion through Tracy-Ann Oberman’s character, Yvonne Hartman, the despicable face of Torchwood. Her ultimate fate is superbly written and portrayed. As she is taken for Cyberconversion, you can see the mortal dread on her face, and it’s made worse by the fact that she knows exactly what they are going to do to her. “Oh God. I did my duty! Oh God!” – you almost feel sorry for her. In the end, when she actually overcomes her Cyber conditioning to gun down her fellow Cybermen and give our heroes that little bit of extra time, you’re practically cheering her on as she bleeds an oily tear from her cybernetic eye.

“How rich? I don’t care about that. How very?”

I knew it was coming, but it didn’t make it any less dramatic. The widowed Pete Tyler is back in our universe, face to face with the widowed Jackie Tyler. Had they not ran into each other’s arms for a proper, cheesy, Hollywood kiss the rules of poetics would have needed seriously revising. Even this absolutely epic, dramatic scene – a scene that has been in the making since “The Age of Steel”; no, earlier, since “Father’s Day,” really – is infused with just that little bit of humour. “There was never anyone else,” says Jackie as the Doctor, Rose and Mickey all bite their lips and try not to laugh.

“What is it with the glasses?”

Davies rattles off the exposition about “void stuff” in about thirty economical seconds and the die is cast – everyone goes back to “Pete’s World” to live happily ever after. Mother, father, daughter, daughter’s ex. Only daughter isn’t happy about that. Daughter immediately pushes the button and sends herself back to our world – she is willing to lose her mother and her father - who have miraculously just been reunited after years apart - to stand by the Doctor. To stand by the man she loves.

“…the last story I’ll ever tell.”

The explosive end to “Doomsday” gives ‘edge-of-the-seat’ a whole new meaning. Watching the Doctor and Rose hang on for dear life as the Void sucks in Daleks, Cybermen, as well as everything and everyone touched by the “void stuff” is gut-wrenching in the extreme.

“This is the story of how I died.”

They couldn’t...? To kill her would have been bad enough, but to send her to Hell with a million Daleks and Cybermen would have been much too much. But for a minute there… David Tennant and Billie Piper both deserve a BAFTA on that one scene alone! Their faces. Their blood curdling screams as Rose’s fingers slip and she is sucked into… the arms of her Dad. Pete Tyler makes the last minute save. Rose survives. But…

That touching, soulful new composition by Murray Gold plays and the Doctor and Rose each find themselves staring at a plain, blank white wall – a whole universe between them. A whole universe that, thanks to the sealing of the breach, can never be crossed again. Rose is inconsolable, but at least she has her family. She has Mum and Dad. She has Mickey. She even has Mickey’s old Gran. If, at some point before she met the Doctor, somebody told her that she would be rich beyond her wildest dreams, living with her Mother and her long-dead Father, with a baby brother or sister on the way, she’d have thought them mad – but she’d certainly have wanted to believe them. The Doctor may have been cruelly ripped away from her, but she has everything else that she could have ever wanted. As for the Doctor; as for the lonely God…

And so we come full circle. There’s a beautiful symmetry in Rose sitting up in bed, just as she did in the first scene of “Rose” way back when. Only this time she’s had a dream. She has to follow a voice.

“Here I am at last, and this is the story of how I died.”

My sister called it right – a metaphorical death it was. Satan lied. Officially dead in our world, Rose begins her new life in another as she stands in Bad Wolf Bay, staring across a beach; staring across a universe at the fading projection of the man she loves, who is ”…burning up a sun just to say goodbye.” As always, Davies’ dialogue is beyond perfect. Rose asks the Doctor if he can come through to her world, and he bluntly replies, “two universes would collapse.” Rose says, “So?” It just sums it all up; Rose and the Doctor… love in general.

“I love you,” says Rose, overcome by emotion.

“Quite right too,” says the Doctor with a smile on his face, doing his best Han Solo impression. “And I suppose, if there’s one last chance to say it, Rose Tyler…” and then he’s savagely ripped away by the currents of our universe. Heartbreaking! The Doctor stands in his TARDIS alone, a single tear running down his cheek. He never told her. In Doctor Who terms, “Doomsday” is the King of all tearjerkers. It is quite simply, the end of an era.

“Will I ever see you again?”

“You can’t.”

And then suddenly, the Doctor looks up and a strange, disgruntled woman (Catherine Tate) is in the TARDIS wearing a wedding dress. Once again, humour crops up even at the most dramatic moment and rounds off the season in a much more upbeat fashion. Rose and her family may be gone, but the Doctor will go on, just as he’s always done. The same old life.

And what about us, the fans? Life after Billie? It’s almost as daunting as thinking about life after Eccleston, but look what a star David Tennant has proven himself to be. I hope he stays in the role for years and years and years. He’s superb. The world of Who marches on and we have “The Runaway Bride” to look forward to at Christmas, and then Freema Agyeman’s new companion Martha Jones next spring, along with the return of the Ice Warriors, Shakespeare, and I’m sure the Dalek Supreme will turn up again at some point. And if I remember right, the Face of Boe still has a secret to tell…

* I’m 99% per cent sure! I still haven’t quite got through all the books yet!

** Including “The Christmas Invasion” cover in December 2005.

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Okay, how many of you softies got moist-eyed or shed a tear? Bah. I'm hard and cynical, me, and such mushy stuff has absolutely no place in...

Oh, who am I kidding. I found 'Father's Day' emotional enough, so I didn't have a chance here. I was doing alright until a devastated and inconsolable Rose managed to get out the words "I love you" and the Doctor (who's inability to use the 'L' word is sad, yet understandable given his situation; he couldn't say it in 'School Reunion' either) fades away. Whoah. And I didn't feel manipulated; these characters had *earned* this moment.

I think this episode will be remembered as 'the one where Rose leaves' rather than 'the one with the Daleks versus the Cybermen' and personally I think that's quite a compliment to Billie and, indeed, David, Christopher and the writers. I'm not a fan who has ever particularly wished for a meeting between the 'big two' monsters. I know the monsters are a large part of 'Who', but of course it is much more than that. Strong characterisation, quirkiness, humour, imagination, warmth...humanity. All present and correct here, where there was much to enjoy. Including;

Seeing Mickey portrayed as confident and heroic, with a sly sense of humour. 'Rose' seems like a looong time ago; Jackie and 'alternative' Pete getting together. (I loved the Doctor and Mickey's underreaction to Jackie's "There's been no-one else") ; the breathtaking moment where it seems Rose might actually be a goner and Tennant *screams* her name; A 'cyberfied' Yvonne shedding an oily tear; the four Daleks blase about millions of Cybermen, but twitching at the mention of the Doctor....

Maybe the script can be ripped apart...maybe I will myself in the future but, here and now, whilst I wouldn't say this was an instant classic, I did think it was an involving and entertaining conclusion to a season that I have thoroughly enjoyed. I'll give it a 9.5/10 today. It's an episode I experienced rather than examined, hence the brevity, but I look forward to the more detailed reactions on these fine pages!

Self-indulgent mode; some personal awards (fanfare) ;

The David Tennant Award for best performance by a David Tennant: well, I rewatched 'School Reunion' prior to 'Doomsday' (it seemed apt as the episode was mainly about what it's like to be a companian of the Doctor) and Tennant is *superb* throughout so today this episode's performance gets the nod.

The Billie Piper Award for best performance by an ex-popstar who turned out to be a wonderful actress: For dramatic impact, it would have to be 'Doomsday'; for sheer fun and charm; 'The Idiot's Lantern'.

The Kinda award for episode most likely to be a bit of a cult in the future: 'Love and Monsters' or 'TGINF', but I guess it'd have to be the former, as it was just so divisive.

The IMHO award for most underrated episode: 'The Idiot's Lantern'...just because I really liked it!

Best Character Development By a Few Streets: Mickey Smith. Well played, Noel, and you left your very best 'til last, too....

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This was a pretty good episode. The problem is that last week's episode demanded a follow-up that was great, even epic; and while Doomsday tried, it wasn't able to make it. (I found it ironic watching the accompanying Confidential after writing this bit, and hearing the production staff use the same word - epic - without managing to achieve it.)

So... Daleks vs. Cybermen, with Earth caught in the crossfire. Given that the Cybermen could barely slow down four Daleks, this shouldn't be much of a battle. (Which is about what I figured; these Daleks have been portrayed as nigh-unstoppable death machines with probably centuries of refinement, while these Cybermen are the first-generation products of a near mirror of present-day Earth. Unless the Daleks have an unexpected weakness or the Cybermen an unexpected strength, it's not much of a contest.) Only somehow, it works. Despite Cybermen getting mown down left and right as the Daleks press through to get out of the Torchwood building, despite the gratuitous appearance of enough Daleks to burn the planet down to bedrock, there's still a scope and frisson there as hordes of Daleks swoop down out of the sky to attack massed formations of Cybermen. Give the production team credit for taking something that should have been a blowout and making it involving.

Torchwood itself turned out to be surprisingly insignificant after last week's buildup. It provided a setting for the main story events. It provided a bunch of camo-uniformed extras to fire ineffectively in the battle in the warehouse. And that's about it, really. Yvonne gets verbally slapped by Jackie for bringing the deluge, but no further reflection on Torchwood's role in the matter. Dr. Singh gets a moment of heroic sacrifice. And Yvonne gets a redemptive moment that feels utterly right even if it's not terribly logical. But no one from Torchwood tries to grab any of the hi-tech equipment they've hoarded over the years and fight back on something resembling equal terms. No one steps forward to help (or hinder) the Doctor and his friends, who run around the building as if they own the place. I'd expected Torchwood to play a bigger part than 'toybox for the Doctor,' really.

The Genesis Ark was another disappointment. This is the last legacy of Gallifrey, the only thing remaining of the Time Lords besides the Doctor himself and his TARDIS - and all it does is spit out a horde of Daleks? I'd hoped for something more uniquely Gallifreyan, myself; something on the level of the Hand of Omega, maybe, something that would have added real weight to the use of the Time Lords as the source. ('It's bigger on the inside'? Come on, RTD, you can do better than that.) A mysterious, powerful artifact from the depths of history, used in a creative and awe-inspiring way? That's epic. A mysterious and powerful artifact turned into a plot device for producing Daleks? That's a let-down. We've already seen a Dalek army pulled out of a hat once in a season finale, and the impact was a lot smaller the second time around. There's no sensawonder here; or rather, it was strangled the moment the Daleks started flying out.

A powerful, ancient Gallifreyan artifact could also have been used to add some much-needed epic to the story's resolution. I mean, come on; 'void energy' that tags all the inter-universal travellers so that they get sucked back in when the Doctor opens the breach? Pop, and the problem's gone, no-muss-no-fuss and really easy cleanup? (Well, all right, there's the casualties and battle damage in London...) It's too simple. It's too convenient. It's too *easy*, and this is the single biggest flaw in the main plot. What's 'epic' about the Doctor pulling the stopper and having all the bad guys spiral down the drain, with no further effort on his part? The characters really needed to work for the ending to give it epic magnitude, and clinging to a bar over the Void doesn't count; that scene would make a good capper to an episode of work setting up the ending, but there was no real setup for it to cap. (Unless you count the Doctor's gurning around with the glasses for two episodes; since that could have been anything, I don't. Real foreshadowing should tell us something about what's going to happen, and the glasses didn't tell us anything.)

Ignoring the literary merit of the resolution for a moment, it also has large gaping plot holes. The whole purpose of a void ship was to shield the occupants from the effects of the Void; so why, then, were the Daleks tainted with void energy? If the void energy caused the Cybermen to be sucked in when the breach was opened at Torchwood, how were they able to march out of the breach into Torchwood in the first place? And if the Void's pull was strong enough to yank Rose away from her handhold, how in the heck did Pete avoid getting pulled in when he appeared, much closer to the breach than she was? I'm sorry, but this just reeks of a cheap gimmick the writers pulled out of a hat - to magically get rid of the Daleks and Cybermen, not to mention set up a massive dramatic scene - without taking the time to think it through.

Imagine if the Genesis Ark had revealed something that the Doctor had to try and take back from the Daleks, instead of just dumping out enough Daleks to raise the threat to 'deus-ex-machina required' levels. Imagine if Torchwood personnel had stepped forward and helped in the fight, because they've trained with the hi-tech equipment and can do something useful instead of firing ineffective guns at nigh-invulnerable enemies. Imagine if there was a solution to the situation that required the Doctor to put in more than a couple minutes of 'open the Barrier, boom they all go away'? (Even the delta wave in last season's finale, which never got used, required more work and more thinking about the consequences than this did.) Extra points if this solution involved whatever came out of the Genesis Ark, so that more parts of the plotline tie together. Any of these would have made for a more involved, and thus for me more entertaining, story than what we actually got - which was fun but shallow.

Then there's the Jackie 'n Pete show. By the end of Age of Steel, I really respected Pete Tyler; coming across as a weak opportunist at the start, then turning out to be using that as a cover for gathering intelligence, and finally having the wisdom at the end to realize that Rose's clutching after a lost father wasn't leading anywhere good or healthy - and closing the conversation off when Rose pushed things too far. So I was impressed - though not particularly surprised - to see him show up as an authority figure in the alt-universe. Unfortunately, that led to The Reunion that had been telegraphed in letters of fire at 150+ dB. If the 'void energy' magical resolution was poorly set up and foreshadowed, this went to the opposite extreme, with the idea pounded in with a sledgehammer. I suppose it's another complement to the actors and the production staff that it turned out to be an 'awwwww' moment after all, and made me feel good about it despite my annoyance at how blatently it was set up. I just wish it hadn't been so pat; that it hadn't felt so deliberately manufactured.

And so we come to the part that's probably going to get the most argument - the departure of Rose Tyler.

Just to be clear where I stand: I thought she was a good companion, had some classic moments, but the attempt to set her up as 'the Bestest Companion EVAR' (to quote a friend) didn't just fall flat for me, it grated. The Doctor has had many companions over the years. There's been a few he's formed a special bond with - Jo Grant. Romana II. Sarah Jane. Ace. But they were never given the 'always and forever' tagline, repeated ad nauseam like an infatuated teenager with a crush. One of the best lines of School Reunion was the Doctor's 'I have to go on' - and that holds true for the Doctor and the show. So especially in Rose's later appearances, I alternated between cheering for her moxie in rallying the station crew in Satan Pit, or applauding her for putting together the pieces on Magpie's television operation before the Doctor manages to (only to get trapped because she wasn't ready to handle the situation, drat) - and groaning at cutsey-cute moments where she and the Doctor act like they've stepped out of a John Hughes high school comedy from the 80's. I was, frankly, relieved to see her go while I still liked her, before she wore out her welcome any further. All I hoped for is that she would get a good exit...

...which Doomsday *wasn't*. I give credit to RTD for trying to subvert expectations about Rose dying. But when you open an episode with a character going 'This is how I died,' you'd better darn well have a good payoff to justify it. This didn't qualify. The idea of a metaphoric 'death' can be powerful when used right; but it takes a delicate, sure touch to avoid becoming faux-Romantic teenage-angsty melodrama. Did this example work for me? Sorry, no. (One example that did work for me was The Princess Bride, because it was handled with a light touch, and the actual 'I died that day.' line was almost tossed off and not unduly stressed.) Did she lose everything that made life meaningful to her? Judging the family attachment by how hard she tried to save her alt-parents in Age of Steel, and how much losing Mickey seemed to hurt her at the end of that episode, I'd hardly think so - and so likening her loss of the Doctor to Death came across to me as an artificial and overblown attempt to raise the stakes on the ending. It's a cheap, lazy form of emotional manipulation, and it really put me off.

