Doctor Doctor Who Guide

I thought this episode of Doctor Who was a decidedly mixed affair. It had a fairly silly beginning, a good middle and a groan inducing end.

The beginning sequences - the ninja monks, the ease with which the Doctor and Rose latched onto the Queen and Her Wooden Bodyguards and the Doctor not cottoning to the Shifty Goings On at the Spooky House - were quite dire. As the story picked up its pace, it improved. The actual appearance of the werewolf and the pursuit through the halls of the house were moments replete with film horror and classic gothic imagery. The middle segments also featured the Doctor and Rose being a true partnership and employing the detective work which brings out the best facets f their personality and makes them the heroes of the story. The end returned us to twee again, as the Queen gave the Dcotor and Rose fairly pointless knighthoods and then banished them. Russell T Davies also trew in an overt mention to 'Torchwood' for anyone who did not watch the 'Christmas Invasion' episode or catch the name of the huse in which this week's action took place.

The Doctor and Rose annoyed me at points throughout this episode. Their awe and wonder at exploring space and time has now become a kind of smugness, as they giggled and whispered their way through the episode. Rose's efforts to make Queen Victoria say 'I am not amused' may have been intended to make her funny, but she merely came off as being a bit shallow.

Pauline Collins as Queen Victoria gave an equally mixed performance. Her Queen was witty and had a sense of fun as opposed to the dour widow who mourned her husband. I like the idea that Prince Albert (who was one of the driving forces behind the Great Exhibition) was secretly working towards defending the empire from supernatural forces. However, her scenes at the end were grating. The cheesy and silly 'knighting' of the Doctor and Rose was followed by an equally ludicrous U-turn in which she told the Doctor he was banished from the Empire. The Doctor hardly took this seriously; mainly because he and Rose were in such a giggly mood.

Davies decided to give Queen Victoria the task of shamelessly name-dropping 'Torchwood' into the end. The idea that she founded Torchwood was an inspired one. However, I would have appreciated a bit more subtlety, as opposed to her saying the name Torchwood a multitude of times in the space of about 45 seconds. 'I will call it Torchwood, the Torchwood Institute....the Doctor should beware, for Torchwood will be waiting.' Queen Victoria also brought a dose of scepticism to the Doctor Who adventures - her disapproval of the two travellers' almost cavalier acceptance of the dangers surrounding them was obvious but not overdone and her Queen maintained a quality of being aloof despite the Doctor's knowledge and his overtures of help. However, as I mentioned before, our Mr Davies managed to destroy this undertone of mistrust and make the Queen's concerns over the Doctor a near full blown emnity in their final scene together.

The episode also touched on the theme, once again, that the Doctor's actions have conseqences and that his seemingly innocent travelling in time can bring destruction in its wake. His adventures this week have given form to the same Torchwood that will one day invoke his anger when it destroys the Sycorax. The Doctor's actions cause ripples in time and are not simply self-contained adventures every week.

To sum up, a fairly unoriginal offering which made me cringe for the most part but which also continued several of the series' long-running themes and had the occasional moment of brilliance.

Filters: Television Series 2/28 Tenth Doctor