15 May 2005Father's Day, by Jack Green
15 May 2005Father's Day, by Robert S.J. Lucas
15 May 2005Father's Day, by Andrew Beighton
15 May 2005Father's Day, by Dominic Carter
15 May 2005Father's Day, by Steve Manfred
15 May 2005Father's Day, by Grant Selby
15 May 2005Father's Day, by Karen Bryan
15 May 2005Father's Day, by Andrew Hawnt
15 May 2005Father's Day, by Ann Hamilton
15 May 2005Father's Day, by Mark Hain
15 May 2005Father's Day, by Paul Wilcox
15 May 2005Father's Day, by Alan McDonald
15 May 2005Father's Day, by Paul Roper
15 May 2005Father's Day, by Paul Krishnan
15 May 2005Father's Day, by Rossa McPhillips
15 May 2005Father's Day, by Andy Griffiths
15 May 2005Father's Day, by Andrew Philips
15 May 2005Father's Day, by Tavia Chalcraft
15 May 2005Father's Day, by Richard Flynn
15 May 2005Father's Day, by Ed Martin
15 May 2005Father's Day, by Calum Corral
15 May 2005Father's Day, by Angus Gulliver
15 May 2005Father's Day, by Andrew Blundell
15 May 2005Father's Day, by Gordon Mackenzie
15 May 2005Father's Day, by James Mclean
15 May 2005Father's Day, by Dominic Smith
15 May 2005Father's Day, by Ian Smith
15 May 2005Father's Day, by John Byatt
15 May 2005Father's Day, by John Campbell Rees
15 May 2005Father's Day, by Andy Smith
15 May 2005Father's Day, by Matt Kimpton
15 May 2005Father's Day, by Jonathan Crossfield
15 May 2005Father's Day, by James Ashby
15 May 2005Father's Day, by David Carlile
15 May 2005Father's Day, by Tom Cooke
15 May 2005Father's Day, by Mark Naisbitt
15 May 2005Father's Day, by Eddy Wolverson
15 May 2005Father's Day, by A.D. Morrison
15 May 2005Father's Day, by James Tricker
15 May 2005Father's Day, by John Byatt
15 May 2005Father's Day, by Katy Salter
15 May 2005Father's Day, by Paul Berry
15 May 2005Father's Day, by Douglas Edward Lambert
15 May 2005Father's Day, by Neil Micklewright
15 May 2005Father's Day, by Paul Hayes
15 May 2005Father's Day, by David Carlile
29 Oct 2005Father's Day, by Corey McMahon
29 Oct 2005Father's Day, by Anthony Musgrave
29 Oct 2005Father's Day, by Robin Calvert
29 Oct 2005Father's Day, by Kenneth Baxter
29 Oct 2005Father's Day, by Mick Snowden
29 Oct 2005Father's Day, by James Griffiths
29 Oct 2005Father's Day, by Paul Clarke
29 Oct 2005Father's Day, by Joe Ford
29 Oct 2005Father's Day, by Jeffrey Moore
29 Oct 2005Father's Day, by Mike Eveleigh
29 Oct 2005Father's Day, by Geoff Wessel
29 Oct 2005Father's Day, by Daniel Knight
29 Oct 2005Father's Day, by Adam Kintopf
29 Oct 2005Father's Day, by David Lim
29 Oct 2005Father's Day, by Robert Tymec
29 Oct 2005Father's Day, by Nick Mellish
29 Oct 2005Father's Day, by Richard Radcliffe
29 Oct 2005Father's Day, by Chris Morris
08 Aug 2007Father's Day, by Shane Anderson

What can I say! Quite possibly my favourite episode of the series so far. Its quite odd really, as I came in, having video taped the episode, when my sister tells me that it was really crap. I can see where she may have been disappointed - not a lot of explosions or conventional evil genius'. No this was RAW EMOTION!

I don't care if this is "Doctor Who" or not, this was amazing emotional television. Everything was explained as well - the fact that these creatures were able to exist was due to the destruction of Gallifrey - if the timelords were still alive they could have stopped it.

There are only one or two bad points for me really - one is the predictability that Pete Tyler had to sacrifice himself - although this may be a good point as we come closer to the inevitability of it... hmmm yes thats a good point. Right, there is only one bad point - and thats how poor the empty tardis was - I'd have preferred it if there was an infinite space within it - but with nothing there. Am I babbling?

I think Jacqui was acted superbly, as was Pete - but the real star of the show was Billie Piper as Rose - I am SO impressed by her this series its unreal - I was hesitant of her being the companion - now I know it was an inspired move!

Its very odd how the man responsible for the new series - good ol Russell T, is being overtaken by people like Shearman, Gatis, and Cornell in terms of the best writers. Just an observation, would you agree?

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There is a danger in Doctor Who when writing an episode about time paradoxes that it may appear either pithy or over complicated. I feel that 'Fathers Day' is a little of both and something else between.

I am a stickler for episodes focussing on time, after all it's a show based heavily on time travel, but I like it to be done properly. I feel that 'Fathers Day' is a great example of this and succeeds in its attempt.

The story was a lovely, simple tale of the dangers of messing with the timelines. I felt that the topic was extremely worthy of a classic episode; however one problem I had with the episode was the presence of the 'Reapers'. I felt that they were pretty unessesary and maybe the episode was a little handicapped as a result. I felt that the story could have been based around people suddenly disappearing as a result of the time distortion etc... that would have rung a little truer to me, maybe I'm imagining it, but hey ho!

The direction was a little unimaginative, and at times I found it a little clumsy, however it worked as a dark macabre tale, and focussed enough on what mattered to be credible (apart from the parts when Rose's father gets run over... I found that a little unbelievable)

The effects were the best so far, as the Reapers, no matter how unnecessary they were, were perfectly designed and executed and looked fantastic in the midst of 80's alarm!<br><br>The acting was great from Rose and her father, although the doctor still seems to be trying that little bit too hard... the role encompasses a heavy character as not only has it got eight other parts to it (from previous incarnations), but there is also the added weight of the destruction of Gallifrey which Chris Eccelston doesn't seem to pull off, no matter how many fans pass it off as him being an alien.... Tom baker was an alien but completely convincing!

In total, it was a great Doctor Who and a nice glimpse into Rose's past, but to be honest I'd rather like to see a little more of the Doctors! (seeing as we've seen in from 1963 on ward!)

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This is the first episode that has prompted me to write a review. Not because it is the first one that I have thought worthy for I've not been disappointed by any so far. But this is what I remember Doctor Who being like when I was growing up, full of time paradoxes and monsters.

I thought the episode was brilliantly made as always and it left me with plenty to think about when it was done but I do have a couple of nagging concerns.

First, I am now wondering if this series should be called "Rose", and not "Doctor Who", I can't remember any companion forming the central part of so many episodes, and here was no exception. I have no problem with this in general, but I am longing to discover more about this Doctor before he is no more.

Second, the whole idea of these creatures appearing to heal time doesn't really hold together and there seems to be no explanation as to why the hit and run car is now appearing outside the church.

Please don't misunderstand me. The writing in this episode, the relationships explored, and the realisation of the creatures themselves was all done brilliantly. But after the wonder has died down I'm still left wondering. Why?
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After the average episode that was The Long Game i was hoping that Fathers Day would be a little more exciting and interesting as it dealt with a theory pondered by many peole: what would happen if i could go back in time and change this, that and the other? So im glad to say that this episode marked an excellent return to the extaordinary form of the new series of Doctor Who!

This story, in some places, felt like some from the old series, especially when we see things from the point of view of the monster (in this case called the Reapers, but i dont think they were ever called by this name on screen, unless i just missed it). As for the Reapers, what can i say? They were one of the most brilliant monsters to ever grace Doctor Who! They had a unique quality to them and looked as if they burst through a rip in time! The location where this story was filmed also looked stunning as it really felt like the eighties. The appearance of baby Mickey was also a great idea.

As usual the lead characters acted amazingly and convincingly and the guest cast also gave good performances. Surprisingly i couldn't see any Bad Wolf references, i thought it would be sprayed on the wall in the background of the play park, or that Rose would mention a Bad Wolf bedtime story told to her by her father.

So, this story was a great comeback after a perfectly fine story that just wasn't up to the high standards of the others. This story is definitely one of the best in the series so far, congratulations to Paul Cornell! As for the preview of next weeks, well, after i retrieved my jaw from the floor after seeing the awesome effects of the blitz, it seems that this series is just getting better and better. I cant see for the life of me why some people complain about looking forward to the preview when we should be more concerned with the episode that is being shown. The previews are an amazing way to hook the audience, tantalising us with some of the best parts of the upcoming story in such a hectic rate that it really catches your attention. On top of that it has the fantastic theme tune blaring over the top of it! It also gives rise to an amusing observation about Doctor Who fans: You know you are a Doctor Who fan when at the end of your day there is a preview of tomorrows events...
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The hardest part about reviewing "Father's Day" is knowing where to start. Normally, episodes of "Doctor Who" have something about them that didn't quite work and act as a sort of hand-hold to start a review from, not so much to complain about the thing that was wrong as to provide better contrast with the things that were right. With "Father's Day," everything seemed right to me... and so I'm unsure where to begin!

I'll begin at the beginning then, with where this all started, which was Paul Cornell's excellent, excellent script. This felt like he took only the best things about the NAs and the Charley arc in the Big Finish audios and rolled them into the consummate human interest time travel s.f. drama, with some good old-fashioned TV narrative flashback tricks thrown in for good measure (by this I mean the bits of narration from Rose on the picture of her dad, or Jackie telling little Rose all about him). The neat thing is that I knew this was coming... that something telling something very like this story in this style and manner was on its way from Paul... and still I found it extremely moving and touching and sad and life-affirming all at the same time (and alternative times ). The only explanation for my reaction that I can think of is that the story itself, so basic, so pure, and so right, is too strong for my cynicism. Of course Rose would want to see her dead father before he died. Of course she'd want to stop that death from happening. So of course she goes to that time and place and tries to stop it, though she hasn't quite admitted to herself or to the Doctor yet that that's why she's there. And of course she can't quite bring herself to do it the first time around... it seems too unreal even now she's been in the TARDIS for more than half a season. And so of course she tries again and does save him. And of course, disaster ensues, and the only way to put it right is for Peter to let that car hit him after all. This is "Doctor Who" being truly honest and complete with human emotions in relation to the possibilities that a time machine affords people in a way the original TV series rarely was, and that's why this new season so totally rules.

The way we get there is entertaining in itself too, with all sorts of Paul Cornell trademark dialog flourishes. He was writing Joss Whedon dialog before Joss Whedon was, and Rose's little "don't go there... you don't know where there is... and you're so very far away from there... etc" speech was the best example of this when Jack's starting to compliment her on her looks. The "don't touch the baby" scene was also very good. I also love the little details of the people other than her beloved dad that she meets while she's trying to cope with him, like Jackie (and her 80s hair) and most especially the child version of Mickey. He was so cute!

I also love the way Peter was portrayed. He came across to me as a man who's a "loser" mainly because of where society has put him and because Jackie defines him that way. He's actually very capable of thinking very creatively and imaginatively for himself and doing the right thing as he ably proves at the end when he lets the car run him over as it should have, having largely worked out the whole time puzzle for himself. And this makes perfect sense for his character, because these are the same traits inherent in Rose herself and aren't there in Jackie, so she must have got them from him. When he tells Rose that he wouldn't have been the best father in the world like she thought he would've been, I don't really believe him. He would've been an ordinary one who made mistakes, sure, but his love for Rose was pure, and that's what would've made him the "perfect" father. In fact, nevermind the "would've." He was already.

And then there's the Doctor. And I didn't really believe him either when he flew off the handle and called Rose a stupid ape and threatened to leave her there. And neither did Rose, so again she's proving she's got him pegged. And he didn't really believe himself either... he's not honest with himself until that moment in the church where he tells Rose that he wasn't really going to leave her. The open question is why he did this in the first place... took her to see this day, and I don't really swallow the idea that "oh, he's alien, he didn't guess that she'd do this" that some have suggested. I think part of him knew she'd do it and maybe wanted to see just what would happen... if the Reapers really would come and start cauterizing the planet or if they could maybe somehow get away with doing this like he'd done in the old days when the Time Lords were still around. He tells Rose himself that he'd thought of doing this very same thing to save his own people and family but hadn't for fear of this happening. Was Rose's situation some sort of guinea pig experiment for him, just to make sure the Reapers really would turn up? I think he's letting himself think he's being high and mighty and Time Lordish about the interference in time just to give his emotions an excuse not to try this for himself. Now, of course, he's got his proof, and I wouldn't expect him to really give it a go. But I think a piece of him wondered... and _that's_ the alien part of him... not ignorance of emotion, but rather the more selfish, darker emotion he's had ever since he picked up that rock to bash in Za's skull in "The Forest of Fear." I keep saying he's damaged, and his actions here, especially when he gives himself up to the invading Reaper in the church, prove the idea that he's got a death wish.

Ah yes, the Reapers... I think they're the best-looking monsters the series has given us since.... um.... gosh I've got to go quite a way back here.... er, the Zygons? There we go. I mean, wow... they looked amazing, cool, and very photo-realistic. They were flawless in design and execution and very scary to watch in action. They're certainly the fastest monsters we've ever had in "Doctor Who" (though that's not saying much). In conception, well, they're Vortisaurs by another not-previously-owned name really, serving much the same time-eating function as they and other time-eating creatures we've heard of before, and they can get into time from the vortex thanks to the weaknesses that Peter's living has created (in the same way that the never-people in "Neverland" were able to do through Charley in the second McGann audio season). I've seen some ask "why didn't they go for Peter then... he was the paradox," to which I would answer, "duh... he's their way in... kill him and the buffet table is closed." I adore these things, and I wouldn't mind seeing them again someday... especially if one turns out to be named Ramsay. (hang on... they're never actually called Reapers in the dialog... maybe they really are vortisaurs after all... hehe)

And what of the time paradox? And the Blinovitch Limitation Effect? And so on? Did the temporal science fiction all work? Well, yes, it did. It's easier to work it all out after a second viewing, but even on a first nothing felt wrong to me. The only possible "cheat" in it all was the hit-and-run car reappearing so that Pete could go get himself run over by it, but even that has a sort of symmetry to it... Pete and that driver's fates were intertwined, and it makes sense to me that Pete's going on into the future when he shouldn't have might have caused the car and driver to sort of get stuck when they were in time... and always in Pete's vicinity. As for the connecting of all the causality dots, I'm not going to do that here... suffice to say I thought about it all, and everything seems kosher to me. I will say that I did like that the BLE "don't touch youself" paradox from "Mawdryn Undead" was acknowledged here (if not named), though the effect was slightly different. Paul sort of glossed over this back in his audio "Seasons of Fear," and I was afraid he might do the same here... afraid because I really like the idea and think it makes more sense than nothing happening at all when people meet themselves.

The direction was faultless again... and for a story set largely in a church-under-siege, Joe Ahearne managed to keep it very visually dynamic... a Reaper-POV shot here... a cool lighting effect on Rose there... and the location shooting helped open things up a great deal too after the claustrophobic feel of the last two episodes. It looked really nice, and I loved all the little attention to 80s detail such as Rick Astley on the radio and the hairstyles and the giant-sized cell phone, etc. Great stuff.

I even have good things to say about Murray Gold's incidental music for once. Well, almost... he didn't really get anything wrong this week I thought, and some of it was quite good. I can still think of some others who could do better, but this was easily his best "Who" score to date, and it did not detract or distract me from the story for once.

One final thought on the season story arc... that of the damaged Doctor who seems to have a bit of a death wish and this "Bad Wolf" that keeps following him around and leaving its name everywhere he goes. I know it won't turn out this way, but this really does have the trademarks of Fenric about it, doesn't it? And never moreso than _this_ week, where we visit _1987_ and some massive time storms get whipped up... sound familiar? This is just when Ace was before Fenric took her to Iceworld. If it wasn't so fanwanky, I'd think that Fenric survived "The Curse of Fenric" after all and maybe was the thing that arranged the Time War and this time beat the Doctor. It's more likely these are Fenric red herrings designed to get fans like me thinking the wrong way when it'll be something completely new we've never heard of before. It's fun to speculate, whatever it is though.

10 out of 10 for "Father's Day." If anything gets any better than this, it'll have deserved to have broken the scale.

Addendum: - It just occurred to me that I wrote that whole review without praising Billie Piper and Christopher Eccleston on their performances (especially Billie). I just talked about Rose and the Doctor as though they were real people... and that's how good Piper and Eccleston were and are... they weren't there at all. They got out of the way and let the Doctor and Rose go through it all completely and honestly, and the only way you'll know it was acting is when you see the artists on an award show picking up their well-deserved statues or whatever it is you get for a BAFTA. They were so good I forgot they had to work at this. Sorry!
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I've just got around to watching Father's Day, and I think I finally know what's wrong with the new series.

It isn't the intrusive or inappropriate music of End of the World. And I don't think it's really the pseudoromantic bond between Rose and the Doctor in Dalek, or aliens with supposedly comical long names. I think the problem is Russell T Davis.

In interview, he said Rose and the Doctor would be given equal billing. This turns out to mean Rose is the star and the Doctor is her all-purpose plot device. It's her concerns, feelings and actions that drive the show. The Doctor is there to transport her to settings where she can meet the local sentient life and display emotions.

This is evident in the first scene of Father's Day when Rose asks to see her father on the day of his death, and the Doctor cheerfully responds, "Your wish is my command."

Actually, he lets her do it twice, so they get to see themselves from the first time, in spite of knowing the great dangers of being "present in two aspects" as the Black Guardian once said. Inevitably, Rose impulsively saves her dad, and mucks up causality.

The wedding party get trapped in a church, with the Doctor using an idea straight out of Sapphire and Steel that the party would be protected (for a while) from the time creatures because the church is old. Cue a series of dialogue driven emotional set pieces.

We get to see the Doctor envious of the bride and groom, because he doesn't get to do romance and ordinary life. He says the couple are "important" and that he will save them because of their ordinaryness.

The Doctor tells us (once again) that his world – still not named as Gallifrey – is gone, and mentions his friends and family, indicating he would dearly love to go back and save them. Presumably this family is the clan of warring cousins in Lungbarrow. Has the Doctor ever mentioned any family in the television series before? Apart possibly from Susan, the canonical Doctor has always been a rootless renegade.

Rose realizes that the father she'd been told about is a fabrication from the mind of her grief stricken mother, but that the real man is both a failed wheeler-dealer and a decent, charming fellow. He later makes the greatest sacrifice a father could make for his daughter, dying to save her, and incidentally the rest of the world.

We even get to meet Mickey as a boy of about 5. Which, seeing as this is 1987, would make him about 23 in 'Rose'. The prepubescent boy hugs the girl he won't meet for years in a 'foreshadowing' of their later relationship.

RTD described Doctor Who as a 'Space Opera'. This turns out to mean 'Soap Opera'. Science Fiction is a way to explore ideas, not a forum for exploring tortured interpersonal relations.

He pointed out, quite correctly, that Doctor Who has consistently ignored issues about companions joining The Doctor, disappearing from their ordinary lives, and abandoning loved ones to go exploring the universe. Companions seem to effortlessly jettison their past lives and associations when they step into the Tardis.

There is a perfectly good reason why emotional bonds to friends and family are ignored. It's because they don't belong in Doctor Who!

If you want to know about the endlessly layered complexities of someone's neuroses - their insecurities, loves, fears, and of course their family - watch a soap opera, or a 'reality' show. If you want to play 'What If' games with technology, history or the laws of physics, science fiction is the place to be.

Obviously Doctor Who - and science fiction in general - has always had personalities and interpersonal relationships. The first Doctor was a wise but curmudgeonly explorer with bewildered companions, the third was a benign avuncular dandy with a series of innocent relationships with young women in short skirts, and the fifth a profoundly moral man who was very patient with his whining (and sometimes scheming) young friends.

But in Doctor Who under Russell T Davis it's just far too much. The science fiction elements of the plot are paper thin, while the soap opera elements are luxuriously thick. It's mildly interesting to find out about Rose's background, but not to have her family the center of every second adventure.

The Tardis is a way to easily find new worlds and threats for each adventure. It lets us see new aliens and human cultures, new mad scientists and fascistic robots, new political corruption and amazing technology, each time our mysterious, nameless hero lands somewhere.

It is not a way to find new angles for examining the inner life of a teenage girl.
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This episode was always destined to be the most emotional of the new series, and after the more traditional 'Who' of The Long Game, it was to be a very different type of story. Rose never knew her father, Peter. He died when she was a baby. Brought up by her mother, she only knew her father from what she had been told. As far as she knew, Peter was a businessman, a loving husband, and a doting father. He died alone - the victim of a hit and run.

This background information has been lurking behind the scenes since the first episode, and was re-told - perhaps with more detail - skillfully by Rose, and in flashback by Jackie to her young daughter. Explaining to the Doctor why she's been thinking so much of her father quickly, and easily, explains to the viewer. Rose merely wanted to see her father when he was alive, to know what he was like, and - more importantly - she didn't want him to die alone. But, as the Doctor says, be careful what you wish for.

On seeing her father, and witnessing his death, Rose is incapable of action. She asks the Doctor for a second try. At this point the story could so easily have become Groundhog Day, but fortunately Phil Cornell must have been aware of this and stipulated that they could only be there twice. On this second attempt to be with her father at his death, Rose realises that she can't face losing him again, and acting purely from grief she rushes out to save his life. Who amongst us can say, hand on heart, that we wouldn't do the same?

The catastrophic results which ensue from this single act lead to the end of the world, and inevitably Peter realises that he is the only person who can save the world - the only person who can make things right. Along the way we witness tempers, and tantrums, from Peter, Jackie, Rose and the Doctor, and Rose discovers the truth about her parent's relationship. Disappointed, and disillusioned, she watches them bicker. Rose is overflowing with remorse that her selfish actions have led to such a catastrophic turn of events, and again she has to face the death of her father. But this time she has a chance to say goodbye, as does Jackie, and Peter chooses to die - rather than being a victim, he becomes a hero, someone Rose can be truly proud of. Peter recognises that the Doctor knew the truth, that he knew that Peter had to die - but was trying to find a better solution. In the end, Peter doesn't die alone. Rose is with him, and she comforts him in his final moments. She attains closure, and, in two short scenes, we see the truth of the strong bond she has with the Doctor - his actions and her father's mirrored when comforting her.