Looking back, it's almost surprising how much I did enjoy the episode. I think the key was a lot of nice moments that had little impact on the overarching plot. The Doctor's angry speech to the Cyber Leader - "You're in their homes, you've got their *children.* Of course they're gonna fight!" The shot of the family huddled in terror as the Cyber Leader spoke - "Do not fear. Cybermen will remove fear." The Cybermen and the Daleks talking smack at each other: "Daleks have no concept of el-e-gance." "This is obvious." Mickey's growth, and his vastly increased comfort with the Doctor. ("So he's sending the Daleks and the Cybermen straight to hell. Man, I told you he was good.") The problem is that these moments are like cotton candy; tastes good for a moment, but doesn't last and too much of it without a solid meal underneath doesn't sit well. What it feels like is the writer had these moments in mind combined with a couple of big story events (in particular the hanging-over-the-void scene), and then tried to come up with plot devices to make them happen. ("Hey, I want to see an army of Daleks fighting the army of Cybermen, but where am I going to get one? I know, I'll make a Time Lord artifact that's a prison ship...") The problem is that when you come up with these ideas solely as plot devices, and don't take the time to develop them into part of a real story framework, what you get is flimsy storytelling.

I think the key phrase for this episode, for me, is 'entertaining in spite of itself.' In the end, it was still fun to watch, but there were too many points where the plot took very sloppy shortcuts to get a particular scene or a particular resolution, and only some top-notch work in the actual direction/production/performance was able to save the moment. (Which is probably why the epilogue failed for me; the performance wasn't able to carry off a plot/character moment that I disagreed with.) That's why the episode was also ultimately disappointing; if the same talent had been applied to ideas and plot points that had some thought and depth to them, this could have been a truly great episode. As it is, it couldn't live up to the promise of the prior episode, and that's a shame.

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I have never written a review before, and only do so now because I feel that many of the excellent reviews already written on ‘Doomsday’ have failed to fully explore the last few minutes of the episode. I also read that some contributors have now seen this episode many times. I have only seen it once but it is a piece of television drama that will remain clearly in my mind for a very long time indeed.

We all knew, following Billie’s decision not to continue in the series, that the Doctor and Rose would have to be pulled apart violently and finally, with Rose’s death an ominous possibility. That inevitable separation happened as Rose was caught by her father moments before being sucked into the void and carried by him to the other dimension. The drama was as intense as it could get, In the moments that followed, the tears were flowing, both on screen and on sofas throughout the land.

So why the scenes on the beach? Were they just to provide closure on the characters, or do they give us something more? RTD has sometimes been criticised on these pages for his poor science, but never for his characterisations and human drama. Under his guidance, Billie’s portrayal of Rose is so detailed that we can make some predictions about Rose’s future in that other world with confidence.

Lets look at what we know from the last few minutes of the episode: there is at least a three month gap – realistically more like six - between the ‘wailing wall’ scenes and the ‘I Had a dream’ sequence. During this time, Rose did not know if the love of her life was alive or dead. Suddenly she gets the confirmation she so desperately seeks – he is alive, and is prepared to burn up a star just to see her; she knows he loves her, and also has the chance to confirm her feelings towards him (like he didn’t know...)

So where could this lead? Would Rose accept that she could not see the Doctor again, or would she carry on the search? We all know the answer to that: Rose would tear the universe down to get back to her man. With her new ‘family connections’, her vast experiences of things alien and her knowledge of life beyond earth, she would rapidly become an important part of the other Torchwood. This would give her the resources to carry on her quest. Would anyone in her family be able to stop her? No. They never have before, and, anyway, what father could ever refuse his daughter at such times and in such circumstances?

After the beach parting, I think Rose would wear her Tardis key on a chain around her neck. This would not only be a symbol of her love (and I don’t think any man would be able to dislodge it, most certainly not the hapless Mickey, with all the comparisons and memories that would bring) but this key would be the thing most likely to react to any sign of the Tardis. It would become Rose’s most treasured possession and an important talisman in the time to come.

This surely leaves the way open for ‘hints of Rose’ in virtually any future episode of the series as she, from her universe, tries methods of contact from her dimension that fail - but maybe not totally. That such hints exist could be useful in establishing the relationship between the Doctor and his new companion. Personally I do not look forward to the idea of a Rose 2, and think that such a character would lessen the series. I hope to see a different relationship between the Doctor and Martha.

It also leaves the way clear for Rose to rejoin the Doctor at some time in the future. Consider how the other Torchwood would react when faced with a danger they could not overcome and which threatens their very existence. The quest to reach the Doctor would become infinitely more urgent, even desperate. Who says they would not succeed?

So, back to the final five minutes of Doomsday. RTD may have closed the door on the Tylers, but he has definitely opened a small window. A window that allows writers of forthcoming episodes to involve Rose in a variety of ways should they so wish (without, necessarily, Billie until such time as she wants to). I’ll close with two thoughts: first, God help any other woman in the Tardis when Rose gets back to her Doctor and, second, what would Rose’s first words be to the Doctor on being reunited, especially should the scenario envisaged in the paragraph above occur? I think we all know this one too - ‘Where the hell have you been?’

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Doomsday was and is a stand alone episode – an epic of the highest proportions and boy did it deliver…..

I’ve took ages to get round to writing this review for the plain simple fact I wanted to savour the memory of it before I get the DVD!!!! & that I deliberately did not tape it for that same reason.

The first half was above average for this season of Doctor Who however it was the latter half that absolutely made this a corker and a blockbuster in its own right. Visually stunning, emotionally draining & yes the Dalek’s, Cybermen etc were only the back story.

It was Rose and the Tyler’s who really made this episode what it was. The humour mixed with the absolute emotion that ran right through this episode and that it never stopped delivering from the opening shot, I was awe struck by the performances and heart of the actors & finely David Tennant & Billie Piper really did get the lines they really deserved for the whole season, not just this one episode.

However it was how it all rolled into one - the words that we almost hear the Doctor speak right at the pinnacle moment of this episode and that we all know what those words were….

The chemistry between Rose and The Doctor and that in the end the 10th doctor really did need Rose in everyway possible and the heart wrenching end on the beach and the lead up to it said everything for what there relationship is and was...

It also proved one major factor over and above as well that Doctor Who can stand alone and above all those, American franchise’s that every other channel seems determined to deliver to us.

The whole cast and crew delivered something magical here and that it will stand the test of time well. For it was one of those episodes that really was worth the wait and the hype! Special effects for a TV show budget were amazing and worthy of an Oscar!

Added to that even though I have not seen the first season both Mickey and Rose have come full circle and through the doctor - especially this one became whole something that the Christmas Invasion highlighted all those months before and the growth and shear confidence of Mickey was something to behold in its own right here and then there is Rose and the Doctor.



The just like ‘old times’ summed it up and that David Tennant’s 10th doctor let Rose become something more here and the ache when he said that in his earth she was dead and reported as being missing brought a lump to my throat & for the first time in a long time. A TV show nearly had me in tears which really say’s something.

It was an epic and the punches of wit and humour and shear gut wrenching emotion puts this in the super league. I also like many am going to dearly miss the Tyler’s Jackie for her one liner’s, Rose’s father for just being who he was & of course Mickey how on earth do you find a way to reinvent this lot?

Let alone that there will never be another Rose Tyler to touch the Doctor in the way Billie Pipers character did. At least they left an opening for her to hopefully find a way back and that it was still a cliff-hanger for the plain simple reason that both characters and this 10th Doctor has unfinished business with Rose!!!!

The words said as much but it really was a cracker of an episode and come November my Birthday month there is one DVD collection I’m not going to hesitate in buying for the second season of Doctor Who and the unusual episodes (School Reunions, Love and Monsters etc) were the real gems.

Plus this last episode and that thanks to Billie, David Tennant surpassed all expectations and made the doctor his own this season and now like Chris. Eccl. His Doctor now has baggage in the form of Rose and that you really felt for him at the end of this episode.

His performance in the closing scene’s were torture to watch and his disbelief at the bride (not the only one) and one further note it was the Tyler’s and Rose who made those first two seasons so heart felt and real.

Plus after how far David Tennant has come since the Christmas Invasion and how much he gives as an actor I’m a bit worried for him this season coming. For the whole show will need to re-invent and get over Rose in the same way the Doctor will.

I have not doubt that Russell T Davis will rise to the occasion but even now I have my doubts for I felt the chemistry, the closeness of the Tyler’s, Mickey and Rose to the Doctor and what got me absolutely hooked at the Christmas Invasion is now gone – The play off between Bille and David.

My only two other reasons left for watching now is that I like good sci-fi drama and Doctor Who certainly delivered that in spades during season 2 and that David Tennant has absolutely nailed this Doctor. Doomsday proved that – for his character is now even more vulnerable and for a small amount of time alone.

The effects are going to be catastrophic on this 10th Doctor but if the last 2 minutes are anything to go by I don’t like the set up for the runaway bride.

Anyway enough of the lows – Doomsday was superb and left you gasping for more well done folks and both David and Billie deserve every success in the future they are hugely talented actors and I would love to see a follow up between them from Doomsday….

Plus its shear British class drama at its best & I love it! & David Tennant made a swell doctor long may his rain continue (for one more season at least)!

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So here we have it – the long anticipated finale to Season Two of Doctor Who 2.1, the episode where half of us long to see Piper fragged and where the other half long to see her walk away with life; the episode where we get to see the ultimate battle between Cybermen and Daleks (if we ever wanted that); the episode where we hope to see David Tennant at his best and the episode where we wait to see what caliber of drama Russell T Davies can bring us.

Result: *long sigh* I don’t know.

Let me get some biases out of the way first by saying that I was never a fan of Rose Tyler. I found her smug, irritating, hypocritical, and, ultimately, much to the failure of Davies’ original promise, little more than cannon-fodder. In 2005, we were promised a new relationship of teamwork, a new challenging dynamic from a companion, and something utterly modern. We didn’t really ever get that. Rose saved the day a couple of times, but mostly just ended up being sucked up by television aliens, getting chased by zombies, and sitting around watching the Doctor babble about things she never understood. Worse, the decision for a romantic leaning really just gave Tennant and Piper an opportunity to act asinine now and again when the script said “now frolic like teenagers in denial”. I wanted to see her die; I wanted to see her go down in a blaze of glory… and when Davies promised us this at the end of Fear Her, I knew immediately that I’d never get it. Here comes the end of Piper’s tenure as companion and it was little more than Star Trek conventionality. She ends up in a parallel universe, nothing is sacrificed, and the big gaping potential to open up that door again stays possible. How cheap. It cheapens the relationship between she and the Doctor and it cheapens the risk-taking of the production staff. Smells a bit overdone to me.

Now that that is out of the way, let’s get to the episode.

It wasn’t terrible, but for a season finale, it was pretty mediocre. The potential for these two villains meeting was always a tempting idea and dangerous one because on one hand, Daleks and Cybermen together become twice the threat (both responsible in one way or another for taking an incarnation). However, it also opens the door for some terrible fanwank opportunities and some very lazy scripting. Unfortunately, Davies took Door C and not only gave us painful scripting, but embarrassed the recurring villain from the season. The Daleks meeting the Cybermen quite simply sucked sour frog’s ass… it didn’t have to, but it did. They met, they didn’t like each other, and then the Daleks just slaughtered Cybermen until the Doctor saved the day. Davies wrote it so that the Cybermen looked like the Junior Physically-Challenged Gun Squad against the entire Stalin Regime. There were more Cybermen in this episode than there are spyrochaetes in Syphilis victims and they couldn’t deal with four Daleks. After failing to kill a single one with a weapon, why not just march in, pick one up, and suplex it until it gets disoriented? Why not grab it by its armor and rip out the ugly blob that lives within it? Nope. Better stand there and get slaughtered. They lost all respect as a true Class A villain because Davies thinks Daleks are immortal. Instead we got witty banter about pest control and who’s better at dying. I could imagine all kinds of fans grinning as if watching what would happen if ET met Predator in a fight to the death, actually believing that something great was occurring. Where is the suspense in that? Why cheapen one or the other? The worst part is that is what the episode became about: two aggressive aliens ignoring the protagonists while every recurring character makes an appearance. We got ‘em all: Jackie, Mickey, Pete, Jake, Daleks, Cybermen, Time Lord technology, more Daleks. I was waiting for the Face of Boe to show up with Captain Jack, Jo Grant, The Master, Adric, Paul McGann, and a pack full of Bandrils. Davies just seemed to lose control over himself and created an episode where the intelligent subtlety so often used lost out to mindless action.

Saying that, it was pretty good mindless action with lots of running, lots of near misses, some cliché reunions, followed by more running and frenetic pacing. Every one of those recurring characters could have been at risk, any one of them a potential target. Rose was certainly one candidate and that kept us on the edge of our seat… which was all the more deflating when it seems that every major character (barring the Doctor once every few seasons) is pretty much immune to the horror going on around him or her. I won’t fault this decision because Davies has said that the show should inspire optimism, but I think the border can be pushed too far when no one is really at risk. It just loses its impact when you know everyone is safe.

In that same sense of things being safe, the fact that the Daleks just keep growing in numbers haunts my dreams sometimes. It was made so vital that the Doctor destroyed his people to finally deal with the Daleks and there just seems to be more and more of them. First one, then the Emperor with an army, then four more, then millions! Just like Jason Voorhees, these beings of evil just keep finding a way back, almost as if the producers just don’t have the heart to let them rest for a season or two.

The Doctor finds a way to save the day, turns the magic key, sucks up millions of foes, and finally loses Rose to the alternate universe. It’s all very quaint, albeit not very original. So that’s why we had an alternate universe… it was a cheap plot device; so that’s why Jackie Tyler of the alternate universe died… it was a convenient way of reuniting our version with a Pete. I don’t know. Smells a little lazy to me.

The acting was top-notch at least. Piper brought intensity to her final moments that were impossible not to respect; Tennant’s blood-curdling scream as Rose helplessly flies towards the Void and inability to requite his love fully brought out a cold severity in the character that really foregrounds the tragedy in his past and future, one that we have gotten glimpses of in between the giggling and frolicking that pervaded us so often. We got to see a teary-eyed Doctor in the final moments and whether some like it or not, it is an added dimension to the Doctor promised in the resurrection of the series. In that respect, the actors keep an otherwise garbled cliché of a mess somewhat stable.

Still, the fact remains that if we didn’t have the final ten minutes to say goodbyes, what we got was a pretty shabby attempt at forcing two villains together in a way that turns out to be a bit of a fiasco and a lot of unneeded fanwankery that sort of compromises the very careful first season with a season of lulls and a finale that doesn’t deliver much more than one-liners and running.

And then Tate comes in to the picture. I guess the good Doctor can’t stay sad for too long… which undermines the entire final ten minutes by not allowing the viewer the respect to just sit and wonder for a few months how Rose and the Doctor are fairing without each other for the first time since the new series began. The emotional potential of the teary-eyed farewell goes out the window because it’s more important to let us know that we have a runaway bride on our hands. I don’t know… this just seemed like a bad decision to me.

Davies should sit down, have a pint, take a deep breath, and try to get his bearings for a third season that is bound to be the most decisive season so far in regards to whether Doctor Who is here to stay or just another fleeting series that grows tired far sooner than it need to.

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Possibly the cruellest Doctor Who adventure ever filmed, certainly the most emotional and easily one of the best.

With all the hype building up around this last story I thought it could not possibly manage to live up to everything that was expected of it but to my surprise (and boy was I surprised throughout this story) it achieved something far greater than the explosive finale I was expecting, it managed to subvert all of my expectations and proved that the show can achieve more than what we have already seen. Emotionally and psychically, Doomsday never stopped pushing until I was quite exhausted in the finale few minutes. Thought Parting of the Ways was hard work? What until you get to the last five minutes of this story!

