Doctor Doctor Who Guide

Reviews


List:
12 Jun 2005Bad Wolf, by Rachel Jackson
12 Jun 2005Bad Wolf, by Mark Sharron
12 Jun 2005Bad Wolf, by David Bell
12 Jun 2005Bad Wolf, by Mick Snowden
12 Jun 2005Bad Wolf, by Jack Conway
12 Jun 2005Bad Wolf, by James Potter
12 Jun 2005Bad Wolf, by David Carlile
12 Jun 2005Bad Wolf, by Stephen Hoare
12 Jun 2005Bad Wolf, by Alan McDonald
12 Jun 2005Bad Wolf, by Calum Corral
12 Jun 2005Bad Wolf, by Simon Gallienne
12 Jun 2005Bad Wolf, by Callum Green
12 Jun 2005Bad Wolf, by Phil White
12 Jun 2005Bad Wolf, by Matt Kimpton
12 Jun 2005Bad Wolf, by Gareth Thomas
12 Jun 2005Bad Wolf, by Kenneth Baxter
12 Jun 2005Bad Wolf, by Tavia Chalcraft
12 Jun 2005Bad Wolf, by Phil Christodoulou
12 Jun 2005Bad Wolf, by Simon Funnell
12 Jun 2005Bad Wolf, by Marie Vaughan
12 Jun 2005Bad Wolf, by Judah Konigsberg
12 Jun 2005Bad Wolf, by Joe Ford
12 Jun 2005Bad Wolf, by Angus Gulliver
12 Jun 2005Bad Wolf, by James McLean
12 Jun 2005Bad Wolf, by Douglas Edward Lambert
12 Jun 2005Bad Wolf, by Gregg Allinson
12 Jun 2005Bad Wolf, by Daniel Clements
12 Jun 2005Bad Wolf, by Jeremiah Rickert
12 Jun 2005Bad Wolf, by Mike Humphreys
12 Jun 2005Bad Wolf, by Nick Taylor
12 Jun 2005Bad Wolf, by Andrew Panero
12 Jun 2005Bad Wolf, by Assad Khaishgi
12 Jun 2005Bad Wolf, by Mike Eveleigh
12 Jun 2005Bad Wolf, by A.D. Morrison
12 Jun 2005Bad Wolf, by Neil Clarke
12 Jun 2005Bad Wolf, by Robert F.W. Smith
12 Jun 2005Bad Wolf, by Paul Hayes
12 Jun 2005Bad Wolf, by Richard Radcliffe
12 Jun 2005Bad Wolf, by Chris Meadows
12 Jun 2005Bad Wolf, by Stephen Thrower
12 Jun 2005Bad Wolf, by Mark Hain
12 Jun 2005Bad Wolf, by Paul Wilcox
12 Jun 2005Bad Wolf, by Alex Gibbs
12 Jun 2005Bad Wolf, by Jonathan Hili
12 Jun 2005Bad Wolf, by Robert Tymec
12 Jun 2005Bad Wolf, by Eddy Wolverson
12 Jun 2005Bad Wolf, by Rossa McPhillips
19 Jun 2005The Parting of the Ways, by James Main
19 Jun 2005The Parting of the Ways, by Tegan Harris
19 Jun 2005The Parting of the Ways, by Richard Green
19 Jun 2005The Parting of the Ways, by David Bell
19 Jun 2005The Parting of the Ways, by Neil Hoey
19 Jun 2005The Parting of the Ways, by Louie Stowell
19 Jun 2005The Parting of the Ways, by David Marx
19 Jun 2005The Parting of the Ways, by Bukhtawar Dhadda
19 Jun 2005The Parting of the Ways, by Angus Gulliver
19 Jun 2005The Parting of the Ways, by James Wright
19 Jun 2005The Parting of the Ways, by Tavia Chalcraft
19 Jun 2005The Parting of the Ways, by Calum Corral
19 Jun 2005The Parting of the Ways, by Alan McDonald
19 Jun 2005The Parting of the Ways, by Robert F.W. Smith
19 Jun 2005The Parting of the Ways, by Dapo Olasiyan
19 Jun 2005The Parting of the Ways, by Mike Humphreys
19 Jun 2005The Parting of the Ways, by David Carlile
19 Jun 2005The Parting of the Ways, by Kenneth Baxter
19 Jun 2005The Parting of the Ways, by Rossa McPhillips
19 Jun 2005The Parting of the Ways, by Giles Flood-Murphy
19 Jun 2005The Parting of the Ways, by James McLean
19 Jun 2005The Parting of the Ways, by Phil Christodoulou
19 Jun 2005The Parting of the Ways, by Roy Harrison
19 Jun 2005The Parting of the Ways, by Paul Wilcox
19 Jun 2005The Parting of the Ways, by Anthony Musgrave
19 Jun 2005The Parting of the Ways, by Mick Snowden
19 Jun 2005The Parting of the Ways, by Andy Griffiths
19 Jun 2005The Parting of the Ways, by Matt Kimpton
19 Jun 2005The Parting of the Ways, by A.D. Morrison
19 Jun 2005The Parting of the Ways, by James Leach
19 Jun 2005The Parting of the Ways, by Richard Adamson
19 Jun 2005The Parting of the Ways, by Mark Jensen
19 Jun 2005The Parting of the Ways, by Mark Hain
19 Jun 2005The Parting of the Ways, by Corey McMahon
19 Jun 2005The Parting of the Ways, by Ken Holtzhouser and Jessica Jones
19 Jun 2005The Parting of the Ways, by Gregg Allinson
19 Jun 2005The Parting of the Ways, by Joe Ford
19 Jun 2005The Parting of the Ways, by David S McKee
19 Jun 2005The Parting of the Ways, by Stephen Swope
19 Jun 2005The Parting of the Ways, by Robert Tymec
19 Jun 2005The Parting of the Ways, by Eddy Wolverson
19 Jun 2005The Parting of the Ways, by David Lim
19 Jun 2005The Parting of the Ways, by Paul Hayes
19 Jun 2005The Parting of the Ways, by Stephen Lang
19 Jun 2005The Parting of the Ways, by Mike Eveleigh
19 Jun 2005The Parting of the Ways, by Richard Radcliffe
20 Jun 2005The Parting of the Ways, by Alex Gibbs
22 Jun 2005Bad Wolf & The Parting of the Ways (Joint review), by Paul Roper
22 Jun 2005Bad Wolf & The Parting of the Ways (Joint review), by Steve Manfred
22 Jun 2005Bad Wolf & The Parting of the Ways (Joint review), by Giles Holland
22 Jun 2005Bad Wolf & The Parting of the Ways (Joint review), by Paul Clarke
22 Jun 2005Bad Wolf & The Parting of the Ways (Joint review), by Ed Martin
22 Jun 2005Bad Wolf & The Parting of the Ways (Joint review), by John Byatt
22 Jun 2005Bad Wolf & The Parting of the Ways (Joint review), by James Tricker
22 Jun 2005Bad Wolf & The Parting of the Ways (Joint review), by Shane Anderson
22 Jun 2005Bad Wolf & The Parting of the Ways (Joint review), by Nick Mellish
22 Jun 2005Bad Wolf & The Parting of the Ways (Joint review), by Adam Kintopf
22 Jun 2005Bad Wolf & The Parting of the Ways (Joint review), by Andy Smith
22 Jun 2005Bad Wolf & The Parting of the Ways (Joint review), by Andrew Philips
22 Jun 2005Bad Wolf & The Parting of the Ways (Joint review), by Brian DiPaolo
26 Aug 2013Bad Wolf and The Parting of the Ways at the BFI, by Anthony Weight

The beginning of this episode started well. It left questions. Who had put them there? Why? How do they get out of it? As for the answering of questions (given that it's a two parter and so far unanswered questions are accounted for) I was quite impressed that there were no plot holes the size of Ben Nevis present.

It did seem at first, that Cap'n Jack's Trinny and Susannah bit was just a time/space filler (and also to give him something to do) but then again, the first half of the episode was run on a bit of a comedic ground. But, in true Whovian style, the tragedy came plummeting to Earth like an asteroid.

*slight spoiler for those who've not seen the episode*

When we all thought Rose had died, my reaction was the same as the Doctors. Silence. Shock. Horror. Disbelief. And utter joy when we found out that she was alive.

But trust the writers to throw us yet again by showing all those Daleks. My heart was going a mile a minute and it's pretty needless to say I cannot wait until the next episode.

I just hope 'Jayne with a Y' doesn't become the Doctor's new companion! She's insufferable! (could be a love interest for the Ninth Doc whilst he lasts though!)

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Wow. An alround sinister 12th Episode., turning the doctor lose in TV reality show hell where first prize is your life and losers leave this life with nothing coutesy of a disintegration ray. Cult TV within cult TV complete with the correct theme music and accurate voices allows you to connect with the episode as it borrows themes from the running man then drops a reference to a future president Schwartzenegger, whether this was intentional I can’t say.

The Doctor, not a man to be abducted against his will knows somethings up and sets about attempting to save his companions whilst attempting to identify his true as yet unseen foe. Acting is fantastic, Captain Jack stands out most notably for producing a weapon from the most unlikley of positions after some truely narscistic dialogue with two robots that seem intent removing his legs and sitching them to his chest.

Things fall into place, the episode plays out a gripping pace leaving you eager to receive next weeks installment of the series, answering some questions but wetting your appetite with more enticing brain teasers.

Will the doctor survive? Who is the mysterious voice, the Master, Davros and as yet unknown thrid party affiliated with the Daleks. Why did he/she save them, whats their agenda?

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Oh....my....god. How amazing was this episode. As a fan of Big brother I got quite a tingle hearing Davina Mccall say "Can the Doctor please come to the diary room". Then hearing her say "You are live on channel 4400, please do not swear".

The episode started off light heartedly with the Big Brother theme tune playing over the scene, then as the show went on we met the amazing Anne Droid and also Trinny and Sussanah's droids. The first half was really funny with all the game show jokes and it was a great feel to the episode. Russel T Davies had brought the futuristic reality shows to life in such a perfect way. So so good. I loved how the makers managed to get the real Anne Robinson, Davina Mccall and trinny and Sussanah. All praise to them for willing to do it and all praise to channel 4 for giving them permission.

While a couple of the housemates couldn't act, I did like the girl who went with the Doctor and was praying she's survive. Might even make a good companion one day. It was quite a scary thought to think of these people being picked at random and then being disintegrated. Quite scary.

But just when you thought the episode was going to be all about this, then all the Bad Wolf references made complete sence. Loved the flashback method of linking all the stories.

Seeing the Doctor realise that it was him who had caused all this, albeit manipulated into it, was truly great. The Doctor, as bron Slitheen said last week, moves on and very rarely see's the consequences of his actions.

I loved all the Bad Wolf references and the scene where jack had his clothes removed brought a smile to my face.

But then when Rose was shot down and thought dead my heart sank. For a brief second I really did think that was it for her. I thought maybe all the season 2 rumours were just that, a way of making this such a shock. By decieving us in the way the tv series 24 does with it's rumour mill.

The reactions from the Doctor and Jack were spot on and I genuinly felt for them both, and Rose too. This story emphasised how well the Doctor and Rose work and how jack was a great addition.

But just when you thought the episode couldn't get any better they revealed there trump card.....The DALEKS. oh...my...god they looked amazing. The way they menaced Rose and there space fleet looked excellent. Loved the reaction of the Doctor realising they had survived the Time War. And I was cheering the Doctor when he made that speech "first i'm going to rescue Rose, then save the human race and then wipe out every last Dalek...Rose I am coming to get you". I just couldn't stop cheering. Then the site of millions of Daleks, on platforms, flying. The best cliffhanger ever and the preview looked fantastic. Can't wait for next week .

Just simply fantastic. This will hopefully silence a lot of the Russel T Davies critics. He make a blinder. 11/10

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It always seems to be the way - if the Slitheen turn up, the series really makes up for it in the next story.

"Bad Wolf" was fantastic - finally giving some answers to all those hints in previous episodes. Some nice continuity to THE LONG GAME, and some fantastic satire on Reality TV and gameshows in general. C'mon, admit it - wouldn't Big Brother really benefit from disintegration of evictees?

Of course, some of the tension this episode could've contained has been a little dampened because we know from media coverage that the Doctor regenerates after events in this two-parter, and because the revelation of the dalek fleet was shown in last week's teaser, but even so, the SCALE of that fleet is what fans of the pepperpots have been waiting to see since, ooh, about 1964.

The CGI effects really helped give this episode a sense of scale, and of course, the intimation that the Doctor screwed things up royally really brings us back to that most charming aspect of the Time Lord - he's a flawed hero.

There's the constant teetering on the brink of crossing that sacred Who line, breaking the rule of "the Doctor is never cruel, cowardly or violent", but it brings a human dimension to the character when we see just how much the Daleks push his buttons.

The Controller of the station is a marvellous evolution of the child/battle-computer seen in REMEMBRANCE, and shows just how well this new series links back to the past without alienating the audience. Another example is the telltale heartbeat throb of the Dalek ship.

All-in-all, BAD WOLF is a marvellous opening for a truly epic season finale - lets hope that PARTING OF THE WAYS takes us into the 10th Doctor with a bang, not a whimper.

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This episode I found was brilliant in the way that it was so mysterious. It is very good at that; especially in this episode because at the beginning you may get the feeling that you've missed an episode when actually you have not. People who have not seen this episode I hugely recommend it it to you but don't be fooled by the start for it will all come into place. The thing I find so exciting about it, is that it tells you what happened before-hand to get to this stage.....after. I recall some classic episodes do that same thing but it has been brilliantly modernised by the BBC in the 00s.

Of coarse, this was the episode named "Bad Wolf" so you can guess it would involve why The Doctor & Rose have been followed by these two words. At one point in this episode it showed flashbacks of some of the clues ,although, I didn't see all of them there. I still do not know if this "bad wolf" situation has been concluded. I know it's some kind of broadcasting company but I still don't see how people in, say, the Victorian Era will mention it & know what it is. Maybe it's just me misunderstanding things. The problem is, is that I know many people who watch the show & have not seen one clue (except the obvious one in "Boom Town"). So is there really any point in this system if some of the viewers havn't a clue that there are any clues at all? So, in a way I think it's a good idea although on the other hand I think that it's misunderstandable for some people.

Lynda. I ,& alot of other viewers, get the distinct feeling that we have a new companion awaiting The Doctor. She's a sweet character, most people such as The Doctor would say. But will she compare to Rose Tyler? When we first knew when the show was returning the thing we were unsure about was Billie Piper being in the show. But we were wrong & she's excellent! & I think she will get on with Lynda whilst The Doctor & Captain Jack will go off & do what men do. Characters is an important content of "Doctor Who" & the characters need variety in the way they look, act & talk.

I found it very exciting involving the prospect of Big Brother in the show. As well as The Weakest Link & What Not To Wear? Of coarse, there was a catch. You'll have to see the episode & see. But maybe this is what reality TV will become in many years time. Be afraid! We saw guest stars Anna Robinson, Trinny & Sussanah & Davina McCall all as robots. & yes, Anne Robinson is as evil as ever! We saw the Doctor as a housemate in Big Brother, Rose Tyler as a contestant in The Weakest Link & Captain Jack starring in What Not To Wear? Oh, & by the way, you don't want to know where Jack keeps his Compound Laser Deluxe.

And don't forget the return of The Doctor's worst enemies...

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After seeing the sneak preview at the end of "Boom Town" I was of course intrigued, but I assumed the Daleks must be part of a game designed to get at the Doctor. It opened well, reminding people of Episode Seven, and having the Doctor just appear in the Big Brother house was good for not getting stuck in that sometimes monotonous formula of "Where are we going to appear this time".

Including the Weakest Link with Anne Droid was clever and pulled off well. I was impressed with Fitch's( the weakest link in the first round) reaction to be voted off and when Rose realises what she's done she is horrified. Though Anne Droid did just look like an oversized Playmobil model.

Captain Jack in "What not to Wear" was contained far too many absurd things in it, such as the gun he was "Hiding". The jokes just don't mach the serious ending.

The Doctor's reaction to Rose's supposed death was done tastefully with the background noise being drowned out.

Now, the ultimate flaw of a good episode. The revelation of who is controlling and manipulating Earth, which was a suspenceful scene, was revealed to us almost exactly one week previously in the "Next Week" preview. Had we not known that the Pepperpot pests were going to appear I'm sure it would have been shocking. The Dalek scenes were'nt done tastefully at all. No interesting camera shots, other than the breathtaking zoom out of the Dalek fleet. Apart from that they just plonked them in front of a camera and had them do the hackneyed Vallainous "don't do nothin' or the girl gets it,"

Then cue some hammy dialogue from The Doctor in the vain of "Next Episode I'm going to do exactly what you expect me to and save the world, get the girl and kill you all!" which prompts the Daleks to say "He's probably right but let's have a go anyway," The there was a good shot of them flying about preparing for war.

I don't dislike the episode, more that it could have been better.

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Penultimate Praises

Daleks like they used to be
Decisive in their Borg like inhumanity.
En mass, looking like an epic
Film scene in their grand totality.

Costumes of smooth line design
Capturing their human procrastinators’
Of game. Twisted with satiric hate
These oppressive deadly metaphors.

Drama like it used to be
Targeted wisely to snare the whole family.
With Big Bros theme, and camera
Looking on Chris’ finality.

Arcing of immense planning
Meandering with intent this series through.
Treating audience with respect
All ages drink their level of the brew.

Bad wolf clues liberally
Sprinkled with flair but left inexplicably
In the air - here I lost their thread.
Who planned such clues so carefully?

Humour with innuendo
Of a homosexual kind continues so.
Nice to see our moral Doctor
Leave the gun, urging girl to leave the show.

Acting like it used to be.
Character driven with delivery
By Chris constant in rationale.
Compassionate for the needy.

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Well............ what do you say? The last time I sat gripped like that with me mouth open and me tea falling out of it, Id just been electrocuted,,,but thats what happened last night.

It started pretty normally, even though we didnt get a totally decent excuse how the three travellers were hi jacked from the TARDIS, but who really cares? The Doctor appears in Big Brother, and considering the current bunch of bizarre and weird sex mad bimbos we have in the genuine Ch4 series at present,,the Doctors housemates could have all been aliens and still seemed more normal. This thread played along fairly as expected, as did Rose on the Weakest Link,,theres been so many leaks and spoilers in the last few weeks that no one was unaware of the general theme of this episode.

Jack and his 'hidden' weopan??? well, it made me smile, but a little crude, even for this series where hes camping it up for Christmas, not that its an issue with me, I love camp humour,,just not sure if DR WHO is the right place for it.

The Androids were fairly basic in design,and followed the general theme of the shows, except with the killings, which werent killings as we found out.

When we discover that the Doctor himself is largely responsible for everything that has happened here, it suddenly becomes much more sinister and with the shows all coming from this present Earth time period, one has to wonder if Adam isnt up to his neck in all this ...he has the oppurtunity, the knowledge, is a genius,is potentially spitefull and very sly..maybe he was kidnapped after the Doctor dumped him and used,,who knows,....well, we will soon and I cant wait.

I cant rid myself of the suspicion that maybe the Doctor isnt who he appears to be either..its a rather elaborate trap dont you think?

All these episodes are nothing more than set ups, scripts and stories for them to play in for the amusement of someone or something else...it brings back memories of The War Games and Carnival of Monsters.Somehow the idea of the Daleks sat sitting, slippers on and sipping a mug of cocoa watching 'the zany adventures of the Doctor' on TV at night after a day of mad exterminations, doesnt feel right...their not interested in TV, plots, humiliation,,they just KILL.

Rose's killing was a shock,I know she doesnt die, i know she does more episodes,,but it was so well done,,that for just a few seconds, I thought 'Oh God'....but once that surprise wore off, it was obvious that she was elsewhere,,,which also beggars the question,,where are all the other humans killed playing these games?

Surely they are not this new breed of Daleks? Have they been first Entertainment and then fodder for the transmutation into a Dalek?

What an irony? Earth being destroyed by what were Humans origionally.

The scenes on the Dalek ship were magical and this where I stopped chewing ...the first thing we hear is that old familiar throbbing sound of so many Dalek episodes ...and then that distorted view of the Dalek gliding up behind the woman. Fabulous....and then to top all that, we have hundreds of ships whith thousands of Daleks, everywhere...goodness,it brings all those comic strips from the 60s suddenly to life, now we have the ability to show on TV what the artists painted decades ago..and wasnt it wonderfull?

Being a hardcore fan from way way back, I know roughly whats happening,so we know the Dr croaks, we know theres a mega battle,,but I suspect theres going to be so so so much more,,,maybe our little Dalek friend from earlier in the series reappears and helps Rose,,who knows,,,but whats for sure,is that next weeks episode is going to be amazing, with all the questions answered , some amazing effects which we just arent used to in this show and some more fabulous acting...

Finally,,,the acting,,cant ignore that,,Chris is just so good, and those final moments when he addresses the Daleks, you can see them back off a little,,this man has absolutely nothing to lose, and thats when people are at their very most dangerous.God I wish he wasnt leaving, these 3 just work so well together and this new Doctor due at Xmas,,well, he may be a fabulous actor,,but hes too young and pretty for me, and I find it hard to take that seriously.

Jack is Jack, charming, camp and very amusing, Im assuming some answers about his memory loss are answered too,,,but he just seems to thrive aboard the TARDIS, loving every single minute of it,which is portrayed to the audience watching...and then theres Billie,,Oh she is such a find,,thank god, we had these three actors to launch this series, its success is down to them,,obviously the Production team and all the Technicians too, but its They that we watch each week. Im very sorry Chris is going, despite the daft grins, hes a joy to watch, I only hope the new guy can follow his lead. We owe a lot to RTD, theres a huge amount of critism of him too, the camp, gay references especially,,,well I dont mind those,,thats a fact of life whether we like them or not,,,people dont like the Kitchen sink drama,,,I do,,it makes it more real, makes it easier for the new generations to associate with it, I do think however, maybe RTDs scripts havent been up to scratch with the other writers in this series, and thats a personal view,,Im not overly happy with endless farting monsters etc..but without him, we wouldnt be watching this series now..so credit and thanks where they are due.

Roll on next week..............

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And so the mystery is finally revealed - um, or is it?

'Bad Wolf' is an odd episode, by turns cringeworthy and gripping, slow and exhilirating. The words which have haunted the Doctor and Rose throughout their adventures belong to a shady organisation running Satellite Five, last seen in 'The Long Game'. To my knowledge, however, it was never adequately explained how the influence of this organisation manages to extend to all the various places the TARDIS crew have travelled. Perhaps in next week's episode...

The reality TV commentary is initially quite amusing and the everyday experience taken to the extreme is pure classic series. It does grate, however, with at least one scene too many for the Doctor, Rose and Jack in their respective shows before the plot really gets moving.

Rose's 'death', however, is played beautifully, as is the 'gearing up for battle' scene and the Controller (who could have been given more space for development and made a little creepier) reaching out for the Doctor's help. The Doctor's realisation that it is his fault that things have got so bad on earth is a very nice touch, also.

The biggest problem with 'Bad Wolf' is that it relies so completely on its final (spine-tingling) revelation to satisfy viewers that it leaves huge numbers of questions open. What are the Daleks up to? Why their interest in Earth? How much have they been manipulating the Doctor's travels? What do they want with all the humans they are teleporting to their fleet when they 'die' in the games? And why the phrase 'bad wolf'?

It is impossible to rate the episode properly until seeing 'The Parting of the Ways', but there seems a real danger that the season finale will focus so fully on the final battle, Rose's fate and the Doctor's last stand (not to mention what will happen to Jack) that all these 'why's that would justify the season-long build-up will just be left behind. And there is little more disappointing that a season finale which does not live up to its own build-up.

The reality TV idea is a good one, but I can't help but feel that it might have been better if RTD had placed it earlier in the season (instead of World War Three would have been nice, but it could easily have taken the place of The Long Game) and left 'Bad Wolf' to answer all the necessary questions before the final face-off.

That said, it's entirely possible that 'Parting' will answer everything, thus leaving 'Bad Wolf' as yet another solidly entertaining episode in a wonderful season of television. Only one week to find out and a regeneration just around the corner ...

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If there has ever been a better acting performance in the history of Doctor Who, feel free to exterminate this posting!

I think Christopher Eccleston's performance reached a peak which has never been seen before in Dr Who. The stunned realisation of the loss of Rose, almost appearing pschologically damaged to the extent that he was mentally gone for one brief moment, was brilliant. Then, to follow that, his almost spitting mad shouting at the Daleks as he boldly promises to save Rose from their clutches was breathtakingly awesome. I was just watching in sheer shock - and wow! Expect a certificate 12 when this DVD comes out again!

"Bad Wolf" was sublime Who mixing the quiz game show of the current into a horrific world of the future gone wrong where one wrong answer to a question could spell death. The dawn of realisation for Rose that it was more than just a gameshow was also superby acted out by Billie Piper and her scene when she realises that she is for execution was almost tear-jerking for this hardened Who viewer!!

I loved the starting trailer with the Dr realising he had been brought into a Big Brother household of the future. His response as he sat in the diary room was hilarious. Investigating the power and grip of quiz shows and the use of some of the original sets really grabbed the viewer and the Dr putting the pieces together and realising he could be evicted was also a stunning moment. His escape with a fellow contestant was wonderful as he persuades her to come and survive. Again, superb acting.

The story neatly interweaves previous stories and it was a neat touch to bring in the space station from "The Long Game". The Bad Wolf references and the title to the episode still provides more questions than answers. Captain Jack's makeover brought a neat touch of humour amid all the killing and he is really becoming a great character on the show and quite a match for the Doctor. He has really added some glamour to the role and I hope he continues h next season as he is a strong part of the show.

It was actually very difficult to find fault with Bad Wolf which maybe just goes to show what a fine piece of television it was. Some of the dialogue was of a very high standard and the interaction between Captain Jack and the Doctor is always highly amusing. There is a time and place for that certainly!

But forgive me for lapsing back to the finale which was simply superb and expertly created. This is what Dr Who has always been about ever since you were a kid. The Evil of the Daleks and Planet of the Daleks always tried out the army of Daleks but on a limited budget , lack of computer effects, and a bit of imagination, the show provided us with some decent mass Dalek scenesin the past. But try it with a big budget all singing and all dancing Dr Who production and the results are absolutely thrilling. "Exterminate the Dr!" reasonating from every Dalek at the end was truly astonishing. Again the dialogue between the Dr and the daleks was absolutely captivating, and like the early scenes of "Dalek", are among some of the best moments of the series.

It is wonderful that this new re-launched series of Dr Who is actually finishing with the Daleks. The time war has been lurking since the second episode and has been a constant thread throughout the new series which has added some real intrigue.

An amazing penultimate episode as the series builds up to a crescendo of excitement, danger and all out adventure. And ultimately it is the Bad Wolf that is behind it all.Roll on next week after another absolute classic.

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When I first found out that The Weakest Link and Big Brother were going to be in this episode I thought that Russell T Davies had lost the plot. However I have to say that after seeing the episode I am impressed at the way it was done. I am glad that Anne and Davina were willing to do the voices for the Anne and Davina Droids, I somehow don’t think it would have been the same if they hadn’t done them.

The Captain Jack makeover was quite amusing to, this is a character that I like and will be sad to see go. The reminder of all the Bad Wolf references was a nice touch. Then for the 1st time that I can remember this series, The Doctor looked distraught and lost; when he thought that Rose had been disintegrated. The panning out on the fleet of Dalek ships added to the drama and the way they showed the hundreds of Daleks on the ship was a great touch to I felt, complete with a couple of Daleks in hover mode.

I must confess that overall I have not been a great fan of the Russell T Davies episodes to much, but with this episode I have to give credit where credit is due. If someone had told me a year ago, that in the new Doctor Who series, the Daleks would be controlling TV Stations broadcasting The Weakest Link and Big Brother amongst other things, I would have laughed at them. Indeed last week when I saw the trailer for this week’s episode I still wasn’t sure. But in my opinion Russell has done a fantastic job on this episode and I am looking forward to next week’s episode.

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Well, what can I say? Words can scarse compel me to begin describing the brilliance of what I've seen today.

Picture this, the psychotic Ann Robinson droid, with Rose before her, laughing as if it is all a joke but then sensing the sinister truth behind the gameshow facade. Rose soon begins to quake as the Add droid disintegrates a contestant.

The Doctor on the other hand finds himself in the Big Brother house and I can tell you, it's not as bad as you may all think. I began watching this episode with dread for what the BB content was going to do to it, but let me tell you, everything in the episode was put together brilliantly.

Captain Jack naked...mmm rather tasty if I do say so myself. After blasting the Trinny and Susanna bots head off our sexy hero makes a dash for it and finds the Doctor with a new friend, Lynda with a Y not an I.

Things get heated as the Doctor witnesses Rose disintegrated herself, turned to a mere pile of ash (pity though, the resiliant cow escapes death aboard a Dalek saucer).

As the episode draws to a climatic cliffhanger, the Controller, a human linked to the Game Station computers is beamed off the ship where she is exterminated by the Daleks after completeing whatever ghastly plan the Daleks had set her to.

The Doctor is told by Jack that Rose is still alive and uncovering the Dalek saucers, he engages them in conversation.

The Daleks and their saucers...wow! Excellently done, a true homage to the sixties designs. Rose is held as hostage to force the Doctor to whatever plan the metal meanies have in mind. He tells them 'No'.

So the episode ended. But what of next week?

Doctor "But how did you survive the Time War?" he asks the Daleks onboard their ship.

Unknown voice "They survived through me" a familiar Dalek-like voice come from behind the Doctor. Is this Bad Wolf?

Overall, I would give this episode ten out of ten. Russell. T. Davis, you're a genius!

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No, No, NO!!! Doctor Who is SF not fantasy and therefore needs a plausible reality extrapolated universe to inhabit otherwise all plausibility is lost. The success of the Star-Trek franchise is because they take it seriously and make the viewer believe. Personally I do not believe that:

1) a so called 'transmat beam' could pluck him and his companions out of the previously impregnable TARDIS.

2) the Doctor would yet again arrive on Space Station 5 - perhaps the most tedious place in the universe unless the sets and CGI had to be reused for budgetary reasons: expect Maureen to turn up at any moment...

3) 200+ years in the future the occupants of Earth will still be watching late 20th Century TV shows ('Ground Force?!!) whether they involve termination or not. If you want to make a point about the current state of TV then you're going to have to be a lot more artful and inventive than this to pull it off - sixth form rubbish. Robotic Trinny & Susannah/Anne Robinson? Candyman anyone?

4) the Doctor would make a scientific howler of the first magnitude: when describing the Dalek's stealth technology he says (and I paraphrase): "... nothing can reveal them: not radar, .... or sonar.." SONAR?! Hardly surprising that a sound based ranging system won't work in a vacuum right? This is typical of the pseudo-scientific rubbish that infests the series. It just shows that the writers are not of a sufficient quality to handle SF. At least the pseudo-science in Star_Trek is plausible within its own context even if it is based on zero fact: Dr Who is just plain ignorant and it ruins the series for anyone with a brain.

5) The 'Ultimate Killing Cyborgs' (tm) capture Rose and threaten to kill her unless the Doctor does what they ask. He says 'no' and they are so surprised that they get flummoxed, forget about Rose and trundle off in a panic to finish their dastardly scheme in a hurry just in case... For heaven's sake... :-(

6) If the Daleks wanted the Doctor dead then they had endless opportunities and logically the power to implement any of them (this may become a plot point so with this point I'm on shaky ground). It does have a whiff of Dr Evil about it: explain how the Doctor is going to die long enough for him to escape.

In summary what I'm really saying is that the creators of the series are out of their depth. They got it right with 'Empty Child' and 'Father's Day' but that only serves to highlight the deficiencies in the rest of the series. Poor writing for kids instead of quality writing of a winning SF series. A terrible wasted opportunity and typical of the BBC.

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Say what you will, but that Russell T Davies chap knows a thing or two about timing. The children's BBC forums have recently voted Dr Who their favourite TV show (trouncing the previously unshakeable Simpsons); their favourite subject for a new message board (beating Buffy, hobbies and mobile phones into the ground), and very nearly their favourite thing (narrowly defeated by Harry Potter, but still way ahead of friends, family and food). The only thing that could possibly topple the series from its television supremacy was that annual festival of relentless shrieking vacuity Big Brother. So what does Russell T do? The impossible, as usual. He puts the Doctor in the Big Brother house.

Genius.

Beyond genius. Shameless commercialism. And quite, quite impossible. Endemol will never agree to it. The BBC will never agree to it. The viewers will never tolerate it.

Wrong, wrong, wrong. Everyone says yes. Just this once, Rose - everyone says yes.

Never mind that this is technically a sequel to an earlier (and, unjustly, not very well liked) story. Never mind that the splitting up of the TARDIS crew makes for a slightly repetitive opening. Never mind that the tying up of loose ends from earlier in the series requires some clumsy exposition, or that there isn't as much humour as you'd expect, or that Captain Jack once again pulls a solution out of his ass. For once let's not even mind that the incidental music is obtrusive and repetitive, given that this time that's the whole point. Bad Wolf is, despite all that, genius.

By this time you can write the reviews in your sleep, and maybe that would be better. I can't say what's so good about this episode, the spoiler-pressure is all but insurmountable. The bit where - ! Well, yes. Or that moment when - but no. Can't be done, it would ruin the whole thing (which is why, perhaps, the Beeb does need its knuckles rapped over the preview from Boom Town, although that's still only the half of it). So go ahead. You know how it goes. The script is sharp, witty, pacy and powerful. The design is (even as rehash of sets from reality TV shows and The Long Game) deft, daft and intelligent, a perfect blend of human and alien. The central TARDIS trio of Jack, Rose and the Doctor are all snappily written and brilliantly portrayed. The additional characters are fun, instantly recogniseable, elegantly honed. Every beat is on the money. Every shot a corker. And though you may not know this yet, the pitch-perfect shaping of the central emotional drama is... perfect.

And the truly extraordinary thing - by which I mean, of course, the truly extraordinary thing other than the fact that none of this is even remotely the best thing about it, but I can't tell you that, can't say that, can't stand the confusion in my mind - is that this is just what we've come to expect. We'd feel cheated if we got any less. Because these days, that's what Doctor Who is.

Let me tell you this. I was in a pub last night. Perfectly ordinary pub. Then someone shrieks in horror - they've done it again! They've missed an episode of Dr Who! And suddenly, everyone joins in. Geeks squabble about time paradoxes. Near strangers argue over whether Dalek or The Empty Child was more scary. Perfectly intelligent people attempt to say Raxacoricofallapatorius. Ridiculous, but true.

And the day before: another conversation, in another pub, about how everything on television is rubbish these days. I never watch it, gruff men with pipes staunchly declaim. Absolute twaddle. Nothing worth watching. Oh, except Dr Who, of course. Unheard of, but that's the way it was.

And then today, the reason this is more relevant to Bad Wolf than all the others, and the real reason next week's finale can never, ever hope to live up to expectations. My mum, my actual mum calls me, seconds after the music fades, to gush that tonight's episode was the most exciting piece of telly she'd ever seen. Impossible. Absolutely impossible, like getting the BBC and Channel 4 to co-operate, one using the other's format to parody the very nature of television, and no-one seeming to mind. But I swear to god, it happened.

This is not the world I grew up in. I always knew this was the best show in the world. No-one ever agreed with me. But thanks to Russell T, just this once - everyone says yes.

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This episode was excellent. Doctor Who in 2005 has proved beyond doubt the durability of the series as a social metaphor and modern-day myth. I hope it runs for another 27 years.

‘Bad Wolf’ triumphantly combined the surrealism of 60s episodes like ‘Celestial Toymaker’ and ‘Mind Robber’ with the ironic self-reflexion of the McCoy era and beyond. I also thought the starting had echoes of ‘Inside the Spaceship’, when the characters wake up and don't know what's happened to them, and the interior of the Dalek spacecraft was subtly reminiscent of the sets used in the 60s serials.

The strength of the series has always been its versatility, and this episode moved effortlessly from comic satire to sci-fi horror. The first scene and Eccleston's line before the titles were some of the most flippant and self-aware of the season, but the last scene was one of the most dramatic and exciting cliff hangers of the whole series.

The reality and humiliation TV sketches were great - the four guests are good sports for taking part. The social commentary was nicely tied into the development of the story. Anne Droid's laser comes from her lips, a deadly ray of verbal abuse. Trine-E and Zu-zana promise to give somebody a make over, but really want to kill their character. And Big Brother contestants are vain or insecure victims who equate unpopularity with death.

What’s more, this episode was scary. By taking very familiar names, images and voices and making them covertly threatening, the programme makers have pulled off a neat trick. Trine-E and Zu-zana are some of the best monsters of the whole series, a post-modern combination of Tabby and Tilda and the Candyman. I only wish Jack hadn't been able to dispose of them quite so easily before they got to work.

My previous reviews have questioned the portrayal of the Doctor as a useless, emotional and vindictive character who gets things wrong far too often. This evening's episode finally answered the questions that have been piling up for too long. The breakthrough came in the last ten minutes when the Doctor tooled himself up with the biggest gun he could find, only to throw it away at the critical moment. Then, having bungled so many times in the last season, often leaving others to get him out of a mess or pick up the pieces, he finally took responsibility for what was happening to Rose and pledged to do something to stop it. I could almost see something of Hartnell's Doctor in Eccleston as he stood up the Daleks. There was something noble and brave about it - self-important without being arrogant - that called to mind the first Doctor and his confrontations with the creatures.

The arrival of the Daleks was also great. Having complained before that a Dalek on its own just doesn't work, because fascism is a social doctrine, I was excited to see so many Daleks reciting their racist cry. That’s what's frightening about them. When you look closely enough, it is possible to see in them the human horrors that blighted the twentieth century by brainwashing the individual into a philosophy of obedience and hate. And they're back at last.

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‘Who’s afraid of the big bad wolf?’ I’ll admit that I was afraid of ‘Bad Wolf’, because I thought that the ingredients for this episode, Big Brother, The Weakest Link, celebrity cameos Daleks, and the potential revelation of who or what Bad Wolf is, would, if not handled brilliantly, result in a mess. Indeed as Russell T. Davies had been arguably the only writer on the 2005 series to fail to deliver a classic episode, I really did not think he could pull off what was needed to make this work. Thankfully my fears were groundless and what was broadcast was a very strong and exciting 45 minutes of television, which had me totally hooked from start to finish.

The opening of the episode is well structured. The three main cast members materialise in different locations from T.V. land with no idea of how they got there, which is in some ways reminiscent of the Mind Robber Part Two. There seems little danger to their situation however, until slowly the apparently deadly nature of the games they are playing is revealed, and they have to try to escape. This leads on the shockingly brilliant twist that Rose does not escape and is seen to be killed. I’ll admit for a few minutes I really believed Rose was dead, and the publicity over Billie Piper’s role in series two had been a rouse, not least because of the obvious successor to her introduced moments earlier in a clever piece of writing by Davies. Lynda’s following the Doctor against her male friend’s advice on the promise of adventure is of course a nice parallel with Rose leaveing with the Doctor against Mickey’s wishes at the end of ‘Rose’. Of course Rose’s ‘death’ turns to be a bluff, but nonetheless her seemingly being atomised was a truly shocking moment. Her reappearance on the alien spaceship was also pleasing not least because of the familiar humming sound effect that told long time Doctor Who fans exactly whose spaceship this was.

Yes the Daleks are definitely back, and Joe Ahearne reiterates this by cleverly echoing their first appearance at the end of ‘The Daleks/Mutants’ part one. The spirit of the 1960s is also invoked with the scenes of hundreds of Daleks and Dalek ships, which look like modern updates of images from the epic Dalek saga from the pages of TV21. This is a treat for fans and older viewers, but these scenes will also surely impress new viewers, for they are visual spectacles. I suspect these moments will prove to be seen as as iconic in forty years time as the sixties ones of the Daleks on Westminster Bridge and the Cybermen emerging from the Tomb are seen as today. All credit to the special effects team for pulling this off. They deserve a BAFTA!

The other great thing about this episode is the Doctor. We see him as the flawed hero, as his actions in the ‘Long Game’ were well intended but have caused this nightmare he is now in. We also see him as vulnerable. He is totally distraught when Rose seems to be dead, and for once really looks like he is beaten. Then there is his speech to the Daleks and Rose at the end. No, he’s not going to give up and surrender, he’ll save Rose, fight the Daleks and he will win. This reminds us what the Doctor is all about and almost serves as a manifesto for the series. Eccleston is brilliant in all these scenes, being totally convincing whether the Doctor is devastated (at Roses loss), bored, e.g. at the time of the first eviction, or angry, e.g when he confronts the Floor five hundred personnel. Most of all, his Doctor comes across as a determined crusader who wants to help his friends and the people he meets like Lynda. It’s sad the Ninth Doctor will soon be no more.

Aside from the Doctor the other characters were also engaging. Unlike in ‘Boom Town!’, Jack was seen to fill a useful role as someone who can work with the Doctor close to his own level. Rose fills the more traditional role in this story of the companion in peril, but Billie Piper gives her usual excellent performance, particularly during the ‘Weakest Link’ when she realises with horror what elimination from the game means. Indeed this is perhaps the most successful of the game segments, with the terrified women contestant begging to be given another chance, the scheming Roderick, who only cares about his own survival, and the Ann-Droid’s ruthless dispatching of its victims. Lynda from the Big Brother house is also an interesting character, who would make a good companion, which as I said helps makes Rose death so believable.

This is part one of a two part story and RTD does not ever forget this, and keeps plenty in reserve for part two. We still do not entirely know who/what Bad Wolf is other than that they are connected to the Daleks. Nor do we learn much more about the Time War and the Doctor’s role in it. Also how will/can the Doctor save Rose and defeat the Daleks? New questions are also raised. How did the Daleks survive the War? What happened to the other game players, if they were not killed? Why are the Daleks interested in earth? This episode also fits brilliantly into the series as a whole. It explains the relevance of the ‘Long Game’s’ title and ties up it lose plot ends. It also has some nice flashbacks to key bad wolf references. (One minor continuity nitpick: Rose did not see Bad Wolf One landing in Dalek so she should not remember it here.)

There were a few other flaws. I felt that the ‘100 years later’ caption spoiled what could have come as a surprise to the viewer- namely that the games are being played on satellite 5- which could have easily been revealed when the Doctor realises it himself later in the episode. Moreover why does everyone in 200,100 dress like its 2005? Also I wonder if the cultural references will make this episode seem dated in a few years. Nonetheless this is easily Russell T. Davies best piece of writing for the series so far, and sets up what promises to be an excellent finale.

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Aliens in London'/'WW3' were among my least favourite episodes, yet last week's 'Boom Town' proved unexpectedly watchable -- so I didn't switch off the television when another of my season lows, 'The Long Game', stepped into the reprise spot. I hated the idea of reality tv for higher stakes (there's got to be a pile of sf stories that play that card). Played out, though, it was more enjoyable than I'd anticipated: Jack's Dayna reprise was cute, and some of the re-envisaged programmes were hilarious ('Ground Force', who knew?). The rapid intercutting of the three scenarios generated enough tension to drive things along.

In contrast, the stuff on the station felt like a return to the old running-round-in-corridors paradigm, and I worried that the Controller had been borrowed from somewhere else ('Minority Report'?). Despite the Bad Wolf references all season, the dramatic end seemed to come out of nowhere in particular.

In the plus column, 'Bad Wolf' features another strong performance from Eccleston, who just seems to be getting better & better, and there are tonnes of solid supporting performances: Rodrick, Strood, Crosbie, Broff, Davage... in fact pretty much everyone except Rose clone Linda-with-a-y; here's hoping she's the obligatory female sacrifice for the finale.

Joe Ahearne's directed some of the most visually exciting episodes of the series, and 'Bad Wolf' has pretty shots aplenty: Davage's blue-lit face when we first see level 500 & the Dalek in reflection struck me particularly. On the other hand, the Dalek fleet had an Ed Wood saucer-on-a-stick feel about it.

Despite my doubts about the ending, it does make an excellent concept cliff-hanger... How did the Controller bring the Doctor to the station? Did she plug in all the Bad Wolf references? How? Is there some link with the soul of the Tardis? What are the Daleks doing with all the losing contestants? Are Jack's missing two years relevant to the Time Wars? Did the Doctor somehow bring about the Time Lords/Daleks destruction? Will he do the female thing, & sacrifice himself to save the world? Will he have to choose between saving Rose & Rose clone? And the biggie: how are they ever going to tie everything up in 45 minutes?

I just hope some of the above will prove to have interesting answers....

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For about the first 30 minutes of this episode I thought to myself, what a loud of crap. It was absolutely terrible, mainly cause I've never been a huge fan of reality TV, and I absolutely hate Big Brother. There were alot of things that I really hated about this episode, and one of them was Captain Jack, I really can't stand him, he is like a mosquito that won't go away. The character is so arrogant, and just seems to have no purpose in any of the stories that he has been in, he should've had one episode and thats all. I espeically hated when he was touching the androids breasts. I really was hoping that when the androids arm became a chainsaw that she would do the world a favour and chop his head off.

I do have to admit though that the climax of the story was brilliant, really tying in the Bad Wolf references that we have so often heard throughout every episode this series. However I still don't understand how Bad Wolf being graffitied on the TARDIS or a small mention by Gwenyth has to do with the Daleks invasion. It was an excellent build up, and by the time you got to the climax you completely forgot all about the stupidity of the first 30 minutes.

The final few shots of the Daleks in their ships were just magic, as were the previews for next week. And is it just me or did I hear Davros at the end!!!! I really hope that the end solution to this is not that the Daleks get completely wiped out, I think it would be terrible, the Daleks should live on. But I do hope that in the wake of this epsidode that Captain Jack gets killed, and that the BBC get a new Producer/Head Writer for the series. Sorry Russell, but if the Daleks weren't in this episode then it would've been just another one of your pathetic epsiodes. Funny enough however this has been the only RTD episode that isn't based around characterisation, but the first 30 minutes of rubbish really spoil the episode. I thought the story could've worked without references to shows like Big Brother and the Weakest Link. I did however like the reference to the Long Game, and how we see the consequences of the Doctor's actions in that episode, and that it isn't always 'and they lived happily ever after'.

Overall, the climax of this episode is exellent, just looking at 200 Dalek ships preparing for battle is unbelievable, but as mentioned previously the first 30 minutes were absolute rubbish. I really hope the next episode doesn't ruin the best cliffhanger for the season, and I pray that the last episode for the series isn't going to be more RTD rubbish.

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I'm trying very hard not to overload on the superlatives, but "Bad Wolf" feels like the episode I always knew RTD had in him, but which he hadn't been able to deliver.

Put quite simply, my view is that this epsiode was possibly the most perfect episode of Doctor Who of the series, and even perhaps of all 30+ years of Doctor Who. It was packed full of humour, pathos, excitement, drama, questions and satire. The pacing was terribly well judged and as the climax built you knew that any moment that famous 'Dr Who' scream of the theme music was going to come, and you kept willing it to stay away for as long as possible. And then the post-credit sequence allowed an exciting glimpse of next week's episode and then suddenly next week seemed such a long way away. I punched the air with excitement and then I just had to sit there for several minutes before I could pick my jaw up off the floor, and the adrenaline subsided. Suddenly I was 10 years old again, watching Tom Baker in Genesis of the Daleks. It was a riveting and dramatic episode.

For the first time in the series, I honestly think that RTD has done virtually nothing wrong. There is a question mark about how the transmat beam was able to move people out of the previously impervious TARDIS. (For what it's worth, my own view is that The Doctor's been involved in The Long Game for rather longer than he thinks - and that the Daleks have had him trapped, playing this game for some time, possibly to keep him out of the way) and that the TARDIS isn't the TARDIS, but a VR reconstruction - all part of the game.) Othewise, I found the episode utterly flawless. It's the first time I've watched an epside again straight after its first viewing (the only episode I have watched more than once was "Dalek" but it was several days before I felt that I wanted to see it again). I can hardly wait for next week's season finale - the worst thing about is that my girlfriend is dragging me off to a folk music night (oh dear!), so I've got to sit through all that music and wait until we get home before I can see the episode. It feels like torture! I think that The Parting of the Ways will be the best episode of the year. I really hope that RTD writes more episodes like this next year. If he does, we're in for an amazing second season.

For the record, I'd like to say that my view is that the man saying "the Daleks survived through me" is Davros.

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I probably was one of the few fans who didn't realise that the Daleks were gonna be back until I’d seen the trailer. So sadly all week I’d been really looking forward to it although slightly dubious of the Big Brother parody.

Congratulations to Russell T Davies for creating as far as I’m concerned 45 of minutes of a pretty much perfect Doctor Who. For me I felt the best elements of Doctor Who were there. It pulled off the satire extremely well, with the robots design excellent, very retro but menacing when revealing the "face-off" as the last part of Captain Jack’s make-over. An excellent scene revealing the Doctor creating the cause of earth’s fate. The CGI space station looked marvelous and the sets in general excellent.

Captain Jacks character here was used well, Billie Piper again exceling as Rose, Chris in top form as the doctor and I particularly like the controller, a small role but reminding us of how nasty the Daleks were. What surprised me the most was how caught up I was in the show, when it looked like Rose died, for 10 minutes I was thinking maybe she had, the despair of her death was apparent and so well acted even by the regulars.

But what made this for me the perfect Doctor Who was the sense of sitting there watching it, totally immersed in the show. Having been saying to my friend watch this show, and she didn't until last night’s episode, her email this morning said I watched and now I wish I watched the whole series She watched it with her son and her son loved it as much as her.

I would comment on the script, and the designs and the acting but for me they were secondary to the atmosphere of the show. The final five minutes of the show for me was one of the greatest moments in Doctor Who history. Finally when we hear about the Dalek taskforce, we don’t just hear, we see, we saw thousand of ships, the CGI work here was outstanding and as they pull away to see the ships. Then we see the usual 3 daleks threatening the doctor, looking I felt very retro but conjuring up images of Doctor Who of old. I felt the last scene was the clincher for me as the camera pulled back revealing a huge army of Daleks, finally we see a Dalek army looking magnificent, bringing up images of the comic as they fly. In that moment, I was a kid again watching doctor who, I genuinely went WOW, and then our Doctor goes heroic and tells the rose he coming to get her and the end credits rolled and I was gutted. But not gutted because of bad scripts or wobbly acting but because I’ve got to wait a whole week before I get to see what happens. Perfect cliff hanger.

Congrats to Davies… he’s filled his promise, and the only thing that bugs me now is how long its gonna be till next Saturday nite ...

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This was on of the most unoriginal doctor who’s episodes of the season. Second only to its predecessor “The Long Game” Now I’m not saying the episode was bad… “The Long Game” was nothing more them a Doctor Who version of the 80’s cyber punk series “Max Headroom”, While “Bade Wolf” is again an steal form yet another (not very good) 80’s cyber punk film “The Running Man” These concepts of course were not strictly original to these earlier films and TV shows, but non the less are old and stale concepts by today’s standards.
,br>Oh great more Daleks. Before I continue let me tell everyone that I’m an American who loves Doctor Who, but hates the Daleks. Why because Doctor Who, thanks to regenerations has been successfully updated with the times, the Daleks are just stupid old fashioned robots who speak in really annoying staccato like all stupid and annoying robots from the 50’s and 60’s (Yes I know there really not robots). For a non–UK relatively young fan, the Daleks are not even kitschy fun. They’re just boring and annoying, I cringe whenever they appear. There I said it, flame away.

Again the show did have its moments. The Doctor being completely bored by the reality show he was placed in was appropriate, Captain Jack hiding a gun up his ass also had a great modern twist on the show. But the show really is confused with the role of Rose. In the first episode rose was the hero and able to take care of her self. But ever since she has become useless, like a typical old-fashioned female sidekick, always in trouble, or making a mistake because she can’t control her female emotions.

The series overall has had real problem balance. They were successful in updating the interior of the Tardis, the special effects to just the right level of cheese, and the pacing of the show. But they did almost nothing with the Daleks, The Cybermen (I dread when they appearance), and the bad rubber suits for the Slitheen’s go beyond cheesy fun to just (to use the English expression) rubbish.

The show lacks a sense consistency that hopefully they’ll figure out in a season or two.

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It sounded as though Russell T Davies had gone absolutely barmy. Big Brother. What Not to Wear. The Weakest Link. And Daleks? And yet it has resulted in one of the best episodes of the year, a cutting satire that reminds you of the extremes reality TV can be taken to and a gripping build up to the final, climatic episode. I was astonished at how excited I got during this episode, at the beginning I was groaning, halfway through I was roaring and at the end I was positively glowing. If anybody was still unconvinced that RTD is the man to bring Doctor Who back on the screen than surely this episode has put that to rest.

I think a lot of this episodes success is down to Joe Ahearne’s outstanding direction. To be fair to the man, he has not delivered a single bad shot and has already wowed us with his dramatic flair (Father's Day) and his visual eye (capturing the locations of Cardiff beautifully in Boom Town). This had to be Ahearne’s trickiest episode yet and the one that could so easily fall flat on his face if he didn’t get the atmosphere perfect. And he has done it in the only way possible, playing the reality TV gone mad deadly straight so that the viewers are on the edge of their seats willing the participants to survive. It could have been so easy to camp it all up and poke fun but instead RTD and Ahearne take the very simple premise of you lose you die to the extreme and the result is nail bitingly tense. I loved it.

After Dalek had aired I exchanged several e-mails with a friend discussing the merits (or otherwise) of trimming Jubilee down into its TV counterpart and losing its disgusting humour. I said, and maintain, that something defining was lost in that transition, that Jubilee’s unique brand of sick humour was what made it so unique. You were laughing at the macabre events taking place (such as the insane President of the English Empire receiving a gift of a midget from the American people who he wants to shove inside another Dalek casing and pretend he has his own Dalek army. Alas, midget is too small and he has to cut his arm off to fit him inside!) but you weren’t sure whether you should be laughing because it is all so gross. I love it when a story can have that effect on me, making me feel uncomfortable enough to squirm. Bad Wolf had a similar feel to it. Clearly the idea of game shows like The Weakest Link being run by an Anne Droid (brilliant name) who kill off its contestants when they lose is an absurd idea and very funny but when played as seriously as this (look at the first actress to be voted off, she is absolutely shitting herself!) it becomes something worth getting worried about. This brand of confliction kept me riveted throughout. The only game show that didn’t leave me in a cold sweat was What Not to Wear but that featured one of my favourite sequences on television ever (where the unbelievably horny Captain Jack, stark bollock naked, pulls a gun out of his ass!)…and to be fair it was certainly the funniest of the lost, provoking shrieks of delight as the man was stripped off his clothes (we’re a very sheltered bunch!).

I have for a long time now been despairing at the state of the TV schedules and the overload of trashy reality TV that has been forced upon us. I asked a friend at work the other day what on Earth did we have left that could possibly be analysed. Celebrity toilets? Public executions…you vote for the method? Reality TV seems to me to the laziest excuse for television, a cheap way of filling up the screen time and making stars out of complete nobodies who do not have a shred of talent (unless you really think that Jade Goody is worth listening too?). Drama’s (Doctor Who) recent win against reality TV (Celebrity Wrestling) has proven that the public have grown out of these childish excuses for television want something that has had a bit more effort out into it. They want plots. They want characters. They want television that you have to watch rather than any old dispensable rubbish you can switch over halfway through. It cracks me up that Doctor Who is providing that service whilst also sending up reality TV. And Bad Wolf shows you just how far it can go if you let it. Look at I’m a Celebrity Get Me out of Here…you may as well be executed after serving a poor term on that show…your career is as good as over! The sad truth of that matter is that reality TV as portrayed on Doctor Who is far more entertaining than your standard reality far because people are being killed off. I think it would dangerously addictive if this were reality. I think we should stop this cancer before it spreads! Gosh, I do have a flair for the melodramatic but you get my point, the potential for this to get out of hand and be hugely successful is there. Never underestimate how far people will go to be entertained...how many people used to attend public executions in good Queen Mary’s time?

I haven’t experiences build up frenzy this good since the good old days of DS9. Russell T Davies sure knows how to whet your appetite for next week. It’s a shame that the Daleks involvement was spoiled in the teaser last week (although I’m sure that couldn’t be helped, what with the ratings to worry about and all) as he has constructed this script very skilfully to conceal their involvement until the last possible moment. He has been building up this episode and its surprise re-appearance of the Daleks since The End of the World and it is very rewarding for the constant Bad Wolf references to finally get explained. He even manages to salvage something from The Long Game, answering some of my criticisms about the Doctor’s suddenly rush to leave in that story, explaining how and why the Jagrafess was installed AND (most brilliantly of all) clarifying what that incomprehensible (at the time) title meant. Very, very clever, considering how impressed I have been with his plotting and climaxes (oo-er) I should have known better to have doubted him. See Cornell, this is how it should be done.

Eccleston has really hit his stride now and is delivering flawless performances week after week. It is a shame he should be cut away from Barrowman and Piper so much considering this is their penultimate episode together but that cannot be helped in a script that requires each of them to face a different challenge. I love that sense of danger he portrays now, with each successive episode the ninth Doctor is becoming the scariest Doctor of the lot and not because he is wrestling people next to a vat of acid (nowt wrong with that anyway) or cyaniding them to death but because he constantly acts as though he has got nothing to lose. As the last surviving member of his race there is a bitter, resigned side to him that cannot abide evil in the universe and will snuff it out through whatever means necessary. So when he says he will escape the Big Brother house, you believe him. When he rushes to save Rose from the Anne Droid, you believe he will. When he stands in front of thousands of Daleks and tells them he will bring them down no matter what you bloody well believe him! He’s one mean mamma and not somebody I would ever want to cross. No other Doctor has seemed quite so determined to do things his way and considering his status as the last of the Time Lords he appears quite reckless. I like that a lot, Eccleston finally has a hook and runs with it. Its shame we wont be seeing more of this dangerous Doctor as I fear this nasty streak could be taken to real extremes and provide some great drama (although the sight of him facing off with a Dalek with a bloody great bazooka was scary enough!).

Billie Piper and John Barrowman continue in their periphery roles as companions with their usual panache. It shocked me how well the Doctor and Linda (with an I) were getting on in this episode, for a while it felt as though he had forgotten Rose and was willing to pick up anyone as a companion as long as she was sweet. I can see how Rose could be written out of the series now; she has served her purpose as the new companion, adjusting newcomers to this madcap life of the Doctor’s and dealing with all the family issues that come with it. I don’t want that to sound like faint praise because I think Rose has been the key to this series’ success and Billie Piper has been infectiously good in every episode. The only fresh place they can take her now is to deal with the Doctor’s regeneration which I have no doubt Piper and RTD will handle with their usual aplomb. Captain Jack on the other hand can stay a while simply because we haven’t had this sort of dynamic with the Doctor before, a charismatic action man who deals with much of the comedy and action and leaves the Doctor to do all the clever stuff. Barrowman is extremely confident with his characters identity and we haven’t even begun to scratch the surface of this sweet macho man. Certainly his scenes in this episode are brimming with confidence and his chemistry with the Doctor is highly entertaining. Plus, you know, you see him starkers.