This episode was wonderfully written, fully exploring the 'what if?' scenario, which we all face when dealing with the grief of losing a loved one. Can anyone truly say that this element of time-travel has been so well explored since H G Wells? Once again, we see a more human side to Eccleston's Doctor, and Chris was - as ever - superb. The Doctor's anger at Rose's stupidity - from the simmering silence to "I picked another stupid ape" - and his attempt to protect her, and her family, and his self-sacrifice, were portrayed in a wonderfully understated way. All of these emotions truly convey how much the Doctor cares about the human race, perhaps the most moving speech was when the Doctor was talking to the couple who were about to get married, ending with "I never had a life like that" shows us just how much the Doctor lost in his years of exile.

Camille Coduri, and Shaun Dingwall, were excellent as Rose's bickering parents, who recognised that they still loved each other intensely at the end of the episode, and who's courage and self-sacrifice poignantly saved the world. I felt their grief, and pain, and the mental anguish that Pete was going through was so well portrayed. But the praise really has to go to Billie Piper. This is certainly Rose's hardest adventure to date. She doesn't realise how hard this will be, and she faces her emotions head on. Two weeks ago Chris portrayed the Doctor in a highly emotional state, believing that he'd killed Rose. This week Billie portrayed Rose in a similarly emotional state, believing that she's killed the Doctor. On top of the grief, and remorse, which Rose was already dealing with, Billie made us feel that this really was the worst day of Rose's life. When Rose hugged her father, as he realised who she was, I felt her pain and grief - and this is all testament to Billie's superb acting. She has been a revelation in this series, and this episode has surpassed all others in terms of her acting - I'll never doubt her again.

At the end of this episode, I was left wondering what I would do if I had a TARDIS - how, or if, I would fight the temptation to do something similar and save my mum's life. And I know, deep down, that like Rose I'd meddle with history. In that situation who wouldn't? And I cried. I cried when I watched a second time, that's how strong the story is. That's how good the acting is. This is twice now that 'New Who' has made me cry. And this finally proves that great Sci-Fi can also be great Drama. Hats off to all involved, and thank you Russell for believing that stories like this belong in Doctor Who.
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Y'know, since reading much of his earlier Doctor Who work, I had high hopes for Paul Cornell's contribution to the new series. I also had fears that the frantic pace of the show's new format would detract something from the story, which I felt the previous episode (The Long Game) suffered from somewhat. I really had no need to worry did I?

Absolutely fantastic episode. Personally I love stories concerning time getting coked-up, but as well as satisfying my fanboy needs, this was a superb slice of moving drama with some fantastic character moments. Billie Piper continues to astound me with the depth of her acting abilities- tonight's episode being (in my humble opinion) her finest work in the series. Mr eccleston doesn't disappoint either, only continuing to make us all realise we're going to miss him once David Tennant takes over. The darkness that is usually only glimpsed at in the character of the Doctor came to the fore on numerous occasions during 'Father's Day', which was a wonderful thing to behold. Its the moments of darkness in his character that make us remember just how old and how alien he is.

The Reapers were fantastic. I am curious though; They seemed much more realistic than the shot we saw duing the showreel that was broadcast on the Jonothan Ross show before the series started- could it be they were unfinished then and had some extra work done before broadcast? They certainly seemd to be textured much more convincingly. Superb design for Doctor Who monsters as well- that sudden movement of the wings was quite a sight to behold.

The flawed bits of the series, i.e. Jackie and Mickey, regained some ground with a great performance from Jackie and a sweet story point with the little boy as a young Mickey.

Rose had some excellent exchanges with her father, especially the dialogue regarding why he shouldn't 'go there'- classic! The drama was beautiful once it had been established that her dad realised who Rose actually was. His final sacrifice was moving and superbly handled.

If anything seemed rushed in tonight's episode, it was the transition from Rose's parents wondering who she was to believing she was a time-travelling version of their baby. That felt like there had been a little too much script pruning to make it fit the 45 minute slot. It was still great, but that one moment was tonight's weak point for me.

Quite a shock to see the Doctor actually get eaten though!!!

Great episode, moving, poignant and extremely well-made. The nods to the 80's way of life were excellent.

I hope that the bext series contains episodes as good as this and "The Unquiet Dead" and "Dalek". While RTD's scripts have been brilliant, the guest writers seem to have given it that little extra push and have made this series incredibly special. I don't want it to end.
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If Russell T Davies' stint on Doctor Who has offered any single quality, it has to be diversity. From the dark suspense of "Dalek", to the light retro pulp sci-fi of "The Long Game", we are now swung head on into the rollercoaster of the human condition: "Father's Day".

I have quite enjoyed the new Dr Who series, as a long time fan from when it first started. I understand that they have adapted the new series for those who might never have been able to watch it before. And although I have accepted there has to be change, and I have allowed for the new Doctor Who's attitude, tonight's episode just didn't ring true to me.

The Doctor can be arrogant a bit of an enigma, but would he really be so stupid? I am having a hard time swallowing the fact he keeps putting his emotional attachement to Rose before everything else.

Knowing he is the last of the Time Lords and that is a weighty responsibility, he still goes ahead to take her back in time to the moment of her father's death on a whim, and his little lovers tiff with her when it all goes pear shaped is making him look pretty pathetic and totally unbelievable.

Come on, the Doctor has dealt with the human race before, he has had other companions, and he was emotionally attached to them. But I think they have taken the Rose/Doctor relationship a bit overboard, and it's starting to irritate me now.

When is the series going to concentrate about aliens and adventure instead of how much the Doctor loves Rose? It's starting to make me nauseous watching them together, and all that petty jealousy and bickering whenever another man comes into Rose's life.. even her father. This episode more than any others brought that out and spoilt it for me. I also thought it was a bit cheap of the BBC to plug one of their other top shows, Only Fools and Horses, making out Rose's dad to be like Del Boy.

Please start concentrating on other things than Rose, thank you.
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I simply can not believe how good "Father's Day" was. This is a story that has been done several times throughout science fiction, and it is a subject that has at least been brought up several times in Doctor Who: The past cannot be changed or there are consequences. Period. However where so many other stories could have been predictable or have dozens of loopholes, this story is solid and surprisingly touching thanks to the acting of Rose and her dad (I'm sure that someone from England will point out he is from this show or that, but as an American let me just say he did a very good job). One of the best things about the episode is that we have worked out that her Dad will need to throw himself in front of the car to save the day about ten minutes into the story. The best part is, so has the Doctor and he sacrifices himself to protect Rose. It is impossible for any of the previous Doctors to ever have said anything close to as mean as what this Doctor says to Rose when she saves her Dad, and yet she knows he would never leave her and he accepts a sincere apology from her with a grin and a hug. Sign of the times and it works brilliantly. Another sign of the times is the fact that the Doctor has worked out the solution while being in the situation for just a few minutes, and neither professes to everyone how he has in bombastic fashion, nor does he "work it out" as the episode progresses as many of the past Doctors would have been forced to do (because of a much longer episode, or sometimes the sheer stupidity of the people around him).

Another great thing about this episode, is the use of a new creature. Where many die hard fans would say "Oh and how come we haven't ever seen THESE guys before?!", the writer says almost matter of factly that the Timelords would have stopped these creatures right away but they are gone. Therefore, there are potentially many things we will be able to see that are now possible without these "Guardians of the Universe" around to act as cosmic police. It was one of the first times I saw the potential good of not having Timelords as opposed to the obvious sadness and bad.

On a side note, this episode was such an easy concept and in the end it is what made it great. Star Trek Enterprise ended this weekend, and if you don't know yourself I believe you will read or hear what a piss poor job they did of ending it. The people in charge don't care about their fans, they don't care about their franchise and that's a couple of many reasons why Star Trek is now gone. Perhaps that's why America won't show Doctor Who. They are scared of the comparison. You can feel the care put into this show. It truly is sad that Chris is gone because he puts so much emotion in this Doctor. Billie is amazing as well. It has to be like Britney Spears being a new cast member in Star Trek and actually being one of the best actors in it. It has to be amazing to be English and see what she does for this show. From the materialization of the Tardis, to the acting and emotion put into these characters, to the addition of new FX, this has become some of the best Doctor Who ever made and that truly is amazing.

Back to a summary of the episode itself, the new creatures were awesome and well explained, the acting was excellent (I'm a big guy and the last part with Rose and her Dad made me want to call my Dad), and the care put into explanation of the story and seal plot holes (to the point of showing the doubles of the Doctor and Rose when Rose tries to go to her Dad a second time!) made this very simple "Father's Day" story, in my honest opinion, one of the best.
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This has got to be the episode least like Doctor who of the whole 42 years. But it was a triumph. The best piece of Doctor Who drama I have seen and probably the best already drama too. I even had to endure heckling during this episode. Regular eaders interested in my rveiews may know that I have to watch this episode at work as I am a bar manager at a social club but I have the tv on for the first hour or so (until the lottery is called). My first viewing of each episode is supported by a handlful of members who come through the door at 7. There was an elderly gentlemen who complained all the way through about "this c**p", yet my veiwing was not spoilt despite this.

It has become common to bash Murray Gold's incidental music in this series (sometimes even by me) but apart from a weak score during the first Reaper attack I was thoroughly impressed. I liked the "McCoy" era sting during the point of view shots at the start and it was quite emotional (my boyfriend Gary was in tears) during his 'piano' accompaniment during Rose's final scenes with her father.

Which brings us to the crux of the episode - A relatively straight, moral emotional tale that just happened to have monsters in it. EVERY performance was deep and portrayed with a huge amount of feeling. It was a very somber episode but still not maudlin. Billie Piper remains excellent as is Chris Eccleston. Shaun Dingwall was the perfect person to be Billie's father even though her was never around later (as is the want of the plot).

And the Reapers - Bloody marvellous - again the best monster I've seen in this series of Who, possibly any series of Who and probably any series..... The effects seamlessly blended the creatures with the live action even with clever little touches like one scraping rubble from the church walls with it's 'claws' All kudos have to go to the Mill for their efforts. I had no thoughts of CGI when I watched this as opposed to the floating dalek in that episode.

More back story to keep the arc-interested happy and a simple yet effective time jumping moral dilemma for the rest. I can't fault it. RTD still trailing I'm afraid - But to your credit, you're a bloody genius (I'm sure you've heard that before).

I'm a little confused how much has been remembered by others outside the TARDIS crew but to be honest I don't think it really matters that much.

I'm rating it 2nd after The Unquiet Dead and before Dalek, Rose, Aliens/WWIII and The End of........
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This is the first time I've scanned some other reviews online before writing my own, and it's shocked me to see how many people reacted badly to this episode. This seems to have divided the Doctor Who diehards and the rest of us even more than 'Dalek'. After I watched 'Dalek', I felt that we wouldn't see a better episode this season. I'll have to watch 'Father's Day' again to be sure, but I might have been wrong ...

Paul Cornell was probably the most prolific and exciting of the new generation of Doctor Who writers to pick up the reins when the show went off-air. It's only fitting, then, that he gets a shot at it now it's back, and he does wonderfully. What's especially telling, though, is that 'Father's Day' only feels half-Who. The other half is sheer mainstream drama, a lovely counterpoint to last week's episode, which was about as Who as you could get. Slightly melodramatic at times? Well, maybe, but this is Saturday evening television, not gritty Monday night BBC2. And it's a million miles away from the slapstick of episodes 4 and 5, the only major misstep for me this year.

It's interesting that Simon Pegg was initially pencilled in to play Rose's father. He can perform serious drama just fine and would have been great, but it's gratifying to see that Shaun Dingwall, brought in when Pegg couldn't make filming for 'Father's Day' and did 'The Long Game' instead, does a cracking job of portraying the man who was never as perfect as his widow made him out to be but, at his core, would have made a wonderful father to his little girl. The moment where he realises who Rose is and they hug is a highlight of the season so far. And, yet again, Billie Piper shows why she is one of the new series' biggest assets. Thank Gallifrey she's staying for another season.

Speaking of which, as each week goes by I'm getting more and more disappointed that we won't get more Ecclestone. The ninth Doctor is the most interesting incarnation in decades. I love David Tennant's work and it's good to know the Doctor is in safe hands, but more Chris would have been great.

Special mention should go to the CGI again this week - with few expensive sets to build the budget was clearly free for good monsters, and the Reapers are by far the best we've seen so far. Slick, scary and possessing a truly alien feel.

As in 'Dalek', the incidental music was a bonus instead of an annoyance.

Overall, 'Father's Day' is probably the strongest episode of the season in terms of sheer drama, everything from the Doctor's furious disappointment with Rose to her touching final moment with her Dad played beautifully.

In the end, how you feel about it is going to depend on whether it's great Who you want to see - this is it, but not in the form most fans would prefer - or just good TV. When they brought Who back we all hoped for a slick new version that wouldn't embarass itself. What we've got instead is something far superior, a show which really makes the most of the versatility of its premise and allows its characters to behave like real people. We should be grateful.

In the end, though, it really won't matter. There are millions of people out there who will never buy a DVD, book or toy, or attend a convention as we have, but who will continue to watch as long as the show demonstrates this quality. And that means more Who in production which is Just Plain Good.
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I've just watched ep 8-Fathers day and it's safe to say I am impressed, very much so infact I would be bold enough to say that it clearly ranks (as did Dalek a fortnight before) a as a classic.

Although on one hand this is "traditional doctor who", it's also one of the most innovative of the series. It is a story told through rose's eyes and as a result broke new ground evoking emotions not seen since the joy of Adric getting squashed whilst trying to rid the world of beryl Reid! Whilst many will complain that the doctor is the star of the series and he's not getting the lions share of the story (a fault of last weeks ep),this week it acted as an advantage and highlighted the sheer talent of Ecclestone who reduced to the role of support act managed to give his greatest performance yet. Stripped of his usual goofiness the doctor became likable, serious and more powerful, imagine Davidson mixed Pertwee with rather that Colin baker mixed with McCoy. It also made Doctor who a drama once again yes we had monsters, bloody good ones in a cgi sort of way but also we cared about the characters we felt for roses as she dealed with her dilemma, we cheered when a little Mickey ran away from the reapers, we felt shocked to find out that roses dad was useless and felt guilty that we'd misjudged Jackie so badly. The Biggest shock of the story however came from the realisation that perhaps rose used the Doctor agreeing to go with him on his travels not through as we thought through love but as a means to an end planning to get the doctor travel back to the 80's after all. As usual Billie piper stole the show I hope she goes on to bigger things (and by bigger things I don't mean series two of hit me baby one more time!)

The support characters were all good well rounded and acted to perfection, a special mention must go to the excellent Shawn Dingwell who played roses dad, left with no option he had to make the ultimate sacrifice in order to save the world it was a role the Simon Pegg passed on after seeing the long game I bet he's kicking himself. Camille coduri had more to do in this episode which was good because she has become the best reoccurring character since the brigadier. The main plaudit goes to Paul Cornell however he is my favourite doctor who writers who over the past decade wrote some of the greatest doctor who novels too date. Let's hope his association with the series doesn't end here. And nnote to BBC books pay this man a bundle to publish a novelisation of the episode and no don't get Terrence Dicks to write it.

If I have a fault with this episode it would be with the length whilst esp. like aol/ww3 are not bad episodes fathers day would be more suited to a two part format. Infact I think that's the fault of the series on a whole everything runs two fast blink and you miss it.

All in all one of the best stories to date keep up the good work! PS isn't it nice finally not to be embarrassed when people ask you what you favourite program is!
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Of all the episodes in the new series, I had been looking forward to this one most of all. The idea of time being unforgiving, somehow managing to always thwart those who would interfere with it, has held much fascination for me. Importantly, the idea that the Doctor acknowledges the inflexible nature of time (despite being a Time Lord) has conveyed an overall sense of responsibility to the series.

I believe the original premise for 'Father's Day' was to have Rose confronted by an inability to change past events (her father's death), presumably becoming part of the history she was trying to avert; the story was to be devoid of special effects, instead concentrating on the attendant emotional issues and would have been a brave and unique homage to a sci-fi concept that has been much examined.

The writer, Paul Cornell, admittedly taking the story in his own direction, explored the consequences of Rose actually altering events; an opportunity was thus provided to make the point that the life of a seemingly ordinary man could possibly distort history if that man is supposed to be dead.

The duplication of the Doctor and Rose, separated by only a few minutes served to highlight the practicalities which must be observed when time travelling. Such considerations, it must be said, are not wholly original, similar ideas having been explored in other sci-fi shows and films. However, the 45 minute duration (highly criticised in relation to some previous episodes) imparts a sense of urgency and real time dilemma to the situation as these practicalities are addressed.

Although the story could have worked with the minimum of special effects, I thought the physical manifestation of Rose's actions (The Reapers) was highly effective. They retained a sense of the gothic aspects of the series, especially in the context of the church setting, and also visualised the vengeful nature of time. Almost immediately after Rose's intervention, Cornell created a sense of impending doom by initially showing our flawed universe through the eyes of the Reapers; the first handful of deaths and their ambiguous manner being in the spirit of the classic series. The mental trauma suffered by Mickey in the park was deeply disturbing, as his friends (and mother?) were removed from time; this unease was later intensified by the discarded bike and child's shoe.

The idea of an adult Rose interacting with a father she has saved while her one year old self is in close proximity was a masterstroke in terms of the wealth of possibilities which time travel can present. Rose telling her parents to stop arguing was poignantly ironic, as her desire to experience and interact with both her parents (as a family unit) resulted in her doing so in a way typical of dysfunctional families, as a mediator and referee.

In his previous contributions to Doctor Who, whether they have been books or audios, Cornell has always involved the reader/listener on an emotional level and for this rare talent, deserves kudos. I feel that, for Father's Day, the writer has again achieved this objective and there is no doubt that this is the most emotive and sympathetic episode of any series of Dr Who to be given screen time. Cornell succeeded in making the viewer care about the relationship between Rose and her father; additionally, we were shown that there are as many meaningful issues in the past of any one person as there are in the landmark events more usually visited by the Doctor and his companions.

Generally, the acting performances were polished yet natural. Eccleston portrays sympathy, empathy and admonishment in terms of the Doctor's reactions, together with a wistfulness in that, although he admires the Earth and humanity in general, he is incapable of experiencing the simplicities which he knows make humans so special. The most impressive aspect of Piper's performance was the fact that beneath the understandable exuberance at what she had achieved, there was a sense of guilt and a defensive need to justify her actions to the Doctor, whilst knowing he could not accept them.

Shaun Dingwall's portrayal of Pete Tyler's self sacrifice was beautifully balanced; rather than the tediously clichéd 'a man's gotta do...' diatribe, we were treated to the enormity of the situation being resolved in terms of a Father's responsibility for his child's actions. His awareness of his inadequacies, together with his genuine gratitude for the few hours spent with his future daughter, imbued a sense of credibility to an unlikely action on his part.

The understated direction rendered the viewing seamless in terms of fluency and characterisation. Perhaps the most impressive directorial achievement was in conveying the idea that the car was the true 'Reaper', destined to endlessly circle the church until it's hitherto thwarted purpose was fulfilled.

In terms of the causality and continuity dealt with in stories where people return to (and interact with) their own pasts, I suspect that the time paradox aspects of the episode will be criticised, yet there is no virtue in this; self righteous statements of the 'that couldn't happen because...' type have no merit because time travel is wholly theoretical and hence hypothetical. If anyone can demonstrably disprove the interpretation of the subject by people such as Wells, Heinlein, Cornell or indeed anyone who has written fiction on the subject, then please step forward: it's a non-starter.

I think, as Doctor Who fans, we have all waited and hoped for an episode that is perfect, that conforms to our own perception of what makes the show great; if adequate budgeting is discounted from the criteria, then, for many, such episodes have already happened during the classic series. The current series makes it possible to assess the show in an entirely new way; distractingly poor sets and effects are now a thing of the past and for this reason, a fresh opportunity to revisit the expectation of the perfect episode is afforded.

I have been a fan of this show for thirty years and hence I'm not fickle in the sense that, due to the big budget and higher profile, I have abandoned the old series in preference for the current one; however, I genuinely believe that, due to an understanding and incorporation of the elements of the show which have made it so thought provoking, writers such as Mark Gatiss and Rob Shearman have created near perfect episodes in the best spirit of the classic series. Cornell, however, has fashioned something which, to me, transcends the different factions of sci-fi and fantasy and is able to stand up and be counted outside of the sphere of Who fandom.

Thank you, Mr Cornell, for a perfect episode of Dr Who and a generally superb piece of television.
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Brilliant. Just brilliant. Very emotional and domestic for Doctor Who, very much like 'The Butterfly Effect' but still very good.

The prelude was slightly puzzling and swift but the story was uncomplicated and it felt really realistic and genuine. A much better turn from Cornell than his previous Scream of the Shalka story which, although enjoyable, was quite generic. This was a masterpiece.

Camille Coduri was excellent and wideboy Shaun Dingwall as Rose's dad slowly and gradually found a warm place in my heart. And I have no qualms in confiding that the odd tear did drip several times during this episode.

Eccleston seemed a lot more comfortable with this material and I loved the bit when he was talking to the baby and his subsequent chat with Rose. You see the warmth between them, and Billie Piper does the out of her depth look really well.

This certainly goes as one of my favourite episodes of this series, alongside Aliens of London/World War Three (Somebody please tell me the agreed overall story title for eps 4 and 5!!!). I've been waiting since March for Steven Moffat's Blitz story as its an historical era I am interested in and the clip shown on Jonathan Ross of it seemed shit scary! Roll on, roll on!
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Suddenly, unexpectedly, following on from last week's disappointment, a complete TV classic - not just for Doctor Who.

In reviewing this triumph of an episode I run out of superlatives.