This story is not really about Daleks crossing Cybermen and having a bloody battle, it is about the classic Doctor Who approach and Russell T Davies’ Doctor Who approach colliding to see which is more important to us now. I think to Russell’s credit (both in strength of writing the script and driving the series) that Tyler family drama overshadows everything else in this story. Can you believe that? The fricking Daleks are firing away at the Cybermen, an awesome sight to be sure but the first moment to give me chills was when Jackie was confronted with her dead husband. Was does the drama lie within Doctor Who these days? Is it between robots shooting away or is it genuine human drama? Is one for the kids and one for the adults? It pleases me to announce that the marriage of the domestic approach (the Tyler family trying to stay alive and save the world) and the action adventure approach (the Daleks pouring from the Genesis Ark and declaring all out war on the Cybermen) works beautifully and blended together makes a superb, dramatic feast of a story which sees season two go out on a massive high.

Firstly lets deal with the Daleks and Cybermen which was an idea that could have sunk the show had it not been pulled off well. I thought one or the other would be belittled by this script but when it comes down to they seem about as powerful as each other. I should hate the bitch off between the two species (I kept getting flashbacks to Rose and Sarah-Jane!) but I just kept making handbag gestures! Simon and I both loved it when the Dalek swung around and said, “This is not War! It is pest control!”

The Cybermen are the ones, which come out as the best tacticians, not just because of their scheme to automatically plant themselves all over the world (“This isn’t a war, it’s a victory.”) but because they can see the potential in an alliance between the Daleks and themselves. Their line, “Daleks and Cybermen, together we could upgrade the universe” is absolutely terrifying because when you think about it, yep, they have a point. Unfortunately (and very true to character) the Daleks are the most prejudiced race in the universe and cannot even imagine joining forces with anybody to subjugate the human race. So here is a chance for the show to prove just how bloody exciting it can be these days with lots of shoot-outs and explosions! Who doesn’t love that?

What impressed me most was the scale of the fight. I thought that everything would be contained in Torchwood, which would have been more than adequate for four Daleks and a bunch of Cybermen to tear each other to pieces. Personally, after Russell’s comment in one confidential that because he thinks of budget all the time it limits his imagination I did not think he had it in him to bring the fight out onto the streets. So when the Daleks start pouring out of the Genesis Ark and swooping over London and the Cybermen stomp through the streets in swarms and start firing at each other my chin had hit the floor. Make no mistake people, this is event television and no mistake but even better than that, it is event Doctor Who. And thanks to the talents of everybody involved it is visually stunning, worthy of a movie on a television budget and that might sound like a throwaway phrase but when you think about it it means something very special about the efforts the technical crew put into this show.

We have all known for a while now that it was going to be Billie Piper’s last appearance in Doctor Who. This ex-pop singer who we cringed at the thought of appearing in our favourite show to start off with who has won our hearts, won awards and won the respect of the public through her intimate and definitive portrayal as Rose Tyler. What Billie has achieved is no mean feat; she managed to bring a human element to the show like no other whilst still maintaining the role of the companion, asking the right questions, fighting the monsters, etc. She managed to make Rose a extremely rounded character, one who loves adventuring, has a strong moral sense and has a strong sense of curiosity and yet still manages to be flawed, getting viscously jealous, remarkably selfish at times and a bit smug too. It has been a pleasure to join her as she has learnt all about the Doctor, the Daleks, the Time Lords, etc and made our favourite hero a very happy man indeed. Her chemistry with both Chris Eccleston and David Tennant has sparkled, making that transition of lead actor was only possible because Billie was so secure in her role to make the crossover almost effortless.

And lets not forget all the other elements that Rose has brought to the show, namely Mickey, Jackie, Pete and the Powell Estate. Together they have given the series a sense of family and place on Earth for the Doctor to return to. From the start of series three the show is going to have to totally re-invent itself again into something entirely new, making these first two years a unique block of Doctor Who all of its own. Jackie has always been a delight, her down to Earth attitude and willingness to stick her oar in with the awkward questions that nobody wants to ask marked her as one to watch and enjoy. Mickey is an absolute babe who made the transition from coward to hero realistically over two years, Noel Clarke’s performance improving each time he appears to a point in this episode where he is giving the performance of the show. And Pete, whilst the least seen completes the family unit here and brings everything full circle in a very satisfying manner.

Honestly, could there have been any other way for this bunch to leave? It feels different from the beginning of the episode, before Jackie’s insistence that Rose is kept safe has seemed like an overly protective mother but with these two alien races standing between them suddenly her protestations seem very real and serious. As Jackie is dragged away by the Cybermen screaming, “You promised me!” Simon covered his mouth in shock and whispered “Oh God that’s horrible.” Rose standing up to the Daleks is one of her all time best moments, as she steps right up to its eyestalk and does not batter an eyelid and negotiates their survival. There are lots of scenes where Russell plays about with the possibility of Rose’s death (where the Daleks and Cybermen are shooting across the room especially) and it almost seems a shame that he doesn’t go through with his (apparent) promise. It would dismiss all ideas of ever seeing this character again. But what we get is much, much crueller, so emotionally cruel it reminded me strongly of Jaime and Zoe having their memories wiped at the end of The War Games (having all their adventures with the Doctor taken away from them bar one). The solution to the Dalek/Cyberman war is ingenious and allows Rose to save the day and be separated from the Doctor at the same time, the way it all falls into place is inevitable but brilliantly dramatic. All these stuff about hanging on for dear life as the Daleks and Cybermen are sucked into the void is a fabulous SF conceit and allows them to pull off an almost-death for the character as she is sucked inside in slow motion (with an almost agonisingly painful scream from David Tennant). It probably would have been easier for Rose than being saved by her father and forced to live her life in another universe, trapped and isolated from the man she loves. Billie’s performance when she realises she will never see the Doctor again is devastating, slapping the wall screaming “Take me back!” is a new emotional high for her character. The coda to this adventure that sees her with her new family (Jackie, Mickey and Pete all holding hands in a tender scene) travelling across the world to follow the Doctor’s voice is beautiful, it is lovely to see that these people will all have each other and will be there to heal Rose’s bruises. How would you fit everything you have to say in two minutes? The Doctor and Rose’s goodbye really tugs at the heartstrings, tears flow and we finally hear those words that we knew all along. Tennant and Piper have always clicked well but this is electrifying.

After re-watching Rise of the Cybermen/The Age of Steel I was awed by Graeme Harper’s astonishingly visual direction but less convinced by his ability to capture the emotion of the situation but Doomsday elevates him to a true A-List Doctor Who director. His ability to marry the emotional and exciting here makes for an intoxicating brew, he provides the gob smacking visuals that we crave but still leaves room for the actors to have their moment and prove why they are such a vital part of the show. There are so many little touches that I love; the lighting shift as they jump universes, seeing the Dalek and the Cyberman from each others point of view, the tear of oil that slips from one Cyberman’s eye, the Doctor’s slow motion scream, the entire sequence on the bridge, the Cybermen marching in formation around the corner shot from such a high angle…and how the show drops the pace entirely to give the characters adequate time to say goodbye. The last five minutes proves without a shadow of doubt that Harper is just as good at human drama with some glorious location work. Murray Gold’s music during these sequences is all the better for being understated and it is easily his best work on the series to date, Rose’s choral theme is used to superb emotional effect.

So there you have it, the end of a rather impressive era. It sucks that we will never see these characters again but it pleases me to see them go out in such style and in such a satisfying manner. The Tyler family were a great contribution to the Doctor Who mythos, they allowed us to see stories that we have seen a million times before in a brand new light. Jackie’s mouth will be missed, Mickey’s growth too. But most of all I will miss the exciting and warm partnership between the Doctor and Rose.

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This is the first time I've cast a review of anything to anywhere, but I think 'Doomsday' just about merits that dubious honour. You see... much as I waited patiently for a movie versions of 'Starship Troopers' and 'Judge Dredd', I've been subconsciously waiting for a Daleks/Cyberman confrontation ever since I scribbled the said scenario on the back of a school book, way back in primary one. Good it was too, brilliantly cataclysmic, in a stick men versus peperpots with the space between filled with energy beams and jagged explosions, kind of a way.

Actually... it was crap! But what lay behind it shone through in the way that only a child can impart. This was the war to end all wars. An epic confrontation on a cosmic scale. And that's where that particular war has since languished, locked, seemingly for evermore in a child's drawing. It would never actually happen... would it? I mean... the show was eventually cancelled, and the budget would never have allowed for it, and no producer would ever have been so audacious anyway.

Until now. Suddenly 'Who' was back, with a budget, a quantum leap in effects technology and a fanboy at the helm. So, it was, I suppose, only a matter of time.

And did it live up to expectations.

Well... yes, and no, but ultimately... yes!

I'm not a fan of RTDs episodes for a number of reasons. Too camp, too breakneck, too many undeveloped second hand ideas, too much misplaced humour, too many references to popular culture thus instantly dating the show, too much wonky science. But, what he has brought to the show is a human dimension , more adult in nature to any of its previous incarnations. Thus, 'School' may have on the surface, seemed like a crap Aliens invade a school episode, in actuality, it's merely a hook to hang an examination of what being the Doctors companion entails, his effect on the individual on an emotional level, and how one adjusts to a now savagely mundane life when the ride is over. This for me, is the redeeming strength behind RTDs writing and the show is at it's best when this kind of approach is taken, and 'Doomsday' is a perfect example of this. Its not a so much about a cataclysmic battle for the Earth, as it is the wrenching apart of two people very much in love. That said, the cataclysmic stuff was well handled, given the time and budgetary constraints of television. RTD tied up the various plot threads well enough, and some of the Dalek/cyberman banter was almost comedic, the sequence when they confronted one another had them display all the maturity of two five year old bullies having a spat in the playground. In fact, lets be honest, the Daleks pretty much stole the Cybermans thunder. Suddenly the metal warriors and their emotionless intonations seemed a bit dull, when compared to the hysterical simple minded screeching of the Doctors, it has to be said, greatest enemies. (hearing both races intoning their respective, 'Exterminate', and 'Delete' warcrys continuously during the battle scene two thirds in smacked of an insanity I really appreciated!) The Genesis ark was a well implemented twist and when Pete Tyler turned from the window to state that the Earth was a lost cause, I actually agreed. I'm pretty certain, I could pick holes in the plot from now till tomorrow, typical of RTDs scripts. But, you know... I'm not going to. Story wise it was fast paced, ambitious, did everything it needed to do and ultimately entertained me enough to make any real nit picking seem churlish. So there!

As for the direction... Well, take my hand and as the room goes all misty around us lets travel back to the early eighties to witness Peter Davidson on the verge of cacking it! Directorially speaking 'The caves of Androzani' was a revolutionary piece of work, as far as Who was concerned. Dr who was a largely studio bound show, a show that's method of production involved wheeling in giant cameras to capture the action via a succession of mid shots. (I recently watched an episode of Earthshock and was struck by just how basic the direction was). Anyway, along came Greame Harper and his wides and mids and close-ups and tracking shots and zooms and jump cuts and hand held camera techniques and even the occasional shot that might actually have been storyboarded (phew!... I'm out of breath now). Thus the two stories he helmed passed into Dr Who legend, and to be fair, deservedly so. They were different, and they were good!

So, thus armed with that knowledge, quick... take my hand again and lets cartwheel back through time to the present day and Lo and behold, all these years later, fanboy RTD well remembers Harper, and look, he's tapped him to direct, possibly the biggest show in Who's history and the result is... sadly, unremarkable!

Time has moved on, and the techniques previously described are now de riguer in television drama. Harper is now just another competent director in a sea of competent directors. That said, it was by no means badly done. The bridge battle, albeit brief, was well handled, as was the long moment immediately after the final closing of the rift, and to be fair, choosing to shoot the doctors final farewell to Rose via intimate close-ups was a perfect directorial choice. I just wish the action had been tighter, the main battle in the base was particularly sloppy, and smacked of a succession of second unit shots of well... anything it seemed like a good idea to film any old way, flung together. Joe Ahearn's shoot em up sequences in 'Dalek' had a narrative tightness, I felt was lacking here! I don't want to be too unkind however as overall Harper did a decent (occasionaly nice) job, and considering the complexity of the episode and the constraints of television, perhaps that's the most we could have reasonably expected.

I found the performances fine, the actors involved having had enough time to grow into their respective characters so as to negate any serious slip ups. I'm still, however, unconvinced by Tennant, in the same way I was unconvinced by Eccleston (though admittedly both choices looked good on paper). Too much bug eyed overacting, too much bizarre vocal inflection, too much self important smugness, and while Eccleston angry Northern gravitas occasionally impressed, tennant seemed lightweight in comparison. Yet when reigned in, his comic timing and delivery can work well (the sequence when he passes off Jackie as Rose to Yvonne and her soldiers, outside the Tardis in 'Army') and I do like his more sober and thoughtful version of the Doctor as typified in the closing moments of 'Girl' and his conversation with Ida during the lowering sequence in 'Pit'. Thankfully he was pretty much in this mode for the duration of Doomsday, and I have started to come around to his portrayal. Hopefully He'll settle down in series three, because I do want to like him, I really do, and during the final moments of this episode, I think I did!

Piper has, to my mind, given a considerably more naturalistic performance then either of her co stars, which is quite a feat considering her lack of experience. She's no different here and as, to a certain extent, she's been the lynchpin of the entire relaunch, I don't know if the show will remain as strong without her. despite the Dalek Cyberman mayhem, the farewell sequence on the beach remains the single best moment in the episode (perhaps any of the episodes, full stop) and an entirely fitting goodbye to the character. Some will undoubtedly scorn the fact that she didn't get zapped into oblivion, but it was never going to happen and this humility to the central characters ultimately demonstrates why RTD, despite his failings remains an asset to Who in general.

Quite frankly, I loathed Murray Golds synthesised, drum machine led, 'Mickey mousing' the action, scoring for season one. Though there were glimmers of something going on every once in a while (his 'Dalek' theme, Ecclestons regeneration music) but overall, I thought his contribution more of a hindrance then an asset. So I'm pleased to say, there's been a complete turnaround in season two. With the drum machine seemingly confiscated and given the service's of an orchestra, he's come up with some genuinely exciting action cues, giving the series a welcome sense of scale. His use of thematics has been intelligent and surprisingly subtle on occasion and he's managed to intensify and enhance the shows more emotional scenes with sensitivity and skill .Listen to the score during the last ten minutes of 'Doomsday' and you'll know what I mean.

So to sum up... the producers set themselves up for a fall with this one, and I'm happy to say, despite occasionally teetering on the brink, they managed to just about pull it off, which is praise indeed. An ambitious production, that ultimately extolled the virtues of having the confidence to occasionally 'go for it'. While the action, could perhaps have been better, the part of my brain that remains six years old wasn't disappointed, and it worked for the thirty nine year old bits as well. Okay... so when I watch it again, I'll switch off before the last fifteen seconds, and imagine the Doctor standing, head bowed before the Control console as the Tardis spins off into the void, but I do realise why it ended as it did... life goes on, and so does the show.

I could go on about the effects, the cyberdising of Yvonne Hartman after a promisingly sassy and authoritative introduction in 'Army', the happy ending for the Tyler clan (which I liked), Mickey's assertiveness and the doctors goofy 3D glasses actually being relevant to the plot. But I'm in danger of boring myself, so I'll spare you!

I will however, leave you with a final twist. I have absolutely no idea If I ever really draw an aforementioned Dalek/Cyber war when six years old. Maybe I did, I certainly should have done, and if I had... I'm sure it would have looked like one of the scenes in Doomsday.

And I cant think of a better compliment to give then that!