This episode is one of the most visually stunning of the series so far with some excellent lighting and visual effects. The controller was another of RTDs whacko ideas that he pulls off, bleached in blue light, with fluorescent cables hooked all over he body, this is a highly disturbing image. Each of the game shows looks utterly authentic and snaps you into the banal and colourful world of reality TV with ease. The exterior shots of Station One are amazingly complex and the awe inspiring vista of Dalek ships with leave shivers crawling down your back. Boom Town was obviously the money saver for the last two episodes and it looks like it was money well spent. I love the retro look of the robots too, it matches the old fashioned Daleks and their colourful spaceships…it almost takes you back to the sixties when they were at the height of their power. And the final shot is certainly an eye opener; surely we have never had such a convincing picture of Dalek firepower painted for us before…?

Anything that didn’t work? I’m not sure about Jack waving that huge bazooka thing about…looked a bit too camp for my liking. And the Daleks behave rather like how you would expect them to rather than acting with the newfound menace from Rob Shearman’s tale. “WHAT IS THE MEANING OF THIS NEGATIVE!!!!”…hmm, looks like they are back to their old, campy selves.

But considering the list of hurdles this episode had to leap over it is amazing that it turned out as good as it did. Dark, dangerous and electrifyingly climatic, this is the most surprising episode of the year.

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Back in the mid 1990's I sent a letter to the BBC, addressed to Davros. I did this because I had a hunch that the Beeb had been taken over by the Daleks, such was their reluctance to bring the Doctor back to our screens. I received a reply from Viewer and Listener Corresponance, which perhaps proved my point!

Why mention this now? In "Bad Wolf", the Doctor and his companions return to Satellite 5 to find that the earth's entire TV output HAS been controlled by the Daleks for a century.

But this is not made clear to begin with. The episode opens with the Doctor, Rose and Jack beamed mysteriously from the Tardis into different game shows, all of which even casual TV viewers will be familiar with. The Doctor finds himself in a version of Big Brother where eviction means death, Rose is a contestant on the Weakest Link where the 'walk of shame' has been replaced by death...and Jack on a makeover show run by homicidal versions Trinnie & Susannah. All the game show hosts seem to be 'droids, and were voiced by their 21st century 'real life' personas to excellent effect.

Tension builds as we begin to realise that each and every show involves death or mutilation, but thankfully the Doctor and Jack are able to escape their games and rush to help Rose...but too late! I'm old enough to remember Adric being killed, but my wife was really shocked to see Rose shot. Even though we both know she appears in future episodeds.

Poignantly the Doctor discovers that all this terrible 'entertainment' began 100 years ago, at the point when he, Adam and Rose left Satellite 5 in "The Long Game". He believes that somehow he has caused this awful future for the people of earth.

The Doctor, Jack and the Big Brother housemates make their way to floor 500 to find the root of the mayhem, and discover a woman hooked Matrix-style to Satellite 5's systems. During a solar flare when the satellite is shut down she is able to tell the Doctor that she has been performing this job all her life, and that she does it for her masters, who she is forbidden to name. She's brought the Doctor here to bring an end to it all.

The Doctor surmises that the entire earth's population has been encouraged by air pollution and junk TV to sit inside doing nothing, and has been kept in the dark about something in orbit around the planet. Disabling a cloaking signal that the satellite is broadcasting he discoveres 200 Dalek ships readying themselves for an invasion. Not only this, but they have captured Rose in the belief that the Doctor won't attack them, and actually seem not to understand him when he says "NO".

All in all a superb episode, by far the best of the RTD-penned stories. We are still in the dark as to who or what the Bad Wolf is, though a small clue was given in the post-epsiode "next week" trailer. The tension is building to boiling point and next week's final episode will be essential viewing. I've read that some people believe the final two epsisodes should have been shown back to back, but the BBC is handling this perfectly. We will get teasers every day next week leading up to Saturday when all will be revealed. No instant gratification junk TV here.

A final word about the feel of the show. All the androids were excellently realised, the effects were very good indeed and we had the old Doctor Who feeling of not knowing what was going on until near the end of the episode, and of the Doctor working it all out. Like "The Unquiet Dead" and "The Empty Child/Doctor Dances" this episode balanced perfectly the need to update Doctor Who while keeping it honest to the previous 26 series. TV does not get much better than this.

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It's funny how a small minority can actually affect your perception of an episode before it airs. There has been a very vocal fan group who have had strong concerns over Russell T Davies output and regardless of the objective validity (and I for one am not condemning such opinion), one cannot help being infected by that concern, no matter how small the voice. Negativity is infectious; its voice is loud no matter how minor the group. I must confess that, despite enjoying most of RTD's work, I approached the teaser with a degree of non-objective concern. Parodies are dangerous things, and this episode from the very opening scene has no qualms about being so. Get too close to real life, and it can break that illusion of disbelief mainstream science fiction so desperately needs.

However, like Doctor Who of yore, "Bad Wolf" manages to superbly do parody and it couldn't be closer than this. Beyond the darker and more explosive second half, the first part of this story is very well handled. We have some great parody moments based on other British TV institutions. “The Weakest Line” and “Big Brother” are to name some of the more famous ones of recent times. By making such very close parodies (music, sets and voice work), it actually adds to the suspense of disbelief; vague parodies create vague parallels where the viewer doesn't really see the mimic being one thing or the other. "Bad Wolf" pulls no such punches!

Beyond the Reality/Quiz TV parallel here, we have a deeper and more evocative story. Maybe if this episode had just revolved around the parody, it would have really lost a lot of drive by any resolution. The gradual and slightly disorientating start slowly sets the stage for a grand finale ending. And what a grand finale it is.

Not only is it big (and I mean B.I.G), it's very well paced. No quick shock ending to leave the viewer feeling cheated, the ending is given time to grow and even gives away a few more revelations than one would have expected of Doctor Who in the past. Once upon a time we would have had simply the appearance of a squawking Dalek to create the cliffhanger, but not here. In "Bad Wolf" we have the appearance of the foe a good few minutes before the end that results in a story with a very satisfying mix of drama, parody, surprise and some fantastic dialogue.

Yes, the script for "Bad Wolf" is very strong; in fact, all aspects of the story remain tight. Any concern over the slightly unfinished feel to RTD's "Boom Town" can be quashed by one of the most solid pieces of story telling to date. Let's also remember, making a story that doesn't rely overtly on atmosphere, action and suspense for its entirety is very hard. This is a real mix of drama. Some clear tongue in cheek humour, some shocking revelations and some really powerful dramatic scenes all in one. This really is a story that builds, layer on layer and that really does underline the talents of this show's creator.

Whether you like his occasional bursts of humour, or his more character orientated plots, RTD knows his field, both as a producer and as a writer. He writes as he feels the show requires and the approval of the masses reflects this. "Bad Wolf is a perfect example of how RTD can write as he needs to. This is the shows penultimate story and he pulls back from overt humour to shows us a mind that cares and knows Doctor Who. This is tense Doctor Who without being over scary. It's the perfect equation of light entertainment and firm drama. Some older fans may prefer the likes of "The Empty Child", but if Doctor Who intends to survive, it's stories that offer a more family orientated balance such as this that will keep the show going.

As for the more specific elements - all top notch. The music is great with some more of the more gothic undertones announcing the Daleks. The acting is above par across the board and for the second week running, Eccleston gets a wonderful mix of light and very dark. This Doctor is really having to deal with his "meddling". In this light, "Bad Wolf" is a great follow up to "Boom Town" and elevates the importance of "Boom Town" in hindsight.

Final bow goes to Captain Jack Harkness, who provides a refreshing character type and a little additional humour throughout. RTD, if you are wise and bored enough to read this, whatever happens to Jack in the finale, consider his return. He's an asset to the crew bringing that extra something that neither the Doctor nor Rose can, something beyond his more violent capacities. His self-assured attitude, technical know how and utter juxtaposition to the Doctor makes him a fascinating and worthy addition to the crew dynamic. His role was comparatively small compared to the Doctor's, but nevertheless very noticeable.

Oh yeah, did I mention the Daleks much? No? Well I will leave it to the other reviewers to rave on their reinvention and application. They retain all about what Daleks should be and still manage to add something new.

Fantastic. Russell T Davies should be squirming with pleasure in his bed tonight knowing that it's a job well done. Only downside is it creates a very tough act to follow... and with the next episode being the finale.. Can it compare to the strength of “Bad Wolf”? "Time will tell", said one great man. With the Doctor having to deal with the ramifications of that statement in "Bad Wolf", I can't think of a more pertinent quotation to end on.

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I was very worried about this episode due to its reality television content. I hold the view that reality television is an extremely tacky form of programming, and though I may watch the occasional reality programme, on the whole I disagree with it. So upon learning that this episode would feature the Weakest Link (more a game-show than reality), Big Brother (the programme responsible for the reality craze) and What Not To Wear (fashion according to two badly dressed females) I didn’t hold high hopes for this episode. This wasn’t helped by HEAT, one of those tacky celebrity magazines, declaring that Russell T.Davies has written the episode especially for them. That, for me, was not a very good recommendation for the episode. But I still decided to tune in and see it for myself instead of relying on reviews and friends comments.

The episode wasn’t tacky which can only be a good thing. BUT that didn’t stop it having a few problems that did rather spoil my enjoyment of the show. For a start that Big Brother house looked far too small. It seemed to consist of the diary room, a small living room and the eviction corridor. What about everything else? The bedrooms, kitchen, dinning air, bathroom? The set felt very small and actually felt like a studio set, was that the point though? I doubt it. The Big Brother house may look weird and bizarre but rarely does it looks like a television set. But this one did. Seeing as they got permission to use the theme tune, the name/format, and the logo couldn’t they also have got permission to film in the real house? When this episode went into production the current series of Big Brother hadn’t started so surely it could have been possible? And couldn’t they have filmed on the real set of the Weakest Link instead of that very small and obviously fake one? The real one would have been much better and an audience watching the contestants could have been a sinister addition. An audience sheering at the apparent death of a contestant would have unnerved the audience and heightened the tension. Instead the Big Brother & Weakest Link sequences looked cheap, as if the budget had run out.

The robots looked dreadful, simply dreadful. They reminded me of some lego creation rather than a scientific creation. I think it would have been better to use Anne Robinson and others and just made them up to look slightly robotic. And in the Weakest Link the contestants could have been killed by a laser coming from Anne’s eyes, far better than a gun in the mouth. A nice close up to a pair of red burning eyes and then a laser shooting out and killing the contestant. Much more sinister and scary. Instead we got pathetic and cheap looking robots that ruined the sequences for me. Sure it would nice to have Anne Robinson, Davina McCall and those other two doing the voices but it would have been either better if they had actually appeared in person. But would the budget have stretched to that?

I find it extremely hard to believe that reality television will be with us, or make a come back, that far in the future. In fact I would go as far as saying it is highly unlikely, unrealistic and therefore unbelievable. It was just a cheap ploy to make yet another and unoriginal attack on the state of television in the modern age. This would have been better achieved by setting the episode in the present day rather than thousands of years into the future. Having the twist of shows killing of their contestants isn’t a new idea and is in fact a rather boring one. I have written several essays and articles regarding the state of television and reality television. In each of them I note that it won’t be long until someone tries to televise a life death, more than likely in America first. So its already well documented and whenever anyone attacks reality television they use that argument, amongst others, to describe why its so bad. So this was another element I didn’t real like. A more in-depth look at the Long Game’s manipulation of news would have been far interesting. In that episode they barely touched on the subject, it was just mentioned really, and the Doctor returning to find the news still be manipulated for a far more evil purpose would have been much more interesting and slightly more original. A twist could be Satellite 5 creating false news stories to hide the bigger one, such as the survival/return of the Daleks.

Moving on to the Doctor and once again Davies feels the need to reduce him, in parts, to that bloody smiling idiot. He had a great big grin smacked across his face during parts of the episode that totally ruins any tension or suspense. What’s the point of being scared if the Doctor is smiling? What’s the point of wondering what’s coming next if the hero of the piece has a smile bigger than the M25 across his face? I really wish this annoying habit of having the Doctor walking around with a massive grin on his face, and thereby ruining any tension or suspense in the scene, is dropped in the next season. Another trait I hope is dropped is the Doctor suddenly stopping what he’s doing and exchanging small talk about how he loved this programme or some other trivial matters that only make him look stupid/silly instead of alien.

This episode carries on the theme set up during the previous one of having to face up to the consequences of your actions, of having to pick up the pieces, to clear up the mess. This is something that Doctor isn’t real good at. When a mystery is solved or an alien invasion stopped he disappears in the TARDIS and doesn’t hang around to clear up or deal with the consequences. Due to this Margete escaped and able to try and destroy the World (and as an added bonus Cardiff) to save herself. In this episode because of the Doctor’s rash actions in The Long Game satellite 5 closed down and the Earth government and economy collapsed something that shouldn’t have happened. It could be argued that because of the Doctors actions during The Long Game the events of Bad Wolf took place.

And are we closer to finding out who or what Bad Wolf is? I don’t think we were told during that episode, we were? Instead it seems that several others join the list of suspects. Those are the Daleks, Linda, Captain Jack and whatever saved the Daleks during the time war (Davros?) and was heard during the trailer for the next episode. By introducing Linda the producers are hoping we’ll think she joins the Tardis crew but I wouldn’t be surprised if she’s killed off during the battle with the Daleks, something that happens for “shock factor”. The flashbacks to remind the reviewers all the Bad Wolf references were good but I’m now wondering whether we’ll ever find out who or what Bad Wolf is about what it all means. Is it really that important or just a coincidence? Have they really managed to manipulated the Doctor for all this time, since he met Rose? Have they really managed to foresee everything that the Doctor has done over the past 11 episodes? And since it started when Rose joined could it be Rose herself or even dippy Mickey, annoying Jackie or dangerous Adam? Or could it be the Tardis or heaven forbid the Doctor? I guess we’ll have to wait until next week.

Performances were pretty good with Captain Jack being much better than in previous episodes. As ever Billie Piper was better than all the others and her reaction to realising that being voted the weakest link was death was truly great television. Christopher Eccleston was good when not playing the grinning idiot and the guest stars were average really. They were better than in some previous episodes but still lacked character and felt rather two dimensional, a problem with most of Davies scripts.

And with the end of the episode we’re left with a massive Dalek fleet preparing to invade Earth, we presume, Rose in the hands of the Daleks and The Doctor & Captain Jack preparing to do battle and rescue Rose. The trailer for next week looks extremely interesting and seems to suggest that the Daleks are now religious! I await next week’s episode with egger anticipation. Makes a change from dread.

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I did two things after watching Bad Wolf. The first was calling my good friend and fellow Who fan Paul Webb and leaving a voicemail trying to put the sheer brilliance of the episode into words. The second? I hopped into the bath and cleaned up.

At various parts of Bad Wolf, I cheered, cried, laughed, felt sick to my stomach, and shouted "OH MY GOD~!" at the top of my lungs. I know I've criticized Russell T. Davies for his fart jokes before, but Bad Wolf touched me in ways no episode of Doctor Who- in ways no episode of *anything*- touched me.

One of RTD's ongoing themes this season has been his fearless criticisms of our shortcomings as a society. As brave as it is to call out, say, Bush and Blair on the Iraq debacle, it's even braver to take what has traditionally been an escapist TV programme and use it to grab people by the lapels and cry "Look at what we've become! How could we have let this happen?!" At the start of the last century, learning how to make a machine that flies in the sky was our major technological breakthrough. At the middle of last century, there was an intense drive to take to the stars, set foot on the moon and possibly other planets. Now, what are we driving for? Clean burning fuels? Better spacecraft? Nope- more channels and a better picture. Of course, the Daleks aren't behind the stagnation of Western civilization- we are, which makes Bad Wolf that much more frightening.

As for the fanboy factor, this episode is off the scale. Eccleston's final speech to the Daleks- save an even more impressive one in The Parting of the Ways (which is entirely possible!)- is the defining moment for his Doctor. With the passage of time, it may well be remembered as *the* Doctor's defining moment. The Daleks...I can scarcely believe that the Nation estate was worried about their use in this series. These are the scariest Daleks anyone's seen since 1963, at least. They're powerful, cunning, and they've launched the only master plan in the history of Doctor Who that has made me literally sick to my stomach.

What more can I say? Oh yes- Greatest. Doctor. Who. Episode. Ever.

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There's been a lot of criticism of RTD. Well in 45 minutes he answered it. With the best 45 minutes of Doctor Who. EVER. I'll repeat that...the best 45 minutes of Doctor Who. EVER.

That was Doctor Who for people in 2005. It was for the person who loves sci-fi, who loves the trash of What Not To Wear and Big Brother. They included the subtle annoying nuances those programmes display and embraced them. Christopher Eccleston had his best performance ever as the Doctor, Captain Jack found his spiritual home on Trinny and Susanna. The subtlest performance belonged to Billie Piper. We knew that the AnneDroid was deadly… Rose didn't until Fitch went!! The tension was raised to the utmost level until that moment. When Rose was blasted, I defy anyone not to think "oh God, Billie IS leaving" at that very moment. weirdly, far from spoiling the series I think the publicity surrounding it really paid off last night. You know that Chris is leaving...but you half expect some trick to be pulled. You are told Billie is leaving, then staying. Could they then pull off the biggest trick ever by killing Rose off?

The end monologue by the Doctor is the single best thing ever in Doctor Who. You know how it ends but at THAT moment when he says "I'm coming to get you Rose" (and did anyone else notice that's a Big Brother reference!), I tell you what I believe him.

The episode embraced both pop culture and Doctor Who culture at the same time and did it superbly. It was damn serious at times and not silly but humorous at others. I have seen a review which wasn’t positive. If The Parting of the Ways is better than Bad Wolf then I genuinely believe I will explode! And I tell you what having seen Bad Wolf I will never hear a word against RTD again...

He was responsible for the casting of Chris Eccleston. He is the singular reason why he is the Doctor. He cherry picked the best of British Trash and he made it 45 minutes of genius. Don't...please don't let anyone tell you otherwise!

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After the somewhat dismal Boom Town (which seemed to me a filler that was merely meant to set up the cracking finale) I figured that Bad Wolf would almost have to be an improvement--which it was, but after a second viewing I'm still not quite sold on the lampooning of reality TV. It just seems to me that a fad in the 20th C. wouldn't have continued that long into the future, even if there is a progression towards "killing" the people who are "kicked off the island" so to speak, I think that "reality" TV would burn out very quickly before any such point was reached. (Think of the use of the zombies in game shows in the ending of Shaun of the Dead, for example, as a parody that seems more in the realm of possibility, IMO, despite the fact that they're bloody zombies).

Now, of course, this is Doctor Who, and there has always been a need to suspend disbelief at times that exceeds most other shows. So considering this entire Season (series for the UK folks) of Doctor Who, and the over-tendency to reference current events, Bad Wolf performed as expected, but that still doesn't mean we all have to like it. It's too close to home, or too obviously close to home, and even more than the Pertwee era, lacks subtlety in referencing current events.

Overall, Bad Wolf seemed again, a little too much like a setup, and it seems Boom Town was a wasted story. The setup of Bad Wolf could've been there, and that would've have left two episodes to deal with the Daleks. I am far from a Doctor Who purist, but I think the main shortcoming of the new program has to do with 45 minutes not being enough to tell a story, so we're stuck with overflow material being collected into a bucket and presented as Boom Town, instead of a fully realized story.

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Ok RTD... you've finally delivered half of the sort of Who script your much lauded talents have promised... but to date had failed to deliver.

Anyone who has either read my previous reviews here... or my frequent posts on rec.arts.drwho .. will know that I'm one of these'old school fans' who are supposedly in the minority and cannot criticise RTD - the saviour - on any point without fear of lynching.

But let's get one thing straight. I have no intention to personalise my reviews with attcks on the man himself. His enthusiasm and knowledge of the 2005 TV industry, combined with his influence on Messers Gardner & Hennessey (not to forget Collinson too) has certainly aided the positive and forceful return of Who to our screens. That achievement is not in question...

What has been my focus is the continued frustration with RTD the script writer - who the Evening Standard recently called 'god-like' - for not delivering a Who script that mirrored the obvious talents displayed by 'Queer As Folk', 'Casanova' and 'The Second Coming'. "Rose" was OK... "End of the World" likewise... but "Aliens of London" & "World War Three" were pure pantomimie... with "Boomtown" adding to the insult. "The Long Game" was also derided at the time... although I found it fairly innocuous.

So now to "Bad Wolf". Suspend disbelief... disengage the scientific brain and RTD finally delivers a rip roaring tour de force that suggests he can deliver... there is so much RIGHT about this... but as with all RTD scripts there are also fundamental errors that threaten to derail a cracking express train of an episode. In fact 'Bad Wolf' neatly summarises the whole WHO 2005 season in it's highs and lows... but more on that later... let me start with my problem with this episode...

200100.

Let me restate that. 200100 - 198,095 years in the future?

This is the future. Not the near future... but a time far far away... Consider this for a moment... this is a time when...

Television is still the mass form of entertainment.
Big Brother has had at least 504 episodes (that's the one where they "all walked out..")
Ground Force/ The Weakest Link / Countdown / What Not To Wear are all TV concepts that have 'endured'.
Anne Robinson, Trinny & Susannah and Davina Mc Call's voices (although electronic) still persist - 198,095 years later?
Humanity still wears 20th century clothing?
There was a President Schwarzenegger (sorry RTD... that's a Demolition Man joke...)
Sonar is an effective method for tracking space craft?

I could go on... and the fix? Make the date more realistic. 2150 say... afterall it is a hundred years on from the last Dalek Invasion of Earth... and we know that they are successful for a while by the Third Doctor's visit to the 22nd Century... new viewers wouldn't need to know that, but think of the Doctor's realisation that he had inadvertently set in motion the events that caused problems that his previous selves had had to sort out? The nostalgia buffs would be adding their voices to the RTD deifying... well maybe not yet...

Yet DESPITE these obvious plot holes... 'Bad Wolf' was hugely enjoyable... it was a real shame that the Dalek reveal had been blown by the trailer... because the moment you hear that 'Dalek hum' when Rose is transmatted to the Dalek ship would have been SO MUCH better. It was beautifully crafted... as was the extermination of the 'Controller', with a stunning 'reflection' shot of the approaching Dalek.

The final CGI moments with the Daleks 'elevating' on screen were so reminiscent of TV21 from the 60's / 70's I was elated! And if you've seen the latest BBC teaser... you'll see more of the same... now that is FANTASTIC!

So we've had lows... and highs... in fits and starts.. My hope is that the 'threat' that permeated parts of this episode can be maintained into the finale. There is a real danger that these things can be hyped too much... and I'm sorry RTD you are only halfway to delivering... if you can emulate Mr Moffat then I shall be ringing your praises... but there could just be one dodgy wrap up too far...

Be warned... with all the nonsense whizzing around the forums about Adam... the TARDIS... a certain Kaled scientist... and various other BAD WOLF theories we can only hope that there is a logical payoff, but my caution is tempered with 200100... if RTD can explain that then I might be happy next Saturday at 7:45.

The alternative venom spitting madman is not an option I dare contemplate.

Remember too... it's only HALF TIME...

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I've been dropping into the review page over the course of this series, to hear what others have been feeling about it, but this is the first time I’ve been inspired to write my own opinions. I’m glad I waited until this almost conclusion. My opinions have swerved almost maniacally over the course of the last twelve weeks; from crushing disappoinment to squeals of excitement; from genuine terror to lip-bitten embarassment. Now they feel settled. Settled and sad.

Not that 'Bad Wolf' made me cry. I’m afraid it wasn't powerful enough. I was moved to tears by the plight of the solitary dalek, and the following week, sitting spellbound in a room full of surfers, while Rose and her father realise the essential need to die when it's your time. I’ve shivered and giggled at the gelth and celebrated as the most scary story (Richard Wilson vomiting up a gas mask) twisted into the most optimistic. How often in Doctor Who does not one soul perish? All these stories were masterpieces of writing; shocking, witty, intelligent, complete and as far as I was concerned, utterly successful.

It is somewhat ironic, therefore, to realise that the man who gave the possibility of life to these stories, should have failed so dramatically when it came to his own work.

I've met Russell. I liked him. He is ebullient, wonderful and garrulously infectious, like a hit single or a quick joke. And he brought Doctor Who back to TV screens, which, if not exactly reaching out to a new audience ( I work with 10 kids aged 6 to 21 - only one watched a single episode and he did not return), was able to indulge an older generation with some choice nostalgia fodder. But the quality of his own efforts within the series have been strangely lacklustre. Give him an estate and his ear for the contemporary and council is stylus fine. But ask him to rise to the possibilities of infinity and we find an imagination that considers 200,000 years in the future to be pretty interchangeable with 100 years later or 5 billion years after that.

I felt deja vu watching 'The Long Game'. Surely these were the same lines, the same story, we'd been told at 'The End of the World'? If it was sad enough that 'The Long Game' then appeared so shockingly pedestrian, with only Tamsin Grieg's Nurse having character depth, how much more embarrassing to see that in 'Bad Wolf', an already insufficient idea was milked harder, until the strain became palpable.

TV land is not fascinating enough to warrant two such similar adventures in a barely-disguised sequence of studios, where humanity is on both occasions blind to the fact it's being controlled by either a toothy, festering alien zit, or, once again, a billion daleks. I feel saddened by 'Bad Wolf'. It might have been something to do with being so repeatedly fed the titular phrase throughout the series. Expectations ran 12 episodes high. Or it might be something else.

It is hard to enjoy watching even Doctor Who, when so much of it feels swamped by the creative bankrupcy of hyper-reflexive TV; a self-devouring culture in love with its style and out of ideas. At one point Russell has the doctor come daringly close to criticism when he says 'Half the world is too fat, the other half too thin and you just sit there watching television.' But of course he can't continue down this route, for that would be to question the very box that gave rise to Doctor Who in the first place. So there it ends, with a joke about bears.

The sadder truth for me is that even at its current best, Doctor Who is now a historical phenomenon. It's good to see it again; it's nice to feel somehow vindicated because the british press are clapping; I can easily see a few more series in the pipeline. But like everything currently mediated, it will suddenly become chewed up, turn less cool, feel vaguely past its best, lightweight, repetitive, a joke and then, like it did in the late 80s, it will disappear into the rarefied soundscapes and paperbacks of weighty devotion.

The kids have not taken to it. How could they? TV for them is exactly as it is in 'Bad Wolf' - a series of fashion-driven game shows streaming into their heads constantly. All American in fact or spirit, all littered with adverts reminding them how much more there is to accumulate. They are increasingly stripped of the imagination that leads people to think about inventing such an idea as Doctor Who. They grunt as the outpourings of hundreds of channels stream past them. The only button that doesn't work is the one that calls the system by its proper name and is marked 'shut down'.

I love Doctor Who, for the magic it allows us to see the world with. But I understood as 'Survival' came to a close that even the best TV programmes, like seasons and civilizations, rise and fall. If I had to chose between a future where the height of modern British screenwriting talent pens another story driven by the omnipotence of TV, and one where we all have the chance to live more creatively, I know which one I would switch off first. Like Rose and her father, there is a time for everything to die. Even Doctor Who.

And that can't but make me sad.

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As if the prospect of Dalek invasion was not frightening enough, RTD offers us the potentially more nightmarish scenario that reality television will be around for the next two hundred thousand years. With shows like ‘Big Brother’ and ‘The Weakest Link’ set to run for the next few geological eras, enslavement by the Daleks looks positively benign in comparison.

Someone has been playing the ‘long game’ indeed, as the Doctor and his companions find to their cost when they are whisked away from the TARDIS by a transmat beam after completing another off-screen adventure in 13th Century Japan. The Doctor ends up in the Big Brother house, whilst Rose and Captain Jack find themselves on ‘The Weakest Link’ and ‘What Not To Wear’ respectively. Pretty soon they realise that these versions of the shows are not quite what they seem, as homicidal androids and disintegrating beams are deployed on the contestants.

The idea of reality TV gone wrong is of course older than reality TV itself; 1968’s ‘The Year of the Sex Olympics’ is probably one of the earliest examples. The satire in this episode also seems to owe a lot to ‘Judge Dredd’ (the comic strip and not that naff film with Sly Stallone), particularly one adventure where Dredd’s house robot tunes into illegal pirate TV broadcasts.

Talking of robots there’s a fair few of them on this episode, with voices provided by the people they are mimicking. I don’t know how well this will go down in the states and other places where they may not have heard of Davina McCool, Trinny and Suzanna and Anne Robinson. Over here it was a hoot.

The robots have more than a little bit of Dalek about them, the Anne Robinson droid being fitted with a death ray that shoots from her mouth. But of course it isn’t quite what it seems, as the Doctor as the others realise later on.

Amongst the non-celebrity supporting cast Lynda (Jo Joyner) seems to be one to watch, as well as having the honour of being one of the few people the Doctor has openly flirted with, she also seems potential companion material. Martha Cope also puts in a good performance as the Controller, an unfortunate human female who has been wired up to a computer since the age of five. This seems like a nod in the direction of ‘Remembrance of the Daleks’ where a young girl was connected to the Dalek battle computer. It seems that it was she who transmatted the Doctor and his companions to the Game Station (Satellite 5 a century after ‘The Long Game’), where she hid them in the stations continual out put of deadly game shows. Apparently the Daleks don’t watch reality TV, something very much in their favour it has to be said.

This episode, as one would expect, helps to tie up a number of loose ends from previous episodes, particularly the aforementioned Episode 7. We are also given a flashback sequence for the eponymous Bad Wolf references in a scene that owes a lot to the Brigadier regaining his memory in ‘Mawdryn Undead’. However we are still none the wiser as to the true nature of the Bad Wolf, something that Davies et al have teased us with since ‘The End of the World’.

What we do learn is that Bad Wolf is the name of a network (something we already knew from ‘The Long Game’) that now specialises in reality TV, which it broadcasts to the stupefied population of Earth.

All of this of course is a cunning plan by the Daleks, who are lurking at the edge of the solar system in a giant fleet of saucers. These were very similar in design to the saucers on the rejigged scenes in Dalek Invasion of Earth DVD. Other nods towards past Who were also present in the way in which the Daleks were not revealed until near the end of the show, in true Terry Nation fashion. As if that wasn’t enough we had Rose being menaced by a sucker arm in a Dalek POV shot straight out of their first appearance four decades ago. The Daleks’ Master Plan is now their ‘stratagem’ and they concluded the episode with a traditional chant of ‘exterminate, exterminate.’

However this wasn’t the real cliffhanger, which was provided in the previews for next week, which gave us a mysterious voice telling the Doctor, the Daleks ‘survived through me.’

So who does this voice belong to? With Who fans being warned to stay away from the Internet this week and a press screening set for Wednesday, its going to be hard not to find out one way or the other before the episode airs next Saturday. Almost everyone from the Master to Davros by way of the Dalek Emperor has been postulated as Bad Wolf. I have my own theories about this and my general feeling is that it will be someone from the continuity established during this series. However, only time will tell…

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Now.. has there ever been a premise that seemed so loaded for self destruction? Putting Dr Who in futuristic versions of Big Brother and Weakest Link? Not just future versions.. but exactly the same show, complete with Voice of Ann. And written by Russell Davies, whose stories have been amongst the weakest of this season (is this season 1 or season 27? Ah, well..), often with workable ideas but poorer execution and annoying flatulent humour. Yes, it looked like disaster loomed.

Well, up until the last second of the preview following ‘Boom Town’ – ‘We have been detected’.. cue shivers! Still.. Big Brother?

Well, jolly god show, Russell, – can I call you Russ? – me old mate! Bad Wolf was an excellent show, one of the episodes from the season to show to the unconverted. Excellently written, acted and directed. So, lets break things down in a slightly confused order.

Gotta say, there were several aspects of the episode that reminded one strongly of Doctors past – of Sylvester McCoy, in particular. There was much in the Weakest Link and Makeover pastiches that brought to mind the old biddies of Paradise Towers, the Kandyman of Happiness Patrol and The Greatest Show in the Galaxy. And the preview from next week with the Daleks advancing on the barrier was strongly reminiscent of ‘Resurrection of the Daleks’ (I suspect, though, without the pantomime deaths of station personnel).

Captain Jack – I like this character. We already have the ‘everyman perspective’ provided by Rose. Jack provides more of an equal foil to the Doctor - with his own highly advanced technical skills, self sufficiency and combat prowess, he’s an excellent complement. And his easy charm and omnisexuality makes him a totally unique, 21st century companion. And he manages it without being sleazy. I’m sure there are people who object to this characteristic of his, but I find it most entertaining. I’ll draw the line at him, the Doctor and Rose having a ménage-e-TARDIS, but until then – go, Jack! I won’t comment on his laser up the ass trick. Well, beyond mentioning it. And how – HOW – did they get away with him fondling those robot boobies? I guess tis ok if they’re robots – not that that stopped him from flirting with them! How would he and C3PO get along, I do wonder..

Rose actually didn’t have too much at all to do in this episode. Obviously out of her depth at trivia from the year 200,100, all she is in, is danger. And, as she often is, she is responsible for the (this time presumed) deaths of many. I mean, crikey! Who activated van Stattens Dalek? Who brought the Reapers to Earth? Rose, Rose and Rose! Accidents, sure, but she seems to be an even bigger death magnet than the Doctor!

And the Doctor.. well, a bravura performance by Eccleston and some great writing, again! I’m a little uncertain about the truly outrageous flirting he was carrying on with Lynda – it’ll be all right if she gets in the way, indeed! But, in all truth, this is probably the first time that Davies’ own writing has captured the essence of the Doctor. Because we all have certain baseline expectations of the Doctor, within the individual variations provided by each actor.

The first 30 minutes of Bad Wolf are pretty good Who. Not just good Who, pretty good television. But the last 10 minutes are sheer brilliance, some of the best Who – best TV – I’ve seen in absolutely ages. Starting with the Doctor kneeling over Rose’s ‘ashes’ (say, why does the transmit beam leave ashes behind?), while Jack plunges forward, with the sneaky Roderick hiding behind the game show assistant… the Doctors near catatonia as the guards interrogate them.. and then, springing into action with a simple ‘Let’s do it’. What was especially great was that Jack also reacts instantly – the two make a good team. Moving on, the very funny exchange between the Doctor and Davitch (?.. Programmer 1!) when he tosses him his gun.. The revelation of what the gameshows have been doing.. ‘Rose is still alive!’ and the two men embrace… the Controllers rebellion and self sacrifice.. the revelation of the Dalek fleet.. the Daleks back in classis threatening mode, the Doctor cheesing them off, and ending with a rousing chorus of ‘Exterminate’, only this time from a whole shitload of Daleks and not 3 or 4!!! I know, everyone will have been stunned by the same things, but I just have to recite it.. I must have seen the last 10 minutes of ‘Bad Wolf’ a half-dozen times already and am STILL not sick of it!

Weaknesses? Well, nitpicks, really. Now, I should point out that I still don’t know the significance of Bad Wolf – who or what is it, and how did the reference follow the Doctor and Rose through time? Although a recap of the references was quite unnecessary – it’s not been that long since we saw them, especially the one from last weeks Boom Town! I do wonder how Rose knew van Statten’s helicopters call sign, though – that was.. a weak link. And why was Lynda so happy to see the Doctor appear in the Transmat? It’s not another contestant – it’s another victim! And why, oh why, does everyone in the year 200,100 look like they’ve stepped off the street in 2005? Granted, one wouldn’t necessarily want them in one piece spandex outfits, but at least SOME effort could have been made to make them look.. well, different.

But those are minor nitpicks which didn’t detract from the enjoyment at all. I could rhapsodize on about the preview but the forums are full of enough of that.. especially the maddening, frustrating question of.. who the hell is that with the last word? Agh!! Russell T Davies will make lifelong friends or lifelong enemies with ‘The Parting of Ways’… don’t mess it up, Russ!!!!!!

Oh, and just for the record.. I think Lynda would make a much hotter assistant than Rose. There, I’ve said it.

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Big Brother. The Weakest Link. The "Anne"-droid. Trinny n thingy...I had a vague feeling beforehand that this episode could've gone either way. Gripping, suprising, satirical and totally "out there"; or "Oh dear, that didn't quite work, did it?"

Oh me of little faith. So apologise to RTD and the production team for such doubts.

Loved it. *Lived* it.

After a brief reminder of events from 'The Long Game', we have a wonderful 'teaser' that disorientates Doctor and audience alike as he falls headlong into the Big Brother House, encountering two (understandably as it turns out!) resentful housemates and one who is merely concerned that he is alright. I loved the look on Chris' face as he sat in the big red 'diary room' chair and said "You have *got* to be kidding." We are off to a flyer...

Now we have The Weakest Link taken to its logical extreme ("Social Darwinsm" as my friend Dave has noted) I liked the way that Rose clearly found the situation bizarre and really funny...until the first death. Again, superb use of light and shade. ("This is sick!")

The 'Annoying One-droid" and "The Other Annoying One-Droid" (my names!) giving Jack a, um, "dressing down" worked for me too. Okay, it was pretty cheeky stuff, and would've been even more 'cheeky' if the beeb hadn't intervened (a wise decision, I think. The scene worked fine withouth a 'full backal' ,new word!, and this is a family show...) but I found it fun and John Barrowman continues to impress throughout the episode. (the highlight for me being his fury when Rose..well, more about that it in a bit.) I did clap my hands when 'Thingy and Whoever' got their heads blown off. (Only because they were androids, I hasten to add!!)

Lynda ("with a Y") was very appealingly played by Jo Joyner, and she seemed to have an immediate rapport with the Doctor; clearly companion material...so at this stage in events, I fear for her. (or has she got something to hide? Is she just too sweet? Hmmm....)

Loved the Doctor pointing at the camera behind the House's mirror and saying "..and then I'm gonna find *you*." You believe him. Chris Eccleston is going from strength to strength, and only 45 minutes to go. Ah well...

The 'Eviction' scene was very well done and I liked the scene where the Doctor holds his hand out to Lynda and she decides to put her trust in him. Might sound silly, but I thought it was a small but strangely iconic moment.We'll see if it was the right decision in due course.

'Bad Wolf' Corporation...the appearance of 'the Controller'...The Doctor's realisation that his actions in 'The Long Game' have had awful consequences (and not just for Adam! Sorry...let it go...) This is already feeling like a rollercoaster ride; and then...

Rose flaming dies! Dies running to protect the Doctor...we fans know that Billie is coming back, but I still found this moment intense and superbly done, and I bet there were some kids and others not "in the know" who's jaws dropped at this point. Maybe some tears too...

Chris Eccleston's acting at this point...wow. I am talking Patrick in 'Tomb...' , Tom in 'Pyramids...' , Peter in 'Caves...' Um, I am talking brilliant, basically. When the guard drags the Doctor to his feet and he is *limp* with shock; you can see it in his face. Very powerful stuff.

On we roll. The Controller dies knowing that she's made a huge difference in seeking out the Doctor...Rose is alive...the Dalek fleet is revealed...the Doctor says "No."...the rousing "Stinking Dalek..." speech....the invasion begins....and I'm exhausted!

Charlie Brooker in the Saturday 'Guardian' wrote "Best. BBC. Family. Drama. Ever." And Charlie's not easily pleased (think sort of a 'Bill Hicks with TV column' if you've never read him!)

I'm including the whole long history of the show when I respond..."Yep."

I might calm down a bit when the series has finished, but it's so nice to get caught up in the moment. Ten out of ten, again, and thanks to all concerned. There are always stories/ moments that you prefer to others in a season of 'Doctor Who' (Was it ever thus) but....we are coming to the end and I just want so to say;

I think this series as a whole has been a Bl**dy triumph!

I suspect next Saturday is going to be rather involving.....

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I think RTD needs to look up the word ‘satire’ in the dictionary – somewhere in the definition the word ‘irony’ is mentioned. Now irony doesn’t seem to feature much in this episode. Nor does subtlety for that matter. RTD presents us with satire for the under 5s: instead of extrapolating the philistine dross that is Big Brother into a future scenario in which it takes on a different guise with a different name and set but detectably similar theme which the audience can pick up on and compare to their contemporaneous equivalent, RTD decides to simply reproduce exactly the same programme, along with its other cousin reality TV monstrosities, replace its hosts with androids who are obviously modeled on the real life presenters, and place it ludicrously over 200,000 years in the future. What we get then isn’t satire at all, but just direct replication of said programmes presumably as a vehicle to further cement New Who in the commercial public consciousness by meshing it with other TV brandnames (no doubt in a further misguided attempt to get teenagers identifying with it) without any notable sense of irony whatsoever. This is laziness of the imagination on a stupendous scale. Robert Holmes provided biting tax-related satire in The Sunmakers with references such as ‘inner retinue’ and it is rather despairing to deduce from this episode’s satirical failure just how RTD perceives his modern day audience: incapable of detecting subtext. Either RTD is overly cynical about his audience or society really has degenerated intellectually in the last 15 odd years to a clutch of atavists who need everything literally spelt out in front of their eyes. So we also get The Weakest Link, also with exactly the same sets and an absurd and pitifully written reference to ‘Call My Bluff – with real guns’. What the hell possessed him to write that line? It is amateur beyond belief. Greatest Show in the Galaxy was the last great Who satire, and, despite some fairly cringeworthy scenes here and there, demonstrated quite consummately how Who really can do this difficult genre to great effect. Happiness Patrol, despite its garishness, was another consummate satire (though it included some incongruous embarrassments script-wise with lines like ‘no more queues at the post office’). For God’s sake, even the fairly staid and lifeless Colin Baker era produced a reasonable satire – and surprisingly prophetic take on the future of (reality) TV, specifically voting programmes, not properly manifest back in 1985 – with Vengeance on Varos. One must ask then what exactly RTD was trying to say here? This is not polemical in particularly, only possibly in its rather lazy and unimaginative take on terminal versions of reality game shows, but this is 16 year old stuff. There is no satire here, at least not noticeably, because RTD doesn’t seem to be saying anything at all about the nature of reality TV, only reproducing it on a slightly more extreme level – therefore one can only assume it is yet another symptom of his all-too-blatant obsession with stamping popular culture all over the face of a once truly escapist and eccentric series. RTD missed a brilliant opportunity to truly criticize and comment on the insidious nature of reality TV here – a massive disappointment.

Nevertheless, the Trinny and Susannah scenes were actually quite well done and more understated than the clumsier others; their android equivalents were nicely designed and reminiscent of the Kandyman (which isn’t necessarily a criticism). Ann Robinson’s robot alter ego was also well realized despite the ludicrous red wig it had on. And a nice touch with the Big Brother eye symbol was the milky way swirling within its pupil on close up. So, the direction of these scenes – Jack’s prancing around nude and picking a gun from his arse aside – just about managed to override the simplicity and satirical barrenness of the scriptorial concepts; the better elements of these scenes reminded me a little of some of the McCoy era ‘oddballs’ such as Happiness Patrol and Greatest Show. There was a feeling of menace too, which was a masterful achievement for a director given such embarrassingly one-dimensional material to play with. Of course you may take it as read that I absolutely detest reality TV and regard it as the death of quality programming, and that I cringed at the sound of the Big Brother theme in some of the scenes – an horrendously sterile and visceral electronic racket of a theme – and find the only irony in this part of the episode being, unnervingly, the fact that the ultimate in unimaginative television gets a plug in – what was once and still could be – the ultimate in imaginative TV: Doctor Who.

Still, let’s just say RTD might just about have got away with his soundbite, commercially-preoccupied take on Who this time round – why? Well, because other aspects to this episode were well-realised and sufficiently intriguing to help the viewer ‘get over’ these cringeworthy reality TV intrusions; namely the behind-the-scenes programme riggers and particularly the excellently realized woman wired up rather like the Emperor Dalek in Evil of the Daleks, and the very impressive and vast sets they inhabited; and of course the impressive scale of the cliffhanger. What this episode had over all the other RTD episodes was a genuine energy, sense of menace and suspense, and engaging forward-moving drive to a genuinely thrilling climax. That, and the brilliantly realized What Not To Wear androids, rescue Bad Wolf by a hair’s breadth from being taped over on my video recorder (metaphorically speaking) and confined to collecting dust along with Aliens/War III and End of the World, the latter completely ruined by inclusion of a Britney Spears song, which is a pity as otherwise it stood up as a reasonable episode. Bad Wolf is easily RTD’s best episode so far, despite the appalling failure at satire by just duplicating contemporary reality programmes down to theme tunes, sets and logos (was RTD saving on the budget or what?) and placing them in a completely unbelievable future date, as usual. I hope this Relative Time Disorder is eclipsed by what promises to be a big climax in the next episode – let’s hope Captain Jack doesn’t take a shine to Davros’s nodules!

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Another Dalek invasion? Of Earth?! That’s IT?!

Let’s just get stuck right in. I’m sort of a lapsed Doctor Who fan, and so I wasn’t much affected by the pre-emptive new series excitement… It was pretty inevitable to me that it’d be probably be bad, and if not, well, great, but I wasn’t going to get my hopes up. I’ve watched all of the episodes up to now and died a little inside, but not quite felt incited to actually SAY anything about it – someone else (even if it’s just one little voice in the background) has been there to mirror my thoughts about how substandard the music/direction/scripts/…acting, etc etc has been. Then I watched ‘Bad Wolf,’ and, really, I just wanted to cry…

It’s SHOCKING.

By which I mean, fucking awful.

Just to be clear, I don’t just hate this series because I feel I should, or because I decided to. Like I say, much as I absolutely adore Doctor Who, it hasn’t particularly been part of my everyday life for a few years, so I came to the new series pretty much unbiased. And, for the most part, it didn’t provoke a particularly strong reaction in me either way. ‘Rose’ and ‘The End of the World’… crap, lightweight, blah blah… the non-RTD one’s are so much better, he’s too flippant, too much juvenile humour/sexuality etc etc… But I could deal with it. I have an abiding love for the character of the Doctor and the central concepts of the series that I thought, ehh, much as it might be shite that there’s 12-year-old-level ‘sexual tension’ in the TARDIS, I can weather it. If anything, the worst elements of this series have made me rediscover my absolute love for what is now ‘the classic series,’ and also for the Virgin/BBC books. So at least there’s one upside.

Maybe the books are the problem though. Having first encountered Doctor Who through a few mid-nineties repeats, it wasn’t until I discovered the New Adventures that I found ‘my’ Doctor Who, and realized how completely special and unique and beautiful and wonderful it is. (Or: can be.) And probably because of that, I’ve never particularly viewed the program as ‘just’ a kids’ show. I’ve always kind of watched it knowing that there’s so much else going on, thanks to the depths of the novels. Which isn’t to say I’m a revisionist NA-nut. Or…whatever. But I like my Doctor Who to work on a few more levels than your average episode of fucking Balamory. Which is, let’s be honest, pretty much the level we’re operating on with this series. I hate when people seem to have this attitude that when Doctor Who tries to do something a bit more than ‘aliens invade, aliens repelled’ it’s sort of ‘getting above its station’. That certainly seems to be the attitude in this series. WHY does it have to be ‘a kids’ series’?! Or, why, if you’re trying to attract kids/a family audience, why does that mean there can be no intelligence whatsoever? Why does ever single little thing have to be spoon-fed?! ‘His Dark Materials,’ for example, appeals to kids and adult. ‘His Dark Materials,’ is also, you know – good. The ideas, the scale, the characterization, lack of fart-jokes… I hate that even Doctor Who, this time around, has succumbed to dumbing down, to spoon-feeding it’s audience, desperately trying to keep the attention of the lumpen proles it’s apparently targeting, and sell loads of tacky merchandise.

Why the hell isn’t Doctor Who allowed to be, well… GOOD. To be ‘a quality production’. With intelligence, maybe a bit of flair in the direction department (heaven forbid!), less flashy-but-crap special effects (okay, okay, I know – judge it in terms of a TV series, not by comparison to a film, but...you’re going to, aren’t you, really, and so - they look shit. And, oh yes, they’d look shit even if you didn’t compare it to a film). The thing is, who cares? None of the Doctor Who stories considered to be classics are thought of as such because of the effects, for God’s sake! I don’t give a crap about effects. Then or now! Surely if we’re fans of *Doctor Who* we shouldn’t care in the slightest about special effects. Who else is going to be more aware that they DON’T MATTER – surely if we DID give a crap, we WOULDN’T BE DOCTOR WHO FANS.

These are the reasons I loathed ‘Bad Wolf’. But more specifically: I’m not hugely keen on the Ninth Doctor/Rose, etc, but, at the same time, when they’re treated as actual characters (‘The Empty Child,’ even ‘Dalek’), then – fine. But RTD doesn’t do that. They – and everyone else – become these empty ciphers. (Especially Mickey and Jackie. I know this isn’t exactly new ground, but – seeing as everyone seems to be warming to them as the series has progressed (what? WHAT?!) – I just would like to say that in every one of their appearances I would STILL like to bludgeon them to death with an iron stick. Sorry… I digress.)

‘Bad Wolf’. Oh, fuck it, I hate to resort to a list, but: the sets from ‘The Long Game’ are STILL sub-‘Paradise Towers’ SHIT. The androids are somehow no better than those from ‘The Greatest Show in the Galaxy’. The pathetic, excruciatingly slow way in which the laser (whatever) comes out of the Anne Droid’s mouth is so crude it’s… excruciating. The Daleks’ ship set looks like they’re about to start playing Quasar. Oh, and that hysterical end-of-‘More Than 30 Years in the TARDIS’-style shot at the end, with all the poorly computer generated flying Daleks hovering for NO REASON. Plus… oh yes. ‘Big Brother’. Et al. I can’t even be bothered to muster the vitriol I feel about that whole aspect…. ‘Ooh, it’s so quirky, it’s like Land of Fiction shit…’ NO - it’s lazy and shallow and embarrassing (‘Whoa, we’re so postmodern!’ / ‘We’ve got the voices of a few fatuous presenters no-one even likes!! Result!’). Why does no-one ever EVER give any thought to how dated the thing’ll look in a few years, which – considering the shelf-life of existing Doctor Who – is something of an oversight.

Plus, Captain Jack pulling a gun out of his arse – oh, ha ha, how funny (it’s not exactly ‘Fenric,’ is it?).

I know maybe this all sounds a bit flippant, or willfully negative, or whatever – but that’s just because I probably couldn’t even begin to express how unutterably depressing I found this story – the epitome of everything that’s been bad about the whole WINO series (Who In Name Only – has anyone else used that? Ooh I’ve still got it…). I love love LOVE Doctor Who, I really do. It saddens me to see it so pathetically dumbed down. Which isn’t to say, of course, that it hasn’t been pretty ‘light’ before. But at those points where it as strayed towards that territory, there’s been no pretence at making it anything other than light family fun. And that’s fine, there’s a dignity there. At least, if that’s the way you’ve decided to approach it, then there’s consistency there. But RTD tries to have his cake and eat it. Not only is the feel of the series as a whole wildly inconsistent, but within his own stories, he’s tried to ‘do’ funny/postmodern/‘light’, but at the same time set up this ‘huge,’ supposedly ‘epic’ plot, which…oh hang on, simply involves the same two words being unceremoniously crow-barred into the scripts (oh, yeah – could not BELIEVE it when we got a flashback of each and every reference… I’d thought earlier, Oh, ha, ha, imagine if they sunk that low…! Then, they do, and take away any of the effectiveness those references might otherwise have had.). At first, I actually quite liked the Bad Wolf references – the fact that it was allowed to remain enigmatic, not cop-out early on was pretty effective, but…that’d only remain true if they actually built up to something suitably big and epic and awe-inspiring over the course of the later stories. Okay, we have one more episode left, but – that’s my point; rather than trying to wring all the revelatory impact from the VERY LAST episode, couldn’t the concept have been fully explored and built up over at least the last couple of stories, not continue to be relegated to increasingly unsubtle (and obligatory) throwaway references?!

JESUS CHRIST. It’s all so grim. And then people lap it up. Okay… if you like it, fine - but I can’t help wonder how much of a TV Movie situation this is going to develop into; everyone loved that at first (because it was new!), but then realized how shoddy it was! It ticks me off that WINO is so cynically aimed at the widest possible audience… The choices they’ve made in terms of their ‘vision’ for the series seems so spineless – everything’s so simple, so black and white (even when they tried to introduce a little ambiguity in ‘Boom Town!,’ they ended up copping out with the, ‘Oh, she was evil after all, how convenient’ ending). It strikes me as taking the easy way out; why can’t there be a bit more darkness, more ‘horror,’ if you will, to highlight the Doctor’s moral standpoint? Which can still work with humour – just not the patented RTD wannabe-witticisms; something a bit drier, maybe. If only…

Okay, perhaps this is just because I can’t share well, but I don’t give a crap about wider audiences being able to enjoy the joy that is (should be) Doctor Who! If ‘a wider audience’ didn’t appreciate ‘Ghost Light,’ or whatever then – their loss! I know, to a certain extent, the series has got to be able to support itself with ratings etc, but, to be quite honest, are you *that* desperate that you take vapid, intellectually devoid wide-audience-compatible Doctor Who over no Doctor Who at all? Personally, give me Doctor Who with some depth, or just axe the bastard thing.

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Bad Wolf is a remarkably strange way of beginning an epic two-part regeneration story, showing the return, en masse, of the Daleks. It consists almost entirely of a pseudo-postmodern reality-TV-satirical run-around, with utterly bizarre imagery; robotic replicas of twenty-first century third-rate personalities menace the Doctor and companions - in the year 200,100! If it wasn’t for the setting and recap to “The Long Game”, which tenuously confirms of the internet suspicion that Adam, a person for whom these shows would be current or recent history, is somehow involved in the series climax, I would be complaining vociferously that everybody in 200,100 dresses, acts, talks and has the TV-watching habits of people now. As it is, there is not much to complain vociferously about.

I didn’t like it – don’t think that!! I was never excited by this at any point. I just wasn’t overly upset or disappointed by it (apart from in one respect – more later). It is average. 5 out of 10, so to speak. That is if you judge the episode on it’s own merits – as part one of an “epic” two-parter, it is baffling. We spend almost all of this instalment undergoing the aforementioned not-particularly-clever but very valuable and welcome satire of the godless drivel festering on our screens these days, and build up to a cliffhanger that is, in effect, the reveal of the Daleks and their spacefleet – a fleet that was seen in last week’s trailer (probably ‘cos it’s the only even faintly ‘wow’ moment in the whole episode). The upshot of it all is, we know where we’re going, we know what’s going to happen :‘Bad Wolf’ is nothing but filler. That it takes 45 minutes to get there – half the story – seems like a very odd choice for RTD to have made, especially considering how many action set pieces, plot threads and revelations they are going to cram into next episode (judging by the trailer).

The fact that the Daleks are not in it much is not half so disappointing as what happens when they do appear (see, told you ‘more later’). Because, with these shiny Daleks, we are back – ironically – to bog-standard normality. After the shocking, bold and brilliant experiment that was Dalek, that showed 8 million people just how dangerous and capable even one of these mighty machines is, this feels like the unwelcome bump at the end of a long fall back to Earth. The lead Dalek shakes when it talks; despite making the cool heartbeat noise, the inside of the Dalek spacecraft looks absolutely dismal; when informed by the Doctor, in a melodramatic monologue which sadly falls down a little bit, that he intends to defeat them, the Daleks react in panic (hmm, perhaps they didn’t expect that cunning twist), apparently to the extent that they decide to proceed with their plans even though they are not ready; and the Daleks say they will kill Rose if the Doctor does not co-operate, only when the Doctor does not co-operate, they scatter in all directions – and THEY DON’T KILL ROSE. In the teaser for next week I also saw Jack being surrounded by Daleks, who clearly had him in their gunsights – but they weren’t shooting him, either. Not good, not good at all. They’d better have a good reason for that.

It is not unusual for the Daleks to come off worst in stories that feature other monsters and villains – the groaning, shuffling, dark-wasteland-haunting Exxilons were much scarier than the comedy Daleks in ‘Death to…’, for example, as were the... wait, that’s the only good example. But you know where I’m coming from. You presumably also know where I’m going, but I’ll say it anyway – the robotic Anne Robinson was rather scarier than the off-colour Daleks were. The callous way in which it disposed of people was quite unnerving, although the “Goodbye” was an indulgence too far, and the terrified and nervous reactions of some of the contestants was good, particularly the first woman to go – at that time there was no reason to think she hadn’t been vaporised, which made her tears and begging rather upsetting. The only bad thing about that is that none of the others seem to be that concerned, or even angry that they are being swept to their deaths totally at random, at any other time – I suppose they must’ve got used to it. Maybe Russell was trying to make that disturbing in itself; maybe for some viewers, he succeeded. Not me though – but equally, it didn’t detract from my enjoyment.

In conclusion, this was an uninspired and unambitious, but solid, reasonably entertaining episode of Doctor Who, better than all other offerings from RTD except Boom Town (some of the themes of which it developed, with some limited success). Whether or not it was a waste of 45 minutes we will have to decide on next week’s success or failure.

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There’s an old interview with Blake’s 7 star Paul Darrow, in which the actor talks about a certain scene he filmed for an episode of that series, in which his character had to suddenly produce a gun. Simple enough, you might think, but evidently the costume the production team had seen fit to furnish Darrow with for this particular episode was rather tight-fitting and had no pockets, meaning that there was nowhere on him he could carry the prop. As the script necessitated its appearance, there was no way around it, and a solution was sought. The problem was solved by having a scene hand crouch behind Darrow, just out of shot, and pass the gun into his hands behind his back. This – while undoubtedly a neat solution – had the unfortunate effect of, as Darrow put it, “making it look as if I had plucked the thing from out of my backside!”

I have no idea whether Russell T Davies has ever read that interview, but if he hasn’t then Captain Jack’s novel way of dealing with the year 200,100’s robotic equivalents of What Not to Wear’s Trinny and Susannah is certainly something of a coincidence. It ought to be an utterly ludicrous moment, but somehow it works, in no small part to because of the manner in which it is played by John Barrowman. The actor has been a real treat ever since he was added to the new series’ line-up, and he’s at his best here – whether it be flirting with anybody who comes into his path, playing the action-adventure type role for which he was devised, or – in one of the finest moments of a fine episode – screaming with rage, anger and indignation “Don’t you touch him!” to the Game Station guards as the take hold of the Doctor after Rose’s shocking ‘death’.

Barrowman is merely one of the beneficiaries of what is without a shadow of a doubt Davies’ finest script for Doctor Who to date. I do not mind admitting that when news of some of the elements of this episode leaked out – mainly the inclusion of mocked-up versions of various contemporary reality / quiz shows – I was less than convinced. It all sounded a bit… Well… Silly. However, perhaps that helped – I wasn’t expecting a great deal, so when the episode turned out to not only be decent but excellent, I was even more pleased than I otherwise might have been. There is perhaps an issue of whether the references to various current shows will date the episode – never mind why these shows are still going in 200,100 – but then all TV sci-fi has a tendency to date very quickly, and the shows are very easy to make sense of in the internal context of the episode. I’ve never watched a full episode of Big Brother, The Weakest Link or What Not to Wear, but I didn’t have any trouble understanding the basic concepts and following what was going on.

It’s all dispensed of fairly quickly anyway, as the Doctor and Jack make their way out with new pseudo-companion Jo Joyner in tow as Lynda, “with a y”. Lynda is, as the Doctor says “sweet”, and in the old series you could have imagined such a character joining up with the TARDIS crew at the end of the story. However, the modern series has been somewhat less traditional with its TARDIS crew, and as Lynda is nice, endearing and the Doctor has already promised she’ll get out of Game Station alive, I am rather afraid that this has marked her down for death before the end of the next episode – an episode I suspect is going to be something of a blood bath all round.