Firstly, the script is as close to perfect as makes no difference. The plot is taught, both emotionally and theoretically resonant and breathes whilst maintaining a relentless pace, and still having room for some neat ironic humour which only adds to the growing drama. The direction complements this wonderfully, producing a tense, gut-wrenching spectacle, which the quality of the acting reinforces further.

Ecclestone's performance has arguably been variable during the series, and coming after his ruthlessness in "The Long Game", his compassion here might seem incompatible; but in this story we get unprecedented depths in the actor's portrayal and in the manner the character is presented. This doctor can be cold come certain situations, but his concern, affection even, for the characters in this story, is as beautiful here as in any story from the original series. He is furious with Rose for interfering with time, but this anger does not stop him loving her deeply and wanting to find another resolution of the crisis, rather than Pete Tyler having to die twice. Ecclestone's doctor has always been absorbing to watch, but here one warms to his charismatic portrayal more than in any other episode hitherto. Two particular moments stand out - the depth in Ecclestone's eyes and his desire to help Rose when she asks to go back to the accident a second time, and his worry as he knows the dangers of interfering with history. Secondly, his care for the marrying couple, particularly the line "who says you're not important?"

Pete Tyler is a marvellously well written character, played to perfection by Shaun Dingwall. He is totally believable, and we get to know him in considerable detail for just 45 minutes. Endearingly fallible, it's a splendid touch that he of all the 1987 characters understands quickest what is going on - suggesting that, for all his being a failure, Rose's dad has passed his ability to accept new, perhaps wild ideas to his daughter.

The relationships are magnificently realised in this story, for example Rose's realisation that her parents weren't happy and that Pete was far from exemplary, both in marital and in business terms. Billie Piper has repeatedly surprised throughout this season with the quality of her acting, and in "Father's Day" she is quite superb, being totally believable to the point where I almost forgot this tale was fictional.

The special effects are stunningly impressive, particularly in the realisation of the Reapers, and in the hit-and-run car continually appearing and disappearing. They are almost incidental to the story, however, which is, quite simply, as moving a small-scale character-driven piece of drama as I have seen in years.

The script wrung every opportunity for emotional tension out of the idea, whilst actually managing to make sense with surprisingly few holes. I liked it that the Doctor explains that he can't go back and save his own people, presumably because of time paradoxes, which is a question a few of us have raised from the earlier episodes.

Gut-wrenching human drama; the unremitting tension of the characters being trapped in a church under siege from ruthless alien creatures that cannot be reasoned with; magnificent acting all round; a heroic Doctor to believe in; tremendous characterisation; superb incidental music throughout; and intelligent, thought provoking insights into the way we view our history, why certain things cannot be changed, whilst showing what is worth fighting for.

For a single 45 minute episode to encompass so much is a towering achievement - can it get any better than this?
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One of fandom's most acclaimed writers finally gets a chance to write a televised Doctor Who story. Surely this is going to be a classic?

Paul Cornell's books have always contained spot-on characterisations, sparkling dialogue, and have packed weighty emotional punches. Father's Day is no different. For all of the above, look no further than the scenes where Pete asks Rose what he's like in the future. Shaun Dingwall and Billie Piper are given the very best material, and they don't let us down in the delivery. The episode is peppered with lovely touches such as the inclusion of Mickey, Pete working out Rose's situation all by himself, and The Doctor's "I'll try and save you" speech to the bride and groom.

I was preparing for the worst when I first saw the pictures of the reapers, and they're very obviously CGI creations, but they're very well-realised and effective ones. The POV shots are creepy, and the abductions from the playground are reminiscent of similarly unsettling scenes in Survival's opening episode.

This episode had all the ingredients of a poll winner, so how does it go so badly wrong?

The faults lie within the actual script. There are countless holes in the plot, and bizarre occurrences which are left unexplained. The reapers had at least two chances to devour The Doctor as he storms back to the TARDIS, yet they don't. Neither do they attack the bride or Mickey. How does the TARDIS interior disappear? Why is there rap on the radio and Alexander Graham Bell on the telephones? Why does the Chevette turn up outside the church? Why does the TARDIS key glow in the church, but not in the TARDIS lock? Indeed, why does it glow at all? How does the TARDIS get into the church - or relocate itself at the end of the episode? How does The Doctor get brought back? And why does Pete's death vanquish the reapers, when history still remains changed?

I promised my better half that this episode would bring a lump to her throat and tears to her eyes. Instead it just gave us both headaches trying to figure out the finer points of the plot. The individual scenes may all be superbly written, acted and directed, but the lack of explanations in the script wrecks the entire production.

What a waste.

6/10 (when it so easily could have been another 10/10).
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At last, a win for the single-episode format. A simple story, told simply, 'Father's Day' nevertheless packs a lot in: a half-decent backstory for Rose, top-notch acting (nearly) all round, bags of emotion for those who like a good cry, plus loads of symmetries for the structurally minded. A sense of dreadful inevitability pervades the entire episode: from the moment Rose intervenes to save her father, the end is unavoidable, but waiting for the characters to work everything through was a joy -- in the tearful sense. Best of all, it's a story that actually requires time travel; I particularly appreciated the fact that the demise of the Time Lords has wide-ranging, unexpected repercussions. Even the sound track is, on the whole, kept in check to allow the dialogue to shine.

There are too many highlights to list -- the shock of police box-sized Tardis interior among them -- but I particularly loved the way 'Father's Day' plays with the concept of fiction: Pete is constructed by Jackie as the perfect father, and it's Rose's unwavering belief in this fictional construct which gives Pete the strength to save the day.

It's a pity that the makers got carried away with the cgi -- the reaper monsters were eerily perfect seen circling the church through the stained glass, but more than a touch ridiculous in plain sight. I felt the pace sagged a touch in the middle, bogged down somewhere in the midst of all the group hugs, and Camille Coduri's simplistic portrayal of Jackie continues to be a weak spot.

Though it felt at times like a cross between 'Eastenders' & 'Doctor Who', 'Father's Day' somehow manages to make the mix work, and the simple strength of the ending more than makes up for any shortcomings along the way.
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What a strange, wonderfully enjoyable, yet intellectually disappointing episode this turned out to be, in the end.

Emnotionally, it's absolutely spot on - the shots of Rose as a child being told wonderful daddy stories by her mother which set the tone of wistful longing; the urge to go back and see him which the Doctor can now satisfy for her; the desperate second thrust to save him and create her perfect world for real; the slow disintegration of that dream in the cold light of day, followed by the growing bond between them based on real interaction ; and of course, the final sacrifice.

Lovely, lovely stuff. But questions kept popping up for me all the way along, and DW Confidential didn't answer them, though I was hoping it would. Because this was such a good episode from the touchy-feely angle, I really wanted it to be as good from the cold logical one as well.

But: it isn't. The Doctor is completely happy to take Rose off to an event he must know will be emotionally impossible for Rose to resist interfering with. And sorry, no: after 900 or so years of visiting Earth and similar cultures, and scenes like the one where he rounds on Nyssa and Tegan for asking him to go back and save Adric, it's quite obvious he does - he must - know just exactly what that may invite for both of them. The "alien not in touch with human emotions" just doesn't work at all, as any kind of convenient excuse. A Time Lord - particularly this Time Lord - happy to risk the potential destruction that he knows may be unleashed by this action doesn't work either.

Then there's the "time has been damaged" response to Rose saving her father. Why? What exactly does that mean, anyway? She changes the present, and thus the future. So what? Suddenly "time has been damaged"? How, exactly? Why, exactly?

This, with the appearance of the Reapers, and the car repeatedlyappearing and disappearing in some sort of implied time-loop , is wonderfully eerie, but smacks far more of Victorian pseudo-moralising on the possible dangers of interfering in things that we don't understand, than it does of any real scientific understanding of time and time travel and changing the course of events.

Then there's the disappearing 'inner' Tardis. Hang on a minute, there. The outer shell is just an appearance generated by the Tardis - there is NO matching inside. Again: a wonderfully compact visual statement of the changes that have occurred - but really, no, not possible...

And so on. The finale is deeply touching. But suddenly, conveniently, we are asked to just accept that with his death, everyone reappears as normal and all memory of events is erased. Time, as it were, jumps back to the point when - what?

They were just about to enter the church for the wedding? How, then, to explain that dad is suddenly dead just up the road, and everyone is looking outwards, not in? The final scenes suggest that Jackie doesn't know who the mysterious strange girl is who stays with him until he dies... yet previously she had a three-way fight with her?

Or are we back at the point where it all began - in which case, the wedding party is inside the church, not outside...

So. Greatly enjoyed by all, I'm sure. But like a dream, when you wake up and actually think it through, it's quite clear it couldn't really have happened that way.

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The issue of temporal paradoxes was one that Doctor Who dealt with all too rarely; usually the TARDIS was simply a device for establishing setting, and it was left at that. When it did rear its head, it was treated differently each time: in The Aztecs it was established that history simply couldn't be changed because from the future's point of view your interference has already happened so it's all been factored in. This would seem to be the most logical idea, and is borne out by stories like The Visitation in which the Doctor's involvement results in the great fire of London.

In Day Of The Daleks the Doctor could change history safely as by doing so he was in fact repairing a temporal paradox and generally giving history a bit of a spruce up. City Of Death presented a more standard alternate-timeline theory, while Attack Of The Cybermen told us that to change history would destroy the universe. Now, with Father's Day, changing history results in massive gargoyle like creatures appearing and eating everyone.

Frankly, that one came a bit out of left field.

Maybe I'd underestimated Paul Cornell, but I enjoyed Father's Day a lot more than I thought I would. With such a complex subject it's easy to get bogged down in problems but he subverted this by giving us a character study first, monster story second. In this sense it's slightly disappointing as the Reapers are such superb monsters: not evil, but doing what is necessary to protect the time/space continuum. I must admit though that keeping them in the background increases their menace, and the shots of their silhouettes swooping round outside the staned-glass windows of the church work wonderfully.

As with Dalek Joe Ahearne's directing was excellent, a particularly good example being the washed-out overcast effect used when it seems that the good guys have lost. The shot of the time-looped car going round and round is chilling, and Murray Gold provides one of his best scores for the series.

Now to the most contentious aspect: the Doctor's apparent death. The Doctor's plan fails, and it takes the noble sacrifice of Rose's father to bring him back. Ordinarily this would be fantastic, but in a series where the Doctor seems less and less involved in the resolutions of the stories it seems to be taking it a bit too far.

What this episode is first and foremost though is an emotional journey for Rose. This was something the original series never really got the hang of (sometimes it did though: the Doctor comforting Victoria in The Tomb Of The Cybermen is my all time favourite scene), and this completely thrashes the most emotionally literate episode of the original run, The Green Death in that respect. It makes it even more of a pity that Russel T. Davies, with his smug jokes and less than subtle subtexts is in charge.

Overall then, a 9/10. The least of the three non-RTD scripts we've had so far, but when you consider the brilliance of The Unquiet Dead and Dalek this is hardly a dreadful criticism.
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I have really enjoyed the intro scenes before the theme tune starts, and thought that this was one of the best yet, as the Dr almost takes the role of a genie "Your wish is my command!" but warns Rose to be careful what you wish for.

Well, I think this is THE story all the fans have hoping for since the new programme was annouced, and it was scintillating from start to finish. "Father's Day" is a real emotional rollercoaster ride for the viewer and with excellent performances from the lead cast, this is classy Who and is up there with the best episodes so far in the new series.

Tackling an issue which is of course always brought up with time travel, why can you not go back and save a loved one from dying, the episode certainly pulled on the heartstrings a great deal and this made it all the more watchable. The rising tension in the episode between the Doctor and Rose as things begin to go wrong is dramatic and enticing. Rose's Mum and Dad were excellent, and the dawn of realisation of Rose's father when he realises that Rose is indeed his daughter is one of the most emotionally gripping scenes of the show so far.

Billie Piper deserves immense credit too for her performance which was of an exemplary standard throughout. While the Doctor got huffy with her, I think the viewer had great sympathy for Rose's plight. When Russell T.Davies made the comment that he always envisaged himself as preferring to have been the Dr's assistant than the Doctor himself, I was a bit surprised. But I can understand that comment now following Father's Day because I think many people watching the episode would have acted as Rose did in attempting to save her father.

Christopher Eccleston also puts in one of his best performances as the Doctor as he loses control of the situation for the first time and walks out on Rose ... something I did not ever see happening. But like the Doctor falling out with Jamie in Evil of the Daleks, it had a real dramatic impact and Rose looked to have blown her chances with the Doctor.

One of my favourite scenes of the episode was the Dr walking towards the Tardis only to open the doors and find out that time was already in the process of changing as he looked at an empty shell. Very point blank and to the point. This was a good touch that the writer Paul Cornell brought to the episode. I liked how the Tardis had an important impact on the story with the Tardis key playing a significant part.

I also thought the realisation at the end of what Rose's father was to do to save time at the end was an incredible conclusion. A tear-jerker in every sense of the word, this was Doctor Who with real emotional intensity and impact. I thought the reaper monsters were impressive special fx too and probably pretty scary for young children. When they grabbed the Dr, it was very dramatic, and I was completely befuddled as to how the episode would be resolved after the Dr had gone. It was a fantastic climax and a real gem of an episode. Changing the course of time has never been so frightening and thrilling.

I notice there were a few little nods and winks to Back to the Future too in some of the script. The 1980s music in the background was an interesting choice. After Tainted Love in End of the World, we were treated to Rick Astley!

So brilliant performances all round from the cast, great storytelling, and drama, tears and sci-fi horror. A terrific combination. Paul Cornell has delivered a script of the highest quality. Hard-hitting and full of emotions, Father's Day will live long in the memory as one of the finest ever episodes of the programme.
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Well, that was certainly emotional and dramatic television - my wife and I both had watering eyes - but was it Doctor Who?

Rose and the Doctor travel to November 1987 so that Rose can be with her father as he dies. But instead, being an emotional human, Rose saves him and unwittingly causes a rift in time. This brings demon-like "reapers", and we're told their intent is to put right the time rift. They seem to believe they can accomplish this by randomly attacking and eating people.

Good use of location work sees Rose attending a church wedding with her father, mother and baby self. The reapers attacking a church was good symbolism and handled well by the effects team. An amusing moment was Rose meeting a four year old Mickey, who is frightened by the goings on and clings to her.

As the story progresses, Rose's dad realises who she is and why she travelled back in time. He also realises that the only way he can heal the rift is to sacrifice himself and be run over by the car that Rose saved him from. In the meantime He and Rose have a few hours to bond and get to know each other.

All emotional stuff, great television and a lovely story...but what has this to do with Doctor Who? Not a lot really, as the good Doctor admits he doesn't know what to do (in fact he does know, but isn't willing to tell Rose that the only way forward is to lose her dad). He really doesn't do anything much in this story, and seems an inconsequential character.

So, as far as this season of Doctor Who goes it does provide more answers to Rose's past and to the Doctor's own lack of feeling (except anger) at the loss of the Time Lords this was a success. But as a slice of Doctor Who, it didn't "do it" for me.

Eight episodes down and to my mind we have two absolute classics, two duffs and four good episodes. I can't complain but I do seem to prefer episodes not written by RTD. Which is a shame as without him we wouldn't be watching this show at all. I was glad that he stated in tonight's episode of "confidential" that he does not want Doctor Who to become a soap opera.
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Rose has begun thinking about the possibilities of time travel, perhaps sparked by Adams attempt in 'The Long Game'. Maybe, she thinks i can see my father, being too young to remember him she asks the doctor to take her to see him, to be there for him on the day of his death.

Not being able to face him after witnessing his death for the first time, Rose tries again under strict instructions by the Doctor to wait until their previous selves have left the scene.

Unable to stand by and watch her father die for a second time Rose rushes out across the road pushing her dad to safety. All seems well and they head together to a friends wedding which her Dad had been out buying a present for.

Things aren't going to well at the church though as very few people have arrived and outside in the streets people are disappearing in a most peculiar way.

I must admit part of me was looking forward to a eighties episode purely for nostalgia's sake and given more time to the story nostalgic padding could have been added for all the twenty-thirty something Who fans watching. This would only have been padding though as the story was far more important than the setting.

Having Rose see the death of her father twice justified her emotions getting the better of her the second time. The emotions experienced will still be fresh in her mind as she prepares to have that final moment with him. Who else wouldn't take the opportunity as she did.

The subjective POV attacks early on are a nice nod to early serials such as The Avengers, The Prisoner and Doctor Who itself where often the monster didn't always live up to expectation. The red filtered kaliedoscopic effect was particulary reminiscent of the Doctor Who's of the eighties which tied in with the setting nicely.

Again the shorter running time of just under 45 minutes is problematic as tension does not seem to have enough time to escalate sufficiently, and the program has appeared to have fallen into the famous 'five minutes finale solution' favoured by Star Trek, Buffy and other American format science fiction serials.

Unlike its contempories the new series of Doctor Who does not appear to have the overlying story arcs that make american dramas serials stand on their own whilst simultaneously being part of a larger story. The Time War is the closest thing the series has to a continuing arc, and that has already happened (at least as far as the Doctor's timeline is concerned). As for the Big Bad Wolf reference this is often contrived and at the moment seems to have little or no bearing on the individual episodes. In fact this reference often appears to have no other bearing than it has been shoehorned into every episode with little or no explanation or effect.

More successfully than in previous episodes the domestic side of of the series (as experienced through Rose's interaction with family and friends) works particularly well. The pathos between her and her father throughout adds an extra dimension that was not fullt addressed or was just not evident before, even in 'Aliens of London' after she had returned home after an unexplained absence of 12 months, although i don't think it was neccessary to have the young Mickey appearing and latching on to her. Showing a connection between her and Mickey makes her leaving him to travel in the TARDIS much less believable.

Back to this weeks big bad...the reapers...wonderfully realised, the dark flow of their leathery wings and the brutality of their assault, terrifies complete with a searing screech reminiscent of the Nazgul (ask a fan boy for the reference). Fitting in to the background of reality far better than other CGI creations, fading in and out of time instead of exploding on the screen with tedious regularity.

The only other gripe was that it was a bit predictable...the denouement being painfully highlighted so that the audience had worked it out seemingly before the Doctor had. This again ties up with the short running time of these self contained episodes. The runtime is even made shorter by the inclusion of a trail for next weeks episode now firmly in place of the famous Doctor Who cliffhangers which kept people tuning in week by week. Fair enough people have many other things to do than watch television these days, but you still have to get people to watch week after week. That is the point of episodic television and without the aforementioned inclusion of a concrete story arc, people are not neccessarily going to rush back each week to see how characters are getting on after they have escaped from danger.

Without getting onto a detailed deconstruction of the failings and/or successes of the new series, 'Father's Day' was an enjoyable and moving episode of the continuing adventures of an incredibly appealing character. Long may the show go on.
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We're over halfway through the season now. So what does Father's Day show us we haven't seen before?

Well, it brings much more of a touchy-feely emotional side to Doctor Who. We see [through some superb acting by the entire ensemble] depth in the characters and in the script that we wouldn't see otherwise. The BBC keeps up it's reputation for doing 'the past' [does 1987 count as a period drama?] well, as everything seems, well, 1987-ish, besides the large mobile phone [I thought they still had large, briefcase-sized power sources/aerials back then].

The script would, in any other sci-fi series, be excellent, but after some of the Dr Who episodes we've seen here seemed not as good as it could be. In the first half of the show [especially when Rose gets a lift off her dad] there's some incredibly unsubtle hints at the paradox of Rose being in the past, which to be honest made me wince.

We see more of the BBC's favoured 'let's show a monster-eye-view of people being destroyed to lower CGI costs by omitting the monsters', which we saw in the past two episodes too - we saw Max the Jaberwocky come down, and Dalekcam. Nothing wrong with this, but when we already know what the monsters look like from previous weeks' spoilers it seems somewhat pointless.

One thing definately noteworthy is Murray Gould's score of incidental music. It received a panning in previous weeks, but this week it was, in my eyes [or should that be ears?] perfect. Violins were out in full force, beautifully realised, but the touch of genius was having silence when Rose's Dad died [for the second time]. It takes skill and nerve to write good incidental music, to omit said music to heighten the tension, drama and emotion surely takes more. Mr Gould is talented; let's call last week an off week.

What else? The CGI remains impressive. I'm not sure how convinced children used to entire CGI films or PC games found the Reapers, but I found them convincing [although possibly not quite as flowing as a real biological creature would be]. The highlight in CGI terms though would be either the Tardis semi-appearing and glowing yellow, the Doctor [or the passers-by] being "swallowed" by the reapers, or the disappearing and reappearing car [an Austin something? Not my era].

One thing struck me this week - the continuity. The reapers only arrive now [for the first time in Doctor Who canon, I assume] because the Time Lords can no longer control them. That's continuity for you. Plus, we see baby Rose, 5-year-old Rose [who, by-the-by, looks nothing like 21-year-old Rose] and adult Rose. We see wee 5-year-old Mickey [who looks more like adult Mickey, but also gets some cheap shots lobbed in his direction].

So this week showed us a different side to Doctor Who - one where the emotions have higher priority over the flashy CGI, over the plot, over everything else, really. And it's not the worse for it. Roll on World War Two next week.
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And "Father's Day" is very much a rollercoaster. The drama starts off light and simple and then twists and turns through a variety of emotional loops, each getting more and more intense.

This episode offers a very simple premise: What if you could stop a tragedy in your personal history? It's a simple idea, and surprisingly, for something so obvious to time travel, not one that Doctor Who has really dealt with before. It's certainly not a premise that has been taken to it's full emotional potential. Here we see Rose taking a course of action that is so utterly wrong yet so utterly understandable for anyone in her situation; Rose saves her dead father and the Doctor didn't see it coming.

Father's Day works on many levels thanks to its strong character progressions. First and most obvious is Rose, who quite frankly, hasn't had the spotlight I expected her to have throughout the season. The story intelligently takes her through an emotional drama, which, despite it's highly theoretical scenario, feels real. Considering the extent of unearthly circumstances her father has to comprehend in no more than 45 minutes, his character's introduction and evolution works very well.

This is where the story scores so well. It leaves the time techno babble largely to the side and allows the script to deal with the effects of temporal damage has on the main characters. There's a lot to cover if the writing is to convince the viewer that the characters are acting realistically in such a bizarre circumstance, and Paul Cornell really does pull it off.