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RTD's single biggest contribution to DR. WHO has been velocity of dramatic impact & pace of storytelling. And in ARMY OF GHOSTS/DOOMSDAY he penned a true epic. Daleks & Cybermen for the first time. The prison ship, the last remaining part of Gallifrey, housing millions of elevating Daleks above central London. In fact, there's a catalogue of iconic moments in every episode, all of which have been comparable to a film. Surely any potential film series shouldn't compete with new stories, but launch a long-running franchise to remake the classic old (eg: INVASION).

The cameos worked because of the ghost context and the fact they weren't dwelt on. But it was quite brave to include Barbara Windsor's Peggy Mitchell making references to Dirty Den, given the wife who turned him into a ghost was present in the shape of the attractive Tracy Ann Oberman. Now if DR. WHO ever becomes a woman, which seems increasingly likely, I hope Tracy Ann is it. Yvonne Hartman's journey concluded when duty led her to open the floodgates to a Cybermen invasion which threatened her very dominance at Torchwood. But even then her strength of character was enough to subvert the Cyber-programming and turn it around. In fact, she was never more human than once turned into a Cyberman (and never more like a Cyberman than when recognisably human). A triumph for the human spirit. The tear from the Cyber-head tear-hole was a lovely touch.

The Cyber-army stomping through suburbia was quintessential DR. WHO wonderfully brought to life by the 21st Century team. Door off hinges from low angle. Cyberman comes marching in. Family cower in terror on the stairs. Young boy runs upstairs for refuge. Too late. The Cyberman wants him too! Pure behind the sofa stuff. Has no one noticed that the 2006 Cybermen sound like the alien ambassadors in THE AMBASSADORS OF DEATH? Pleasingly, I might add.

DOOMSDAY was likely the best episode of Series 2. Certainly the most powerful.

The punchy repartee challenged the presumption that Daleks & Cybermen should remain characterless. Dalek to Cyberman: "You're better at dying". True. Daleks can get out of control a bit too much. Their combined firepower was explosive, but I was surprised the battle was so one-sided, given the Cybermen are the 2nd most awesome aliens of classic WHO and were the main threat of the 2006 series (four episodes). However, given the Nation estate's robust stance, they probably insisted no one Dalek could be exterminated by a Cyberman! It might have been better had Daleks & Cybermen not fought each other, but concentrated their fire-power on the Army (the UN seem to have done UNIT in) and the humans. Even so, I'd hope for an "upgrade" and a rematch.

The look on The Doctor's face as Rose is sucked back into the parallel world. We didn't think Rose & Jackie would be joining Mickey, let alone that Jackie would get back what she'd been missing all these years - Pete. Their "reunion" across universes was moving stuff and Camille Coudouri's put-downs of The Doctor ("I think he makes half of this up", "shut up", etc) were funny and natural. Jackie was the Voice of the Unconvinced Mum of a Fan from the days when women apparently didn't really watch it. Her daughter was instrumental in getting them tuned in. Rose's attempts to stop her normal-universe Pete from being killed in FATHER'S DAY can now be seen to anticipate how it's ended for the Tyler clan. It was also poetic that, in the end, Pete rescued Rose from death and returned the compliment. So, the Ood were wrong about her dying in battle. Their telepathy couldn't read that she went into a parallel universe, it just stopped at ours - that she was on a list of the dead.

The scene with The Doctor & Rose either side of the dividing wall, guitar/vocal mood music playing = heart-wrenching. The unusual framing of Rose's journey for the encounter on the beach, which completely revealed the Bad Wolf subplot. The Doctor warning Rose that their final goodbye might risk two universes colliding, her "so" and his smiling tacit understanding of that mood proves he has got two beating hearts and bagfuls of emotions. He knows what it's like. And of course the final tragedy: that he never did get to say "I love you" and Rose's weeping torment. The single biggest emotional departure for any companion ever. It had more clout than the end of last season and that's saying something - although we knew from the offset Eccleston was leaving and we've only just found out about Billie moving on.

Two traumatic companion goodbyes in one season - and that's before getting to the departure of Jackie, Mickey & Pete. The ending of DOOMSDAY reflected SCHOOL REUNION in that you don't expect The Doctor to meet up with Rose or Sarah again. It makes SCHOOL REUNION all the more poignant, having Sarah and Rose together, signposting Rose's future without him. It had been building up to Rose's departure for awhile with little hints and a good idea to raise expectations with her warning prologue. It's also instructive for new viewers who knew next to nothing about the programme before March 2005. Then again, everyone else came back from the parallel world and Daleks & Cybermen will return because "that's what they do". And when Billie said "for the moment at least", maybe she'll guest in TORCHWOOD. She's working for the parallel organisation after all and I would have thought the Time Rift in Cardiff offered potential...

Now The Doctor's lost his new family, he's back at square 1 again. I reckon we'll be seeing a more sombre Doctor in 2007. I think the characterisation will change to reflect circumstances, as it should.

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A War. The Cybermen. The Daleks. An epic season finale. The end of Rose Tyler.

How could these episodes fail?

‘Army of Ghosts’ sets the scene and builds the tension and drama; we’re promised so much by the episode end and left with a cliff hanger to end all cliff hangers, a Dalek and Cybermen war.

‘Doomsday’ has a lot to deliver but besides a really cool sequence on a bridge where a group of humans make a stand against a squadron of Cybermen, most of the action takes place off screen or in the skies above London, where some shaky CGed Daleks take out the earthbound Cybermen.

Like ‘The Parting of the Ways’ last year, the episodes are resolved with a sprinkling of fairy dust…the Doctor flicks a few switches, reverses the polarity of the neutron flow (or whatever) and sends the massive armies of the Daleks and Cybermen to hell. It’s all too easy…it’s lazy…and it’s poor writing. Before the fighting gets going proper and we get to see who really holds the cup for Masters of the Universe, the whole lot are sucked into the void. What a let down.

These new Daleks are once again left over from the Time War, but this time around they hilariously throw a few bitchy taunts at the Cybermen. In a war of words, the Daleks win, hands down.

There’s a nice little scene where Jackie meets Pete but this only really serves to halt the action once more and in all honesty, we’ve only really tuned in to watch the Daleks and the Cybermen kick arse. Jake appears once again from ‘The Age of Steel’ and confirms he certainly wasn’t hired for his acting ability (hey, Russell) and those celebrating cameo’s from ‘Army of Ghosts’, although not as grating as the ones from ‘Badwolf’ are once again intrusive, embarrassing and inappropriate and to top it all Catherine Tate appears in the final seconds as the Runaway Bride. Why Russell, why? Have you forgotten Hale and Pace or Ken Dodd? It takes all the credibility from your show and makes it silly and camp.

After initially loathing David Tennant’s portrayal of the Doctor, I’ve grown to love it and would go as far as to consider him amongst the best actors ever to have gone by the name of Who.

Billie Piper however, was just about to pass her sell-by-date, so maybe it’s just as well she’s left when she has. It’s a fitting end to a great character as Rose has seemed a little awkward and occasionally stilted this season, still; she goes out with style and ultimately saves the day. The final sequence on the beach in Wales (sorry, Norway) is both touching and moving, and here is where Russell is in his element.

The design is what, like last season, let’s the programme down.

‘Welcome to Torchwood…’ cries Yvonne Hartman and flings her arms out to reveal a very drab warehouse in Cardiff with CGed saucer stuck on the ceiling, later the control room/lever room looks more like the interior of my local Halifax Building Society. The whole thing looks and feels mundane and dreary with the only real attention and thought having been lavished on the interior of the Dalek Spaceship last season.

For a Sci-Fi series, cutting edge design this ain’t.

Alien worlds we were promised this season and we got New Earth, a grassy knoll with Playstation flying cars, a barren rock orbiting a black hole and a few seconds of a totally CGed world with flying dinosaurs (quite liked this one), but please can we have somewhere other than London, Cardiff, Cardiff pretending to be London or Cardiff pretending to be somewhere else.

So, season two has come to its conclusion. Rose has departed. Catherine Tate has, hopefully temporarily, joined the Doctor in the Tardis. Am I bothered though…well, yes actually I am.

I fell in love with Doctor Who many years ago, when I was 4. Maybe the show isn’t aimed at me or my generation anymore, maybe I should switch off and enjoy Battlestar Galactica but quite frankly I want to see good, home-grown British Sci-Fi and more importantly the latest adventures of my favourite Time Lord. And they could be so, so much better than this.

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For as long as I can remember being a Doctor Who fan I loved the monsters that were widely considered to be the two most popular of the series - the Daleks and the Cybermen. They were both such iconic monsters and I could never decide which race was my personal favourite. They both featured in so many stories throughout the original series’ run, and so one thing always struck me as a little odd. Bearing in mind both species were considered to be probably the deadliest of the Doctor’s foes in the universe how come we never saw them in a story together? You’d think they’d have bumped into one another at some point in time and space, and yet the Daleks never once met or even mentioned the Cybermen in any of their episodes or vice versa. I know “The Ultimate Adventure” stage play in 1989 had them both in it together, but you can’t really count that. Neither can you really count stories like “The War Games” or “The Five Doctors” where the Daleks and Cybermen only appeared as flashback sequences and as enemies in different parts of the Death Zone - but were never actually together or in the same scenes. So as a fan the ultimate Doctor Who story for me was to see the Daleks and the Cybermen face each other, and at long last RTD has provided that story for us!

It all begins very well in voice-over scenes where Rose talks about the story of how she “died”. A great pre-title sequence and a wonderful “hook” to make sure you stay tuned to see how her story pans out.

“Army of Ghosts” mainly serves as a build-up to the episode’s cliff-hanger, but nevertheless it is a very engaging episode. The appearances of the ghosts are well handled and intriguing, and the scene where the ghost of Jackie’s dad appears is wonderful, even if we do know that it can’t really be him.

Murray Gold’s music is particularly good here. I even liked his strange “poppy” soundtrack that accompanied the scenes with David Tennant whilst he’s doing his “Ghostbusters” act! The scenes where we first see the sphere too are wonderful and I think Murray Gold’s score here is one of his best.

Torchwood was very intriguing, but I’m a bit baffled as to why the Doctor has not come across them before. And where was UNIT?

Graeme Harper still proves to us that he can direct some classic stuff! His low-angle shot of the Cyberman breaking through the front door of a suburban house made it seem so menacing, and to top that when the child runs up the stairs another Cyberman appears! Now that scared ME so lord know how the kids will feel about that!! I also loved the scenes where the Cybermen cut their way through the plastic sheeting - definitely a nod to “Tomb of the Cybermen” there!! The ghosts appearing and then revealing themselves as Cybermen was certainly a thrill and I was thinking to myself here “how on earth is the Doctor going to defeat them this time?!” Then of course we had the thrill of the sphere opening to reveal the Daleks! How cool was that?!

And so on to the confrontation between the Cybermen and Daleks….. brilliant! It was such a great scene where they meet each other for the first time! The Daleks exterminated the Cybermen pretty easily and I have to admit that I really wanted to see a Cyberman grab at least one Dalek by its plunger and crush the damned thing!! Oh well it was still good to see them in battle together.

The acting was very good all round in this story too. Tracy Oberman was very scene stealing as the head of Torchwood, and it was a pity that she was dispatched so early on in the second part. Seeing her reappear as a Cyberman was interesting, but bearing in mind she destroyed a few other Cybermen in this scene are we to assume that her “upgrading” wasn’t a success? This wasn't too clear to me as to what happened.

It was good to see Mickey back too. His character has come such a long way since his first appearance, and I always felt sorry for him. I really wanted to slap the Doctor and Rose because I thought they treated him like he was just a big joke, and so it was great to see him here in all his heroic glory so that he could stick two fingers up to them!!

Of course as soon as Pete Tyler turned up it became pretty obvious to me how the story was going to end…….. and I was right!! Rose, Jackie, Pete and Mickey all live happily ever after in the parallel world. I was sorry to see Rose go, but I think they’ve done enough with her character now in the series. Two seasons seems pretty good for Billie Piper and I think she’s been a great companion, even though she did start to irritate me at times during this last season.

I’m in two minds about the ending. I liked it to a certain degree, but for me it was a little too over dramatic and far too long. I could never take to the “soapy” elements of this new Doctor Who as the classic series concentrated more on the story itself and the menace they were facing, and not dwelling on the soap elements. Rose turning to the Doctor and saying “I love you” was just bloody awful. The Doctor has always bonded well with his companions, but I could never get to grips with Rose and the Doctor being “in love”. I just hope that when the series returns for its third year they don’t dwell on soap too much.

I wasn’t overly keen on the way Catherine Tate suddenly turned up like that in the Tardis either!!

Anyway these are minor criticisms as I thoroughly enjoyed the “Army of Ghosts/Doomsday” as a whole, and alongside “Rise of the Cybermen/Age of Steel” this is my favourite story this season.

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RTD goes from the ridiculous (Love and Monsters) to the sublime as only he can in this wonderfully emotional and dramatic season finale which successfully executed the task of writing out the Tyler family, thus bringing to a close both their and Mickey’s involvement with the show, doing justice to the massive contribution Billie Piper has made to new Who and well and truly wiping the slate clean for the show’s future. That RTD had planned a happy ending for the Tylers and had decided not to kill off Rose wasn’t in doubt for me save of course that aside from Rose’s presumed death in the present she feels, due to the intensity of her love for the timelord who took her away from her shop and humdrum life and showed her so much, that she has indeed “died” due to her permanent separation from him, and if as we now know Sarah’s life was ripped apart how much more Rose’s ; nevertheless, she has changed, she has the capacity to move on and not to be the kind of sorrowful figure feared by Jackie in that illuminating exchange with her daughter in the Tardis during the first instalment.

If we saw a slightly more restrained and seasoned Graeme Harper in the Cyberman two parter, flashes of the old magic resurfaced in Army of Ghosts and positively burst through in Doomsday ; I didn’t think it possible to top the wonderful climax to the first instalment culminating in the re-appearance of the Daleks, yet the sequence in Doomsday when the Doctor and Rose open the void and Rose has to use her bodyweight to get the lever back online did just that…it was simply jaw-dropping, one of the most exciting, dramatic, yet gut-wrenchingly moving scenes ever as both she and the Doctor scream as she is about to be sucked into the void, only to be saved at the very last moment by Pete. The expressions on Tennant and Piper’s faces, that glance by Rose as she realises what’s about to happen- astonishing. Indeed was it just me or were there parallels with Androzani here as Pete seems to re-appear at the same critical moment as Davison re-appeared to save Peri and watching this whole climatic mayhem unfold I got that same sense of sheer amazement at the intensity of the drama that I did with that superb story from 1984.Also amazing were the scenes of the immediate aftermath as Rose’s realisation that there is no way back causes her to crumble completely, and the expression on Tennant’s face as he confronts his loneliness is every bit as effective as Pertwee’s reaction to losing Jo at the end of the Green Death. Top marks for the acting here.

But if we may return to Army of Ghosts, as this is a combined review! Firstly may I say how disappointed I am by the lack of adequate laundry facilities aboard the Tardis and, come to think of it, in the Universe at large that force a young girl who’s travelled further than we can only imagine to bring her dirty washing back for Mum to do. What a flaming cheek as they used to say. It was a nice idea that the human race is being softened up into thinking that the ghosts of loved ones are returning little realising that a vast invasion force is poised to strike. I thought Derek’s cameo could have been, well, not quite as much of a cameo as it was but never mind. What we did see more of was Torchwood and again I do like the idea that behind the modern facade embodied in Yvonne “I’m a people person” Hartman lurks a very unmodern imperialist outfit with dreams of restoring the British Empire to its former glories. Quite bold stuff that in this politically correct age and equally well thought out is the ultimate vision of globalisation offered by the Cybermen who will remove sex, class, creed, colour and the like to create complete and lasting uniformity but at the price of being upgraded. Army of Ghosts didn’t disappoint and we were treated to some sparkling exchanges between the Doctor and Jackie who assumes, and very well I thought, the role of companion whilst Rose remains in the Tardis. When the Doctor explains that Jackie’s ankle’s going and she replies “I’ll tell you where my ankle’s going!” this is just one of several genuinely funny exchanges between the pair…funny without grating. As for the appearance of Torchwood itself, I was perhaps expecting a little more as what we assume to be one of the main areas of the building resembles an overblown warehouse with conveniently placed objects of antiquity and so on.

