Doctor Doctor Who Guide

I was dreading “Boom Town;” a recycled monster and a recycled location with ‘cheap money saving episode’ written all over it. In the run of things so far I’d say it’s the worst episode bar “The Long Game,” though even that show was good – it’s just the standard of the series has been so high when an episode like “The Long Game” or “Boom Town” comes along it’s easy to be disappointed.

Though rather cheap it was, “Boom Town” was a good story based on an interesting premise – the Doctor returning to face the consequences of his actions. In true Russell T. Davies style, we also had some brilliant character moments, and although the Slitheen was being re-used from earlier in the season the story was different enough to the earlier two-parter to work well. In fact, the alien menace in the story could have been anyone; this wasn’t really a shock-horror scary monsters story, it was a more psychological piece.

The episode began with a lot of energy; the Doctor, Rose and Captain Jack work wonderfully together. Throw Mickey into the mix and you have an even better dynamic. The scenes with Mickey and Rose, brilliantly played by both actors, gave this episode and continued to give the series as a whole that all important grounding in real life - the idea that when the Doctor whisks someone away with him in his TARDIS, there are consequences - and Mickey has arguably suffered more than anyone as a result of the Doctor taking Rose with him on his travels. The episode’s end where Mickey sees Rose but turns and walks away rather than run to her was quite painful. I can only hope that we see more of Mickey, even if this was the end for his relationship with Rose.

Speaking of ‘consequences,’ that’s exactly what the Doctor came face to face with when he finds the surviving member of the Slitheen family has become Mayor of Cardiff, planning to blow up the entire city using her ‘Bad Wolf’ power plant just to escape the Earth! Surely Earth isn’t that bad? Given more screen time than in her previous episodes, Annette Badland was excellent as Margaret Blaine, the Slitheen disguised as the Mayor of Cardiff. Can you believe Davies even gave her a fat-sounding name (was it something like Blon Phat Phodge?), as well as making her wobble down the road, feebly attempting to escape? She played her character on a knife-edge, maintaining the perfect balance between humour and horror. More than that, at times in the story you do almost sympathise with her, especially when she is describing the manner of her execution and how she was brought up to kill.

Of course, at the end of the day she’s evil to the bone and the TARDIS degenerates her to an egg to give her a second chance. This I found interesting for two reasons; firstly, just like in “The Doctor Dances” we have an episode where (barring a few murders of officials that no-one really likes) “EVERYBODY LIVES!” making me think the last two episodes are going to be very, very dark indeed. Secondly, and most importantly, once again it’s emphasised that the TARDIS is a living creature. Thinking about all these ‘Bad Wolf’ references the Doctor and Rose have come across on their travels, they must either be pure co-incidence (as the eternally optimistic Doctor very amusingly reasoned, wearing that trademark grin) or perhaps the TARDIS knows something about this ‘Bad Wolf’ menace and is using it’s telepathic circuits to influence the people around it, wherever it lands, into saying, or using, or writing or even naming a power plant ‘Bad Wolf’ to warn the Doctor of some impending danger. Is it a person? Captain Jack – Mr. No Memory? Is it the Daleks? I cannot wait until this Saturday to find out!

As usual, the comedy moments were frequent and highly amusing. Margaret making excuses to the reporter for all these officials who died suspiciously in her presence was particularly funny, as was the Doctor’s “she’s climbing out of the window isn’t she?” line, as well as all that teleporting! The Doctor stealing the newspaper out of the hands of some random bloke, Margaret’s feeble attempts on the Doctor’s life in the restaurant which he resisted without blinking an eye. Brilliant stuff.

As for next week’s trailer, although I’d heard and hoped and prayed the Daleks (note… plural) would be back I’d given up hope once I heard that “Bad Wolf” would be the reality TV episode. Not being a fan of “Big Brother,” “The Weakest Link” and “What Not To Wear” I didn’t have high hopes for an episode which, after 11 episodes of hype, HAD to deliver and I had serious reservations that it might be too gimmicky. Now it looks like this reality TV thing is just a front (hopefully that part won’t go on much longer than half an hour) and not only to we have the Dalek menace as the real threat, we have an alien planet (at last!) and an entire battle fleet of Dalek ships! “The Daleks' Master Plan” for the new millennium…

We live in hope!

Filters: Series 1/27 Ninth Doctor Television