Shaun Dingwell does a great job as Rose's father, Pete. He breathes the humanity and realism into the character. If Pete had been miscast, the whole scenario would have fallen apart. Piper gets to show off her own emotional skills and does a fine job as always. Eccleston also delivers a solid role; however the events of the episode do somewhat weaken his strength in the lead role as the Doctor.

The Doctor is changing, and that amount is clear. One of the more subtle storylines in this episode is his isolation from humanity. It doesn't seem to occur to him that Rose might try and save her father and this seems surprisingly naive for the character. His isolation is something that Rose has noticed, and in one of her less endearing moments (but certainly one of the most realistic portrayals of a teenager on TV) she makes it clear she knows he'll never leave her and he'll be back like a lost puppy. He needs the emotional human contact she gives him, envies that gift of humanity which he never had with his people and even what he did have is now gone. In someway, it's a very touching perspective, but it does weaken both his character and mystery. Somehow it feels wrong for a 19 year old to have such power over him.

Perhaps that's one of the biggest mistakes of the new series. The creators seem insistent that Rose and the Doctor are equal. Some say that she is more than the Doctor, and that doesn't really come across. Certainly she's not so world weary, but that comes from 900 years of experience, but she doesn't quite seem the gem of humanity the writers and the Doctor see. She comes across as a teenager. Strangely, that's a compliment as there are few dramas that can write a teenager well, however there is a little that makes her seem much more than the average teenager. I don't feel that comes across in the stories as being so special - regardless of Ms Piper's constantly solid acting. She certainly has tough competition to prove her worth too. Ian Chesterton, Sarah Jane Smith, Jamie McCrimmon, Jo Grant, Barbara Wright to name a few.

Overall "Father's Day" is a very good episode. Some small niggles get in the way. There is the occasional cringe worthy time cliché. For instance when kid Mickey, Rose's future boyfriend, is focused upon; there are some remarks about how much he'll cling to his future girlfriend. There is the old "I'm sure I know you from somewhere" line between father and future daughter. These are small, superfluous script gags that were acceptable twenty, thirty years ago, but now actually bring down dialogue quality.

The music is a little over indulgent. The haunting melody that accompanies every sad moment in the episode has no subtlety in its choice of instrumentation or how it's actioned. You can almost punctuate to the second when it's about to pop in and when it does, it just feels overtly artificial.

Aside from some dubious CG and a rather predictable resolution, this episode is very good. After all, the effects, the plot and the music are backseat to the emotional drama. The drama is lead performer in this story and it performs immensely well.

It's wonderful to see this series try so many different styles of drama and pretty much hit each style bang on. Great stuff. Now, go watch it again.
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After the more mellow and traditional Doctor Who romp in the form of The Long Game, we are introduced to one of the most dramatic Who stories to ever grace our screens.

Father's Day is the story of Rose's encounter with her father on his death-day in 1987, and the consequences of her actions when she prevents his fatal hit and run accident.

The episode is perfectly written, with some beautiful dialogue between Rose and her father, as well as the Doctor and his companion. The arguments between the Doctor and Rose add to the mysterious layered texture to the Doctor's character, once again played perfectly by Christopher Eccleston.

It is nice to see Billie Piper given a much more substantial and more challenging role to play, which she copes with well. Her acting ability is no doubt proved as a gem by her emotional confrontations with her dad, and the revelations as to his true character.

The episode visually is good, but one wonders how the younger generation will react to this much more 'talky' episode. However, the Reapers save the day, with a chilling appearance and attitude, and manage to be entertaining monsters, which profit from the lack of in-depth study towards them.

The abduction of the Doctor is a good idea, with the limelight falling onto Rose's father to save the day. The climax and its build up are by far some of the most tear-jerking and dramatic scenes in Doctor Who's history, and they make the episode an instant classic.
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Another Saturday night, another episode of the good Doctor. As the third episode not to be written by Russell T, would this follow the same pattern and actually be rather good? The answer, as is so often the case with Doctor Who, lies somewhere between yes and no.

Rose alters time to save her daddy and all hell breaks loose. It seems a little unfair that Adam was punished (a life long sentence!) for trying to alter the world a little, whereas Rose gets away with a few stern looks and the odd tear. We all assumed the character of Adam was created to throw light on Rose's abilities as an assistant, and then two weeks later she pulls this stunt. Her actions are understandable given her history but I would have liked to see more long-term consequences. But perhaps we will re-visit all this in a later episode - let's just hope Pete Tyler doesn't end up being the Master.

Talking of Pete, Shaun Dingwall put in a good performance as a man living on borrowed time, and although I am now very bored of listening to Jackie shouting at everyone, the moment she finally realised the strange teenager was her daughter was actually quite touching. Once again the Doctor didn't seem to do much, though it was exciting to watch him take control of the churchgoers, if only for a little while.

Like most of the other episodes, 'Father's Day' managed to squeeze in lots of plot and character but the denouement still felt rushed. It would surely have been more interesting (and believable) for Pete Tyler to discover the truth, freak out and run from the church in fear and cowardice, only to be run over. 'Fathers Day' spent a long time building up a picture of Pete as a shifty, worthless Del Boy, only to transform him into a genuine hero in the last few minutes.

Russell T has said a number of times that the show must remain 'grounded' for us to stay connected with Rose and the Doctor. I can't say I agree and I think the (only) major failing of the series so far is that it too often descends into a soap opera - and not a very good one at that. Am I the only viewer who groans inwardly at the sight of Rose's family in trailers for the next week's episode? That said, 'The Empty Child' looks pretty great - roll on next week!
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I suppose I could be described as a lifelong fan of Doctor Who, having watched it since William Hartnell first stepped out of the Tardis in 1963.

However, I did lapse during the Peter Davison/Colin Baker/Sylvester McCoy years, only watching occasionally, but never really losing the bug. Then when I heard that Doctor Who was coming back, I must admit I was sceptical at first, thinking that it would probably be "Americanised" or in some other way spoiled beyond recognition. When I heard who would play the Doctor and his companion, I sank further into gloom, thinking that neither would be right for the roles.

Then came Episode One, and I was blown away.

From the second that Rose got out of bed for what seemed like another ordinary day at work, I was glued. From the second the Doctor held Rose's hand and said "Run", I was bitten. "Lots of planets have a north" will go down in history as one of the finest one liners. Since then, I have marvelled at the total believability of Chris Eccleston's Doctor, and been totally amazed by Rose's character, and the chemistry between them is magic. If this isn't already a superb platform for Billie Piper's acting ability, then it soon will be, and I expect her to be in greater things in the future, because she is one of the best young actresses this country has, and we should be proud of her - and she is beautiful into the bargain.

As each episode has been aired, the characters have gone from strength to strength. I have not seen a bad episode yet, but there has been one slightly weak one, that being "The Long Game". The secondary characters in this episode were not allowed to develop into knowable people as they have in other episodes, in particular the Editor and Cathica. However, "Dalek" was absolutely and utterly awesome, and more, and I thought it could not be bettered.

Then came Episode Eight, and I could contain myself no more.

This to me, is classic Doctor Who brought alive for todays audience, and I have to say I did not expect to see such brilliance. Shaun Dingwall has been great in other things, and is a much underrated actor, but as Pete Tyler he was a revelation. The scene where he recognises Rose for who she actually is produced one of the finest facial expressions yet - only equalled when Rose first entered the Tardis - and there have been plenty of these moments in the series so far, with each one being magic and completely believable. Rose's look of horror when the reaper devoured the Doctor on the church floor really made me feel her grief for a heart thumping moment, and was another massive piece of the jigsaw which is the relationship between the Doctor and Rose. This goes deeper each episode, reminding me somewhat of the wonderful chemistry between Mulder and Scully in The X Files, it really is quality stuff.

The continually reappearing car that eventually kills Pete Tyler created just the right level of uneasy frustration that time was somehow on hold, waiting for the event to happen, thus putting things right once more. One could really feel for him as he ran headlong, knowing he had to die for his daughter, and everyone else to survive.

Also, what's all this about Camille Coduri only being an average actress? I suggest her critics watch her episodes again. Jackie Tyler is the perfect lovable rogue who seems as if she has not so much grown up, but been dragged up, and is now trying her best to make life as comfortable as possible in the face of all these things that keep happening to her since Rose met the Doctor. Camille Coduri plays the part to a T.

Altogether "Father's Day" was as great as "Dalek", and that took some doing. It had all the things we expect from Doctor Who; an ordinary day turned bad, well portrayed secondary characters, a seemingly unsolvable problem, scary monsters, humour, dark moments, and the moving emotional scenes which are fast becoming a staple of the new Doctor Who. All these will keep me watching, but I am sorry there are only five episodes left of Chris Eccleston's Doctor, who is probably the best one in 900 years.
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This story did something no previous episode of "Doctor Who" has ever done, by its conclusion; I was a whimpering pile of blancmange, in tears in my living room. The power of this episode was in the way it drew the ordinary and everyday into the fantastical and spectacular. By the end of the episode you really feel for the ordinary people caught up in the madness because you have seen them in their normal mundane life. The way that a normal Saturday in 1987 falls into anarchy is very creepy. This is something that Joe Aherne is very good at, his series "Ultraviolet" succeeded in scaring the pants of me just by implying the presence of vampirism in the real World.

Once again we see a definite growth of characters in this episode. Both the Doctor and Rose learn important lessons in this story. The Doctor is once again reminded that humans are not just stupid apes, but emotionally driven individuals who show a gamut of emotions that Time Lords have lost. Rose learns the just what a responsible position she is in whilst travelling with the Doctor, that she has to tread carefully. She also learns to love the father she never knew, gone forever is the blind hero worship instilled by her mother, she has seen him warts and all, and now has a deep love of the man he was. The two lead actors shine, you only have to look at Eccleston's face to know that his Doctor is incandescent with rage at Rose's action, you feel genuine sorrow when Piper's Rose watches her father die in her arms.

Shaun Dingwall gave a magnificent performance as Rose's dad Peter. Here is Mr. Average, who is the focus for events that are far from average. It is obvious who Rose inherited her intelligence and sense of adventure from, however, because he lacks a degree of common sense, he has never quite managed to get the success he dreams of. He does not need to be told that hs death is necessary to put the World to rights; he works that out all on his own.

It is a shock to realise that a point in time that seem like yesterday now has to be recreated with he same care that the BBC puts into one of its historical drama. The Doctor's comment that "the past is a foreign country, 1987 is just the Isle of White" is painfully funny. Pete's reaction to Rose's mobile neatly underscored that this was a time paradox story, as you could contrast the tiny Nokia she had with the clumsy house brick that the groom's father was talking into.

I particularly liked the fact that Paul Cornell recycled the idea of a small group trapped in a church from his novel "Timewyrm: Revelation" that is my favourite Virgin New Adventure.

Altogether, it was a very pleasing story.
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Eight episodes in, and I feel duty-bound to finally put pen to paper (or finger to keyboard!) and praise this series which is fast becoming one of the most consistently wonderful TV programmes I can ever remember.

It's not that the episodes so far haven't been worthy of praise; "Dalek", "The Unquiet Dead" and "The End of the World" all deserving of the gushing eulogies which have been heaped upon them, and only "The Long Game" failing, in my view, to engage in the same way the rest of the season has; but "Father's Day", while relatively predictable in plot devices right down to the climax, was without doubt one of the most perfect pieces of TV you could wish for (and do be careful what you wish for...!)

In writing, direction, and acting, this was top-notch stuff, plucking on our heartstrings in a way Dr Who has never done in all its glorious past. I hope this doesn't get lambasted by those fans who have compared Rose and Jackie's previous domestic scenes to EastEnders; this series has decided to show real, genuine, fleshed-out characters and these scenes have all been important in this respect, and I feel for the most part (though not always) they have been successful. And if it hadn't been for the audience slowly learning and empathising with Rose's personal life and history, this episode would never have been as poignant as it was. Billie Piper - wow! - she just goes from strength to strength, and without a doubt is the best companion the show has ever had. In this episode's scenes with her father, it was difficult to imagine anybody handling them better. This series has made us laugh alot and now has made us cry. Shaun Dingwall was fantastic as Rose's father, a much better-written character than I was expecting from his first few scenes, and even Camille Coduri - who I feel has been the weak link so far in the ensemble cast, more so than Noel Clarke - put in a solid performance as Jackie. The cast were all aided by a quite wonderful script from Paul Cornell, along with "Dalek" without doubt the most mature and thoughtful script of the season so far.

As we've come to expect (dare I say take for granted) this season, the effects - such as they were - were of a high quality, the Reapers being another well-realised monster for this series, despite having perhaps not quite enough to do. Of course, this was because the episode was so wonderfully dialogue - driven, with the Reapers feeling almost incidental to the plot.

And I haven't even mentioned Christopher Eccleston yet...I've read various views on his performance with interest, and can understand to an extent some viewers' irritation with the humour, silly faces etc. But was Tom Baker's Doctor - surely THE Doctor in most fans' eyes - really too far off that with his staring eyes, wide grin and jelly babies? The only problem I have had with this Doctor is occassionally with the way his relationship with Rose has been portrayed - last week's "that's your boyfriend" comment being the sort of juvenile comment which has at times sat a little uncomfortably with me - but here I felt that relationship was judged perfectly, the purile humour nowhere to be seen, and Eccleston, as with "Dalek", showing that with a little longer in the role he could have staked a very real claim to being the best Doctor yet. As it is, I feel personally only Pertwee and Tom Baker have been better - but I know that's all a matter of taste. What is beyond question is that Eccleston is a fine actor who has been consistently good, with flashes of outright superlative excellence. What a shame we're over halfway through his tenure.

Much was said in praise of Joe Ahearne's direction of "Dalek" - with good reason - but I think he's topped this with "Father's Day", creating what felt like quite a pacey episode despite the relative lack of action. And Murray Gold's music - well, I'm not a detractor of his anyway, and have been a little surprised at some of the comments that have gone his way, but I can't imagine anyone having a gripe with the incidental music for this episode - again, perfectly judged.

Yes, Jackie of 17 years ago looked like Jackie 2005 with a different hairstyle. Yes, if you look even vaguely closely, there were holes in the plot - any show that deals with changing time etc will have holes big enough to climb through (what of the driver who killed Pete, surely his life must have been dramatically changed, and surely Rose would have then grown up knowing that the driver had stopped and wasn't a hit-and-run) - but any niggling criticisms are just that - niggling - this was superbly - crafted, quality TV, setting the standards for everybody out there that works in this medium. And shame on ITV for even beginning to think that churning out yet another bunch of Z-list "celebs" for an idea that must have taken about half a nanosecond to think of - Celebrity Wrestling - would even begin to dent the fantastic ratings that this series has got.

A final word - intelligent criticism is always useful and important, but some of the whingeing comments from so-called Who fans about this series has made my blood boil, especially that aimed at RTD. Without this man we wouldn't be enjoying a series of Dr Who at all, let alone such an incredible one. Comments such as the Dr wouldn't have said that, done this, etc - yes, this is Dr Who, but it's a new Dr Who, it has changed with the times as it had to, and at this moment in time nobody knows what the Dr would say or do better than RTD himself. Russel - you are a star and keep up the amazing work!

And one final final word - have to agree about the preview of the following episode at the end of the "Aliens of London" cliffhanger - didn't work - but for the single episode adventures, this is a great hook for the next week. My jaw was already dropping at what I'd just spent 45 minutes watching when the preview for "The Empty Child" came on, and it dropped further still. From those few seconds, it looks like the most amazing spectacle yet, and I just can't wait, and can't believe that something so near-perfect can keep getting better still.
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Like any field of expertise, Dr Who fandom is blighted by jargon. 'Umbrella season'. 'Cancellation crisis'. 'Season 6b'. Phrases with no meaning outside the geeknoscenti. But among them all, few loom larger than 'base under siege'.

A staple format of the Troughton era, such stories place the Doctor, his companion(s) and a selection of guest stars into a claustrophic environment, attacked from without by some malevolent alien force. Our heroes can then fret and fight off incursions for however many episodes are required, without the need for a single new idea. All you needed was a new monster (or failing that the Cybermen) and a girl with a good pair of lungs, and you were off.

But that was the 1960s. Dr Who then was action adventure, plain and simple; all fist-fights and derring do, like Robin Hood with airlocks. In 2005 the series has moved on, and its first base-under-siege story – while admittedly featuring Billie Piper's scream debut – absolutely epitomises that contrast.

>From the get-go (which these days comes in the last minutes of the previous episode), it was clear this was going to be an ambitious, high concept story. Time is damaged; trusts are broken; people die. But more than that, it was also going to be essentially a character piece, which the classic series (even in its slower under-siege moments) had little time for. Gone are the familiar Troughton tropes – A Traitor Unmasked; The Coward Endangers Us All; The Cyberman Turn Up For No Good Reason – and in its place is a tight, fiery, emotionally intense piece about the dangers and importance of self-knowledge, that treads the sort of emotional territory ordinary dramas genuinely cannot reach.

It's brilliant stuff.

Mind you, that shouldn't be surprising. The writer of this episode, Paul Cornell, is best known to fans as the author of some of the best original Dr Who novels around, and it's the same techniques that made them work that gives this one its strength. Indeed, many aspects of Father's Day – the playing around with time; the use of symbols and images; the exploration of real-world relationships and emotions (particularly guilt); the epigrammatic Doctor and the brittle, argumentative nature of his relationship with his companion; even the impact of fathers – are all core elements of the spin-off 'New Adventures' series that made his name.

These days the NAs are often summed up by the single word 'angst', and undeniably this is an angsty story. But Paul Cornell's books in particular were also known for their powerful emotional focus, and this is where Father's Day really shines. The author's trademark linguistic cleverness (Jackie gloriously describing her husband as 'an accident waiting to happen'); his attention to structure (the delicate bookending voiceovers), and the elegant, double-layered possibilities of the closing sequence would be worth nothing if the story lacked a soul. In his creation of Pete Tyler, brilliantly written as an intelligent, open-minded individual rather than a foil to circumstance, and brought to life flawlessly by Shaun Dingwall, he gives us one that's truly to be reckoned with. The fluttering, hopeful uncertainty of his relationship with Rose does a better job of depicting fatherhood than half a century of soap, and, through a series of genuinely moving, perfect vignettes, fuels a tragic story that really does have two hearts.

Unfortunately, the downside of all this is that the action adventure aspect is rather put to one side. Consequently, while the first half bundles along at a fair old pace, by the second half pretty much everything has happened that's going to happen, and there's nothing left to do except explore character arcs and just generally be besieged until the finale. And indeed, while the siege some features tremendous dialogue, as well as two of the best performances ever seen in the show, this is nevertheless essentially what happens, with lots of rather talky scenes separated only by repetitive establishing shots. In dramatic terms, the whole thing feels like it's crying out for another beat in the under-siege sequence, leaving the story simply too short on events.

It's only fair to note that budgetary constraints may have played a part in this, given Cornell's admission that after repeatedly being told to think bigger he was finally told to think rather smaller for the final draft. It's perhaps telling, therefore, that while the monsters are impressive in both design and realisation, particularly when seen as shadows flitting half-seen past windows, they never really do anything. Their cgi unworldliness, though arguably in keeping with their nature, is only heightened by their conspicuous lack of real-world interaction, and this limitation (as well as their lack of dialogue, or any visual evidence of their supposed global impact) ultimately undermines the threat. Given, too, that all the visual set-up is there for a climactic bursting-through-the-stained-glass-window sequence which never comes – and given that the whole point of setting something in a church is to have something climactically burst through the stained glass window – it's tempting to suppose that at least some of the sagginess of the final act was due more to money than to over-egged angst.

Ultimately, then, Father's Day is monumentally effective... just not, perhaps, as Dr Who. With its curiously minimal science fiction element, and touchy-feely emotions in place of rampaging monster sequences, it's hard to imagine younger audiences feeling entirely comfortable with the sudden change of pace. But while it's not quite what viewers were expecting, which is arguably no bad thing, and not quite as good as it could have been – and when has that not been true of a Dr Who story? – it remains, on its own terms, a tremendous piece of television.

As fan jargon would have it, it's rad, not trad - and it's not half bad.
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This was always going to be a difficult episode. Just as expectations and reputation made the Dalek episode a difficult proposition, the emotional content and tone of Father's Day was always going to be a tricky task.

As it is, I am not surprised that Paul Cornell was the one tapped to write Rose's encounter with her deceased father and the ramifications of her impetuous action. Paul has built a reputation on deeply emotive and intelligently perceptive character writing and has always enjoyed exploring those most human of emotions. So a Doctor Who script that revolves purely around this type of set-up must have seemed like a gift to him.

And in the main, the episode succeeds incredibly well. This is probably the most un-Doctor who-ish episode in the series so far as it really is about Rose and her father more than anything else. The Doctor almost seems like a supporting character and isn't even around for the resolution. For once, it isn't the Doctor who saves the day.

This was an episode about characters first and plot second. A very 'talky' episode it attempts to extract every nuance from the emotionally charged situation the characters find themselves in. The episode does risk plunging into the saccharine in places and there were times when the piano score began to sound exceptionally cliched and overdone. But this sort of drama always treads a fine line between emotive drama and pukesome farce.

It was interesting to see the Dooctor fail, actually being killed by the creatures, but I am sure most viewers had worked out that the resolution would restore everything so I wasn't surprised that Joe Ahearne didn't accentuate the death into a huge dramatic moment of it's own. Let's face it, he was back 5 minutes later.

This episode was never going to have a surprise ending - I mean anyone who thought about it for more than ten seconds must have predicted virtually the entire plot - but this, for once, an episode less concerned about plot thann with the characters and for the main it managed too steer through these difficult waters extremely well.

And isn't Joe Ahearne shaping up to be the director of the series or what!
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Having just taken in Fathers Day, I can honestly, hand on heart, say it was the best piece of television of watched this year. I am a major, major doubter of the 45 minute episode format being suitable for Who. I was proved wrong by episode 3, The Unquiet Dead, and again Fathers Day has re-assured me that BBC can deliver a stunning episode of Who within this format.

