Doctor Doctor Who Guide

I’ve seen this episode twice now and I must say I’m still not sure if I like it or not. I have tried to place myself in the shoes of those who are now the target audience for the show and yes, the farting politicians, the little piggy and so on would probably do a good job of lulling me into a false sense of security before the Slitheen reveal themselves at the episode's climax... but then again....

Having said that, I do believe RTD is a clever writer - and there is much to be applauded in this episode. In my opinion however the script for The End of the World is far superior. It is so clever much of it was surely lost on the junior members of the WHO audience... but that’s another review for another time. At first it all seems safe and traditional - Aliens invade London, the Doctor is there, as is UNIT and it should all work out nicely.... but in true RTD style (well what we've seen in WHO terms thus far), just when you think you've worked it all out, the plot (and this time there is a bit more meat to it), spins and turns in the other direction - as we soon discover with the pig and the Doctor tracking the course of the space craft.

And what of the pig? Well effect-wise it looked a bit silly... I grinned to myself when I saw it. But again if I were a little kid I would be shocked and then quite sad that it had been killed... so again maybe RTD is on the money! I mean the farting DOES make sense - it is just over done and the pig did just look like a little actor running around in a costume.... despite the fact the script (again!) could justify it. (Hmmm, me thinks I’m getting old!)

The Rose returns sub-plot is good. This is familiar RTD territory. If you have seen Queer as Folk, you'll recognise the type of humour he injects into the scenes with the housing estate people. But I fear that the Doctor gets a bit swallowed up in all this.. and as such Eccleston looks very out of place. OK, I know what you’re thinking, he leaves saying ,i>It is all a bit too human in there.... What I am referring to is his character overall. Missing is the commanding presence of Pertwee. Or the feeling you got with Baker that despite the fact he was bumbling around, he actually KNEW what was going and how to fix it. In The Unquiet Dead, it is Dickens who comes up with the solution, while the Doctor is too busy lamenting the fact he and Rose haven’t done the dirty yet ! Eccleston seems to grin an awful lot and look lost. I seem to recall much publicity saying his Doctor would be dark and brooding. We've seen glimpses of it, but not enough to make me think this Doctor is the best by far, as many have proclaimed.

Billie Piper still does well as Rose (although she struggled with her reaction to the emerging Slitheen at the end of the episode), as does most of the supporting cast. The direction could be tighter, as the episode sags a little in the middle. Perhaps it is the family melodrama that unravels. Its funny, having now got used to the 45 minute, single episode format, going to a double episode story seems to slow things down a bit. Here in Australia we are currently experiencing another re-run of the original series. I have been able to watch a four parter and then watch one of the new single episode stories and compare.... it is quite a contrast. I would have to say, I’m now very much in favour of the new format.

Look, don’t get me wrong it is all there. It is entertaining, and exciting for the most part. The average, non-fan member of the audience will enjoy it... families will sit around the TV and laugh together at the farting, Mums and kids will be sad when the pig gets shot and so on. But this episode is a definite step backwards from episodes two and three. One hopes that WWIII will turn things around....

Filters: Series 1/27 Ninth Doctor Television