Doubtless soon to join that body count is Jo Stone-Fewings as the male controller, another excellent performance, although Fewings does seem to be basically playing the same character he did in Davies’ 2004 ITV serial Mine All Mine. He’s also made surprisingly likeable for a man who’s been overseeing the deaths of thousands of people in the Game Station’s deadly programmes, but I suppose as the Doctor said to Rose back in The Unquiet Dead, it’s a different morality.

Speaking of The Unquiet Dead, we get to see a snatch of that episode as well as the various other instances of the ‘Bad Wolf’ theme present throughout the season, finally brought to some sort of conclusion in this eponymous episode. It’s perhaps not quite what we expected, but it has led somewhere – indeed, that would be a neat description of this episode as a whole. And boy, does Bad Wolf really lead somewhere. The last ten minutes or so of this episode have an electric tension to them – you know what’s coming, and when it finally arrives you can only sit there caught up in the excitement and the tension as the whole series is cranked up a notch ready for the apocalyptic battle to end all battles that we’re going to get next week, if the trailer is anything to go by.

The unveiling of the Daleks as the main threat near the end of the episode is one of those fantastic, “Yes!” kind of Earthshock moments, both for new and old fans alike, although of course neither set of fans will have had the true Earthshock experience as we all knew it was coming. Not, just for once, simply because we old school fans always know too much from message boards and the like, but because the production team rather oddly decided to give the game away in the preview at the end of Boom Town.

Even had you not seen that, Ahearne unveils the Daleks a little early, not once but twice – the eyestalk view with the plunger coming into shot as the Dalek approached Rose was just about okay, especially given its nice resonance with the very first view we ever had of them in The Dead Planet, but then he goes and really spoils things by showing the reflection of the Dalek which exterminates the Controller. Ahearne’s previous reflection-based shot – the Cyberman’s head over the Doctor in Dalek – went down really well with fans, but I can’t see this one being a similar hit. Why not save the pepperpots for maximum impact in the wonderful closing minutes, instead of emulating Peter Moffat’s similarly unimpressive revelation of the Sontarans back in The Two Doctors?

Really though that’s a minor quibble, of course, but I need to pick holes in something as on the whole it was such an excellent episode. Elsewhere Ahearne’s direction is well up to the standards he set previously in Dalek and Father’s Day, and once again this appears to be an instance of everybody really giving it their all as they build up towards the cliff-hanger, setting up the episode to end all episodes – well, for this season, anyway. Christopher Eccleston deserves particular praise – we all know now how difficult the many months of shooting on Doctor Who was for him, but right to the end here he’s really putting everything into the character, with some terrific material to work with. As with Barrowman, his high point in the episode perhaps comes with the ‘death’ of Rose in The Weakest Link game, as he runs his hand through the dust on the floor that appears to be all that is left of his best friend, shocked into silence. His confrontation with the Daleks at the end of the episode is also worthy of a mention, and he proves equally adept at the lighter material – not that there’s much of it in the episode – in the Big Brother house near the beginning.

All in all then, another stunning effort from all concerned, making brilliant what could so easily have been embarrassing. The final battle is just around the corner – and I’m thrilled to say I have absolutely no idea what happens next…

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I have a strange relationship with Reality TV Shows and Quizzes. I find myself frequently watching the things, even enjoying them – but then resenting them for the hour of my life just lost. To watch them for a while therefore, part of me must like them, but there is another part of me that switches over too. Whatever, there is something amazingly addictive about them, something that draws the viewer in like a tractor beam.

Many comments I have read about this episode, before it aired, have dismissed it already. The frequent comment being that Doctor Who shouldn’t be lowering itself to such TV fare. Yet this high and mighty attitude is quite farcical. For a start it’s judging something before sampling it, which I find very strange on its own. Another problem is that just because someone hates some TV or other, it doesn’t mean that someone else will hate it too, or that it doesn’t have a place. There are plenty of fans of Reality TV and Quiz Shows – it’s very narrow minded to dismiss them out of hand, just because they aren’t your viewing preference.

My initial thought about Bad Wolf, before it had aired, was that this could very well be a satire on current TV. Doctor Who tapping into the collective consciousness of modern popular culture. I was intrigued whether the show would glorify these kinds of TV, or have something cautionary to say about them. The closer transmission came, the more intrigued I became, especially when reading the preview from Heat magazine – surely one the most positive articles about new Who, and possibly the greatest indication that Russell T Davies is a genius for pitching new Doctor Who exactly at the right level for now.

The shows referenced here are fairly representative or their genre. Big Brother, What Not To Wear and Weakest Link are also very well known - it’s great kudos to the makers of DW that original presenters all voice their android contemporaries from the future. DW is again the show to be in – and is relevant for the mass media. After years in the relative shade it’s all rather weird.

The episode itself took a little getting used to. The first half is chock full of the above mentioned TV shows, complete with android hosts. The reason for them being there was an excellent idea. Like in the previous episode Russell T picked up strands of previous stories of new Who – to produce an often surprising result.

Christopher Eccleston was splendid as he tried to escape from his confinement in the Big Brother House. His clear boredom and restlessness at where he had ended up, quickly turned to concern for Rose. Rose is also her lovable self in the Weakest Link part. Yet she pulled off the giggles turning to horror supremely well as the truth emerged. Jack got to strut his stuff in the What Not to Wear segment – a highly appropriate place for him.

I particularly liked the Doctor in the Big Brother house segment. The lovely Lynda with a Y was delightful. The Doctors exasperations were hilarious. Due to the short lifespan of the 9th Doctor I think I am enjoying him more, like a friend who comes and visits every few years, and you cram in as much as you can in the short time available, because you know they soon will be gone. The Weakest Link and What Not to Wear segments were less successful I thought. Rose and Jack were ever watchable – but there were very little laughs, and it strayed a little too close to the real thing for my liking. The androids in charge were novel creations – and after watching Confidential I couldn’t help but feel admiration for the actor inside each suit. The reality shows and quiz segments were highly unusual for Doctor Who – and the premise behind their inclusion highly original.

As our heroes emerged from their respective shows, then the episode seemed to up a gear again. Jack was excellent as the Doctors muscle – clearly loving the adventure, and highly heroic. Christopher Eccleston showed how well he can do pathos, as he thought his world had turmbled down. The last 15 minutes of Bad Wolf were amongst the best of the season, as the Doctor, Jack and Lynda charged through the Gamestation trying to find answers. The Doctors rant at the Daleks (with its Abslom Daak inspiration) was glorious. Then that Cliffhanger to finish the episode off, and whet the appetite brilliantly for the Seasons Finale.

What also impressed me about this episode was the Music. I’m more used to Murray Golds style now, and appreciate it far more. The TV Shows riffs were already there, but his adaptations were subtle yet effective. The Dalek chorus was terrifyingly atmospheric, and the whole scale of the oncoming battle pushed up a few notches as a result.

Every week for the last 12 weeks I have looked forward to Saturday like I used to when I was younger. For that alone the creators of new DW are forever in my debt. After Bad Wolf that expectation has been heightened further. The big explosive finale, with an ending we kind of know, but one that isn’t any less exciting.

This new series of Doctor Who has been a revelation – a real rollercoaster ride, full of surprises and thrills, yet remaining essentially the same programme I have always loved. Onto the last Hurragh for the 9th Doctor – it will be brilliant. 8/10

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Before I begin, I'd like to thank each and every reviewer who mentioned "Daleks" in their review of Boomtown for spoiling a major part of this episode for me. I purposefully avoided watching the trailer because I was told it contained a major spoiler, only to have that spoiler revealed for me in the reviews. I guess I should have known better than to read a review with the potential to contain a spoiler I was purposely trying not to see, and the blame should also be placed squarely on the Beeb for their shoddy trailer-making in the first place, but I'm still very disappointed that the seminal, climactic surprise of the entire season of Doctor Who was spoiled for me by people who weren't careful enough in how they wrote their reviews. I wish I could have seen this episode without knowing what was coming.

Yes, I put spoilers in this review, but I only spoil the episode itself, not the trailers for the next episode; people are mature enough to choose whether or not to read a review before they see the episode in question, and they know going in that any review is going to spoil something. But it's also their choice whether or not to watch the trailers, and I don't think they should be spoiled for an episode they haven't even had the chance to see yet.

Now that I've gotten that off my chest: "Bad Wolf" is an exercise in how, if you get enough stuff right, the audience will blithely ignore everything else. Never mind the many, many, many points on which this episode strains suspension of disbelief; it's so witty and clever and suspenseful that we shove our disbelief into that elevator, wave goodbye, and send it to floor 500.

Let me just hit the highlights of the things that could have sunk this episode if they hadn't done everything exactly right:

  • We're supposed to believe even a powerful transmat beam can find its way into the TARDIS, a vehicle that exists outside of time and space?

  • 200,000 years in the future—which is approximately five times as far from now as now is from when mankind was living in caves—not only are they still using the Julian Calendar and still doing remakes of 20th-21st-century TV shows, but "twentieth-century" is familiar enough to be used as a derogatory adjective? For that matter, I find it hard to believe that in the year 200K there would even be a recognizable human civilization around at all, given that I'm a believer in the Vingian Singularity, but I'll let that one slide.

  • While we're on the subject, it's already been established that the TARDIS does telepathic lingual translation. How is it that 200,000 years in the future, with lingual drift and all, "bread" is still an anagram for "beard"? And how would the makeover-droids know the name of Jack's gun (a "Compact Laser Deluxe"), since if it was from his own era it would have been 195,000 years out of date? (And that gun seems a bit large to have been hidden where it was supposedly hidden, but we won't, ah, go there.)

  • I may be wrong, but I seem to recall that all of the previous Dalek episodes have taken place within, at most, a few hundred years of the 20th century, and they didn't seem to have any way to travel in time except straight forward at normal speeds like the rest of us. How did the Daleks get time-travel technology (which they would seem to need to fight in a "time war"), or else why did it take them 200,000 years to get ready for an invasion of earth? (If they were seen time-travelling in an episode of the 6th or 7th Doctor, which I haven't seen, then I take it back.)

  • So the Daleks seize Rose and threaten to kill them unless the Doctor doesn't interfere. The Doctor tells them, "No." In fact, he tells them that several times. The Daleks then proceed to...NOT kill Rose. Huh?

  • And these are sort of cheating, as they might be answered in episode 13, but I'll point them out anyway: If the "disintegrator" was actually a transmat beam...where did everyone who wasn't Rose go? And for that matter, if the system was programmed not to "kill" the Doctor, why then would it not also spare his companions, who were just as not-supposed-to-be-there as he was? And what does "Bad Wolf" mean, and exactly what mechanism has caused the motif to be repeated so coincidentally throughout all the 9th Doctor's travels?

    If this episode had been any less deft than it was, any one or two of the above would have been enough to knock this down into the realm of pure cheese. It would have been so easy to make this episode into an utter camp-fest. Instead, they played it straight (well, mostly straight, anyway) and it became so much more spooky and atmospheric that people just forgot to nitpick while they were watching it. It works so well as its own story that so far only one other Outpost Gallifrey reviewer has compared it to its predecessor in game-show-for-your-life satire, the Arnold Schwartzenegger vehicle The Running Man—which, like "Bad Wolf," used a real-life gameshow host as a villain. (Though the show itself does seem to be conscious of the link, dropping in a "President Schwartzenegger" reference along the way.)

    "Bad Wolf," being the first part of the season finale two-parter, exemplifies something about this new Doctor Who that is substantially different from the older flavors: storyline. None of the Doctor Who series that I've seen (which would be the third through early sixth Doctors) had arcs that were so closely bound together thematically as this newer Doctor. Sure, there were recurring villains (such as the third Doctor's nemesis, the Master), and a few multi-part story arcs ("Key to Time" comes to mind), and there may have been some continuing storylines in the later Doctor seasons than I got to see (such as "Trial of a Time Lord") but those were more on the nature of an overall story split into chunks. This new season has had mostly self-contained stories tied together with thematic elements. It's Doctor Who a la Babylon Five, and I think it's very effective.

    In fact, this episode is the culmination of several themes that have been interwoven through earlier episodes of the season. Aside from the obvious repeating "Bad Wolf" motif and the introduction of Satellite Five in "The Long Game," there are also: the Doctor's responsibility for his actions ("The Unquiet Dead" "Father's Day" "The Empty Child"/"The Doctor Dances" "Boomtown"), the Time War with the Daleks ("The End of the World" "Dalek"), and the Doctor's relationship to/responsibility for his companions ("Aliens of London" "The Long Game" "Father's Day" "The Empty Child"/"The Doctor Dances" "Boomtown"). Coming so soon after the Doctor had his morality called into question by the Slythene in "Boomtown," the scene where the Doctor looks down on earth and Linda fills him in on the last hundred years is particularly effective. The Doctor is shaken to the core by realizing that he had made this world with his flippant refusal to stick around for a while after taking out the Jagrafess. But I wonder, will the fact that the Daleks were really behind it allow him to put aside his share of the blame for leaving since they were the ones who "really" caused it? Will he find it so easy to leave again this time?

    Themes aren't the only nods to past continuity, though. "Bad Wolf" also has Rose managing to recall the Face of Boe as the answer to a question, Captain Jack locating the Doctor because he was the only one in the station with two hearts, and the flashback that ties this episode back to "Boomtown". Also, the robot hosts' head designs seemed to be a clear stylistic reference to the Doctor's other great humanoid robot foes of yore, the Cybermen. It was nice to see the offhand mention of an unrecorded adventure, in 13th century Japan, taking place within the flashback; as in the planet-with-the-frozen-sea reference from "Boomtown," it reminds us that the Doctor and his companions have other adventures which we don't get to see on the TV screen. It's nice, too, to finally get an explanation of what the title "The Long Game" meant. I wonder if that line about a "long game" was originally part of the script to the earlier episode, then moved to this one because it made more sense that way, but too late to change the title?

    The episode was very nicely put together, managing to hide all traces of the Daleks until the last ten minutes. (If only it hadn't been for that damn trailer last week, grrr!) Nicely directed, too; as an example, the in media res opening with the rotating shot of The Doctor and the raucas music served very effectively to punch up the sense of disorientation the Doctor was feeling after his transmat arrival. In just forty-five minutes, "Bad Wolf" runs the gamut from confusion, to laughter, a gradually dawning sense of horror, the excitement of the Doctor's and Jack's breakout, the suspense of Rose's impending execution (another nice touch was the way the fellow next to her went from sympathetic helper to self-centered git over the course of the show), the shock of her "death"...and then the shivery fear of the unknown "bad wolves" themselves, growing and growing until the climactic revelation at the end. I've seen many feature films that were less well-directed.

    One thing that "Bad Wolf" had that its predecessor The Running Man did not was the use of actual, recognizable real-life TV show franchises and personalities instead of generic broad genre parody shows. Paradoxically (and what's Doctor Who without a paradox?), the use of the actual shows and personalities serves to "sell" the parody in one way even as (as previously mentioned) it makes it a little harder to suspend disbelief in another. Big Brother, The Weakest Link, What Not to Wear...these are icons with which we're familiar as viewers, and the surrealism of a distorted mirror image of something we know is much more effective than a less direct parody would be. Using the voices and names of the actual personalities is an especially clever touch (even though it was a little hard to recognize Mrs. Robinson's voice through the android filters), as is the way the AnneDroid's disintegrator is in its mouth—talk about your lethal torrent of verbal abuse! I'll just bet all the personalities involved had a wicked time doing the self-parody. And let's not forget the best scene in the entire episode, where the naked Captain Jack literally pulls a solution out of...well, you know.

    Captain Jack has quickly become one of my favorite characters from the entire series. He's a lot like the Doctor in some ways—clever, well-versed in the ways of time travel, able to make sense of the Doctor's technology, and not averse to taking action when the need arises. Combining the gung-ho predilection toward action of Leela or Ace with the expertise of Adric or Romana, he's the perfect counterpoint and foil to the Doctor. Their scenes together, starting in "The Empty Child" and continuing through the episode thus far, have always worked well. Look at the scenes where he and the Doctor work together to try to find Rose, or where he demonstrates the not-really-a-disintegrator-beam to the Doctor—even when they're at odds (the "comparing sonics" scene from "The Empty Child" for instance) they've got some great chemistry. It's a pity they've had so few episodes together before it comes time for the Doctor to change actors again.

    In fact, everyone seems to be acting on all cylinders during this episode; all the regulars turn in strong performances, and there are decent turns from almost every guest star (especially the members of the Big Brother and The Weakest Link casts who lose) with the possible exception of Lynda. Eccleston shows a great emotional range here; this man really is the Doctor—a battered, wounded, angry Doctor, last member of his race, with nothing left to lose.

    Just one more episode to go in this season of Doctor Who, and there are so many unanswered questions. Will it resolve all the questions brought up over the course of this season? Will it wrap things up, or end in a cliffhanger (perhaps with the Doctor "dying" and regenerating in the next season's premiere)? Will we find out how and why the "Bad Wolf" motif has propagated through space and time, even into the unconscious minds of otherwise unrelated people? Will the Daleks survive and scuttle away like the little metal cockroaches they are? (Well, they'd sort of have to, given that there's no way they won't keep bringing the Daleks back as long as the Doctor is around.) Exactly whose "ways" will get "parted"? I had thought I'd heard that Rose was going to be in at least a few episodes next season. At any rate, I'm eagerly anticipating the chance to find out. Sunday cannot come soon enough for me.

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    So, 198,095 years into the future and TV is still dominated by 'reality' shows? A tad unbelievable...the only shows still likely to be running then are Coronation Street and Countdown. However, if one is going to play with such topical references then Big Brother, Weakest Link etc are as good as any I suppose. The Big Brother House did, however, look lame - were they finger paintings by contestants on the wall or was that left-over art from Playschool? And the contestants were way too articulate, and over-dressed. Has RTD actually watched BB recently? The female contestants should have been surgically enhanced and falling out of far too skimpy bikinis and the male contestant ought to have been screamingly gay. Actually, it came across as a Blue Peter version of Big Brother....nice young people with finger paintings. Pity the BBC had not hired Jon Tickle to appear - he would have introduced an element of the bizarre.

    I hope that the Doctor's apparent flirtation with Linda was simply intended to provide some dramatic counterpoint to his feelings for Rose when it appeared that she had been killed, since there was no sense that Linda was likely to be a particularly interesting or strong replacement for when Rose leaves the show. As for Rose's 'death'; that was less of shock than a reason to puzzle briefly about how she was in fact not going to be dead given that we all know Billy Piper will be back in part of Season 2.

    Once again, I was left wondering what the point of Captain Jack is, except for providing some very bland eye-candy. Jack remains a one-dimensional, sexually ambivalent, occasional action-man. Sexual ambivalence does not, in this instance, make him interesting and looking self-satisfied and delivering one-liners does not provide depth either. Whilst a third occupant of the TARDIS may be required to help move the plots along, how about introducing one whose character actually evolves and has some shading?

    In comparison, the characters of the Doctor and Rose have continued to grow over the series - with an exception this week for Rose, who was mainly reduced to giggling and looking horrified (thankfully without the pig-tails). It is, of course, the character of the Doctor which has developed most - and the all too-frequent inane grinning of the early episodes is almost gone, to be replaced by a sense of darkness and torment. All credit to Christopher Eccleston for his characterisation.

    The Daleks...please God, if they are going to be the supreme Evil Beings in the Universe, can they not speed up a bit and stop being so simply peevish. In 'Dalek' the novelty of seeing the lone Dalek elevate was diminished by its speed...Adam and Rose could have run off, put a brew on and settled down to a nice cup of tea and a packet of chocolate hobnobs in the time it took to rise up the stairs. Thora Hird on a Stannah chair lift would have been quicker, and probably more alarming. This latest bunch don't look much more competent either. Simply getting into a hissy fit because the Doctor refuses to comply with their evil plan...ooh, I'm scared. Whilst I appreciate that they are iconic villains, I guess I've never been overly impressed with the capabilities of the Daleks and I suspect this is not going to change next week either. What I am looking forward to, however, are some impressive set-piece visuals and plot revelations.

    Re-reading this, I am conscious that this is sounding overly negative. However, to put in context I'd say it was much preferable to anything featuring Slithereens, not as effective for me as 'The Empty Child', but nonetheless an entertaining precursor to what will hopefully be a glorious Season Finale. It was Dr Who as fast-paced light entertainment, operating at several different levels. More than a nod at the topical and humorous, but with continuing development of a deeper plot for those who are paying more attention, and through the series as a whole, an ongoing sense of revelation of the character of the Doctor himself. Just what is needed for a Saturday evening....any evening in fact.

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    I think I said this for a previous episode of this season of Doctor Who, but I find myself hard pressed to come up with a better word to describe this episode.

    WOW!

    I mean, super wow. This isn’t how a good writer or reviewer describes things he’s reviewing, but I don’t care. Wow wow wow.

    It’s all been leading up to this boys and girls! I read some reviews for “Boomtown” last week, and a lot of people said that they thought the episode was destined to be crap but then surprised them all, even though it involved a retread creature that wasn’t extremely popular to begin with. I didn’t quite feel the same way about Boomtown but I sure do about “Bad Wolf”!

    I literally sighed when the Doctor escaped the Big Brother house to find he was on Satellite 5 again. I mean, I just said in my review last week that part of the magic this show was starting to miss a little was the sense of wonder, of where each show would take place. It was only a matter of when: The “where” would always be Earth it just depends on past, present or far future. I love the show but please let’s see what the TARDIS is actually capable of some time!

    Well first off, each situation was hilarious. The Doctor’s irritation at the “MTV generation” and subsequent acceptance of their own death at the conclusion of the game was done very well. We also have a possibility of another companion, though highly doubtful. Besides the fact that the Ninth Doctor is almost dead (am I the only one regretting the fact that we know this more and more with each episode?), I sense a touching and possiblt noble death scene for the sweet “Lynda with a y”. Rose’s encounter with the android was a little more scary but still very entertaining. It helps that we Americans have these two shows as well and so for one of the first times in the series we can completely relate to the humor of how these shows evolved over the centuries.

    The best however is Captain Jack Harkness. This guy is excellent. Not only is he extremely entertaining (and handsome for the ladies!) but he is pretty much the perfect soldier. I thought that Rose was a great fit for this Doctor at the beginning of the series. He had just recently regenerated, presumably from dying in the Timelord/Dalek Time War which destroyed his entire race and forced him to kill many (but now we find out not all!) Daleks, something he clearly did not want to do but had no choice. This left him a little rattled and needing that sense of wonder that a young, new companion like Rose could give him. Since that first episode though, we’ve seen the Ninth Doctor hardened. A complaint several people have had about this Doctor is that he seems to be bumbling around a lot and letting humans do most of the heavy thinking or work. Having faith in Doctor Who, however, I saw this as planned. Whether is was the age old “Humans have to do things for themselves” argument, or the much more likely rattling the Time War did to our fair Doctor is not sure. I do believe the writers meant this Doctor to be a little less pro-active than his predecessors. Until now that is. Just as in the episode “Dalek”, we see the anger and pure hatred the Doctor has for these creatures. This is the perfect time for Jack Harkness. Besides his confidence and great personality (which help out the show as a whole I believe), he has really taken his part as the Doctor’s crew seriously. He takes orders from the Doctor with no question, but still has the military mind to think ahead and come up with plans (plans the Doctor graciously accepts when he feels they are correct). Besides all that, his scene with the two robot dressing units was excellent! “Your viewing ratings just went up ladies” “That’s a Compact Laser Deluxe! Where were you hiding that?” “You really don’t want to know”. Classic stuff and just adds to his character’s humor and yet seriousness when it’s needed. Jack was never once scared, he went with the two androids until the situation got sour and then calmly implemented an escape that obviously could have come at any time he wanted it to. Jack is the perfect warrior to go after Rose and attack the Daleks.

    Which brings us to….who writes the previews for the next episodes anyways?! It was completely, COMPLETELY unnecessary to destroy the surprise of there being Daleks alive at the end of last week’s episode. There was plenty of footage they could use without you ever knowing what was to come. Then, at the end of this episode, it’s pretty well done right. Shots of the Daleks attacking the TARDIS, Daleks attacking Satellite 5, a scene with Chris saying he is either dead or close to (is he supposed to die here or at some future Xmas episode, I’m not sure) and last scene, the voice but not actually seeing the Supreme Dalek. Oooooo so cool. I think the appearance and knowledge that Daleks escaped the Time War could have had 1000% more impact if we didn’t know about it for a whole week.

    Wrapping up, excellent acting as always, excellent effects and fantastic story that has been building this entire series. It is a terrific twist that somehow the Daleks have been manipulating this incarnation of the Doctor almost from his regeneration. On one hand I am very sad that this series and Chris’ Doctor is almost gone but it has been an excellent run and “Bad Wolf” was by far the best episode to date.

    Ladies and Gentlemen, this is it! We are at war!

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    “The Ratings have just shot up”. How prophetic. One thing I have found about any script from Russell T Davies is his ability to incorporate pop culture references into his scripts usually with a slight and sometimes unsubtle twist. This includes many Doctor Who references in his Queer as Folk series right bang up to date with the invention of the National Lottery in Casanova. Now he writes for almost 45 minutes purely about other “shows”.

    I have to admit this episode looked like it was going to be a stinker. We were going back to the days of surreal episodes featuring Bertie Bassett’s or Flying Knights. It also threatened the return of the celebrity casting ala the previously mentioned Beryl Reid, Liza Goddard, Ken Dodd. But then, I shouldn’t have worried. Not only has this series proved versatile in its format, Doctor Who (the classic series for want of a better word) has been doing the same successfully for 26 years (or 42 if you don’t actually think it has ever left the air). Look at The Unearthly Child (obviously), Planet of Giants, Inferno, The Deadly Assassin, Vengeance on Varos (so similar, in fact) to name a few.

    I have watched this episode probably more than any other with the exception of Rose and enjoy it more each time. Even when I first watched it I found it immensely entertaining even though I didn’t initially think the format suited. My partner loved it from the off. It features BIG BROTHER which is a bigger love to him than the Doctor. The precredit teaser was brilliant especially with the classic BB phrase coming from Davinadroid. Davina, Ann Robinson, Trinny and Susannah were perfect in their voice acting to bring “life” to the robot characters. A complaint he did have was that the music was loud and drowned out some of the dialogue. Some of this was intention especially when the Doctor was captured just after Rose’s “death” but I have to agree some of the conversation was lost. I also found some of the Dalek voices difficult to understand until repeat viewings.

    Billie Piper as Rose has (in my humble opinion) won the award for best companion in the whole Who run. She is an accomplished actress and immensely likeable. Her “death” was genuinely moving. I knew she wasn’t really gone and did guess it was “some kind of transport device” but doubts were soon put into my head when the “disintegrator” left a pile of ash. Throughout this first season I have warmed to Piper’s understated facial acting, from here wide eyed discovery of the Doctor’s world, through her introduction to Captain Jack, to her lip trembling when she is introduced to the Weakest Link platform. She emotes serious feeling when required usually getting a good slice of an emotional scene in each episode. Piper has handled comic timing to perfection even if she has been given some dreadful puns and has sometimes been used to drive home a piece of exposition a bit too hard. I didn’t like her hysterical giggling during the Weakest Link segment. I thought it was quite clear that she was not aware of the terminal nature of the game and was playing it as such without the need to overemphasise this. Otherwise she continues to shine.

    Chris Eccleston has by now turned into an outstanding Doctor. There was near any doubt about his acting ability in general but there had been some gripes about his performance as the Doctor. Yet now, he IS the Doctor. He has never been so alien before. He enjoys his life yet dotes on Rose. No more apparent than when he watches her “die”. He turns what could have been a very odd themed episode into a proper adventure that the Doctor would have. Just because Big Brother and The Weakest Link are now pop culture references why should it not mean that it’s part of the Doctor Who time-line.

    Nothing special in the support cast apart from Jo Joyner as Lynda with a “Y” looking like another candidate as a companion. I bet she dies though! John Barrowman again doesn’t quite settle in as Captain Jack. Apart from getting naked that is. Its Who-lore (how many new words could I make up?) that there’s something for the dad’s but now we finally get something for the mum’s and one or two of us guys. No offence to Jamie or Turlough but Jack is top-totty. However I watched Doctor Confidential afterwards and RTD did explain why Jack was there. As The Doctor and Rose are not characters that would not use weapons, the story required (to quote) a soldier. RTD was disappointed, as am I that Jack’s butt was filmed but banned by the BBC – Hope it’s on the DVD. He has become quite an entertaining character to watch but I don’t feel he has settled in as TARDIS crew.

    There were enough references to the Daleks being involved during the episode, especially all the droids having skirts, gliding and you could say Trin- E and Zu –zanna’s(?) nodules. Yet far more effective than the spaceship interior and the CGI army was the gentle return of the Dalek spacecraft hum harking right back to their first episode. The episode had more in common with The Frontier in Space/Planet of the Daleks 12 parter than any other multipart story. Yet although the two episodes are likely to be miles apart in style (I could be proved wrong next week) there are enough clues throughout to tie the two together.

    I was disappointed the trailer was moved to before the end credits again. Saying that I would still have watched it.

    Roll on The Finale!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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    The Doctor wakes up with amnesia, to discover he’s a contestant on a futuristic and deadly game of Big Brother. Fantastic idea. Rose wakes up, also with amnesia, to discover she’s playing a futuristic, and just as deadly, game of The Weakest Link. Er… pretty good idea. Jack wakes up to discover he’s on a futuristic/deadly What Not To… yawn. Two’s company, Russell; three’s padding. The first twenty minutes or so of this episode just drag by, and it doesn’t get going at all until the Doctor announces he’s going to break out.

    Why, oh why, couldn’t this episode have been based entirely around the deadly Big Brother concept? It could’ve been so, so good. But instead, we’ve got dull scenes of the “Anne Droid” (the joke’s lost on us Aussies) asking countless silly questions, and a naked Jack with two oversized Lego figures, playing dress-ups. What could’ve been a paranoid thriller has been turned into a camp nightmare unparalleled since The Happiness Patrol. And even that was cleverer, with its political agenda!

    Oh well. At least we’ve got the lovely Jo Joyner as Lynda-with-a-Y, proving that there are better potential companions out there than the nauseating Adam, or even Jack, who I must admit has begun to annoy me a little at this point. He was good in Boom Town, but underused, and his scenes in this episode with those ridiculous robots are truly cringe-worthy. Not John Barrowman’s fault, naturally – that man’s a terrific actor, and perfect for Doctor Who. No, I just don’t like this script. Sorry, Russell. I loved what you did with Boom Town, but you’re really letting me down here.

    Mercifully, things begin to pick up once the Doctor’s broken out of the game, and we discover we’re back on Satellite Five. The Doctor and Lynda are still being watched, from the Floor Managers on good ol’ Floor 500. They give great performances, as does the Controller, a very chilling and very well-written character. Rose’s final scene with the Anne Droid is nicely suspenseful, and although we all know she’s not really dead, it’s nice to watch the Doctor go more melancholy than he’s been all series (and that’s saying something). When he breaks out of incarceration with Jack and Lynda, it’s with a “Let’s do it”, and unfortunately not a “Now!”, which in my opinion would’ve been better. Less hokey. Oh well.

    Finally they make it to Floor 500. And finally we’re in for some good drama, first from our leads, then from the Controller. I cheered when Jack discovered what was really inside the mysterious Archive 6 – our trusty TARDIS. And even though I already knew it, I cheered again when Jack told the Doctor he’d discovered Rose was still alive. Perhaps it was the look on their faces as they hugged.

    And here comes a shock. The Daleks are behind it all. Okay, not a shock in the slightest. But why on earth are the Daleks producing reality TV? And a century before, why were they behind the news stations? I mean, these are Daleks! Actually, I know why. Russell T. Davies. And his obsessions with media manipulation (Aliens of London, The Long Game) and reality TV. Okay, he’s running this show, he can do what he likes. But he’s also got a reputation as a good storyteller, so why all this self-indulgence? Like Aliens of London, this episode seems just like one forty-five minute private joke. Save it for Torchwood, Russell. This is Doctor Who.

    Anyway. The Dalek ships look excellent. Can’t tell if they’re models or CGI – which is a good sign. The Daleks themselves wobble a little, but when it comes down to it, who cares? I certainly don’t. The Daleks are scary as ever… until the army is revealed. I’ve hated the look of CGI Daleks ever since I saw The Curse of Fatal Death all those years ago. I know it’d blow the budget to make that many Dalek props, but it all just looks so fake this way! Seriously, the last shot just looked like a cartoon! Give me an “army” of three (like Day of the Daleks) any day.

    So in conclusion, Bad Wolf was a big let-down for me. As I said before, it could’ve been brilliant. Joe Ahearne delivered again, as did all the leads, but the weakness of the script, and the CGI Daleks, have put this story down in my bottom three of this series. Sorry.

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    Drivel. After watching “Boom Town” and thinking nothing could be worse, along came “Bad Wolf”. Having sat through “The Web Planet”, “Horns Of Nimon” and “Delta And The Bannermen”, “Bad Wolf” ranks up there as one of the most embarrassing episodes in the series’ history. Where can one start to explain just how embarrassing this pretence at cleverness is?

    The first point that people seem to hold is that Bad Wolf is a satire. I am pretty gob-smacked by the amount of people who have hailed this episode as, to quote one site, “a brilliant satire on modern reality-TV and game shows”. Which is rather funny when one considers the meaning of the word satire: “a literary work in which human vice or folly is attacked through irony, derision, or wit.” And while there’s plenty of derision coming from Eccleston’s Doctor (as usual, for example, the “whole human race reduced to mindless sheep” line, repeated from “The Long Game”, although one wonders why since reality-TV doesn’t imply that people are mindless sheep, just that they have very bad taste), the only irony here is that Bad Wolf contains all other aspects applicable to what most people would call a satire. Compared to “The Sun Makers”, it has the subtlety of a bull in a china shop; compared to the genuine moral messages in “Vengeance On Varos”, it is filled with irrelevant platitudes; and compared to “The Happiness Patrol”, it lacks both creativity and feeling. This is an episode that displays more sophistry than sophistication. That RTD has used popular contemporary game shows (and hosts) rather than invent his own, which could either mirror the content of said game shows or reflect similar themes, is sheer laziness. It’s not clever, it’s not trying to poke fun or be witty, it’s just a cheap ratings-grabber completely lacking in originality. What more do you need to justify this claim than the fact that 200,000 years in the future (exactly as in “The Long Game”) everyone is wearing 20th century clothes! Even when they were just jumpsuits with exotic symbols drawn on them or spikey foam attached, Doctor Who costumes have always tried to be different, no matter how ludicrous some of the outcomes. That people in the far-flung 4th Great And Bountiful Human Empire wear the same clothes we do, act the same way we do, watch the same shows we do, is not reflective of a genius writer but an uninspiring hack. And this doesn’t bother anyone?

    (And again on creativity: why have all the stories in the season been set in London, Cardiff or a space station? When the series first began in ’63, the travellers ended up on an alien planet in the second story! And here we have gone one whole season without. I guess what’s really worse, is not just that all the stories have been set in these rather dull locations, but that “The Long Game” and “Bad Wolf” are actually set in the same location!)

    The second point is on death. Now from what I can see, the only point of introducing Lynda was as a Rose substitute so that after Rose’s apparent death, viewers would assume she had really died and that Lynda would now be taking her place on board the TARDIS. (It’s not for nothing that the two characters are almost identical.) Is this a clever ploy to fool the audience into believing that Rose is dead? Perhaps, and if it is, it is quite clever. Unfortunately, like many similar moments in the new series thus far, the illusion is completely let down when Rose is revealed to be safe and well about ten minutes later! At least when we thought Peri died in “Trial Of A Time Lord”, we didn’t find out she was still alive until several episodes later.

    The whole issue of using the death of main characters in drama to create tension, pathos or some such reaction from the audience, is only useful when the character really dies or at least is dead for an extended period of time, long enough for the audience to become accustomed to the fact. We have already had one Slitheen come back from the dead, we’ve had the entire cast of “The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances”, we’ve had Rose’s dad (who came back from the dead twice!), now we have Rose, and in “The Parting Of Ways” it will be Captain Jack. And then there’s the Daleks. It’s great to see them back and they do look superb but it’s annoying that here we have a species who were extinct bar one but six episodes ago. And now they’ve returned in force through a less-than-dramatic loophole only to be completely exterminated again as a species in the next episode! Arrrggghhh! What is the point of killing and reviving characters so frequently??? We know the Daleks will be back in a season or two anyway, so why make grand claims to have destroyed them completely?

    Point three: the Bad Wolf arc. Now this is something laughably ridiculous. Lots of people have commented how Super Rose, having been able to send messages back in time and space, sent such obscure and unhelpful ones. Very few people have commented, though, that the messages Rose did send to herself were actually rarely seen or heard by her! The references in The End Of The World, Dalek, The Long Game, Father’s Day (give or take), and The Doctor Dances, would probably not have been noticed by Rose, either occurring when she was not present, being so small as to go unnoticed or else being in a foreign language! Once again we have what has become typical of the new series: a pretence at cleverness, and only that. There is nothing clever at all about the Bad Wolf arc. Even the revelation of what Bad Wolf is is unsatisfying and sloppy. Many of the theories fans have come up with are far superior than the one RTD has, which begs the question why he is penning so many episodes. Yes, people will get down on their knees and worship RTD for bringing back Doctor Who, but when it all comes down to it, a review is a review, not a homage. I am glad that the new series is back and while some of it is really good, with some cracking stories, a lot of it is a pale imitation of Doctor Who of old.

    And the last point, although there are many more I could make and I’m sure others will make one day when everyone’s stopped worshipping RTD, is regarding characters. For me, one of the greatest disappointments of the new series is the lack of hero-figures it contains. When I watched Doctor Who as a kid, the Doctor and his companions were always people you could look up to, to emulate in life and try to make a better world. This new series has very few such characters.

    The Doctor seems more incompetent than effective, unable to resolve any issues himself and makes blunder after blunder. After presenting the Doctor throughout this season as a killer, we see him in “Bad Wolf” realising that his past actions have created the world in which he now is. Strangely, however, he only dwells on this very important point for a minute, as opposed to the half-hour of pedestrian philosophy and padding for a plot we had in the previous episode, “Boom Town”. The way the Doctor has been shown in this new series, one has to wonder why he even bothers to do anything at all, since he can’t seem to get anything right and tends to make things a lot worse. The idea was already raised in “Trial Of A Time Lord” and rightly resolved as being mostly irrelevant since not only are the Doctor’s intentions good but also in the utilitarian balance of things, he tends to do far more good than evil. So why bother to raise the point again – and not just raise it, but leave it unresolved?

    Then there’s the Doctor’s line about “wiping every last Dalek out of the sky” (which is technically wrong, since space isn’t sky). While I don’t have a problem with this intense machismo, which seems to be a very strong trait with Eccleston’s Doctor, it is, as usual, the machismo of a eunuch. Regardless of the Doctor’s boasts, it will be Rose/Bad Wolf who destroys the Daleks in the final episode of the season, leaving the Doctor doing bugger all. Again this reflects the trend of the entire season: a Doctor who is supposed to be a hero but rarely seems to have the answers to anything and finds himself in situations where he relies on others to do things for him (characters or props, viz. the overuse of the sonic screwdriver – you can see why JNT decided to get rid of it!). The 9th Doctor is so useless that he might as well give Rose control of the TARDIS and retire. And when the Doctor even confesses to loving “Bear With Me”, I’m sure we have to agree that it adds no small amount of “greatness” to his character.

    So that’s the star of the show, although more of a red dwarf than a neutron star. What about the rest of the characters? Captain Jack’s main motivation in the show seems to be trying to sleep with everything he comes across or else making constant sexual passes and innuendos, to the point where every conversation involving his character is one. Although he adds some needed humour and action to the show, I’m sure most parents would love their children to display that certain quality of sexual perversity inherent in Captain Jack. His character is yet another example of how low the show has sunk. A critic of the new series has rightly pointed out that sexual (overtly homosexual) references may have some place in Doctor Who provided that they complement the context and themes in the story. However the gutter innuendo RTD seems to enjoy injecting into the series is pointless, probably just there for cheap jokes and to seem “contemporary”, and completely irrelevant to both plot and context. That the Doctor should spend even a line of dialogue in a 45-minute show trying appeal to Captain Jack or telling him (when the latter tries to pick up one of the station controllers in this episode) that “there’s a time and place” for that sort of thing, is abysmal and would have William Hartnell, Patrick Troughton and Jon Pertwee rolling in their graves. RTD doesn’t seem to understand himself that “there’s a time and place” for that kind of muck, and the time and place certainly isn’t contemporary Doctor Who. I guess that’s what happens when one person on a programme has so much power he can sanction his own ideas, being both producer and main script-writer. He might be a great soap writer, but RTD sure has a hell of a lot to learn about writing either science-fiction or Doctor Who.

    Rose is the only character that is in the slightest way admirable in the new series, even if she is incredibly stupid at times (and this is “incredibly” for a Doctor Who companion). And while all these characters may be entertaining – I’ll admit, they’re not boring in the slightest – the level of morality they exhibit leaves more than a lot to be desired.

    Ultimately Bad Wolf is an episode in a series that is generally pretending to be clever and creative, but really can’t be bothered trying or else doesn’t have the talent to do so. (2/10)

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    Being a proverbial hater of surprises, I'd read all the spoilers I could regarding this episode. Which is pretty gosh-darned easy when you're a Canadian since we get the stories transmitted to us two weeks after their shown in England. I'd even read the reviews on this page to get some answers I was looking for and was actually disappointed to see how some fans of the series are, once again, being pointless "nigglers" who seem impossible to satisfy. With the diverse reactions I was reading, I once more felt like I did back in the eighties when I was subscribed to three or four fanzines. It seemed to be impossible to get a clear idea on the effectiveness of these stories since there were just such radically different opinions being expressed about them. I knew that, once again, it was all going to boil down to me watching the story and just judging for myself. And, if anything, forgetting the opionions I'd read already on these stories was the smartest thing I could do. Lots of points being made about them were extremely uneducated, at best, anyway!

    So, I turned on my T.V. Tuesday night (again, things are a bit different over here in Canada - "Who night" is Tuesday for us) and powered up the VCR so I could add to my old VHS collection and waited for 8PM to roll around. I knew, already, what was going to happen in most of this episode. Which I realised might hamper my enjoyment of it (especially the "where did you get that gun?" joke with Captain Jack). But I accepted that as a consequence for my inability to resist internet spoilers!

    Was I, even with all the surprises spoilt, still happy with what I saw?

    Very much so.

    I'm not so big of a "Russell T. Davies basher" as some of you folks are (funny how he's already being referred to as "RTD" just like poor old "JNT" of the old days). I thought "Rose" was the best way to start the series - "End of the World" was decent - the whole business with the Slitheen was his weakest offering but it was still some good storytelling overall and "The Long Game" ranks up there for me as being as excellent as the offerings the guest-authors have given us. But "The Parting of Ways", in my opinion, beats anything we've seen this season in terms of storyline and style. It's Doctor Who at its best. Not just because we've got classic villains in the mix but you've got a neat "T.V. gone bad" concept going on and an overall plot moving at breakneck speed too - something other two-parters of this season haven't managed so well.

    Right from the start, as we get the dizzying rotating overhead shot of the Doctor stuck in the tiny closet, we can see this plot is barely going to slow down to let us catch our breath. Each member of the crew is thrown into peril and forced to deal with it in their own way. And, as some of them succeed at extracting themselves, we get embroiled in yet deeper plots. More problems on Sattelite Five and the deeper issue of "Bad Wolf" being brought to the forefront but still not quite revealed. I'm actually impressed with how the titles of some of Russell's stories don't quite make sense til later in the season - we see now, just how "long of a game" the problems of Sattelite Five really are. I was even a bit reminded of the old "Invasion of Time" story. How we get a bigger nastier alien race using a lesser villain to set things up for them until they can truly move in and "make the kill" they want to make. Great plot-building on "RTD"'s part and I don't think anyone with an inkling of appreciation of good writing can deny that. His ability to give us a "semi-umbrella-themed" season is masterful. I do hope he doesn't always handle his seasons this way. I would like Who stories to be a bit more independent of each other in later seasons. But this was a good move in the first season.

    Now, to me, the final 10 to 15 minutes of this story is some of the strongest "Who" I've seen in the history of the series (a term that is probably getting overused already, I'm sure) but before I extoll on that, there are a few more elements I want to discuss. The rescue of Rose (or rather, the failed rescue of Rose) was extremely well-achieved - even though I knew already that she wasn't dead. The whole sequence gave us a bit of that "old series" feel where the Doctor always had to get the poor female companion out of danger cause she couldn't do it herself. But this time, we don't get the annoying "Doctor, help me!" screams. Rose is doing her best to get out of this problem on her own - and she almost manages it. She just doesn't have the technical advantages the Doctor or Jack have with sonic screwdrivers or guns-up-the-butt so she has to try to beat the game at its own rules. Which is, sadly, an impossibility. And, again, even though I know she's fine - I loved what they did with the Doctor staring at her pile of ashes. The whole operatic choir and background noise drowning out was very moody and effective.

    The other really good point of this story is Captain Jack. I've completely fallen in love with the character now (even though I'm straight!) and, as I think I mentionned in another of my long-winded reviews, he can almost merit his own spin-off series. He's both played and written with just the right amount of style. And his ability to remain pretty well "non-plussed" about anything is great fun. As is his flirting! One almost wonders if they'll ever truly bother to explore the memory loss issue. They don't really need to if they don't want to. He's doing just fine as a valid member of the TARDIS crew that is just getting on with the adventure rather than dwelling on past pains. Like the whole "Nyssa never bothering to get revenge on the Master" bit that was done in the old series.

    And then, finally, we reach the climax of the story. The Doctor finding out who is truly at the end of "The Long Game". Unless you closed your eyes and plugged your ears at the "next week" sequence during the ending credits of "Boom Town", you know already who it is. Just as you knew the Doctor was going to walk in and see a Dalek in the containment tank during "Dalek". But the anticipation of the revelation is still something to be savoured. And the "teaser" moments were classic. Rose slightly emulating Barbara in the "Dead Planet" as the eyestalk follows her after she regains consciounsess - the Controller laughing as she gets killed. It all just looked so great. And set up the moment we're all really waiting for: how's the Doctor going to handle things when he finds out it's the Daleks?

    And how he handles it is one of the few surprises I hadn't read about yet. Which made the moment all the more poignant. First, the whole look on the Doctor's face as the communication channel is opened is yet another testament to Eccleston's performance. This is the Doctor really getting ready for a good scrap. He's facing another Dalek army and he knows he's gotta look mean!

    But then, when he says "No" to the Dalek ultimatum - you almost think that obcession that was taking him over in "Dalek" is at work again. That, in order to defeat the menace, he's willing to throw aside his care for Rose. But when he twists it all around with the rest of his speech, it brought out in me all those "shivers" I'd got when I watched the old series as a boy. The Doctor telling off the bad guys were always my favourite moments in the show. And this is one of the best tell-offs the series has done since a similiar sequence in "Remembrance of the Daleks" where Doctor #7 took down Davros over a communication channel. It's bravado at its best, really. The Doctor has nothing in his favour to defeat the greatest evil race in the universe. And still, he's not scared. He's going to do it and he's not even worried about dieing in the effort. He knows he can beat the Daleks. He's done it before. And the fact that the Daleks actually brush Rose aside to accelerate their stratagem shows that they know he means business. That when the Doctor says he's going to win - he's to be taken seriously. Regardless of the circumstances.

    I loved the feel of that moment. There's a big nasty fight just around the corner and the Doctor's not afraid of it. Fantastic stuff that's exhilarating to watch even if you're not that teenaged boy anymore!

    As I write this, it's still one more day before I get to watch "Parting of Ways". Again, I've read all the spoilers and know how it will resolve. But again, this matters little. I have still spent most of my week dieing to see this final episode of the season. And that is because the penultimate episode was so well-achieved that I can't wait for the "bang" this story will finish off with.

    Yes, there are a few flaws to "Bad Wolf" (ie: the "Bad Wolf" flashback sequence bordered on American T.V. cheesiness) but they pale so much in comparison to the strengths of this episode that I can almost ignore them entirely. With stories like these, I feel the wait for a new series was more than worth it. This is what season finales are supposed to be all about....

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    WHAT AN EPISODE! I wasn’t surprised as PREVIOUSLY flashed across the screen as highlights from “The Long Game” – the episode I’ve enjoyed the least – played. From various sources I’d heard this episode would be set in the year 200,000 so it was just a matter of 200,000 + 200,000 = “Long Game” sequel. However, although I didn’t care much for “The Long Game” it did raise some unanswered questions about the human race being held back, questions that needed to be answered.

    So the Doctor awakes in the “Big Brother” house, authentic in every way right down to the theme tune. His housemates looked just like the type of wannabe-famous nobodies today’s version of the show dredges up. It really was exceptionally well done. As the Doctor slumps himself down in the Diary Room, Davina McCall’s voice says “…you are live on channel 4400. Please do not swear…” the Doctor just says “…you have got to be kidding!” and I think he spoke for the entire audience. Doctor Who in Big Brother? That would never work! Well it did, and here’s how.

    As the Doctor’s memories gradually return, we are introduced to Lynda (with a ‘y’) who if we didn’t know better we’d say the Doctor was developing a romantic ‘thing’ for. He even called her “sweet,” though that was likely just to cheer her up. I found it a clever plot device introducing her character, setting her up as a potential companion, especially considering what happens later in the episode. It certainly keeps us guessing. As the Doctor remembers being “beamed” out of the TARDIS, I like his reference that they had just escaped from Kyoto, Japan. It’s good to know that the TARDIS crew have had adventures other than those we see on TV, at least from a continuity point of view. With only thirteen Eccleston episodes, over time, as with the 8th Doctor, his story needs to be continued in novels and maybe even audio dramas one day. After “The Parting of the Ways” I for one will be delving into the new BBC novels for my weekly Who-fix! Eccleston’s performance in this episode is right up there with “Dalek” in my opinion. The intensity he brings to the point is amazing as he realises it’s not just ‘a game’; the look in his eyes as he speaks to the camera; “I’m getting out. I’m gonna find my friends. Then I’m gonna find YOU.”

    After the credits Rose wakes up in “The Weakest Link.” She encounters Roderick, who for a while I thought might be an ally to her. He explained about how people are brought from the Earth via Transmat and forced to play in these game shows. Like the Doctor in the Big Brother house, the music, the presenter, the set, the lighting; everything was perfect. If the production team where going to do this, they had to get it right. After her initial disorientation arriving, Rose has a great time laughing away to herself, totally unaware of the danger that she is in. The Annedroid is brilliantly realised, complete with Anne Robinson’s voice (and manner!). The Annedroid grilling Rose is a wonderful scene – “…so you’re unemployed but you can still afford peroxide?” Fantastic! Fitch’s apparent death scene when she is voted off is made all the more grizzly by Rose’s apathy. “That’s the game,” Rose says as Fitch is panicking.

    Her apparent death at the hands of the Annedroid is quite disturbing – it’s just “You are the Weakest Link. Goodbye,” then disintegration! As the smoke clears we just hear “Adverts. Back in three minutes,” which made it very eerie indeed. This kind of horror is just business as usual for the people of the year 200,100. In another clever plot device, the contestant Rob tries to do a runner only to be disintegrated by the Annedroid, thwarting Rose’s ideas of escape, leaving her stuck in the game, playing for her life!

    In a somewhat cheaper and less elaborate setting, Captain Jack wakes up in “What Not To Wear.” We are treated to a horribly gratuitous “defabrication” which leaves him standing naked, but somehow it still works as it doesn’t phase Jack one bit. In fact, he’s loving it. “You’re viewing figures just went up!” He even has a cheeky grope of Zu-Zana’s breasts! For me, though, the scariest part of the episode was when a naked Jack was faced with the marauding Trine-e and Zu-Zana droids. “Face off…. I think he’d look good with a dog’s head… or no head at all! That would be outrageous! How about putting his legs in the middle of his chest?” That really is chilling stuff, far scarier than even the Annedroid. Jack’s solution, though, was as comical as the droids were scary, as he pulled a ‘compact laser deluxe’ from out of his ass and blew them to pieces. It made me laugh watching “Confidential” to learn that the BBC made the producers removed the scenes of his naked bottom!

    As Crosbie is evicted from the Big Brother house, like Rose’s attitude towards Fitch being voted off, the Doctor is nonchalant. His speech about getting out and making a fortune was hilarious and very true, the bit about “make a fitness video and she’ll be laughing” was particularly funny. Suddenly, though, the Doctor sits bolt upright and he’s paying attention as he sees Crosbie disintegrated before his eyes. Lynda’s “…she’s been evicted… from life” line encapsulates the horror wonderfully. The Doctor cleverly reasoned that whoever brought him into the house would have killed him already if they wanted him dead, so he damages the cameras with his sonic screwdriver in order to get evicted.

    Then we come to it. “Bad Wolf.” From it’s very title we expected something more from this episode, something extra on top of all the action, drama and laughs that we’ve become accustomed to. The Broff character (the Gamestation employee) was a very good way of building up the intrigue as he himself was an employee of Gamestation, and even he saw that something was going on. His character talks of “stories” and “rumours that go back decades.” More importantly, he speaks about something being hidden underneath the Gamestation’s programme transmissions. By the time we meet the visually impressive controller, we have far more questions than answers.

    Yes, ‘Bad Wolf’ is the name of the corporation running Gamestation, as we find out from Roderick. The other shoe drops and Rose finally puts it all together. For the benefit of the casual viewer, who bar the explicit reference in “Boom Town” probably never noticed any of the ‘Bad Wolf’ references, we are treated to Rose’s memories of most of the times she encountered those two words while travelling with the Doctor (though how she remembered Van Statten’s helicopter saying “Bad Wolf One descending” when she wasn’t there is puzzling. I know… I’m pedantic!) Rose realises that she has been brought onto Gamestation for a reason, though her time is running out as she goes one on one with Roderick in the final round of “The Weakest Link!”

    The Doctor is at his best as he is evicted from the house, and as of course he isn’t ‘disintegrated’ he breaks out with ease, taking his flirtatious new young lady friend with him. I noted that he promised he would get her out alive. I don’t know why, and I hope it isn’t so because I quite like Lynda, but I have this horrible feeling she is going to die in “The Parting of the Ways.” Some of her banter with the Doctor is some of the best we’ve seen in the series… “I moisturise…”, “Bear with me,” et al. and I loved the line about the Doctor not paying for his TV Licence. “You can get executed for that!” a shocked Lynda informs him. The penalties haven’t got that much worse then 198,000 years on! “Let ‘em try!” the Doctor boasts, inviting Lynda’s “Who are you then Doctor?” line of questioning, leading to the inevitable “I could come with you… I wouldn’t get in the way…” and the Doctor’s “I wouldn’t mind if you did.” For a casual viewer, bombarded with press headlines about Billie Piper allegedly quitting the show, this looks just like the introduction of a new female companion, perhaps even love interest for our favourite Timelord.

    Finally realising that he is on Satellite 5, the Doctor boasts about defeating the Jagrafess 100 years earlier; “Nothing serious. Easy,” he claims. As Lynda looks out at the Earth for the first time (third time for us in the same set… ) Eccleston gives one of his customary 9th Doctor speeches; “The Human Race. Brainless Sheep…” until he realises his big mistake. Yes, he saved Earth from the Jagrafess. He “put things right…” and then he left, and thinking back it was one of the hastiest departures at the end of an episode this series. After he left, Lynda tells us of the 100 years of hell that ensued after all the news channels shut down. The governments and the economy froze, and there was nothing left. Everything was set for ‘Bad Wolf’ to move in with it’s distinctive brand of snuff TV. “I made this world…” says a sombre Doctor. When the Doctor and Lynda find Jack, Jack of course flirts with Lynda, to the Doctor’s obvious jealously. The Doctor, having seen the “Bad Wolf” corporation’s logo and realised that someone has manipulated his “entire (9th?) life” is angry at everything, tipping over computers and shouting about stupid systems. Although we know that ‘Bad Wolf’ is the Corporation running the Gamestation, I’m sure there is more to it. The clues, for one, are yet to be explained…

    “The Weakest Link” final is an unbelievably tense affair as we know from the off Rose knows nothing of relevance in the year 200,000 other than 1 or 2 lucky guesses and it’s just a matter of time before she is disintegrated. But the Doctor always saves the day, and we have the Doctor, Jack and Lynda rushing up to “The Weakest Link” stage – the Doctor staring intently at the numbers of the floors the lift passes. Inevitably Rose loses the game, and although Jack, the Doctor and Lynda burst in seemingly in the nick of time, this time they are too late. The Annedroid apparently kills Rose; the Doctor and his two surviving friends arrested by Gamestation security – an absolute masterstroke by Russell T. Davies. On the one hand, we have newspaper rumours about Billie Piper leaving the show, and on the other we have a potential new companion appearing in the form of Lynda, and Rose’s apparent death. I almost believed she was gone myself for a moment! Moreover, we get to explore the effect’s Rose’s demise would have on the Doctor without actually having her killed. The moment when he was arrested said it all – Eccleston’s eyes. The Doctor just wasn’t there. He had totally lost the plot. In his interrogation there were no jokes, no witty responses, no talking at all. His mug shots carried the same blank expression – the engine appeared to be running, but with no one at the wheel.

    After being sentenced to the Lunar Penal Colony (a nice in-joke as the Doctor was sent there in “Frontier in Space,” a story which unravelled clues about a Dalek army the Doctor would go after in the next story, “Planet of the Daleks”) Jack and the Doctor have a brilliant moment where they just say “Let’s do it.” The Doctor is so angry, so distraught and grief-stricken he even violently rams the guard into the wall. Pertwee’s Venusian Karate aside, the Doctor has never, ever been a violent man. To see him like this, totally gone over the edge was both painful and a wonder to watch, especially bearing in mind Eccleston’s mercurial performance. Armed to the teeth, the trio head for Floor 500, just in time for the ‘solar flares’ we’ve heard the Controller panicking about throughout the episode. For a moment, huge alien weapon in hand, the Doctor looks at the Controller in the same way he looked at the Dalek in “Dalek.” Finally, his true self triumphs as he amusingly throws his gun to Broff, then begins to question him! Broff’s face is a classic as he looks at the Doctor, bemused. “…But I have your gun???”

    Broff soon reveals his ‘log’ of suspicious going on to the Doctor and Jack. Jack finds the TARDIS, which works out that Rose isn’t in fact dead, she’s just been transmatted… somewhere. At this point the Doctor appears to be infused with life and optimism… he gets his ‘mojo’ back!

    As the solar flares knock out the transmissions, we hear the voice of the true Controller. Her cryptic message, all the more creepy as it’s coming from her pasty white eerie face, tells us about her masters “hidden in the dark space… watching… shaping the Earth for so so many years….” who “fear the Doctor.” Even if the surprise had not been totally spoiled by last week’s trailer, who else could it be?

    Rose wakes up on board a stunningly designed Dalek saucer. Not only was the interior beautifully created, it had that wonderful retro / organic / Flash Gordon look that has worked so well in the series. The director teases us with a view through the Dalek’s eyepiece as it stalks Rose, then as the Controller is transmatted onto the Dalek ship for her disobedience and subsequently exterminated, we are teased that little bit more as we see the slightly blurred reflections of several Daleks on the saucer’s interior wall. The Controller’s dying cry “I have brought your destruction…” served as a wonderful lead into the cliff-hanger.

