Doctor Doctor Who Guide

When there's a general air of expectation that a story probably won't live up to the standard of others in a Dr Who season it can very often be the case that the finished article is better than anticipated. This is certainly the case with Boom Town,which isn't going to win any story of the season poll but which beats Long Game as the best RTD scripted story thus far in my opinion.

The story itself,rather like Planet of Fire for example,has that almost end of term,calm before the storm feel about it as we initially see the Tardis crew happy and relaxed,the Tardis having stopped off to refuel in Cardiff. The fun never lasts that long when the Doctor's around however and pretty soon he sees a familiar face on the front page of a local paper. As the story begins to unfold there's a brilliant Bad Wolf interlude creating a sense of foreboding reminiscent to the scene where the Master took over Tremus's body at the end of the Keeper of Traken thereby ushering in the beginning of the end for the Fourth Doctor.

The Cardiff setting gave RTD the chance to take a swipe at the authorities in England who couldn't possibly concern themselves with something like a planet-threatening return of a Slitheen outside of the M25. In this character driven episode,the exchanges between Rose and Mickey/Ricky were standard fayre whereas the key restaurant scene between the Doctor and Margaret Slitheen was just fantastic,to coin a phrase; infact the idea of happily strolling to a restaurant for a jolly little meal with a rather nasty alien who'd destroy the Earth given half a chance is brilliant enough even before any dialogue commences. Davies is a modern writer expressing the long-held liberal view that punishment isn't an acceptable response even to the most heinous of criminals committing the most heinous of crimes on the basis that by punishing them you become no better yourself. The Tardis solves the moral dilemma by regressing Margaret to an egg thereby allowing the Doctor to drop her off so she can begin again after appearing to show limited remorse for her appalling actions although how neatly this plot device fits in with the notion of facing up to the consequences of your actions. . . . well,I'll have to view the episode again and try and work that out. What I do know is that we had some riveting scriptwriting there and overall less of the obvious levity that almost blighted the earlier RTD stories;even the gas exchange wasn't as much of a problem in this story.

What is apparent from this and the preceding story is how well CE has settled in to the role of the Doctor. If he had only stayed even for one more season his could have been one of the great portrayals but now we shall never know. Of the supporting cast,Captain Jack didn't have much to do as the odd man out in the character driven exchanges but does seem to have settled in to his part well.

Although I initially cringed at the Weakest Link/Big Brother connections with the next story,having seen the preview I can honestly say I don't think I've ever looked forward to a Dr Who story this much. Indeed I could cheerfully strangle the minority who have bashed this excellent series. . . but wait!That isn't an appropriate response. Perhaps they too can be regressed,come to the series afresh and congratulate RTD and his team on a very successful season indeed.

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Filters: Series 1/27 Ninth Doctor Television