The quality delivery of this episode is three fold; the script is simple but very clever (and the concepts of time travel are bent to extremes at points..). The direction is beautiful. It is unmistakably 'new Who', yet re-assuringly traditional. Even before seeing the vulture type creatures, the sense of cold mentioned on screen touches you in your armchair. And the acting....well it's simply superb. Billie Piper does in this episode what Ecclestone did in the Dalek episode - adds a totally new dimension to the character. The stirring exchanges between her and her parents and just perfect. I'm no blubber, but I had tears welling in my eyes.

This was the perfect piece of 45 minute entertainment. I still think the core of episodes should be two parters, but if the bar is raised to this level, then 45 minutes one parters MUST be a part of the Dr Who format. Congrats to all involved with making Fathers Day, it's an absolute gem - one of the best.
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Playing The Time Line

Oh Rose, you've been playing with Time,
That harbinger of death or life
Bringing you strife
And grief. Can you hear wedding bells chime?
They're calling out the Time Lord's name,
His lonliness married to awkward identity
Needed to fight the Reaper entity
Again delivered with fine artistry.

Oh writer, you've been playing with Time,
That question of One or Two
Haunts this series through.
Relief . Did you know you're innocent of the usual crime;
Of solutions squeezed in with seconds to spare?
But drama well paced – requiring concentration
Needed to understand Time's rules and machination
Above the younger head and their imagination?

Oh Doctor, you've been minding your Time
Forming that character so Jekyll and Hyde;
Equally caring and then so snide.
Self Belief. Did it leave you - this aura sublime?
Your perfection was nicely questioned.
Your performance deep in its madness,
Desiring human experience your Archilles sadness.
Knowing all Paradoxes yet powerless!!

Mr Tyler you've made a mess of Time,
That point at which you first died
Differed erroneously from where Rose finally cried.
Chief Mistake! You'll know you're in the mire- the slime
When the net awakes to timelines illogical.
Just wait for the hot geek debate
Regarding your change in suit and fate.
By such you wiped humanity off the slate.

Oh Producer you've been playing with Time,
That large quantity and space given to Rose
Takes the focus off the Dr dealing with foes.
So Brief. Have you remembered that our prime
Reason for watching is Who and his intent?
But surely not an episode for every Tyler
What next a long lost cousin from Outer Mongolia.
Or a new boyfriend soldier?

Oh ReViewer you've been playing with Time,
That manmade measurement of experience
Which yields 45 minutes of sci-fi reverence.
High reef!! Have you dissected the promise and grime
With responsible charity and clarity?
For whilst we interweave our opinions fair
Do not forget to influence hearts and minds out there
For pundits' love of the Who can be a short affair!!
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It was all going so well. Unfortunately, Father's Day was the moment "New Series 1" had a rather nasty prang and ended up sprawled over the bonnet of a speeding gold Chevette.

Let's start with the good stuff. The human elements of Father's Day - and the overall premise - were brilliant. Who hasn't thought "if only" or wanted to change something in their lives, see how the world and their family was before they were born? Shaun Dingwall gave a stunning performance as Rose's dad (all the more so given the material he had to work with - more on this later) and Billie Piper was again excellent; human without being mawkish, understated without being cold, warm without being too cosy. This new, more personal side to Dr Who... y'know it could just work.

Standards of direction were high - notably the long shot of Rose's face against the backdrop of the church window - as was production, with big hair and shiny suits all present and 1987 correct. Nice little touches like the Graham Bell phone call and the car radio playing 21st century techno showed good attention to detail. And the Reapers looked fantastic with the moments before they appeared, and their ultimate revelation, genuinely spooky/scary.

However, it's somehow ironic that a Dr Who episode set in the late 1980s should fall down so badly on plot.

Simply, Father's Day made absolutely no sense at all, whatsoever. Even the Doctor couldn't muster anything approaching a sensible diagnosis for why a "wound in time" needed to be "sterilised" by crossbred vulture-dactyl things, scary as they were. Things went from bad to worse when, somehow, a 80s brickphone battery was rigged up to "recharge" the invisible Tardis, which would somehow get the damn things back in their cage, let Stuart and Sarah get married, keep Rose's dad alive and er, wipe everyone's memory. I'm struggling here.

Once again the Doctor passed the buck - here Rose, last week Adam - for events for which he bears a great deal of responsibility. More attempts to underline the doctor's 'alien-ness' perhaps, but yet again, he comes across more arrogant, selfish - and human.

Clueless too. Surely a TIME LORD would be the expert at sorting out disturbances in, er, time? This Doctor is more bodger than schemer. The sum of his character's role in this episode: has a tiff with Rose after showing off to impress her (again), runs around shouting, acts a bit miffy, sulks, apologises, then gets himself Reaper-ed. Eventually it took Tyler senior to obligingly throw himself under the damn car (why had it followed him to the church?), perhaps in hope of terminating the nonsensical turn the life-he-shouldn't-have-had was taking.

Someone in post-production should have intervened to at least ask for some attention to be paid to these problems. Here was a fine premise - meddling in time with unforeseen consequences - but one which to make convincing required depth of imagination and commitment to detail. Sadly, Father's Day had neither. In the end, this story reeked of compromise. Perhaps Russell T upped the human elements to gloss over the holes, perhaps the writers didn't credit the early-evening audience with the intelligence to follow a complicated idea. Perhaps it's enough for children to have an attack of flappy scary scaly things and some big weepy moments. For me however, this episode was a big let down. Maybe Richard Wilson can make amends next week.
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This episode of Dr Who will do something that no other will - it'll make you cry. At the same time, it'll blow away any critics of Billie Piper's acting ability since her performance is spot on, and very moving. In fact, everyone in this episode acts their socks off to produce an excellent piece of well-crafted character driven drama. No wonder Dr Who in the UK is knocking the pants off ITV's Saturday Night offering - Celebrity Wrestling !. I'll step into the TARDIS anytime, thanks.
The Doctor takes Rose back to 1987 to be with her father in his dying moments after a hit and run accident. On the second attempt, Rose saves his life and changes the timeline, creating a 'wound' in time. This heralds the arrival of the Reapers, bat-like creatures apparently created by time itself to act as antibodies and cleanse the wound by wiping out the human race. With no TARDIS and everyone trapped inside a church, can the Doctor save the situation ?.Well, this time the answer is 'no', beacuse for once, he has no plan !. Although the final solution is easy to work out, thanks to skillful writing by Paul Cornell, fine performances from the cast and lean direction, the story manages to lose none of it's emotional impact and the closing scenes will guarantee not a dry eye in the audience. This is Dr Who at it's very best where the SF element of the story plays second fiddle to the human drama and characters.Being a time-paradox story, there's a lot of fun to be had too - 1980's fashions and subtle references to the era (US fans might find these puzzling), large mobile phones, Rose as a baby and her future boyfriend Mickey as a toddler. The scene of him on the swing in the kids playground, watching all around him mysteriously vanish as victims of the Reapers is geniunely spooky. It was also a nice touch having the car that killed Roses' father, appearing and disappearing as it runs around the outside of the church, almost like it's stalking it's intended victim.But you know they're all in deadly trouble when the Doctor makes a shocking discovery about the TARDIS.This episode has some beautiful perfomances and emotionally charged scenes, especiallly between Rose and her father when he realises who she is and what must be done to save the day. Although inevitable, the ending is still very powerful and sad.
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From strength to strength! Although I was disappointed by "The Long Game" (which was better received upon repeat viewing) after the exceptional "Dalek", this episode, which looked a very interesting concept on paper, turned out to be one of the most emotional and fascinating stories the show has ever done. More than that though, it was a proper science fiction story. It was about time travel, paradoxes and breaking the "laws" of Time, but at the heart of it was the story of a girl who wanted to save her Father's life.

We were thrown right into it; within minutes Rose had changed history and the Doctor was furious. He wouldn't even speak to her. His "another stupid ape" outburst was fantastic. At this stage in the season both Eccleston and Piper have homed their characterisation to perfection; Eccleston's Doctor is superb, especially in scenes like this where he conveys that real sense of alienness.

The plot had me from the start – I have always wanted to see a story like this with a Doctor's companion altering history for their own ends. Of course, the Doctor, wherever (and whenever) he has travelled to he has always altered history throughout his whole life, often just through his mere presence. Rose lacks the power to do this that Time Lords have, and with no Time Lords anymore (as the Doctor pointed out) to uphold the "laws of time" we finally get to see why they were so keen to uphold these laws so strictly.

I must admit before I watched the show I expected such as complicated story to be littered with plot holes, but even considering its complexity I think it holds up admirably. In fact, it actually answers a few 'plot holes' which people have complained about. "Why doesn't the Doctor travel back and save Gallifrey?" Answered. He can't risk altering history on such a massive scale; just like he couldn't go back and save Adric in "Earthshock."

I thought Rose's Father himself was a great character – a cheating, lying, wheeler-dealer – who by the end of the story is redeemed, sacrificing himself to put history back on (almost) it's right course. Coduri was excellent as always as Jackie – it was interesting to see her younger; married with a small baby, and even more feisty! I had to laugh at young Mickey's inclusion though!!!

My two favourites scenes have to be the Doctor stood on the pulpit in front of the 'congregation' explaining about the reapers and the 'wound in time.' There was something about the Doctor stood in the pulpit that seemed strangely appropriate. I also loved the scene with the Doctor talking to the newly weds, where he says he'll try to save them and he's enchanted by the story of how they fell in love. "I never had a life like that..."

The 'reapers' themselves were brilliantly realised and the Doctor's apparent death was quite shocking, and I was on the edge of my seat for the last ten minutes. Even though the story's resolution was predictable, the scene with Rose, Jackie and Rose's Father was an absolute tear-jerker. I think by this stage it is obvious how deeply the Doctor and Rose care for each other – to see them walking hand in hand back to the TARDIS at the end was a lovely finish. The two scenes with Jackie and a young Rose, where Jackie is explaining the two different versions of Rose's Father's death were also very moving.

I can't praise this story enough – if I gave "Dalek" 99/100 this episode is about 96/100. Phenomenal. And as for next week's trailer... WOW.
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And so the familiar patterns re-asserts itself after the rather rushed and lightweight The Long Game (which, however, was certainly RTD's best so far in my opinion): once again RTD's Doctor Who writing is called into question as his latest offering was sandwiched between two brilliant episodes by other writers, Dalek by Rob Shearman (the best episode so far) and Father's Day by Paul Cornell (quite possibly the second best so far, in joint place with Unquiet Dead (what a coincidence, another writer) by Mark Gatiss, or possibly an all out second place, reviewing will help me decide this).
The key improvement here from The Long Game was in the writing for the Doctor and Eccleston's related interpretation of the character: here we have the Doctor almost exactly as he should be, fairly cerebral, quite remote, a slightly understated, shadowy figure of mystery mingled with reassuring humanity, and gravitas of presence. All these qualities almost lacked completely from The Long Game's version of the Doctor, who was frankly just irritating. The character is, after all, a Doctor, which means his chief function is to heal and mend, and I'm reminded of the one good line in the otherwise shambolic Meglos in which a character alldues to him as a strange traveller who takes up the broken threads of time and puts them together again, or something along those lines. And in Father's Day (shame about the bathetic title) the Doctor is given the prime opportunity to act as a custodian of time intervention and most refreshingly, to act literally as a time doctor and mend time's broken fabric, incurred by Rose saving her father's life. This plot scenario, together with admirably subtle and fairly haunting direction in parts, created a welcome echo of that superbly mysterious and atmospheric series of the early 80s, Sapphire and Steel, and here we have a Doctor pretty much fulfilling both those characters functions in one persona, which is pretty much how I think the Doctor should be: an investigator and mender of time disturbances. In particular, the continual shot of the car appearing and reappearing in a time loop outside the church for me harked back vividly to the final Sapphire and Steel story when the characters can constantly hear the engine of a car in a sort of repetitive loop somewhere beyond the isolated garage they are trapped in. Other aspects of the direction in this episode were also rather Sapphire and Steel-esque: the beautifully haunting shot of a leafless tree creaking in the breeze of an eerily silent townscape, hinting of the oncoming intervention from the Reapers; the Doctor and Rose re-visiting the scene of the crash and watching themselves watching it. I was worried about this episode, chiefly because it was going to place much more emphasis on Rose and her family background. However, this time, and despite Jackie's still rather grating presence in the episode, the scenario was handled intelligently, subtly and with much emotional substance which was genuinely convincing and moving. It was so much the actual protagonists who really mattered here: it was the very profound and compelling scenario of enacting one's emotional wishes in bringing a loved one back to life on having the extraordinary opportunity of being able to travel back in time and do so; more particularly in this case, of a girl who had never even met her father seizing this one-off chance to get to know him by disobeying the first rule of time travel. This sort of subject should have come up much more often in the old series but very rarely, if ever, did (to my memory). So here we have for perhaps the first substantial time, an emotionally charged look at the possibilities of time travel in a series which traditionally, and puzzlingly, mostly eschewed this kind of very human realism regarding time travel's possibilities (bar The Curse of Fenric and Ace's inadvertantly saving the life of her baby mother and thus ensuring her own future). In this sense, as with Dalek's newly emotional and intellectual analysis of the nature of a humanised Kaled mutant inside the Dalek's casing, Father's Day too has improved on the original series (these are, however, the only senses in which New Who has dones so).Father's Day's biggest debt however is to the companion-based emotional time journeys of Season 26, in which a similarly Sapphire-and-Steel-esque, metaphysically mysterious and Jehovah-style manipulative Doctor takes his troubled young companion on a series of time travelling behavioural therapy sessions, making her confront her inner fears and unresolved emotional issues. The Ninth, as with the Seventh Doctor, have questionable motives in doing this, and as in The Long Game when the Doctor deliberately dangled the fruits of future knowledge before Adam as if to will him to fall into temptation, only to berate him afterwards, in Father's Day he once again puts his companion, this time the more reliable Rose, in a position of almost unbearable temptation when she has the chance to save her dead father's life. He must know she is going to do this. Is there some sort of plan of his in facilitating such situations for his companions? Is he trying to teach them lessons? So, Ghost Light comes to mind a little in the Doctor taking Ace back to face her deepest fears relating to a haunted house she once firebombed, but the most obvious comparison is Ace's creation of her own future in Curse of Fenric; particularly, that story's emotionally cathartic climax has much in common with the plot direction of Father's Day, which too is a catharsis for Rose. There is also something of Survival in Father's Day, more superficially but in the late 80's suburban location used in both stories and also in the brilliant shots in both of playgrounds being spied on by the eyes of unseen aliens (re the cats in suburban Perrivale in Survival and the Reapers in another sunny London suburb in 1987). So Cornell, perhaps deliberately, has managed to produce a story which quite nicely follows on in genre to the final story of the old cannon which, looking back at the time, seemed strikingly down-to-earth and mundane in its suburban scenario as does Father's Day. The trend for more human-based, emotionally driven suburban-set Doctor Who was starting to creep in at Season 26's end, so in that there is little new, except New Who's propensity to concentrate in detail on the companion's contemporary home life intermittently, and - with exception to Cornell's very moving and well-realised visit in this episode - rather gratingly in the other episodes so far.The Reapers are fairly impressive and the shots of them galumphing past the stained glass windows were impressively handled, with appropriately ominous shadows falling in on the church inside. When they finally cavort around the church you could feel their size and weight as they swooped in between the cloisters. However, I do take on board the Radio Times preview of the episode which praised it but said it could have been equally as good without the monsters in it. I agree, and think the cleansers of the time disturbance could have been realised far more subtly, not actually fully manifest, and perhaps just suggested as shadows as was often done in Sapphire and Steel.The whole episode would have fallen down with a bad or inappropriate actor playing Rose's father; fortunately we had a stirring performance from this actor in the part, who played it convincingly and showed genuine power when confronting the truth of the situation; as did Billie Piper, this being a best performance yet without a doubt.Most importantly, as previously mentioned, this was the most satisfyingly Doctorish performance from Christopher Eccleston to date.My only criticisms of this episode are: the first ten minutes or so in which there were more inappropriate allusions to a possible romance between the Doctor and Rose via the father's assumptions; the Doctor storming off like a boyfriend in a huff on Rose saying 'just because you're not the most important man in my life for a change'. I was also slightly disturbed by the Doctor saying his 'family are all dead': it was always implied before in the old series that the Doctor's family were long gone: notably a reference to this by Troughton, with appropriate wisftulness and gravitas, in the night scene in Tomb of the Cybermen (one of the greatest scenes ever in which he whispers to Victoria about how only they can do what they do regarding time travel) and again much later in Curse of Fenric when McCoy mumbles 'I don't know' on being asked by Ace's grandmother whether he knew anything about his family's whereabouts re the war. Add to that Susan, the Doctor's granddaughter at the very beginning of the series, and frequent hint at the end of Planet of Fire that the Master was actually the Doctor's brother ('how could you do this to your own...?') - however, the Ninth could mean the term 'family' as referring to his race.Otherwise, no other criticisms. Overall a very good episode, joint-second (with Unquiet Dead) to Dalek, and a classic of its kind and in the subtler and more profound genre of Sapphire and Steel's existential take on time travel. Well done Mr Cornell. 8/10.If only New Who could keep up this standard of emotional intelligence and genuine mystery regarding the main character and the nature of time travel, it could evolve into a genuinely compelling reworking of the old series which could stand on its own in the future. We need more episodes of this type, more dissections of time travel and its possibilities, more gravitas and alienness from the Doctor - Gatiss, Shearman and Cornell have set the new standards. If the show keeps up these sorts of scripts it will survive and prosper. If, however, it stays with inordinately frequent and far inferior contributions from its producer RTD, then I fear the truly excellent episodes will not be sufficient in number to ensure the programme's longevity and critical credibility. They must keep up the standards of Father's Day, Dalek and Unquiet Dead. Fortunately the next two episodes look as if they are going to do just that.
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This story is likely to be one where opinions differ markedly with little middle ground.I'm not just saying that because for the first time my friend and I,who for a bit of fun send each other an initial rating of each story shortly after transmission,completely disagree about this one.For him this was by far the worst story of the season to date whereas for me it was another excellent and in this case poignant tale which,whilst not quite hitting the heights of the Unquiet Dead or Dalek,came pretty close in its own way.

I can see there will be those who felt that this story was padded out,soapy and predictable.Rose's Dad has to kill himself to redress the wound in time,surely?But I am afraid there are far too many good things going on here for this story to be dismissed out of hand and anyway,I've got no problem at all with stories that don't travel at a frenetic pace and where dialogue comes to the fore.I can see the Tom Baker incarnation sqirming with embarrassment and irritation at some of the intensity of the emotional exchanges but these were completely necessary in this particular case.

There are some very memorable sequences: the outline of one of the Reapers at the stained glass window of the church was one of the most striking and unnerving I can recall; the see-saw rocking on its own after the children have suddenly been taken away is very reminiscent of Sapphire and Steel story one and very scary;the Doctor opening up the Tardis to find the inside of a police box was just brilliant and the Doctor's perception that the walls of the church will provide temporary sanctuary due to their age is suitably eerie.

I don't suppose for a moment I could make complete sense of it all but the quality of the writing and performances shone through,as Rose's Dad goes from being a loser to a hero with the realisation that he needs to sacrifice himself,after the Doctor has bought the besieged inhabitants of the church a little more time by his own self-sacrifice.

Rose's Mum didn't appear to look any different in age terms(not hairstyle of course) in 1987 but that's a minor aside.

An excellent story which I feel will stand up well to repeated viewings.

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I suppose I could be described as a lifelong fan of Doctor Who, having watched it since William Hartnell first stepped out of the Tardis in 1963.

However, I did lapse during the Peter Davison/Colin Baker/Sylvester McCoy years, only watching occasionally, but never really losing the bug. Then when I heard that Doctor Who was coming back, I must admit I was sceptical at first, thinking that it would probably be "Americanised" or in some other way spoiled beyond recognition. When I heard who would play the Doctor and his companion, I sank further into gloom, thinking that neither would be right for the roles.

Then came Episode One, and I was blown away.

From the second that Rose got out of bed for what seemed like another ordinary day at work, I was glued. From the second the Doctor held Rose's hand and said "Run", I was bitten. "Lots of planets have a north" will go down in history as one of the finest one liners. Since then, I have marvelled at the total believability of Chris Eccleston's Doctor, and been totally amazed by Rose's character, and the chemistry between them is magic. If this isn't already a superb platform for Billie Piper's acting ability, then it soon will be, and I expect her to be in greater things in the future, because she is one of the best young actresses this country has, and we should be proud of her - and she is beautiful into the bargain.

As each episode has been aired, the characters have gone from strength to strength. I have not seen a bad episode yet, but there has been one slightly weak one, that being "The Long Game". The secondary characters in this episode were not allowed to develop into knowable people as they have in other episodes, in particular the Editor and Cathica. However, "Dalek" was absolutely and utterly awesome, and more, and I thought it could not be bettered.

Then came Episode Eight, and I could contain myself no more.

This to me, is classic Doctor Who brought alive for todays audience, and I have to say I did not expect to see such brilliance. Shaun Dingwall has been great in other things, and is a much underrated actor, but as Pete Tyler he was a revelation. The scene where he recognises Rose for who she actually is produced one of the finest facial expressions yet - only equalled when Rose first entered the Tardis - and there have been plenty of these moments in the series so far, with each one being magic and completely believable. Rose's look of horror when the reaper devoured the Doctor on the church floor really made me feel her grief for a heart thumping moment, and was another massive piece of the jigsaw which is the relationship between the Doctor and Rose. This goes deeper each episode, reminding me somewhat of the wonderful chemistry between Mulder and Scully in The X Files, it really is quality stuff.

The continually reappearing car that eventually kills Pete Tyler created just the right level of uneasy frustration that time was somehow on hold, waiting for the event to happen, thus putting things right once more. One could really feel for him as he ran headlong, knowing he had to die for his daughter, and everyone else to survive.

Also, what's all this about Camille Coduri only being an average actress? I suggest her critics watch her episodes again. Jackie Tyler is the perfect lovable rogue who seems as if she has not so much grown up, but been dragged up, and is now trying her best to make life as comfortable as possible in the face of all these things that keep happening to her since Rose met the Doctor. Camille Coduri plays the part to a T.