    Whilst Jack turns his attentions to flirting with Broff, the Doctor speaks of the ‘Long Game’ the Daleks have played in controlling the human race. At the time of episode 7, I thought the title “The Long Game” was a total misnomer – it seemed to bear no relation to the episode at all. Even now, having seen “Bad Wolf,” I think “The Long Game” would be a far better title for this episode, especially as it contains not only the three game shows, but the explanation of what this ‘Long Game’ actually is! Moreover, despite it’s title, “Bad Wolf” does not explain who or what is responsible for these references painted all over the universe, so calling this episode “Bad Wolf” is nearly as silly as calling “The Long Game” “The Long Game.” Not that it really matters or ought. What does matter is that the Daleks have been using the transmissions from Gamestation to hide 200 Dalek ships – nearly half a million Daleks! The reveal of the saucers is nothing short of epic; the music, the saucers themselves, the camera movement… absolutely stunning. We’ve never seen a Dalek army like this, and from the teasers and trailers for “The Parting of the Ways…” well. It’s going to be immense! We’ve seen the odd Dalek saucer here, a Dalek army in deep-freeze there, but never, ever half a million Daleks floating through space, ready for full-scale war!

    Finally the Dalek menace is revealed to the audience. “WE ARE DETECTED!” In typical cheesy sci-fi serial style, the Daleks reveal their entire plan to the Doctor, then ask him not to intervene, using the age-old hostage bluff. What does the Doctor say? “No.”

    I was as confused as the Daleks were! “WHAT IS THE MEANING OF THIS NEGATIVE?” And then we got it… if ever a speech has encapsulated who the Doctor is, or what the show is about, then this it. Say what you like about Russell T. Davies, the man is a genius and his work on this show has been nothing short of phenomenal. This speech must have flowed from his pen sat in his Cardiff flat, a huge 9th Doctor like grin on his face…

    “I’m gonna save Rose Tyler from the middle of the Dalek fleet, and then I’m gonna save the Earth, and then, just to finish off, I’m gonna wipe every stinking Dalek out of the sky!”

    “BUT YOU HAVE NO WEAPONS! NO DEFENCES! NO PLAN”

    “And doesn’t that scare the hell out of you!!!!”

    Russell T. Davies must have written that then leaned back on his chair with a huge grin on his face. Then he must have thought, “how in the blue hell is he gonna do all that????” and I cannot wait to see how!!!

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    Wow! That was good. I have a feeling that there will be actual tears when I watch the finale. Christopher Eccleston is just brilliant as the Doctor; the Doctor who doesn't stand around waiting for explanations - a Doctor who just does what he has to. Brilliant. I'm missing him already!

    As far as the episode is concerned, the idea that reality shows are beamed to the populace to cover up an impending invasion is very satirical but also ingenius. I liked seeing the Doctor in the Big Brother house, acting as I know he would act. He was irritated by it all and wanted a way out. Excellent sequence which more could have been made of. The Doctor would be a more interesting housemate than the ones we have now!

    I thought the What Not to Wear was less interesting, but when Captain Jack took the laser out of his ass I just couldn't believe it! A really good idea. It reminds me of the IRA prisoners in the H-Block jails who used to stuff cigarette packets to smuggle them in and exchange. Probably isn't good for prostate though.

    The Weakest Link was also a good sequence and while I think Paterson Joseph is a good actor, you really did not quite believe him in this - there was something 'amateur' about his performance. The woman who got zapped first was definitely better in the small time she had! And when Rose got vaporised I really did think that was it - I mean we have been hearing she is and she isn't returning to the series. The look on the Doctor's face when he thinks she's gone was brilliant. He didn't fight off the guard cuffing him, he just looked crestfallen - like his whole world had crumbled. I did punch the air when he and Jack attacked the guards in the cell though. Go on my son!

    I did not quite understand the fact that the laser was a transmat beam. We saw Rose on the Dalek ship, but where were all the other people who got zapped. And why are they zapping them all to their ships? Surely the Daleks couldn't fit them all! I'm sure this will be explained in the next episode. And the Bad Wolf thing hasn't really been properly explained, has it?

    All in all, a fantastic episode and I have tried to avoid all the internet ramblings. Mr brother reckons the controller of the Daleks will definitely be Davros, I reckon it will be the Dalek Emperor and my friend at work Adam mentioned something about it being a deformed Bruno Langley [think Evelyn Smythe in Real Time]. I love the way I have no idea.

    Roll on the finale!

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    Ohmygodohmygodohmygodohmygod! My inner eight-year-old is so very happy...

    The final episode of this series was SO good that the Doctor kissed his companion AND I DIDN'T CARE!! Normally I would be up in arms at such un-doctorish behaviour but the episode was SO exciting and SO moving that it almost seemed OK. (Jack kissing the Doctor isn't a problem as that's the companion kissing the Doctor, not the other way round...)

    Regarding the big mystery that was finally answered- I bet we all thought a one or several points, 'Ooh, I wonder if Rose could be the bad wolf...' and then thought, 'neah.' Thank you RTD for one of the most brillliant apotheistic twists we could have hope for. Don't quite see how the Daleks were able to survive the time war 'through' the emperor dalek but again - strangely - that doesn't really bother me.

    There were alot of wonderful & iconic moments in this episode - almost as though RTD was ticking them off one by one. Dalkes breaking through a door with a cutting torch AND a regeneration in the same episode is quite literally fan heaven.

    There were wonderful quirky, inventive moments such as the companion, boy friend and mother conspiring to break into a piece of Gallifreyan technology using a chain and a truck. It's so wonderfully bizarre. Again brilliant use was made of the stark contrast of colours and mood between Rose's council estate and a space station in the distant future where humanity is about to meet its end. There was powerful archetypal imagery with Rose attaining ultimate power (and becoming something a bit dangerous in th process - total power corrupting totally and all that). The Emperor Dalek attaining a god-complex, a re-visiting of the Doctor's hesitance to kill from Genesis of the Daleks, and the Doctor sacrificing himself for his companion.

    And the Doctor regenerated standing up ...blimey- I'd never have thought of that. And it seemed to suit Ecclestone's dynamic and swaggering portrayal to a T. It was a much more empowering way to regenerate, when contrasted with the ususal vulnerabiltity and disorientation that surrounds most regenerations. It wasn't at all what I'd expected in terms of ceremony and solemnity - but instead it was fantasticly optimistic and almost like a redeeming process after the trauma of the Time War.

    Christopher Ecclestone has left us - and what a nice goodbye speech we got. He really has put an enormouse amount of effort into this series and by the final episode, I think I'd forgiven all of the telling people to shut-up and gurning. He's done the show a huge service.

    But now we've got to start dreaming about Christmas- David Tennant. Teeth. Barcelona. Fantastic.

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    With interesting concepts and a few odd twists, Parting of the Ways was a rollercoaster- and had it's fair share of ups and downs. With a warming display on the part of Mickey and a rare glimpse of Jackie Tyler's compassionate nature, complete with Captain Jack at his most 'heroic' (for want of a better word), it succesfully tied up the odd loose end.

    No doubt a few watchers were punching the air in triumph when Rose revealed herself as the now infamous Bad Wolf- but for me, the ending was a kind of anti-climax. Having the Doctor able to explain his regeneration (as far as time would allow him) was a nice little addition that I think is helpful to the newer fans of Doctor Who. Ecclestone's performance in that scene reflected the disjointedness that regeneration brings brilliantly.

    With the arrival of David Tennant as Doctor Number Ten, and a brief but unique introduction, on the whole the episode lived up to the credentials of a finale. However, the idea of the Doctor taking the Daleks' word of 'coward' unto himself seemed a little final, as if he expected to lose without a battle.

    Rose bringing Jack back to life with her temporary 'demi-god' powers courtesy of the TARDIS....a good show of her feelings for him and the extent of her 'power', but a little off-key. And the dramatic rise in the series' death toll (once again) brought back the slightly darker and more sinister shadow behind the new and re-vamped Doctor Who.

    Overall verdict? Great- but I have yet to decide if the new Doctor will fill his predecessor's shoes successfully...

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    I have really mixed feelings about this episode. The first 10 minutes where really clever and just fantastic! Most of the rest of the episode was great, but then the ending ruined it all.

    Here we go again with the magic wand cure all solutions. This is a problem that the newer Star Trek series suffered from as well. No one ever fights it out any more. The writer paints himself into a corner and comes up with a magical way over the top cure all that ruins everything.

    The writers need to keep things credible. Please listen to your viewers!

    Others mentioned that it's unrealistic for taste in television or for similar shows to exist thousands of years later. I disagree because I think it's possible for television to revisist stuff from way back. We do that now all the time in fact. Television could have gone through many stages prior to the Daleks intervention. I think the whole reality tv concept was under explored. I would have made it a seperate story.

    Effects! Ahh. I know about effects. I'm a professional 3D animator myself. The effects looked great, top notch, but the animation was choppy in some shots. I've seen this before on the show. There's no budgetary reasons to have this. A good animator would be able to make these shots smooth as silk regardless of budget. There's a way to smooth between keyframes with an ease in and ease out selection.

    Captain Jack...

    I really like this character. I'm hoping they don't get out of line with the gay stuff though. That aspect I don't like to see in Doctor Who, but otherwise great character and he behaves how I would behave in that environment. A much more entertaining Han Solo. Spin off show anyone?

    Chris E....

    The best by far in my opinion. I will miss him as the Doctor. I can't imagine anyone else in the role now. He put Tom Baker into 2nd place.

    Rose.. Great as usual. Superb acting.

    I haven't seen any other reviews but I think most would agree the ending was too over the top. The Dalek Emperor looked great. Would like to have seem move around though and personally I would rather have seen a Dalek invasion on Earth in the streets rather than in space. But that's just me.

    What happened to the Jelly Babies by the way?

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    Oh my god....That was possibly the best episode of Doctor Who ever. Any Russel T Davies doubters shurely must be at ease now. This was mind blowing stuff.

    First off Christopher Eccleston will be sorely missed. This was a huge send off for him and he deserved it. I often wondered why they never used the Daleks before for a Doctors finale. It was suitably big to use them for his final story.

    The chemistry between the Doctor and Rose have been second to none. Billy Piper and Christopher worked so well together that i can just live in hope that David Tennant will have the same chemistry with the walking perfection that is Billie.

    I loved how the Bad Wolf stuff came together, and the fact Rose turned out to be Bad Wolf instead of the Daleks was the iceing on the cake. It was much more satisfactory being her than the daleks as a whole. I loved how it turned out she had sent herself the messages.

    The whole story was about death. The death of Jack, the death of the human race and of course the Doctor. Thank heavens Rose turned up and resurrected the brilliant Captain jack. I loved his kiss scene with the Doctor and Rose. Especially the kiss with the doctor. How times have changed for the better. here is hoping we see some boyfriends for Jack in series 2. If he is in it of course.

    But the Daleks and especially emperor Dalek was brilliantly menacing and evil. I loved the battle of wills between the doctor and emperor.

    I particularly liked the scenes where the Doctor tricked Rose into the Tardis and sent her back. I cried during the holographic message and loved Rose's scenes with her mum Jackie and ex boyfriend Mickey. My only complaint was that they didn't go into the Tardis with her to see the regeneration.

    I laughed out loud when Jackie turned up with the big truck. loved that scene, so nice.

    Rose as the Bad Wolf was great. She kicked ass as a higher being. Loved her destroying the Daleks like she had with the Autons in her first episode.

    And yes, I am so glad they kissed. So good and heartwarming to see he regenerated and forfeited his life to save that of his true love Rose.

    The regeneration scene was up there with Peter Davison’s. Now I have two favourite regenerations. I loved there parting words and Christopher and Billie pulled in award winning performances.

    BAFTAs should rain down on this show.

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    When I was growing up in the 70's we used to visit my grandparents every fortnight and we always used to leave at the same time - unless Dr Who was on- I was glued to it ,without fail.

    For me Tom Baker was The Doctor.

    Thinking back to some of those episodes, they were terrifying - ( I was only about 6 or 7 years old).

    Not so special effects, wobbly sets, ropy make-up : I didn't see any of that.Through my innocent eyes it was perfect, probably due to the invariably brilliant writing.

    Jumping forward 25 years or so ( I did watch afterTom Baker departed - but not with such commitment) I was excited to hear The Doctor was coming back to our screens. I was glad when Christopher Ecclestone was cast, he is a brilliant actor ( Our Friends In The North, Cracker The Second Coming) an all round Everyman. Who else can play ordinary in such an outstanding manner.( Ken Stott maybe?)

    I sat down to the first episode of the new series, the opening titles- the music- I was grinning from ear to ear, I was 6 years old again, and all too soon it was over. I couldn't wait for episode 2, I was hooked.

    Week by week I have laughed, smiled, jumped and almost wept.

    I have been glued to the Interweb looking for Dr Who articles and info related to the new series.

    I thought that Bad Wolf was one of the best pieces of television in the last 20 years and I have watched quite alot of it. But this weeks episode was even better.

    Parting of the ways started with a quick rehash of where and why we were all here ( I would rather have a rehash every week, I can do without a preview of the next episode) .

    It was nice to see that the Legend Of The Doctor is required reading for all Daleks. When he stepped out of the TARDIS and confronted them they did fear him , as much as he feared them.( as much as we all feared them when we were 6 years old).

    How could RTD possibly resolve all the loose ends in the next 41 minutes?

    It was a rollercoaster of emotion that originally started with Episode 1. Was the last of the Timelords falling in love? I think he was (is)

    The revelation of The God of The Daleks was terrific. Worship Him!!!!!!!!!!!

    This particular bit of the episode says alot about RTD's views on religion!

    Should they just hot foot it out of there? No , let's just send Rose back to normality, sacrifice yourself save mankind and end Dr Who once and for all. Enter BadWolf, I was blown away, PERFECT TELEVISION!

    She destroyed the Daleks,She resurrected Capt Jack.The Doctor wasn't falling in love, Rose was , they embrace and kiss,she kills the doctor.

    he regenerates - enter David Tennant, The Doctor .

    The rewritten ending(following Christopher Ecclestones decision to leave) to the climactic ending to the new series with RTD including the line "You were brilliant, and so was I ". How true.

    You were all brilliant. Thank you for letting me be 6 years old every Saturday night for the last few months. I do believe in time travel. I am looking forward to Christmas this year, but only for Dr Who.

    I had doubts about David Tennant being The Doctor, but not anymore!

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    What a splendid episode. This series didn't grab me from the off, and I watched out of loyalty and nostalgia for the first few episodes. But Father's Day drew me in and by the Finale I was completely in love with this incarnation.

    The Doctor's combination of dark and cheeky shone in Parting of the Ways. The choice of "coward" out of the Dalek's options was very refreshing in a world of Jack Bauer-like fascist boy's own heroes.

    The writing still leaves something to be desired - a little less carry on, a few more snappy one liners would bring the standard even higher. I was going to say more subtle emotional dialogue, but I don't think the under-15s would really put up with that, and this is for them....mostly.

    Two major moments stolen almost in their entirety from Buffy, but RTD and his cast have the chutzpah to carry it off. Eccleston’s pillar of fire moment was much more enjoyable than James Marster's (as in Spike in Buffy) effort. Eccleston's Doctor has charm and cojones in equal measure, and his exit made me cry like no UK TV show has made me cry in a long while. At last, a home-grown genre show that isn't afraid of a bit of emotion. Though I was tickled that he didn't say "I love you Rose" (which I was dreading) and, instead, went for the disarming egotism of "I was brilliant".

    The other notable Buffy theft, Rose's revision of the Uber-Buffy (season 4 of Btvs) was actually rather moving. Our lady of the immaculately-smudged makeup, she was. Though, one question...why does the heart of the TARDIS turn you posh, eh? Seemed to work on her and the Doctor both.

    The Rose and Doctor kiss felt earned. The Jack and Doctor kiss showed an impressive insight into the minds of 15 year old girls (and possibly women of all ages). How'd you keep your female audience interested? Make the chaps kiss. See, women and men aren't all that different after all.

    The daleks were the one part of the episode that I didn't really care about. Perhaps they're just too familiar an image now. Perhaps I've seen too many daleks-trying-to-get-upstairs cartoons. That, and growing up on the Tripods, which were far scarier. But the effect of the situation on the characters made up for the lack of a (for me) fully realised villain/threat.

    The moment when the Doc sent Rose home was heart-wrenching. Mum turning up with a big rescue truck was ace. Mickey was almost bearable. The Doctor was on his finest hammy-but-loveable form.

    So, new doctor. I think I'm going to like this one too. He has a mad look in his eyes - startled rabbit that's just escaped from an animal testing place where they're pumping them full of new and exciting drugs.

    The big question aside from "will Tennant be as good" is....are they going to go back for Jack?

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    I've had a lot of problems with Russell Davies throughout this series. He writes with all the subtlety of a sledgehammer, he can't develop characters and plot at the same time, he doesn't bother to develop characters beyond the Doctor and Rose (and even the Doctor is often left to Christopher Eccleston to flesh out), he appears to appreciate the old series primarily as camp. All of these failings and more have corrupted much of his writing on the new Who, turning often promising concepts into disappointing episodes. With "Parting of the Ways," however, I was anticipating something different: how could anyone dissapoint on a massive, (relatively) big budget Dalek invasion? Well, Mr. Davies somehow lowers himself to the occasion.

    The high point of the episode is unquestionably the Daleks themselves, particularly their new role as religious zealots. The notion that human-derived Daleks, now seeing themselves as corrupt, impure, and "fallen," would worship the Dalek Emperor as the last pure creature in existence out of their own self-loathing, is a fascinating one, and one that deserved to be explored further. There is a powerful connection between the appeal of God and the religious revulsion towards impurity and "sin," and a closer examination of this Dalek religion could have made for excellent, intelligent, germane social commentary, and finally expanded Daleks beyond their role as 1960s Nazi analogues. Davies has little time to do this in 45 minutes, however, and spends much of that time setting up its bewildering resolution.

    It's rather tragic that the episode falls apart at its ending, because it's the ending that needs to accomplish so much. It needs to wrap up the Dalek 2-parter, provide a sense of closure to the Time War, explain the "Bad Wolf," and bring a satisfactory close to Christopher Eccleston's run as the Doctor. Does it do all this? Yes. Does it do this satisfactorily, acting as a real payoff to the series? Not hardly.

    The use of a deus ex machina is always somewhat feeble - it cheapens the story and short-circuits the drama by breaking suspension of disbelief - but Davies's particular choice of plot device is beyond disappointing. The notion that anyone can crack open the Tardis, take a gander inside, and become omnipotent for a couple minutes would be absurd even if this exact same plot device hadn't been used two weeks prior in "Boom Town." Why, exactly, does the Doctor even bother setting up his delta wave weapon, risking the eradication of everyone on Earth, if he knows that a simple dip in the Tardis would let him selectively obliterate the Daleks? It would kill him, sure, but apparently so would his delta wave stunt, seeing as he'd sent away the Tardis and hadn't planned to survive. In fact, there's reason to believe the Doctor could've done a better job wielding the suddenly godlike powers of the Tardis than Rose; she brought Captain Jack back to life, and maybe the rest who were exterminated on the station, but the Doctor might've been able to bring back the Time Lords if he'd thought about it, or anyone else wiped out by the Daleks. In fact, if he's feeling generous, he could burn another regeneration to do that right now. Why not? It would be limp and undramatic, but who needs good writing when you've got God in a box?

    The resolution of the Bad Wolf arc is so slapdash one can only come to the conclusion that the Bad Wolf references were inserted into the series long before Davies knew what they were supposed to mean. Many of the references make no sense now in retrospect - how are the trapped aliens in "End of the World" facing "the classic bad wolf scenario"? is Gwyneth from "The Unquiet Dead" meant to be terrified at a future Rose? - and even the very notion of Rose using "Bad Wolf" as a message to warn herself is just plain silly. With the power of a god, couldn't she have come up with something simpler to understand than the repetition of an ambiguous two-word phrase? A telegram would've been more sensible: "Dear Rose, please knock open the Tardis console and go back to the future. Love, Rose."

    This is presumably the last we see of the Daleks, and therefore the last we see of the Time War, which has so dominated and influenced this series. You'd hardly know it, though, watching this episode. The Doctor mentions how his people died for nothing, and it's true - as long as the Daleks exist, the destruction of Gallifrey seems like a sad, cruel joke. But we don't get to really feel the Doctor's reaction to this, or see him confront and deal with the shellshock that's defined his character. What a missed opportunity! So much of Eccleston's Doctor has been marked by a dark, vindictive, tortured streak that dates back directly to the Dalek extermination of his people. There's more at stake here than just an invasion of Earth; this is his chance to do for Earth what he couldn't do for Gallifrey, to save and preserve instead of simply exacting revenge. But that never comes across in this script, and the episode is much poorer for it.

    Even the regeneration sequence feels clumsy. Too much time and conversation passes between the Doctor "kissing" the deadly energy out Rose (I let this pass without comment) and between the time when it becomes clear - visually and dramatically - that he's dying. In fact, the effect of showing the energy flowing *out* of the Doctor and back into the Tardis accomplishes just the opposite, suggesting that the Doctor has safely removed the threat. This may have been intentional - Davies opting for a dramatic fake-out - but if so, it was a huge miscalculation, producing an awkward disconnect between the event that kills the Doctor and his actual death. As a viewer, I'm dramatically invested in the destruction of the Daleks, the threat to Rose, and the Doctor's sacrifice; when that moment passes, the tension is dispersed, and asking me to take it up again after listening to some joke about dogs in Barcelona is a bit much..

    This episode was not all disappointments and weak endings, certainly. The Daleks are suitably frightening again, although not the terrifyingly cold-blooded masterminds portrayed in "Dalek." Sending Rose back home to London and telling her to leave the Tardis to gather dust was a nice touch. Even the Mickey and Jackie appearance was handled well: a pity this is the fourth goodbye we've said to these characters; if they'd been previously handled with any restraint, the sight of Rose leaving her family for the Doctor would've had some emotional impact. The action sequences are nicely paced and dramatic, although an opportunity was missed to make this more horrific; with an unstoppable army of Daleks marching up a closed space station and dealing out slow methodical death to everyone they meet, a feeling of true claustrophobia and inevitability could've added to the menace.

    On the acting: Billie Piper does an excellent job with the script she's been given, especially in the back-in-London sequence, although it's easy to see how she could be flummoxed by her awkwardly-scripted turn as a Suddenly-Glowing Omnipotent Plot Device. John Barrowman finally comes into his own in this episode, shining with just the right combination of smarm, heroism, and desperation, a shame considering that his character is unceremoniously ditched at the close of the episode. Eccleston rises above the script's failings, and made me wish once again that he had been in a series helmed by a writer willing to make the best use of his talents. I want to get behind his Doctor's last lines - "You were fantastic... and so was I" - because Chris *was* fantastic. But like Colin Baker before him, his talent was held back by weak writing and a limp direction, and the potential far outstripped the real. Here's hoping David Tennant gets a better shot.

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    Well it's over for the time being...time was up on Saturday 18th June 2005 for Christopher Eccleston's doctor and what a finale. The BBC had cleverly built up this episode over the past week with a 'Time Is Up In..' countdown, even going as far as having a countdown clock prior to the transmission of the episode and.. BOOM.. we never looked back.

    The pace was unrelenting, with the Daleks in full flow like we have only ever imagined them to be and the characters in classic fashion were separated during the episode to lead their own emotionally driven mini-stories within the episode. Make no mistake about it -this was a powerful, emotionally charged episode from the spectacularly edited pre-credits sequence to the grand finale. Earth was wiped out continent by continent, there was no Davros and the Dalek emperor found out what we already knew about our hero -he just doesn't kill innocent beings even though he may be averting disaster. Oh.. and he doesn't always win, he doesn't always get it right and occasionally he needs a helping hand in times of desperation. Looking beyond all the explosions, the drama and the emotion this episode raised a number of very interesting issues very cleverly hidden away by Russell T Davies amongst all the carnage, the most significant of which was the doctor's relationship not with Rose but with the TARDIS.

    I'd always felt there was more to the TARDIS than just being a vehicle for the Doctor to get around -Russell T obviously agreed as he gave our favourite time machine a heart and a soul and made it come alive, saving it's occupant in the nick of time just when he needed it most. The concept of the TARDIS as a thinking, feeling ,caring being which is alive and responsible for the welfare of it's occupant is one which I hope is explored as the series progresses.

    On the negatives front the whole series has been built around death and its consequences -death is seen and felt in most if not all of the episodes and it's irreversibility has been impressed upon us on more than one occasion but here in this episode we see it reversed -quite a contradiction to all that has gone before. A minor gripe in an otherwise faultless episode.

    Which now brings me on the grand finale -much has been said and written about Christopher Eccleston's decision to leave and I will not tread over old ground here. Suffice to say I watched Chris's interview with Jonathon Ross the night before 'Rose' premiered on UK television and one of Ross's questions was concerning the fact that we all know, despite everything that happens, the doctor always wins. To which Eccleston replied: 'Wait and see -you will be surprised'. So it was always his intention to do just the one season and it should not surprise anyone -he is a very gifted actor who has appeared on stage and screen and wants to move onto new things. Lets just thank him for reviving our beloved show and wish him well.

    And a warm welcome to David Tennant - a wonderful regeneration scene which took me completely by surprise and he seems to fit the bill perfectly.

    Roll on Christmas and series two.

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    Well, I have to say I am a little disappointed. My wife, who has been watching as avidly as myself actually exclaimed "crap!" at the ending of this story.

    Things start well, with an army of a million Daleks poised to invade earth. The Doctor learns that the Emperor Dalek has survived and, harvesting dead or unwanted humans (such as refugees, the homeless) has created a new Dalek race and. The Emperor Dalek now believes itself to be God, and seeks to turn the entire human race into Daleks much in the same way the Cybermen turn humans into their own kind.

    The Doctor finds out that Satellite 5 can generate something called a Delta wave which should destroy all the Daleks, but while constructing the apparatus to achieve this he discovers that it will destroy all life on earth too. He faces a moral dilemma, save the earth and the Daleks might take over the entire universe...destroy life on earth and the Daleks and their threat should be gone forever. Having failed to destroy the Daleks before, can he do it now?

    The problem, as with so many of this series stories, is that it is not the Doctor who saves the day. Rose, sent back home and instructed not to return, finds a way to do so and saves the day. She opens the Tardis console, looks into the time vortex and gains the power to see all the past, and all future possibilities. It also transpires that Rose is the "Bad Wolf", having herself placed the references through time and space to let herself know that she can get back to save the Doctor and future earth.

    In an ending that some will see as a cop out, the Doctor predictably cannot destroy the earth and admits he is a coward. The newly enhanced Rose manages to turn all the Daleks and their ships to dust, but the Doctor realises this power will kill Rose as nobody is supposed to stare into the time vortex, not even a Time Lord. So in what looks like a passionate kiss, he sucks the vortex from Rose.

    This causes every cell in the Doctor's body to begin to die and kicks off his regeneration into David Tennant.

    I do feel this ending was disappointing. Once again the Doctor had to rely on his assistant(s) to save him, and while this is not a bad plot idea at all we've seen it too many times this year. I do take RTD's point that having built up several characters such as Mickey and Captain Jack, he wanted them all to have a part to play in the final episode. But Doctor Who was always about the Doctor finding a solution to a problem he stubled across. Until the final 10 minutes, this two part adventure was absolute classic Doctor Who full of suspense and mystery...then it suddenly ended. Oh, was that it?

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    All I can truly say about The Parting of the Ways is WOW!!! My previously unmovable favourate, Genesis of the Daleks, has finally been toppled!

    I am not saying it was completely perfect (I dare anyone to find an episoe of ANY show that was completely flawless) yet the final episode just had that right 'zing' to it that made it the best 45 minutes of television I have ever seen.

    With no quick pre-titles cliff-hanger resolution we have grown used to from the second parts of the previous two-parters, Parting of the Ways offered a simple recap before launching into the beloved theme music - at this point I felt a tad sentimental that this will be the last time I feel the excitement of a new episode until christmas.

    From here we are treated to an almost bond-style teaser in which the Daleks fire their missiles at the spinning TARDIS, which blocks it using new shields (though I did come up with the idea part way through this that the TARDIS chamelion circuit could turn it into a fighter ship - Jack in a X-Wing vs Space Daleks anybody?)

    Rose and a Dalek are brought into the ship and Jack blows the Dalek up. Doctor Who finally reaches the X-Files and Stargate audience I believe it should have captured from the beginning.

    From this point I became a little disappointed. Though I half wanted Davros to make a return at this point, despite the nagging belief that the Daleks deserve to be menacing without him again, my money was on the Daleks resurrected through the lone survivor from Episode 6.

    My world fell apart as the re-vamped Dalek Emperor enters. Though according to Doctor Who Confidential it was a model, it still seems to look CG to me. The voice may be cannon with the 1960s version but in form it just lacks the looming majesty, I will however congratulate the design team with showing the Dalek itself within a clear capsule - no illusions that it's Davros in disguise again.

    The story gets underway with true Dalek carnage. The tried and trusted Doctor Who classic of running down corridors in fear makes a welcome return and the Daleks wipe out every human on the station.

    Character development goes in different directions with Jack making a great leader in Rambo-style, whilst Rose's Weakest Link team-mate from Bad Wolf abandones his clever scheaming gameplay and just comes across as arrogant and thoughrally dense.

    The Doctor's aim of generating a Delta Wave, can't he just reverse the polarity of the Dalek's beam instead of coming up with more ridiculous gobbledigook?

    The emotions between the Doctor, Rose and Jack were spot on. Though some may be against the kisses I think they had to be and the characters were all the better for them. Having said that I think Jackie and Mickey's stories have beeen told and their repeated re-occurance, whilst good at first, is beginning to wear thin.

    And now we come to the final revelation and Bad Wolf is...ROSE?!!! I can't deny I was surprised. Fairly original - and not with any of the fan theories - it was only let down with the crude way in which the console was opened.

    The regeneration, boy I was so hoping for it, was (can I bear to say it?) Fantastic! Truly dramatic and emotional, if you ignore Eccleston's insistance on grinning like a bafoon in every scene. Tennant had from those few lines the right querkyness to make the part work and I only hope that he doesn't follow his Casanova routine in Doctor Who.

    In short, it didn't meet all my expectations in terms of plot but for action and general screen presentation it was great.

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    With Russell Davies at the helm, the new series has often felt more like fanfiction than television. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, but when character interaction takes precedence over plot then the feel of 'Doctor Who' has a tendency to sidle out the back door. Worse still, it seems that Davies isn't just a fan of 'Doctor Who' -- many scenes from 'The Parting of the Ways' felt like a thinly disguised tribute to Joss Whedon.

    The choices for the Bad Wolf & the Dalek controller were nowhere near as interesting as those I've read in fannish speculation, and there seemed to be only tenuous connections with the 'Bad Wolf' episode. The massed Daleks lacked the menace that imbued the single survivor in 'Dalek', and their video-game-like invasion felt contrived & rather pedestrian. Gun-toting Jack felt like he'd wandered in from another series. And, oh dear, the literal _deus ex machina_ ending -- let's just say Davies has now penned the Mary-Sue epic that every fanwriter needs to purge from their system.

    Grumps aside, there is plenty to enjoy in 'The Parting of the Ways'. Chris Eccleston delivers a near-perfect performance throughout, and, as in 'Bad Wolf', Joe Ahearne makes him look almost Christ-like. I'm really going to miss the 9th Doctor. The Doctor's decision to send Rose home & her decision to return both felt right, and Rose's scenes in London worked surprisingly well. (I cheered when Jackie turned up with the tow-truck!) The various secondary characters were all given honourable deaths. Finally, one has to applaud the Beeb for daring Outraged of Tunbridge Wells with the same-sex kiss.

    Not bad, but not stellar either: I'd expected far more from the season ender.

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    It seems a while ago now since we were promised the trip of a lifetime and an exciting new re-awakening of a much loved tv show which had been off the box for years. The return of Doctor Who was something we have craved for years. I, for one, could not quite understand why it had been taken off air, given that it had plenty of scope and storylines could take place anywhere and in any time.

    Creator Russell T Davies has done a smashing job bringing back the show he loves and it has provided us with many jaw-dropping scenes and plenty of emotional drama to re-invigorate the show in style. With the dynamic Christopher Eccleston at the helm, joined by Billie Piper who has really given the character of Rose plenty of heart, the show has had a massive impact.

    There is no doubting the show has delivered with an elegant and loving revamp which gives the modern day Who some of the best characteristics of previous incarnations ... and importantly, made Dr Who cool again!

    Eccleston has played a masterful role in re-launching Dr Who and the wrong lead could very well have cost the show despite the high quality of the scripts. His performance at times has been exemplary particularly when dealing with the Daleks, Fathers's Day and End of the World.

    And now we come to the big finale. The Parting of the Ways had something of an epic feel as it drew the whole series together in stunning fashion. As much as I enjoyed it, and it was a terrific episode and climax, with yet again, superb dialogue between the main characters, I did feel it had a few faults and almost tried to cram in just a bit too much. Loved the Dr and Captain Jack rescuing Rose from the fleet of Daleks ... superb stuff.

    The biggest disappointment for me was the Doctor admitting he was a coward. Why was this line not deleted? How can you have the main hero or star of the show admitting he is a coward? Perhaps to show he was almost human?

    The dilemma featuring Tom Baker's Dr and whether he was brave enough to kill off the Dalek race at the embryonic stage in Genesis was far better handled. You don't just have the Doctor announcing to one and all (including one of the highest rated episodes of the series no doubt) that he is a coward. That spoilt things a tiny tad for me. The brief near romantic relationship between two of the Game Station controllers was designed to show that these people had characters before they were brutally exterminated. But it was a bit too much additional emotion considering we already had enough going on with Rose going back to Earth. The Daleks were good and I liked how they made their comeback what with the Emperor Dalek and all! The Emperor was resplendent in his big comeback since 1967 and the loud booming voice was very much in keeping with Troughton's face-off.

    I loved the first ten minutes or so as the Dr, Rose and Captain Jack confronted the Emperor with the forcefield in place. The episode was peppered with some really emotional moments, particularly when the Dr sends Rose back to the planet Earth as for the first time, we see the Doctor almost realising that things might all go wrong as humans and Daleks could be destroyed.

    The fast and fiery dialogue in this series has been superb (what a time to go for a leak from Captain Jack was one which had us all guffawing) and some of the interaction between the leads has been superb.For me, that is one of the best things about it. Even Captain Jack's kissing exploits were delicately handled and a nice touch. It was good that he did not die but I am very disappointed that he will not stay as a regular throughout the next series after being left on the Games Station. I know he is coming back next series but he has really been a nice shot in the arm for Who and I think it would have helped ease the regeneration if he stayed for that.

    I was not overtly convinced with Rose being "Bad Wolf". I thought there may have been some deeper meaning. When she read it in the playground, how did that convince her she was to go back and try and save the Dr? There have been some wide and varied theories on the internet about who Bad Wolf actually was. But the conclusion as she saved the Dr was enthralling stuff all the same.

    All the business with Rose, Mickey and her mum trying to open up the Tardis was quite good fun. The big finale was excellently handled in the most part (except THAT line) and Rose taking in the Vortex and the Dr giving her the kiss of life was a majestic way of finishing the series.

    The regeneration sequence was good (if a little quick) and the Dr's last few lines of dialogue were superb. I certainly hope that the new Dr and Rose visit the planet Barcelona!

    I also particuarly liked the nod to the very first regeneration sequence as the screen shot shows the Dr looking at the back of his hand on the console which seemed reminiscient of "The Tenth Planet". When the Dr said with his wide toothy grin, "You've been fantastic Rose, and you know what, so have I" - I could not agree more.

    Thank you Russell T Davies for bringing back the show with vigour, character, massive emotion and real depth and also thanks to Christopher Eccelston for being brave enough to take the part which could have been a poisoned chalice. Dr Who is brilliant again - perhaps the best it has ever been in some respects given the superb special fx, brilliant high class acting, and amazing scripts. I believe the show is in very good hands and wish David Tennent good luck in carrying the torch. We may have only had one series of Christopher Eccleston but the man has been an absolute star. Dr Who was never this good. It may never be as good again. But if anyone can continue the legend of Who with panache and a touch of class, I think it is Russell T Davies.

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    And so the Parting comes about, and in far more impressive fashion that the slightly lopsided Bad Wolf. Speaking of which, the title should absolutely have been saved for the season finale, where it would have made a lot more sense.

    There are so many grin-wide moments here that it might be best to get the negatives out the way first...

    1) The opening five minutes. It is blatantly clear now that this was always a single-part story, shoehorned into the reality-tv idea in order to make a two-parter, as Rose's rescue and a shedload of exposition is covered in the opening exchanges. The discovery of the mysterious voice as the Emperor Dalek was slightly underwhelming - Davros or at least the lone Dalek from the episode of the same title would have been more dramatically effective. The religious spin of the Emperor as creator was interesting, though.

    2) The Daleks. I might be in the minority here, but where the episode Dalek showed just how the creatures could be updated, Parting seem to undo a lot of that good work. They glided slowly around. They repeated stock phrases. They exterminated. But they never at any point felt as unearthly as the Gelth or menacing as the gas mask corpses in Empty Child.

    3) Pulling the console open with a recovery van. Yes, the dramatic weight of Mickey and Jackie pitching in was important, but it was still kind of naff.

    4) Super-Rose. Expect the Buffy fans who have been accusing the new series of ripping off their show (unfairly) to start showing you their copies of the episode Primeval. Buffy's influence on Russell is huge here. Also, Rose destroying the Dalek fleet was lovely dramatically but seemed a bit too much of a deus ex machina cheat, plot-wise.

    And on to the good stuff...

    Everything else. Like the rest of the season, the dramamtic beats were what made this episode. The Doctor's deception of Rose was one of the most beautifully written and played scenes of the season. Jack's goodbye kiss to both his friends might elicit some complaints from the less egalitarian viewers, but made perfect sense for the character. Rose's outburst in the cafe was Billie at her finest. Lynda's death was surprisingly touching.

    And the great stuff....

    The Bad Wolf revelation. Yes, you have to skate over it pretty quickly to make it work, but who cares when it gives you spine tingles? Rose ends the season exactly as she began - central to the entire story.

    Jack's death. Played perfectly, and made me regret hearing John Barrowman would be back, since it gave me a comfort line when I watched him thrown back against that wall. I actually thought that maybe his missing two years would have been be spent with the Tenth Doctor, but since he was brought (again, somewhat sketchily) back to life, that mystery is yet to be resolved. And we had that lovely moment when he realises he's been left behind.

    THE KISS. Of course, Paul McGann beat Chris Ecclestone to the chase when it comes to fans complaining about the Doctor getting romantic, but anyone who claims that they didn't want this to happen is a barefaced liar. It's been coming and it was timed perfectly.

    The Doctor's final decision. Flashes of Genesis of the Daleks and the culmination of a season which has shown this man to be broken and unstable. In the end, knowing Rose is safe, he takes the high ground.

    How it all tied together. Not just Bad Wolf, but thematically. Gwyneth's sacrifice is mirrored, Rose learns a lesson from having met her father, the right to kill referenced in both Dalek and Boom Town is revisited. Parting rounds off the Ninth Doctor's arc very well indeed.

    Which of course leads us to....

    The regeneration.

    One of the best, with a beautifully understated build-up that was tear-jerkingly touching for fans and must have been hugely shocking for new viewers. If there is one thing RTD nails here, it is the slight melancholy that comes with each change. The Doctor is not dying, but is saying goodbye to Rose in his current form, in the persona that has become her best friend. At this moment you really can believe that each incarnation is, in some way, a different being. And we get a final 'fantastic'.

    And then we suddenly have David Tennant, who was allowed to begin with a lovely little throwaway piece of dialogue which was only spoiled for me by the fact that he seems to have been asked to speak in an English accent. Apparently it's okay for the Doctor to come from 'the north', but not too far north.

    This has been one of the best seasons of Doctor Who ever produced, with easily one of the best Doctors and (don't even try to argue) the finest, best developed companion he has ever had.

    Christmas is just too damn far away.

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    Urgh. What a mess.

    I enjoyed this episode at the time I was watching it, it provided several rather excellent set-pieces that got the blood singing through my veins (backed up as ever by beefy, clichéd, OTT music from Murray Gold) – notably Rose’s communion with the heart of the TARDIS and the shots of the predatory Dalek saucers circling the ruined Earth – but as soon as I started thinking about it afterwards it became clear what a self-indulgent, morally incoherent failure this episode was, and I began to hate myself for reacting to it just how they wanted me to.

    First of all, I loved the Emperor Dalek, a remarkably faithful homage to the insane colossus from ‘Evil of the Daleks’ (still, for my money, the best Dalek story). Second, I loved Billie Piper as Rose, and I am so, so glad that this remarkable actress is staying with us for all of Season 2 (and maybe after…?) Thirdly, I loved Lynda’s death, as the Daleks appeared outside the window (‘Sensorites’ homage, anyone? If you’ve got to copy, copy the best…) and the extermination of the people who chose not to fight – dying as they had lived, like worthless cattle, in what I interpret as a ringing condemnation of the moral decay of contemporary society.

    That’s it though, all that stands up. Christopher Eccleston’s performance has obviously grown on me whilst I wasn’t looking, because I found myself rather impressed with him for the fifth week running, but the Doctor in this episode returns to the finest RTD tradition, a useless tw…erp who gets a load of people killed and then gives up at the end anyway and has to let Rose do everything. What were they thinking? Who let this rubbish reach the screen? Were we supposed to cheer and agree with the Doctor at the end when he said “You’ve been fantastic… you know what? So’ve I!” – a smug tribute to the success of the incarnation, and surely of RTD himself – after what we had just seen?

    The Doctor is weak, fundamentally weak, at the end of ‘The Parting of the Ways’, and lets himself and, by his own implication, the peoples of the universe, down utterly. I liked the soundbite, “Coward [rather than killer] any day”, until I realised just what it meant, just what his cowardice stands for. The Doctor knows the Earth’s continents have been laid waste by the Daleks. There is nothing, no one left to fight for, all his plans and desperate, last-gasp improvisations have cost the lives of everyone on the Station, but they are at last ready. He can win. He thinks he knows that no help is coming. The Daleks have survived, when they should have died – now, unchecked, they can destroy everything that is good. Only the Doctor is left, on the frontline of the battle between good and evil. The Doctor’s hands are on the lever that will put an end to them forever. Just as it should be. Then he stops, and surrenders himself to them. He decides – oops, no, he will lose after all, just for the hell of it.

    Why doesn’t he do it? Because it would make him a killer? Of Daleks? Again, after the Time War? So bloody what?

    This series has been notable for its characterisation of an impotent, morally detestable Doctor. If that was the characterisation of the Ninth Doctor, I for one am damn glad to be rid of him, whether or not Eccleston’s performance would have got better and better (as, unfortunately, all evidence shows would have been the case). We must be very clear on this – THIS IS NOT THE DOCTOR. Not as we know him anyway. The hero of old, the mighty champion of justice, fearful of nothing, always ready to make that final sacrifice, to pull the rabbit out of the hat, is dead (despite appearances to the contrary in ‘The Doctor Dances’), killed in a post-modern, pseudo-liberal revision of the basic values of heroism, justice, what it means to have responsibility, to act and do what is right, no matter what it costs you. The story, the series, is an icon for the 2000s – empty, vacuous, aesthetic, pretentious, immoral, devoid of wonder or sympathy – full of sound and fury, signifying nothing. And that is so sad I just want to cry.

    Jesus, Russell. Why have you done this to us?

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    I have just finished watching the finale of the new Doctor Who season and as a result this review will also contain a review of the season as a whole.

    "Parting of the Ways" is the concluding chapter of a Dalek two parter, the first part was quite good and ended with the Doctor facing a Dalek invasion force of almost half a million Daleks!! Well unfortunately I personally thought this second part sucked!

    I was expecting a rip roaring finale with the Doctor going against insurmountable odds and overcoming them with his innate genius and unpredictability but what we get is another Deus ex Machina ending that even me in all my glorified geek status could not make much sense of!

    The explanation for how the Daleks survived is also in my opinion very weak and many of the theories given by online fans would have been much better! Simply it seems the emperors ship survived, thats it. What I want to know is that did they the writers know how they have undermined the great episode "Dalek" with that weak explanation? tsk tsk.

    The great Dalek invasion scene was nothing more than the inhabitats of the space station getting wiped out in less than dramatic fashion by the Daleks and the only bit that gave me any cheer was the scene of the Ann Droid frying a few Daleks and calling them the weakest link! Even then I had to assume that her beam is no longer a transportation device but had been modified by Captain Jack! Yes I am even helping out the writer by mentally filling in some gaping holes!

    Basically the whole solution to the problem was the same as in the episode Boom Town, Rose opens the heart of the Tardis looks into it and gets power beyond all reckoning, kind of like the Dark Phonenix for those who get the reference.

    She just points and destroys all the Daleks and revives a dead Captain Jack. Which by the way it seemed as if only Jack was revived and nobody else among the dead defenders of the station or anybody on planet Earth!!

    This episode really flunked in my opinion and was a massive let down.

    In the end we get a regeneration sequence and the new Doctor appears, I wish him well and hope he stays for more than a season to allow him to grow into the role.

    Overall this new first season was better than I thought it would be. It had three great gems that I absolutely loved and many decent episodes. There were a few really bad episodes but hey it's the first season. Hopefully they will get better as they go along.

    As for Christopher Eccleston he was not a bad Doctor and had some great moments but has not come anywhere close to my favourite Doctor Tom Baker.

    So see you all at Christmas for our next Doctor who fix.

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    Let the dust settle... literally.

    I've just sat through 45 minutes of documentary... trailers... the final 45 minute episode... and then 30 minutes more Who documentary. Saturday's were never like this... (well once thirteen weeks ago...)

    Savour that for the moment.

    Now... RTD wants to evoke 'feelings'... and I am awash with them. Sadness, hope, excitement, enthusiasm, shock, despair, disbelief, frustration, joy... I could go on. 'Parting of The Ways' did exactly what it said on the tin.

    It embraced the 'classic' series and mythology... whilst additionally stamping all over it with ANOTHER revision... which smacked of a cop out. Now I know that now that sentence has been written there will be howls of derision....

    Think of how many times the 'Time Vortex' could have saved the day????

    But I shouldn't complain... this episode again demonstrated effectively all the highs and lows of Who in 2005.

    How you might ask can I say that. RTD is 'GOD'. "Worship him! Worship Him!'

    But I believe in being balanced and fair. After the credits rolled on 'Parting'... I felt a twinge of sadness that there was not a new episode to watch next week. After confidential I reflected that for all it's flaws there has been an awful lot right about the new Who.

    The re-invention of the Daleks... Billie Piper has been a revelation as 'Rose'... Saturday's have become 'must-see' TV night... Doctor Who is no longer a 'niche' show for anoraks (although I subscribe to the view that it was never 'niche' during the Baker glory days...)... Captain Jack has developed into one of the strongest male companions... Eccleston has acted his socks off.. and some of the CGI has been truly breathtaking.

    ALL were showcased here. The Emperor re-invention was great.. the 'Dalek' invasion was good... particularly the 'massacre of the innocents'... the rousing 'if you hear us dying' Jack speech.... Eccleston and Piper's final hurrah... the Doctor still unable to push the button (echoing 'Genesis'...)... the regeneration resulting in..'new teeth'...!

    So with all this GOOD... why did I feel letdown? Do I want perfection?

    Well, no. But I was really disappointed with the resolution and the 'Bad Wolf'' resolution... Little Red Riding Hood (check out Rose's costume throughout this and the previous episode) is revealed as the Bad Wolf... and it means nothing... everyone who has invested time energy and excitement in trying to understand it... sorry... not as clever as we had hoped it would be. So from that point of view RTD has achieved his aim of being very British and NOT following the lead of other American sci-fi shows.

    There is always a danger that when you set up a continual mysterious thread you are going to leave yourself short if the resolution doesn't pack a punch.. and RTD fell, unfortunately, into this trap. (The answer, by the way, was always on the BAD WOLF website). I really wanted this to be clever and demonstrate the often discussed genius of RTD... unfortunately I remain unconverted...

    Oh... and did I mention Mickey and Rose's mum... No?

    I really wish I didn't have to. I understand the setup in Rose's emotional journey... and I can see the interest in grounding the companion's motivation in her reality, but the mini & chain... and the the Recovery truck???? Come on...!!!! We're talking end of humanity... Dalek invasion... destruction... massacres... and they're eating chips in the cafe? It was almost as if Eastenders had manifested itself into Who once again... I mean I'm surprised the cafe wasn't in Walford... any minute Ian Beale could have turned up... Sorry RTD... too much over exposure of these minority characters. Now if you'd allowed Rose to bring Mickey to come back to the Gamestation to be exterminated I could have forgiven you.

    Compare, if you will, this lame excuse for a character with the bold, noble and valiant 'last man standing' extermination of Captain Jack. Shame the BBC had blown the 'resurrection' by stating that he'd be back later in Season 2 in all the 'new series' blurb that the sci-fi press has been commenting on. By the end of this episode I decided I Liked Jack and was sad to see him 'go'... our last glimpse of him echoed that of 'Tegan' at the end of 'Time Flight'.

    There is actually SOOO much that could be discussed about this episode... on both sides of Good and Bad.. Eccleston's finest episode...countered with plot 'cop outs' ...so the Tardis can now materialise around / on top of objects/people? (Could have been handy in the Classic series)... and and it's now got an extendable outside force field... and the TARDIS flies through space like a spaceship...

    I'm sure if I was 7 and this was my first experience of Who I'd be ecstatic... WOW.. but I refer to Mr Eccleston... 'if you get them early {child viewers} with strong drama and quality TV, when they'll grow up they'll expect more from TV'

    I couldn't put it better myself... the original series certainly had that effect on me and I think that is ultimately why I feel as I do tonight. I've grown up and I expect more... but I'm also acutely aware that the real success that Who 2005 can be attributed with is that it has started that same chain reaction going in a whole new generation of Who fans.

    For that, not your scripts, Mr Davies I will salute you.

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    And now to my final rhyme
    Which speaketh on matters Time,
    Of Who Nine, oh so fine
    Which taketh me in memory back to my prime-
    When upon my father’s knee or behind yon settee
    I would shieldeth my eyes
    From that monstrous creation which scared me so.
    Aliens, wobbly sets, comedic actors – and that quarry!
    November 63 in black and white to Sylvester at tea.

    And lo, to my final verse
    Which thinketh on matters worse,
    No Who Chris, most perverse
    Which saddens me, remembering his portrait terse.
    Yet upon my knee sits daughter ten who will agree
    She has shieldeth her eyes,
    And wept as Rose left, and smiled with me at Chris-
    His loving, lonely, portrayal, thoughtful and manic.
    Ta to Billy, Davies, Jack, writers and crew. Ta to Chris- fantastic!

    A Doctor’s Lament as ol’ blue eyes would sing……

    Dear Rose, the time is nigh
    And so I drink the Tardis Vortex.
    My sweet, away you’ll fly
    From my nature, that which is complex!
    I've lived a life that's full
    I travelled through ev'ry galaxy
    And more, more than thirteen, I did it my way.

    Regrets, just one or two-
    That I received less time, than your complexion.
    I gave my best acting, to breathe new life, a resurrection
    I planned for Doctor Nine, each crafted move, from my body,
    And face, yes with my art- I did it my way.

    But, those estates, where you did grow.
    When your Mum, and Rick slowed down the show.
    Rose-your success, was my downfall.
    Much less of me, to set my stall
    Acting writer’s words, I stood tall, to do it Rose’s way.

    I've loved, I've gurned and tried
    So well to fight, my share of aliens.
    But now, as Daleks fade, I thank the Mill, effects so fine
    For my ship, a new myth,
    And my jacket, giving me a modern feel.
    Clap, praise Chris for bringing me alive again.

    For what is a Who, what do I have
    To grab the kids, and fans so old?
    I am unique, so moral too, crazy, scary, lonely, fantastic!
    Chris brought me back, so very well, and did it HIS way!

    Whaaa, ooooooh,diddley ee diddley ee.

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    A couple of years ago Big Finish’s audio adventure Zagreus was, somewhat unjustly, criticised, largely on the basis that it was not being the epic multi Doctor conclusion to a terrific story arc people expected. This was in no small part due to the fact the hype surrounding it had resulted in fans coming up with increasingly grander anticipations of what it would be about. ‘The Parting of the Ways’ was always going to be one of the most eagerly awaited in Doctor Who’s history, and after last week’s ending few fans were not speculating on its content. Given this there was a real danger it could be a disappointment if it did not live up to the adventure people had been writing in their heads over the past week based on speculation, conjecture, internet rumours and wishful thinking. As this adventured turned out to have none the predicted appearances from Davros, the Eighth Doctor, the Watcher or any other of a number of weird suggestions I had heard, I suspect some fans will be disappointed. Personally I thought this was generally a good episode with nice twists and surprises, good action sequences and moving moments.

    Brilliantly, the episode shows the Daleks at their most powerful and ruthless; massacring humanity on and off screen without a care. We also see people we have grown close to like Lynda and Jack die at their hands, although the latter is resurrected and doubtless will return. The scenes of the Daleks attacking the satellite are brilliantly realised, as are the scenes on the Dalek ship. The Emperor is a brilliant design and is well voiced by Nicholas Briggs who gives him and all the Daleks a real menace. It would be a waste if they really were all dead and personally I think Rose’s amnesia will be used as an excuse to disguise the fact some survived (possibl;y one of the smaller ships that headed for Earth. Even if I am wrong in this guess as this show is about time travel the Doctor can easily encounter them again in the past, although to avoid overuse I think their return should wait until series three (Season 29 if you are pedantic) ideally in a cliff-hanger ending.

    To get back to this episode I also liked the fact the Doctor sent Rose home and her determination to come back for him which shows the importance of their relationship. It also illustrates that after travelling with the Doctor Rose can never go home, as she would not be able to go back to an ordinary life. This is character development to a degree that Doctor Who has not seen for a long long time, and the kiss, which some fans will hate, is a logical pat of that development.

    The solution to Bad Wolf and Rose’s return trip to the future is also clever using information from earlier episodes. Furthermore there is no cheating as all the clues were there. The Bad Wolf had to be someone Rose had seen before the Unquiet Dead and it was - the baby Rose saw her future self in 1987. It is also good that ‘Boomtown!’ (and to a lesser extent the 1996 T.V Movie) foreshadowed the use of the power of the TARDIS and Jackie’s helping Rose was because of events in ‘Fathers Day’. Clearly this series as whole was very tightly plotted by Russell T. Davies and this is allows this episode to work.

    That said there are elements of the script which are slightly disappointing. The Doctor is able to walk into the Dalek mothership and rescue Rose far too easily in my opinion and the use of Rose as some kind of super-being to wipe out the Daleks is a bit too convenient and caught up in technobable. Most annoyingly of all it is not clear why the Doctor dies and Rose lives for she was infected by the vortex for a far longer period. Admittedly this could be explained away by saying the energy became more deadly the longer it was away from the vortex or if it was the act of expelling it back to the TARDIS/vortex that caused the Doctor’s cellular decay. Or is this a hint that there is something special about Rose yet to be revealed….

    This brings me on to the regeneration which was, in my opinion, very well handled with the Doctor explaining to Rose, and by extension to new viewers what was about to happen. It’s a moving scene with the Doctor trying to assure Rose that everything will be fine and make light of what is happening, but at the same time he realises that he is genuinely upset that his Ninth personality is about to die. Although the Doctor will still be around he knows apart of him is dying for ever and this is his goodbye to Rose, and on another level Charistopher Eccleston’s goodbye to the audience. Eccleston pulls this off brilliantly and it’s a real shame it’s the end of this incarnation already. When he was cast I was not sure that he could ever be the Doctor in the way his eight predecessors had been, but over the past thirteen episodes he’s proven my doubts wrong. Goodbye Doctor number nine - you were indeed ‘fantastic’.

    Yet as the Doctor once said ‘It’s the end, but the moment has been prepared for’. Although only on screen for a couple of minutes David Tennant’s performance gives me great hope for the future as does the reassuring James Bond-style caption at the end ‘Doctor Who will return in the Christmas Invasion’. Thankfully we now know Rose will be back too which on the evidence of Billie Piper’s performance in this episode, and across the series as a whole, is good news indeed. I also hope Joe Ahearne will return to the series one day as this is another example of a well acted, visually impressive production that has clearly benefited from having a good director.

    All in all, like the 2005 series as a whole, despite a few niggles this episode was a thoroughly enjoyable piece of television which deserves to be called classic Doctor Who. As the Ninth Doctor would have said ‘fantastic’.

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    This fantastic series ended as excitingly as it began - with a flash and a wink of what is yet to come. I have an empty feeling inside me, after seeing Eccleston's last moments. You really were fantastic.

    The episode was full of excitement and action. The Daleks using human flesh, and being tortured mentally because of this irony was chilling and you almost felt sorry for them. I wonder if that was why the Doctor dipped his head against the TARDIS doors when he got back into his machine; as if to say "The poor wretches!". They are the complete anaethma to this Doctor; they hate their own existence, he's just beginning to enjoy his.

    The body count at the end of this was probably the biggest of the whole series. None of the supporting chracters survived, even Lynda! I really did think she was going to become a companion, and she is arguably hotter than Billie Piper (have you seen Jo Joyner's chin? mmmm). I was very surprised to see Captain Jack killed, but when he came back to life and tried to get back into the TARDIS, I did feel slightly short changed. Why bring him back to life, but then not have him join the TARDIS crew? That was my only quibble though with this episode.

    I think after many years of seeing the Daleks as worthwhile enemies, this episode really made me scared of them. They appeared en masse - more Daleks in one area than we have ever seen before in the series. And the massacre on level 0 was so savage and indiscrimate I actually believed in the Dalek terror. Having them surround the whole station and round up the Doctor had me thinking, "Oh Lord! What are they going to do now?" Excellent. I reckon that human malice was still present in their bodies behind the armour.

    The regeneration scene was done well, and Tennant is certainly a real contrast from Eccleston. It was weird hearing the Queen's English coming out of the Doctor's mouth again - Tennant almost sounded poncey to be honest. I'm sure he'll be fine though. I think the reason behind the regeneration should be have been clearer; the threat seemed to just creep up on him. It would have been better for the Daleks to exterminate the Doctor rather than have him suddenly go, "Oh crap I have to change".

    Still a fantastic end to a fantastic series. Tennant's got some shoes to fill but I'm glad Billie Piper is still staying. While not every episode was brilliant, the majority were and we will look back on this season as a golden age. Just you wait. I remember Nev Fountain saying back in the 1970s fans were getting annoyed at the constant horror pastiches or alleged pastiches in the Hinchcliffe era, but now they dominate our top ten!

    Roll on season two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight nine...

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    So, as the BBC said just before the episode began, "Times Up!". After thirteen weeks the first new adventures since the TV movie drew to an end. Did we find out the secret behind Bad Wolf? Did Captain Jack make it? Did we find out how the Daleks survived the Time War? Did the Doctor and Rose reveal their feelings for each other? Did the Doctor regenerate? Well, yes all these questions were answered.

