Doctor Doctor Who Guide

Russell Davies admits in this week's 'Doctor Who Confidential' that 'Boom Town''s plot is just an excuse to get to the scene with the Doctor & Blon in the restaurant -- and, unfortunately, it shows. The episode lifts somewhat when it shifts gear from lame comedy to character scenes. However, subtlety doesn't seem to be Davies' strong point, and everything in 'Boom Town' is bashed home.

Much of the current series has played with rewriting the old 'Doctor Who' concepts, turning the old formula on its head, so highlighting the mayhem that follows the Doctor around doesn't really come as much of a surprise (especially when it was stressed right back in 'Rose'). Like everything else in this episode, the parallels with 'Dalek' aren't exactly subtle; on second viewing I was particularly annoyed by the shaft of light at the end. In fact, the nods to earlier episodes fell so thick & fast this time I got the impression 'Boom Town' is intended as a whistlestop tour of the season for late joiners.

Chris Eccleston is perfect in the pivotal restaurant scene, and Annette Badland, as Margaret/Blon, delivers her lines with a decent blend of humour & menace. The scenes with Rose & Mickey left a soapy taste in my mouth, and Billie Piper's sparkle just shows up Noel Clarke's rather wooden delivery. Jack, stripped of his sexy RAF uniform, has little to do but spout technobabble.

It was good to get out of London for a change, and Cardiff centre makes a beautiful backdrop; I particularly liked the Tardis dematerialising against the Millennium building at the end. Speaking of SFX, I note the producers have nicked the fanficcers' method of generating amazing ones -- which, given their budget, hardly seems to be playing fair...

Though it wasn't as bad as I'd feared from the trailers, 'Boom Town' did feel uncomfortably like filler between the stunning 'Empty Child' two-parter & the finale. Neat concept, pity about the execution.

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