Altogether "Father's Day" was as great as "Dalek", and that took some doing. It had all the things we expect from Doctor Who; an ordinary day turned bad, well portrayed secondary characters, a seemingly unsolvable problem, scary monsters, humour, dark moments, and the moving emotional scenes which are fast becoming a staple of the new Doctor Who. All these will keep me watching, but I am sorry there are only five episodes left of Chris Eccleston's Doctor, who is probably the best one in 900 years.

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Again another brilliant episode of Doctor Who! Both Eccleston's and Piper's perfromances were amazing, especially Eccleston.

The story line is also faultless because it all follows on from each other, in an easy to follow maze.

This episode will make everyone cry (it did with all my friends), whether to do with the Doctor's untimely end or the emotional turmoil of Rose as her father realises what he has to do.

There are very little glitches in the actual story, except the Reapers are hard to work out, because their appearance seems odd and out of order.

I especially enjoyed the Doctor in this episode, because he proved that he wasn't as alien as he seemed. He has a lot of puns, but he also shows remorse and regret. I think that he also has a lot of good lines in this episode, because he shows the harder, easier to hurt side. The line "I've never had a life that." Shows that he has a weaker side, a side that is not seen very often. The argument between Rose and the Doctor is quite unexpected: they seemed like quite a harmonious couple.

I enjoyed the episode because it seemed like an emotional episode ore than a dangerous one, except for the fact that the Doctor was unfortunately killed at the end.

In fact, that was probably the worst bit, because he proved his love for Rose, by going forward and sacrificing himself, not just to save Rose, but also to try to stop her father from having to die too. This was quite a touching gesture for the Doctor, who is normally quite reserved. Obviously, at that rash moment, he didn’t know that the Tardis was about to be destroyed. The question is; would the Doctor have returned if the Tardis had been returned, and saved everyone. Because if the whole earth had been ‘consumed’ by these Reapers, then there would not have been much of a world left in the future. We have to remember that this is in the past. But considering this, why did the Doctor bring Rose back in the first place? If he knew that if something went wrong, then that would change history and the world afterward.

It was also quite a revealing episode. From facts that I have learnt from other people, apparently the Doctor had suffered at the hands of his people, so why was he so intent on going back and saving them? In ‘Dalek’ as well, that was also the case.

Overall, this was a brilliant episode, in my ratings top of the leader board, beating the Dalek episode too, which I thought could not be bettered.

Congratulations to the whole cast and crew!

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For the early part of the nineties, the only real source of new Doctor Who was Virgin’s New Adventures, a series of books which although aimed at Doctor Who fans took the wise step of moving the series on in style and tone, or in its own words doing stories that were too broad and deep for the small screen. The New Adventures were for the most part a solid run of hugely engrossing stories, occasionally pretentious, occasionally a little too subversive and every so often a bit too unlike televised Doctor Who, but always at the heart of it were a core group of characters that truly lived and breathed on the printed page. I have not followed much of the subsequent Doctor Who expanded universe, but have found a lot of Big Finish and BBC’s stuff has fallen way short of the standard Virgin set.

Whenever there were rumblings of a return of Doctor Who I always thought that taking a leaf out of Virgin’s book wouldn’t be too bad a thing. The tv movie was poles apart from this approach as has been much of this series so far, but finally with Father’s Day Doctor Who grew up a little and finally put on screen what Virgin did for a select audience all those years ago.

Father’s Day was a very rare thing, a Doctor Who story where flaws were very few and far between, which itself is a remarkable thing in a season where the word flawed comes to mind more times than it should. In short Father’s Day was perhaps the most perfect Doctor Who story ever put on screen, possibly not the best, but definitely the most perfect.

Performances, writing, music, direction, effects, photography, all were top notch.

>From the word go, the story took you in its grip and didn’t let go, doing that thing that only Doctor Who can, putting the mundane and the fantastic together and making it seem totally believable.

I am sure this sort of story has been done somewhere before, in fact the whole time paradox thing is one of the biggest sci fi gimmicks going, but Paul Cornell’s script was so well written and inventive that the whole thing felt totally original, afterall I don’t think anybody else has written a story about a wedding being jinxed by time travelling dragons. The eighties feel was well captured without ever being overdone.

In fact the whole script played on one of the things anyone who ever fantasised about time travel must have thought about, as fascinating as a trip back into the distant past would be, who wouldn’t be more tempted to travel back into their own lifetime, to revisit old memories or perhaps even right a wrong.

Much as I am sure we would all discover, Rose’s past is not as rosetinted as she thinks, and the November day in 1987 much like any other day to anyone who is living it is fairly normal and mundane. Her father also turns out to be less than the saintly figure she had hoped he would be, perfectly set out in the scene where Rose lies to her father about what they used to do together and he replys ‘that isn’t me’. Pete Tyler’s slow realisation that he is a doomed man was as good a piece of drama as anything that BBC1 is likely to put out this year.

I had initially been dubious about the inclusion of monsters in this story, thinking that for once the series could have attempted a bog standard down to earth drama about Rose and her father, but the Reapers were a master stroke. They are by far the best monster for many a year, and crap all over this seasons array of Moxx’s, walking corpses and Slitheen’s from a great height. The eerie shots of the reapers circling the church provided a true iconic Doctor Who moment, to easily rival Daleks on Westminster bridge, Cybermen coming out of tombs, Sea Devils rising from the sea etc. Obviously use of the creatures is limited to a certain degree by them having no dialogue, but I for one would like to see more, perhaps a future story could explore their origins and their exact nature.

Once again the star of the show was Billie Piper, and although she has been more or less faultless throughout the whole season, here she rose (no pun intended) to a new level. She has an astonishing range and makes all her scenes totally convincing and never gives less than 100%. Although nostalgia always plays a part in Doctor Who appreciation, I think it wont be long before she takes her place as number one Doctor Who assistant. Sadly I wish I could say the same about Christopher Eccleston. The more this season goes on the more I come to the conclusion that the guy has been miscast. I initially liked his Doctor and felt it would grow on me over time, but after a few episodes it has settled down into a rather mundane portrayal which only very occasionally feels anything like the Doctor as we know him. Eccleston is a great actor, probably one of Britain’s biggest talents and I was initially very impressed at the coup of his casting. But rather ironically given that everyone thought Billie Piper was going to be terrible, Eccleston has created in my eyes possibly the least memorable Doctor ever put on screen. The combination of the leather jacket, the northern accent, in fact the whole package has had the effect of turning an iconic fantasy creation into the sort of working class character you’d expect to see on a picket line or a building site. To be fair he has chemistry with Billie Piper and his acting in this episode was for the large part faultless, but this season still often feels like a series missing its central character.

Despite this, the episode had some great Doctor moments particularly the line about ‘ how he would try and save the couple’, which reminded us of the Doctors creed that every individual is important no matter how mundane their existence may seem.

Shaun Dingwall as Pete turned in a hugely impressive performance with a down to earth, believable character which never veered into cariacture as Camille Coduri’s Jackie has often done. Indeed the scenes between Rose and her Dad probably showcased some of the finest acting ever in Doctor Who. Pete’s inevitable sacrifice, turning a flawed everyman into the hero, was again one of the series most poignant moments and proved that much like the destruction of the Earth in episode 2, that Doctor Who can do emotion without sinking into overt sentimentality.

Joe Ahearne has been the only stand out director on this season of Doctor Who so far and much like his Dalek episode, brings a pace and atmosphere to this story which is not too far from feature film standard. The whole episode exuded an ominous feeling of impending doom, without resorting to cheap gimmicks like thunderstorms or lightning. I am particularly glad that he is returning at the end of the series as he brings that extra quality, which the glossy by the numbers direction of the earlier episodes particularly those of Keith Boak lacked. And special praise must also go to Murray Gold whose music has got significantly better as this series has gone on. The music to the early episodes was very patchy, but the last few have got better and better, and the score to Father’s day was nigh on perfect, sinister and moving all at the same time, just keep it up Murray.

And so we get to the inevitable flaws and there is only one major thing that comes to mind. What exactly happened at the end and why? Why did the Tardis suddenly return to normal? Why was the Doctor returned to life after Pete’s sacrifice, it wasn’t like time reversed or anything. What has happened to time at the end of the story, obviously time must have been altered, so Jackie will now no longer experience the events of Rose or Aliens of London in the same way, so whichever way you look at itI there’s still a paradox . While some of this may very well be addressed later in the season, I still feel a more thorough explanation could have been forthcoming.

But gripes aside this story was head and shoulders above anything else in this season even Dalek, and was probably the most emotionally involving since Caves of Androzani. Indeed it gets my vote as the series first 21st century classic. After a shaky start to the season, I feel with Dalek this new Doctor Who has hit its stride and is now blooming into something very promising and deserving of all the hype and promises.

The other observation I cant help but make is that another standout episode is once again not written by Russell T Davies. Perhaps he should come down from his self congratulating on Doctor Who Confidential and in the pages of DWM, and start taking stock of his own scripts, because although he picked Billie Piper and has made some strong artistic decisions, his scripts at their best have been rather run of the mill (Rose, The Long game), at their worst utter tripe (AOL, WW3 and parts of EOTW). With only three more of his own episodes to go, the works of Gatiss, Shearman and Cornell should give some food for thought.

That final shot of the Doctor and Rose hand in hand making their lonely walk back to the Tardis ended this story perfectly. For many years Doctor Who was has been written of as cheap bit of outdated tat by critics, Father’s Day proved that Doctor Who in 2005 can still be just as relevant and fresh in 2005 as it was over 40 years ago.

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Father’s Day, like Dalek, was one of those episodes fans were waiting to see and their wait was well rewarded. The episode wasn’t without its flaws, as is the case for most programmes, but it was still a highly enjoyable but deeply moving episode.

The concept of the episode is interesting and one that was bound to come up sooner or later in the new series. Rose decides to use the power of the Tardis to visit her dead father. And it’s a perfectly reasonable and understandable move by Rose. She has the means to visit someone she doesn’t remember and if I were in the same place I would do the same. It’s also something that wasn’t really tackled in the last series. The nearest they came to tackling it was with Barbara in the Aztecs but that was an accidental landing and Barbara attempted to use the situation and her future knowledge to her advantage with little success. Here the situation is slightly different. Rose, unlike Barbara, isn’t planning to change time on a massive scale and doesn’t intend to change it at all. It’s only when the situation presents it self and Rose realises, perhaps for the first time, that she actually can change time and save her father that she does.

When she does save her father I think the audience completely sympathised with her actions and would have done the same. In a programme you have to identify with the characters and by putting Rose in this situation the audience immediately sympathises with her. It’s a brilliant move and one that works so well as throughout the episode you feel what Rose is feeling, this is certainly a really emotional episode and you can feel what Rose is going through. The emotional turmoil that she’s facing and the realisation of what she’s done mixed with the fact she’s meeting her father for the first time but with dire consequences. There’s one slightly programme I have though and it’s not with the idea or concept but more to do with The Doctor’s reaction to it. The first Doctor was furious with Barbara for attempting to change time and warned her “You can’t change history, not one line of it”. This seems to me to suggest that its impossible for time to be changed although it’s real meaning might merely be its plain stupid and dangerous to play with time. After all at that point in time the Doctor was effectively on the run from his people and Barbara changing time would have altered the Time Lords to his presence. Anyway the First Doctor was furious at Barbara’s actions, though he did sympathise with her, but Eccelston’s Doctor didn’t seem that furious. Christopher Eccelston tried very hard to seem angry that Rose was changing time and was betraying him like Adam just had. But he failed. The line “another stupid ape” didn’t have the amount of anger it should have had. It didn’t come across as the Doctor feeling betrayed and angry but instead it came across rather lame. Similarly the line “my wish is your command but be careful what you wish for” should have come across more as a note of caution rather than a joke.

While Billie Piper, Camille Coduri & Shaun Dingwall are strong throughout the episode Christopher Eccelston is strong in parts but weak in others. While telling Rose that he could save Gallifrey and his family if he wanted but couldn’t because the laws of time forbade it Eccelston was strong but in the aforementioned parts he was disappointingly weak.

The Reapers while a good idea were poorly realised due to the fact they looked like computer generated creations, which is a shame. They were a nice addition to the episode as they created an extra level of tension, held everyone up in the Church and even eat the Doctor, a twist that I didn’t see coming. The story suggests that since the demise of the Time Lords creatures the dwell in time have become much more of a threat to the Universe and there’s nothing that can really stop them. It will be interesting to see if this idea is carried on into Season Two and it will also be interesting to see if the Reapers appear in the future or not.

I’m surprised there wasn’t more of a reaction when Rose came into contact with her own self. The last time something similar happened was with the Brigadier and that event caused a massive amount of temporal energy to be released and was dangerous enough for the Black Guardian to order Turlough to follow the Doctors orders. This time around the consequences of such a paradoxal contact allowed the Reapers inside the church and to sallow the Doctor before hitting the Tardis and leaving Rose to cope with the situation on her own. Without the Tardis the only way to end the situation was for Pete to sacrifice himself and allow the car to run him over. The last few minutes were extremely emotional as Rose said goodbye to the father she had only just regained. The consequences of Rose turning up in 1987 was that time was altered if only slightly.

A truly brilliant and deeply moving episode that deals with an idea that surprisingly hasn’t been tackled in this way before. It adds a new lawyer of depth to Rose and was brilliantly acted by Billie Piper but also added some much needed emotion into the series instead of the needless humour of previous tales.

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Hopes have been high throughout this new series really...Chris Ecclestone has exceeded many of our expectations for the lead, Billie Piper has surprised everyone really I think, production values great (yeah yeah snoozing...) but the real issue which will surely define the future of this programme - beyond being a slightly kitschy revival of an old family favourite - is this: does it stand up not as family entertainment or serious sci- fi, but whether or not it really holds water as serious drama?

Well the evidence so far suggests yes yes and yes another 5 times (at least!). "Father's Day" moves over some fairly old ground about the premise of time travel - so what if we change the course of history if the things that get changed are actually for the better? Well the truth is that events in our lives, and those that shape the way of the world we know do matter, however much we would love to remove the tragedy and pain it might cause us. Everything matters it would seem.

It's important that we saw this from Rose's point I suppose. It answers a few more questions about her, and by placing this in a wholly human context - after all is'nt the role of the Dr. Who companion primarily to present these things empathetically to the audience?

The acting as ever was through the roof in terms of quality, and the script tight and well presented. But as much as I felt for Rose, her family and the awful moral dilemma that her interference would present (and indeed did present once she did get involved), I could'nt help but feel is this series really all about Rose?

So many of these scripts have given Billie Piper the majority of real work,and fair play she has done a cracker so far. But with only 5 episodes to go, we still know virtually nothing about the ninth Doctor. Indeed I feel I know him as well as I didi the eighth Doctor after the 1996 TV movie. The difference being that Paul McGann had about 75 minutes in which to establish himself. Christopher Ecclestone has had 360 minutes so far, and he still seems like a supporting character. Is it too much to ask to have him do a little more?

But I accept this is as much about Rose as the Doctor, even though the script has yet to really show things from his point of view. Both "The Unquiet Dead" and "Dalek" have come close to giving us more of the Ninth Doctor, but while I remain one of the whiners abou this (am I really alone in thinking that Rose should'nt be clogging up this much of the scripts?), I just can't rubbish "Father's Day". It was TV drama at its very very best, and it's laughable that Celebrity Wrestling was thought to be an even close competitor.

Scripts of this high calibre will not only secure this season's place in history as the most ground breaking of all, but also maybe we'll also smile wrly in 10 or 20 years time, that no-marks like me were even concerned with who got the lion's share of script action is this beautiful, fantastic, life altering programme.

Cheers Paul.

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Father’s Day is a rather unconventional sort of Doctor Who story, not least because of the fact that the Doctor is killed off ten minutes before the end, leaving others to save the day in his wake. This, it goes without saying, rather bucks the trend of usual Doctor Who adventures, although it doesn’t buck the trend set so far this season of the Doctor being at times a rather ineffectual figure, being captured or confined and having to rely on others to carry the burden of doing the actual heroic legwork.

However, this is less of a problem in Paul Cornell’s script than it has been elsewhere, as the Doctor has so many other chances to shine. I think one of the things that’s most apparent in Cornell’s writing is how much he loves the character of the Doctor, in his traditional archetype form of the hero. Eccleston gets some truly wonderful scenes to perform here, making it hardly surprising that the actor went on record in several interviews at the start of the season to say that this was his favourite episode of the thirteen he’d shot.

The Doctor works so well because we get to see so many different aspects of his personality. There’s the anger he feels towards Rose after she’s saved the life of her father, and his threat to abandon her in 1987 and head back to the TARDIS. The fire in his performance here makes you feel that he really means it, and is a reminder of the sometimes unpredictable nature of the First Doctor as played by William Hartnell, particularly his threat to turf Ian and Barbara off the ship at the end of The Sensorites. Then there’s the more contemplative side to the character, best displayed here in the truly wonderful scene where he talks to the bride and groom at this ill-fated wedding, Sarah and Stuart. Given the attitude he’s sometimes displayed earlier on in this season, it’s heartening to see the Doctor being so nice to the ‘little people’ of the world again, the flotsam and jetsam of the human race who he happens to encounter in his travels. The sense of wonder, longing and sadness in his “I’ve never had a life like that…” moment was a superb piece of work. Finally, of course, we get to see the Doctor as a true out-and-out hero, as it should be – delivering his plans from the pulpit and sacrificing himself to save everyone else in the church as the Rose paradox allows the Reapers to enter…

Speaking of the Reapers, they are excellently realised. It’s almost a shame that they were no more than a sideshow to the episode, but that had to be the case as it was really all about the relationship between Rose and her father, and the consequence of Rose’s actions. The creatures were particularly effective in their red-drenched point-of-view shots, although it has to be said that the initial killings they inflict were somewhat less than effective – I’m not sure a spilling drinks bottle gently rolling away or a pair of hedge trimmers dropping to the ground is really particularly dramatic, somehow.

But as I said, good though The Mill’s CGI creations were, this was never really about the monsters. It’s about Rose and Pete, and Piper and guest star Shaun Dingwall really excelled in their roles, both utterly convincing, making the father-daughter relationship really rather touching. Pete’s self-sacrifice was well-played, never seeming too cheesy and definitely on the right side of believable. The final member of the Tyler trio was played as ever by Camille Coduri. Before I saw this episode I had some concerns, knowing that the same actress was going to be playing Jackie the best part of twenty years younger, but Coduri does indeed just about pull it off. I think it’s down to the hair…

It’s a shame in a way that the forty-five minute running time didn’t leave room for more scenes with the rest of the supporting cast, as they were all very good as well. The aforementioned Stuart and Sarah, in particular, are worth mentioning, as is Stuart’s father, who was in a way a nice touch of light relief and as such more poignant when he was killed off, although he was of course brought back at the end.

In a way though, such bringing back – hitting a kind of re-set switch – is my main problem with the story, although of course it always seemed fairly obvious that the story was going to have to be resolved in that kind of a way somehow. Time travel is a very complex idea to try and get your head around at the best of times, and Father’s Day certainly throws up a good few questions – were the Doctor and the others to be taken by the Reapers actually, properly dead until Pete threw himself in front of the car? Why don’t Rose and the Doctor forget the events that have taken place as everyone else does? And what happens to the ‘first’ Doctor and Rose to witness Pete’s death, as they conveniently disappear as soon as the ‘second’ Rose runs out to save him? All very confusing, and probably best not to think about too hard unless you’re a theoretical physicist. It does seem highly convenient in terms of plot, however, that the solution to all the problems – the car that runs Pete over – kept going around and around outside so temptingly.

The whole premise of the episode and the way in which it was treated – someone mucking about with time and evil forces using the breakage caused to come through and create havoc – was not so much Doctor Who as it was Sapphire & Steel. I’m not complaining about that for a second, mind – I’d love the show to be more like Sapphire & Steel from time to time. That famous ITV series most came to mind when the phones would only repeat Bell’s “Watson, come here, I need you,” message over and over again. I’m not sure that makes much sense plotwise, but it was a wonderfully effective idea that worked very well indeed, and was really quite spooky.

Production-wise, Joe Ahearne’s direction maintains the high standard he set out in Dalek, with one exception – all the times we saw it, not once was I convinced that the car which ran Pete down and killed him was doing anything more than about ten miles per hour. I suppose it might be possible to inflict fatal damage on a person at such a speed, but it’s a shame that such a vital sequence always looked so comparatively undramatic on all of the occasions upon which it appeared. Perhaps a full-on hit-and-run would be a bit too harrowing for such an early evening timeslot, but surely there was something in the middle that would have been a bit more effective?

Speaking of the timeslot, perhaps the one question about this episode is whether it’s really the sort of thing that would keep the younger part of the audience watching week in, week out, with its high quota of character based drama and low monster and adventure count. On the other hand though, you should never underestimate the intelligence and tastes of even the youngest audience members, and besides, the occasional Doctor Who episode like this is a nice change of pace. You couldn’t make Doctor Who now in 2005 like this every week, but I don’t suppose it will do the audience figures any harm to do it like this every now and then. The fact that the new television series is not only this good, but can accommodate stories as wildly different as this and last week’s The Long Game, is a real testament to that ‘infinitely variable format’ fans like to go on about so much, but which was only occasionally true of the classic series.

In short then, Father’s Day was a real gem of an episode – well-written, well-acted and well-produced, it fully deserves to stand up there with the best of them.

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Playing The Time Line

Oh Rose, you’ve been playing with Time,
That harbinger of death or life
Bringing you strife
And grief. Can you hear wedding bells chime?
They’re calling out the Time Lord’s name,
His lonliness married to awkward identity
Needed to fight the Reaper entity
Again delivered with fine artistry.

Oh writer, you’ve been playing with Time,
That question of One or Two
Haunts this series through.
Relief . Did you know you’re innocent of the usual crime;
Of solutions squeezed in with seconds to spare?
But drama well paced – requiring concentration
Needed to understand Time’s rules and machination
Above the younger head and their imagination?