    The episode was spectacluar and managed to weave together many plot points that had been raised over the course of the series. I was also pleased to see the continued improvement in Russell T Davies writing. I am a big fan of his, but had felt that his episodes had been the weaker ones of the series. He seemed to forget to focus on character, relying on toilet humor and almost making the Doctor ineffectual. However, since Boom Town, something seemed to click and the quality of the episodes began to improve until his last couple of episodes began to equal episodes like The Unquiet Dead, Dalek and The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances.

    Actually, this episode was the ying to The Doctor Dances' yang, as rather than "This once everybody gets to live" everybody got to die. The main theme of the episode was self-sacrifice for a greater good or those we love. The small band of volunteers that Jack convinces to defend the station all die, Jack dies buying the Doctor a precious few more seconds to complete his work, Jackie and Mickey sacrifice both what they want to help Rose, Rose is willing to sacrifice herself to save the Doctor and the Doctor sacrifices his ninth form to save Rose. However the sacrifice that touched me the most was Lynda's (with a Y). Having been given assurances by all those around her that she was safe behind meteor proof doors, she is trapped with no option to make an escape. In a nasty twist, the Daleks, space-bourne, come up behind her and blast through the observation window. The look on the Doctor's face as he listens to her dying screams displayed a sadness that possibly shows a mixture of regret over the death of such a 'sweet' girl and relief that it wasn't Rose, for whom Lynda seemed to be replacing.

    However, despite such doom ladened precedings, the ultimate feeling of the episode is one of completion and joie de vie, which again manages to show the success of the series and RTD's improved writing, in that he manages to mix two such complex feelings without making it feel contrived. The Time War is finally won, with the Daleks reduced to dust by the Time Vortex empowered Rose, who also with one final act of her power revives the dead Jack. The Doctor finally free of the survivor's guilt he has displayed through the series realises his love for Rose and without any cheap sentimentality performs an act that combines a realisation of their feelings for each other, saves her life and ultimately completes their story. I didn't find the kiss between them shocking or, as with the Paul McGann kiss, forced. It was a display of pure love. In many respects it reminded me of a inverted Doyle and Cordie kiss from the Angel episode, with the themes of admisson of feelings and heroic self sacrifice.

    The feeling of completion of the Doctor's and Rose's story arc comes from the set up to the regeneration, as the Doctor in his speach to Rose basically says that he will be someone different, so the feeling I got was that their 'love affair' was now consumated and closed, but only time and the next series will tell.

    With regard to my few quibbles, they are purely personal and so not a reflection on the story. First of all, I have to admit to not being to partial to the Daleks. I never found them terrifying or that interesting. However, with Rob Shearman's 'Dalek' for the first time in 30 years of being a fan, I actually found them interesting as it focussed on one Dalek, so developed it as character. This episode though returned them to being just a bunch on anonymous mass murdering pepper pots! I know I am in the minority on this one. Ironically, my favourite villians were the Cybermen, who are Daleks with Legs. Guess how excited I am about the next series!

    The only other quibble I have is the treatment of Jack at the end of the episode. Originally I was uncertain about his character, but after his development from selfish con-man to self-sacrifing hero I began to warm to him. I just loved his final cocky words of defiance to the Daleks before his extermination. He also become one of the more format challenging assistants. Whilst some may say Rose was, she to me was an amalgation of many previous assistants, ranging from Jo Grant to even Dr Grace. The best example of how different Jack is to the previous assistants was his final scene with Rose and the Doctor...yup the kiss! The scene wasn't done in a sensationalist way, but was very touching and caring way. It also the first time someone has kissed the Doctor, rather than the other way round. I be interested to see what the reaction of the public will be to this, but should be an interesting gauge of how far we have come as a society of acceptance. Anyway, after all that he simply gets left behind all alone on the station. I understand that there may be dramatic reasons for this, for example to allow focus on the re-establishment of the relationship between the Doctor and the Rose, but it did seem a little callous on the Doctor's part. Again, only time will tell if this is the last we will see of the good Captain. Hopefully, he will return....there is still those missing two years of his life to explore!

    Overall the episode managed to to evoke in me the feelings sadness, fatalism, joy and excitment for the future. There was the sadness of this being the closure of the series and the end of Chris Eccleston's tenure in the TARDIS. I have loved his interpretation of the character (yup, even the gurning, which I know annoyed a couple of my friends) and I found his goodbye speach touching and sad. At points during the episode I couldn't see how they were going to get out of it (even though I know there are at least 2 Christmas Specials and 2 further series to come) and my joy and excitment at the end as David Tennant uttered his first words. Nope there is no Scotish accent and he strangely sounded like a young Bill Nighy, but we did only get a couple of lines, so again will have to wait and see. I also liked the almost Bondian "Doctor Who will return in THE CHRISTMAS INVASION" as the credits rolled.

    Now I have to find something else do with my early Saturday night evenings until Christmas. All I can say is that this episode and the last 13 weeks were an absolute joy and I leave the last word to Chris Eccleston...."FANTASTIC"

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    So here we have it, the epoch of Christopher Eccleston’s Doctor. The final tie up of this very contained season. After thirteen episodes, after a year of production titbits, after nine long years of wait, after sixteen years since the last full series...

    Was it all worth it?

    Damn right it was.

    Russell T Davies once again proves his mastership of both story and series. His role as lord overseer and as lowly storyteller has to be commended. Not only does he create the most fantastic episode, but also a fantastic end to the series.

    Through "Parting Of The Ways", the tale of the Ninth Doctor all falls into place. The journey of all the main characters has a final and fitting resolution, regardless of how they return later this year. The background season arc, the Time War, is neatly finalised without cutting into the character plots or the impact of this stories main villain: The Daleks.

    With all these elements considered; the Time War, character resolutions, Daleks and a certain regeneration sequence, it's amazing how evenly paced this episode seems. It never stutters or staggers, but moves in one fluid motion from start to end.

    Most importantly, it embodies all the elements pertinent to Doctor Who. Through Rose we see the importance of the individual, that through the Doctor, we learn to become better and more determined people; to care when no one else will. Through Jack we see a mercenary has learned to be a true hero. Then we have the Daleks, doing what all Daleks should do: kill mercilessly. The dark nature of the show is never more prominent than here with Daleks killing established minor characters left right and centre.

    On top of these more traditional elements of Who ethos, we see the show moving forward. The repercussions of the Doctors actions still taking centre stage, his stronger relationship with his companions, the evolution of the Daleks into something even more frightening all just adds to the experience. This isn't a show that's just trying to capture its roots; it's taking them and planting them in a new field of ideas and concepts.

    However, the writing is the episodes highlight. From the grand plan down to the small scenes, we have some wonderful misdirection on the small scale in one scene with a Dalek door cutter breaking into one human compartment on the space station, only to see the actual kill come from outside the station itself. The writer draws the audience attention to one outcome while introducing another variable to alter it. The old red herring device at it's best.

    On a larger scale we see the final revelation on "Bad Wolf" being not the Master, or Davros, or even the Doctor himself. “Bad Wolf” is simply two words created to utterly mislead the audience. Again, a great piece of writing that makes sense within the story and doesn’t leave the audience feeling dissatisfied. Indeed the issue of "Bad Wolf" is tied up perfectly.

    On the production side, we have a great visual experience. Not always perfect, the Dalek mother ship design was impressive, but the CG to actor overlay wasn't always consistent. Nevertheless, the Emperor Dalek was a firm piece of design and the visuals never betrayed the requirements of the story.

    The music was well utilized with many elements echoing sounds from earlier this season and several reoccurring motifs evolving into new melodies. The music for the shows final scenes was truly moving.

    Which brings us to the final scenes. It's nice to see that Davies manages to make the Doctor and Rose's most kiss intimate but not overtly romantic. Whether you feel there was a sexual chemistry or a deeper bond, this final kiss is a gentle and non-specific answer. It also gives some sort of conclusion to the "will they, won't they" angle. I am certain that the relationship with Rose and the Doctor next season will differ. I think it's vital to do so, not just to keep diversity in the character mix, but to give the Ninth Doctor's relationship with Rose a more special element. I get the feeling this is Davies intent and as such the kiss is as much a final goodbye as a plot resolution.

    As for the regeneration scene, I wasn't expecting regeneration, so this came as a surprise. On a repeat viewing, this is even more moving. Again, we see the idea of the finite persona being played out here; that every Doctor "dies" at the end of his tenure. This makes the death even more moving, particularly as the Doctor tries to put on a brave face. This is Eccleston and Davies at their best as both move to culminate all those elements of Eccleston's Doctor in one final scene. We see the forced humour, the admiration for his companion and that deeper hurt which he has constantly tried to bury. He comes across with that mix of excitement and fear that I think will trademark Eccleston's era.

    Which leaves me to the final main character yet unmentioned: Captain Jack. I strongly urge them to bring him back as his role in this story and his dynamic as part of the team has been a late highlight of this season. So much so, it makes rewatching the earlier episodes feel like they are missing something. I never thought he would work as well as he has and that's another testament to writing and actor. I think they need that third TARDIS crewman in Doctor Who - providing he or she offers something different to the other two. Jack does so in abundance and I think there will be a call for Jack's return, he truly is the surprise of this season and his last minute revival was a very wise move.

    And with high hopes of Jack's full time return, a confirmed two further seasons and a brand new Doctor, this episode leaves Doctor Who's brief hiatus in good standing. David Tennant's brief cameo was a welcome one that really filled me with hope. He so far seems perfect. His manner, looks and body language utterly different to Eccleston, He really has that Baker twinkle in his eye too!

    Parting Of The Ways is a perfect gel of solid writing, strong production and a cast who feel confident and proud of their work. With Tennant showing so much potential in a meagre thirty seconds, I am confident he will bring in a new era of Doctor Who without diminishing what I'm sure will be seen as one of the Doctor's most consistent seasons.

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    I've been sitting in front of my computer for 15 minutes trying to figure out what to write for this episode. To be honest I was actually very disappointed in it, RTD continues his trend of poor writing.

    Coming off Bad Wolf I kind of thought that there this episode might actually be really good, and a great send off for the 9th Doctor. But I was really disappointed. Bringing back the Daleks was a great idea but I don't think they were used very well. I mean why is it that the Daleks have to get within 1 metre in front of someone before they shoot them? When they went down to the floor where all the human survivors where the could've and should've started firing staright away, but instead they came within a metre and when the firing started the scene changed.

    Oh yes, and we finally find out who the Bad Wolf is, yeah it's Rose, and I gotta see that the whole Bad Wolf idea was actually quite pathetic. I liked the idea that some people thought that Bad Wolf was something to do with the Doctor's life being manipulated by someone, and instead we find out that Rose left herself clues around the galaxy to make sure that she was there to save the Doctor or something. Sorry to say it, but what a load of crap! The regeneration scene was also quite pathetic. Not only did the Doctor regenerate instantly which has never happened, usually he is dead for atleast 10-15 seconds (except the 96 movie) before he regenerates, and I think that would've worked better. It would've been better if the Doctor died, and Rose was crying over him without the knowledge that he was going to regenerate, the all of a sudden David Tennant appears. He should've never explained regeneration to Rose at all, I think it ruined it completely. Also this would be probably the first regeneration where the Doctor just walks around afterwards as if nothing happened, not even the originals where like that! Who could forget Patrick Troughton being little light headed, Jon Pertwee being completely out of it, Tom Baker being completely nuts, Peter Davidson being weak and drained, Colin Baker being violent, emotional, suicidal, Sylvester McCoy being forgetful, and Paul McGann being very forgetful. These are the sorts of things that should be done. However I do admit that we haven't seen enough of the new Doctor, so I could be wrong about this.

    Now the Daleks enter Earth's atmosphere and start bombing the hell out of it, I mean we see continents being completely mangled on a screen, but we don't actually get to see anything!!! This was so disappointing, I would've loved to have seen the surface of Earth being destroyed by the Dalek ships.

    Oh, now I forgot to mention the Daleks, how the were magically brought back to life from the human dead. That was ok, I didn't mind that, as it kind of relates to Davros' experiments from Revelation of the Daleks, however I thought we should've seen Davros rather than the Emperor Dalek. Also how did the Dalek's manage to get those ships? They practically had nothing and all of a sudden they have these ships which look brand new. Realistically they should've had ships which were put together out of anything they could find, but instead they have brand new ships straight out from the factory, which doesn't make sense at all.

    Ok now Rose absorbs the time vortex or something which I didn't quite understand because it sounded very made up, and using that power she restored everything and destroyed the Daleks. I wasn't impressed with this ending at all, thought it was just to simple and supernatural. And I wasn't happy with the Doctor kissing Rose, RTD says that he sucked out the lifeforce that was in her, but it didn't look like sucking to me, could swear that I was a tongue slip in. And bringing everyone back to life was to much of a happy ending, everyone should've just stayed dead, ESPECIALLY CAPTAIN JACK! Speaking of which I'm starting to think Jack is a homosexual (not that there is anything wrong with that) after he kissed the Doctor on the lips, and all that stuff in the Tardis about him taking to Doctor out and that, just ruins the story completely.

    There was only one shot that I liked in this episode and that was when the Dalek's appeared from outside the observation window, you couldn't hear them but you saw their lights flash as the said 'exterminate' and then shattered the glass, thought that was really great. As was the shot when the Dalek's leave their ships and board the station.

    In conclusion, RTD should be banned from writing Doctor Who episodes for good. I am very disappointed in the finale for the series, it was just very badly written and seem to mainly concentrate on the development on Rose's and the Doctor's relationship rather than that and the story. Another thing is the addition of the Dalek's force field, which has now practically made them indestructible, thought they would've been better without. And considering the Dalek's are trying to invade Earth you don't seem much of it, you would think that they would bomb the hell out of Earth rather the focus on trying to take over space station. Overall would give it a 3/10.

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    Daleks, people killed, Doctor Who's first gay kiss, more Daleks millions of them all waiting to pounce on earth which has gone Reality TV crazy this episode had it all! 'Parting of the ways' is an enjoyable enough episode which see's the final departure of Christopher Eccleston and the apperance of David Tennant to play the new Doctor.

    In this armageddon or final showdown between the Doctor and his mortal enemy the Daleks we see the Doctor, Rose and the annoying Captain Jack band together on a satellite televison space station to try to stop the Daleks from invading earth. Well worth watching if only to see Captain Jack 'Exterminated!' by one of the Daleks.

    Rose manages to save the day by returning back to the Doctor now surrounded by Daleks after being packed off back to her own time in the Tardis by the Doctor who realises his only chance of destroying the Darlek fleet is to take the human race and himself with them after releasing a deadly delta wave from the station. Rose suddenly realises that she can help the Doctor if she can return to him in the Tardis.

    But how does she get it to work? In steps gullable Mickey and Rose's mum with a breakdown truck a length of steel chain to rip one of the panels away from the control part of the Tardis so that Rose can communicate with the Tardis through thought. After doing this she returns to the Doctor to turn the invading Darek fleet to dust after looking into the Time Vortex, but this power is to strong for her and the Doctor must give his own life to save hers and by kissing her transfers this power to himself which he then sends back into the Tardis.

    Frankly I was dissappointed in the regeneration scenes special effects at the end although I have to say writer Russell T Davis did manage to pull off that sense of loss feeling that you get after growing to like an actor playing the Doctor and feeling comfortable with his little quirks and actions.

    Suprisingly I found myself strangly moved at the end of Parting of the ways as I was as a child back in 1981 at the end of Logopolis when Tom Baker regenerated into Peter Davidson with the aid of The Watcher as though an era had come to end, albiet a brief one in Christopher Ecclestons case. Maybe this in a way teaches children about death that there is a finality to everything?

    Visually this has to be one of the most dissappointing regeneration scenes to date with Christopher Eccleston telling Rose what's going to happen then throwing his head back and an orange glow appearing around him, all we get to see is the Doctors hair grow longer and hey presto we have David Tennant who utters the words 'Hello, Now where was I yes Barcelona.....' continuing his conversation with Rose where Christopher left off. A shame really after all the amazing special effects Russells team have pulled off over this series probably the most eagerly awaited one left me thinking of the poor regeneration scene Sylvester McCoy had to endure when he first became the Doctor after Colin Baker.

    Goofs I believe somewhere that the Tardis could only be operated by the Doctor this was if memory serves correct explained in an episode when the Doctor faced the Master. The reason the Timelords did this was to stop the technology falling into the wrong hands.

    The hilarious scene where Mickey and Rose try to hotwire the Tardis with the aid of a Mini Cooper (Whathappened to his yellow Volkswaggen Beetle seen in the first episode The Autons?) in the middle of a built up estate then enters Roses Mum with a breakdown truck, Neighbourhood Watch anyone?

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    It has taken me some time to review this final episode of the first series (or is that season?). This could be due to sudden depression setting in that that’s no Dr Who until (Christmas excluded) March next year. I prefer to think though that the main reason for not reviewing earlier is that I had a lot of inner turmoil just deciding how to observe it. Should it be a single episode in its own right, part of a two-part story with “Bad Wolf” or as a season finale? I have had to watch it a number of times before I could be objective.

    As I mentioned in my review of “Bad Wolf” I still look at these two episodes as separate entities. Although there were references to the Daleks involvement early in that episode it was still only the big reveal of the last ten minutes that set up the final part. There are elements that moved over to the final instalment like the Ann-Droid, Satellite 5 and a number of characters but it still remained in my mind a separate entity. However, these two stories are better linked than the previously mentioned “Frontier in Space/Planet of the Daleks”.

    The pre-episode countdown was brilliant, as has been the whole advertising campaign (including the countdown to the Christmas Invasion) and I’m going to make a final nod to the terrific theme music (has anyone complained about it ? – I haven’t heard). Will someone please get this released. I can’t even get a downloaded version off the web.

    After watching the episode many times and finally being attentive. (The first time I saw it was late in the morning coming back from Brighton – to see the exhibition [as it turned out I just missed the new Emperor Dalek exhibit being opened] – and other things.) I sat down last week and watched it properly in the day, wide awake, comfortable in a chair and sober. It just blew me away

    The special effects were incredible. The reveal of the Emperor Dalek, although expected was impressive if a little inanimate (Did “his” Dalek minions around him move at all?) I was hoping for a bit more movement but then the previous emperors did no more than move an eye stalk or move on then offstage. The spacecraft although reminiscent of Mars attacks were menacing as was the deployment of the Dalek fleet.

    All the set-pieces aboard Satellite 5 were well directed by Joe Ahearne and performed by all cast members with many deaths being meaningful. I might have to contradict myself now and say this is mainly due to all the characters being so well set up in the previous episode. It goes a long way to show RTD’s talent that he has still mixed fear, menace, humour, compassion and loss all in a 45 minute episode. I felt the story lost its way a bit when it returned Rose to Earth and I was eager to get back to the Invasion by the Daleks. Rose’s plight however was quite moving.

    John Barrowman, in the nick of time, justifies his place in the series becoming the soldier that RTD envisioned. It’s a shame again that as with the Doctor’s fate and that of Rose’s, his death is spoilt by the knowledge that he is likely to be back next season. However his “death” was shocking and again, as with Rose I didn’t work out the “get-out” clause. His acting has been excellent throughout his tenure but his character seemed wanting during “Boom Town” and “Bad Wolf”. I’m still not convinced that there should be so many sexual orientation references even if he IS hot property. He does however get a last minute reprieve.

    The additional cast all performed well but I feel Mickey’s character seems to be going in circles. Rose puts him down in nearly every episode but he comes back in good spirits for the next.

    Billie Piper was outstanding. Even if I found the whole “Heart of the TARDIS” plot development a little hard to swallow, her ability to rise above the techno babble shows how important it is that she survives the transition of Doctors. It has been said before but this series has been as much about Rose’s journey as the discovery of who the Doctor is (for new viewers).

    Everything seems to have been said about Christopher Eccleston already. I’m not sure I can add to it. His interactions with Billie Piper when he left her in the TARDIS and also at the end were quite moving. His final speech was perfectly suited and quite apt to his overall performance.

    As a mark of respect to the Ninth Doctor I will leave thoughts of his successor until next season. Time will tell if Eccleston becomes someone’s favourite Doctor. I thought, the occasional gurning aside, he has portrayed every emotion going. He was, as is the whole series Fan……. Oh everyone uses that word now. How about “Wicked!!!!!”?

    Finally I should conclude with a final running of my favourite episodes, which no doubt will change upon repeat viewing. Even the last listed are still a brilliant pieces of writing and television. They are : - Bad Wolf/The Parting of the Ways, The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances , Boom Town, The Unquiet Dead, Father’s Day, Dalek, The Long Game, Rose, Aliens/WWIII and The End of........

    I have followed some reviewers religiously throughout my time as a critic and just out of interest would appreciate any constructive feedback on my reviews (content or style). Please contact me via pwilc1967

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    So here it was. At Last. Episode 13.

    Worth the wait?

    You bet your last Gallifreyan Dollar is was!

    A joy to watch, an episode with its pitfalls but with enough of everything else to mask them, unless you want to be picky.

    What - you want me to be picky? OK.

    The Bad Wolf - are we going to Faction Paradox territory or what? Probably the most blatant Temporal Paradox in the history of the show, Rose turns out to be the Bad Wolf, having sent the words back through history to act as a message to herself that she could get back to Satellite 5. The fact that she then couldn't get to the station until she figured it out, and thus send the words back to tell herself she could do it, was ignored. Okay, I could understand it, as I'm sure all Who fans could, but a number of people I know have come up to me and said 'what was all that about then?'. They didn't get it, and some weren't too sure once I'd explained it - and these are not stupid people! I've been left with the feeling that a lot of the new viewing public were confused about the ending.

    Next - the TARDIS. I'm quite prepared to accept the 'it's alive' element of the TARDIS, that's nothing new. What I can have a problem with is this sudden ability to grant Godlike powers to Rose to bring about a conclusion. Could the TARDIS not thus have done that IN NEARLY EVERY STORY??????

    Are we to assume that Jack is such a technical wiz that he was able to modify and reprogram the Anne Droid in mere minutes? Why would the droid shoot her own Masters? Why use a 'death ray' that we know was only a transporter? I suppose it would have sent the Daleks back to their ship and out of the way, but that hardly warrants the over-effusive yell of 'Yes!' from Jack!

    It doesn't really sound as if I enjoyed it , does it? But I did, there were many great moments that cover up these slight cracks.

    No one seems to have mentioned the funniest scene in the show - perhaps because it wasn't meant to be. Both my son and myself were in stiches as the flying Daleks floated up outside the window to the observation room where Lynda was and then the lights of the lead Dalek flashed in what was so obviously a cry of 'EX-TER-MIN-ATE!' that we couldn't hear. Of course, it went completely over the wife's head ' 'what's up with you two?' Never mind, dear!

    The sheer number of Daleks was, as meant to be, mind-boggling. This is what we have wanted for years - to see the true Power of the Daleks (where have I heard that before?). I would like to know how many Daleks were real and how many were CGI. In the scene where the Doctor has just finshed the Delta Wave and is surrounded by the critters, how many were really there?

    The use of the Emperor was a nice touch, and certainly better than Davros (unless it is him!). The new design was a joy to see, and the now almost obligatory floating Daleks on guard were a nice touch as well. I hope that this Emperor was NOT Davros, as I would like to see the old lunatic at some stage. Perhaps he is still somewhere in the universe, creating a new Dalek race and that is how they return once more........

    Onto the regeneration, and what a beauty! A neat touch having the hair grow I thought. The use of the explanation to Rose was a brilliant idea, letting the new, younger audience aware of what was going to happen and why. It is perhaps all too easy for us to accept regeneration and not see it as the huge risk that it can be. I know of one young fan who has cried since the regen, saying 'I don't like his face' about Tennant. Let us hope that the new audience can accept a change of actor as readily as we all have.

    However, even here I have a gripe! Did the Doctor not seem to, well, I suppose the word is.....well... after he regenerated? Are we to suppose he is now finally used to it and will no longer suffer the ill effects he traditionally has? Does the fact that the debut story is 60 minutes as opposed to the traditional 90 mean there is no room for all that sort of thing?

    All in all, though, an enjoyable end to an enjoyable series. And although not always a Doctor that I liked, he was 'fantastic!'

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    "It's the end, but the moment has been prepared for...." ....and how!!!!

    Tom Baker into Peter Davison at the end of Logopolis has long held, IMHO, the position of best regeneration FX-wise, with Davison's poignant self-sacrifice in Caves of Androzani taking the dramatic title.

    Well, PARTING OF THE WAYS has unified the title, and is the undisputed Best Regeneration in the world....EVER!

    Coming as it did at the end of the most exhilirating, and epic dalek tale ever (and weren't we all relieved that the Emperor didn't turn out to be Davros!?), David Tennant's introduction had a comic, yet moving turn to it. Already, I feel the embodiment of the Time Lord in the 10th Doctor. But I'm getting ahead of myself....

    PARTING picks up the plot of Bad Wolf from the off, and gives us every classic bit of Who tension in one glorious hit. The potential death of a companion, TARDIS destruction, the Doctor apparently helpless at the hands (plungers?) of his arch-enemies, and innocent bystanders happy to lay down their lives to help him. Finally, the plucky female companion risks all to give the Doctor the strength to defeat the Daleks.

    This, more than any other story in the run, was Doctor Who at its glorious, exciting best - exactly how you thought you remembered it before the BBC dragged you back to reality with VHS and DVD releases.

    The danger for RTD and the team is matching Season one, let alone beating it. In Tennant, I feel we have an actor more suited to the comedic elements of the show, where Eccleston seemed uncomfortable with that aspect. Having seen DT in Casanova and Quatermass, I feel he is capable of making the 10th Doctor the best yet.

    Dr Who is dead....Long Live Doctor Who!

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    It's now two whole days since the screening of this final installment in the Ninth Doctor's all-too-brief tenure, and I'm still feeling a real tearing inside that he has gone. So many moments replay themselves in my mind, pieces of music, great lines, great expressions. And a new Doctor with new teeth....

    It seems almost churlish to criticise the one or two elements I wasn't so impressed by, in comparison to so much wonderful stuff. RTD in this final two-parter got it right, to the extent that I remembered previous contributions such as the first two episodes rather than the wretched Slitheen. I can understand slightly why one or two people have suggested that this was a George Lucas-style take on Dr Who at its conclusion - it shared the same sense of too many big moments crammed in a la Revenge of the Sith - but aside from this, Lucas cannot write dialogue with anything approaching this kind of punch.

    So much they got right. NOT bringing back the Master or Davros for one. The savage twist of the new Daleks being grown from the remains of humans. Recurring and new musical themes (if Murray Gold hasn't got it right, why do so many bits keep going round my head?) The change in Mickey causing him to urge Rose to keep trying. The magnificent scene where the Doctor tricks Rose in order to save her and keep his promise to her Mum. The look of pain on Eccleston's face as he hears Lynda-with-a-y's death scream. Rose's beautifully understated "my head is killing me". Jack's courage and the sweet little kiss he gives the Doctor. Outraged of Surbiton? Get over it.

    But nothing has stuck in my head so much as the final scene, which but for a stupid press leak, could have been more devastating still, with the Ninth Doctor seemingly having saved the day and survived, then his moment of realisation as he noticed the glowing light under the skin of his hand. The final speech, trying to warn Rose of what is about to happen, encapsulated almost all of what has made Eccleston's portrayal so absorbing and involving; trying to lighten the mood, the love, the loneliness, the sadness and strangely tragic egotism in that great last line. David Tennant made an intriguing first impression, but it was all about Chris. I am torn between delight that the series will continue and this strangely deep sense of loss over our Ninth Doctor. Great acting, and probably the deepest, most conflicted and emotionally involving Doctor I can remember. Perfect? No. But then none of his predecessors were either. Fantastic? Absolutely.

    I will miss him.

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    "Change, my dear - and it seems just a moment too soon..."

    You want to know what 'fever pitch' means? Log onto a Dr Who forum in the week running up to June 18, 2005. In fact scratch that - go into any online chatroom. Hell, even the average pub. Then just mention the magic word 'regeneration', and watch all hell break loose.

    This was the state of the nation before Parting of the Ways. The dreadful title didn't make a jot of difference. Thirteen weeks of the BBC's most successful and most talked about drama for a decade; three months of subliminal hints of things to come, and the most exciting cliffhanger/preview sequence ever seen in the series had led to an almost palpable thrill of anticipation. Thanks to a tabloid leak everyone knew Christopher Eccleston was leaving. Thanks to the previous two episodes everyone knew the Daleks were in it. It didn't take much brains to link the two, and the BBC's "Time's running out..." teaser trailer countdown just added to the feeling of inescapability. This was it. Destiny calls. Come in number nine, your time is up.

    No episode could ever live up to that level of expectation, but by some miracle Parting does. Just. Even with record-breaking millions at its desposal, the story's budget strains at the seams. Daleks invade Earth! Well, no, actually the Daleks are invading a space station, but we're assured they're busy invading Earth just off-screen, which is a sweet little nod to the zero-money days. The plot creaks a little with the level of explanations required and sheer stuff that has to happen, with an unfortunate slackening of tension at the end, but barrels along with enough pace and death and exterminations that it's very hard to care. The deus ex machina ending won't be to everyone's taste, with the victory (such as it is) perhaps a little too easy, but logical or not it's undeniably cool, which is something you can't say for the Revenge of the Sith. Even the Daleks unaccountably revert to their 70s habit of wobbling when they talk, with the unfortunate side-effect of making them look less like alien tanks and more like wood-and-fiberglass props - but hell, there are a quarter of a million of them, and that frankly makes up for a lot.

    And then, of course, there's Bad Wolf. The phrase that had been unaccountably following Rose and the Doctor throughout time, from the mouths of Victorian parlour-maids to the names of Two-Thousandth Century TV channels, even cropping up in the spin-off novels released during the series. Mystery piled upon mystery. Who was Bad Wolf? What was interfering in their adventures? How did the Daleks survive the Time War? Speculation was rife, to the extent that Russell T had to issue a statement the week before to the effect that the mystery hadn't yet been solved, and that neither of the revelations in Bad Wolf were in fact the true answer. Sadly, it must be said that the mystery remains slightly mysterious even after you've heard the explanation, which is frustrating after such a long build-up, even if the revelation itself manages to be wonderfully satisfying. Whether it's due to over-trimmed explanatory dialogue, actual plot holes or just my own stupidity, I'm left with a sense of "No, hang on a minute..." about some aspects of the season arc. But in fairness, spotting plot-holes in season arcs is inexcusably geeky behaviour, and reaction from non-fans (or rather non-hard-core, non-long-term fans, as the whole British population seems to be a fan of the current series) has been universally, almost hyperbolically positive.

    And this is odd, because really, objectively speaking, The Parting of the Ways is an only slight above-average episode. However, the sheer pressure of having to carry the weight of the series, and the expectation of the Ninth Doctor's departure, seems somehow to have compressed it into an absolute diamond. That absolute sense of the unstoppable, of the hand of fate looming ever closer, carries over from the audience into the story itself, lending a huge significance to every dramatic beat. Every death - and there are, it should come as no surprise, a lot of those, many of them superbly terrifying - feels like another step towards the inexorable. When the characters onscreen seem to know it too, and act accordingly, the sense of gathering menace is almost overpowering. The Daleks in their thousands are the perfect physical metaphor for this, the addition of a single, designated leader (the design of which is glorious, like a Dalek comic-strip come to life) allowing the rest to blur into endless, faceless, remorseless ranks, conveying an awesome sense of "This is it!". As the defences fail and the intruders close in, you can feel your inner child's reassuringly rhetorical "How will he get out of it this time?!" replaced by a tiny voice going "He won't."

    Which brings us, of course, to Christopher Eccleston. Tragic, joyful, loving, brave, equisite: perfect. This isn't his finest performance in the role - becase that's The End of the World, isn't it? Or Dalek? - and nor is it the best script - because that, of course, is Father's Day... unless it's The Empty Child... Or The Unquiet Dead... But let the fans argue about that in the years to come (because that, we can be sure at least, is what fans do). It's irrelevant. It's his last story, his final bow, and he plays it to the hilt. It's a tribute to him that all the eccentricities, all the weird modern flavourings of his performance, now seem so central to the character that it hurts to see him go. This is - to the eyes of the casual viewer, the ones who don't worship at a shrine to Russell T Davies every night - the man who bought back Dr Who. Hell, to anyone under 16 he invented Dr Who. And he's as irrestible in the role now as he was in Rose. His determination, his passion, his bravery and sadness might be taken from Russell T's finely crafted script, but it's in his eyes where they really shine. In Parting, more than anything they seem to say 'this is my last one'. Just as it's been impossible not to laugh at his jokes, to cringe from his anger and to feel the fear in those eyes, so it's impossible, in this one, not to mourn his passing.

    But this might be the Ninth Doctor's final episode, and he may, amid the festival of gurning, be giving the sort of performance that has made him a BAFTA certainty over the last thirteen weeks, and that will, I guarantee it, bring a lump to your throat... but this is Rose's show. Despite being sidelined for much of the episode in a subplot that occasionally (though quite deliberately) jars with the main action, she remains the lynchpin of the story, and the emotional core of all that happens. A lesser actress wouldn't just have killed the character, but the entire series. Billie Piper did exactly the opposite, and this is the best we've see her: by turns petulant and vulnerable, tearful and triumphant; in a space-station in the far future or a caff on a damp afternoon, she's simply magnificent. By the narrowest of margins, her finest hour.

    It's no surprise, in hindsight, that with Billie and Chris on board, the TARDIS revitalised Saturday night television. In the cooling heat of the season finale, it's looking likely that by teaming her up with David Tennant the BBC may even be able to repeat the trick. As much as, perhaps more than the glory that is Season One, it's the fact that Season Two will happen that stands as Chrisopher Eccleston's greatest tribute. They say always leave them wanting more. And with Parting of the Ways, if that nationwide fever-pitch proved nothing else, he's done just that.

    But then, as Russell T would no doubt say, all this critical analysis only gets you further up your own arse. This isn't Shakespeare, it's Doctor Who. Blam! Blam! Exterminate! Zzap! A million Daleks!

    Now that's entertainment.

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    Ok then, no Davros. Fine. I suppose this makes the second (after the infinitely superior Dalek) true Dalek story since Death to the Daleks back in 1974. Not necessarily a bad thing as arguably the continual returning of Davros since his definitive and never quite equalled debut in the outstanding Genesis of the Daleks eventually became a little tedious and overly predictable (though excellently done in the superb Revelation of the Daleks); I often felt it was a mistake to bring him back at all, and this was painfully clear in his first sequal, the shoddily realized Destiny of the Daleks. Anyway, I think I suspected at the end of Bad Wolf, from the next week trailer, that it was either – as the media seemed to want us to believe – Davros returning as some sort of evolved version, now practically the Emperor of the Daleks first seen in Evil of the Daleks, or just simply the Dalek Emperor without any implication of Davros having evolved into it (which I think would have been a clever evolution of the character: that it had in fact been an evolved Davros who had been inside the Emperor Dalek’s casing way back in 1967’s Evil of the Daleks). Not to be then. Instead we just get the Emperor Dalek with no hint that this is an evolved Davros. What am I wittering on about anyway?

    However, the realization of this large squid with swollen cerebrum inside a giant, opened Dalek casing was excellently done and its constant ranting about being ‘the God of the Daleks’ and creating ‘perfection’ and ‘heaven on Earth’ (in the Dalek sense) was all brilliantly done and a satisfying and intelligent evolution of Dalek mythology into the realms of Kaled eschatology, which has never been depicted quite so powerfully before (apart from Davros’s compelling God-like rantings in Genesis). To have the Daleks chanting ‘blasphemy, blasphemy’ in unison was equally compelling and disturbing, particularly as the Daleks are now developing a demonstrably human form of evil in terms of a kind of pugilist, Nazistic religious dogmatism; they are clearly conducting a crusade to destroy all life/societies different from their own – here I think possibly RTD has for the first time succeeded in some genuine satire by surely using the Daleks as a comment on all forms of religious fundamentalism, both Christian and Muslim, which dangerously dominate the modern world on both sides of the Atlantic (personified by Bin Laden on one side and the less obvious, more insidious Bush-Blair evangelism on the other). If this is what RTD was intending, then he did succeed, and very well – there you are, I am willing to praise him when I think he deserves it.

    Other good aspects of this story: Joe Ahearn’s typically consummate direction (still not quite Graeme Harper though, more a watered-down Douglas Camfield; what good news Harper’s return next year is by the way!) which maximizes all suspense with suitably intense atmosphere, as well as fairly strong takes on any action (though much of the bull and bluster of this story does remind me of Resurrection of the Daleks which, despite a moral shallowness of plot, did I think still have the edge); some intense speeches from Eccleston, powerfully conveyed – no other Doctor has ever shown such palpable hatred of the Daleks, as epitomized in his initial confrontation with them when he taps into their own dormant fears of him, their nemesis (reminds me slightly of the Master’s hallucinations of the Doctor under the influence of the Keller Machine in Mind of Evil) – as well as this, Eccleston delivered some bits of genuinely amusing humour with his dismissive comments to the Daleks in his initial confrontation and various other shots, including the one of him grinning inanely while trying to rig up the delta-wave (was it delta-wave? or am I think of the augmenter from Kinda?) mechanism later on; some, I have to concede, superb acting from Billie Piper, especially in the scene in the café with her mum and the climax when she is possessed by the soul of the Tardis (rather like Galadriel in Lord of the Rings – much of the incidental music too reminded me of David Jackson’s melodramatic take on Tolkein’s stories – especially effective and dramatic is the brilliantly orchestrated choral chanting in the Dalek battle scenes, first used in the classic episode Dalek). The Daleks flying through space was a brilliant image, though otherwise I am not one to be particularly impressed by fleets of CGI spaceships to be honest. By far the most impressive shot of all, which really did work, was when Lynda was tracked down by flying Daleks coming up outside the window of the space station – that was genuinely menacing. I suppose one has to say this is the best the Daleks have been portrayed since their earliest adventures in the Sixties (though there is still no attempt to duplicate the most impressive Dalek visual effect, only ever used in the black and white stories, of the dilating eyestalks).

    Over all though, despite superior special effects, a nice dimension of moral depth, a deepening of the Dalek mythology and some truly intense acting, this story still to my mind falls far short of the dramatic excellence of, say, Revelation of the Daleks; the climax of Parting of the Ways is not on a par with the compellingly directed climax to Graeme Harper’s Season 22 finale (and remember the flying Davros in that story? not only has everyone forgotten that the Daleks first flew in Remembrance, but they’ve also forgotten that even before that, Davros was doing it three seasons before!!! – although the effect was mucked up admittedly). Another similarity to Revelation though was having a robot of Anne Robinson (uncomfortably though almost forgivably bringing the contemporary into the show) shooting at Daleks, which reminded me of the all-too-Earth 20thc. style DJ shooting at Daleks with his ultra-sound laser (we cringed at that at the time I recall, but looking back it sort of works in an oddball way).

    Essentially, despite a brilliantly realized and scripted Emperor Dalek and some intense moments of verbal exchange, Parting of the Ways still felt to me to be a George Lucas take on Doctor Who, with its rather over-bearing special effects, gung-ho Han Solo character in Captain Jack, protracted action/battle scenes (though some of these were really well shot admittedly – there’s something about machine guns and Daleks which sort of works) and general reliance on visual spectacle to compensate for fairly good but patchy drama. It’s bull and bluster Who fundamentally, along the lines of Resurrection, which isn’t an entirely good or bad thing, and is significantly inferior to Shearman’s Dalek because that balanced action scenes with truly compelling drama and dialogue (especially Eccleston’s confrontation with the enslaved Dalek – a true classic even by the old series’ standards). Ironically though in Parting the Doctor is in some ways more Doctorish than in Dalek as this time he messes around with the gadgetry, doing the brainwork while Jack dons the heavy armour and Ridley Scott guns (for this reason alone it’s a shame Jack hadn’t been introduced prior to Dalek). One of the really puzzling things about Parting however is the Daleks’ seeming phobia with actually firing at the Doctor: he seems to casually elude them a couple of times when directly in their firing range and they don’t seem to attempt, at least not very successfully, to exterminate it as he just walks away from them! Ironic that while these are arguably the best realized and deadliest Daleks ever, they’re not very good at posing a threat to their real enemy. But then, the Emperor does say at one point he wants the Doctor to become like him, so maybe the Daleks are under orders not to kill him.

    A nice touch at the end was the Doctor noticing something different about his hand at the console, and his little speech to Rose hinting at an imminent regeneration – this was very well scripted. The regeneration itself I found rather disappointing and not nearly as satisfying as the old series’ ones, especially the most memorable of all, Davison into Baker at the end of Caves of Androzani (indeed, the McCoy to McGann was ironically one of the best ever regenerations –as was the original Hartnell to Troughton of course). What we do get though is a slight alteration, with the first ever vertical regeneration, and I couldn’t help that old excitement come back watching the Doctor regenerate into a new actor, though in Eccleston’s leather jacket, and with a detectable quiff, Tennant did resemble more a Jarvis Cocker-esque Britpop frontman than a Timelord. Nevertheless, his first speech, mentioning his teeth, was amusingly delivered from Tenant, whose elfin, mischievous demeanour and – at risk of sounding snobby, but not intentionally – more received pronunciation delivery does I feel bode pretty well for his incarnation. The show’s always worked on contrast between Doctors and I think we’re going to get it, and more in the vein of previous Doctors, I hope anyway. Yes I did feel a tinge of sadness at Eccleston’s rather wistful departure I suppose, but I’m afraid over all I found his interpretation disappointingly unsuited to the role, not simply because of his over-emphasized blokey Salford accent and intonations, or necessarily his battered leather jacket, v-neck t-shirt and crew cut, but more because of his lack of eccentricity, occasionally sloppy scripting and far-too-human vernacular, and often misdirected grinning. Sadly Eccleston didn’t have it for me, despite being one of my favourite actors, which makes it all the more disappointing. However, he would not have been one of my own choices for the part – Tennant is certainly more suitable but I would have gone for Rhys Ifans myself.

    Let’s just hope next season isn’t mucked up by more commerciality, thinness of plots, contemporaneous intrusions, tedious Tyler family soap opera, farting aliens, inappropriate and clumsy sexual innuendos and snogging among the Tardis crew. That’s another thing – what was all this kissing about? Jack kissing the Doctor was stupid and ridiculous; the Doctor kissing Rose was an unwelcome echo of the McGann film (and reminiscent of Avon in Blake’s 7’s Sarcophagus) but ultimately forgiveable, I suppose. Let’s get back to emphasizing the solitary alienness and eccentricity of the Doctor, now we are given a fresh chance to reinterpret the role with a new actor.

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    I am someone who didn't live during the time of the old Doctor Who and therefore know almost nothng about the previous Doctors or even the Daleks for that matter. I have to say I think Russell T Davies and his team of writers have done a fantastic job in resurrecting Dr Who for a whole new generation. The 'Parting of the Ways' was similarly a mostly excellent finale and closing episode for Christopher Eccleston as the Doctor. It was kind of saddening to watch Eccleston and Piper's final episode as a duo and it certainly feels as though they have been together for years and not just 13 weeks.



    The surprise re-entrance of the Daleks did not surprise me at the end of 'Bad Wolf'; I already knew that the first series of 'Doctor Who' would see the return of the Doctor's arch-enemy and the invasion of Earth. On the latter front, I have to say I was disappointed that Davies chose to set the action in orbit of Earth of the future again and as a sequel to the earlier episode. The idea that thousands of years into the future the human race would be completely hooked on reality television which featured completely robotic versions of earlier celebrities was either just very cynical or very lazy. The promised invasion of Earth was little more than a picture of the Dalek lasers zapping the continents until they changed shape. If Davies did want to return to a previous time-period, why not experiment with returning to the Victorian era or something else? While the invasion and massacre of the Gamestation was well-done, it did seem a bit sad that the producers saw fit to recycle an old premise.

    Still, the idea explained by the Emperor of the Daleks that they had been harvesting humans to create more of the floating pepperpots was a truly creepy one. So too was the premise of the new, religious Daleks with the Emperor as a god. We felt sorry for the creatures for a brief second when the Doctor calls them 'driven mad by their own flesh'. I also liked the moment where one Dalek skittered away from the Doctor, supoosedly because it was scared of him.

    The sense of desperation was built up well in the episode from the Doctor pretending to have a flash of inspiration only for him to send Rose home, to the death of everyone on the station until only the Doctor was left standing. I was genuinely surprised when Captain Jack snuffed it and equally surprised when he was resurrected thanks to Bad Wolf Rose.

    Speaking of Captain Jack, I cringed when he appeared in his WW2 guise in 'The Empty Child' but have since come to like him. In this episode, he becomes a full hero and a worthy time-travelling companion for the Doctor. It was sad that he got left behind and it will be interesting to see if he returns and how?

    Billie Piper carried this episode with her performance of Rose. First of all as a desperate bystander to events as she tried desperately to understand the workings of the TARDIS and secondly as the triumphant assistant who solves the Bad Wolf riddle and saves the day in a role reversal of every other week.

    The final resolution was very touching and yet somehow annoying at the same time. On the 'touching' side of things, it was wonderful to see Rose come through for the man she called 'my doctor' although I wasn't completely sure if this was Rose talking or the being inside the TARDIS. The moment when he kissed he to remove the pain it was causing her was the culminatin of the trust, frienship and strange love that had been building between the two characters since the beginning.

    On the annoying side of the things. did the all-seeing all-knowing Tardis being just resurrect Jack or all the human race aswell? And surely the Daleks can't all be gone? I understand that they all turned to Dust. but have the producers backed themselves into a rather tight corner by doing this? Also, I found myself wanting to cuddle the Dalek Emperor when he said 'I cannot di-i-i-ie'

    And finally, to talk about Christopher Eccleston - the ninth Doctor. To me, he is the first as Tom Baker and Jon Pertwee are just legends. I enjoyed his combination of a cheeky-chappy Northern Doctor who puts a middle finger up at the jaws of death and a lonely time traveler who carries the weight of the universe on his shoulders. He showed both qualities in this episode. He also presented us with a quality previously unseen in the Doctor - cowardice. Despite his grim promises, the Doctor cannot end his own life to take the Daleks with him and he seemed a tad pathetic when Rose arrived to save him.

    Eccleston reconciles both sides of the Doctor in his final speech. He wistfully talks of all the places he was going to take her and raves about the wonders he would show her. Yet, the laws of time and space means he cannot stay and that his time with her is cut short. His own assertion that he was excellent is both a great final bow for Eccleston and the reminder that the Doctor will be back in another form.

    And so we were introduced to Doctor Number Ten - David Tennant. I honestly didn't guess he would appear in the last few seconds, as I thought that would be saved for the Christmas special. I liked his first lines of dialouge 'Oh yeah that's right...Barcelona' and get the impression that Tennant may play the Doctor as some kind of eccentric, Cockney wide-boy. The shocked expression of Rose suggests she is going to have serious trouble accepting that this is essentially the same man she went through life and death with. I could hedge a guess and say that this will be part of the reason Billie Piper is written out in series two.

    The catchy reworking of the theme tune closed the series along with the promise that 'the countdown to the Christmas invasion has begun.'



    Just some closing thoughts...



    - What exactly is a 'Time War' and how does one differentiate between this and a 'Time Scuffle'?

    - The Time Vortex Being said she 'scattered the words' to remind herself to look open the heart of the Tardis into the phrase 'bad wolf' So what were the words originally? The only anagram that springs to mind is 'Dab Flow...or Flob Daw.

    - The Doctor said he could not go back in time to escape because he would become part of events. So what has he spent the last 13 weeks doing? The man in the first episode showed him at the assassination of JFK and at the launch of the Titanic. Isn't that becoming a part of events?

    And some plot predictions for next series.

    Likely - that Rose will leave beacuse she can't accept that the new Doctor is the same man.

    Possible - that the Daleks will have infiltrated the world of L'Oreal adverts - Ex-foli-ate

    Unlikely - Captain Jack will use the Dalek dust to create himself a scary new pet.

    Hope To God It Doesn't Happen - David Dickinson will be the eleventh Doctor.

    The Theme of Series Two - After the success of the mystery of Bad Wolf, Davies will try 'Placid Goldfish'

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    Frankly I was disappointed. I've generally enjoyed the series, and my debates with my dad about the merits of this doctor with all of his previous incarnations, but this ending left me feeling strangely unfulfilled. There were just so many points that didn't seem to stack up. I have to admit that some may say I'm not a true who fan as I haven't seen Evil of the Daleks, which other reviewers have referred to, but I have been watching since the Tom Baker days and have watched most of the Pertwee stories, so I think I'm allowed to pass my comments. These comments are:

    The opening of the Tardis with the truck - surely RTD could have found a better way to handle this - it just seemed so out of place with what else was going on. Also how come no-one approached Rose etc to ask them what they were doing - they were on a busy housing estate after all.

    The materialisation of the Tardis over Rose and the Dalek - being able to do this would have been very useful in previous episodes. In the same scene what about the firing of the gun in the consol room to kill the Dalek - I may be wrong here, but I'm sure in a previous incarnation the Doctor says that guns will be useless in the Tardis as they are prevented from firing.

    I feel that Rose being Bad Wolf is badly handled and not properly explained; just how did she leave all those messages for herself and why did she suddenly realise it was her? Having cleverly developed a theme throughout the series, which I admit I had missed until it was mentioned by the Doctor, I think RTD let us down badly on this one.

    As for things not being properly explained I am still not sure I understand how the Daleks survived - how did a crippled Emperor Dalek managed to get the technology to initially take the refugees etc to his ship and then take over the space station?

    I also think that the destruction of the Dalek fleet by Rose was a major cop out - its THE DOCTOR who should be saving the world, not his assistants, not matter how difficult the situation he is in. Afterall if she can get into the Tardis that easily why hasn't he done so in the past - it only used up one regeneration.

    Talking of the regeneration I think this could have been handled a lot better - why did the power of the Vortex 'kill' the Doctor so quickly when Rose had managed to stay alive for as long as she did? Also what happened to the normal confusion/quirkiness/anger of the Doctor after regeneration, the best of which in my opinion is the Baker/Davison regeneration.

    I think it would have been far better for the Doctor to have killed the Daleks (and himself) with his Delta Wave, and then been forced to regenerate because of this, afterall as he said there are colonies, and all the humans on earth had been killed by the Daleks anyway so what was the point in him not using his weapon? He didn't know that Rose would come along and save the day. (Or did he?)

    I have enjoyed seeing Jack in the series - he has added a new element and I hope he returns in series 2, although I think the way of bringing him back to life was very disappointing - I'm think a better way would have been not to have killed him for some reason in the first place.

    I would agree with many that unfortunately RTD has written the poorest stories of the series - my favourites have been The Unquiet Dead and The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances, but the continuity of the Bad Wolf references suggested that he had an idea of what he wanted the series to achieve, its just a shame that as I have stated above he handled the ending of it so badly.

    Finally I think Christopher Ecclestone has done a good job as Dr Who, but is not a match in my opinion for the god who is Tom Baker (worship him, worship him!!). My brother has raved about David Tennant as an actor, so I'm willing to see how he goes, but hope that overall there is an improvement in the writing of the series, and a return to more cliff-hanger episodes.

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    Okay - I can't stand it anymore - I need to add my comments to the reviews of this splendid series. The thing that really gets up my nose is the amount of bitching about whether or not it is any good, and the intense analysis it's put through, as though it were a 19 century novel up for a PHd thesis. It winds me up because, like it or not, (and forgive me raising my voice here) DOCTOR WHO IS A KIDS' PROGRMME. It always has been. I guess many of those who are "disappointed" with RTD's vision seem to forget that you first saw it when you were kids and it's grown with you - probably fed by the many books and audio tapes that have been predominantly written for the kid-become-adult audience. What particularly offends me is that so few hard core Who fans seems to appreciate that this new series is giving something absolutely wonderful (and amazing and frightening and MORAL) to a whole new generation of children. RTD understands this, and he also understands that along with the kiddies content, he also needs to throw nods at the adults watching alongside their offspring. So we have Capt Jack's bisexuality, post-modern references scattered all over the place (big bruv, weakest link et al), and I'm convinced that the Eastenders council estate revisits - Rose, Micky and her Mum - are tongue in cheek as well.

    You lot (as the Doctor would say), or many of you, don't seem to be watching with children, or understanding that all this is, at least for the greater part, for them. I can gleefully report that mine (7 and 9) have been absolutely transported over the last 13 Saturday evenings. The gas aliens gave the youngest a nightmare (and I remember having a nightmare about being chased by daleks on Saturday night in 1963, and it didn't do me any harm). Hand-holding duty went on for half an hour until she went back to sleep. Next day the video was watched again!!!!

    And what's wrong with farting aliens? Kids love fart jokes. I watched my two reduced to giggling wrecks one moment, closely followed by jumping up on the sofa (not behind until the first dalek appeared) the next, when the Slitheens took off the skin suit and started chasing Rose and the MP (forget the name) through No 10.

    The dalek story terrified them and perplexed them by turns. The gasmask kids just plain and simply terrified them, but everything was alright in the end, and the last two episodes had them wide eyed. Not a peep all the way through. The regeneration scene absolutely astonished them (as did the bigger-inside-than-out tardis at the front end of the series).

    So okay - the way I've watched this is by watching my kids watching a programme that is made for children. And it is very very very good television. I'd make a guess that like me (and like a lot of you) they'll carry the seeds that have been planted over the past 13 weeks into their adulthood and develop a healthy respect for science-fiction, which is wonderful genre.

    And what of me watching with the kids? Well, yes, RTD's storylines have weak points, but the characterisation is wonderful. He is writing for children and they demand less internal logic than adults. You want intellectual coherence go pick up an adult sci-fi novel - there are lots of them about that really do take on big subjects in a challenging way. The acting has been superb throughout (what is it with this carping criticism of Rose's mum? She's been fine. I live in east London and she's like any number of my neighbours...REALLY). The effects are better than they ever were before and the music must be better than that dreadful electronic stuff of the 70's and 80's.

    So, a plea..think on. Who's (haha) this series written for? Not for 20, 30 or 40 year olds. They have to stretch their imagination a bit, and remember what it was like to be a kid. Do that and you'll love it.

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    Hmm…new teeth….that’s weird.

    And so ends an era. I was thrilled beyond words that Doctor Who was being revived, and this season did not let me down. At times I wished they wouldn’t try quite SO hard to not mention the past, but the Daleks did eventually return, there was a great scene with the head of a Cyberman (can’t wait to see them next season!) and it was the little things that were thrown in for longtime fans such as directions for a room inside the TARDIS for Rose to change clothes in “The Unquiet Dead” and the Ninth Doctor commenting on his new ears in “Rose” (just like Tom Baker commenting on his new nose in “Robot”) that helped make this series a classic. This Doctor even picked up and discarded new companions just as previous Doctors such as Peter Davison had done. This show always kept you guessing and it was…fantastic.

    “The Parting of the Ways” was a great ending to a great series. The creation of a Dalek “god” was interesting… it kind of goes along the same lines of making every effort to not mention the past. Why this could not be an incarnation of Davros or even a previously seen Supreme Dalek is beyond me but it was a very interesting character regardless. The solution to the 500,000 Daleks seemed to me to be…well…a little bit of a cop out. The Doctor has a huge dilemma on his hands…create a Delta wave that will destroy all life in and around the planet Earth, or die and let Earth be harvested for Dalek parts. As the Doctor states “coward, any day”, it wasn’t much of a choice. This Doctor, however, has been hardened by war and the death of his people. He actually thought about it whereas no previous Doctor would have even seen it as a remote possibility, even if it did mean the death of Earth either way. Then Super-powered Rose jumps in and with a wave of her hand solves everything.

    Of course there were problems with the plot, such as the technobabble explanation of the “Bad Wolf” references, the fact that Captain Jack in abandoned, and how the Daleks actually survived, just to name a few. It must be known though that I pick apart plots to every show and movie I love and I love this new series. Another minor quibble I have with the plot of the episode is that Rose and the others could even open up the panel to the TARDIS. Mickey’s car isn’t strong enough to pull apart the TARDIS console, so they get a larger Earth truck and then are able to rip open the console of this exquisite piece of Gallifreyian technology?! Hmmm…. I believe it would have worked better if it simply knew it had to open such as it did against the Slitheen and Rose was able to do the same thing. Of course then Rose’s mom and Mickey would have been left out and RTD was trying to get some emotion into this sub-plot. Forgivable and understandable.

    People have had a lot of opinions about Captain Jack Harkness. Some good but mostly bad. I don’t see how you cannot like this character. He was a fun loving rogue who was willing to sacrifice himself for the good of mankind and to make up for his screw up. Since then I can only say that this TARDIS crew have been together much longer than the two adventures we saw them in. He grew into a part of the family and a very valuable part at that. Not only is he well versed in time and how it works, he is technically adept and he is humble enough to defer to the judgement of The Doctor. In fact, in “Parting” he blindly follows him into death and never once flinches. When he first kisses Rose and then the Doctor and says how he wishes he’d never met him and he made a much better coward…it was some of the best companion writing ever. I dare say that only Sarah Jane Smith and possibly Jo Grant ever had as emotional response as the purely soldier character of Captain Jack had with the Ninth Doctor. Jack owed him everything, for showing him how he had been wasting his life and talents and gave him a sense of purpose I’m not sure he ever had. What an acting job for a character with relatively small amount of screen time. By the way, on the subject of him kissing the Doctor, I am not a gay activist by any means but come on, grow up. Jack is a very sexual character who comes from a time where male/female relations have been blurred. He freely flirted with anyone male or female and enjoyed every minute of it. It made perfect sense for him to kiss the Doctor the same as Rose, as I stated before he meant a great deal to Jack and Jack believed (apparently for good reason) he would never see him again. When Jack was brought back to life and he ran in to see the TARDIS de-materialize the look he gave was amazing – sadness, hurt and desperation all at the same time. John Barrowman is an amazing actor and I can only hope that RTD realizes that this character evolved far beyond the “he’s here to carry a big gun because the Doctor and Rose wouldn’t” status he came aboard as.

    Just the fact that we can argue whether or not this series was good and tear apart each episode piece by piece shows what an excellent job they did with Doctor Who. People need to realize how many chances this show had to be a failure. There were obvious money constraints and yet everything looked great. People were used to four part episodes and most of these were single 45 minute episodes. Chris and Billie were unknown choices to say the least and they proved themselves to be simply amazing in their parts. The Daleks almost didn’t make it into the series, and they were able to use them. This series is a resounding success and I praise Russell and every person who was involved in this fantastic series. I hope David Tennant takes a hold of the role of the Tenth Doctor and is with us a very long time.

    Why oh why do we have to wait until CHRISTMAS!!!!? Oh well maybe by then America will WAKE UP and bring this incredible entertainment to these shores so I can stop watching it on my computer and lay back on the couch like a true Doctor Who fan should! THANK YOU FOR A WONDERFUL 13 WEEKS!

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    At the end of the day, its just a TV show right? It sure is and it is not written exlusively for Doctor Who fans.... if it was, the show would not have come back at all - look at the state of the show in it's dying years in the late 1980s, tired old ideas, poor writing and an over reliance on the show's past.

    This series was written for the general public (there are a lot more of them than there are of us!) and despite the subtle nod to us fans with little things here and there, RTD and crew pitched the show at Saturday night family audiences.