I have already touched on the superb climatic revelation of the Daleks coming as it did hot on the heels of the apparently “game set and match to us” takeover by the Cybermen as the true identity of the ghost army is revealed. That leads us into Doomsday, but, boys and girls, if you want to do the Cybermen and Dalek together thing again, think hard. Because the Daleks come across as so superior in all respects- intellect, firepower, the lot- that the Cybermen are made out, unintentionally I assume, to be rather a laughing stock at times, which isn’t particularly fair given that the gas chamber parallels to parts of the Cyberman two parter were genuinely chilling. The offer of an alliance is swiftly rejected and the only thing the Cybermen can offer is an insult about lack of elegance. When the Dalek says “this isn’t war, it’s pest control” and that the only thing the Cybermen are better at is dying I’m afraid that is spot on but that’s not the fault of this story, this is as many will know a long running problem with the Cybermen and here they are, quite frankly, irrelevant to the Daleks. Of far more interest is the exchanges between Rose and the Daleks wherein Rose displays a level of sinister maturity that must have unnerved even them. Full marks to RTD for again portraying the Daleks correctly as ruthless, powerful killers even if sadly this has the side effect of downgrading the Cyberman menace. Even the latter’s upgrade programme goes wrong as a cybernised Yvonne Hartman (hitherto played well by Tracey-Ann Oberman, bar her melodramatic “ I did my duty” nonsense) destroys those Cybermen who are trying to leg it back into the parallel world. I’ll give RTD the benefit of the doubt on that (just) as those at Torchwood are supposed to be of greater intellect than us mere mortals so clearly the upgrade didn’t work as well on her.

It isn’t just for the Doctor/ Rose scene at the levers to which I’ve already referred that make Doomsday such compelling viewing. There will be those gnashing their teeth and cursing RTD for spending too little time exploring the intriguing allusion to the Knights Templar story with a secret order of Daleks, the guardians of the Genesis Arc, made with Timelord technology, in favour of tying up loose ends but boy how one of those loose ends was wonderfully tied up with the Pete and Jackie reunion in the smoke-filled corridor. Wonderful dialogue and acting there. And the beach scene at the end was a completely justifiable acknowledgement of the impact Billie Piper has made on the show. She deserved a fitting finale and she got it. This was a tear-jerker that surpassed the latter part of the Parting of the Ways by some way. The trouble is with these sorts of RTD stories that if you stop and think long enough they have a tendency to unravel, but if you let yourself be carried away by the emotional rollercoaster of it all they’ll leave their mark for sure. Which this one certainly did.

And so to the season overall. As with the previous one, we have had some ups and downs with the general standard maintained as high. I think Billie Piper’s decision to quit was absolutely right- and she needed to go so that the show could move on- but she stayed long enough to leave her mark as one of the most successful companions in the show’s history. She established a great rapport with Doctors 9 and 10 and whilst the intensity of her feelings for the Doctor and the whole Tyler baggage that came with her has been too much for some it has, like it or not, been a factor in the successful restoration of the show’s current popularity. To my mind we have had six stand-out episodes ( Tooth and Claw, Girl In the Fireplace, Impossible Planet two parter and Army of Ghosts two parter), some solidly enjoyable episodes ( School Reunion, Cyberman two parter, Fear Her) some average fayre (New Earth, Idiot’s Lantern) and one experimental story which didn’t work for me (whose title I shall not name). But now, as I say, the slate is wiped clean; it’s stating the obvious I know but season three carries a great weight of responsibility on its shoulders if the show is to have a long-term future, but we have a solid base in the shape of David Tennant who has established himself well in the role even though I still think he is at his best when restrained and inquisitive rather than, erm, overly manic.

Very briefly. I like Catherine Tate a lot but was I alone in feeling a little uneasy over that Christmas story preview? We shall see of course. Oh, and a plea for next season aside from the obvious one of getting out and about a bit to alien worlds. No more “sorry, I’m so sorry” utterances from the Tenth Doctor please. If he says that again, I shall have to instruct a Dalek to remove those words from his vocabulary bank.

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We knew going in that this was Billie Piper's last story as Rose, and as the story and recent events kept hinting, that she could very well die. I found myself in the position thinking that she should die. It's not that I've come to hate Rose or anything, it's just that that felt like the only "honest" thing the storytelling could do, given the lifestyle that she leads with the Doctor and the law of averages. You can't keep cheating death like this forever. In the end, our Mr. Davies found a way to have his cake and eat it too, where Rose can go on living but in such a way that she and the Doctor are forever separated, and so as far as their relationship goes, it has the same effect that death would have done. And so it was a bittersweet ending for the Doctor and Rose, wonderfully written, structured, and certainly well-played by both Billie Piper and David Tennant. Billie went back to those pained places she showed us last season in "Father's Day" and "The Parting of the Ways," while meanwhile David Tennant got to a similar place for the first time. Actually, it's not "meanwhile"... his best moment was before the final farewell, during that ten seconds where we thought briefly that Rose could get sucked into a hell dimension... the scream and the look on his face of utter pain and panic is a new classic moment in the whole of "Doctor Who," and though I know he's good, I didn't know he had that look in him. The way he has the Doctor basically shut down emotionally again after Rose is gone was also well-judged... as though the Doctor may be heading back into the shell he was in before he met Rose, but I suspect he won't have long to stay there given that last-second bridal arrival in the TARDIS at the end.

We also in this story say goodbye to the rest of the Tyler clan, plus Mickey, and they all come out better than they ever were before. On the one hand, I questioned that big scene where alt-Pete and Jackie meet up coming as it did while the world was ending outside, and they stop to have this big emotional moment. On the other, it was very important to them and to us that this moment happen, and I'm glad that it did happen. Didn't everyone (with a heart) smile when they finally embraced? We just needed some line or some excuse for them to have this moment that was better than everyone simply stopping their run. Some obstacle or other that needed time to clear, and we didn't get one. I enjoyed seeing Mickey return too, stronger than ever.

On the other hand, I wasn't overjoyed with the concept of the return of the alternate universe and the alternate Cybermen, since I didn't care for either when we saw them the first time. Fortunately for us, the worst elements of "Rise of the Cybemen/The Age of Steel" were left behind in their world, and the way these Cybermen acted wasn't really much different than the way the "real" Cybermen would act. I do like to think, however, that the "real" Cybermen from the classic series would've fared at least a little better vs. the Daleks than this bunch did, since they at least have got spaceships and heavier weaponry than those little red wrist lasers. The sight of Cybermen everywhere in the world at once - even in your house- having snuck in as "ghosts," was quite the good the image, I'll grant you. I just wish the budget would've stretched to seeing a better fight than the one we got. Surely the Cybermen shouldn't be so stupid that they'd keep firing uselessly at the Daleks as they do and would turn to using their other strengths, such as their strength, to physically attack the Daleks or hurl large objects at them or something. I don't really disagree with the answer to "who would win in a fight" that we're given here... it should be the Daleks, but the Cybermen shouldn't be falling over this easily. It brings back too many bad memories of Ace/slingshot and the Raston Warrior Robot massacres of the 80s.

I was happy to have the Daleks back though, and I was very happy with their developments... the "cult of Skaro" where all four have names... the void ship they used to escape the Time War... and the stolen Time Lord prison ship they call the Genesis Ark with millions of Daleks inside. These were all perfectly in keeping with what we saw of the Daleks last season and with their general rehabilitation of character that's gone on ever since Big Finish started doing audios with them. (I just with the Cybermen could also be so lucky.) And though I'm disappointed with the combat between the two, I'm fine with the general idea of them meeting up and fighting, and especially with the way they talked to each other when they first met. Lots of people cite the "pest control" line as a favorite, and that is good, but mine is how the Dalek and the two Cybermen that meet up in the corridor keep demanding that the other identify themselves in a conversation that has a chance to go on forever. In fact, I would love to hear an audio or read a short story or something where you've got a Dalek and a Cyberman imprisoned in a cell together or something just to listen in on how they'd argue with each other.

The remaining main element to this story is the finally-revealed Torchwood Institute. I wasn't exactly looking forward to this what with all the heavy-handed product placement advertising there's been for this in the season leading up to this...in fact I'm surprised the Cybemen didn't have "Watch Torchwood the Series this fall on BBC1" emblazoned on their chests, but the actual place itself wasn't that bad. I was sort of expecting your typical "X Files"-ish shadowy conspiracy place, but in fact it looks like a perfectly charming and reasonable corporate headquarters, which makes it a different sort of creepy. Yvonne Hartley's charming banter with the "enemy" Doctor really adds to that, and was well-played by Tracy-Ann Oberman. I do have to question how she manages to break her programming and fend off that party of Cybermen that was about to ruin everything at the end, when no one else we've seen converted by these alt-Cybermen has been able to do so up until now. (though Big Finish fans might find a clue in her first name... think of the similarly-named character in "Spare Parts") I also question why Torchwood controls the rift with those two giant levers... it's this year's stupid "Galaxy Quest"-like set piece like the spinning fan blades on Platform One last season.

The plot manages to hang together if you don't squint too hard. If you do squint, you start to wonder if the Cybermen who were converted here on our Earth are still around since they presumably wouldn't have the void stuff on them, and why Daleks being drawn to the breach are doing so all through that one window in the tower, or why the Daleks chose this moment to emerge from their Void ship and why indeed they came to 21st century Earth in the first place, or why we only see Daleks flying into the breach but not Cybermen, and there's a few others. I can think of explanations for all of these questions, and indeed a couple of them are in fact answered by Russell if you listen to his podcast commentary on the official website. He and Julie Gardner also make it clear in that that they deliberately excluded most of these explanations for fear of bogging down the story with all this exposition. I saw the second half of this story for the first time with a crowd full of old-time "Who" and general genre fans, and they all really hate that these sorts of things don't get explained not just in this but in lots of the other stories, and they consider it to be bad writing, and as some of them are regularly published self-supporting authors, I have to think they know what they're talking about. On the other hand, skipping over these fine details like this and avoiding technobabble seems to have made the series more accessible to the general public and the non-genre industry, going by the viewing figures and all the awards the show has won, so perhaps Russell and Julie are on to a new, more successful way of handling these things we like to call plot holes. I'm not sure which side I'm on really... I think I'm probably in the middle. I'd like to see the writers and script editors find ways to explain these things but in a manner elegant enough not to put off casual viewers. Something more like one really brilliant element of the plot, which was the 3D glasses that the Doctor kept putting on to look at things, which at first seem like just another weird thing that the Doctor does, but which turn out in the end to actually have a useful practical purpose in showing the "void stuff" that's left on people and things that made the dimensional jump. I had no clue that was coming, and it was a great touch.

One last topic I feel I should cover is the incidental music score by Murray Gold, which is another return to the excellent form that certain episodes this season have shown he's capable of. He can veer wildly from awful to brilliant, in my opinion, but in this story he was brilliant, particarly with his use of rhythm to underscore the "ghost" scenes in the first episode and the scene of the Doctor and Rose on opposite sides of the dimensional breach at the end. This score and the one for "Tooth and Claw" have been my favorites of his by far, and I hope they encourage him to do more like this.

Overall... the story delivered on its main objective of the writing out of Rose and the Tyler clan and was another shining moment for the Doctor and the Daleks. The Cybermen continued to suffer from the problems their earlier story left them saddled with, and I would've liked more to have been made of their combat with the Daleks. Strong, but not perfect... I'll say 8 out of 10.

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Well, what about that then?

This series of Doctor Who has been an uneven ride for me, including the excellent ('The Girl in the Fireplace'), the awful ('The Idiot's Lantern', 'Fear Her'), the disappointing ('The Satan Pit'/'The Impossible Planet') and the downright strange ('Love and Monsters'). Best of all for me was the final two-parter 'Army of Ghosts'/'Doomsday', delivering an intelligent and witty script and some fine acting. Most memorably, we also get a stunning series finale, albeit a slight borrowing from the Will/Lyra ending of Pullman's 'His Dark Materials'. Maybe RTD's parting of The Doctor and Rose is not entirely original, but I forgive him for this. Two people separated for an eternity in different dimensions will always bring a tear to my eye.

But first onto the monsters. My earliest memory of the Cybermen was of them walking down the steps of St Paul’s some time in the Patrick Troughton days. I think that RTD missed a grand opportunity when this image wasn't reproduced in the new era of Doctor Who as it would have worked brilliantly in a modern setting, seeing Cybermen or Daleks in London with a recognisable backdrop. Cybermen stomping over the Millennium Bridge may have brought the whole thing crashing down, perhaps, but a Dalek or two gliding over towards the Tate Modern would have done the trick. And, hey, didn't the Daleks once glide over Westminster Bridge? Quite a few golden opportunities were wasted and it's obvious that the BBC were constrained by budget, so all we get is a few Cybermen standing around what looked like the Taj Mahal, a few others milling around a suburban street, while the main action of Daleks vs. Cybermen largely occurs off-screen. What's the best we get? Flying Daleks? Oh come on, that's so last series.

What we do get is some hilarious bickering between the two, with the Daleks claiming that one Dalek could easily defeat five million Cybermen, let alone four. Such splendid self-assured arrogance, but lets not forget that the Daleks are ultimately evil little buggers. The line "which of you is least important?" is chilling in what it suggests, and what it eventually delivers. Another ex-EastEnders actor (literally) bites the dust.

In my opinion the Daleks do easily come out on top as the ultimate alien villain. Although Terry Wogan has made comparisons between the Cybermen's noisy stomping and Wallace and Gromit's ‘The Wrong Trousers’ on his radio show, I thought the marching Cybermen suitably effective when they first returned in 'The Age of Steel'. A recent Doctor Who Confidential saw the troops rehearsing as their marching was precisely choreographed and the attention to detail showed in the resulting onscreen military precision. The trouble was, once they had made their entrance there was nothing much more for the Cybermen to do.

Through their various incarnations I always found the Cybermen most frightening in their slowness and quietness of movement. "Watch out, there's one behind you!" The best moment in 'The Age of Steel' was the rows of inactive Cybermen slowly coming to life as The Doctor made his way down a dark corridor, but other than that I grew quickly bored with them. The problem with this generation of Cybermen was the voices. "You will be deleted" aside, I couldn't make out what they were saying and the Cybervoice sounded too much like Roger Lloyd Pack (Lumic in 'The Age of Steel') to me. The Dalek voice, however, has remained chillingly unchanged for more than forty years, with their design only receiving one or two modifications. If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it.

But now onto the humans. And the Time Lord. Billie Piper was as excellent as ever, as were Shaun Dingwall and Camille Coduri. The first meeting between Pete and Jackie was very well done, but best of all was Pete materialising and saving Rose from being sucked into the void. Thinking back to 'Father's Day', with Rose saving Pete from the hit and run driver, this was a clever echo of those events. Tracy-Ann Oberman was good in her role too, but I hope we don't get such an overtly comic character in charge of Torchwood when it gets its own series.

Regarding Torchwood, we've had as many references to it throughout this series as we did last year with 'Bad Wolf' (and of course 'Bad Wolf' gets a final name check at the end of the 'Doomsday' episode). I think it was The Guardian that described Torchwood as being so sophisticated that they make UNIT look like Dad's Army, but I didn't really get the same impression. If anything, it was the other way round, with Torchwood making rather a big, stupid mess of things. If John Barrowman is going to take the helm of Torchwood as Captain Jack I hope he's not going to play it like Captain Mainwaring. Torchwood has been touted as an adult version of Doctor Who, but I think it will need some rethinking to save it from becoming the junior version.