Oh Doctor, you’ve been minding your Time
Forming that character so Jekyll and Hyde;
Equally caring and then so snide.
Self Belief. Did it leave you - this aura sublime?
Your perfection was nicely questioned.
Your performance deep in its madness,
Desiring human experience your Archilles sadness.
Knowing all Paradoxes yet powerless!!

Mr Tyler you’ve made a mess of Time,
That point at which you first died
Differed erroneously from where Rose finally cried.
Chief Mistake! You’ll know you’re in the mire- the slime
When the net awakes to timelines illogical.
Just wait for the hot geek debate
Regarding your change in suit and fate.
By such you wiped humanity off the slate.

Oh Producer you’ve been playing with Time,
That large quantity and space given to Rose
Takes the focus off the Dr dealing with foes.
So Brief. Have you remembered that our prime
Reason for watching is Who and his intent?
But surely not an episode for every Tyler
What next a long lost cousin from Outer Mongolia.
Or a new boyfriend soldier?

Oh ReViewer you’ve been playing with Time,
That manmade measurement of experience
Which yields 45 minutes of sci-fi reverence.
High reef!! Have you dissected the promise and grime
With responsible charity and clarity?
For whilst we interweave our opinions fair
Do not forget to influence hearts and minds out there
For pundits’ love of the Who can be a short affair!!

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Sigh!.....Just what was I watching I asked myself? Is this Doctor Who?

Father's Day is in a word - boring! As some of you may have read, in my review of The Long Game I welcomed Eccleston's Doctor once again appearing to be relevant and active in the story. Sadly, the Doctor has once more been relegated into the background, he doesnt appear to have much to do and once more looks lost - just as I wrote in my review of AOL. One wonders if Eccleston left because the scripts were letting him down? RTD should wake up - here he has a fine actor, capable of performing convincingly (and then some - see DALEK!) and he is being wasted.

I just wonder what the point of the whole thing was! Plot-wise, things were wafer-thin. Im a supporter of the new series devoting considerable time to character development but this was ridiculous - and RTD, who is at the helm and obviously has final say over scripts needs to take a step back and look at what he is pushing for and ultimately approving.

I had worked out (as Im sure the rest of you did) very early on that Rose's father had to die for the time line to be restored - anyone seen the Back to the Future movies? - of course you have... I say no more.

As I write this I really struggle to find anything I like about the episode - I even watched it twice to see if my views would change, but alas this has not been the case. I guess considering his limited role within the episode, Christopher Eccleston delivered an excellent performance, but ultimately the script let him down.

The show is called Doctor Who isnt it...? For a second there, I thought it was called The Rose Tyler Show....

Bring on next week - please!

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What can be said about this episode? 10/10? 5 stars out of 5? The Greatest Story Ever Told?

Try all three!

Emotion, power, monsters, humour - it had the lot. I can honestly say this is the only story to ever make me cry, apart from Earthshock (I was a lot younger then, okay?).

A simple premise - Rose wanting to visit the father she never knew, so whilst considering that, let's ask the question 'Is this her plan all along?' To be honest, I think not. To see her dad - perhaps. To save him - no. If she'd wanted to save him, she would have done so the first time she saw him get out of the car. There may be those who say the Doctor had a crafty hold of her hand to stop her, and so she couldn't risk him snatching her back and thus failing in her objective, so having proved herself she persuaded him to go back, leaving the way open for the save at the second time of asking. I don't think so - is Rose really that devious, cunning and clever? How could she be sure that the Doctor would agree to go back a second time? No, Rose never had a plan to save her dad at either the first or second opportunity. However, having seen his death for the first time, it simply became too much to watch it once more and, unable to stop herself, she did the deed.

Which, of course, allows us to get to know her dad, Pete, who, all in all, seems a decent enough kind of guy. A wheeler dealer, true, but an honest one. There is no hint of any shady dealings on his part, just a wish to earn the family crust. A marvellous performance here, as Pete slowly realizes just who Rose is, why she was there and what, ultimately, he has to do.

The scenes between Rose and her dad are, without doubt, the most emotional in the history of the series, and Rose's tearful ' My Daddy' as they hug in the church set me off for the rest of the story!! I'm just an old softy, but, as anyone who has lost a parent will agree, this situation is a tear-jerker, particularly when you know that there can only be one ending to the story.

I have to admit to being a little stumped by some of the negative comments made about this story, particularly on two points. Firstly, the acting of Eccleston and the use of the Doctor. Sure, there are times when Eccleston doesn't seem to be doing a lot in the acting stakes, but doesn't that fit in with this Doctor? This incarnation can be incredibly laid back one moment, and absolutely hyper the next. Eccleston's acting is merely reflecting that. Don't get me wrong - there are times when I could gleefully ram that stupid grin down his throat (strange how Tom never had the same effect!). However, I find his acting convincing and watchable. As for the 'under use' of the Doctor, again, does this not fit in with the character we are getting to know? There are times when he takes time to get involved, as if, occasionally, there is a reluctance - almost as with the character of the other 'ninth' Doctor from 'Scream of the Shelka'. If you think of the stories, they have mostly started from the traditional 'accidental' stumbling on to the scene of the TARDIS crew. TEOTW was supposed to be a trip to watch the destruction of Earth. TUD a trip to Victorian England to see Christmas. Even AOL/WW3 was just a trip home!! The Doctor's actions in the stories have not been the 'gung-ho' and straight in style of his earlier selves. He has tended to watch, but not get immediately involved unless he has had to or someone has been in danger. Perhaps the destruction of Gallifrey has had more of an effect on the Doctor than we currently know, and more will become clear later on...........

My second 'gripe at the gripes' is about the 'altering Time' problem and all that comes with it. Who are the Reapers? Where do they come from? Why do they leave at the end when Time has still been altered? What happens to the TARDIS? Why does the key glow hot? Why does the car keep re-appearing?


The story as it stands is more than good enough, you don't have to have every little thing explained like a 5 year old. It must be like watching an episode with a kid in the room for the familes of some reviewers! 'Why has that happened?' 'What does that mean?' 'Where did it go?' Try to use a little imagination of your own for once - good stories get you thinking and making up your own ideas, which is exactly what this does. Blimey, if people wanted answers straight away to everything in Star Wars Episode Four they'd never have had to make the other five!!! (and I'm still waiting to see if the new one explains why Obi-wan doesn't know who R2D2 and C3P0 are in Episode 4, and why they themselves can't tell everyone what's been going on! And why did Darth Vader never say 'Yes, C3P0, I am the Maker you keep thanking'?). Writers should not be expected to explain every little thing (particularly in 45 minutes!) and this is nothing new. It can be done for various reasons, not least to stop stupid questions of a different kind. As another example, in 'The Lord of the Rings', Frodo and Sam are rescued at the end by Gandalf and the Giant Eagles. Does this not beg the question 'If you can get Giant Eagles to fly there to rescue Frodo and Sam, why couldn't they have taken them in the first place and cut out most of the three books we've had to read through?'

But, if you really need to know, the Reapers are creatures from the Vortex - we have heard of enough over the years! - and they help to heal wounds in Time. WE KNOW THAT BECAUSE THE DOCTOR TELLS US! They leave at the end because Time is healed - the injury was Pete still being alive. Yes there were other smaller changes still around, but that is normal with any injury - you slash a great big cut in your arm and tell me that it's just the same as it was before when it's healed. Nothing is the same once healed, not even Time, but it can be made almost the same as it was before. The inside of the TARDIS disappeared because Time was, if you like, anaesthetised, whilst being healed. Although time was passing, Time was not - if you see what I mean. With no Time, there's no time machine. Simple. The key was with the Doctor, the oldest thing around, and so was kept safe from the effect. Once charged up, it was able to draw the TARDIS back to it. Simple. The car, if you like, was the immune system of the body of Time, going around and around looking for the infection to destroy - the infection being Pete, the one thing that should not have been there. Simple.

Well, that's what my imagination tells me - you can think up your own explanation if you want! That's the beauty of it - you decide!

I thought the Reapers were convincing and not obviously CGI, but I did think they were a little dark and that you could not see as much detail as you could have done.

All in all, the best of the series so far, and quite possibly the best ever - but will it still hold that title by episode 13?

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Purely Historical. Purely Sci-Fi. Pseudo-Historical. On May 14th 2005, DOCTOR WHO just created a new genre. The Purely Emotional Story.

Being able to relate to the human element was always one of WHO’s strengths - I’m thinking that first episode between Ian & Barbara, Jon Pertwee bidding Jo Grant adieu before driving off into the sunset... Then The Doctor turned into a brooding alien and it seemed a good excuse to fall into line with STAR TREK and not bother with that side of things. Of course, JNT made big moves to make the companions real people with real families. Who can forget Auntie Vanessa’s demise in LOGOPOLIS? But with no hope of The Doctor staying on Earth for any length of time, due to the wishes of BBC executives and producers, it would take until 2005 for the ties-that-bind element to become a permanent state of affairs again. Now, with an emotional core being a market-driven necessity, it’ll be almost impossible for a future companion not to have a fully-fleshed out family that we dip into and out of periodically.

The isolated Church set-up brought it home to me just how much WHO is set on Earth again, like in the Pertwee years and I for one am chuffed. I think Russell T was bang on the money when he says setting more than 50 of the cent stories elsewhere causes the viewers’ interest to wane. It was always wrong to minimise “on Earth” from the late 70s on, but delighted that it’s back.

The 80s set-up was convincingly brought to life. The make-up, costumes and the posters: one (which again has resonance for 2005) hoping “No Third Term For Thatcher” in vain, being supplanted by the coming of acid-house music. A necessary escape. It’s ironic too that a great original story has been made of a year that saw the original series at it’s worst. When we think of 1987 now, will we think of Iceworld, or Rose’s Dad?

This series is very good at creating memories through visual set-ups. The Doctor and Rose watching The Doctor and Rose watching what we already know: that Rose’s Dad is going to get knocked down by a car. Only this time, he isn’t...

It’s been said The Doctor was naive to let Rose have a second look. But it’s more an indication how she’s got to him on an emotional level than perhaps any other companion. Eccleston was great when he scowled at her in her Dad’s flat.

What a turn-up for the books when The Doctor opened the TARDIS to find a cubby-hole inside!

Cue the Reapers: gargoyle type vultures with red eyes. They were genuinely chilling.

Not for the first time this series, post Time War, The Doctor looked impotent against the worse-case scenario. But he hadn’t reckoned on Rose’s Dad, who kept seeing the car that should have killed him keep appearing and disappearing and decided he would be the hero Rose always thought he was.

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It's fair to say Father's Day is very different to any (broadcast) Doctor Who story that’s gone before, and probably because of this when I first saw it I took a dislike to it. I thought it was silly, too soapy and had a predictable resolution which broke the golden rule that the Doctor must save the day. Having watched it again I have realised I made a big mistake, and it is an excellent story, well written and well acted.

Indeed what I first thought were its flaws actually help to make it so good. At seems odd that the Doctor would take Rose back to watch her father die, and even odder that he was surprised by her reaction, but this is to judge him as a human. His actions are perfectly in character with the slightly insensitive alien Doctor as played by Tom Baker, who Eccleston is reminding me of more and more each week. On the other hand the Doctor shows he is capable of emotion when he talks about the loss of his planet. Similarly the soapy elements – Rose’s interaction with her parents – gives the series the reality it needs to keep the casual viewer interested. Also the fact that the Doctor fails, shows he is fallible, something that is needed to keep the series interesting, and also gives Pete the chance to redeem himself. Even if it is obvious after about twenty minutes how the situation will be resolved, this only enhances the tragedy of the situation.

On the acting front A+ grades to Shaun Dingwall, whom I hope turns up again in the future, and Billie Piper who gives her best performance to date. Eccleston also comes across well, but is somewhat of a background figure, as he needs to be for the episode to work. Most of the supporting cast is superb too.

Thus all in all this is a very good story, although it is quite heavy and needs a couple of viewings to be appreciated. Its a pity Paul Cornell is not writing for the series next year, but hopefully a third series will entice him back.

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Its been a long time coming, but finally, a series about time-travel has covered the consequences of time-travelling.

Back in the old days, we had the cautionary tale of Barbara interfering with the Aztecs, the Meddling Monk, the Time Warrior, and of course Day of the Daleks. But the actual exploration of the concept was a little lightweight.

Then along comes Father's Day. This episode, above all the others, really explores the depth of the Doctor/Rose relationship - although the Doctor is suspicious of Rose's motives for joining him, ultimately he is able to forgive her.

We also explore the mother's willingness to protect the daughter from the truth about her father, so that she can see him as a hero. And although that particular bubble is burst as soon as Rose meets her dad, in the end he becomes the hero he never was in real time.

The Reapers are a little too comic-book to be truly frightening, but they are exceedingly intricate monsters.

The costumes and make up really bring out the eighties setting, and the incidental music is never too distracting.

All in all, another highlight for the new show, avoiding the obvious trap of being too angst-ridden.

Doubtless, the "rent in time" storyline is going to feed the minds of the continuity freaks for years to come, but when it all comes down to it, Dr Who is not about continuity, its about a damn good story!

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I have found in the past, during disappointing seasons of Dr Who (or imposter programmes which are broadcast under that banner), that there usually comes a pivotal story which bangs the nail in said season's coffin. For example, Silver Nemesis part one was the episode of season 25 which made me finally accept that nothing good was going to happen that year, and I basically gave up expecting it.

Watching Father's Day last Saturday evening was the moment that I gave up on the new show. Or at least gave up on this first season of it - maybe David Tenant's Doctor and the new batch of scripts will turn things around. Reading some of the other reviews that have published on Outpost Gallifrey, I'm at a loss to know where people are coming from with Paul Cornell's episode. The whole idea of the Doctor and his dramatic funcion in the show has now been as comprehensively undermined as it was in the McCoy era. Personally I'd rather have McCoy's all-seeing superhuman incarnation than the increasingly pathetic, ineffectual, unstable, nasty adolescent we now have pilotting the TARDIS.

I'm not going to bang on about what happened in the episode, we all saw it. I'd just ask everyone to step back for a moment, and imagine the best stories Dr Who has ever given us, but with their respective Doctors replaced by Eccleston's incarnation. The Doctor winds up trapped in the cottage in part four of the Seeds of Doom. "Sorry, I don't have a plan" he tells everyone, throws a big strop when Scorby comes on to Sarah, then gets eaten by the Krynoid. The Doctor gets dragged off to Androzani Major by Stotz in Caves of Androzani part three. "Wow, I can't believe it's going to end like this" he says, sitting back in his restraints and seething about the fact that Jek is now going to have his wicked way with luscious young Peri. "I really fancied her" he admits to himself, lost in his own impotence and despondant self-pity. The Doctor arrives on the Nerva space station in Ark In Space, calls Noah a stupid ape for allowing himself to become infected by the Wirrin, gets trapped in the control area, tells everyone he has no plan then gets eaten by a load of bubblewrap.

Come ON people!! The Doctor ALWAYS has a plan - he's the effing Doctor!! The whole joy, the whole blessed point of Doctor Who is that it is a programme about profoundly nasty people and creatures with profoundly nasty intentions, all of whom and all of which get thwarted by the brilliance of the Doctor. A Doctor who is never cruel or cowardly, who is always non-violent, who always uses his brain and who never, ever EVER despairs or stops fighting. Rob him of these qualities, tamper with his essential character and you are messing with the guts of the show. Any other considerations - quality of direction, guest performances, music, lighting - pale into utter insignifiance.

Bring back Doctor Who! The new show needs him.

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I noted when I reviewed ‘The Long Game’ that Russell T. Davies’ remit of focusing on characterisation in the new Doctor Who series has actually resulted in characterisation of the two regulars but left the supporting characters shallow, two-dimensional ciphers, and that it has fallen to the other writers to show him how it should be done. Paul Cornell becomes the third writer to do this, bringing all the strengths the best of his previous work to the screen with powerful effect.

Paul Cornell’s detractors tend to dismiss his work as sentimental, but the reason for this is that in all his Doctor Who novels and audios he’s focused on the triumph of the human spirit over adversity. It’s so rare to see this in modern British television writing, in which grim and gritty plotlines are currently in vogue, that I can’t bring myself to condemn the optimism that permeates his work, and ‘Father’s Day’ is no exception. It is sentimental, yes, but the emotions on display here ring true and its’ hard not be moved during the scenes between Rose and her father. The plot of ‘Father’s Day’ is predictable, but only in the way that a tragedy always is. Even viewers who hadn’t seen the trailer at the end of ‘The Long Game’ must have been able to guess what would happen when Rose asks if the laws of time permit her to witness her father’s death and the Doctor quietly tells her, “I can do anything, I’m just worried about you… be careful what you wish for.” Rose’s inevitable interference allows her to see the relationship between her parents first hand and bereft of the, erm, rose-tinted view her mother imposed on her own memories. Naturally, she gets a bit of shock as she realises that her dad is human; she sees them bickering incessantly, with Jacky yelling at Peter, “You bring home cut price detergents, tonic water, betamax tapes, and none of it works”, generally accusing him of being useless, and assuming that he’s having an affair with the young blonde she finds him with. He shouts back, “Yeah, cos I’m that stupid – I play around and then bring her to meet the missus”, eventually prompting a distraught Rose to shout, “Stop this! You’re not like this, you love each other!” Which is of course the truth, as Rose realises moments later when they make up.

Rose’s dad is a great character and his scenes with her are crucial to the success of the episode. For all of his self-deprecation, he isn’t stupid and having been assaulted by flying dragons he soon works out what is going on, telling Rose, “A wound in time… you called me “Dad”” The subsequent scene (“You are, you’re my Rose”) is very moving, especially when he starts asking about his hair and is met with silence, and he quickly realises exactly why she’s traveled back in time to see him, especially when he asks her “Am I a good dad?” She replies “You were there for us all the time. Someone I could really rely on”, and he realises, “That’s not me.” Billie Piper again gets to show her worth, portraying Rose’s emotions very convincingly throughout, and especially at this point, and Shaun Dingwell complements her beautifully as her dad. As soon as the car that should have killed Rose’s Dad starts materializing and dematerializing around the church, the resolution of the plot is obvious, but the point is that it is also obvious to Peter and he chooses to sacrifice himself to save everyone in a very noble and touching moment. We get a genuinely emotional scene as he tells Jacky, “I’m meant to be dead Jacky. You’re finally going to get rid of me” and Piper is superb when he tells her, “Thanks for saving me” and goes out to get run over. Rose’s dad works very well. For all his self-deprecation, he resolves to do the right thing, and sacrifices himself to save the world.

My main criticism of ‘Father’s Day’ is that, yet again, we get an ineffectual Doctor who achieves nothing. In fact, most of what happens here is technically his fault, since he takes Rose back in time in the first place, and when the Reapers appear and start devouring the world, despite his best intentions all he actually does is get eaten. Given the importance in Cornell’s script of the human spirit triumphing over adversity however, this actually works, as it removes him from the picture to allow Rose’s Dad to save the day. The problem therefore is not that the Doctor achieves little in the this episode, but that he repeatedly comes across as ineffectual through the season thus far and therefore rather than being the exception that it should have been, ‘Father’s Day’ boasts just another example of his dithering and incompetence. That said, the Doctor gets some magnificent scenes here, and Christopher Eccleston puts in one of his best performances. I’m coming to the conclusion that his performance achieves its potential far more in episodes not written by Davies, which require him to do some serious acting instead of just grinning like an idiot, rattling off atrocious puns, and acting like Rose’s jealous boyfriend. After Rose saves her dad’s life, Eccleston conveys the Doctor’s emotions through facial acting alone until the Doctor gets the chance to speak to her without Peter being present. Although he does shout, “I did it again, I picked another stupid ape” at her, his best line here is when he coldly gives voice to his concerns that he’s been manipulated all along, reminding Rose, “When we met, I said “travel with me in space”, you said “no”. Then I said “time.”” The moment passes, but it’s an interesting insight into a hitherto unexpected insecurity, and afterwards we get a quietly delivered but heartfelt reference to the Time Lords, as he tells her, “My entire planet died, my whole family. Do you think it never occurred to me go back and save them?” Later, when he finds the Doctor finds the empty TARDIS shell, the look of panic on Eccleston’s face is very convincing. And whilst I have criticized the fact that he achieves little here, the Doctor’s willingness to step between the Reaper and the crowd in the church, announcing, “I’m the oldest thing in here!” is the sort of behaviour I expect from him. But the Doctor’s finest moment here, and one which is also typical Paul Cornell, is when Stuart and Sarah ask him, “Can you save us?” and there follows a conversation culminating in the great line, “Who said you’re not important? I’ve traveled to all sorts of places, done things you couldn’t imagine. But you two… street corner, two in the morning, getting a taxi home. I’ve never had a life like that. Yes, I’ll try and save you.”

The Doctor’s relationship with Rose gets strained here as a result of Rose’s actions, but by the end of the episode, they’re as close as they usually are. Despite nearly bringing about Armageddon, the Doctor only remains angry with Rose until she says she’s sorry, after which he concentrates on trying to solve the problem rather than blaming her. He shows great concern for her when she initially witnesses her father’s death, demonstrating that for all his moaning about “domestics” in previous episodes, he does understand human emotions, and he tries to find an alternative to the obvious solution to try and spare Rose further turmoil; as Peter realizes, “The Doctor worked it out ages ago, but he tried to protect me.” However, whilst I’m on the subject, the answer to Rose’s question, “We’re not a couple, why does everyone think we’re a couple?” is probably due to the Doctor’s jealously of Mickey and Adam in Davies’ episodes and their constant sixth form flirting.