    Where am I going with all of this you are no doubt asking...? Well I guess I am responding to much of the criticism Parting of the Ways received in relation to the plot, the tying up of the many threads from various stories from the season (in particular the Bad Wolf reference), and the traffic-jam climatic moments of the episode leading to the regeneration.

    I will be the first to admit, that with my "old fan" hat on (I can't believe Ive been a fan of (and watching) this show for over 20 of my 32 years!!), much of what happened in the episode in relation to bringing all the threads together isnt perfect. But if I put my "general audience member" hat on, I agree that yes the plot is a little creaky, but the writing (do not confuse the two!) is very clever. When youve got 45 minutes to squeeze in the culmination of the 12 previous weeks plus explain and execute a regeneration to a relatively new audience - and manage to do so in a reasonably coherent manner, you should be given credit.

    Those audience members RTD and co have aimed the new series at probably would not have got themselves all worked up over the the holes in the plot. They would have enjoyed it for what it was - fast paced, action packed adventure with edge of your seat moments. A regular cast so tight, you believe in their relationship and enjoy the chemistry between the two. Add to that the return of the Daleks and the "death" of the main character and you really cant go wrong - mission accomplished!

    With that out of the way, I'd like to put my "old fan" hat back on and look at the moments in the episode that caught my attention the most. Firstly, The Daleks - they look great, but talk far too much. Less is more...part of their menace is their limited vocab and their silent gliding around (matched with relentless and indiscriminate killing!). As soon as you give the Daleks a vocab that goes beyond the obligitory "Exterminate!" and the like, they seem to lose that menace. The Emporer Dalek looked impressive, but the effect is probably more suited to the big screen.

    I still cant work out if the regeneration sequence in the TARDIS is a post-production add on... sometimes it seems to be so. But looking at the events leading up to it, you would also be justified in thinking that it had been there all along. After kissing Rose (nicely done RTD and totally believable within the context of the story), there is a moment where the Doctor looks as though he knows just what he has done to himself in saving Rose from the power of the vortex. But then at the start of the final scene, it doesnt feel as though he is aware of his impending change.

    Much has been written about the scene, how it seems to walk away from past regenerations and makes light of it. Personally I find it totally in character with Eccleston's Doctor. It was sad. Yet he found an irony in the events that were about to occur. He was sad to be leaving Rose - yet happy in knowing he will still be with her in his new form. The scene was not bogged down in Timelord gobbly-gook about regenerating (note the term wasnt used at all!), a simple explanation was all that was required and then the change took place. It is different to the past. But then they have all been different - no one regeneration looked the same as the one before it. So I had no problem with it.

    The departure of Eccleston is a real loss. You simply cant argue over his talent as an actor. He also did a great job when some of the scripting let him down earlier in the season (Aliens of London!!). He was a Doctor you could not help but like. It was one hell of a job to pull off - and one hell of a risk for an actor of his ilk. Had the role got into other hands, the success of this season may not have been as great as it is.

    So enter Doctor no.10 - I remember at the end of Caves of Androzani, I was very excited about Colin Baker. Those few lines he said to Peri got me hook, line and sinker - we all know what happened with The Twin Dilemma!! So this time round, Im going to reserve my judgement. I hope the Christmas special wont ignore the regeneration and the ramifications of the change on the Doctor - Tom Baker's post-regeneration antics were fun and a good way for the audience to settle in with the new Doctor. Hopefully time will be set aside in the special for this.

    And so Season One comes to a close. Here in Australia, we're almost half way through the season on the ABC, so for me there is still joy in watching it unfold through the Australian side of things. Parting of the Ways achieved all of it's objectives and more. It has been one hell of a ride and the culmination of the season with the Doctor's regeneration was the icing on the cake.

    Roll on Season Two and Doctor Who number 10!!

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    Well, It's been quite a ride.

    Before this season, I couldn't bribe my nine-year-old step-daughter Jessica into watching Doctor Who. And just as I had written off any chance of her fandom, came ROSE. She started slowly, just peering over my shoulder as Autons blasted through the shopping malls of London. By the end of the episode she was asking to see more.

    We went through Dickens and farting aliens (though neither of us were terribly amused by the farting), The Jagrafas and "Are you my Mummy?" with delight.

    She also came to learn three important Doctor Who rules:

    1) Don't get attached to side characters ("Oh, I like her. That Tree Lady is beautiful. Hey, wait...is she...?")

    2) Anything is scary ( She's terrified of The Daleks, of course, but The Gelth and The Empty Child sent her behind the sofa, as it were.)

    and, of course....

    3) Just because The Doctor says the Daleks are finished doesn't make it so.

    After last episode's fantastic cliffhanger ( After hiding behind me during all the "Exterminates!", she asked "Why do you LIKE them so much?"), We jump headfirst into the Action. Jessica practically bit her nails during the first ten minutes while I stayed right at the edge of my seat. I couldn't believe my eyes! Dalek missles! Dalek in the TARDIS! The Dalek fleet! She nearly jumped out of her skin at the sound of this episode's surprise guest star, The Dalek Emperor. I was less surprised thanks to recognizing his voice in the trailer (After all, he's appeared in plenty of Big Finish audios), but his extreme makeover was a joy to behold.

    As the episode went on, Jessica became less scared of the Dalek voices and became engrossed in the story. I don't blame her. How can I convay how thrilling it is to see all the things DOCTOR WHO couldn't show before in it's history. No more invasions by three Daleks in the grass, no sir! Now it's HALF A BLOODY MILLION DALEKS!

    Squeeel....

    During his hopeless mission , The Doctor says goodbye to Captain Jack (After Jack kisses him goodbye, Jessica looks at me slack-jawed. "Is he gay?!?" Funny how much innuendo flew over her head in the last four episodes..) and tricks Rose into taking the TARDIS home ("whhat's he doing? He tricked her!")

    We were very happy to see Mickey and Jackie again.

    (note to RTD, they are a BIG hit in my household. Bring them back often next year..)

    After opening the "heart of the TARDIS", Rose becomes Super-Rose and saves the day. This pleases Jessica no end, as she's quite fond of Rose Tyler and sees her as a hero on par with The Doctor.

    Then comes the end.

    Jessica is heartbroken to see her hero die. I don't blame her one bit. In thirteen episodes, Christopher Eccleston has tied with Tom Baker as my favorite Doctor. Besides, Jessica tells me that he's "cute".

    Truthfully, she doesn't want to watch anymore.

    She's lost "her" Doctor.

    I would be concerned ,except I know from experience what happens next.

    It starts with peering over my shoulder....

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    There's so much I like about Parting of the Ways: the beautiful Dalek FX shots, Jack kissing Rose and the Doctor (and, later, the Doctor and Rose kissing), the Doctor sending Rose on a one-way TARDIS trip to safety, the Anne Droid's final stand against the Daleks, the tow truck of doom, the Doctor's great farewell scene, etc.

    Sadly, I can't give the episode a thumbs up because, in the end, it makes absolutely no sense.

    Let's start with the Dalek invasion of Earth. So...the Daleks have been guiding humanity's development and converting the dregs of society into Daleks for at least a hundred years, but they're only just now getting around to taking over the planet? What was their motive for taking it over when they already essentially controlled humanity? Sure, it'll make a nice homeworld for the Daleks (Skaro being destroyed in Remembrance of the Daleks, of course), but why wait so long to claim it?

    The Bad Wolf being Rose ruined the character in ways that I can't even begin to put into words. After decades of pyromanical time-travelling teenagers, American botany students with fanciful names, mathematical geniuses from the planet Alzarius, Time Lords, cavewomen from the future, UNIT agents, etc., we finally get a *normal* companion for the first time since the days of Sarah Jane Smith, and easily the most down-to-earth and relatable companion since Ian and Barbara. So what does Russell T. Davies do? Turn her into the Dark Phoenix (of X-Men fame). And how was "Bad Wolf" supposed to be a warning anyway? Clearly, the Doctor and Rose had no idea what it meant in any of the previous 12 episodes. If I have the power of a god and I'm sending a warning to myself and a close friend, I don't choose to send said warning in the form of two cryptic words that I *know* my friend and I didn't comprehend or notice previously. In other words, Rose knew the Bad Wolf warning was a failure...so she decided to send it out anyway.

    Finally, poor Christopher Eccleston, the Doctor of our age, was reduced to spending most of the episode working on a technobabble device that ultimately doesn't even come into play. At least he gets to reel off some great lines before regenerating, but that still doesn't excuse the Ninth Doctor's virtual absence from the final part of his last adventure.

    I adored Bad Wolf and thought it was the very best television episode of any series ever. I suppose Parting of the Ways had a lot to live up to, but it's not as if asking Russell T. Davies to write a coherant script starring the Doctor that doesn't trash Rose's character is asking for the stars. He's done it before and I have no doubt that he can do it again. But it's a shame that, for whatever reason, he couldn't do it for the Ninth Doctor's swan song.

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    The Doctor Who season finale. Sounds strange to hear that, doesn’t it? It says something about the new format of the show and how much television has changed since Doctor Who’s hey day. In the eighties Doctor Who was climaxing seasons with Time-Flight, The Kings Demons and The Twin Dilemma and they were hardly examples of the show going out in a blaze of glory. These days we have season arcs, shorter episodes that are interlinked and if dealt with properly all those links converge in the final episode that makes the whole experience take on a greater meaning and hopefully more rewarding. I think I can confidently say that Doctor can join the ranks of Buffy and DS9 (in my humble opinion) as those shows that know how to structure their seasons and offer the viewer considerable pay off for sticking around.

    I’m probably in the minority here but I found these mad, religious Daleks far more interesting than the lone survivor we met earlier in the season. As I have already explained I feel Rob Shearman attempted to humanise the Daleks in a very Star Trekky type way which I felt diminished their effect but here Russell T Davies proves that you don’t have to humanise Daleks to humanise them. When we are told that the human race has been ‘filleted, pulped, sifted’ to create a whole new race of Daleks we get a picture of how grotesque their attempts to survive can get that rivals Stengos’ emaciated state in Revelation of the Daleks. These are Daleks that are made out of the genetically altered remains of human beings, beings who the Daleks loathe. Thus their creed of disliking the unlike extends to themselves, they literally hate themselves. How frightening is that? How far would a creature go that despises its own existence? When they launch an attack on Earth these insane, self-loathing creatures are merely reclaiming their home. They will swoop down from the skies and exterminate the human race but all they are really doing is killing themselves, extinguishing that reminder of who they once were and what they loathe about themselves. It’s a fascinating new take on the creatures and gives the war machines some real depth without going to extreme lengths to alter their personalities or mission statement (big, nasty EVIL). When the Doctor shouts at these creatures, they retreat and their eye stalks quiver, just small touches like this add so much to their effect.

    It helps that the budget extends to finally revealing a huge fleet of Daleks and in several Star Wars-esque sequences we are confronted with just how powerful the Dalek force is. When they swarm the Gamestation/Satellite Five we are treated to a room filled with Daleks, slowly gliding forwards and picking off everybody in their path. They are an unstoppable force of dread and have rarely been this terrifying. The futility of opposing them is brilliantly exploited, that poor bird who joins Jack’s tiny army only to be confronted with an evil she can’t fight learns this the hard way. The mass slaughter is mostly kept off screen, which (like The Greatest Show in the Galaxy) is far more effective that way. Linda’s shocked reaction to all the screaming and death over the intercom is far more frightening than watching these people die.

    What makes this epic confrontation between the Doctor and the Daleks work is Russell T Davies excellent grasp of character and he adds lots of little moments to the episode which makes this story about people rather than ciphers, without holding up the plot one second. I loved the quick scene between Davish and the Asian chick (proto-Anji!), they don’t get much screen time but there is a history implied and a future too. The inclusion of Roderick is nice, so at least we have one character that we really want to be killed. Similarly Rose’s quiet reactions to Linda’s (with an I) enthusiasm speaks volumes without saying a single word. Simon took an instant dislike to Linda but I thought she was lovely; sweet and loyal…and she was served with the best death of the entire episode (just when you think you know how she is going to die…). It was a little unfair (because she was so nice…) but if you’re going to go…that is how to do it!

    The best ‘small’ moment is between Rose and her mother when she admits she met her Dad. It is another reminder of the ground we have covered in series one and unexpectedly reminds us of the potent emotions brewed up in Father’s Day. Jackie’s horrified reaction sees her mind opening up to the possibility of time travel and understand why Rose would want to travel with the Doctor. This is incredible pay off and it isn’t even the main plot. Or the secondary plot. Just a moment.

    I am fairly certain there will be people up in arms about the fact that Jack gives the Doctor a snog before he walks off to his death. Please God somebody think of the children! It is fascinating how this episode looks at how people will give their lives for the Doctor; Jack, Rose and Linda all blindly offer their lives in the heat of his battle. In my eyes Jack earns that kiss and a chance to return in series two because he knows he is walking to his death and he doesn’t hesitate, he knows he will be fighting an unstoppable force and sacrificing his life to give the Doctor a few more seconds to defeat the enemy. He smiles, tells Rose she is worth fighting for, tells the Doctor he was better off as a coward and walks to his death. Anyone who was unsure about Jack must surely be on side now; he is one of the most selfless characters we have ever had in the show and one of the most open. I love him.

    But this story is really about the Doctor and Rose and their turbulent relationship. The Doctor knows the shit has well and truly hit the fan and in a well played scene (for a while tricking the audience as well as Rose) he fools her into retreating in the TARDIS and has preset the controls to take her home. Rose’s desperate reaction, screaming at the console to take her back, is heartbreaking to watch.

    It is vital that we return to Jackie back on Earth and not just because the Doctor keeps his promise to keep her daughter safe. In a beautifully played scene (and Billie Pipers best moment in the entire series) Rose breaks down in front of her mum and boyfriend and tries to explain how the Doctor changed her life. It is a brilliantly deceptive scene which seems to be suggesting that life on modern day Earth is dreadfully dull compared to travelling amongst the stars (the mundane setting and in particular the horrid shot of the rotating chickens puts across the sheer horror of a normal life) but as it continues the scene opens up and has much more meaning. It is about fighting oppression, making a stand and saying no when something unjust is happening…Rose even says it isn’t about aliens and travelling, it is about how you live your life that matters. There are plenty of horrors we ignore in favour of going home and eating chips. Poverty, world wars, fights in the street that we walk past with a shrug, deaths that we hear about on the telly which we go “oh dear” but feel glad it didn’t happen anywhere near us…RTD is making a bold statement here but it is one worth listening to. It is a way of using science-fiction to extend to its audience a message that we should pay attention to. “THAT FIGHT IS HAPPENING RIGHT NOW!” Rose screams but is she talking about the Daleks?

    Whilst I am pleased that Jackie is back I was surprised to see Mickey in action again. Boomtown seemed to have tidied up his little arc very nicely, with him walking away from Rose and giving her the life she deserved and this seemed a little like going over the same ground. Chats with my pal Mike Morris have seen us arguing over the merits (or not) of the Mickey’s contributions to Boomtown) and whilst he points to the moment in The Parting of the Ways where Mickey decides to help Rose after she tells him she has nothing to stay for on Earth and suggest this is Mickey’s top moment I would say he has already had that moment in Boomtown and bringing it up again is the only example of RTD whacking us over the head with a shovel to make sure we got the point. Mickey is selfless too. I get it. Let’s move on.

    I have heard many, many people suggest that the ninth Doctor is the most ineffectual of the bunch because he has been so redundant in many of the episodes solutions. Whilst I can hardly deny that he has not been lacking in the climatic resolution department, The Parting of the Ways goes some way towards explaining why the ninth Doctor prefers to manipulate others into getting involved and make the tough choices. The Time War was clearly a devastating conflict and the series hasn’t shied away from the fact that the Doctor caused the destruction of both The Time Lords and the Dalek fleet (“I MADE IT HAPPEN!”). It brings is back to Boomtown (that episode has actually set up far more for this one than people give credit; the extrapolator, the heart of the TARDIS, the consequences issues) which dealt with the Doctor dealing with the consequences of his actions. The entire first series has been building up to the scene where the Doctor is surrounded by Daleks and has the decision to wipe them out (and Earth with it) or let them survive. Can he live with himself if he kills so many people to stop the Daleks? Does it make him a coward if he says no? I don’t think the ninth Doctor is ineffectual as much as he is scared. He has had a huge reminder of what his conflicts can lead to and is more reluctant these days to make those huge choices. It is what made his horrified reaction in Bad Wolf at the state of the Earth so effective.

    BAD WOLF is finally explained and I liked what I saw. I was only annoyed by the fact that Simon guessed what it was perfectly by Bad Wolf and spent the rest of the evening boasting his intellectual powers. The bastard. Still I was concerned that RTD would shrug us off with a lousy explanation but this makes perfect sense and makes the exercise well worth trying, it has gotten the conspiracy nuts in tizzy over the past thirteen weeks and has certainly kept me intrigued. Good stuff.

    I once questioned whether it was possible for the Doctor to love any of his companions. At first I struggled with the idea, primarily because of all the icky sex stuff that gets in the way but then I started thinking about love and its complexities and decided that yes, considering he has been willing to lay down his life for the lives of his companions he certainly could be said be in love with them. The ninth Doctor is in love with Rose, which is made abundantly clear in this episode. Not only does he push her away whilst he has to deal with the Daleks (knowing it is too dangerous for her) but he also takes the huge decision to save her life at the climax and take his own. And how else would you express this moment of love but to seal it with a kiss? It is dazzling television because it appeals to our emotions and our senses (it being a beautifully filmed scene too) at the same time. Simon and I were left in tears, hugging each other. This is amazingly sensual TV of the sort that Doctor Who has never really explored before.

    I shant say too much about the last scene except for the fact that it was astonishgly quiet for those of us who were expecting the ninth Doctor to go out in a blaze of glory but reminds us this series is as much about the Doctor and Rose as it is about adventures in time and space. I loved how he warned her (protecting her to the end) and the final few lines strongly suggest season two will be even better.

    Never mind series two, The Parting of the Ways was a triumphant season finale, one that kept me on the edge of my seat throughout and with Bad Wolf created a bona fide Doctor Who classic to go in the history books. The last thing I have to say is about Murray Gold whose underrated music has been vital to this series success and was at an all time high here. Dramatic, emotional, exciting and touching…it was the finishing touch to a brilliant finale.

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    So the first new season of Doctor Who is now over and viewers are debating if it went with a bang or an even bigger bang. After the cliff-hanger of "Bad Wolf" I was in seventh heaven, feeling like I did as a kid watching Peter Davidson. "Parting of the Ways" had a huge mandate to cover in 45 minutes, wrapping up the Dalek invasion storyline, resurrecting an old enemy, solving the riddle of the Bad Wolf and killing off the latest incarnation of the Doctor. So, for those interested, did it pull it off?

    Yes and no is the answer. This episode is a perfect reflection of this new series as a whole with it's moments of divine inspiration which is inevitibly followed up by lack-lustre resolutions. In my mind there are several flaws in this episode and as seems to be the tradition in reviews I suppose I should get these out of the way first.

    1) The 45 minute episode format. This really could've worked and I was looking forward to a Dalek two-parter but with so much of the first episode given up to amusing if dissapointing antics in reality-show hell it didn't leave enough time to develop the characters or story-line. In the end it felt too rushed by the end and this could have been more easily dealt with. ( See point two)

    2) Russel Davies writing. Now I was a fan of his previous work, the man can write. But ever since I heard his comments about detractors of the new series being 25 guys who aren't gonna watch the show anyway I have seriously gone off the guy. So here goes as I invoke the wrath of the daleks, er RTD fans, as I blaspheme. The guy is a great guiding light for the series but shouldn't be allowed to write for it as he doesn't seem able to balance various story threads. This has been evident right from the first episode, ie juvenile comedy with high drama, and in this episode the pacing of the story is off balance.

    3) Deus ex machina is one of the most criticised and over-used plot devices in sci-fi and here we go again. Granted given the lack of time left by the end of the episode there was no other choice but again, better writing could have given us so much more.

    4) Plot holes: Go on, watch this episode again and think about what is going on. Quickly, as happens in most of this season, the plot falls apart. For example, Rose lives but it is the Doctor who cops the whack? How does Rose remember a helicopter landing that she never saw? The Daleks have apparently gone mad because they were lonely? Hell they never were sociable creatures so I am sure missing Mrs Jones cocktail party would not have pushed them over the edge. Also there is no explanation given as to how the Daleks breached the TARDIS in the first part, or why they didn't just kill the Doctor if they are so afraid of him. Still not sure what the Dalek Emperor was up to and it just seemed a bit convoluted.

    5) The shameless ripping-off of every other series. From classic Doctor Who to Buffy, RTD can think of very little original plot devices or imagery. The regeneration is Spike's death, Rose possessed is Buffy harnessing the first Slayer, the Doctor kissing Rose was Cordy and Doyle in Angel, Daleks made out of humans, the Doctor sacrificing himself for his companion, abandoning Capt. Jack. Done, done, done and done.

    Okay guys, crucify me later because despite all this I loved the episode. This was event television of a high order and quality with excellent performances. I was on night shift when this was shown and went into work 1 hour early so I could sit in the staff room and watch it.I loved it when the Doctor materialised the TARDIS around Rose, which was not without precedent in the classic series. It was unexpected and exciting, my inner child was very happy. The CGI was good but on the small scrren I was watching it on it became hard to make out details in the space scenes. The acting was simply superb.

    Billie Piper can move me just by watering up and she has been the real star of this series beyond a boubt. The scenes with her mother were superb even if they slowed the story down. When she tells Jackie about seeing her dad die I was engrossed in her performance, even Camille Coduri was good.

    John Barrowman, who I have adored since I saw him in Sunset Boulevard, has been a great addition and ths is his finest hour (so far!). When he was left behind at the end I was saddened because he is a fine addition to the TARDIS crew. I know he will be back but hey. And the kiss? Come on, for the first time we have a bisexual character who isn't about the issues. The Doctor accepts him completely and isn't embarassed by this display of affection and friendship. What greater statement to make to the younger generation. This is the best way to portray these issues, don't make an issue, just accept it and the audience will too.

    Chris Ecclestone has grown from irritating (all grins and "fantastic!") to a watchable and likeable Doctor. He never fully nailed the part for me but I guess I will just have to accept that as he ain't coming back which is a real shame.

    David Tennant, a few seconds and I think I may like him. The regeneration was too short and easy on the Doctor but this is a talented actor, a fan of the series and a Scot so am gonna allow myself to be biased on this one, lol.

    It will be interesting to see how this episode will be viewed 15 or 20 years down the line but for that 45 minutes I was engrossed. There is much more I could have said about the episode and the other actors but I want to leave with how I felt at the end of the episode. The exitement knowing the Doctor was coming back, the elation at a gripping story with thousands upon thousands of Daleks flying through space (that was kinda cool!) and the sense of loss that until Xmas saturdays will no doubt again be dull and uninspired veiwing. Farewell Chris, you will actually be missed.

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    Parting of the Ways was by far the best Who since the Key series back with Tom Baker. The way the story was threaded through the entire series was done quiet well. The plot construction was very much like Babylon 5, but shorter (Thank god, if you came in late you were lost!

    The acting had improved all season, the 1st episode was a bit worry some, but aren't most 1st episodes. John Barrowman really made the episode, I really hope we find Captain Jack in the next series. Billie actually got my wife crying during the scene in the T.A.R.D.I.S. between Rose and Jackie, it was like something out of a lifetime movie. Last, Chris was great. I was not happy when word got out he was leaving the show and this episode really proved he was the right guy for the part.

    The CGI budget was very well spent here, making up for the very lack luster stuff in Rose and Boom Town. The Dalek fleet was great! The only issue I had was the Dalek formations leaving the ships were a little to uniform.

    Now about the POP culture.... That was pretty silly, but very funny and a great slap in the face to most 'reality' programing. The Weakest Link, extremely funny. It's not often that sci-fi can really get in some good jabs at pop culture and do it right, but this hit the mark.

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    If ever I have truly felt like a geek, it was this past week (sorry, didn't mean to do some cheap rhyming verse there!). The anticipation of this final episode has weighed far more heavilly on my thoughts than it ought to for a grown man of 34! And even though, once again, I had read all the spoilers and knew how the story would resolve, I had to see how it was going to be executed. Had to see if the grand season finale would live up to itself.

    Quite amazingly, it did. Simple as that, really. Some of the hardcore geeks that are never happy with anything, I'm sure, would beg to differ - but this was truly the best story of the season and so, deserved to be the grand finale.

    Of course, the Doctor taking on an entire Dalek army would probably be enough to satisfy most followers of this current series, but it was so nice that we got so much more. And the very fact that good Russell T. Davies handled the battle royale as well as he did is a testament to his abilities as a writer. I particularly liked how we didn't get the "monster slaughterfest" that many of the old Who stories would do in the final episode. Where, suddenly, just sneezing the right way can kill off a Dalek. This was often done in the old series so that the production team can have thrilling visuals for the audience. The fact that, up until Rose steps in, we don't really see too many Daleks get hurt, seemed almost a conscious effort on the production team's part. It made the Daleks seem all the more powerful and deadly.

    Anyway, if "Bad Wolf" moved at a delightful breakneck speed, the pace of its sequel pretty well ripped your head clean off. Rose's rescue at the beginning is prompt (I love the way the TARDIS even appears to be "speeding along" as it collides with the missiles) and gets that particular plot complication out of the way quickly. And the Doctor stepping out of the TARDIS and being able to tell the Daleks off (and even scare them a bit!) from behind the safety of a forcefield is the stuff fanboy pipe dreams are made of. Nice to finally see his little "Dalek nickname" being discussed on camera since it's been referenced a million times in printed fiction over the last decade or so.

    How the new Emperor Dalek is treated visually is about the only mild beef I have with this episode. First of all, the long shot done of him during most of the confrontation makes it kind of difficult to even make out what he looks like. But he did grow on me. And I even liked how the Kaled Mutant within is the visual focus of him in most shots rather than the more traditional focus of the dome and eyestalk. And with the Emperor now introduced, we, once more, have that "spokesman" for the Daleks that Terry Nation liked to have in his Davros stories. And I like that device.

    Even moreso, I liked the new "religious" spin put on the Daleks. Although one can't help but see how making the villains of the story "fundamentalist wingnuts" developped when the writer of the story is openly gay. But the "agenda" doesn't seem too obvious so I'm not bothered by it. Instead, the device makes the Daleks just all the more scary since they seem to be even more fanatical than they've ever been. Especially since they are now spawned from the species they hate most. And, because of this, "they are more dangerous than ever!".

    Now, aside from all the Dalek stuff, we also have a story that very skillfully weaves together various elements throughout the season. This begins in "Bad Wolf", of course, with the return to Sattellite Five. But here, we see even more references being made to stuff that went on earlier in the season. We have the heart of the TARDIS being dabbled with again - as well as the replicator device that the Slitheen woman had stolen. We have a vague mention of "Dalek" and a discussion of the events of "Father's Day" coming in at the most pivotal point of the story. We have Mickey and "Mama Rose" getting re-introduced. And probably even a few other references that I won't catch until I watch this another fifty-eight times as I wait for more new Who to get made! The nice thing, though, is that none of this gets overdone. It's there and it's nice for Russell to show us just how comprehensive this season is, but it doesn't start to grate or become too obvious. It's not like he's trying to get every single story to somehow get mentionned before the episode is over. But he is trying to get a really nice strong sense of continuity to culminate in this final tale. And that just gets the whole sense of "season finale" to be all the more poignant. I know the mention of "Trial of a Time Lord" will bring many mixed feelings to a lot of you - but I do liken this story a bit to "The Ultimate Foe". Where references to the previous stories of the season I felt were also well-handled.

    The other really effective undertone to this story is the sense of progression that has occurred with the TARDIS crew and some of the ongoing supporting cast. Rose, the Doctor, Captain Jack, Mickey and Rose's Mum have all had "issues" that they've needed to face in themselves and many of them are resolved in this story. We have seen development in all these characters building up gradually throughout the season but it finally comes to a full head here. This, I feel, is also done with great skill and doesn't actually hamper the development of the plot (as it so easilly could have) but enhances it instead. Sadly, it would seem that some of you missed the point of this. I seem to recall a reviewer or two bitching about the "coward" moment. One of the issues the Doctor had to face within himself was how his hatred of what the Daleks had done to his people in the Time Wars was consuming him. And the fact that he chooses to be a "coward" shows that he has regained his sense of balance. That the delta wave solution may purge the universe of the Daleks once and for all - but it's still not the right solution. And, had it not been for the confrontation he and Rose had during the end of "Dalek", he might not have made the right choice regarding it. And yes, it does harken back to the "have I the right?" moment "Genesis of the Daleks" quite nicely.

    There's so much else I'd like to comment on here regarding the strengths of this story but I'll try to drone on about only three or four more aspects - and then I'll shut up.

    Of course, another really great strong point are the "tearjerker" moments. We actually get two of them this time, I feel - which just goes to show how Russell is making sure to "one-up" everything in this final story! Again, like "Father's Day" and the resolution of "The Doctor Dances" the moments are not overdone (so much of this series' strengths lie in its ability not to overindulge in anything - so much so, that on the rare occassions that it does - it becomes glaringly obvious). The Doctor's recorded message where he demands that Rose has "a great life" is beautiful. And the moment where Rose reminds her Mum of the "mysterious blond woman" at Dad's death was equally touching. So great that this Troughtonesque "base under siege" storyline can take such nice breaks and have such great humanistic moments.

    And it's also quite amusing that it can have a wonderfully absurd moment where we spend a whole scene watching Rose eat chips. I actually giggled to myself a bit during that sequence. The juxtaposition was so well done! And the speech Rose ends up making at the end of the scene was great. Not only did it basically outline what Doctor Who is all about (standing up and making a difference) but it also helped Rose to finally resolve one of her major issues that had been working in her throughout the season. And that is that, no matter what, she's going to be on that frontline with the Doctor combatting the evil he faces. No matter what kind of promise he makes to her Mum - she won't leave him to fight alone. More great stuff!

    Again, I find myself trying to figure out what I can praise next rather than go on forever. And that is probably the strongest point of this whole story. That it really is just great sequence after great sequence after great sequence. I'd love to go on about Captain Jack's heroism for a paragraph or two. Or extoll how great the use of some of the "local" characters were. Like the two station programmers or "Lynda with a y". Or the really effective incidental music that borrows all kinds of themes from earlier stories. Or how great Mickey is. But there just isn't enough time. So let's move on to the final climax.

    Billie Piper's performance as Rose when she's possessed by the vortex is great. Sure they modified her voice a bit to make her sound more otherwordly, but she had to have the right tone there to begin with and she did it so well. We can see that, although she is solving all the problems of the plot, she is also being destroyed and the Doctor must do something about this. And the kiss he gives her is perfectly done. It saves her life, yes. But it also brings their whole relationship to the point it's been progressing toward the whole season. And it was a nice touch to have the dialogue in there that references back to the very first story. Where Rose finally now knows how the Doctor feels. Thus making their kiss seem even more fitting. For that brief moment, they are both on the same level intellectually. And so, the Doctor does what he ought to do during that moment. He shares just a touch of physical intimacy with her.

    And then, it's time to regenerate. Yep, some definite shades of "Tenth Planet" here. But with a proper explanation of regeneration this time. And some nice dialogue to sum up the whole feel of the season. Rose and the 9th Doctor have both been fantastic - and, once more, the undertones of the moment are kept economical. But they're still there. That, essentially, these two characters have had quite a run together in the last 13 weeks and a slightly symbolic remark should be made about this before we move on to a whole new era.

    And then, just the briefest snippet of the new Doctor. As much as I loved Eccleston's portrayal and am sad he didn't hang around longer (it's just been so long now since we've had an incarnation of the Doctor with some real "tenure" - it'd be nice to even have someone do three full-length seasons like Davison did) I'm already looking forward to what Tennant has to offer. Will he wear a proper costume again? What will his feelings be like for Rose? Will he be a harsh contrast from Eccleston like say Pertwee was from Troughton or will they seem to "blend" a bit better like Colin Baker and McCoy did? We'll have to wait til Christmas to find out. In the meantime, we can re-watch a great season of the first "new Who" in well over a decade. And enjoy all the elements of this season all the more as they culiminate beautifully in what is probably one the best season finales in T.V. history. Season Two will have a tough act to follow!

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    War! The episode opens spectacularly with the Daleks firing some missiles at the TARDIS. With the combined tricks of a force field and a clever materialisation around Rose, one of the best episodes (and I mean ever) of “Doctor Who” begins. This is certainly one classic that will stand the test of time!

    Rose, probably much like the audience, simply cannot believe that she has been rescued in “Act I, Scene I” as Jack blows away the Dalek that the TARDIS was also forced to materialise around. The Doctor examines the Dalek mutant curiously as it looks different to the mutant we saw in “Dalek”; it appears more human, even having two eyes. The Doctor explains to Jack about the Time War – Jack had thought it just to be a legend – and about how he “…was there.” They emerge into the Dalek ship (complete with authentic ‘Dalek space ship’ noise; nice touch), protected by their force field, and we are treated to the first of many scenes of beautiful, flowing, dialogue. The Doctor talks at the Daleks who back away from him, afraid. “In the legends of the Dalek homeworld they call me the Oncoming Storm…” Absolutely brilliant. The Doctor then asks the obvious question, “how did you survive the Time War?”

    ”THEY SURVIVED THROUGH ME.”

    Wow. The Doctor and his companions walk towards the booming voice as the lights come up and the Emperor Dalek is revealed in all his sickening glory. It’s a wonderful reveal of an exceptionally brilliant villain. He’s unlike the previous Dalek Emperor we’ve seen in the TV series and audios – I’m assuming it’s not the same one that was killed in “The Evil of the Daleks” – he’s more like Davros in a way, a total megalomaniac. His speeches aren’t what you’d typically except from a Dalek leader, they are full of religious imagery which makes him all the more unnerving. “The Dalek race died in your inferno Doctor, but I survived. Waiting in the dark space, centuries past. I harvested the waste of humanity… they were filleted; pulped…. only one single cell was worthy…” His account of how he created Daleks from human remains (á la Davros on Necros) is horrific. The Doctor immediately sees that the Emperor is quite obviously mad (der?) because of all his years spent in solitude, and he finds the Daleks having a concept of ‘blasphemy’ very strange indeed. The Emperor’s “I AM THE GOD OF ALL THE DALEKS” rant is a powerful image, especially when all his Dalek minions are chanting “worship him!” in their grated mechanical tones. It’s just plain scary! As he orders his Dalek troops to begin their invasion of Earth his eloquent rants, superbly penned by Russell T. Davies, continue as he speaks of “..purifying the Earth will fire…” and “…the planet will become my temple and we will rise. It will become our paradise.” Dalek paradise? Davies’ script was certainly brave, but it pays of spectacularly here. Combining the image of the Dalek Emperor’s crazed rants and the Dalek fleet being launched, topped off with Murray Gold’s epic score… it almost brings a tear to the eye. This is what “Doctor Who” always had the potential to be. It almost brings a tear to the eye.

    As the TARDIS lands on the Gamestation, with the Earth defenceless, the Doctor is shocked to find that Lynda has waited for him. After the Doctor’s initial concern he seems very pleased to see her, flirting with her quite ineptly to Rose’s obvious jealousy. At one point it seems that he’s going to hug or even kiss her, but instead he awkwardly shakes her hand, maintaining eye contact until she disappears off behind the TARDIS, off to help Captain Jack rally the humans of floor zero.

    Then we have ‘the Big Goodbye.’ I’d tried and tried to stay spoiler-free, but with today’s all intrusive media there was no escape from the ‘Doctor Who gay kiss shocker!’ Gay kiss my arse! Not only was this blown out of all proportion by the press, I thought it was a touching scene which worked well in the context of the episode. Jack obviously cared enormously about the Doctor and Rose. His “…you’re worth fighting for…” line to Rose, followed by planting a smacker on her, was a lovely way to say goodbye, and the way in which he tells the Doctor he wished he’d never met him, and how he…”would have been better off as a coward,” may eventually prove technically true but in the way it was brilliantly written and performed it was clear that Jack was deeply indebted to the Doctor for making him a better person. Jack just sealed it with a kiss; a kiss that was in no way sexual. “See you in hell…!” FANTASTIC!

    Jack goes to rally the troops leaving the Doctor and Rose and alone. Rose asks a very good legitimate question: they have a time machine, so why not simply go back a week and warn Earth? The Doctor explains that if he crosses his own timeline, he would simply become part of events, and then he asks her an even more obvious question: why don’t they just leave? Why don’t they go to Marbella in 1989? Rose never would have thought of that. Of course, neither of them would ever do that. There is a wonderful moment where the Doctor, obviously thinking over his own words, has an epiphany. He goes very quiet for a moment, then jumps up full of energy, spouting some fabrication about crossing his own timeline to save the day. Leaving Rose in the TARDIS, he sends it back to Earth, to Rose’s own time. On board, the Doctor’s hologram appears and it’s such a sad moment. Knowing that a part of the Doctor is going to die is sad enough in itself, but in the way his holo-recording faces death so bravely and matter-of-factly makes it all the more moving. “…that’s okay, I hope it’s a good death. The TARDIS can never return for me. Let the TARDIS die…. If you want to remember me, then have a good life. Have a fantastic life!” It’s a proper single manly-tear trickling down the face moment.

    The sci-fi in the show has been ripped to shreds by it’s detractors, and most of the time they have a point, but who really cares? The show’s never really been about hardcore science fiction, it’s more fantasy… more fantastic! The ‘Delta Wave’ which the Doctor proposes to use to destroy the Daleks is one such example that I’m sure will be mocked. Throughout the series, the sci-fi elements have been nothing more than a springboard for some brilliant character-based drama. Rose sums up it brilliantly herself as she sits in some café back home with her Mother and Mickey. She says the aliens and spaceships really don’t matter… the Doctor showed her a better way of living. He taught her not to give up, to stand up and say no, to have the guts to make a stand. That’s what it’s all about. That what Russell T. Davies knew when he sat down in Cardiff to write “Rose,” and that’s what he knew when he sat down to tie up his ingeniously crafted season with “The Parting of the Ways.” That’s why this show is a positive triumph.

    Look at the scene between the Dalek Emperor (on the view screen) and the Doctor. The Emperor tells the Doctor to tell Jack the truth; the truth that the Delta Wave is nearly ready but it won’t discriminate between Humans and Daleks. “ALL THINGS WILL DIE BY YOUR HAND. If I am God, then what does that make you, Doctor?” The dialogue is absolutely superb, and Jack’s reply is ace – “…never doubted him, never will.”

    We then see legions of Daleks just flying through space. It is literally the stuff of nightmares. As the Daleks invade the Gamestation, the Doctor asks the Emperor Dalek about ‘Bad Wolf’ and how he spread the words across time and space but “…the truth of god…” is that he knew nothing of it. The volunteers are slowly killed one by one, and barring the unexpected assistance of the Annedroid on floor 495 the Daleks are every bit as unstoppable as the lone one we saw in “Dalek” – only now there are half a million of them!!! Roderick, the winning contestant on the ‘Weakest Link’ and the rest of the humans who refused to fight are exterminated as the Daleks purify floor zero – just for the hell of it.

    Back on Earth, Rose is desperate to get back to the future and there is a lovely scene where Jackie talks about how she hated the Doctor, but now “…she loves him…” because he sent Rose home. Here Davies explores for the first time in the series history what it is like for a companion who has done all these wondrous things to come home and be forced to lead a normal life. Rose can’t do it. Through her tears she cries “What do I do every day?” I love how she also confesses to her Mother that she was the girl who sat beside her Dad as he died. It’s all very emotional, as if every episode in the season has been carefully and painstakingly structured to bring us to this fantastic finale – and it certainly has. It’s fantastic stuff, and Billie Piper puts in her best performance yet. She is every bit Eccleston’s equal in this episode, and that is saying a lot. Sat in some old playground with Mickey, Rose sees the huge spray-painted words ‘Bad Wolf’ on the ground. She looks behind her, and they’re graffiti on the wall. They are everywhere she goes – not following the Doctor, following her. Finally she realises that it’s not an ominous warning… it’s a message. A link between her and the Doctor. As I suspected, the ‘heart of the TARDIS’ we saw in “Boom Town” plays a crucial part in the season finale. Rose reasons if she can rip it open she can ‘talk’ to the TARDIS and make it take her back to the year 200,100. Mickey tries to persuade her to stay and she flatly tells him “…there is nothing for me here,” but Mickey still helps her despite her inconsiderate behaviour towards him (or her Mother for that matter.) Ironically, it is those two people who help her save the day as Jackie gets a tow truck to rip open the TARDIS console. It’s slightly disappointing that the TARDIS console can be ripped open by brute force, but hey, you can’

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    I believe it was Harlan Ellison that once said that it's much easier to criticise a bad film, because there are more things to write about. In which case, this review of “Parting of the Ways” would be extremely short. This is an episode that will definitely divide fans because it flies in the face of every single convention that's been touted by traditionalist Doctor Who fans since 1963. Russell T. Davies said he wanted to write a space opera in which anything can happen. He has succeeded beyond my wildest expectations.

    This episode reaches the blackest depths of despair, and finally achieves the greatest heights of emotional triumph. So first – the Daleks. There was never any reason to be afraid of them in the old series. As Jon Pertwee once said, run up a flight of stairs and you've got them beat. One of RTD (and Rob Shearman's) greatest achievements is to make the Daleks the genuinely scary menace they were meant to be.

    From the very first opening salvo, you know that none of the people on that Station are going to make it. RTD promised a bloodbath and that's exactly what we got. The bloodthirsty violence during the siege very much reminds me of 'The Caves of Androzani'. It's not a matter of whether anyone will survive – more a matter of seeing how many horrible ways RTD can kill people. It also brings home (as if there needed to be any doubt) just how horrifyingly dangerous the Daleks truly are. The slaughter of the survivors on Floor Zero, and Lynda's death via explosive decompression, will probably give me nightmares for weeks.

    Fortunately, RTD contrasts that with Rose's reluctant return to the 21st Century.Which gives the audience a breather from all the bloodshed occurring on the station. It's also an opportunity to see just how much Rose has changed since she first entered the TARDIS. Her remark “There's nothing here for me anymore” is deeply hurtful to her loved ones, but also contains an element of truth. And as for that “so-called controversial kiss” between Jack and the Doctor, I would think we've come far enough that such an action should be seen for what it truly is – an expression of caring and love from Jack to two people that are very important to him. I'm thrilled to hear that Captain Jack will be back in Series 2. John Barrowman's charisma and sense of fun made Boom Town and Bad Wolf lots of fun to watch. The TARDIS just wouldn't be the same without him.

    But the capper to an already spectacular episode is THOSE two sequences. The revelation of who Bad Wolf actually was, was a major surprise to me. I thought the Bad Wolf was an evil malevolent entity, instead it was a “goddess”, sending messages of hope and salvation throughout time and space. It borrows heavily from the Buffy fourth season episode “Primeval”, but at the same time is solidly based in Doctor Who lore. But is it plausible, based on what we thought we knew about the TARDIS? Every Who fan knows the TARDIS is a living machine, but never until know have we realised the sheer power encased within it. This isn't just a case of Rose saving the Doctor. It's a united effort by the two “women” in his life that love him the most – both Rose and the TARDIS, to save him and provide him with redemption. And it works beautifully.

    Then there was that regeneration sequence. I've played that moment over and over a dozen times now, and it still brings me to tears. This is the Ninth Doctor's final heartfelt farewell, and Christopher Ecclestone pulls it off beautifully. Thanks to Rose and the TARDIS, he was finally able to find redemption – defeat the Daleks without compromising his love of life and antipathy towards bloodshed. But the cost is his life. In that moment of regeneration, it is not death, but salvation and exultation that we see.

    And what an entrance for the new Doctor! I'm amazed that lines that when read in isolation, can (thanks to David Tennant and RTD), encapsulate such humor and charm, and also give us a brief glimpse into what this new Doctor will be like. After Ecclestone's emotional farewell, I laughed out loud in sheer absolute joy at the Tenth Doctor's first appearance. Onwards to the Second season!

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    Daleks.

    Thousands of ‘em.

    Don’t shoot ‘til you see the whites of their eyes, lads!

    Charlie Catchpole, TV reviewer for the Daily Express, claimed to have been reminded of the film Zulu when watching the stand-off against the invading pepperpots in this episode, and you can see his point. I’ve always been a sucker for any kind of fiction involving brave, desperate stands of the few against the many, and The Parting of the Ways is a wonderful example of such against-the-odds, backs-to-the-wall heroics. It was the story the character of Captain Jack Harkness was pretty much invented for, and he’s again wonderfully played by John Barrowman here. Poor old Jack certainly gets put through the mill – exterminated, resurrected and then left behind, it’s nonetheless comforting to know that the charismatic Captain will be back sometime in the next series.

    As for the Daleks themselves… Oh yes! Would you guess there were only three of them? I certainly couldn’t see the joins, and we’ve definitely come a long way from the days of blown-up cardboard cut-outs standing in for invading Dalek armies. When I wrote a review of Dalek for this website, I commented on how I preferred to see the metal meanies as the hard-arsed bastards of the universe exterminating everything in sight, and as if realising that we’d want a bit of that after the emotions of the earlier one-Dalek episode, Davies delivers here in spades. Thousands of ships, hundreds of invading Daleks, a massacre of innocent humans, and the killing-off of supporting characters who, although it was always fairly obvious they were going to end up as Dalek-fodder, we were cleverly made to care about anyway. I felt particularly sorry for poor old Lynda ‘with a y’ – as soon as the Doctor promised her last week that he’d get her out of there alive, you knew she was destined for extermination. And what an extermination – surely one of the best-executed (excuse the pun) death scenes in the entire series, as the Daleks float menacingly up outside window in the silence of space, the lights flashing out ‘Exterminate!’ as they blast the glass and send poor, sweet little Lynda out into the airless vacuum of space. (Explosive decompression not shown, probably just as well…)

    Being churlish, you can point out that TARDIS-powered Bad Wolf Rose was being a bit of a bitch not to resurrect Lynda – and indeed, everybody else – at the same time as bringing Jack back from the dead, although Rose’s jealous glances in Lynda’s direction made it quite clear what she thought about the other woman’s attitude towards the Doctor. Meow!

    That whole resolution to the Bad Wolf mystery managed to be pulled off without leaving a sense of anti-climax or underwhelming, which was a big relief, although it was a little confusing in places – was the Bad Wolf Rose, or the TARDIS speaking through Rose? Or was it supposed to be deliberately ambiguous? Probably the latter. Whichever it was, Piper played the possessed Rose wonderfully, the extra elocution added to her speech for this scene marking her out as different just as much as the fancy CGI around her did!

    It was the neat trick of the Doctor’s to have sent Rose back home, out of the way of the massacre – you really got a sense of Rose’s raw anguish and frustration at being sent back by her friend, and her grief at not being able to help him. Mickey and Jackie ought to have seemed shoe-horned into the episode, given that their scenes were such a contrast to everything else going on, but they actually worked rather well, and it was nice to get a sense of conclusion to their relationships to the Doctor and Rose, for this season at least.

    Joe Ahearne continues the high standard of direction he’s set out in the rest of his episodes, ably supported as ever by the wonderful design and production departments of BBC Wales and everyone else working on the series. The only visual element I felt slightly disappointed in was the Dalek Emperor – the design just didn’t seem particularly distinct or iconic to me, although the close-ups of the actual mutant Dalek creature inside itself when it was speaking were effective. The concept of the Dalek God and the other Daleks getting some kind of religion was interesting, although perhaps it was an element too much for Davies’s script to fully support as there wasn’t much time to explore it, and it might have been better left as the focus of an episode all to itself. Perhaps in the future – after all, although they won’t be in the second season (probably – I hope not anyway, best leave them for a bit so their appearances always remain special), it’s impossible to believe we won’t be seeing them return every two or three years for as long as the new series continues to be a success.

    Now, the kiss. Or to be more accurate, the kisses – for the Doctor gets friendly with both of his companions in this episode, something which has proven to be red rags to bulls with Doctor Who fandom in the past. I had no problems whatsoever with the Jack kiss – it was a funny, almost touching little moment as the Captain said goodbye to his friends, and it was amusing to see the Doctor taken rather by surprise. The Rose kiss I was much less keen on – I thought it was overly sentimental and mawkish and the episode could have done without it, but when most of the rest of the episode is so good it can just about be forgiven. In any case, it’s not the sort of detail I’m going to be losing any sleep over.

    It can be taken, I suppose, as a kiss goodbye, as of course one of the main features of the episode is that it brings the curtain down on the all-too-brief era of Christopher Eccleston as the Ninth Doctor. This is a great shame – even if it was planned this way from the outset, as Davies and Gardner have claimed, it’s still a pity because Eccleston really is wonderful in the part, both in this episode in particular and throughout the rest of the season. He’ll be remembered fondly by both fans and the general audience alike, although his one season stint means it is sadly unlikely that he’ll become as deeply buried in the popular consciousness as some of his predecessors.

    Nonetheless, that’s the situation, and it was always going to be intriguing to see how the death of the Ninth Doctor would be dealt with. Unlike Logopolis or The Caves of Androzani, The Parting of the Ways – in spite of its title – never really feels like a doom-laden story where everything is building up to the regeneration at the end. Yes, there’s a great deal of death and destruction as well as of course the impending threat of Dalek invasion, but it never surrounds the Doctor as much as it seems to do in those other stories.

    That said, however, the regeneration doesn’t feel at all tacked-on or periphery – it may not have been the focus of the entire episode, but when it comes to it the sequence really packs a punch. Perhaps because of the special bond that’s developed between the Ninth Doctor and Rose Tyler, there really is an atmosphere of tragedy to this change – which seems more like a death than perhaps any other regeneration since the first. The Doctor’s sad reflection that he in his ninth form will never see Rose again really brings home the idea that even though each Doctor has the same memories and the same basic ethos driving him, he’s never quite the same person as he was before. How Rose – and indeed the production team behind the scenes – deals with this change and its impact on both the audience and the dynamic of the Doctor-companion relationship will be fascinating factors to follow over the next year or so.

    In the few seconds we get of him at the end of the episode it is of course impossible and unfair to make any judgements at all about David Tennant as the Tenth Doctor. The one factor which perhaps can be commented on in passing is the perhaps surprising choice of accent – the same English pronunciation Tennant employed for his starring role as the eponymous hero of Russell T Davies’ Casanova, rather than his own native Scottish tones as many – including this reviewer – had expected. The reasons for this will become clear with time, and however he speaks one thing is clear – Tennant is a fine actor, and I very much look forward to seeing what he does in the role he has perhaps been destined for for some time.

    Roll on The Christmas Invasion, and the continuation of the fine new era of Doctor Who that the past thirteen weeks have introduced us to.

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    The vanquished Daleks behind them and the TARDIS speeding on, Christopher Ecclestone’s Doctor regenerates into David Tennant’s, Rose Tyler looks on aghast, and we all count the weeks to The Christmas Invasion. So ends The Parting of the Ways, a parting with Captain Jack Harkness perhaps, but not yet for Rose and the Doctor…

    I have always found the best part of Doctor Who the regeneration scenes. Even if you were losing your favourite Doctor, the excitement of a new actor taking the role and how the changeover would be portrayed always made a satisfying end to a season. It also made the wait until the next one even more unendurable. This time round it’s the same again, although it all seems so rushed and I didn’t want Ecclestone to go. Not yet. Although I am with the critics who wince at Ecclestone’s grinning and gurning, I have warmed to him as the series progressed, and think he excels in this episode and the previous Bad Wolf. There is less of the folded arms and wide grins and more of the type of acting I’ve been expecting. I’m thinking of his portrayal of the Doctor as the ultimately lonely traveller; he knows he’s going to inevitably lose Rose at some point, in these episodes realised either through sending her home in the TARDIS, or by her apparent untimely death. Ecclestone conveys what he’s thinking remarkably well in such moments, just by the look in his eyes. Unfortunately, however, he can’t resist giving one last big, cheesy grin before he vanishes from our screens.

    In many ways, this is the most satisfying episode of the entire run. It lacks the emotional depth of Father’s Day or perfect plotting and suspense of The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances adventure, but wins out on the excitement factor of the relentless Dalek presence, Joe Ahearne’s superb direction, a suitably menacing soundtrack and of course the brilliant Billie Piper. Rose here proves herself the perfect associate (as the Daleks’ so neatly put it) of the Doctor, leaving her past behind perhaps now for good to travel on into the future to save him. There is also the repetition of deaths and rebirths that echoes throughout Bad Wolf/The Parting of the Ways that prepare us for the regeneration (Rose thought dead but then discovered alive, Jack dead and then resurrected, Rose telling her mother how she witnessed the death of her father, the Dalek rebirth at the expense of the human race and so on). Finally, The Parting of the Ways works because it is, for children at least, suitably scary. I know ‘watching from behind the sofa’ is an old chestnut, but even before she’d peeked out from the sofa, the sound alone of the Emperor Dalek’s voice was enough to scare my six year old daughter out of the room.

    Humour doesn’t threaten to swamp this episode as much as others penned by RTD. The TARDIS materialises and its crew emerge to face a chorus of ‘exterminate’ from a party of Daleks, only to remain safe behind a handy force field. ‘None points!’ quips the Doctor. Minutes later, when the Doctor is flippant with the Emperor Dalek’s newly found godlike status, we get a metallic chorus of ‘blasphemy!’ from the metallic hordes. Rose enduring some inane dialogue between Mickey and her mother about pizzas is amusing as well as contrasting with the world thousands of years in the future that she feels more connected to. Thankfully gone are attempts at satirising Reality TV, replaced by the unsavoury realisation that the Daleks are harvesting the Big Brother/Weakest Link winners and losers for their own ends. I also join the critics who dislike the Reality TV subject; it isn’t witty enough as a parody of these shows even if the timing is right (Big Brother running at the moment, The Weakest Link conveniently repeated before the Bad Wolf episode) and it isn’t convincing enough to work as good science fiction. This type of thing would work well maybe in the pages of 2000 AD, but not really in Doctor Who.

    These gripes aside, RTD does finally get to prove himself as a worthy Doctor Who writer. Even if he does have to start three of his episodes with a space station in the far future overlooking Earth (the modern equivalent of the old overused ‘gravel pit in Surrey’ setting), he manages to find the right mix of straight sci-fi and traditional drama when he moves on to The Parting of the Ways. Although he can’t resist having Captain Jack kiss the Doctor full on the lips, he also has the Doctor plant a huge smacker on Rose, although this is more of a ‘kiss of life’ than anything untoward. His camp jokiness, aside, Captain Jack emerges in these episodes as a worthy addition to the cast after taking something of a backseat role in Boom Town. His presence is now necessary, as he takes the role of the heroic gunslinger to the Doctor’s ‘thinking’ role, and Jack becomes the ‘killer’ while the Doctor eventually confesses to being the ‘coward’.

    There are other memorable moments too; the Doctor sending Rose home in the TARDIS (Ecclestone’s poignant pause before doing this is perfectly timed), Rose seeing the hologram of the Doctor and thinking this will be the last time she will ever see him, the ‘death’ of Captain Jack and the sight of the Daleks drifting into view outside the space station, coming to exterminate Lynda, and Ecclestone’s final scene, preparing Rose for what is to come. The regeneration scene I thought was handled just right, and as Ecclestone’s head moulded itself into Tennant’s I almost thought I saw the face of an Auton appear in between, bringing the series full circle.

    Some things didn’t work so well. The Doctor is disappointed when the Emperor Dalek professes no part in the Bad Wolf scheme and we then expect something really startling. The real explanation is a little messy; when Rose picked the letters from the BAD WOLF CORPORATION logo to scatter them into the past, I half expected them to rearrange themselves into another word, an obvious anagram and explanation I’d missed. But Bad Wolf is Rose, empowered by the energy of the Tardis, a trick we’d been half expecting since this power was revealed in Boom Town.

    This rather too neatly solves everything. The Earth is saved and the Daleks are destroyed. Even dead Captain Jack is resurrected. For the purposes of the storyline, the Doctor’s regeneration is induced. Most surprising was the death of Big Brother survivor Lynda, groomed as a potential new assistant in Bad Wolf where The Doctor and Rose are separated for most of the episode. Lynda ‘with a Y’ asks to be taken away on the Doctor’s travels and he is initially keen on the idea. During their scenes together I almost forget about Rose and wonder how Lynda will interact with Tennant’s Doctor. When The Doctor and Rose are reunited, Lynda is forced into the background, even receiving a couple of jealous looks from Rose and her chances of a future with The Doctor slip away. I won’t write Lynda off entirely, however, as Captain Jack has already been brought back from the dead. Perhaps he needs as associate too…

    But let’s not quibble. I enjoyed it all, would watch it all again and again rather than face more repeats of Only Fools and Horses Christmas specials, and have now camped down for the long wait until Christmas, safe now in the knowledge that Billie Piper is staying on, at least for one more season, and that RTD and his team have pulled it off. Let’s hope it doesn’t go to their heads…

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    Series end, so excuse me if I get a bit indulgent....

    A colleague of mine has a young relative who has been watching this series. Apparently, his latest 'trick' is to open the letterbox of his front door and intone "Are you my mummy?"

    The children shown on 'Doctor Who Confidential' visiting the Blackpool exhibition were as thrilled to see a Slitheen as they were a Dalek...Seeing their happy faces, I was reminded of my younger self, visiting the Longleat exhibition soon after I had 'fallen' for this wonderful programme; that moment had happened with 'Castrovalva' episode one; so the Fifth Doctor is *my* Doctor....

    Point is...this season has been totally 'inclusive' and we have a new generation of fans out there; and I think that is terrific. Personally, I agree with Tom Baker that no-one has ever 'failed' as the Doctor. Peter, Tom and Patrick are my particular favourites, but every Doctor has a following and this will continue...which is well cool. So....for a lot of people, Chris Eccleston will be *their* Doctor. Even if Chris might currently feel a bit ambivalent about his time on the programme, I hope (and believe) that he knows this. So I want to say...thanks, Chris. You did us bl**dy proud.

    Ahhh....Billie. Obviously I should be getting around to the episode I'm supposed to be reviewing, so I'll keep this short....*Superb* performance. Throughout. Reached a peak here, but there weren't any troughs! Give her a flaming BAFTA...what a star.

    Oh yeah, 'The Parting Of The Ways'....Beautiful. Classic. Ten out of Ten, again...Might sound silly, but I'm still feeling quite emotional about it all, so just some disjointed thoughts about the episode...

    Captain Jack...Excellent. We see a man here doing the right thing because he is fundamentally decent. Brilliant performance by John Barrowman, who has really excelled in the role.There were a lot of great 'Jack moments' in this episode. "We've got a fully functioning force-field...try saying that when you're drunk.";his rousing call to arms; his kissing his friends goodbye; his 'death'....I'm pleased it's not the end of the Captain. I've just got my fingers crossed that, as we didn't actually see the 'extermination effect' on Lynda, she might've somehow survived too...and maybe 'hooked up' with Jack? She was such an appealing character and I loved the moment when she and the Doctor get really awkward and completely fail to kiss...Awwww. And the look on Roses face! Green monster time, which is pretty apt in this show! (Okay, I thought Jo Joyner was gorgeous, too...)

    The script was rammed with quotable lines, but I particularly liked the scene when Roses 'loses it' in the Cafe and and gives her "He takes a stand..." speech about the Doctor. When she talked about her Dad too...very rewarding stuff. Mickey and Jackie coming through when push came to shove was also a lovely touch.