David Tennant has generally shined for me in the role of The Doctor. Okay, so he can be a bit annoying but name me one Doctor who hasn't got on your nerves just a little bit (and there's a lot to choose from). Yes, he has a tendency to pick up ridiculous glasses and wear them, but at least there was a reason for this in 'Doomsday'. And yes, this Doctor is too much of a know all (things are just too easily sorted out too often as in 'Fear Her' and 'The Idiots Lantern'). Strangely, despite the effective ending of 'Doomsday', I can't recall any other memorable interaction between the Doctor and Rose in this series and her scenes with Christopher Ecclestone remain to me the most effective. What a waste. So new, interesting and most importantly, argumentative, characters are what's needed to make Series Three work. Let's please have some decent scenes between The Doctor and his new assistant, although in the meantime the Catherine Tate character does look promising.

But finally onto the future. 'The Runaway Bride' seems a long way away, but the BBC forgot to include a spoiler for Torchwood following 'Doomsday', perplexingly trailing their new Robin Hood series instead. No, I don't want Robin Hood, and I don't want Dad's Army either. Give me Torchwood!

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The funny thing about this story is there’s really no plot whatsoever to speak of; ‘Army of Ghosts’/‘Doomsday’ unfolds more like a loose collection of Big Events than a genuine narrative designed to keep the audience wondering how it’s all going to work out. Big Event One: The Ghosts Are Here! Big Event Two: The Cybermen Are Here! Big Event Three: The Daleks Are Here! Big Event Four: The Cybermen and Daleks Are Gone! and Big Event Five: Buh-bye, Rosie. (More annoyingly, the story is a copout on the labored foreshadowing of Rose’s death, though it’s inconceivable that either fans or the general public would have responded well to that if it had happened.)

I suppose I don’t need to point out that none of these Big Events I mentioned involves Torchwood. It has to be said up front that, taken only as a payoff for ten stories’ worth of arbitrary references (eleven if you count ‘Bad Wolf’), or as a quasi-pilot for a new spinoff, this story fails miserably. Torchwood as an institution barely even registers – it has much less personality than those cheap-looking old UNIT labs. (Its one real character is annoying, and anyway she gets turned into a Cyberman.) I suppose on paper Jack Harkness plus alien doodads plus flirty clerical staff equals somebody’s version of a good idea, but if the new series is anything like what we see here, it’ll be lifeless and empty. It’s also hard to tell from its depiction here why anyone would *want* to create a series around Torchwood, even if it were better realized. The institution, at least under Yvonne Hartman, seems to be a place of the worst kind of scientific irresponsibility, with its smug administrators (I hated Hartman’s clapping) abusing technology they don’t even bother trying to understand, all to recreate the Empire of Victorian Britain (!). Doesn’t sound like a concept that’s going to get the public crowding round their sets in the evenings to me, but then what do I know.

Anyway, rather than dwell in negative speculation about how bad the future is going to be (Doctor Who fans have had enough of that over the years, haven’t we?), let’s concentrate on the present and move on to those Big Events. The ‘ghost’ invasion actually works pretty well, both as an eerie omen of bad things to come and as an amusing take on pop culture fads. The people of Earth unquestioningly accept these spectral visitors and incorporate them into daily life, just as their parallel-world counterparts did with Lumic’s earpods in ‘Rise of the Cybermen,’ and it’s nice to see a consistent satirical thread like this running through the new series. (And, maybe because I’m not British, I actually found the ‘ghost’ versions of the TV shows to be funny rather than annoying.)

After the revelation comes that there are Cybermen hiding behind the shower curtains at Torchwood, of course, there’s little suspense surrounding the mystery of who or what those ghosts really are. Once they’re revealed, we find that the Cybermen haven’t been developed much since we last saw them – I suppose the Doctor’s objection in ‘The Age of Steel’ that Cyber ‘upgrading’ stifles progress also holds true for character growth – but we are (initially) impressed that they have managed to break through the barrier between worlds and come stomp-stomp-stomping into ours. They are still scary, too - the shot of the family cowering from the Cyberman in their living room while their philosophy is reassuringly espoused on TV (“Cybermen will remove fear . . . Cybermen will remove sex and class and color and creed”) is quite unsettling and effective – and of course they’re also kind of funny, getting the better lines in the memorable Cyber/Dalek bitch-off (“DALEKS HAVE NO CONCEPT OF ELEGANCE.” “This is obvious.”). But really, the Cybermen aren’t much more than a red herring in this story, just a piece of bait to set up the surprise when the Daleks arrive, and to make their fellow cyborgs look good after they do.

And it’s true, the Daleks come off better in this story than the Cybermen; in fact, this is probably their strongest realization in the new series so far. They prove to be physically unstoppable – the Cybermen can’t destroy even one, and eventually have to try fleeing back into their old world – but more importantly they show signs of their old personality. They arrogantly refuse the ‘inferior’ Cybermen’s proposed alliance, dismiss the presence of an occupying alien force of five million as 'irrelevant,' and generally trumpet their superiority at every opportunity (“WE WOULD DESTROY THE CYBERMEN WITH ONE DALEK!”). They’re pushy and impatient (“SOCIAL INTERACTION WILL CEASE”), and best of all, there’s no godlike UberDalek directing them this time - the script vaguely identifies these four as ‘the Cult of Skaro,’ but apart from having Teletubby-esque silly names they don’t seem a bit different from the classic Daleks of old. In fact, the presentation of the Daleks here is more reminiscent of the stranded but strong group in ‘Death to the Daleks,’ and the species looks all the better for it. ‘The Genesis Ark’ is an amusing reference to ‘Genesis of the Daleks,’ too, and may even be a punnish nod to the Second History of the Daleks suggested in ‘The Discontinuity Guide’ (although that may simply be wishful fanwanking on my part).

As for the human factor, it’s disappointing that Mickey, whose departure was so surprisingly poignant in ‘The Age of Steel,’ is brought back to do little but crack bad jokes here. (Comparing the Daleks to Stephen Hawking, while in agreeably bad taste, undermines what tension the scene might have had.) It doesn’t help that Noel Clarke often seems to be playing Mickey as *Ricky* this time around either. Jake Simmonds reappears as well, but fares no better; he is simply used as a Sawardian blank who shoots guns because the good Doctor doesn’t.

As for the Rose/Doctor goodbye thread, which should be the real focus here, it doesn’t turn to treacle until the very end, but when it does, it’s embarrassing, and makes us sadly remember the artful ambiguity of ‘The Green Death,’ or even the less ambiguous but more genuinely moving goodbye of ‘The Parting of the Ways.’ It’ll be interesting to see where the series goes next; probably too much has been made of the 21st-century DW as ‘Doctor Who and His Interstellar Girlfriend!,’ but it’s hard to imagine the production team doing the David-and-Maddie thing again with a new companion. (At least, it’s hard to imagine them doing it well.) As for the performances, both principal actors are OK – Billie Piper isn’t given much to do until the blubbery finale, and David Tennant, whose performances improved dramatically in the final few stories of this season, is acceptable, though he does perhaps push too hard on ‘angry’ lines like “You’ve got their *children*, of *course* they’re going to *fight*!!!”

But there is one story element that ‘Army of Ghosts/Doomsday’ does actually handle extremely well. The strange relationship between Jackie and Pete Tyler (or, rather, between *both* Jackie and Pete Tylers) has been slowly developing since we first met Pete in ‘Father’s Day,’ and here it’s almost as if more care has gone into building up the story arc for these characters’ reunion than for the Doctor and Rose’s goodbye; when the lost husband from one world finally embraces his lost wife from another, it’s a powerful moment. It’s odd that, after initial misgivings, I feel I’ll miss Jackie more than Rose – we actually saw a greater range of personality from this not-always-easy-to-like character (shrewishness and good humor, smallmindedness and great imagination, selfishness and trust, vulnerability and courage), often within the confines of a single story, and Camille Coduri has to be commended for bringing such extremes to life believably.

And she’s funny in this story too, particularly in her interactions with the Doctor (“Hoy!”) and as she screeches invective at the terrified Yvonne Hartman, even as the latter is being led to her death.

All in all, it’s not a great Doctor Who story (or even a great *story* at all), but despite its problems it remains watchable. It’s sort of in the vein of ‘Planet of the Spiders’ – overstuffed and perhaps self-consciously ‘historic,’ at times repetitive (Doctor forces Rose to safety against her will) or nonsensical (the revenge of Cyber-Yvonne), but agreeably silly and featuring some good moments. In other words, it’s empty calories, but they’re reasonably tasty ones.

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Well, this have been brewing for awhile, and i've watched the episodes several times, so i stick by my review. so here goes...

The domestic side of the new series was fine for the first few episodes, but this far in, it really pisses me off, but this one wasn't as bad, its short and sweet, and gives me some hope that RTD actually reads these things, and has altered his writing accordingly. Lets hope.

The Ghost opening was pretty good, and helped to set the scene nicely, and i quite liked the idea that this had been going on for while before the story starts, and the images of the kids playing with the ghosts in the background was good, but it does make you wonder why they were playing with ghosts. The ultimate crap goalie perhaps?

The inclusion of Torchwood just annoyed me. Why is the new series so obsessed with it? There's already a spin off of it, isn't that enough screen time? If this continues, the show will end up with: 'DOCTOR WHO, SPIN OFF FROM TORCHWOOD', pasted all over the screen, with a dancing captain jack in the corner. The one redeeming part of Torchwood was the almost super Nazi feel to the organization, mixed in with a dull office atmosphere, which was worrying.

Cybermen behind walls of plastic, what can i say, that was one of my favorite parts, a nice bit of homage, but not to obvious, and interwoven into the story quite well. The return of the ear pods was quite cool to, but why nobody notices when someone has got two blue tooth attachments on completely baffles me.

Earlier i said that the domestic stuff was really getting on my pecks, but i must admit that seeing jackie tyler fill the companions role a bit was a joy to behold, especially when the Doctor blatantly slagged her off like that. Fun fun fun!

Which leads me to the more interesting companion bit; the sneaking around part, where we can all shout things at the screen like: 'don't go in there!'. But i did sadly notice another plot wrinkle, which is why is the security computer fooled by psychic paper? I mean how many computers have proper, easily confused gooey brains in them? apart from the Cybermen, but thats different.

And right when Rose is caught, who is sadly there to rescue her? Bloody Micky Bloody Smith! I lost about 20 quid to a mate when i bet he would get killed in Age of Steel, ala Adric, and when we left him in the with Byker Grove guy, i sighed with relief, and then the useless git returns like the ghost of beans on bath-night.

I'm generally painted a bad picture of this, which is a shame really, as there is a lot of good stuff, flying around, but too many plot wrinkles and irritating scenes and characters keep popping up, ruining my enjoyment, but all that was dispelled in viewing, with the presence of the sphere, the impossible void ship thought to be a theory by the Doctor (despite the TARDIS can do it in the Mind Robber), opens up a spews forth the Daleks. Well that was great on viewing, and with the Cybermen taking over the world outside, well that got me on the edge of my seat that did.

In the week gap though, i thought to myself: 'i hope the Daleks aren't going to steal the show from the Cybermen.' Well sadly they did, and in my opinion, thats down to writing, the insistence that CGI can make anything great, and the new Cybermen.

Now, i love the Cybermen, and if they ever invade this world, i'll let them in and give them leave to marry my sister any-day, but these ones, well.

1) the head's too small, and doesn't have any moving bits like the classic Cybermen. Even if it is a letter box, its still quite disturbing to see the words come out with nothing moving. Now they just have a light in the same shade of blue which seems to be the show's favorite type of light, and reminds me too much of the Daleks, leading to...

2) Delete! Delete! Extermin- err Delete! the Cybermen were cool in their own right, it isn't necessary for them to copy the Daleks Russell!

3) Stomping. This can actually work if used well (Rise in the Cybermen), but its over used. If one Cyberman needs to pull a lever, why doesn't it just walk over and pull it, as opposed to: STOMP STOMP STOMP STOMP pull the lever STOMP STOMP. Its just a bit too much half the time

4) the wrist guns. True, the Cybermen needed a ranged weapon, but a stick crudely attached with probably Cybus elastic bands, which fire something strait out of Flash Gordon? That part of the head linking the handles is just begging to slide down to reveal a gun nozzle, and let off a burst of proper energy beams, crackling with electricity instead of some noise from a Pac Man arcade. At least it isn't Doctor Who Blue i suppose.

Rant over. For the moment.

The opening to Doomsday is cool, i must say, making the point to the audience that the world was screwed big time, and that was only the start of it in Torchwood tower. the Genesis ark was satisfactorily mysterious (i thought i might of been Davros, or the Master, now that would've of been good), and the Dalek saying 'which of you is least important was inspired. What wasn't though was the Dalek smack talk. Wa? Now true the Daleks are right arrogant buggers, but they don't need to say stuff like that. I did half expect one to say: 'so is your mother' and Chris Rock or Mr T to leap out of one, to the gasps of all.

This was a subtle ploy to put the public on the side of the Daleks, allowing the Cybermen to sound like a wimpy kid at school, a generally the new kid to evil world domination, genocide etc.

Then, a bright light of hope for Cyber fans everywhere.

The bridge bit was cool, and damn well, shot (apart from the wrist guns), and the Cyberleaders speech about removing fear, color, nationality etc was a joy to behold, putting the whole idea of the Cybermen into a neatly packaged nutshell.

Oh and then they got absolutely slaughtered by the Daleks and Byker Grove kid, leading to yet another 'Pete Tyler turns up' part. Now Shaun Dingwall is a great actor, and plays the part well, and the part itself isn't that bad, just a bit overused, and once he turned up, well him and Jackie was obviously going to happen wasn't it.

Micky again cocks everything up by touching the ark, and then it turns out to be a bit like a TARDIS. Good idea. which spews forth thousands of CGI Daleks, lifted strait from A Parting of Ways. Bad idea.

Dalek showed us that the metal meanies work great with only one of them. having four (the cult of Skaro, that was a cool idea) would of upped the stakes enough, and leaves at least one to be dramatically destroyed. Now I'm not sure, but to my knowledge, none are destroyed until the climax, even when the humans and Cybermen team up (pure bollocks in my opinion).

The Cybermen get absolutely minced, so it should of been fair to have at least one Dalek get killed. Just imagine in the hanger fight, if a Cyberman had just punched a hole through a Dalek, which promptly blows up, engulfing them both in flames. If the Cybermen have super human strength, why don't they use the stuff, instead of stick gun?

Then comes the end, with the sadly simple: 'hey lets open the gateway and sweep them into the void?' A great explanation for the 3D glasses, bringing the Doctor's eccentric's to the fore, but just too simple, At least in A Parting of Ways, there's a build up to the simple idea. The stakes are way too high to be resolved with a clever idea, so why aren't the stakes lowered, ever so slightly, to get a satisfactory ending? 'Cos then we wouldn't be able to use CGI!'

Torchwood boss's conversion and revolt, was surprising, and damn good in my opinion, although it does suggest the Cybermen rushed their conversion a bit, but still, a nice play on the tear motif.

And then Rose dies. But not really. I suppose you can't kill her off, but what a cheat! 'This is the story of how i died.' Bah.

Now, i have now made myself seem the bitterest man in history, and i know there are some great bits in these two stories, but they've already been reviewed to death, so here i've covered the bad bits that haven't, that dark things spawned in the corners of the universe, if you will.

