Doctor Doctor Who Guide

The rumours indicated a Slitheen presence. The previous week teaser made it crystal clear. A big spoiler there in all kinds of ways! Compared to the rest of the season (a high comparison to be sure) the Slitheen are one of the least successful aspects. There motivation is fine, rather well thought out actually, but their lumbering bouncy image, and gastric emissions were a little too embarrassing for my tastes.

But anyway, back they come – actually back one of them comes – in the form of Margaret Blaine (Annette Badland). The Radio Times announced it was one of the funniest episodes thus far – so I was hoping for a sleeper hit of the year. It would also be nice to see Cardiff, which I think is a magnificent place.

I enjoyed Boom Town – it seemed more reflective than the majority of episodes – and we learn’t quite a bit more about this new Doctor and his Companion Rose. It’s ironic that when the Doctor gains a new companion, it is the existing TARDIS team, and 2 recurring guest stars, that get the meat of the story. Boom Town has a story in there, something about a rift in Cardiff, and the Slitheen channelling badness through it to destroy the world – but it is mostly a character piece of 5. I think I will go through those characters one at a time in order of importance in the episode.

Captain Jack has just joined the crew. He’s looking particularly confident too in his tight T-shirt and Jeans – the innuendoes flew pretty steadily too. I hope they don’t overdo this aspect of his character – it’s just staying within the line for childrens TV, but only just! But I am sure Jack is more than this – and he does help the Doctor with some technical stuff later on. He's a playful fellow, and that's nice to see.

On to the first of the recurring guest stars – Mickey. I always preferred Jackie, but I can see the need to talk about Rose and Mickeys relationship. You feel rather sorry for Mickey, but he’s hardly been written affectionately throughout the series. Him and Rose talk about stuff, but it’s the argument that stands out. Rose has treated him badly, but the Doctor is so much more interesting – there’s no comparison.

Rose herself doesn’t really have her finest hour in Boom Town. She enjoys the running around with the Doctor, Jack and Mickey – but then is forced to confront her callous treatement of Mickey. Then she leaves him when the problems start. I really like Rose, but this aspect of her character did her no favours, even though most would have run away with the Doctor.

Annette Badlands portrayal of Margaret almost stole the episode. Russell T was right, on the basis of her performance here, she did deserve more screen time. Hers was a sympathetic portrayal of an alien race. I didn’t quite buy her reformation, but she was doubting her whole way of life by the end. There wasn’t that much of the Slitheen itself, in the flesh, either – which I was grateful for. Annette Badland produced a wonderful performance. And I find myself quite liking the Slitheen now!

The main character, as it should be, was the Doctor. I thought he was brilliant from the start of the season, but now he’s well and truly took his place alongside the great Doctors of the Past. They all have a place in DW History, and Eccleston (in spite of doing only 1 season) totally deserves his place on the mantle. In Boom Town he was excellent again. I loved his acceptance of the challenge that Margaret flung at him - the last meal scene. It’s also nice to see him fiddling around the TARDIS control room. We spent longer there in this story than any – and that was wonderful.

There’s also another character here, one that Russell T was keen to push forward – Cardiff. I spent a wonderful week there once in early 2000 – it looks even better now. Boom Town has persuaded me that a weekend visit is definitely in order.

Hardly likely to be top of the Season Poll, but good strong character based writing all the same. What Russell T has done this season has been extraordinary. He’s the one on the pulse of these wonderful characters – he’s the main creator – and Boom Town shows again how wonderful this new season of Doctor Who really is. 8/10

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