    (Switch to 'Smug mode') I was convinced that Rose was Bad Wolf, but kept quiet, even to my friends who have followed the series. Billie really *shone* in the scene when she was 'at one' with the Time Vortex. (To the Dalek Emperor; "You are tiny..." Go, girl!)

    I don't know whether all the kissing (Jack/Rose/Doctor) will go down well with everyone, but context was everything here. The Doctor *knew* the implications when he 'absorbed' the Vortex, thus saving Roses life...and I am a complete sucker for self-sacrificing gestures. (Fifth Doctor fan, see!) I found it very touching when the Doctor and Rose kiss and, in effect, he signs his own death warrant. The Ninth Doctor 'returns the favour' as Rose had saved in his life in the very first episode. There is clearly a deep love that has developed been these two and I have not got a problem with that...I think this Doctor always knew he wasn't going to last long, you know.

    The final scene...awesome. Superbly done. That final shot of Chris smiling (not gurning, thank you very much!) and then...BAM. We have a new Doctor. Goosebump time. So...

    Cheers, Chris. You know what? You were fantastic.

    Hello, David. Welcome aboard. I think you are *going* to be fantastic. Just those few moments at the end seemed so *right*, y'know?

    Thanks to all and sundry for making me feel like a kid again of a Saturday evening. There are so many other moments I could go on about because I think this was a bit of a masterpiece...but I think I'll s*d off before I turn into a complete 'luvvie'!!

    Liked it when the "Ann-droid" got blown up, by the way....Don't diss us Welsh, eh, Russell?! (Not being at all serious. I'm sure Miss Robinson got the joke!)

    It's gonna be an extra cool Christmas this year... 'See' ya in December!

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    The new era of Doctor Who seems in many ways just to have begun. Only 13 weeks ago the 9th Doctor ran onto our screens with his Leather Jacket, his manic grin and his love of the Fantastic. Now the 9th Doctor is all finished on TV, but it’s hardly an end to this new world. Russell T Davies Doctor Who (it is his, more than anyone else) has amazed us over the last few months – and now we have a show that is popular, loved by the media and trendy – three things that Doctor Who of the past only rarely achieved.

    Christopher Eccleston has been at the forefront of this revival. His portrayal of the Doctor was bang up to date, yet still the old Time Lord we know and love. His performance over the season has been universally excellent – it has been a thrill to watch him beat the Monsters and put the world to rights. There’s been talk that if Eccleston only wanted to do 1 season, then he should have not been allowed near the TARDIS, that another actor would have been better for longevity purposes. I, for one, would have much rather seen 1 brilliant season of Ecclestons Doctor, than none at all. His Doctor can stand alongside previous Doctors with no shame – his Doctor has been another wonderful ingredient in the exquisitely tasting cake that is Doctor Who.

    A massive part of this new series has been Rose – and as befitting the season as a whole Rose has plenty of impact in the finale. It can be strongly argued in fact that this season Rose has been as dominant as the Doctor, if not more dominant. This hasn’t been a problem, as Billie Piper is the single biggest success story of the season. I am delighted she is doing another full season. Best Actor/Actress this year – definitely Billie Piper as Rose.

    The final episode offered thrills, spills and a huge amount of emotion. It felt like the end, but also a new beginning. It was epic in all kinds of ways.

    I was astounded at the scope of the story on offer here. CGI showed the Daleks in all their magnificence, but Russell Ts story was full of the emotional drama of the one, or the small group. The episode was brilliant because it focused on a small group, and how they were trying to save the world against this powerful aggressor.

    Both the Doctor, Rose and Jack had a huge part to play in this salvation – each extremely heroic in their very unique ways. It was wonderful how the Doctor sent Rose back, to save her. He cared that much about her. It was even more wonderful that Rose demanded a return to the future (the scene with the truck pulling the TARDIS console was tacky, but so very Doctor Who) and achieved it. She cared so much about him. As she turned into Super-Rose it was glorious to see her saving Jack aswell, destroying the Daleks, and saving the world. It was magnificent that the Doctor saved Rose, but sacrificed one of his lives in the process. It was a stunning regeneration scene, rivalling the 5th/6th Doctor transformation for its impact and self-sacrifice.

    The Daleks were big here – really big. The re-introduction of the emperor Dalek was a master stroke. Turning it into a God allowed the episode to address huge issues relating to beliefs and ideals. The Daleks might have been servants/drones to the super being, but they have never had such a strong motivation as they did here. Russell Ts story was grand in so many ways.

    I struggle with Science, always have and will. When DW was more scientific before (eg Season 18) I didn’t get it. As a result I didn’t get the Bad Wolf scenario at all. The clues written everywhere was a pretty cool idea, but the resolution stumped me. The making of the jigsaw to me was far more interesting than the finished picture. All that Time Vortex creating Super Rose, and the Daleks being wiped out – no, didn’t understand the why at all. What I do know is that it looked brilliant, that I cared about these wonderful characters, and that they succeeded because they were selfless and heroic – that’s classic Doctor Who, and I really couldn’t care less about the scientific mumbo jumbo explanations. This new Doctor Who doesn’t lose the viewers with its technobabble – it focuses instead on characterization and the interaction between those characters. That’s the main reason for its success.

    So the season ends, and the 9th Doctor is now the 10th Doctor (nice cameo by David Tennant – promising). Russell T gave us a speech for his demise that was totally appropriate. Christopher Eccleston as the 9th Doctor has been Fantastic – the whole series has been Fantastic in fact. It has exceeded my expectations on virtually every level. The reaction of my friends and family has been amazing – and it’s wonderful to see the magic of DW (that I have felt all my life) have an impact on them.

    I look back at DW 2005 with a huge dollop of affection. I don’t recalll any other Series of Doctor that has been so chock full of brilliant moments, wonderful scenes and brilliant characters. I love the old Doctor Who a great deal, but I have to admit that this new show is superior in so many ways. Wonderfully aswell, it has always been totally, definitively Doctor Who – the same show, but better, that I have loved all my life.

    With the recent announcement of a 2nd and 3rd Series we have so much more to enjoy of new Who. I am sure that David Tennant will continue the grand tradition of Who – and be excellent too. He’s stepping on board a cruise liner, majestically sailing through the oceans of the world, dazzling so many people with its grandness. I look forward eagerly to all the wonders it will pay a visit to.

    Doctor Who fans have never had it this good, ever. TV has never had it this good – the stunning adventure continues. 10/10

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    Now this is more like it.

    If you’ve already read my review of the previous episode, Bad Wolf, you’ll know it disappointed me a great deal, after so much hype. It could’ve been so much more, et cetera. So I guess I was dreading its follow-up a little. I’d heard a lot about it, and people seemed to love it… but they’d said the same thing about Bad Wolf. So I was wary.

    Okay. I was planning to write about the final episode in my traditional way, from the opening scene to the end, but after a couple of drafts, I realised I couldn’t do that. Not for this episode. This is, for lack of a better word, special. So I’m going for a different approach this time around. Hey, it’s the last one, so why not?

    I watched this episode at the end of a one-per-day marathon, from Rose until now. I quickly realised just how different each story was, how different each one felt. No two felt similar to each other. And the ongoing story arc wasn’t the Bad Wolf phenomenon – it was the story of the Doctor and his best friend. Not quite his soulmate. But definitely his best friend. Their first meeting was a whirlwind, involving shop-window dummies, the London Eye, tree-people, metal spiders, gas creatures and Charles Dickens. When Rose eventually got back to her comfort zone, it was a year late… and in the middle of an elaborate alien invasion. When the invaders were defeated, she decided she wanted to come aboard properly… and the Doctor decided he wanted her to.

    Their friendship was soon tested when he went a little nuts in Utah, but by the time they got to Satellite Five, one could tell they were having a lot of fun together. Perhaps the audience needed Adam, the companion-who-couldn’t, to come between them, to realise how well they worked together. And look at their rapport in WWII London… once again, they needed someone to come between them, in this case someone who really swept Rose off her feet. But luckily that very same man, Captain Jack Harkness, made a perfect addition to the TARDIS team, as proven on their little Cardiff adventure. Then when each crewmember awoke in a different reality TV show, you could tell they all needed desperately to get back to each other. Not only needed, but wanted to. Because they were friends. And finally, when it seemed Rose had been disintegrated – in front of the Doctor, no less – it was clear that he’d just lost his dearest friend.

    Phew! So here we are, and the Doctor’s just discovered Rose is alive after all… only she’s on a Dalek ship. Ah, the Daleks. Yup, they’re back, and they’re mostly digital. But unlike the end of the previous episode, they look fantastic and – most importantly – realistic. The effects team have saved the best for last, with their glorious Dalek ships. But as for the Daleks within the plot… well, I didn’t mind the Daleks discovering religion. Didn’t make me jump for joy, mind you, but it also didn’t make me want to write a nasty letter to the production team. (Unlike those farts, and that pig, and…) I saw it as merely a plot point, in a story that was about far more than that.

    The tension in this episode just builds and builds, from the rescue of Rose, to Jack’s gathering of a last defence, to the Doctor tricking Rose and sending her home…. oh! What a scene! Christopher Eccleston has just been incredible in this series – who else could pull off such a defeated look, then immediately mask it with enthusiasm about Rose’s obviously impossible idea about crossing timelines? “He’s tricked her!” I cried out to the screen. My god… I was so involved!

    Which brings me to the best part of this episode – the Earth sequence. Imagine looking up at the sky, and knowing a war is taking place somewhere out there, a war that involves your best friend, who’s probably about to die… and you can do absolutely nothing about it. The world just keeps turning, the routine of contemporary life refuses to ever let up. All those little things about your home – your mum, your neighbourhood, your local café – once signified your comfort zone, but now they’re more alien than the Moxx of Balhoon. Rose is trapped in a world she no longer belongs to, while the Doctor is about to make a decision that will affect the future of her race. The worlds of 2005 and 200,100 AD have never felt so close together. It’s like they’re happening concurrently… Einstein was right. And to top it all off, there’s a time machine hidden inside a Police Box on her street corner. A living time machine, with a heart. But a heart you can’t break into. This machine is broken to her.

    What Rose needs is motivation. She’s got nothing. There’s nothing out there that can help her – except some familiar graffiti. Bad Wolf. A message. A wink from the future. Doesn’t matter who it’s from – it’s proof that she can get back. It’s like in that film Somewhere In Time, when Christopher Reeve discovers his own name in a hotel guestbook from 1912. He was there. So he must be able to get back. So must Rose. All she needed was motivation, see? Oh, and bigger artillery. Like a very big truck with a chain on the end. Hey, that works! Vworp, vworp. And suddenly she’s Super-Rose, full of time-vortex energy, ready to kick Dalek butt.

    Now, the resolution. Remember what I said about the “Daleks-finding-religion” plot point being just that, a mere plot point? Well, I feel the same way about the whole Bad Wolf thing. Various people have complained about the deus ex machina resolution to the plot arc. But as I already said, Bad Wolf was not the plot arc. It was just an in-joke. A plot device. And yes, the resolution was a deus ex machina, but what exactly is a deus ex machina? That’s right – a plot device. And just like the Daleks finding God, there were far more important things in this episode than the Bad Wolf thing. I personally enjoyed the whole resolution, anyway. Billie Piper, I’ve finally decided, is wonderful at what she does. I began to well up a little when she described the Doctor as “hers”. I loved the way she nonchalantly wiped out the entire Dalek race with a wave of her arm.

    But it’s too much for young Rose, of course. Well, she’s only human! And she’s dying. So the Doctor must save her. With a kiss. A wonderful kiss. I cheered. I really cheered. It just felt right. These two have earned a kiss… especially since the Doctor’s saving her life. (How lovely is that line? “That’s right, I sang a song, and the Daleks ran away.”) But of course, it’s a sacrifice. The Doctor’s now infected. It’s like The Green Mile, isn’t it? But unlike John Coffey, the Doctor can’t just cough out the time vortex. It’s destroying his body. Imagine you’re a casual viewer, and you know nothing about the Doctor Who mythos. “How’s he going to get out of this one?” you wonder. Then, “Is he going to get out of this one?”

    Yep. Welcome to the world of Doctor Who. A world that’s only survived for so long because of one thing. Regeneration. This guy can change. And what a regeneration! It’s glorious! A thing of beauty! “You were fantastic,” the Doctor says before he changes. “And you know what? So was I.” But it’s not the Doctor saying this. It’s Christopher Eccleston, the man who saved this show, changed it from a thing of ridicule back to an award-winning Saturday night fixture. And the words were written by that other god, Russell T. Davies. And they’re saying these words to us. Thank you, Chris. Thank you, Russell. You were both fantastic.

    And welcome, Mr David Tennant. I just saw Casanova. Wow! I can’t wait to see you in this role!

    There’s so much more to this episode I haven’t mentioned… the terrific supporting cast, including Jenna Russell and Jo Joyner… the beautiful death of Captain Jack Harkness (we’ll miss you, Mr Barrowman)… Lynda’s chilling death… the brilliant Dalek Emperor, with Nick Briggs giving another outstanding voice-over performance… the James Bond-like caption in the end credits… the return of old-favourite Dalek lines like “My vision is impaired, I cannot see!”… that heart-rending scene between Rose and her mother, when she tells her she’s met her dead father, thanks to the Doctor… but I’m already onto my fourth page, so I’d better shut up now.

    So there we are. Laughs, tears, adventure. A beautiful quasi-love story, with a beginning, a middle, and an end. Great acting, writing, effects, music and direction. And Daleks. Hang on. Am I talking about this episode? Or this entire series? Actually, I’m talking about both. The Parting of the Ways is, for the above reasons, a perfect example of how good this series has been. I’m really going to miss it. Hurry up, Christmas…

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    I wasn’t looking forward to these episodes for many reasons; one it would mean the end of the series, once again Saturday TV would return to celebrity wallpapering or Test the nation hamster edition or such like. Secondly it would be the end of Doctor #8 the ever gurning Christopher Eccleston whose rapidly grown on me like head lice on a schoolchild. And three a guest list that sounded just as ghastly as Ken Dodd and the annoying little welsh bloke from please sir in Delta and the Bannermen. .I mean Anne Robinson as a killer robot? The Doctor landing in big brother? Trinny and Susannah doing anything, none of these things should work this should sink the Doctor back into the dark days of the mid 80’s but some it did work ,some how it was funny, somehow you cared and by the end of episode 12 you were on the edge of your seat

    The timing of this cleaver witty script was inspired airing two weeks into big brother six’s run it had the Doctor materialising in the bb house where its inhabitants were a bolshy black girl a cute self obsessed wannabe and a camp over the top man who was obsessed with winning it was like id switched to channel four by mistake, Rose had landed on the weakest link with the bloke from hustle and Jack was treading the fine line from being as annoying as Melanie Bush. Talking of which I cant work out if I like Captain Jack or not, true he adds a lot of fun to the show but for me he just brings back nightmares of Edd the duck and Andy peters, could they have managed to leave him dead at the end of episode 13. Ala Adric? Of course it turns out that they are all back on the game station (not the videogame store full of spotty youths sneering as I enquire if they still sell mega drive games but the space station from the long game ep. 7) and the Doctor gets to be heroic trying to save rose from the clutches of the evil Anne Robinson Rose is apparently killed and if it hadn’t been leaked to the press you would be shocked that she had in fact been sent to a space ship full of Daleks. As The end of this episode approaches you would be mistaken for thinking that the Doctor has lost everything the advancing Dalek empire was surly going to exterminate everything in its path they’d got rose and he was stuck with annoying Jack surly he must give up? Of course this being Doctor who he didn’t in stead he acted his socks of and gave a speech worthy of Hartnell he threatened the might of the Dalek empire with a line stolen from Davinadroid by the time he said rose im coming to get you, suddenly you were nine years old again suddenly you were on the edge of the seat this what this series was missing a bloody good cliff-hanger! The trouble with this and the following episode was basically the same problem that Eastenders and many of the soaps have, the press has printed just about every shock and twist the episode had to offer and whilst it was by no means predictable you just knew everything that was going to happen, imagine if they’d promoted the sixth sense with it’s the one with the bloke from moonlighting plays the dead bloke or the crying game as find out why that birds got an Adams apple and there would be uproar Doctor who should be the same. I understand that yes knowing the Daleks were going to be in it was a draw and yes it did wonders for the ratings but imagine the shock if you didn’t know? Al ready it’s been announced that the cybermen are to appear in series two lets hope that it wasn’t a twist to the story!

    The second part of the story episode 13 the parting of the waves was a rollercoaster ride it began with the best rescue ever and also conveniently forgot about the not being able to fire guns in the TARDIS rule but we’ll forgive them that for now. The Doctor and co then go back to the gamestaion to prepare the people of earth for war. It is then that Rose meats Linda, the Drs Fellow Big brother contestant. Billie piper steels the show again with a wonderful bitchy glance.

    The tone of this episode is a lot darker than the other and this is a very welcome Change. The whole episode has an air of mystery. I mean you know the Doctor can succeed you know the Daleks are going to be destroyed and if the surprise hadn’t been spoiled you know that the Doctor will live to fight another day but how will he achieve the impossible.

    The parting of the ways evoked memories of caves of androzoni, you knew that Eccleston would become Tenant but how would he be killed? Would he be exterminated would he sacrifice his life for others? Sacrifice was the theme of the show Jack going to his doom to ward the Daleks off, Linda valiantly getting killed in the best extermination of the show, rose becoming bad wolf and the Doctor sacrificing himself saving her. Sure the Doctor was a hero but what the show was trying to tell us was that we have it in our selves to achieve an equal greatness. It was with this message that parallels with his previous series the second coming began yes we can have a superhero/deity /adventurer alien save the would but we have it in us to do it by our selves, utter tosh but he’s heart is in the right place. There was obviously a lot of money spent on the episode and it showed. The emperor Dalek was great although it would have been nice to see Davros again. The whole religious subtext was good and gave the Daleks a much needed depth .

    Rose is tricked by the Doctor into going back home where we saw the welcome return of Jackie and Mickey. It was here that the story was at its most dramatic. Rose realised that she couldn’t go back to normality and helped draw a close to he life on earth. Billie gave a sterling performance here and she is doing a wonderful job but have you noticed what a weird mouth she has she has too many teeth I’m sorry I digress. Seeing bad wolf scrawled everywhere around her she finally solves the puzzle that has had haunted her since she entered the TARDIS. With the help of Mickey who yet again realises that she will never be with him again (just how many times is he going to realise this! Just go and get another girlfriend one without a time travelling boyfriend) Rose becomes bad wolf (my bet was on the time lords it’s a good job I never put money on it!)And single handily destroys the Daleks making sure that they never return again, or till the ratings start to flag. As a mater of interest The Anne Robinson droid shot four Daleks but in the previous episode her laser been was found to be a transporter beam so where did they go? Sadly rose/bad wolf bought the annoying jack back to life before getting all the life sucked out of her (a bit like being married to Chris evens I suppose.)By the Doctor before taking her unconscious like Davidson did with with peri and she woke up to see the Doctor become Casanova. It was these final scenes that spoilt the show really, I mean regeneration is big thing in any time lord’s life and you don’t want it rushed at breakneck pass. The whole regeneration thing was just so rushed and handled in a blasé matter of fact way. Oh by the way I’m becoming another actor full stop .Did Eccleston decide he wanted to leave at the last minute so they just grafted regeneration as an afterthought? David Tenant was only on the screen for a second but exhumed a charisma to match Eccleston the Tardis keys are in safe hands. All in all a couple of classy episodes. Roll on Christmas.

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    This is one of those times when I'm not sure where to start. So much happened! I'll go backwards from my usual and tell you I'm giving the story 9 out of 10. This is to say it's about 10 times good and 1 part bad, so 9. I'll save the bad bit for the end.

    Though it's meant to be one two-part story, in a way it's more like a "Seeds of Doom" type story where it's got a long prologue at the start before the real serious stuff begins. The prologue in this case is the satire on game/reality shows, specifically, the UK versions of "Big Brother," "The Weakest Link," and "What Not to Wear." Fortunately for me (non-UK person), I have seen the latter two shows on BBC America and consequently got all those jokes. And I'm familiar with the concept of the "Big Brother" show, even though I've not watched it, so the comedy here was blunted a bit for me. This was all very funny stuff, particularly the Anne Droid and how she apparently kills the weak link contestants. I do wonder though why Earth in the year 200100 is only recycling shows made in the UK in 2005... I know TV loves to repeat proven success, but surely some other formats must have become hits in the intervening 198095 years? And what about imports? Surely "Survivor" or "The Apprentice" deserved floors as well? (I would _love_ to see a Donald Trump droid!) Still, I loved seeing this genre getting skewered, though to be fair, Russell's not the first to use "Doctor Who" to do this. We've already heard this be done twice before on Big Finish, once in the DWM freebie disc "The Ratings War" where Beep the Meep was using reality TV to weaken the populace, and once in "The One Doctor" where none other than Rob Shearman's wife Jane Goddard did an Anne Robinson impersonation, again playing an android version of her (or was it a hologram?), in a Weakest Link-like scenario to test the mental mettle of Mentos, the greatest computer ever made. I wonder if RTD had to pay off Clayton Hickman, Gareth Roberts, and Steve Lyons for their ideas?

    The games are all a front, however, to keep the population of Earth distracted from the rebuilding of the Dalek army on their doorstep and not expanding into the 4th human empire that the Doctor said should be developing after the events of "The Long Game." Back then they were doing it with news channels, and their collapse at the Doctor's hands brought about a global depression of sorts, though to be fair to him, I'm sure that was partly engineered by the Daleks, given that we find out they were behind the news channels too. His "mistake" was in not seeking out the masters of the Jagrafess back in "The Long Game." The front could have been anything... that Russell chose to make it reality TV is probably his way of jabbing at us today and how we're too busy getting involved in watching stuff like this instead of doing more useful and productive things. The news channels weren't any better though; the solution is to just not watch TV much at all.

    Along the way to the Dalek revelation, it appears that Rose is killed by the Anne Droid. They play this out for a good ten minutes, and though the viewer knows that she can't really be dead if the viewer's aware of the advance cast listings, you still get a good sense of what the effect of her death would be from the stellar reactions we get from Christopher Eccleston and John Barrowman. Eccleston's Doctor just shuts completely down and says absolutely nothing while the satellite guards do their usual "you will be taken to the lunar penal colony" nonsense, then switches completely on again when the right moment comes to escape and get to floor 500 for the confrontation. I also liked the moment where Jack enters the TARDIS and sees Rose's jacket... Barrowman's double-take almost brought a lump to my throat. That Rose was actually transmatted by the Daleks wasn't that surprising to me... the Daleks worked the same trick on Susan Mendes in "Dalek Empire," and then there was that dust on the floor that the transmat left behind. I wonder if in an earlier draft the Doctor suddenly realized it was zanium. (and said "It looks serious!")

    Along the way in the first part, we meet some more contestants and station personnel, and the stand-out here was Lynda with a "y," who was absolutely perfectly cast. Jo Joyner personified the word "sweet," and I might just start looking for other things she's been in; I liked her that much.

    Also along the way, more "Bad Wolf" clues get dropped, but we're still none the wiser as to what it all means, despite the episode being titled "Bad Wolf." Given how it all turns out though, I think this is a perfect umbrella title for the story, if an imperfect one for the first part.

    "The Parting of the Ways" begins much as "Bad Wolf" did, with the Doctor and Jack wasting absolutely no time in just snowplowing the TARDIS into the Dalek ship, materializing it around Rose and a Dalek, and then killing the Dalek with Jack's one-shot gun. (And can I just mention that this is the only time we've ever seen a Dalek inside the TARDIS? Cybermen, Sontarans, the Master, sure, but no Dalek had ever got inside before this... not that this one wanted to. (unless "The Mutant Phase" is canonical... but then those events reversed themselves, didn't they?) I liked how the momentum at the end of "Bad Wolf" continued right on into this, with nothing stopping the Doctor to this point.

    And then it was time for a chat with the Emperor Dalek, which looked very impressive, and I was glad to see that it was back in charge of things, as it has been in most of the Big Finish audios. It's at this point where my one gripe with the story came in, but again, I'm going to save this for the end.

    Then it was back to the satellite to try and hold off the Daleks from invading and destroying Earth, with the Doctor starting to rig up a Delta Wave that'll fry the brain of anything within the transmission radius. (I'm guessing the name comes from the techobabble of "Kinda," by the way.) Before the Dalek attack begins though, Russell's character strength writing kicks in full power as the Doctor sends Rose and the TARDIS back to her home so that she'll be safe. That he would do it really really works, and that Rose would hate that he did it also really really works. But what really really really works is all the material on Earth between Rose, Jackie, and Mickey, as Rose tries to find a way to get the TARDIS to take her back to the Game Station. There's a terrific ping-pong game going on between the characters as each one tries to convince Rose that life back on Earth eating chips won't be so bad, when she knows that this just running away isn't the way she wants to lead her life anymore. The best of all of this was the call-back to the events of "Father's Day," where Rose reveals to her mother that it was her who saw off her dying father when the car hit him, and how her dad would've wanted her to do whatever it took to save the Doctor. That this is what changes Jackie's mind and gets her to come up with the goods that they need to bust open the TARDIS console (namely that big truck) is fantastic character development that I didn't see coming yet completely understood when it did. That's just the way I like it. Billie Piper acting her socks off through all of this helped a great deal too. The work she did in this episode, particularly when she has her breakdown in the restaurant, is better than anything any previous companion has ever done. It'll be a very unfair day for her if she doesn't get nominated for a BAFTA for this when the time comes. And on top of all of that was the reappearance, in a bigger and actually quite scary way than ever before yet of the "BAD WOLF" graffiti everywhere Rose looks. And even at this stage, we still don't know what it means, except that Rose had better find a way to get the TARDIS moving.

    The Doctor shows off his character development as well, though his big moment waits a bit until the Daleks have exterminated the entire station, including Jack, and we get to the point where he can fire off the wave and destroy all the Daleks, but only if he also wipes out every other living thing on Earth at the same time. And the Emperor Dalek taunts him expertly, asking if he's a coward or a savior, and when the moment comes, the Doctor realizes that he can't do this, and says "coward - every time." This is the reaction of the Doctor we used to know... the one who wouldn't put those two wires together on Skaro, the one who wouldn't shoot Davros in cold blood, and the one who couldn't shoot Charley Pollard to save the universe. It is not the reaction we saw from him earlier in the series, when he let Cassandra die horribly, or when he got himself a gun and was ready to shoot the "Dalek" Dalek even though it was becoming something new. Those reactions were what the war damage I've talked about here were doing to him. "Dalek" was a turning point, where Rose showed him what he was becoming... "The Doctor Dances" was the story where circumstances worked in his favor and for once everybody lived, and he loved that to death. He's been healing in the second half of the season, and it's complete by the time he doesn't push that switch here. Some will want to debate the morality and pragmatism of his decision here, but not me. I get the point now just as I have in those earlier instances; that is that the Doctor knows deep down that doing something so evil, even in the name of destroying greater evil, cannot lead to a good result.

    And in the end it was just as well he didn't do it, because the Bad Wolf comes to the rescue. Rose gets the TARDIS console open, looks at the heart of the TARDIS, and the two sort-of become one hybrid being that calls itself the Bad Wolf. It scatters the words through time to wherever Rose can see them, so that she will remember them and know that she must return to the Bad Wolf Corporation's satellite as this new time vortex being and save the day. The Bad Wolf creates itself. I like it. It's a very elegant and very time travel-y thing to have happen. I'm still a bit fuzzy on whether they just took the name from the Corporation or whether they came up with the name and named the Corporation that too. I _think_ it's the former. There's also some poetry to it... Rose refuses to be just another sheep in the herd; she chooses to be the big, bad wolf instead. The whole "it's the power of the time vortex" stuff about how she time-destructs the Daleks works for me too. It's as though the Rose/TARDIS Bad Wolf creature is a sort of Chronovore. Rose has taken on the TARDIS' interstitial time powers, and it's taken on her sentience and desire to save the Doctor. The Bad Wolf wipes out all the Daleks, and also brings Jack back to life.

    This can't last, however, without the effect killing Rose, and so the Doctor kisses her and takes it on (in a scene that I'm sure owed nothing at all to the Doyle-gives-Cordelia-her visions thing from "Hero" on "Angel" ), then directs it back into the TARDIS. This has the knock-on effect of it "killing" him instead, but he can save himself by regenerating, which he does, but not before he has a touching last scene with Rose in the console room. For once, the companion gets some warning about what regeneration is and what it'll do to him, and I like that this one happened with the Doctor standing up. I also really liked that they managed to give David Tennant some lines before the credits rolled.

    Christopher Eccleston's final lines were nicely done as well: "Before I go, I just want you to tell you, you were fantastic. Absolutely fantastic. And do you know what? So was I!" The way I read that is that he's "dying" happy with how he himself acted here... happy that he's healed, and happy that it was Rose who helped him get there. And you know what, Russell T. Davies, this was fantastic, and so were you when you wrote this material.

    And now I'll list some smaller moments that I really liked through the episode...

    the fact that the Anne Droid did better against the Daleks than anything else Jack could muster, taking out three of them before they got her.

    Lynda's death scene was really chilling. It hurt that she was dying, because I liked her so much, but the way they milked it with the attack seeming to come from the door, but then some Daleks sneak up on her from the window, flash "Ex-ter-min-ate" silently in the vacuum at her, and then blast the window to depressurize her room was just _nasty_. Well done here Joe Ahearne.

    All the CGI of the massive Dalek armies and the spaceships, etc. It looked wonderful. Extra kudos to The Mill!

    Jack being brought back to life was nice because I like him, but left behind and not even mentioned in the final scene was a bit odd, though there were bigger things going on at that point. Hopefully this gets addressed in the first scenes of "The Christmas Invasion."

    Jack kissed a couple people goodbye before leaving for the battle he knew would kill him. That was nice to see. That one of them was male, and was the Doctor, I've no personal problem with. I can see this being a big sticking point with some US networks that might be considering the purchase of the series, though, if they are a network that skews towards family and kids programming, because the right wing pressure groups will work through the advertisers to try and have this sort of scene stopped. It wouldn't affect a more general "adult" network though, like Bravo or BBC America.

    Finally, we come to the one beef I have with the episode, which was the Daleks getting religion. I can see what Russell was trying to do here, which was to graft his distrust (and many other people's it must be said, including mine) of organized religion and how it can steer the masses in the wrong direction, onto the psyche of the Daleks, and use them to illustrate the dangers of it in the same way that they used to be used to illustrate the evil of fascistic racism. This is a potentially very good science fiction idea, but it doesn't belong layered on top of what's already present in the Daleks. Whatever else Daleks are, they are _scientists_, with a dependence on rational thought. As the Doctor said, "since when did the Daleks have a concept of blasphemy?" The Emperor's answer that it reached into the dirt and made new life doesn't explain why he himself starting thinking of himself as the god of the Daleks as a result of doing that. He should be the most rational one of them all, and his hierarchical command structure worked well enough before this... I just see no reason for him and the others to start using religious dogma instead of just "obey." This really jars to me. Hopefully with all of this set of Daleks destroyed, we won't see this idea recur. I do think it's a good motivating idea to base an alien monster threat on... just not on the Daleks because they've already got a perfectly good motivation. Partly related to this was the voice of the Emperor, which I was also disappointed in. The modulation was right, and the sound was right, but the performance wasn't. I much preferred Nick Briggs' earlier Emperor Dalek performances for Big Finish... this one is a much more human-sounding Emperor Dalek and less the imperious overlord. He was more "lordly" before, which is ironic since this one thinks its God. I'm not going to lay the blame for this at Nick's door though... I don't think this is a decision he would've made on his own... I'm guessing Joe Ahearne or Russell T. Davies asked for this different version, and in my view, it was the wrong call. Oh, also, these new more radio-controlled Daleks are a gear too slow for my liking... I think I liked them better when their operator could shake them back and forth a bit and twitch agitatedly.

    Overall then, 9 out of 10. 10 for the Doctor, Rose, Jack, Jackie, Mickey, the Bad Wolf, Lynda with a "y," the game show parodies, the CGI, and the direction, but subtract 1 for the new religious Daleks.

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    Can somebody please tell me why the hell it is that so-called professional scriptwriters seem physically incapable of writing coherent scripts? There are many things that can make a script good – pacing, action, insightful or entertaining dialogue, deeper questions and thoughts, originality, surprises – and many things that can make it bad – viz all the opposites of these things. But beyond all of this, there are a few things that a script must have in order to be called a finished script at all. It must, for example, be 45 minutes long in the case of Dr. Who. It must be technically realizeable given its budget. And it must be logically coherent. You can pen the most brilliantly entertaining story in the world, but if it doesn’t make sense, it’s not done.

    Now Doctor Who is science fantasy, not science fiction, so there’s a lot of headroom in this regard. But even so, there still exists a standard. After running a whole season that mostly made sense – a first for Dr. Who - I was beginning to think that holes were a thing of the past, that somehow our new generation of writers had learned from the errors of the old, that they’d learned how to write. There was the baffling fact that the car somehow knew that it had to circle the church in Father’s Day – and yup, that sure ruined that episode in short order – but aside from that we were doing fairly well.

    Then comes the season finale, and while it still managed to be one of the most fun of the twelve stories… Just to list a few brief examples to serve as food for my point here: How can the Daleks break into the TARDIS, no matter where it is? Why would they transmat the Doctor into reality TV (as opposed to, as Davies himself writes, a volcano)? Why, given the chance to disintegrate the Doctor rather than beam him aboard their vessel, do they let him run free, even going so far as to instruct blue chicky with wires in her to let him move unimpeded? And why do they then spend the rest of the story trying desperately to kill him? In fact, given that they’re terrified of him being the one factor in the Universe that could bring about their end, why would they go out of their way to bring him into the picture in the first place?

    This isn’t nit-picking, nor the stomping ground of Comic Book Guy from the Simpsons. This is basic scriptwriting 101.

    Now this being time travel, and in particular being a story that ends with a God-like figure manipulating the whole timeline with omnipotent power, you could probably come up with any sort of half-baked explanation you like. That doesn’t excuse the fact that Davies simply didn’t bother to try.

    People complain about deus ex machina (or should that be dei in the plural?), but at least a script with a deus ex machina is a finished script. It may be lazy and unfulfilling, but it’s done. A script that doesn’t make sense is not only lazy; it’s incompetent. It should still be on the writer’s office floor. If anyone is free to throw away the constraints of causality just to make a distracting hour of TV, then what’s the point in putting any effort in whatsoever? Why are we paying pro writers big bucks to not-do their job? Why not just get a drunk from the nearest pub to come up with something creative for a couple more pints?

    Maybe Davies believes that a coherent plot is worth the price to pay for a slightly more interesting one. But doesn’t that sound like the plenary definition of a cheap thrill? Or maybe he thinks that because a large portion of his audience consists of children, he’s justified in ignoring plot logic, since they probably won’t notice anyway.

    But here’s a lesson he seems to need: a large portion may be children, but the majority are still adults. And seeing as many of those adults are people who were children when the original series was being broadcast, and seeing as they are the very reason that the series is back in the first place, they deserve his attention. Besides, don’t we all want children’s shows that captivate us when we’re young but that we can look back on when we’re older like a favourite stuffed animal and say, ‘Yeah, that really was good.’ …as opposed to just shaking our heads and wondering how we were ever sucked in?

    Hell, I think a story where there’s somebody hiding in the TARDIS so the Doctor materializes it underwater and opens the door sounds pretty exciting. Or how about one where giant ants come out of my butt and make me feed them sugar cubes? At least I’m being satirical, and so I suspect was Christopher Bidmead in 1980. But Davies is not. Get your $&^! together, and if you can’t take this seriously, move over for someone who can.

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    I have, on the whole, enjoyed the new series of Doctor Who, but I’ve come to the conclusion that the weaker episodes are those written by Russell t. Davies. I hoped however that for the two-episode season finale, Davies would pull out all of the stops and write a rousing, epic climax to the series. In one respect he achieved this, as the Doctor’s most familiar foes make a return appearance en masse, but in other respects the story is deeply flawed.

    I’ll begin at the beginning. ‘Bad Wolf’ starts with the Doctor, Jack, and Rose trapped in futuristic versions of Big Brother, What Not to Wear, and The Weakest Link, respectively. If you can swallow the ludicrous (and frankly disturbing) notion that these programmes have survived largely unchanged until the year 200,100AD, the premise of the exercise is that the Daleks have secretly been massing in orbit around Earth for centuries, harvesting humans to convert into new Daleks via the various game shows broadcast from the “Game Station”, in which participation is now compulsory. Losing contestants are apparently obliterated via a disintegrator beam, but are in fact transmatted to the Dalek fleet to serve as raw materials for conversion.

    Now I really, really hate reality television. It’s unimaginative, cheap television with little creative input beyond the gaudy sets, which works on the basis that the audience largely consists of voyeurs who enjoy, in every sense, seeing tits exposed on television. I had hoped when I saw the trailer for ‘Bad Wolf’ that Davies might make an effort at satire and have fun with the format, but the most we get is the vague and platitudinous line, “Half the world’s too fat, half the world’s too thin, and you just watch television.” Davies not only doesn’t attempt to criticize reality television, he doesn’t do anything with it; having refused to attack it, he refuses to defend it, and the entire Big Brother sequence feels like a self-indulgent homage with no real point to it. It’s simply an excuse for half-hearted and facile wit (including the cringe worthy line, “You are live on Channel 44,000, please do not swear”), although it does have the unexpected benefit of making me realize that Big Brother might actually be worth watching if the cretins that participate were disintegrated when they get nominated for eviction. Anyway, after the revelation that evictees are disintegrated, the Doctor, smugly aware that he has brought to the Game Station for a purpose, vandalizes the house, getting him evicted. He then saunters confidently through the exit door, confident that the unseen power behind the program won’t let him be destroyed because it has brought him to the station for a purpose and needs him alive. He is of course proved right, which raises two minor points. The first is, given that we later find out that the disintegrator beam is actually a transmat beam, why does it hold fire? Why don’t the Daleks transmat him to their ship and then exterminate him whilst they have the advantage of surprise? The second question concerns the Doctor’s line, “If they wanted me dead, they could have transmatted me into a volcano. They want me alive.” Actually they don’t, since they keep trying to kill him whenever they get the opportunity later on. The explanation for this whacking great plot hole is that Davies wants to create the impression later on that Rose has been disintegrated and decides to throw logic out the window to create a cheap thrill. The sequence also introduces the irritatingly wet “Lynda with a y”, whose sole function is to wander around after the Doctor, looking up at him with wet pouring out her so that Rose can briefly look jealous later on.

    Speaking of which, we have Jack’s predicament. Jack wakes up in version of What Not to Wear, and finds himself confronted by android versions of Trinny and Susannah. The function of this in the context of the episode is to provide an excuse for John Barrowman to get his kit off on screen. Jack smugly says to the two androids, “Am I naked in front of millions of viewers? Ladies, your viewing figures just went up.” This is of course what stripping Jack off is meant to achieve in real life, and the scene also provides the unexpected but genuinely amusing sight of a butt-naked man whipping a pistol out of his ass in a Doctor Who episode. However, aside from that the sequence makes no sense in terms of plot logic, since if the games are designed to transmat humans to the Daleks for conversion, then Trinny and Susannah dismembering them seems self-defeating. There is also more really feeble humour on display here, including the description of Top Shop as a design classic and the reference to President Schwarzenegger.

    However, where Davies’ largely gratuitous plundering of the worst aspects of common-denominator contemporary television works is in the case of The Weakest Link. This sequence, unlike the other two, feels genuinely dangerous, and is, thanks partly to the coup of getting Anne Robinson to provide the voice of the Anne Droid, absolutely bloody terrifying. This is largely due to the acting, particularly from Billie Piper and Paterson Joseph, a man I’ve wanted to see appear in Doctor Who ever since his exemplary performance as the Marquis de Carabas in Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere. Both of them, as well as the actors playing the other contestants, look increasingly terrified as the game progresses, and the sudden death round is gripping. So dramatic is the scene in fact that when Rose is seemingly disintegrated, even though I knew Piper was already contracted to appear in series two, my heart skipped a beat.

    With the novelty television references out of the way, the Doctor and Jack start to gradually discover what is really going on, the second half of ‘Bad Wolf’ starts to build excitingly to the revelation of the Daleks. Even though it was spoilt by the trailer at the end of ‘Boom Town’, various trailers, and newspaper gossip dating back a year, I got an undeniable thrill as the hints and clues suddenly started to appear. The scene in which the Controller tries to reveal the truth and tells the Doctor, “They’ve been hiding… watching and shaping the Earth… My masters, they fear the Doctor” is very ominous and is swiftly followed by Rose waking up to hear a familiar throbbing heartbeat sound. Then we get the point of view shot of her captor, plus the familiar extermination of the Controller and the distorted reflection of a Dalek in a wall panel. The moment when the fleet stands revealed and Jack exclaims, “I know those ships. They were destroyed” only for the Doctor to coldly reply, “Obviously they survived” sends a shiver down the spine. The Daleks are easily the best aspect of ‘Bad Wolf’/‘The Parting of the Ways’, and they are once more depicted as an unstoppable, remorseless force, with only the Dalek in the TARDIS actually being destroyed prior to the actually ending. The Emperor Dalek looks and sounds great, and the twist that after centuries of isolation spent rebuilding its entire species it has gone mad and thinks that it is god is both something new and quite effective, although when it declares, “This is perfection” it sounds like the three blokes that try and smuggle a pint out of the pub in a recent Worthington’s ad. The sight of the Daleks gliding silently around the station slaughtering everyone in their path is magnificent, and the mass murder on Level Zero is especially horrific, due to the terrified screams and sheer panic conveyed by the cast.

    However, yet again Davies lets logic fly out of the window. The Daleks are invading the station purely to stop the Doctor; since the invasion of Earth is now underway, they have no further need of the station itself, and so if they have the ability to destroy entire continents so thoroughly that they actually appear to melt, why can’t they just destroy the station? Yet again the answer is that Davies is busy thinking about other things, and as in ‘Boom Town’ he sets the Doctor a moral dilemma. The Emperor Dalek reveals the truth about the Doctor’s plan, telling Jack, “There is every possibility the delta wave could be complete, but no possibility of refining it.” The choice is simple; if the Doctor uses the delta wave, he will wipe out not only the Daleks, but also every living thing on Earth. The trouble is, with the Emperor goading the Doctor, “I want to see you become like me. Hail the Doctor, the Great Exterminator!” the Doctor chooses to be a coward rather than a killer and is left standing ineffectually by the weapon that he’s been building for most of the episode but hasn’t got the balls to use. Which is all well and good, until we consider the fact that at this very point the Daleks are actually melting entire continents, so the Doctor’s choice is to destroy the Daleks and all life on Earth, or to let the Daleks survive so that they can destroy all life on Earth. It makes him yet again look utterly ineffectual and he’s left standing with a stupid look on his face until somebody else comes along to save the day. Which leads me neatly onto…

    Bad Wolf. A series of warnings scattered throughout time by the Emperor Dalek to lure the Doctor into a trap, or sign that some hitherto unsuspected malevolent force is watching the Doctor wherever he goes? Actually no; it’s a cryptic message from Rose to herself so that she knows to look into the heart of TARDIS without turning into a foetus in order to become a superbeing and save the day so that the Doctor doesn’t have to. It really is utter bollocks, and although Davies has established in several of his scripts that Rose is none too bright, surely some kind of clear note would have been easier? ‘Bad Wolf’/‘The Parting of the Ways’ sees Davies taking the piss out of ‘Doctor Who’ with Rose asking the Emperor, “But that makes them… half human?” only to be indignantly told, “Those words are blasphemy!” and the latter episode seeing the Doctor kiss his companion in a way that is crucial to the plot. But I personally wasn’t all that bothered by either the half-human revelation or the kiss in ‘Doctor Who’, I was more annoyed by the Here, you will notice, Davies repeats that same mistake with a horrendous deus ex machina ending in which the TARDIS uses Rose to save the day with magic fairy dust, resurrecting the Doctor’s dead friend in the process. As in ‘Boom Town’, it’s a last minute magical intervention so that the Doctor doesn’t have to weasel out of a moral dilemma for which Davies can provide no satisfactory resolution. It is also immensely unsatisfying, with Rose seen to resurrect Jack, but not, so far as we know, bothering to save anyone else, or restore the ravaged Earth, or put history back on track.

    Where Davies does score points however is in his use of the regulars. I’ve already mentioned that Piper is great at conveying Rose’s panic and fear when she’s forced to play The Weakest Link, and she’s also convincingly emotional when Mickey and Jacky vainly try and comfort her in the café. Speaking of which, Noel Clarke puts in another decent performance as Mickey, who respects Rose’s dedication to the Doctor to help her open the TARDIS console, and astonishingly, Camille Coduri puts in a performance at the eleventh hour that doesn’t make me want to kick the television screen in. The scene in which Rose tells Jackie that she met her Dad and that he would tell her to try is quite moving, and well acted by both performers.

    As for Jack, although at times he’s still in Captain Innuendo mode with incessant flirting and the dubious line, “The pleasure was all mine. Which is the only thing that matters in the end” his testosterone-crazed antics give way to an urgent drive for action when the true threat stands revealed. He bravely makes a futile gesture to buy time for the Doctor to decide not to bother using the Delta Wave, and faces death with his chin up. He knows he’s got no chance too; he tells the Doctor and Rose, “I guess this is goodbye… Rose, you are worth fighting for. Wish I’d never met you Doctor, I was much better off as a coward.” He then kisses them both in a scene that Barrowman’s performance makes genuinely emotional, and when he finally gets exterminated it is a heart-wrenching moment. So too for that matter is the crumpled, hurt look on Barrowman’s face when Jack is resurrected only to see the TARDIS dematerialize without him.

    And finally, there is Christopher Eccleston. Although he’s spent too much time gurning and grinning maniacally during some of Davies’ scripts, there are times during ‘Bad Wolf’/‘The Parting of the Ways’ when his performance is sublime. Notable examples include the sheer hurt he conveys by facial acting alone when the Doctor thinks Rose his dead, the equally grim look when he sees the Bad Wolf Corporation logo, and the impression he gives of badly controlled fury whenever he has to talk to the Daleks. The “you hate your own existence” speech is especially memorable, as he looks at them with a combination of pity, contempt, and horror. His threat to the Daleks when he promises, “This is what I’m going to do. I’m going to rescue her. I’m going to save Rose Tyler from the middle of the Dalek fleet, and then I’m going to save the Earth, and then, just to finish off, I’m going to wipe every last stinking Dalek out of the sky” manages to be intimidating thanks to Eccleston’s delivery, although in retrospect it is slightly spoiled by the realization that what he does is rescue Rose but then end up standing impotently holding his plunger. Unfortunately, during ‘The Parting of Ways’, his performance is hamstrung by some vacuous lines, which he always seems to have trouble delivering, such as when the Doctor glibly notes, “Daleks have got the answers, let’s go and meet the neighbours.” Nevertheless, for much of the story he puts in one of his finest performances as the role for one last time before the end.

    And what an end it is. I’d been expecting a regeneration at the end of ‘The Parting of the Ways’ from shortly after suspicious rumours started circulating in the gutter press about Eccleston’s supposedly unexpected resignation. It gives the new audience members the opportunity to witness a key part of the series’ lore, and it’s usually an exciting event. Unfortunately, here it isn’t, because the entire scene is bereft of dramatic tension. Rather than having the mortally wounded Doctor visibly dying on the floor of the TARDIS, we get the sight of Eccleston gurning one last time and delivering crass lines including, “Fantastic place, they’ve got dogs with no noses. Imagine how many times a day you make that joke, and it’s still funny!” The whole scene is horribly contrived, with the Doctor jigging about and quickly providing a casual infodump, as he tells Rose, “Time Lords have this little trick, sort of a way of cheating death… It means I’m going to change.” But when it’s over and David Tennant is left standing there, a grin springs to my face. Whilst Eccleston has been great at times throughout the series, he doesn’t easily convey the natural eccentricity that I associate with the role; Tennant does, and when he mutters, “New teeth, that’s weird” I can’t help feeling excited about the future. I only hope I’m not disappointed…

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    When I saw the trailer for Bad Wolf, I was dreading it - Russell T. Davies's flair for unsubtle, smug and crude satire had been rammed down my throat once too often and the prospect of seeing him riffing reality TV was not encouraging. It was nice to see a glimpse of the Daleks, but I was worried that they'd done a Planet Of The Daleks and ruined what could be an otherwise good cliffhanger by showing us the subject of it a week in advance. Fortunately, the season finale of the first series is not half as bad as I feared and does justice to an excellent reinvention of the programme; I may be disillusioned with Davies, but in fairness only two of the thirteen episodes have got a below-average rating from me and that's an impressive hit rate.

    Things certainly get off to an overpowering start with the Doctor trapped in the Big Brother house, not knowing where he is, and with the picture hurtling around like the cameraman has middle ear trouble. The Big Brother theme tune is heard constantly and far too loudly throughout the pre-titles sequence - no disrespect to the people who made that song, but it makes my head hurt at the best of times. On the whole though, the game shows referenced work surprisingly well. Davies was restricted in his choice as he has to pick formats that will be recognisable outside the UK and therefore he has picked three shows that are far from new; I had this episode pegged as being the only story ever to be dated before it had even aired. It works though because Davies only focusses on the most basic elements of the formats rather than specifically picking each show apart. This means that for a person unfamiliar with one of the shows (certainly I have never watched an episode of What Not To Wear, and never intend to) the effect is still maintained as the generic ideas behind it remain undiminished. This means it may stand the test of time better than I expected, assuming that Davies's vision that The Weakest Link is still popular in 200 millennia turns out to be a trifle optimistic. However, I have to say that the Anne-droid is a terrible pun and one of the most annoying elements of the series yet. I know that if they'd just left it at 'android' there would still be a bad joke present, but having Billie Piper spell it out to us from her pedestal just rubs salt into the wound. I must say though that the lack of ITV shows present (ITV being the major supplier of reality TV) makes me laugh.

    Even though I am looking for (and seeing) the best in this episode, it does feel like Davies is appealing to the populist audience in the cheapest and easiest way he can, and Captain Jack's nudity adheres to that same philosophy. Even if you really can't stand the reality TV of this episode though - and it's certainly not to all tastes - it doesn't last that long as the Doctor begins looking for a way out straightaway. I should note here that the Doctor gains a new companion for the episode, in Lynda Moss (forever to be known as Lynda-with-a-Y). He's right, she is quite sweet - but I was beginning to worry that the TARDIS would become overcrowded season 19-style. Having said that, the fact that she wants to travel with the Doctor pretty much makes her doomed from the start. The sections of The Weakest Link go on too long; we get the idea of the story without having to sit through entire rounds. The murderous twist is nice but obvious, as it's the only real way of instilling tension and a sense of danger - and what would Doctor Who be without that?

    Things really hot up once we leave the games and hit Satellite V, a nice twist again dissipated by the fact that this episode begins with a recap of The Long Game. Having said that the Controller looks absolutely brilliant, streets ahead of her predecessor, Simon Pegg's gentleman villain. The sight of a young woman, atrophied to nothingness, plugged into a machine against her will and treated like another part of the computer is truly chilling, and the disrespect paid to her by her staff help underline the feeling (later to be confirmed) that she isn't really in control in the same way that the Editor was (not that he was in charge, but at least he was enthusiastic for the job).

    Back in Captain Jack's storyline contrivance is pushed to new heights: only in a Russell T. Davies script could I say "Jack pulls a gun from his backside" and mean it literally. However, it's lovely to see the smugly sisters getting their heads blown off, even if they are just androids. Meanwhile the Doctor has discovered where he is and has had an enormous amount of back-story delivered by Lynda. For a world where the people are little more than sheep, it would seem that history lessons are unaffected. Lynda listing through the game shows on offer really is indulgent though, and Davies seems oblivious to the fact that in the future his episode may well be wide open to satire itself. It's nice to see that the events of this episode are a result of the Doctor's miscalculation (and it's not even that simple); this is one of the few episodes where we actually get to see the consequences of the Doctor's actions, and find out that the people he helped are actually worse off. Jack flirts with Lynda; I hope he's washed his hands since handling the bumgun.

    Rose fake death is very well done, but in this day and age it's very hard to keep secrets and so I was simply left wondering about how she survived rather than whether or not she actually did. Whatever degree of spoilerage is present though, there's no denying that Christopher Eccleston's acting is absolutely flawless in this scene. Soon afterwards the Doctor, Jack and Lynda storm floor 500, giving the Doctor some excellent characterisation concerning his view towards guns.

    Now we come to one of the episode's most successful aspects: the reveal of the Daleks. It's immediately obvious to an old-time fan through the use of the heartbeat sound effect onboard their ship, and there's an excellent homage to the wonderful first cliffhanger to The Daleks. The best moment of all is when we see a distorted reflection of one approach the Controller; I know their presence has long been spoiled but I'm always happy to see good direction. It is interesting to note that even in the 21st century the special effects department have decided to stick with retro-style flying saucers, the inherent campness of which makes the doom-laden choral score seem a bit melodramatic and cheesy. Also, the Daleks have gone halogen! The incredibly bright lights on their domes tend to just blend together rather than blinking on and off making them less effective but that's my only real criticism and Daleks en masse look as impressive as ever. The Doctor's promise to Rose is a very obvious set up for a calculatedly-dramatic cliffhanger - but that doesn't make it bad, mind.

    The Parting Of The Ways has as many dramatic, sad and exciting moments as you would expect to find in an end-of-season spectacular. The first example of this is when the Daleks attack the TARDIS with missiles, but this has been done before (Timelash) and it seems to be alright. The mystery voice at the end of this episode's preview trailer last time is revealed to be the all-new Dalek Emperor, putting paid to a week of speculation that saw some pretty wild theories going backwards and forwards. The Emperor does look fantastic and Nicholas Briggs does a fine job of replicating the original voice from The Evil Of The Daleks, but that fact that the Emperor is rarely seen in great detail (it's either tight close ups or long shots) means that I'm not sure it will go down as the kind of iconic figure that the original Emperor did, although it's much better than the slobbering version presented in Remembrance Of The Daleks. The problem with giving the Daleks a leader though is that the leader gets all the best lines and so now the Daleks revert back to the old squawkers that do little but shout "exterminate", which to an extent spoils the improvements made to their character in Robert Shearman's episode. Unlike Shearman, Davies definitely overdoes the "exterminate" catchphrase. The Daleks' quasi-religious society is something very interesting, and it's a pity that the episode left so little scope to develop the ins and outs of it.

    The Doctor's plan to build a Delta Wave is another case of deus ex machina but it fails anyway and such contrivances can work as long as the other parts of the episode are in place, which in this case they largely are. It just about gets away with the kiss as it works in the context of the scene, as opposed to the TV movie where it's just a science-fiction cliché bolted into place simply through a lack of originality. There are some very effective moments of despair in this episode, and it's well acted on all counts - one of the highlights of the season for me is the beautiful hologram scene, helped by a spectacularly good piece of direction where the phantom Doctor turns to face Rose.

    After this, the flipping between time zones can be frustrating but it does help to generate even more tension, drawing out the climax for as long a possible. Rose's moralising does seem overly soapboxy, but the Bad Wolf reference is nicely atmospheric even if it is a little strange that, given that it's written on the ground in massive fluorescent letters, she doesn't notice it straight away. I'm glad the plan to rip open the TARDIS with a Mini fails, as it would cheapen that magical object slightly. The scene where Rose talks about her Dad is quite amazingly acted by Piper, and even Camille Corduri puts in a good performance for once. The character of the mother, as well as the actress, is also redeemed by her acquisition of a tow truck to help her daughter.

    I should mention now that there are some superb battle scenes and Lynda's death is genuinely sad. She would have made a good companion, even if two is the effective maximum. These scenes are helped by the simple yet wonderful extermination special effect, which would never have happened without the primitive negative effect that worked so well back at the very beginning.

    The Bad Wolf revelation came as a neat surprise (and it's impressive that they managed to keep it one), and Rose is brilliant as a superbeing. The Daleks are totally destroyed for at least the third time; we get to see Jack being returned to life, but it is left ambiguous about the other characters - I suppose it just depends on how romantic you are. The kiss between the Doctor and Rose works but courts controversy; it has shades of the TV movie and that's not a good thing. The regeneration is wonderful, although they're obviously playing it safe so as not to alienate the audience. Consequently we get more of an explanation now rather than the completely unexpected occurrence at the end of The Tenth Planet. It is interesting to note that the flame effect used is the same as for the power of the time vortex, almost like the power is being blasted out of the Doctor and taking his ninth incarnation with it. David Tennant is very promising in his twenty seconds of screen time, although he seems to have completely forgotten about Captain Jack. Leaving a companion behind has been done before with Time-Flight, but Arc Of Infinity showed us that it is hard to write them back in again in a believable way.

    This story manages to do in ninety minutes what The War Games did in twenty five (not counting the other three and a half hours of course), but taken on it's own merits then even for a cynic this still makes a stonking season finale. Russell T. Davies just about redeems himself for his past mistakes, although he still leaves a lot to be desired. I'm being very kind to this story giving it full marks; part of me says it fall short of classic status, but a larger part says: who cares?

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    Having been rendered a gibbering wreck by the absolute wonder and awesome quality of "Bad Wolf", I have somehow got my brain to function after being absolutely blown away by "Parting of the Ways".

    Where does one start with something of this quality?

    I want to begin by saying that the last thirteen weeks have been a revelation. Who would have thought that after the "death" that Doctor Who died in television terms back in the 1980s, that anyone at all could bring it back to life, let alone recreate it in the form of the magnificent piece of drama that it has now become in such a short time?

    For this, Thank You Russell T. Davies, and everylast one involved in making Doctor Who. You have warmed the hearts of many fans in many places, and it's not over yet.

    Who would have thought that an actor like Christopher Eccleston would not only play the part of the Doctor very well indeed, but would put such power into the part that he would leave people in wonder, in awe, in fear, missing heartbeats in utter delectation, week after week, so that he would become the best Doctor Who ever? And as for Chris leaving so as not to be typecast, well, that is already done. To many fans and even casual watchers alike, Chris Eccleston IS Doctor Who... And as for those who think "that's it," that Chris's Doctor is gone for good; think back at what has been done before, The Three Doctors? The Five Doctors?

    So, Russell (T. Davies), Chris (Eccleston), writers, all those involved; please say you'll think about it! The possibilities are endless.

    But now to this great finale of what has been arguably the best story of the whole series, and certainly the best RTD written one.

    I was rendered largely speechless by the deep exploration into emotions in "Bad Wolf", yet did not write a review for it, so I suppose this is for the whole story.



    I am one of those who was initially sceptical at the use of the reality television strands in this story, as like some, I cannot stand Big Brother, (and yes I have watched it), but I like The Weakest Link, partly because I like general knowledge quizzes anyway. Anyway, I thought Anne Robinson was a brilliant sport to voice this episode, and in the end the result was very credible. The concept of some "unknown" alien force exploiting the human trait for watching reality TV, in order to get the better of them in some way was a brilliant idea, (I loved seeing Trine-e and Zu-zana's heads blown off) and it worked totally.