A final passing shot, it is now my firm belief that if you asked an eight year old which their 2 favorite Doctor Who monsters are, they will promptly say the Daleks and the Slitheen. Thank you RTD, if your goal was to make Kit Pedler spin in his grave, victory is yours. I know that the Daleks are top dog, and Cybermen are traditionally 2nd best, but give them a proper chance a least, instead of chucking the silver giants into a jewelry auction for 3p. A story for series 3 i think, when both monsters are both proven to be kick ass in their own right, and able to handle a story on their own.

I wonder what the Ice Warriors will chant?

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The combined storylines Army of Ghosts and Doomsday brings Doctor Who’s second series to an epical and climatic close. A hard act to follow; the show’s first season was an explosive finale in itself, with an army of zealous Daleks and the death of the ninth Doctor punctuating its run with end with a time shattering conclusion.

So how could Series Two top such a perfect finale? Well, contrary to laws of nature, Doctor Who’s second season manages to finish on an even more catastrophic note. Indeed, with another batch of abrasive Daleks, a non-too-merry band of Cybermen and the swansong of the new series’ first companion, Rose Tyler, series two has decided that in no uncertain terms, it’s going to go out with an even bigger bang.

The first episode, Army of Ghosts - and like Bad Wolf the previous year - isn’t particularly action orientated. Russell T Davies wrote both series finales and he appears to have adopted a similar writing pattern on both penultimate episodes. Both Bad Wolf and Army of Ghosts are deceptive; they wittingly hide the plot’s true intentions until the climax of the episode. In Bad Wolf, the plot focuses on the games played on Satellite 5 rather than intentions of the masters behind them. In Army of Ghosts, we have phantom appearances at the whim of a secret organization, which again masks the true danger to the characters that lurks - once again - behind the scenes.

Likewise, both series’ finale episodes – Parting of the Ways and Doomsday – are very similar; both are epical battles beyond anything seen before and both play a vital role in tying up the obligatory series arc.

The structural similarities of series two’s finales to series one is not detrimental. The actual plots are set in two very different scenarios. So any format comparisons between the two does not in anyway weaken the strength of either story. In fact, the formula works very well with the shows format which is probably why Davies has used it for the second time.

The series two finale helps tie up two season arcs. There is Torchwood, a mysterious organization that - like Bad Wolf in series one - has had veiled references to its existence throughout the season. There is also a strong character arc throughout the season between the Doctor and Rose; an ongoing question as to whether their relationship can last the duress of time travel much longer.

While Torchwood has not always been a major factor of each story in series two, it has always been present throughout the season in some form. Both Army of Ghosts and Doomsday work as a resolution to the identity of Torchwood as well as a springboard for the new Torchwood series starting autumn 2006. While some fans have complained the series has been used as an advertising promotion for Torchwood, the name and organization has had an underlying relevance throughout the series. It’s not merely a name that has been subliminally slipped into each episode to crassly promote the new upcoming show, it has far more series necessity - as the finale reveals. In fact, the character arc between the Doctor and Rose dovetails with the Torchwood arc nicely. In Tooth and Claw, Queen Victoria questions the pair’s lifestyle and it is their involvement - and to some extent - it is their frivolous dynamic that encourages Victoria to set up Torchwood, an organization whose work spells the end of the Doctor and Rose’s relationship in the finale.

The surprise return of the Daleks is a masterful idea. By implanting the return of a major villain early in the story – in this case The Cybermen – the story tricks the audience into their own self deception. After all, Doctor Who always has one villain of the week, as with most shows. Despite this misdirection, the clues remain present throughout. The void sphere that contains the surprise Daleks remains Dalekesque; it’s gold and - obviously – spherical, two trademarks of the new Dalek design. Certainly one can’t accuse the production from making their comeback too obscure; the clues are there. Therefore, when the Daleks do appear, the debut is made even more pleasurable knowing you’ve not been unfairly hoodwinked, simply misdirected.

Bringing the Cybermen and Daleks together in a fight – the central theme of Doomsday – is an audacious move. With less than an hour to tell the story and bring these forces together – and within the budgetary constraints - is a monumental production feat. And these monsters feel appropriately balanced in regards to their might. The Daleks are more powerful than the Cybermen. The show makes no attempt to hide that and it has always been an accepted measurement throughout the classic series. One of the elements that make this encounter so special is the dialogue and interaction between the two foes. The dialogue between the Daleks and Cybermen verges on schoolyard taunting yet as humorous as it is, it still manages to capture their personalities and different ideologies. I was originally a little concerned that a battle between two hybrid beasts with related antagonistic goals may simply underscore the similarities between the two villains. In fact, their confrontation manages to emphasize the different characteristics between Cybermen and Dalek, thanks in particular to this clever and quite whimsical bit of verbal sparring.

Where the story works very well is in its resolution of the Tyler family. When alternative Pete Tyler walked away from Rose in “Age of Steel” I feared that any possible return later on in the series might weaken that excellent resolution. His abrasive departure from the episode was very refreshing. However, the return of Mickey and Pete from the alternate dimension brings a totally different and satisfying solution to the dysfunctional family with all members – including Rose – being left in an alternate dimension to start anew as a full unit.

The prologue to this story implies quite strongly that Rose dies, and morbid little viewer than I am, I was quite looking forward to this potentially emotional and final end to the character. This is not the case. Davies has justified this with a fair comment that Doctor Who isn’t really meant to be that dark and such a death maybe out of sync with the show. Certainly the death of a companion helps creates an extra tension to Doctor Who – as I think Adric’s swansong proved. After all, we know the Doctor won’t die, but if the companion is vulnerable, we have more tension. The more tension, the longevity of the show increases before it ultimately becomes formulaic. That said, in regards to Rose, not dying does have a certain story logic. The Jackie and the Doctor’s story arc has always been about Rose’s safety with the Time Lord and a resolution in which he succeeds in keeping her safe does seem more befitting the show. While in some ways the Doctor is tragic, and is always in the midst of disaster, his presence should be positive. Leaving a broken family without its daughter is too bleak. Companions should have the risk of mortality, but with Rose Tyler the repercussions of her death would make the Doctor's travels questionable: Would he really be a force for good, or simply a harbinger of doom? Since the Doctor is a source of good for young and old, Rose’s death would have been far more destructive that it initially appears.

Yes, I admit it. I wanted Rose to die, but logically, Davies’ decision to strand Rose in another dimension with her family gives the story a bittersweet ending that doesn’t betray the series roots, but doesn’t seem vacuous either.

Personally, I found the Doctor and Rose’s chummy companionship through the season a little irritating – one of my few criticisms of this year’s episodes. They have spent the series treating time travel as a sort of non-stop roller coaster with an ambience of giggles and invulnerability. All of which fits within the story arc, but not as enjoyable to experience as the audience. The end of Doomsday kicks Rose’s jolly jape attitude squarely in the face. Rose now has a new exciting life, but she’s lost the life and the person that was so precious to her - the life she intended to life until she died. It’s a masterful ending, as no matter how one feels about the Rose character, you should enjoy this resolution. If you loved Rose, you will have found her departure respectful and emotive. If you hated Rose, you’ll find the resolution a suitable end to her season character arc and quite probably, deliciously satisfying (she isn’t too happy with her circumstance, that’s for sure).

Downsides to the story? The pacing of Doomsday is a little haphazard. The confrontation between alternate Pete and Jackie is way too long and in the middle of such an epical battle feels somewhat out of place. Stuck right in the middle of the episode’s crescendo, the meeting delivers frustration rather than drama and ultimately, I think the audience loses some empathy for the scene. The epilogue is somewhat a little too contrasting as well. Certainly, this can be justified change of tone for the kids; it extinguishes some of the sadness for the younger audiences who miss Rose. However I think many of the adults will find Catherine Tate’s brief debut a little out of kilter with the episode.

Overall this is quality entertainment. It has great acting from all, a solid story and wonderful dialogue. Tennant and Piper glow with energy and neither the return of the Cyberman or Daleks feels stale. The visual effects remain solid as ever and Gold’s musical score captures each scene appropriately

Favorite scene? Definitely Torchwood executive Yvonne Hartman gut wrenching realization that she was to be upgraded by the Cybermen. To have full awareness about what is about to happen to you, knowing you are about to have your brain ripped out and your humanity stolen makes for horrifying situation. That scene was possibly the most chilling of the series.

Doomsday is a fantastic epical finale that actually tops the last series' fantastic epical finale. Quite how Series 3 fantastic epical finale will continue this upward trend in the fantastic epical finale category is very much beyond me - but I look forward to see them trying.

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And so to ‘Army of Ghosts’/‘Doomsday’, the season finale, Rose’s final story, and an epic battle between two of the Doctor’s greatest foes. After the ghastly mess that was ‘Bad Wolf’/‘The Parting of the Ways’, I approached the story with caution, albeit with optimism based on my conviction that Davies’ writing has, for the most part, improved massively during Season Two. Things start well, with an ominous voiceover from Rose as she tells the audience, “Then came the army of ghosts. Then came Torchwood and the war”, an opening full of promise that, happily, is largely fulfilled.

Having secured critical and popular success for the series, ‘Army of Ghosts’/‘Doomsday’ sees Russell T. Davies listen to the fan inside him and provides a story that is almost pure fanwank. For the first time in Doctor Who’s history we get a battle between the Daleks and the Cybermen, with references to Skaro, hitherto unmentioned in the new series. As the press noted, casual viewers might think that this sort of thing happened on numerous occasions, whereas in fact in the entire history of the series it has only happened outside of fan-fiction in Terrance Dicks’ Doctor Who stage play ‘The Ultimate Adventure’, and in Dan Abnett’s Doctor Who Magazine short story ‘Heliotrope Bouquet’. The story is also peppered with less obvious nods to the past: the Doctor mentions the Eternals, as well as Arcadia, the setting of Peter Darvill-Evans’ New Adventure ‘Deceit’. The ending, which sees an army of Daleks pulled through a small portal by an irresistible force, feels like homage to the Peter Cushing movie ‘Daleks: Invasion Earth 2150AD’. We even get a Cyberman overcoming its conditioning and fighting its own kind, something only previously seen in the Doctor Who comic strips featuring Cyberleader Kroton.

Inevitably, the war between the Daleks and the Cybermen is the main draw of ‘Army of Ghosts’/‘Doomsday’, despite the departure of Rose. Some controversy has been generated by the fact that not only are the Cybermen soundly thrashed by the Daleks, but they don’t even manage to scratch a single one of them; personally, I have no issues with this. The Daleks have always been portrayed as more technologically advanced than the Cybermen, which have often been depicted as desperate scavengers on the verge of extinction, and lest we forget these are not the Mondasians of old but a new breed of Cybermen from a contemporary parallel Earth. This has the benefit of allowing Davies to up the stakes mid-way through the story; the appearance of the Cybermen in this story was well-signposted in advance, but their mass invasion of Earth makes for an impressive and awesome threat, as the Doctor grimly notes, “It’s not an invasion, it’s too late for that. It’s a victory.” And yet just as the odds seem overwhelming, Davies increases the sense of menace as the Void Ship opens at the end of ‘Army of Ghosts’ and four Daleks appear from within. I had read enough speculation prior to watching the episode to be expecting this, but it still makes for a fantastic cliffhanger, the tension building rapidly as the Doctor puzzles that the sphere is beyond the Cybermen’s technological abilities and the Cyber Leader informs him, “The sphere is not ours”, prompting the alarmed, “Then what’s inside it?”

With the Daleks unleashed, Davies then gets to showcase the differences between them nicely; on the one hand we have the ruthlessly logical Cybermen, who suggest an alliance with the Daleks, with the cringe-worthy line, “Together we could upgrade the universe!” and who subsequently side briefly with the humans and the Doctor when faced with a more powerful mutual threat once the Daleks refuse. On the other hand we have the arrogant, xenophobic Daleks, responding to the Cyber Leader’s, “You have declared war on the Cybermen” with the brilliantly withering, “This is not war. This is pest control!” The Daleks exude malevolence here in a way that they didn’t in ‘Bad Wolf’/‘The Parting of the Ways’, the Cult of Skaro replacing the boringly mad Emperor in that story and presenting a ruthless and cunning side to them that harkens back to the sixties. The Cult of Skaro itself is an interesting idea, and the revelation of what the Genesis Ark actually is, is a nice twist, as the Doctor realizes with horror that it is a prison ship containing millions of Daleks. Happily, Dalek Khan escapes, more easily leaving the way open for a return than the seemingly final destruction of the Daleks in ‘Bad Wolf’/‘The Parting of the Ways’ did.

‘Army of Ghosts’/‘Doomsday’ also sees the first full appearance of Torchwood after numerous mentions throughout the series, and this too works well, as it turns out that the organization is full of roaring eccentrics, dreaming of empire and clapping when the Doctor comes out of the TARDIS. After the ghastly denouement of the Bad Wolf subplot in Season One, this comes as a considerable relief. The especially eccentric Yvonne Hartman, a genuinely likeable character who is awestruck when she sees the TARDIS and can’t resist showing off when the Doctor arrives, heads Torchwood. She obviously wants to learn from him more than she wants him prisoner, and Singh is equally honored to meet him.

For the most part, ‘Army of Ghosts’/‘Doomsday’ thus works extremely well. We get a nice glimpse of an alien planet, and the build-up of tension in ‘Army of Ghosts’ is superb, with the Sphere in particularly proving very ominous. Despite this, there are inevitable flaws, albeit a world away from the plot holes and deus ex machina ending of the previous season finale. The brief examination of how humanity has reacted to the ghosts results in Davies’ trademark cultural references, which are more welcome than the reality television references in ‘Bad Wolf’ only by virtue of being far less intrusive. The specially-filmed Eastenders scene is ghastly, as is the clip of somebody declaring their love for a ghost on Trisha. Disturbingly, this is probably very realistic. Mercifully, this is quickly passed by. The Doctor’s means of disposing of the Daleks and the Cybermen is a bit suspicious too; although it works reasonably well in principle, it takes a suspiciously short amount of time for millions of Daleks and Cybermen to be sucked through a portal the size of a barn door, and as some critics have already pointed out, some of the Cybermen are from this universe. Fortunately, series veteran Graeme Harper does a fine job of directing the episode, the only real let down being the diabolical close-up of the Hartman Cyberman’s eye leaking a tear of hydraulic fluid. Even Murray Gold’s typically pompous and intrusive score is tolerable during moments of drama, although smears his usual aural syrup over everything else, especially the ending.

‘Army of Ghosts’/‘Doomsday’ also seemingly marks the departure with Rose of the series’ regular supporting cast, and they all get a pretty good final outing. Camille Coduri’s largely appalling performance as Jackie has markedly improved during Season Two, and her character gets some great moments here, especially when she plays comic foil to the Doctor. The scene in which he introduces “Rose” to Yvonne and explains, “Just last week she looked into the heart of the TARDIS and aged fifty-seven years” is particularly amusing, largely because of her expression of indignation, and despite my antipathy towards the character, the happy ending for Jackie and Pete is quite touching. Their initial meeting/reunion is great; despite knowing that they are facing parallel versions of their lost partners rather than they real thing, they can’t resist each other. Mickey too gets a final appearance, having become a real hero in the ongoing war against the Cybermen. After everything he’s been through, it’s nice to see signs of genuine friendship and respect between the Doctor and him, and I can’t object in any way to the fact that they all get a happy ending and a new start on the parallel Earth.