    One thing in particular that has impressed me about this series from the beginning is the high quality of acting by all involved, and especially the facial expressions that convey things like fear, anger, joy, bewilderment, disappointment, confusion, utter devastation, and so on. These have been so convincing as to be able to take the viewer along with those feelings to the point where they seem real.

    The almost twin look of grief/anger on the Doctor's face as he witnesses Rose's "death" at the disintigrator beam of "Anne Droid" was a priceless moment that will live on in the hearts of fans everywhere.

    The look on the faces of Captain Jack, Lynda (with a y), and the other Sattelite Five operators as the Doctor told the Daleks "No." was just as gobsmacking as the corresponding look on Rose's face, which was a ruddy picture. The Doctor said he was coming for Rose, and he didn't waste time either, landing the Tardis so that Rose was inside it, but also with one Dalek which was quickly "exterminated" by Jack.

    "Let's go and meet the neighbours!" What an entry! So, the Dalek Emperor survived, and I must admit I never though of that; for some reason I was half expecting to see a trans-mutated-insane-alien-human-hybrid or-something-or-other in the form of Bruno Langley.

    The concept of blasphemy, and of the Dalek Emperor being worshipped as some sort of immortal or god, was indeed weird, but fantastic.

    Where did they learn these concepts from? My theory is that the lone Dalek in episode six - which downloaded the entire Internet - did not destroy itself. Instead, perhaps it lied to the Doctor when it said it had found nothing in the skies. Did it sort of "beam up" somewhere where this knowledge was imparted to the remainder of the Dalek race?

    Had they perhaps driven themselves insane, not only by hiding away for hundreds of years, but by hiding away for hundreds of years poring over the Internet, which as most of us know consists of some good stuff, a lot of mediocre stuff, and a lot of decidedly dodgy stuff as well?

    Of course, in science fiction anything is possible.

    The force field was brilliant. Force fields in science fiction are such a common occurrence, that they can be overdone or else be too obvious. But this one augmented the Doctor's character so well, so that his seeming "extermination" stopped four feet in front of him, making his "Is that it?" with a wide grin and open hands an absolute masterpiece of dark humour. It was done so well, you "could not see the join", so to speak.

    The next part I have to comment on is Rose being "sent home" and told by a hologram of the Doctor to let the Tardis die and have a fantastic life. Here again we come to those beautifully done expressions, this time on the faces of the Doctor, as he reluctantly sends the Tardis on what he thinks will be a one way final journey with his friend inside; then Mickey, as he struggles with the happiness at seeing Rose, but with her turbulent emotions at not only being separated from the Doctor, but also being powerless to help him; thirdly, Jackie Tyler as she tells Rose that although she "hates that man", at the moment she loves him because he sent Rose back home safely.

    Finally, Rose herself, as she tries to convey to her Mum and Mickey just how angry, helpless, frightened, and almost grieving she feels at this seemingly hopeless circumstance... In these scenes, we saw - in my opinion - the best acting from these four of the whole series, bar none.

    Then, when Rose is sat on this bench talking to Mickey, probably just beginning to think that she might have to accept the situation, - along comes "BAD WOLF" emblazoned on the playground in front of them, right before their very eyes... Not a warning! A message?

    Well is it? Rose is suddenly galvanised into action. It means a link. A way back! A way to help the Doctor after all he had done for her! Surely! And yes, but What a way. After an abortive attempt in Mickey's car, (I see he's got rid of the yellow VW from episode One), and Jackie Tyler rolls up with a breakdown truck. Brilliant!

    Some heaving and pulling, some shouting by Jackie, this brilliant white light, the Tardis doors slam shut, and Rose is off for a ride in the Tardis that would have a greater effect than anyone would have thought possible. The Doctor's kiss with Rose - if it ever was going to happen at all - had to be something more significant than a mere snog, and this was done excellently, with the Doctor having a clear reason for doing this that would help save Rose from the absolutely mega power of the Tardis, to close its heart, and allow him to continue after this completely discumknockerating and unexpected ending for the Daleks.

    So Rose's actions ended the Daleks threat to the Fourth Great and Bountiful Human Empire. But they also brought life, to some at least.

    Or at least to Captain Jack, who had definitely been "exterminated" by the Daleks. So, what of the others on board Sattelite Five, (Lynda with a y), the rest of life on Earth? Presumably the latter, surely!

    So, we come to the regeneration, the final seconds of the Doctor (as played by Chris Eccleston), and to the first seconds of the "new" Doctor (as played by David Tennant). How many different ways of regenerating the Doctor had been thought out before landing on this one? Well, whether it was one or a thousand, it could not be better. And to have the Doctor regenerate in the Tardis with Rose there to witness it! I am running out of ways to say "Brilliant", "Awesome", or as the Doctor would say "Fantastic". I dare say some will be sceptical, because there is no doubt that Christopher Eccleston has been a "Fantastic" Doctor, and one might say, he has left a hard act to follow. But I'll wager this; David can do it. And the Doctor and Rose will be more awesome than this. But there's only one way to find out; materialise in front of the telly at Christmas. Fantastic. (Bad Wolf/Parting of the Ways, 12/10)

    (The Whole Series, 10/10)

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    So, was it all worth it? The answer is a resounding yes. Bad Wolf and the Parting of the Ways represent RTD's epic season finale, his best contribution to the series to date and, minor concerns excepted, a hugely enjoyable piece of television.

    Firstly, Bad Wolf. No episode this series has drew such gushing praise on the one hand and vitriolic abuse on the other, but again the majority who enjoyed it outweighed those who didn't. I do agree that being asked to believe these events are taking place 200, 000 years in the future is, yes, absurd, even 20000 would be stretching credulity perhaps. As for the reality TV segments, my friend tells me the Big Brother scenes were totally accurate (interestingly no satire here, not even parody, just a faithful reconstruction) so I'll take his word on that; the Anne Droid of the Weakest Link was obviously greatly enhanced in terms of effectiveness by us knowing it was Anne Robinson's voice (and what a way to go later on-I knew Anne wouldn't go down without a fight) and as for What Not To Wear, how curious of the BBC censors to allow Capt. Jack (whose finest hour these two episodes represent) to grope an Android's breasts but not to let us see his bum- which isn't a problem for me, as I'm a married man and have no desire to see the said bum, but it was rather curious.

    This was a particularly well-paced and structured episode, whose energy and tension built up nicely as it became apparent that something unpleasant was literally pulling the Controller's strings- and what a powerful moment her death scene was, complete with menacing Dalek reflection, occurring as it did immediately after the dramatic realisation that Rose has been beamed to the Dalek ship, complete with the pleasing hum of its heartbeat. Much to my wife's dismay and my small daughter's delight I have actually played back the final moments of this episode again and again as the "But you have no weapons, no defences, no plan" exchange is just gorgeous, the type of stirring dialogue even an absent-minded chap like me can recollect with a warm glow; for a moment there I was transported back to that Dalek's final speech in Genesis in terms of dramatic impact. The epic scale of the Dalek fleet and general visual realisation of this episode was excellent, the former bringing to mind the epic fleets of the 1960's which infact was in RTD's mind's eye as he wrote. What an appetite-wetter for the finale!

    And so to the Parting of the Ways. This episode, of course, contained all those elements that people love and loath about the new Who. Fundamentally, if you were one of those-and I know there are quite a few-who were concerned about the disproportionate emphasis on the companion at the expense of the Doctor throughout this season then the climax of this story (perhaps inevitable with hindsight) is likely to crystallise your disappointmant to an unprecented degree. You will ask whether the series should have returned under the title "Rose" with story 1 entitled "Doctor" just to get the true balance of this season right. Here we have the Ultimate Companion, the Bad Wolf who reduces the Daleks to dust (perhaps) and brings Capt Jack back to life. And what of the Tardis? Rose is able to tap into powers so immense that it makes you feel the old Type 40 has come a long way since being so desperately disabled by the city of the Exillons in Death to the Daleks that, deviod of a single click or tick, the Third Doctor has to prize open its door with a crank handle. I know that's perhaps an out of context point given that here we're talking about the Time Vortex, but all the same, it has never seemed so powerful or mysterious. Rose's timely intervention leaves the otherwise rather redundant Doctor to do the noble thing and save his friend's life by sacrificing his own. Whatever your feelings about all this, it is nevertheless powerful and compelling stuff, and to his credit the Doctor did have a Genesis-type dilemma on his hands anyway, and cannot bring himself to wipe out the Daleks via the delta wave because this would also involve wiping out the human race, or its Earthbound inhabitants at least.

    One aspect I guess most of us could agree on is the brilliant realisation of the Daleks in this series. They are superb, not just visually:they're ruthless, practically indestructable (the climax excepted) and , as it turns out, utterly insane courtesy of the Emperor. To have them wipe out the hapless victims on the ground floor of the Game Station for no apparent reason other than to slaughter humans is spot on for the Daleks and I hope may pacify those who disagreed with the way the lone Dalek was handled in Rob Shearman's excellent story.

    Having sent Rose home, the Doctor thus fulfilling a promise he made to Jackie, and which is in itself a very emotionally involving little sequence, we then have some extremely effective moments as Rose vents her desperate frustration at being, initially at least, unable to help her friend and realising how far she has travelled-metaphorically speaking-since first meeting up with him. The involvement of Mickey and Jackie at this point, and the dialogue between the three, is entirely appropriate and is a masterly touch bearing in mind that at this point, far, far away, the Doctor and Captain Jack are fighting what seems to be a losing battle. It also neatly tied together elements of earlier stories. Top marks for that.

    The regeneration scene wasn't a showstopper as the ninth incarnation hangs around long enough to explain to Rose in practically sedate surroundings what is about to happen, but was reasonably effective. As for CE, his portrayal of the Doctor, whether he can acknowledge it or not, has steadily improved throughout the series and his will I'm sure go down as a brief but golden epoch in the show's history. Forgive the cliche but, fantastic!

    May I conclude by saying we are all entitled to our opinions. Tolerance of differing opinions is an essential feature of our democracy and indeed one of the joys of reading the reviews section of this website is seeing those opinions. All seasons have their highs and lows in the eyes of the viewer as do individual stories within those seasons and this one has been no exception. But when criticism ceases to be that and becomes a tedious rant along the lines of new Who isn't entitled to call itself Dr Who anymore and that its chief writer doesn't appear to know what he's doing then criticism crosses the line into arrogant proprietorial nonsense, into what the Seventh Doctor referred to as unlimited rice pudding etc etc in Remembrance. For the vociferous tiny minority RTD has replaced JNT as the new hate figure. However you only have to look as far as RTD's latest offering, with its frequent nods to the show's past to know we're not dealing with a man who knows nothing about Dr Who. Tom Baker admitted that as his tenure increased he became more proprietorial about the direction the show should take and that trend I am afraid is reflected in the views of those whose loathing for the 2005 season is absolute and undiminished. But it must be appreciated that the majority of us do not wish to be lectured to about what is or is not Dr Who. We will make up our own minds. Neither are we moronic or hopeless victims of the dumbing down society to have believed this season to be a triumph. Yes it is a children's show. What a surprise. But we adults can still watch and admire, and we do. It should never have been brought back, some say- better to remember it for what it was than for the embarrassing shambles it has become. Thanks very much-so at the risk of not offending their sensibilities they would cheerfully deprive millions out of what has been compulsive Saturday night family viewing enjoyed also this time round by many people of all ages who wouldn't have bothered to watch in the past. Indeed what are we going to do with our Saturday nights until Christmas?

    Look into the show's past for clues as to the criticisms of the present. When Troughton took over from Hartnell there were protests about wafer-thin plots and the character of the Doctor being reduced to a comic book creation- sound familiar? Many were troubled by the Pertwee-Baker changeover at the time. And the McCoy era was considered at the time by some to be so far removed from what had gone before as to be virtually unrecognisable as Dr Who. Now it enjoys a healthier reputation particularly the third season of that era. Infact it's interesting that we've seen an intensification of the Doctor/companion dynamic this season begun with the Seventh Doctor and Ace. I know for many it has been a step too far. But it has been an interesting RTD feature.

    Could it have been done differently with the same or greater success? Unlikely. Has it been a success or failure? A huge success, reflecting the wonderful efforts of all concerned, its chief writer included. The Ninth Doctor promised us the trip of a lifetime. He has delivered on that promise.

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    Hmmm... 200,000 years in the future, and reality TV is still going strong? Humans still haven't evolved into something more advanced? And still wear 20th century clothing? And fight Daleks with bullets? Where are the laser guns? You know, just set it in 2200 or something. That would be a believable yet distant time period. Half your problems are solved. The other half is not so easily dealt with.

    How exactly did the teleport beam enter the TARDIS? How did the controller pilot it or otherwise bring it so she could hide it in archive 6? How did she know about the Doctor and detect the TARDIS in the first place? A lot of getting from point A to point B is skipped in setting this episode up, which a few lines of dialogue would have covered. Smacks of sloppiness to me.

    Despite my nitpicking of the plot, I really did enjoy this set of episodes, until the last few minutes anyway. They start strong, build and build and then fizzle, before picking up again for the regeneration, but I'll get to that in a moment. "Bad Wolf" is an episode that is superficially entertaining and pretty good once you get past the contentions I listed above

    I despise reality TV, so I sympathize with the Doctor's boredom on Big Brother. Game shows are better, but still not worth my time. I imagine a dilemma like Rose's would be pretty nightmarish. "What not to Wear" is something my wife used to watch but which bored me to tears, so I found Jack's version of the show much more entertaining. For once his over the top braggadocio seemed in-place as he was clearly having great fun with the androids. I hope he washed his hands after firing that gun though...

    So the first half of the show is pretty light, but gets serious once we briefly think that Rose is dead. It's good to see the Daleks again, and in numbers we could only have realized with models before. The pullback reveal of the Dalek fleet is great. The Doctor's 'I'm a tough guy' speech is cringe worthy though.

    Then we come to "Parting of the Ways", which really does contain some heartfelt emotion and genuine drama. It's far better than "Bad Wolf", and one of the better episodes of the season. It has its flaws of course, but is still very enjoyable.

    I'll start with the Daleks. I love CGI, allowing us to realize things that could never have been portrayed convincingly before, and it allows us to see a massive Dalek fleet, as well as hordes of Daleks. I'm sure this is what fans like myself have wanted to see on the show for ages: some sense of vast scale. Also welcome is the absence of Davros, and the return of the Dalek Emperor, who we've seen once before. Not so welcome are the emperor's delusions of godhood and the Daleks' cries of "Blasphemy" and "Worship him". It's difficult to see this as anything other than an attack on organized religion, since as an idea it adds nothing to the story. It doesn't change the behavior of the Daleks, and allows the emperor to rant in a very tiresome way about how the Earth will become a paradise, and how he's the creator of all things, blah blah blah. All very clichéd religious nut dialogue. Again, it's a pity RTD can't restrain his politics, get off his soapbox and simply tell a good story.

    Stupid Dalek moments: the Daleks who can't quite fathom that the Doctor won't cooperate with them even when Rose is threatened, and the Daleks who back away when the Doctor tells them to shut up. Are they that afraid of him?

    So Rose is rescued and along with the Doctor and Jack, returns to the gamestation, where the standoff begins. This episode really is Captain Jack's finest hour, as he rallies the few brave station inhabitants to make a stand against the oncoming Dalek fleet and buys the Doctor enough time to set up his Delta wave weapon. Even his "if it moves flirt with it" persona is mercifully toned down this episode. He knows he's probably going to die, either by the Dalek guns or the Doctor's weapon, yet like the Doctor and Rose, running away is never an option for him. Again RTD can't restrain himself and gives us Jack kissing both the Doctor and Rose goodbye. Admittedly both kisses are affectionate and quick rather than lascivious, but they are still unwelcome. And off Jack goes to fight the good fight. He faces death without flinching, and it's good to see him returned to life by Rose (hope some others made it as well!) and I was genuinely sorry that he got left behind. Some great acting by Mr. Barrowman really conveys the sadness he feels.

    The Doctor is almost his old self this episode. He's generally brave and defiant in the face of an overwhelming Dalek threat, self-sacrificing, technically brilliant and compassionate. Up until the moment he wimps out, but I'll get to that momentarily.

    He comes up with the solution to the problem rather quickly: using the station's transmitters to project a "Delta Wave", which I can only assume is some sort of lethal energy. Said wave will destroy the Daleks en masse. The problem being there's no time to fine tune it to only affect Daleks, so it will kill billions on the Earth as well. Nevertheless the Doctor throws himself into the work while still taking the time to send Rose home to safety. This is exactly what I expect the Doctor would do: get his friend out of danger while he takes the risks. His farewell hologram message to Rose is genuinely touching, as are her frantic cries of "take me back!" Well acted by both Eccleston and Piper. But then after all the humans on the station, including Jack, have given their lives to buy the Doctor time to finish his weapon, he fails. It's at this point that the episode falls apart, after such a strong beginning and middle.

    Once again, as in "Boom Town", we are presented a situation in which the Doctor's enemy is put on an equal or higher moral plane than the Doctor and allowed to dictate moral terms. "Coward or killer?" the Dalek Emperor asks. Once again the Doctor, our hero and primary protagonist, is put in his place by the monster. It's utterly absurd. This idea that the Doctor is no better than his enemies if he stops their actions by killing them is moral relativistic garbage. By doing nothing to stop the Daleks when it is in his power to stop them, the Doctor has indeed become a moral coward and done greater evil than if he had used his weapon. Either he kills the Daleks and humans on earth, thus sparing the rest of the galaxy, or the Daleks kill the humans and in time expand to kill as many others in the universe as they can. Either way the inhabitants of Earth die. Sometimes life is messy, and the lesser of two evils is the only choice to make. It's a pity that in a show called "Doctor Who" that the title character is outdone by both of his traveling companions, not to mention nameless extras. Standing up to evil, taking responsibility and making hard choices are what the Doctor has always been about, and yet both Rose and Jack manage to do that in this episode while the Doctor fails. Fails utterly. He's not a bigger man for refusing to kill, but a coward who has saved no one. The point where the Doctor refuses to act is one of the lowest ever for the character, and is a monumental blunder that I hope is not repeated.

    One thought I had about this though: is it RTD's answer to "The Ancestor Cell" where essentially the Doctor does what he refuses to do here, and kills everyone on Gallifrey to destroy Faction Paradox? Much like the situation with the Daleks, the Doctor is faced with either making an evil choice, or taking the "coward's" way out and allowing a greater evil to occur. I'd be curious to know if Mr. Davies has read "Ancestor Cell" and what he thought of it.

    Back to the story at hand: Rose saves the day. Billie Piper does an outstanding job in portraying Rose's sadness and desperation in trying to get back to the space station. Her use of the TARDIS energy/time vortex to save the day is well portrayed, and her acting as the possessed Rose is superb. I don't know if they treated her voice electronically (I imagine so), but its every bit as emotional and sad and just as wonderful to listen to as you can imagine. She finishes off the Daleks, ends the Time War and brings Jack back to life. It's a great scene, and solves the problems of the episode. Sadly, as with "Boom Town" it also once again allows the Doctor to avoid making a hard choice, or in this case, allows him to escape the consequences of his choice. I'm tempted to just suggest that we change the name of the show to "Rose" and be done with it.

    Others have addressed the flaws of using the TARDIS as a magic cure all plot device, so I won't belabor that point. Suffice it to say, it's too bad that the Time Lords didn't figure it out if it's so easy. I get mental pictures of Time Lord technicians doing routine TARDIS maintenance, accidentally looking at the power source and becoming demigods. "Castellan, we've got another one here..."

    And then there's the ending, which is a nice little sentimental regeneration scene, leaving me with some hope that next year we'll have a happier Doctor in the form of David Tennant. The scene is well played by both Billie Piper and Christopher Eccleston, though I'm not sure he was as fantastic as he claims. With the season over, I have to admit that Eccleston, while an excellent actor who really put a lot into the part, never seems very much like the Doctor to me. He doesn't look like the Doctor with his buzz cut and leather jacket and collarless shirt; and he rarely acts like the Doctor, with rare exceptions. The romantic tension with Rose is often juvenile in the way its portrayed, and somewhat creepy considering they're 1200 years apart in age.

    Overall, "Bad Wolf" and "The Parting of the Ways" are a pair of episodes that encapsulate the uneven nature of series one: Brilliant at some points, hopelessly wrong at others. 7 out of 10 for the pair, though "Bad Wolf" is a weaker episode than "Parting of the Ways", and "Parting" would get a better rating without the deux ex machina ending. It's wonderfully dramatic, but crashes and burns when it comes to the payoff.

    And with that, we come to the end of series one. Looking back, there are a number of flaws, and a number of strengths. The new series is certainly an improvement on the last few years of the original, with coherent storylines, strong acting most of the time, and some good visuals. I find the overt left-wing view of the world and the constant annoying sexual references unnecessary and offensive, but there's just enough done right that I can ignore the bad taste left in my mouth and give the next season a chance. Whether or not I follow it after that remains to be seen. What's just as bad as the general smutty undertones to the program is the fact that the Doctor has been turned into an ineffectual coward.

    I'd love to give Russell Davies gushing accolades for bringing the show back, and I suppose he does deserve some credit for that... but if it's ruined in the process, what's the point? I'll take comfort in the fact that no producer stays with the show forever. Maybe the next one will clean it up and return its the family show roots.

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    ‘Bad Wolf’ and ‘The Parting Of The Ways’ have a lot to live up to. They have to conclude Series One and lead into Christopher Eccleston’s departure, they have to reintroduce the Daleks, they have to wrap up the Bad Wolf plot thread that has been running through the Series, and they have to also be damn enjoyable in their own right. On top of all this too, they have to sustain enjoyment over two separate Episodes, something that I feel has been a bit of a weak link throughout this Series.

    Both ‘Aliens Of London’ and ‘World War Three’ had their really great moments, but I felt that they were also severely lacking, with the latter Episode seeming a bit too much like padding when the two Episodes are watched back-to-back.

    ‘The Empty Child’ was one of the best Episodes of ‘Doctor Who’ ever made, balancing really eerie and frightening with a light touch; ‘The Doctor Dances’ on the other hand began well but ended terribly, with the final fifteen minutes being totally deprived of all suspense- you want to feel the tension, but there is no tension there to be felt. It is no surprise then, given that these are my opinions on the other two-parters, that it was the two Episode format that I was most worried about prior to transmission.

    Fortunately then, I think that Russell T Davies pulls it off perfectly here. Watched alone, both Episodes are hugely enjoyable, but watched together and you get a far more explosive effect. The emotions are heightened, the frights are more shocking and the story hangs together in a way that simply cannot be appreciated if watched with a week long gap between Episodes. From the very beginning when the Doctor appears in a Big Brother house to the very end when David Tennant beams a winning smile into the camera, everything has been carefully crafted to make for a sense of completion within both the story and the Series as an entity.

    The actual story itself is a great idea, and again it is one that manages to make the Series feel even tighter. Returning to Satellite Five from ‘The Long Game’ provides a neat inter-continuity fro the Series and it also enables Davies to explore territory that he had dipped his feet in merely an Episode beforehand: what happens after the Doctor has saved the day? In ‘Boom Town’ we have the Doctor face the consequences of his actions head on, but here we take it one step further. There is no cop-out ending this time, we are flung straight into the centre of what the Doctor has accidentally created. No amount of Daleks later on can escape the fact that everything which occurs in the next ninety minutes occurs partly as a consequence of his meddling and ‘swanning off’ (to coin a phrase). What makes the Doctor the hero of the piece though is that this time he faces it without hesitation. He sees the problem he has helped create but realises that someone has manipulated it further. It’s his fault as well as theirs, and so he sees it as his duty to stop it before it’s too late. The revelation that it is the Daleks who have done this provides not only a satisfying moment for the return of an enemy, but also provides an emotional impact when you consider the Doctor’s back story. It was the Daleks who destroyed his home and his people. It was the Daleks who changed the Doctor forever, and now it is time for him to finish this chapter in his life forever. By facing them head on, this incarnation of the Doctor turns a corner in his ‘healing’ following the Time War, and by facing his fears he is able to remember exactly who he has always been.

    The most satisfying moment of the entire Series, in my opinion, is where the Dalek Emperor asks the Doctor just what he is- killer, or coward? For one moment, you think that the Doctor will go over the edge and use a weapon to save the day… but he doesn’t do it. He chooses coward. He chooses his death over slaughter; he prefers to be killed than kill. One criticism that has surfaced again and again throughout the Series is that the Doctor here is rather unlike the Doctor seen elsewhere in the history of ‘Doctor Who’, but with this moment you realise that this has been the Doctor as we know and love him all along. There’s no bravado this time, no avoiding the situation or getting angry at it. He stands there, exposed, ready to die rather than kill others. He says he chooses coward, but he does not. He chooses heroism. He cannot commit genocide here as he knows it will make him no better than the Daleks themselves, and rather than leave Earth to its fate as many people have claimed he is doing, he is instead showing his optimism: it doesn’t require the Doctor to save the day, because he knows that humans will do it instead with or without his intervention, and with the sudden spectacular entrance of Rose, that is exactly what happens.

    Rose Tyler as a character is able to sum up everything that Davies knows ‘Doctor Who’ to be about. She is able to show everyone that no matter who they are, they can better themselves and make a better life for everyone around them. Her speech to Mickey and her Mum in a Chip Shop in ‘The Parting Of The Ways’ just sums it all up. It also shows just why Adam, earlier on in the Series, was not companion material. So many people have again levelled criticism at the character, saying that the Doctor treated him poorly, but here we hear just why the Doctor is right to dismiss him. Rose does not travel with the Doctor for the Aliens and the different Planets and the History. She travels with him to learn how to get a backbone and live a better life. Adam on the other hand travelled to get a better position in life. He was not concerned with the ins and outs of becoming a different person, but instead wanted to have a more comfortable position in life. The only time Rose attempts to do what Adam does, it all goes disastrously wrong, but she sacrifices something to repair the mistake. Adam makes no such sacrifice and learns no such lesson.

    The very ending with Rose saving the day is the very message that Davies tries to get across throughout the Series. Rose is not possessed with unique abilities or super powers or any advantage over anyone else in the Series. Bad Wolf or not, she is ordinary and just like everyone else. This is why it is so important for her to save the day. It shows just how much she has learnt from the Doctor; it shows just how much she is willing to sacrifice to make a better world; it shows us just how much of a team the Doctor and Rose are. Rose travels forwards back to the Doctor, knowing it could kill her, to save his life. The Doctor sees it happen and kills himself so that she may live, and how does he do it? With something as human as a simple kiss. No magic gimmicks, no large explosions, no alien abilities. I must admit that when he went to kiss her, my entire family including myself all groaned and even screamed “No, don’t do it!” until we realised just what he was doing. He was killing himself in the most human way possible, as the most human of humans had just saved the day. The kiss in ‘Doctor Who’ (The TV Movie) was so wrong because it represented nothing other than bestial instincts, the like of which had not been displayed by the Doctor so explicitly before, but here it works perfectly as it represents the very crux of the story: humanity saves the day.

    Davies’ script is frankly amazing. The tension is constantly maintained and the viewer is always eager to see what happens next. His use of the Daleks is great as well, making them servants to the Dalek Emperor and ruthless killers. The Dalek Emperor, whilst not as visually impressive as the original one from ‘The Evil Of The Daleks’ in my humble opinion, is a great creation, updating the very representation of the Daleks to something easily recognisable unfortunately in today’s society. Visually, they are very impressive too. The fact that whole CGI fleets of them are seen gives a real sense of scale, but more so it makes the CGI less noticeable. Whereas in ‘Dalek’ it was all too easy to play the game of ‘spot the CGI’, here an advantage is had by having hundreds of CG Daleks, making the effect blend far more seamlessly into the overall story. Davies also makes them truly horrible. When people say they are afraid of the Daleks, it’s not because of what they look like but what they do. They kill nice and innocent people- Lynda for example- without a care in the world, they massacre a room of humans just because they can, and they taunt the Doctor for no reason other than to intimidate him. The moment when the Doctor is on the Dalek Ship, resting his head against the TARDIS doors as all you can hear are Dalek guns going off says it all: even the Doctor is frightened. Davies also provides some of the most eye-watering emotional moments in the Series here; the Doctor’s optimistic ‘answer phone’ message to Rose is a real tears-in-the-eyes moment, as are his final words before he regenerates- okay, so they may have been written to be remembered, but when they’re that good, I’m not going to complain.

    He is also able to really show just what a better life Rose has with the Doctor by flinging her back to Earth. After everything has been so quick and frantic, you suddenly get meaningless conversations in a Chip Shop, dreary surroundings with dull colours purposely contrasting the colourful Satellite Five, and a lot of sitting around doing nothing. The moment when the big Yellow Truck arrives driven by Jackie Tyler represents not just a turning point in her character but also a sign that the Doctor has been here- things are loud, colourful and anything but dull again. You just know that everything will be okay.

    This isn’t just Davies’ finest hour, this is everybody’s. Billie Piper has never been so good as she is here, and it is testimony to how much she has invested in the role of Rose that when she apparently dies in ‘Bad Wolf’, even though we knew she was going to be alright, my family still gasped. John Barrowman too is magnificent, making Captain Jack a hero and even more likeable than before. The very ending, when the Doctor leaves Jack behind, not realising that he is alive, is heart wrenching, and is superbly played by Barrowman, as is his farewells to the TARDIS crew earlier on, with his kissing both Rose and the Doctor managing to be touching rather than amusing.

    Despite only appearing so she can die, the character of Lynda Moss is instantly loveable, and her death is absolutely devastating, and Jo Joyner is more than a little responsible for this, having made her such a wonderful character throughout. Sweet doesn’t sum her up- she is adorable. Not only is her death chilling, but it also provides an amazing moment in Dalek history: you can lip-read them! You see them float, you hear nothing, but you know what is coming up next. Farewell, Lynda.

    As Mickey, Noel Clarke undoubtedly turns in his finest performance of the Series and it just goes to show how good an actor he is when given a great Director to work with. Camille Coduri has never been better as Jackie either, with her shouting at Rose in the TARDIS when she tells her all about how the Doctor took her back to see her Dad being a brilliant moment in terms of character and acting.

    Joe Ahearne’s Directing is great throughout the Episodes too, and is perfectly complimented by Murray Gold’s musical score- his best of the Series. Together, they help create one of the most memorable, terrifying and tense ‘Doctor Who’ stories to ever grace the show.

    Of course, it is almost unnecessary to say, but I’ll do it anyway, that Christopher Eccleston is the person to impress most throughout the two Episodes. From his look of total devastation when he thinks Rose has died, to his ‘answer phone’ message, to his final moments, to his declaration of cowardice, he is on top form and reminds every person watching just why he was the perfect choice for the Doctor. Fantastic says it all.

    I couldn’t pass off the opportunity here to not mention someone who is in my opinion the unsung hero of Series One, the Director of Photography, Ernie Vincze BSC, who really makes every shot count and has brought this Series to life in a way that I never thought could, but always hoped would, happen.

    Then of course there is the actual Regeneration. Yes, it’s sad to see Eccleston go, and yet it just a few moments David Tennant is able to win over the entire audience and convince us all that ‘Doctor Who’ is in safe hands. In fact, the actual Regeneration itself is a great idea for the Series, as it means that new Viewers are now aware of pretty much the most important parts of the ‘Doctor Who’ legacy, and it also fulfils the whole ‘trip of a lifetime’ criteria in a very literal way!

    Never before has Regeneration looked so painful, nor has it been so clearly explained, which makes the whole process just that bit sadder. I never understood what it meant when people said it was sad to see ‘their Doctor’ go, but now I get it: I was simultaneously devastated and overjoyed. The Doctor is dead, long live the Doctor.

    And so, that is that. No more Eccleston, no more Series One, and no more concerns over whether it would all go swimmingly well. It did, and thank goodness for that. It ends on a high. Series One’s highlight? Without a doubt. These two Episodes can do nothing wrong in my eyes, and I am sure that many other people agree with me.

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    It seems like a screechingly bad idea – Earth, hundreds of thousands of years in the future, dominated by . . . turn of the 21st Century reality-TV shows? OK, so maybe it doesn’t just *seem* like a bad idea. On paper, this story really couldn’t be more ludicrous, and from hearing about it beforehand I was frankly dreading it. And while I wouldn’t call this two-parter a classic story, or even a great one, ultimately it is a surprisingly watchable one, and considering the mess of a plot we’re asked to swallow, that is accomplishment enough in itself. The key to the success of this story, apart from the obvious crowd-pleasing plot points, might be Joe Ahearne’s straight-faced approach to the material – when the Anne Droid is brought out, it isn’t presented as a joke (even though the script works hard to make it one), and Ahearne’s unwillingness to wink at the audience helps us to believe it (or to try to, anyway, which is always enough in ‘Doctor Who’).

    The idea of TV shows being tied in to a hideous conspiracy is hardly the freshest at this point – in fact, even in the context of this new series, the enslaved-by-television-fads concept is basically a reworking of ideas from this story’s prequel, ‘The Long Game.’ Russell T. Davies really doesn’t take his satire anywhere new here – but still, his point is certainly more relevant than ever. Perhaps the most disappointing thing about it is that he chose to use *real* TV shows as the butt of his jokes instead of inventing his own – not only would this have allowed him to satirize a little more freely, it also would have diminished the story’s high gimme-a-break factor. But he made the choice that he did, and for the most part it’s not too irritating. The ‘What Not to Wear’ segments are perhaps overly broad, but John Barrowman plays them so lightly that it seems at worst a silly distraction. And perhaps the most successful element of this story is the Controller, who works as a sad and terrifying symbol for the modern television viewer: literally tuned in to hundreds of channels, ostensibly controlling which ones get accessed, but imprisoned and blinded by her viewing habits at the same time. A smart, very scary idea.

    This story abruptly drops the satire to bring back the Daleks, of course, and they look great in their new gold livery. Personally, I was relieved that the rumored ‘spider Daleks’ never actually surfaced – as someone mentioned, the Daleks are actually the most genuinely futuristic-looking of the new series’ monsters, and despite decades of pepperpot jokes, this is a real testament to the genius of Ray Cusick’s design. But the Daleks themselves aren’t used too well by the script – they’re presented as traditional ‘Remembrance’-style Daleks: i.e., mindless tanks with annoying voices. There was all sorts of speculation about whether Davros would or would not appear in this story; we got the Emperor Dalek instead, but it might as well have been Davros, and the series’ continuing concept of the Daleks as dependent on these ‘Super-Daleks’ for orders just doesn’t show them at their best, in my view. Still, the script makes them imposing enough – only one gets blown up, and when the Daleks appear at the space station window to kill Lynda (whilst flashing a four-syllable word, a lovely touch), it’s a great moment. And of course there are the requisite (and fun) nods to the past (“MY VISION IS IMPAIRED! I CANNOT SEE!”). But, again, Nicholas Briggs’s voices are a touch self-conscious, and the Daleks are so bloody *slow*! Honestly, I think my vacuum cleaner could outrun all half a million of them and not break a sweat.

    As for the Doctor, some have convincingly argued that the character wouldn’t hesitate to wipe out life on Earth by using the Delta Wave against the Daleks, especially since he didn’t shrink from destroying Skaro in ‘Remembrance of the Daleks’ and, it may be inferred, from doing the same to Gallifrey itself during the Time War. But to me it actually seems quite consistent with the Doctor’s character – not only has he often shown himself unable to single-handedly take life to achieve his aims (he most often prefers to let others do it for him, as Blon Slitheen rightly points out in ‘Boom Town!’), it can also be argued that by this point the Earth is more his real home than Gallifrey anyway, and is therefore the *only* thing that could stand in his way of destroying an enemy forever – even the Daleks. I think it works perfectly, in fact.

    As for the explanation of the ‘Bad Wolf’ mystery, and the deus ex machina of Rose’s final solution of the Dalek problem, they have been much reviled by some fans, and, indeed, they are kind of crazy. The use of the TARDIS as a talisman to magically save the day at the eleventh hour is always somewhat unfair; it doesn’t help that Davies already did the same thing in the previous story, ‘Boom Town!’ But it’s obvious that Davies wanted this first series of the restored ‘Doctor Who’ to go out with a big bang, and these two story elements certainly provide that, even if they don’t work as nicely as some fans would hope. The story also achieves a sort of large scale in that it sees the shocking (if ultimately unreal) deaths of two companions, as well as the (real) one of the likeable semi-assistant Lynda. The floodlit finale is slightly melodramatic, but it works, allowing Rose to sacrifice herself to save the Doctor, and then allowing him to do the same thing for her – which is nice. And the regeneration scene itself is just lovely – for all his bluffed arrogance throughout the season, this Doctor is particularly aware of his own faults, and his self-deprecating jokes as he changes (“Can you imagine that, me with no head? Don’t say it’d be an improvement.”), make this perhaps most fallible and sad of all the Doctor’s incarnations seem terribly human for a moment. And then, the sudden change – for a moment the series really *is* brand-new again, and even those of us who have seen many regenerations past experience the shock of it as if for the first time.

    In the end, this may not be the smartest ‘Doctor Who’ story ever, but it’s tasteful enough, and magical at the end – a fitting finale to a new age.

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    And so it's over. Not just this current series - a whole era, the Christopher Eccleston era, is over. And boy, what a way to go!!

    This final story had everything that makes good Dr Who, and had it in bucketloads. Fantastic effects, huge ambition, raw emotion, great acting, fabulous directing. In short, it was a microcosm of the 9th Doctor's era.

    OK, let's get a few things over with. Yes, all you very clever reveiwers / critics that have picked at the "holes" in RTD's latest script. You're right - it's stretching things to imagine that Big Brother, Weakest Link etc will be around in thousands of years time. Very well spotted. But that's really not the point. We could have been shown some imaginary futuristic game shows - but that would have missed the irony, the sarcasm, it just wouldn't have worked so well, as showing us perverse versions of shows we already know. That's what satire is all about, and it requires a little thing called suspended disbelief. We know it's not real - we all turn over to Confidential afterwards and see how it's all done - but for 45 mins that doesn't matter. This whole premise could have gone horribly wrong - I shuddered when I first heard about this idea - but they took it, treated it absolutely straight (except for What Not to Wear - this was there for comedy value, and p - lease, I ask you, don't start picking holes in the logic behind this. It was a J-O-K-E and worked darn well!) The other shows were handled dead straight - pardon the pun - and as such were scary, suspenseful and unmissable TV.

    Another point has been raised in these reviews - why didn't the Daleks just destroy the Doctor in the first place? Well, think about it. The Doctor discovered the Daleks presence partly because of the Controller - something the Daleks hadn't bargained on. The Emperor was loopy, and presumably had some mad scheme to humiliate the Doctor - the last of their great enemy the Time Lords - before killing him. But once the Doctor discovered them and revealed them to the rest of the humans, their strategy had to change, and they now needed him dead asap. So perhaps - yet again - RTD wasn't so guilty of "lazy" scriptwriting...

    You get the point. There are loads of things which have been picked apart in this script, most of which can be rationalised, alot of which we just don't need to pore over. It would have been nice to know exactly how the Controller became the Controller. It would have been nice to know why Rose chose "Bad Wolf" as her message, instead of something a little more obvious.Etc etc. But it doesn't matter. RTD knows his business like few others out there and that's why he's managed to pull in a huge audience every saturday with something other than Celebrity Funeral Directors on Holiday. I'm sick to death of certain "reviewers" - you know who you are - slagging his scripts off and trying to be clever. In truth, most of my favourite scripts have been written by other writers, but this is purely because of the incredibly high standard of writing, and not because RTD's are bad.

    OK. Rant over. But please, criticism is all well and good, but some of you guys just don't deserve this series.

    Anyway - back to the show. So, Bad Wolf paved the way beautifully for the final episode. It was a shame the BBC totally ruined the surprise of the Dalek return - I'd known this was a rumour, but had actually got to the point where I wasn't expecting it, then all surprise was shattered with the previous week's preview. Stupid, idiotic mistake by the Beeb - one of the few feet they put wrong in their otherwise excellent publicity for this series.

    Anyway, the Daleks' return sent shivers down my spine - and left me feeling like I did as a child, in being almost unable to wait for the final episode. The scenes inside the Dalek spaceship were absolutely gorgeous, and the space scenes of troops of daleks flying out - well, it just doesn't get better than that.

    There was so much expectation on the final episode, it almost had to disappoint in some areas, and I must admit most of the "Bad Wolf" theories I'd heard proved to be far more exciting than the real one. I myself had plumped for either the Black Guardian's return, or Adam, enhanced by the knowledge he gleaned in the Long Game. (So what the hell was the point of taking Adam on board for one story...?!) The Emperor Dalek looked fantastic, but I just expected something else - it's always a problem to build something up as something absolutely mind blowing, had they not then I would have immediately realised that the voice in the trailer was the Emperor and not started with fanciful theories which then felt slightly disappointing not to be realised!

    The whole Bad Wolf scenario too just didn't make that much sense - as I said previously, why leave herself such a cryptic clue?

    But hey, did any of this matter? What we got was absolutely stonking Dr Who, with some of the best action sequences ever seen in the programme and some wonderful acting by the regulars. John Barrowman, so fantastic in the absolutely sublime Empty Child two - parter (surely the best episodes of the series), was just slightly annoying and smug in Boom Town, but here he was back to his best, and the touching scene where he said goodbye to the Doctor and Rose - and the infamous kiss - was as good as any scene in the rest of the season. There was another reason for this - I'll come to that in a second.

    The peripheral characters were all ok, Lynda with a y was annoying and one of the worst performances of the series, which has to be said, has been as consistent as anything seen on TV. (The episode which convinced me of this was the aforementioned Empty Child, with the waif children - surely no one has managed to get such good performances out of a group of children other than Steven Spielberg who does it regularly - James Hawes, I salute you.) The inclusion of Anne Robinson was great, even if the name Ann Droid was a bit of a predictable pun and not the genius that RTD seemed to think! Her destruction of, and then by, the Daleks in the last episode made me laugh out loud. Again, sheer brilliant writing.

    And despite huge space battles, incredible enemies and mass destruction - all realised quite magnificently by the best set of special effects people in the country - it all came down to Rose and the Doctor.

    I mentioned the emotion of Jack's farewell to these two, and the reason it was so poignant was that this whole episode had a kind of dark foreboding to me which I haven't really felt since Logopolis. In that story, Tom Baker, my favourite Doctor and a man who had made the character his own over 7 years in a way that none of his predecessors had, finally bowed out, and the production team deliberately went for a very funereal atmosphere which grew through the whole story. That was 24 years ago. Since then, we lost Peter Davison - Caves of Androzani was a great story, a classic, but I really didn't care that much that Davison was going. Except that we had Colin Baker to replace him! He, of course, had no regeneration story and to be honest was no great loss (sorry Colin). Sylvester McCoy, well he had some great stories and some terrible ones, but by 1989 I almost didn't care that the show went, it all seemed a shallow mockery of what it had been with good old Tom.

    And now, here I am, 40 years old, and after just 13 episodes, I felt that same blanket of dread again at the thought of Chris' imminent departure. Mr Eccleston I salute you. The era of the 9th Doctor, though painfully short, has been blissfully quality, owing in no small way to the lead actor. I had so many doubts before the show started - principally the costume, the fact that at first viewing he seemed to be more of a normal "bloke", all this has been blown away over the weeks as Eccleston's performances have soared. He had so many great scenes in these 2 episodes - when he felt Rose was dead, when he vowed to save her and destroy the Daleks, his scenes with the Emperor, his sadness when he sent Rose back. He has been simply awesome, and while nostalgia will probably always keep Tom as my fave Doctor, the 9th remains an almost perfect portrayal of our favourite hero.

    And, of course, Billie Piper. It's an obvious thing to say that this series has been about her more than the Doctor, but I fear many just haven't got that. They've complained about the "soapiness" of Rose's home life, not realising that without this background we just wouldn't care about her as much as we do. Did we really care this much about Jo Grant or Sarah Jane Smith? Father's Day was the pinnacle of Rose's story, the singular most emotion-laden Dr Who story there has ever been. It was gratifying that Rose spoke to Jackie about this in this episode - I feared it would all be conveniently forgotten (and would have been in the original series). But no, as usual RTD has written these characters as real people, and therefore it was imperative they discussed this. Similarly with Mickey in Boom Town - Noel Clarke's best scenes by a long way (oh and my - written by that crap old bloke Russel T Davies...!)

    And so, with soaring music - and I think Murray Gold, also much-maligned, has been pretty faultless in the last half of the series - the Dr and Rose kiss, a special kiss, a kiss that saves Rose's life, and ends the Doctor's. A shame that the regeneration had been given away too, I hadn't expected this. I'm still not entirely sure of this was just tacked on the end - it almost seems impossible now the way the season was structured, that it might not have ended with a regeneration. I suspect Chris was only ever going to do one season. And in a way, sad as this is, it's quite fitting way to end possibly the greatest TV series there has ever been - too OTT? - perhaps. But I can't think of another where just about every aspect has been perfect.

    And ultimately, that's what worries me. I felt a genuine loss when the end credits came. David Tennant was fantastic as casanova, and I'm sure Billie Piper will be as good as ever. But I do feel an era has passed and that we'll always look back and say, Dr Who's good now, but what about the Eccleston era...? It's one of those times when you just know that things will never be the same again. Sometimes you don't realise it til a long time after, and that's when things are viewed with the rose-tinted lenses of nostaligia. But when you know straight away - and I do - you realise that you've just witnessed something quite, quite, special. Russel, Chris, Billie, Phil, writers, directors, effects wizards, actors, set designers, composers....you get the message...you were, in the words of our hero, "fantastic". Shove the detractors. Thank you for giving me a little part of my childhood back again. Roll on Christmas...

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    Come In, Number Nine, Your Time Is Up…

    There’s so much to talk about with these two episodes that I barely know where to begin, so let’s start at the very beginning. After a short recap, it suddenly appears that I’ve sat on the remote and switched to Channel Four. Of course, I’ve done no such thing. Having destroyed one reality TV Show in the ratings, Doctor Who now proceeds to send up the daddy of them all for an encore. It may be somewhat implausible for Big Brother to still be on air in 200100 AD, but frankly, that’s besides the point. The scenes of The Doctor in the Big Brother house are cheeky, very iconic, and superbly written and played by all. In the meantime, Rose’s Weakest Link segment provides some real danger, and Captain Jack is an absolute scream in What Not To Wear.

    And to think when Russell first mentioned copyright issues with this episode way back in his first DWM column, I was convinced he was talking about using the daleks. Speaking of which…

    They’re back. Sadly, it’s impossible to keep these things secret anymore – the age of Earthshock has long since passed – but for the BBC themselves to spoil the revelation of the daleks by including them in the Boom Town trailer just smacked of desperate ratings-grabbing. But never mind that – what are they actually like?

    Thankfully, they’re superficially the same daleks we know and fear from Episode Six, and all the talk of redesigns that filled me with such dread has proved to be unfounded. There are literally hundreds of them onscreen, and they’re unstoppable (indeed, I counted only four dalek casualties before the final showdown). Their new-found religion/madness is intended to give them new depth, but it is really only through the Emperor’s dialogue that it is explored – otherwise the daleks act exactly as daleks should, exterminating everything and everyone in sight (and for my money, it is Lynda-with-a-y who gets the most spectacular exit). Even the TARDIS crew are not exempt from this fate, and after a touching goodbye to The Doctor and Rose, Captain Jack dies with honour, dignity, and most of all, style.

    The daleks’ master plan, though, is somewhat flawed. Given that their species is weapons capable of cracking open an entire planet, why don’t they destroy the satellite once The Doctor has shown up? (And whilst I’m nit-picking, how exactly did the Controller acquire a transmat capable of breaching the defences of the TARDIS in flight?)

    Nevertheless, the invasion of the satellite gives The Doctor a superb moral dilemma to grapple with at the series’ climax. He’s already hurting having wiped out the Time Lords in an ultimately unsuccessful attempt to destroy the daleks – of course he’s not going to do it again. This whole episode is built upon past stories in which The Doctor’s actions have not turned out for the best, so this time he picks the supposedly “cowardly” option instead.

    Fortunately for him, Rose’s more simplistic outlook means she is far more willing to commit genocide than The Doctor is. Given slightly-explained new powers from the TARDIS she is able to destroy all the daleks, bring Jack (but no-one else?) back to life, initiate the whole Bad Wolf thing, and get a snog out of The Doctor to boot. However overblown and poorly-explained this sequence may be, there’s no denying that her performance is incredible, with Cate-Blanchett-in-Lord-Of-The-Rings effects to match.

    In summary, the whole show is well-structured, well-acted (even by Mickey and Jackie) and beautifully directed, with some superb dialogue. My one complaint with the realisation of this story is the amount of glare applied to the picture – especially when the daleks’ head-bulbs light up. It’s been a minor irritation all series, but it’s really noticeable here. However, such quibbles are unimportant. We’ve been given the flashiest finale to date in a gloriously wild and unpredictable season, in which Chris Eccleston has cemented a truly wonderful portrayal of the Doctor. He will be sorely missed by many.

    9/10.

    But wait! I can’t finish without adding my two cents about the final scene. Chris’s final words are beautifully written and delivered, and his regeneration is originally executed and very moving. Unfortunately, he appears to have turned into that Casanova chappie, who may have a lot more of The Doctor’s quirkiness than Chris did, but appears at first glance to be too young, comical and generally unimpressive to play the part with the necessary weight and conviction. I predict many comparisons to Sylvester McCoy in the episodes to come. “Time will tell. It usually does.”

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    My problem with Russell T. Davies’ writing isn’t that he goes too far with sex, satire, and humor – it’s that he doesn’t go far enough. “Bad Wolf / Parting of the Ways” is a good case in point. When I first heard about these episodes, I anticipated that Davies would use Doctor Who as a forum for wry commentary on the reality TV phenomenon. But there is no commentary here; there’s just the skin of a good idea, wasted. The Doctor goes on “Big Brother” … only to break a camera and leave. Captain Jack gets a makeover, Rose plays “The Weakest Link” (surely it would’ve been more exciting if she had to play against the Doctor?), and ultimately it amounts to nothing. It’s not a satire because it’s not reflective in any way; it merely presents these TV programs as they actually are, only with robots. I expected more.

    The Daleks, too, are a wasted opportunity. The lone creature in “Dalek” was a truly formidable villain, but here the half-million-strong Dalek army is firmly back in camp mode. I can hardly believe the same Joe Ahearne directed these episodes; the Daleks look so unimpressive here, congregating in their lousy spaceship set and screaming their little heads off. One of them even has dome lights that feebly sputter out-of-tune with its dialogue – it’s amateur hour, just like old times! When the Doctor defies them with his “power” speech about rescuing Rose, he sounds less like a mighty hero, and more like the narrator of next week’s coming attraction.

    The excitement picks up in the second part, but only a little. The Doctor’s rescue of Rose is too quick and too convenient, and he embarrasses the Daleks first by blunting their rays with a force field, then by intimidating them with one of his obnoxious new catchphrases, “shut it!” Good grief, the Daleks look wimpy here. The wrinkle that they are religious comes from nowhere and goes nowhere, much like the reality TV concept. I think Davies wanted to take a shot at Bush (the religious “Emperor” of America), but, as with the Slitheen two-parter, he failed to channel his political anger into an interesting story. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter if the Daleks are religious or not, since all they do is shout their old clichés and exterminate extras.

    Speaking of exterminations, the battle scenes in “Parting of the Ways” fall extremely flat coming after “Dalek.” We’ve seen all the new Dalek tricks before; in fact, the shots of them dissolving bullets look so familiar, they might as well have used stock footage. Once again we get extras blazing away uselessly with machine guns and refusing to retreat, like any sensible person would do. And, once again, the Daleks are incredibly slow - it’s hard to be scared of something that moves at one-eighth of a mile per hour.

    The scenes of Rose with Jackie and Mickey feel like retreads as well. How many times must Jackie shrilly condemn the Doctor? How many times must Rose tell Mickey that her life in the TARDIS is better than anything he could offer her? It’s not great characterization because it never evolves; the same debates are rehashed endlessly. Davies again wastes a potentially good idea. I might care about Rose’s home life, if Jackie and Mickey were depicted as anything but wafer-thin and semi-ludicrous characters without a brain cell to share between them.

    I haven’t even touched on the worst aspect of this two-parter – the climax. The Bad Wolf mystery is resolved in an amazingly unsatisfying fashion. In the end, the phrase “Bad Wolf” is meaningless; it’s not a proper clue, since it has no actual connection to Rose, the TARDIS, the Daleks, or Rose’s plan to rescue the Doctor. So, then, it was never a proper mystery. It was just a weak linking device for the season, designed to generate some artificial suspense. The payoff is so feeble that it wasn’t worth it.

    Equally unsatisfying is Rose’s sudden elevation to godhood. Faced with a huge dilemma – how can the Doctor beat half a million Daleks? – Davies cops out and simply grants the companion limitless energy from the time vortex. I find it weird and frustrating that the same fans who hate the miracle resolution of the TV Movie, when fairy dust resurrects Chang Lee and Grace, seem perfectly willing to accept Rose as a God From the Machine (literally!) who miraculously saves the day with the aid of shiny special effects.

    Then there’s Eccleston. He’s not very good in these episodes. I hate his performance when he’s torn about activating the Delta wave; he overplays the moment horribly and pulls some truly ridiculous “tense” faces. His death scene is not particularly affecting, as Davies just serves up the silly “fantastic” catchphrase instead of writing proper, thoughtful dialogue. It’s a bad end for a bad Doctor.

    I'm sorry to say that the new Doctor Who, the new Daleks, and the show’s new writers seem to have used up their bag of tricks already. There’s an overly familiar feel to this finale, like it’s been hastily cobbled together from the rest of the season without proper thought or care (for example – why doesn’t Rose make any reference to the Dalek she befriended earlier?). I truly am disappointed; this is some of the very worst science fiction that I’ve ever seen, really sloppy and cheap and not at all imaginative.

    Perhaps I’m just finally tired of Doctor Who. It doesn’t seem to have evolved much, or at least it hasn’t evolved in the right ways, and as I watched this season I kept wondering why I wasn’t tackling some meaty, intellectual Criterion DVDs instead. The new series may be entertaining, and it may be reasonably popular, but it’s not actually good or particularly smart. If you’ll forgive a horrid pun, I think the bloom is already off the Rose.

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    When the British Film Institute announced their series of monthly screenings throughout 2013 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who, I thought that they sounded like a nice idea, but I wasn’t particularly fussed about attending any of them myself. I hadn’t been to any Doctor Who events for a very long time, and thought that they weren’t necessarily my sort of thing.

    However, last month I had the opportunity to attend the Remembrance of the Daleks event, and I absolutely loved it. The chance to watch a great Doctor Who story on the big screen, with a large and enthusiastic audience who love the series just as much as you do, and to hear more from some of the people who made it happen with the interview panel afterwards… I was hooked, and despite having come to these BFI events rather late in the series, was determined to try and get to more of them before the end of the year.

    I was very fortunate, then, to be able to pick up a couple of returns on the BFI website in the week leading up to the Ninth Doctor event, and went along with a good friend of mine on Saturday to enjoy that Doctor's grand finale, the two-parter Bad Wolf and The Parting of the Ways. The observant among you will have spotted that this is the Ninth Doctor, but in the eighth month. Presumably due to the availability of guests for the screenings, they’ve got a little out of order now, with the David Tennant event following next month, and Paul McGann finally getting his moment at the beginning of October. At the beginning of this month’s event, compère Justin Johnson announced that both Tennant and McGann will be attending their respective screenings.

    Probably to nobody’s great surprise, there was no appearance from Christopher Eccleston at this month’s showing, although he did send along a note for Johnson to read out before Bad Wolf. It was short, but definitely sweet, and although Eccleston doesn’t often make any statements or appearances related to his period with Doctor Who, you do sense that he remains proud of his time on the series and the work that he did to help establish its successful return. In his note, Eccleston joked that if Joe Ahearne – who directed the two episodes being screened – were to return for the 100th anniversary special in 2063, he’d take part and bring his stair-lift, providing the Daleks do not bring theirs!

    You do sense that there was a great bond formed between Ahearne and Eccleston during the five episodes of Doctor Who which they made together. Ahearne, remember, wrote to The Guardian to rebuke those who’d criticised Eccleston for his departure from the show after only one year, and he and Eccleston collaborated on the ITV drama Perfect Parents soon after their work on Doctor Who. Ahearne has rightly won many plaudits from fans down the years for his work on the 2005 series, but has oddly never returned to the show. It does make you wonder whether the fact that Eccleston left has anything to do with his not wanting to come back and do more, but sadly during the question-and-answer session which followed the interview panel, nobody put that one to him – and I wasn’t brave enough to ask him myself!

    Nonetheless, Ahearne did give many interesting insights, such as his observation that Doctor Who was a pleasure to work on because it was one of the few British television dramas of the time where the camera could help to tell the story, rather than just being pointed at people having conversations in kitchens. And he did dispel the long-standing fan myth about his having been born on November 23rd 1963 – not true, evidently!

    Representing the actors of the Ninth Doctor’s era was Bruno Langley, who played short-term companion Adam Mitchell in Dalek and The Long Game. I felt a little sorry for Langley, as there wasn’t a great deal for him to say, given the fact that he wasn’t actually in the two episodes being screened. Nonetheless, he came across as likeable enough, and another person proud to have been associated with Doctor Who.

    Also present as a guest was visual effects supremo Dave Houghton, who was interviewed between the two episodes, and it’s odd to hear someone from that side of things talk about how much more can be done these days – we’re used to hearing those who worked on the classic series day that, but these 2005 episodes themselves are now starting to seem old!

    There is no question, however, that both the interview panel and the question-and-answer session were dominated by day’s other guest – Phil Collinson, who was the producer of Doctor Who when it returned in 2005. Collinson is, of course, an old-school, dyed-in-the-wool Doctor Who fan, but he was also the sure head and steady hand who made sure that the whole thing didn’t fall to pieces in those early days when nobody had made a series like this in the UK for so very long, schedules were falling behind and elements both inside and outside of the BBC were predicting an embarrassment. It was anything but, of course, as Bad Wolf and The Parting of the Ways go to show.

    Collinson was a witty, informative and hugely enthusiastic guest, proud not just of these two episodes, not even just of his era, but of all of Doctor Who. Even after everything that’s been said and written about the show and how it is made, he still had some fascinating new insights, too – such as the fact that the first cut of Rose, the first episode of the new series, came in at a mere 28 minutes, necessitating some frantic additions and reworking!

    On a technical level, while it was very impressive to see the episodes on a film-sized screen, oddly I thought that they didn’t stand up to it quite as well as Remembrance of the Daleks last month. I don’t know if it’s because I was sitting nearer the front this time, or whether it’s an artefact of the field-pairing process used to ‘filmise’ the video, or simply my imagination, but I thought that the jagged edges you’d expect when 625-line video is blown-up to cinema-screen size were more apparent.

    Perhaps it was simply the contrast with some of the high definition Matt Smith-era material we’d seen only a few moments before, when we were treated to a sneak preview of a montage from BBC One’s Doctor Who Prom broadcast. On the basis of that, I’d expect An Adventure in Space and Time and whatever 11th Doctor story is chosen to look fabulously lush on their showings here at the BFI.

    Such quibbles aside, I can only thank the BFI once again for putting on this series of celebrations for Doctor Who’s anniversary, and repeat my recommendation from my Remembrance of the Daleks review that if you have the chance to attend one of these events, you should grab it with both hands.
    Paul Hayes
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