As for the Doctor, David Tennant gives his best performance in the role to date, helped considerably by Davies’ scripts. He is immediately concerned about the ghosts, ominously telling Jackie and Rose, “They’re pressing themselves into the surface of the world. But a footprint doesn’t look like a boot”, and proactively tracking their source of the manifestation. His handling of Yvonne is great, as he bluffs her into canceling the next ghost shift by deciding to sit back and “watch the fireworks”, rattling hr enough to decide, “I suppose it makes sense to get as much intelligence as possible”. The Doctor also gets some great, genuinely funny lines, most notably his response to Rose’s, “Doctor, they’ve got guns”, which is the magnificent, “And I haven’t. They can shoot me dead, but the moral high ground is mine”. This year, he saves the day, not Rose, devising a means of getting rid of the Daleks and the Cybermen, saving both Earths and repairing the breach in the universes. His “Who you gonna call?” bit is deeply irritating, but this is a brief aberration here rather than just one of many irritating moments. Notably, Tennant actually gets to act properly here, looking horrified when the Doctor realizes, “This world’s colliding with another. I think I know which one.” When the Doctor first sees the Daleks, he doesn’t comment at all, his expression alone conveying his horror.

And finally there’s Rose. Having been hugely impressed with Billie Piper’s performance in Season One, I’ve become increasingly bored with her character’s lovesick moping in Season Two and frankly am glad to see her depart. Nevertheless, she has generally been great companion material, and she gets plenty to do here, penetrating Torchwood’s security with brief success, and standing up to the Daleks, explaining how she destroyed the Emperor. Her opening monologue informs us, “This is the story of how I died”, building on hints laid down in ‘The Impossible Planet’/‘The Satan Pit’, but I didn’t believe it for one minute, and it does indeed prove to be a con. Nevertheless, having nearly sacrificed herself to exile in the void in order to keep the rift open until all of the Daleks and Cybermen have gone, she’s firmly isolated the Doctor once and for all when he permanently (I hope) seals the breach between the universes. Her final goodbye to the Doctor is cloying, but hardly unexpected; after several episodes of avoiding the subject, she finally blurts out, “I love you”. Mercifully the Doctor disappears before he can reciprocate.

With Rose gone, the Doctor ends the series looking tearful and morose in the console room. Wisely, Davies provides a coda that quickly snaps the Doctor out of his reverie, as he finds a new mystery facing him in the TARDIS. Unwisely, it involves Catherine bloody Tate. Merry Christmas.

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In every battle there are casualties. In every war, there are heroes. Heroism means little or nothing, however, unless it is thrown into sharp relief by tragedy and sadness. When the two greatest alien races in the history of Doctor Who come together for the ultimate showdown, it follows that all of these qualities are going to be present for those who are caught in the crossfire – the Doctor, his companion, their friends, family and associates. Planet Earth. The universe.

As Doctor Who fans, we usually tend to judge ‘eras’ of the show more in terms of production personnel, specifically the producers, than the on-screen staff, aside of course from the Doctors. With the climactic Army of Ghosts and Doomsday two-parter, however, we have an epic finale not just to the second series of the new Doctor Who but, despite the Tenth Doctor and the production team all remaining in place, to an era that began back with Rose that wonderful night in March 2005. The ‘Tyler era’, if you will.

Rose is gone, and with her having left it’s hard not to think we have also seen the last of Jackie, Mickey and Pete, for better or for worse. Doctor Who, after a never dull first two years back on air, once again has to reinvent itself, change, adapt and wow us all over again in a whole new world of raised expectations and high definition viewing.

But such things are for the future. What of the present? The most mouth-watering of scenarios, one many fans have dreamed of and speculated about but until now not even the maddest of mad Big Finish writers dared try and put together – Daleks versus Cybermen.

It’s hard not to feel lifted, elated even by that cliffhanger at the end of the first episode. It’s a great moment, even if you knew or had guessed what was inside that Voidship – I mean, it’s the Daleks, for goodness sake! Arriving to kick some Cyber backside! How could that not be exciting? One of those real punch-the-air moments akin to, say, Earthshock episode one. This show can be deep, it can be thought-provoking and it can have moments of calm reflection, but we all know that it’s the moments like these that burn themselves onto children’s brains and the collective popular consciousness, and make our little fanboy chests swell with pride and excitement.

Personally, this excitement was added to by the thought of ‘Hurrah! A proper enemy is arriving!’ Because, as I think I have said before, I deeply dislike the Cybermen. I think they’re frankly a bit rubbish, and they’ve never made an impression on me as any kind of meaningful threat or exciting presence in a storyline – aside possibly from the aforementioned Earthshock – so I was glad to see that the Big Boys had arrived to boot them out of the picture and make bloody war.

Russell T Davies couldn’t resist having the two races throw some insults at each other about who was best. As a serious person trying to write a serious review of the episode I should disapprove strongly of this sort of daft meta business, but given it had me grinning hugely to myself I don’t feel as if I have the right to complain! Seeing the Cybermen hopelessly gunned down by the four Daleks – one Dalek would be enough, don’t forget! – also raised a smile. For those who are fonder of the Cybermen than I it was perhaps disappointing to see them turned into mere cannon-fodder as soon as the Premier League bad guys showed up – even humanity managed to blow one of them to bits, for goodness sake – but with so much to cram into these episodes not every element was ever going to receive the time and space it deserved.

I am, of course, jumping ahead. It wasn’t simply the great meeting of these two Who icons that Russell T Davies had to wrestle with – he had to pick up on and make sense of all the Torchwood references we have been getting all year, and that have driven so many fans half barmy.

Torchwood turns out to be run by Yvonne Hartman, and as my friend Tim pointed out in an e-mail to me immediately after Army of Ghosts was transmitted, it seems the organisation for all its boasts is actually so under-funded it can’t even afford to provide its director with a shirt. What with Yvonne’s jiggling and Rose and Jackie’s efforts in New Earth and Rise of the Cybermen respectively, you do perhaps have to wonder whether the over-arching plot arc or this season has been not in fact the Torchwood Institute but gratuitous cleavage shots.

When not busy thrusting her chest in the direction of anybody who will look, Yvonne is actually quite a good character – not the ice-cold bitch I had been expecting her to be, but actually quite fun and a little scatty, albeit slightly mad and a little obsessive with it. Torchwood itself looks like a cross between the Area 51 set-up from Independence Day and the BBC Television Centre props store circa 1975. Like Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s similar ‘Initiative’ organisation in season four of that programme, you suspect that they simply lacked the money and the scale to be able to make it look as good as it ought to, although the idea of it being hidden in Canary Wharf is quite a clever one.

Less clever, and in fact a rather dubious piece of scripting by Davies, is the idea that this ultra-secret alien-bothering organisation could allow some building works to be going on right in their midst without anybody having the slightest clue that the Cybermen have set up camp down there and are snaffling up Torchwood employees as they head off for their coffee-and-kissing breaks.

Let’s face it, this is an organisation with a security system so slack that not only do they allow any passing cybernetic life form from a parallel universe to sneak in, but they also let Mickey set up shop undercover as a scientist. I was very pleased and not a little surprised by Clarke’s reappearance in Army of Ghosts, incidentally revealed in a nice shot over Doctor Singh’s back by Graeme Harper. Possibly more through luck than judgement – I had even looked at the Radio Times listing before the episode aired and completely missed his name in the credits – I had no idea that Mickey was returning for the grand finale. He lost out somewhat in Doomsday as Pete and Jake also returned to squeeze him out of the plot, and Rose’s departure at the end meant neither he nor Jackie got the farewells to the show they deserved, but proving that he has come a long, long way since the bumbling fool of Rose was perhaps enough.

Even Yvonne got to display a bravery when Doomsday came around – I was actually pretty heartbroken when the poor old Torchwood director was turned into a Cyberman, and it was quite a relief to see that her bloody-minded devotion to Queen and Country had left her with enough marbles rolling around in her head to provide a remarkable convenient blockade to the Cybermen about to ruin the Doctor’s plan. Also rather too convenient was Pete hopping back in the nick-of-time to rescue Rose from being sucked into the void. These niggles leave an uncomfortable sense of corner-cutting that just stops this two-parter from being up there with the very best of Doctor Who, although then again, if you’re going to start pulling adventure fiction apart for nick-of-time rescues then you’re going to bring the whole genre crashing down like a game of ker-plunk.

I wasn’t the only one to be less than thrilled with the rescue, however – poor old Rose herself was also left pretty devastated to be trapped on the wrong side of the void. Rose was always going to get an emotional send-off, and even though the Pete-less Jackie and Jackie-less Pete always seemed likely to end up together from right back in the first Cybermen two-parter of the season, Rose and Mickey ending up trapped in the alternative universe was less expected. In some ways, Rose has ended up with the same life she had before she met the Doctor – a job, Mickey as her boyfriend, her mum…

But she’s gained so much more. Not simply through travelling and experiencing so much of the universe with the Doctor, and learning about how to live a better life from him. Not simply from having a better job because of it all, or finding some sort of inner happiness and peace. But because she has her father back, and the stable nuclear family that you sense she probably always wanted all along. That’s what she was searching for with the Doctor, and why she became so deeply attached to him, and why it was always her personal tragedy that she could never have him. She loved him, but she could never have that fully-rounded life with him.

Nor he her, although it’s doubtful whether he loved her in the same way. He was snatched away – by the fanboy tractor beam, you might speculate! – before he was able to say it. He had to leave her behind for good, in Bad Wolf Bay, over and done with but perhaps finally at some sort of peace.

As with so many endings, however, even when it seems to be so final there is still a glimpse of how life can carry on afterwards, how some future point can pick up the threads. For here, through a coincidence of casting and a young actress seizing her chance to impress the programme’s producers, the future of Doctor Who has been glimpsed like a Watcher preceding a regeneration. Freema Agyeman may have played only a small part in Army of Ghosts, but she has a much bigger role – literally – to perform in the future of the series.

I for one cannot wait to see the future. Especially given the rather fun cliffhanger ending – Catherine Tate? Runaway Bride?

Barmy. But brilliant. As, of course, Doctor Who always is!

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Although not without some problems, I thought this was a great way to end the 2nd "new" series of Doctor Who. As I say this I well realize that compared to the relatively odd and weak preceding stories "Love & Monsters" and "Fear Her" (after the amazing "Impossible Planet" and "The Satan Pit") that almost anything would be an improvement.

I have the suspicion that many reviewers will compare this pair of episodes to the finale of the 1st season. Without thinking too hard I can say that there were less cringeworthy or eye-rolling moments this time around (no corny deus ex machina or, as you say, "snogging"). But beyond that I don't want to compare the stories because, well, I don't see how season finales should be imbued with so much reverence. When in Doctor Who previously have series finales been such a whoop-de-do? I suppose this is simply another artefact of the modern media age where (much like the new 45-minute episode format and faster cutting and CGI) that says you must end the season with guns blazing and a big budget. Each story should simply try to be the best it can be without regard to its episodic sequencing. Otherwise one might expect the characters to "catch on" and the heroes think "hey, this is our 13th adventure since our last almost world-ending catastrophe, we're in for some trouble now! Maybe best to stay in the TARDIS a while!" and the villians think "wait - we are too big a threat for mid season - let's hang on until the finale!" I'm being silly of course, but I don't wish things to feel predictable and obligatory.

I have to say that everyone's performance was top notch in these stories. Only Tennant has one to many cheeky quips that undermine the overall gloom. It might have worked better to have him doubting his ability to "save the day" (always EARTH'S day, hurmph...) and Rose as promised. If the lead character has as much faith in himself to win every time as the audience does (since if he dies the show is over) then it gets to the point that ANY threat, no matter how cosmically tragic, is pointless and routine. This is fantasy, folks - as long as our hero survives he can still lose a battle now and then to humble him as he narrowly escapes with his tail between his legs. Otherwise he might develop a God-complex (amid cheeky remarks) and we think of him likewise.

I also didn't like the gimmick of Rose narrating her own death, which I thought was an impossible thing to do in principle, and so I didn't believe she would die. She is simply "missing" which I guess was her status while travelling with the Doctor. In that sense, I guess Mickey and Jackie are dead too? At least my fear that the producers "wanted it both ways" wherein they kill off a character but can "always bring her back" alla sci-fi and soap operas. RTD had said it was never a possibility that she would die, as if being a heroine and saving the earth twice wasn't enough for a simple shop girl to do and have as a eulogy. Was he afraid of being stuck with a Doctor who could't keep his word? Has he forgotten (and think he is "above") the other companions who have died (Katarina, Sara Kingdom, Adric and Peri...sort of)?

There was quite a lot of emotion on display here. Never before have we seen such an emotional bond between the main characters at the thought of never seeing each other again. Of course, one can think "gee, Mickey came back, didn't he? Why can't Rose?" and "Satan obviously predicted her death wrong" and "why worry - she isn't dying" and "she's got Mickey AND her mom and dad back - so celebrate!" But aside from that I thought these were the most touching moments since "Father's Day" - perhaps just by the performances. I thought Jackie and Pete reuniting was also good, but the melodrama began overstaying its welcome prompting me to think "uh, you are in mortal danger - perhaps this can wait!" Rose's "almost death" scene worked well too, and found myself not bothered by her dad rescuing her at the last moment, despite how improbable the timing and placement and execution of it that was. It would have been satisfying if she died or not. On the whole I like a little heart-wrentching poignancy now and then. But then the "epilogue" seemed a little unnecessary, since really it amounted to the Doctor trying to "say goodbye" like he was finally able to Sarah earlier this season. And for all that effort - burning up a sun! - he couldn't even get out the words "I love you" - which I guess is the tragic poignancy I was looking for...

That leaves you wondering if Rose will "look up" Sarah in her new universe... though if she is there, no doubt she will have never met the Doctor, so scratch that. And I think RTD dropped the ball with the only exciting line in "Fear Her" where the Doctor mentioned his granddaughter Susan, and it never went beyond that. Rose was so jealous of Sarah but got over it because it was platonic, but she never pushed the issue of why the 900-year-old love of her life had been previously "married" and had a grand-kid. So I guess it is back to eating fish-and-chips, working at the shop and and making little Mickeys - no, wait - she will work for Torchwood - ah, but not the one dear Captain Jack will be in the new series...

What else? I thought all the special effects were top-notch, exept for a few "old school wobbling Daleks" when they spoke. The Cybermen-as-ghosts worked well. The Cybermen marching in front of the Taj Mahal and in rural neighborhoods was a little gratuitous (as in: "I'm supposed to say "ooh!") The Cybermen and Daleks had some good - if screen-writery - exchanges. Was odd hearing Daleks brag like that. I didn't mind the head of Torchwood retaining her personality and loyalty (which I read elsewhere as a gripe) since the depth of her loyalty was established as she entered the cyber-abatoir, and it redeemed her. But where has UNIT been during all of this? And what is it with the Time Lords imprisoning millions of Daleks - the Doc thought they were ALL dead - yet having the Genesis thingy pop up and meeting the Daleks thrice in two years, I would expect him to think: "my people MUST have survived, and I WILL find them!" - certainly that day is coming soon.

There was of course the huge selling point of "Daleks meet Cybermen" for the FIRST TIME - which despite it working, does come off as a heavily obvious pitch meeting come-to-life, similar to recent films like "Freddie Vs. Jason" and "Alien vs. Predator" and, I hear in rumors "Superman vs. Batman" - all with people caught in the middle - oy vey! Anyway, had they forgotten the trivia that (a) Dalek and the Cybermen were both in "The Five Doctors" despite not meeting? I just hope that each season doesn't end with another Armageddon-du-jour by adding whatever old nemesis RTD thinks would be "cool" to bring back (Sontarrans, Ice Warriors, Silurians & Sea Devils and THE MASTER) - I shudder to imagine the pretentious mish-mosh of all these cats battling at the end of the 6th or 7th season!

Oh, and how did the Daleks know the Cybermen if they never met - or rather, if the ones they were meeting were just created but in a parallel universe?

Sorry I found so much to criticize. I admit that is easier than praise, especially if I want to avoid describing the entire plot and how wonderful it is. For all its faults it is one of the three best moments of the 2nd season, and five best of the 1st and 2nd.

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