It’s worth discussing the logic of the plot at this point. Some critics have already started questioning how much sense the rules of time travel on display here make sense, especially since the Reapers apparently feed on wounds in time, but disappear when Rose’s Dad dies even though history has still been altered. The model of temporal mechanics utilized here is very much the model previously established in Doctor Who, and also that used in much of Cornell’s work. There is an obvious distinction between the massive paradox caused by Rose saving her father’s life, and the slight hiccup in the time line that is all that is left at the end; the idea that history can change but in ways that time can cope with has been seen previously in Cornell’s debut Doctor Who story ‘Timewyrm: Revelation’ (Chad Boyle’s altered past by the end of the novel). It clearly contrasts here with the situation initially caused by Rose, as she basically causes a reverse Grandfather paradox, travelling back in time to save her father and thus altering her own past fairly drastically. By the end of the story history is still altered, but the wound is much less gaping; Rose ends up having always been part of her families past, Jacky’s memories alter accordingly, and the man responsible for Peter’s death waits for the police. Note that she tells the young Rose at the end, “The driver was just a kid. He stopped. He waited for the police. It wasn’t his fault” whereas originally he was never caught; in both cases, he in a sense “gets away with it”, so it’s entirely possible that the overall picture of his life remains unchanged. What doesn’t really make sense is the fact that Rose can’t safely make physical contact with her past self, but this too is part of the background mythology of the series, first established in ‘Mawdryn Undead’ and since then revisited in such diverse works as ‘Turlough and the Earthlink Dilemma’, ‘Happy Endings’, and ‘The Time of the Daleks’ so I have no problem with Cornell using it here. The only problem with all the temporal shenanigans here is that Rose is seemingly unable to understand the consequences of changing her own past; she’s supposed to be intelligent, but whilst Doctor Who writers have always belabored points such as this in an attempt to explain them to even the densest audience member, it shouldn’t be that hard to explain. I know this, because I have in the past explained the Grandfather paradox to a nincompoop, and he understood it perfectly when I’d finished. There’s also no real logical reason for all of the phones in the area to start receiving “the very first phone call, Alexander Graham Bell” either, but as a means of generally indicating that something is wrong with time, it is quite a nice touch.

The guest cast is generally very good here, with even Camille Coduri getting a few decent scenes, and conveying genuine sadness when she tells the young Rose about her father. Mind you, once Rose meets her in the past, I soon found myself wanting her to fall under a car instead of Peter. Bonus points are awarded to the episode for the Doctor’s, “I’ve waited a long time to say this: Jacky Tyler, do as I say! Go and check the doors! I should have done that ages ago.” Overall then, ‘Father’s Day’ is a fine episode. In addition to everything I’ve already mentioned, there is some gentle humour, including Jacky saying of the young Mickey, “He just grabs on to whatever’s passing and holds on for dear life. God help his poor girlfriend if he ever has one” and the Doctor telling baby Rose, “You aren’t going to bring about the end of the world, are you? Are you?” The episode is well directed too, with the shots from the Reapers’ point of view notably creepy, as people start to disappear. The Reapers themselves look good from the side, although from the front when they scream at people, there is something about them that puts me in mind of Muppets. And having provided several episodes worth of aural effluent, Murray Gold’s does his best work for the series thus far, with a score that is entirely appropriate to what is seen on screen.

‘Father’s Day’ ultimately reinforces my growing suspicion that, whilst I’ve generally enjoyed Davies’ episodes, the other writers are far better at writing for Doctor Who than he is. This feeling is further enhanced by the trailer for ‘The Empty Child’, the first of a two part story written by Steven Moffat, which looks extremely promising…

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The most touching, poignant and emotional episode of Doctor Who ever screened with performances so on the nail it should shut up those nay sayers who constantly criticise its acting. Unfortunately all the good work done by the director and the actors is undone by one of the most ridiculously stupid scripts ever written.

Stupid mistake number one: The Doctor takes Rose back to the point of her father’s death. I can see now what the point of Adam was in the grand season one plan, he was there to show us how much the Doctor trusts and respects Rose in comparison so he can be totally let down this week when she makes some silly mistakes. Why on Earth doesn’t he just say no to her request? Taking somebody back to their fathers death and not expecting them to do something to stop it is like shoving a steak in front of a starving man (or a missing episode of Doctor Who in front of an anal fan)…something that is bound to give in to no matter how much you trust them not to. The Doctor makes a horrific mistake in flaunting his abilities to her here and the consequences are all his fault, not hers.

Stupid mistake number two: He takes her back to see her father again! What a bastard! Not content with risking one visit back he pops her back to a point when they are already there the first time they went back. Isn’t this incredibly dangerous? And utterly irresponsible? When she ran out and rescued him I was laughing my head off, the Doctor’s horrified reaction makes him look like such a prat. When he turned on her and blamed her for being a stupid ape I thought he was being hypocritical to the point of insanity, if anybody was being stupid in this episode it’s him. Remember the BBC past Doctor adventure The Witch Hunters? That book had a similar plot where the time travellers re-visited a time they had just left because Susan wanted to change something and it was Susan who set the controls and took them back. The Doctor was wise enough and smart enough to realise that staying during the witch trials would be dangerous and Susan would not be able to resist changing things. And he has every right to be angry when she pre-programmes the controls and does attempt to change things. The book still deals with these gripping time travel ideas but doesn’t spoil the Doctor’s integrity. Father’s Day is the work of a good writer so it baffles me that he could get the Doctor so totally wrong.

Stupid mistake number three: Don’t touch that baby, Rose the Doctor tells her knowing full well it will cause a temporal paradox and give the Reapers extra strength so what does he do? Leaves her within arms reach of the child throughout the rest of the episode. Why the hell didn’t he get that kid as far away from her as possible? Get Rose into the belfry or shove her down in the vestry? Nope he leaves them nice and close and suddenly gasps with horror when somebody hands her the kid. What a dickhead. (Was this really Eccleston’s favourite script?)

Inexplicable rubbish: The first phone call blaring through everybody’s phones. What the hell was all that about? The glowing TARDIS key and it suddenly materialising in the church and the empty TARDIS. How on Earth do the Reapers have the ability to affect the TARDIS so? Where the hell did they come from anyway? For what purpose do they cauterise time? Why did the car keep re-appearing waiting to claim Rose’s dad? How does his death in a different place rewind everything that has happened? How comes the Reapers are satisfied that no changes are made at the end when it is made blatantly clear by the two scenes with Jackie and child Rose that in the original timeline nobody was there for her dad when he died and because of their interference Rose was in fact there and holding his hand whilst he died? Why didn’t the Reapers see that as an adjustment to the timeline and disinfect Rose from the scene? Did anybody think this script through at all?

Blatant plagiarising from the book series: Russell T Davies made a very eloquent speech in the last Doctor Who magazine that the books have to follow the series lead and that they just aren’t quite as important as the series. Fair enough, but why then does this episode borrow wholesale ideas that have thrived in the series for the past four years? Gallifrey has been destroyed in a Great War, the Doctor the lone survivor. Dealt with in the books. Time travel mistakes made possible thanks to the Time Lords no longer existing. Dealt with in the books. Evil creatures appearing to police time travel in their absence, turning up and killing people horribly when diversions are made. It’s Sabbath and the babewyns innit? This episode flaunts these ideas as though they are original and refreshing but I have been intimately associated with them far superior works than this. Go and read Adventuress of Henrietta Street instead. I am such a huge fan of the books and to see them being treated so shabbily (their arc plot ignored in favour of an identical one for the TV series!) and yet being ripped off all the same is pretty annoying.

It is the character work where the story triumphs, namely Rose’s relationship with her father and unexpected closeness of Rose and the Doctor during the second half. Going back in time to a period you have been told about but not experienced is always a terrible mistake, you are bound to find out something terrible you did not know about. Rose’s realisation that her father was not the genius her mother made him out to be is inevitable but still extremely moving and then to discover even though he was a bit of a Del Boy, her father would still step in front of a car if it would make an important difference. Rose gets all the best scenes in Father’s Day from her mumbling awkwardness with the Doctor after she has changed history, not wanting to face his wrath, to her hilarious reaction to her fathers flirting and her moving reaction when she realises he will have to sacrifice himself anyway, despite her actions.

The Tyler family achieves a whole new layer of depth in this episode and as usual it is a joy to see Jackie back. She is as chavvy as ever, deeply humorous and dramatic in equal measures and with a tongue as sharp as ice. It was Jackie’s vehement anger towards her husband that gave Rose her biggest culture shock and her sudden turnabout at the climax, crying and begging for her husband not to sacrifice himself that proved how much she loved him anyway. Camille Coduri is as marvellous as ever, looking stunning in her wedding attire and once again finding new layers for the increasingly complex Jackie Tyler.

Despite the horrible choices he is given Eccleston gives a meaty performance that will go down as one of his best, a far cry from the dopey grins in earlier episodes. I know he wanted to show the world he could play a nice guy but the truth of the matter is Eccleston is better at playing nasties and when his Doctor is allowed to get angry and emotional he provides some sit up and pay attention fireworks that few of his predecessors could have managed. This is the episode that cements his relationship with Rose, having been to the brink of splitting up and still walking away hand in hand. When he admits that he wouldn’t have left her and she says she knew that already you feel a genuine bond that cannot be broken, no matter how bad thin get. And the Doctor accusing her of having an agenda for travelling with him was pretty low but her quiet reaction to this proves it has been in the back of her mind for a while. Perhaps as far back as The Unquiet Dead. I take back what I said about Billie Piper in Dalek, I could not fault her performance in Father’s Day and if she doesn’t have you blubbing before the credits come up you have no soul.

The direction was absolutely smashing. Pretty much every episode this has been extremely pretty on the eyes and so when this episode started with its incredibly drab looking location work (a horrid, grey windy day) it was already uncomfortable BEFORE time was messed up. The POV views of the Reapers attacking were stunning and proved once again that you only have to imply violence for it to be more effective than actually showing it. The music was a huge step up from last week, creepy and poignant in equal measures. And considering it was a slower, character based episode it was certainly not dull for a second, filmed by a director who knows how to inject drama and pathos into the programme.

I want to write this off as a spectacular triumph because of the sheer amount of talent that has gone into it. There are scenes in this episode that rank higher than anything else I have seen on television in ages. But the script is so irritatingly flawed I had a constant sense of anger surging through me throughout the episode.

Who would have thought there would ever be a time where the production and performances of Doctor would be its selling points and the script would be its biggest failure. My my, how things have changed.

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Father's Day was probably my favorite episode of this new series of Doctor Who thus far. Billie Piper continues to be a joy to watch on screen and as the new series evolves we get a companion that is allowed more depth and substance than anything that we have had before. This is the way Doctor Who should be written. Any story with a premise that showcases a non-human protagonist must take care not to reveal too much about that character. It has been my experience that the more that is revealed about such an alien the less interesting and 'alien' the character becomes.

The Doctor needs to remain an enigma. He needs to remain alien. This series seems to understand that. It gives us stories where the Doctor is the means, but not the ends. This is a series about the companion... about Rose, about you, or me, or any other human person who steps foot inside the TARDIS. The humans tell the story. They don't need to stay hidden. We can put them under the microscope and see exactly who they are. Never has Doctor Who allowed us to examine a companion so closely. Never has it given us such beautiful human drama.

My thanks to Russell T. Davies for this wonderfully insightful new direction. One that begins with the opening moments of the very first episode and never turns loose. I compare it to the popular American Television series, "Lost". Where a group of ordinary people find themselves stranded on a very dangerous and very mysterious island. The stories are human stories and each week we learn more about the characters on the island, their lives, their loves, their history. And sometimes we are given the tiniest clue about the island. The Doctor is the island and Rose is the lost, struggling to survive and learn just a little bit more about the mystery that surrounds her.

I don't feel I need to reiterate the quality of story or production of this week's episode. I have been reading the reviews of "Father's Day" that are here on "Outpost Gallifrey" and see that these things have been well addressed. I do want to express my opinion regarding one of the running themes that has been permeating the reviews of late, however.

The scripts for this new series ("Father's Day" included) that were not penned by Russell T. Davies have been by-and-large received as superior. While this may be true, it has bred a lot of anti-RTD sentiment here that is undeserved. Each and every one of Mr. Davies' scripts has contained powerful and engaging scenes of human drama as good as what we got here last Saturday with "Father's Day." That's not to say each of these scripts did not also contain stumbling blocks. I was quite unhappy with much of "Aliens of London" and offered a review that voiced serious concerns about that episode. But I now feel a need to jump to the man's defense.

Let's assume that each of the writers for Doctor Who had X number of months to work on their scripts. Each of the writers in question produced one single script in that time. One script to polish and perfect and mold into the very finest gem of which they were capable. RTD on the other hand has had to produce 8 different scripts to their 1. Eight! Russell T. Davies is responsible for the lion's share of our Doctor Who story content, because this is his vision. He is responsible for the continuity, the atmosphere, the life, and breath of this new Doctor Who series. Russell T. Davies provides the foundation upon which these other writers are able to present their master pieces. "Father's Day" would not have been possible without that foundation.

I am sure if RTD had possessed 8 times the amount of time to polish and perfect each of his scripts that they might have been very different indeed. As it stands, his offerings so far have each provided us with a fair share of good enjoyable Doctor Who. Please don't belittle his efforts and suggest that he should relinquish his writing responsibilities for the series. His is the direction, the vision, and the heart that gives this new Doctor Who life. Praise him for that. Look at the big picture... at his efforts on the whole. They are Fantastic!

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I've seen the episode a few times, read the reviews and been entertained by both. Wonderful episode, very interesting reviews...

(Pause) (Thinks)...this is a programme I adore seeing off the irritating rubbish that was 'Celebrity Wrestling' in the ratings and inspiring lively, articulate and diverse comments. Ahh, good times to be a fan.

I think this is possibly my favourite episode so far. Like 'Dalek' , 'The Unquiet Dead' and , to a lesser extent 'The End of the World' I was emotionally engaged and gripped throughout. This is not just quality 'Doctor Who' ; not just quality 'genre' television; this is quality television. Full. Stop. Quite right that plot holes are dissected, flaws found and criticisms made.We're fans...s'what we do and bl**dy marvellous and entertaining it is too! But as I responded to this episode on an very emotional level, my comments might reflect this...

Pre-titles on. Draws you in straight away (cue *that* theme music) . 'Little' Rose is told that her Dad died alone.Oh, blimey. I'm going already. What a sap.

Peter's death/rescue...very well done. This director can come back! (Oh, he is. Good.) Shaun Dingwell doesn't miss a beat throughout the episode. Excellent performance.

Doctor/Rose dynamics...Rose is right and wrong at the same time. Reacting to save your dad...who wouldn't? From the Doctor's more universal perspective...oh dear, *Bad*. Very ambiguous stuff, superbly played.

Doctor 'loses' Tardis. Rose looks a bit smug as the Doctor comes running after her. Reaper appears and she looks a little less smug. More...terrfied. (Good scream!) So, a few convincing deaths and into the church...this is terrific stuff.

The Doctor takes charge.Chris Eccleston at his best....."You're my Rose." "Daddy..." (I've got something in my eye, honest.) Stuart and Sarah...who says they're not important? The Doctor certainly doesn't. (I've chopping onions, honest.) Rose is genuinely sorry and the Doctor accepts this. Yay, the Doctor's *back*...and he's taking off that flamin' jacket for once!

Rose touches the baby (doh) and a reaper is inside...the Doctor's instincts kick in as he protects the more vulnerable...and gets eaten for his trouble. Okay, his death wouldn't have really helped anyone that much, but I'm a sucker for noble self-sacrifice ("bloody fifth Doctor fans....") and love the slo-mo shot of Roses horrified reaction. Powerful stuff...

Peter knows what he has to do, and so do we, obviously.Another great scene as he prepares for his fate. "Who am I, Love?" "My daddy." (got something in both eyes now)

BAM...he's a goner. (I even find the way Billie runs poignant at this point!) The shot where Rose finally glances up...and there's the Doctor in close-up; and he *knows*, I think. Knows how Rose feels...woah. Even Billie dropping her head slightly as they walk back to the Tardis...No onions, nothing in my eye. I'm moved.

More episodes to come and my concerns about the Ninth Doctor's attitude have been addressed to an extent.(Still, poor old Adam!) But my bottom line here is.....this is *quality* television connecting with a big audience; and it's 'Doctor Who'! Bring on the rest of the season.

Nine out of ten.

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Before we get into this, I know from reading others' reviews that this is one episode that has had a lot of emotional resonance with viewers. Many have commented they were reduced to tears after watching it, one in particular that I saw (and I'm sure it can't be the ONLY one like it) saying it reminded him/her of his/her upbringing, where his/her father had died before s/he was born. So out of no disrespect whatsoever to anyone who felt the way they did, but...

I really, REALLY don't like stories that try to manipulate your emotions. There is a difference between stories that generate an emotional response through the course of the story, and one that tries to pull your heartstrings without a hint of subtlety about it. And that's precisely how "Father's Day" felt to me.

And what gets me, is that the set-up to the whole episode requires the Doctor to be an absolute schmuck. "Let's see, we JUST ditched a traveller who was trying to influence history in such a way to alter the past, I think for an encore I'll take Rose to see the exact moment her father died. There'd be no personal meaning there, oh no, what could POSSIBLY go wrong?!" Uh...yeah. Which is why I don't think the Doctor's anger at Rose over it was very warranted -- HE took her back there, TWICE even.

I did like the Reapers. I did like the TARDIS funkiness once history went a bit bizarro (Although come ON, Paul, how many times are you going to use the "Object From TARDIS Makes Lost TARDIS Appear" trick??). And I did like the car repeatedly appearing and disappearing.

But I really just didn't like all the NOT VERY SUBTLE AT ALL emotional ticks. Too many generated "Awwww" moments. Oh look, it's little Mickey, hugging Rose in the church. Awwww. Hey, Pete Tyler realizes he needs to sacrifice himself in order to stop all this craziness. Awwww.

Despite some nice ideas regarding the nature of an altering history, it was Paul Cornell by numbers. And unfortunately, it was the Paul Cornell who wrote Shadows of Avalon instead of the one who wrote Human Nature that showed up. In the latter, we truly FELT for the Doctor, and for "Dr. John Smith," and his human lover. It was a genuine heartbreak. Whereas with the former, we were signposted and bludgeoned with why we should feel for Lethbridge-Stewart, or Compassion, or...

Show, don't tell.

And again, if you felt a personal connection with this story, I don't hate I congratulate. But it didn't do it for me. In fact, it went pretty much the opposite. To me it felt phony, but perhaps, perhaps, it's a situation where you had to be there.

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November 1987: I was fourteen years old and watching Delta and The Bannermen… But never mind eh?

Once again, we were on Earth. Are we ever gonna see an alien planet in this series? Fortunately, Father’s Day was another emotion-crunching episode that would tug at the heartstrings at even the hardest Doctor Who fan. For once we were actually treated to a proper time-travel plot, which is a rarity in Doctor Who. Admittedly the episode had a very obvious ending but the power of the acting covered that up.

Shaun Dingwall as Pete Tyler was superb, especially in the scenes where Pete has his "Gethsemane" moment, realising he has to die to save the world. Once again Billie Piper was outstanding, give her a Bafta next year for goodness sake.

The Doctor didn’t really do much. He even admits at one point, that he doesn’t have a plan. More often than not in this series, the Doctor seems to have been made redundant in the stories conclusions, often being reduced to a bystander. Here, he at least gets to save Rose in a gallant gesture before disappearing. When he appears by Rose’s side after time is changed back again, it was so much more subtle and effective than if he had re-appeared in a flash of light.

However, despite all the emotion, intelligent acting and horror, there was time for a little humour. Who didn’t enjoy the Doctor putting Jackie in her place. Plus anyone who thinks Christopher Eccleston’s Doctor is all northern grins, "fantastic" and not a proper Doctor, should watch the scene where he’s talking to Baby Rose or the couple getting married. The first was a true Doctor-like soliloquy, the second a reassuringly traditional Doctor moment, both delivered with warmth, humour and wisdom. [Shaun feel free to edit out this next sentence] On the strength of this episode alone, Ian Levine can shove his "moral right" up his arse, because Eccleston was at his best here, proving that he was the man for the job. Thirteen episodes are better than no episodes at all!

1987 was very accurately brought back to life, even down to dreary old Rick Astley singing on the car radio. The Reapers were an excellent creation, not only in appearance but, they sounded terrifying too. The scenes of their point of view were genuinely eerie and when they devoured Steve’s father and the vicar, it was as near to a modern-day horror film than Doctor Who has ever been. If I have one complaint, it was the TARDIS key subplot which made very little sense and appeared to be just padding, lengthening the episode and delaying the obvious ending.

Father’s Day is more proof at how flexible and adaptable the series format is and also how much Doctor Who has grown up. Another rosy-glow moment which makes me proud to be a Doctor Who fan!

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Russell T. Davies has been heavily criticized by some fans for his ‘domestic’ emphasis – Davies, it is said, is more interested in the companion Rose and her family connections and melodramas than in the Doctor and old-fashioned ‘Who’ adventure. It’s a criticism that is both somewhat warranted and somewhat exaggerated, but it’s interesting that the story perhaps *most* interested in Rose’s family life, Paul Cornell’s ‘Father’s Day,’ turns out to be an utter triumph, by far the finest of the 2005 series. Not only is it a fast-paced, classically Whovian adventure with great monsters, but in tying the emotional component that Davies worked to bring to the series in to an exciting plot (as opposed to merely tacking it on, as happens in stories like ‘Aliens of London’/’World War Three’), it also brings something truly fresh and new to ‘Doctor Who,’ while at the same time making better use of time travel than perhaps any story in series history.

First things first. This story hinges on a questionable hypothesis – surely no other Doctor would have the bad judgment to grant a companion’s request to witness the death of someone so close. But the Ninth Doctor is different from the others – in fact, we’ve already seen him make mistakes several times by this point in the series (trying to help the Gelth, encouraging Adam Mitchell to experience future culture and then lambasting him when he does, etc.). But that’s not necessarily a bad thing, in terms of the series’ dramatic element – how many times in classic ‘Who’ did all sense of danger evaporate because this infallible Super Time Lord was on the scene? I’m thinking specifically of certain Pertwee and McCoy stories, but it really could be said for most of them (except maybe Davison) . . . . Christopher Eccleston’s Doctor is different from them all – he is at once more alien and estranged from humanity than any Doctor since Hartnell, and yet more *human* any of the others, in his imperfection, his failings. Eccleston is truly at his best here – dark and furious when he stares down Rose and insults her, authoritative and classically Doctor-ish when taking over the situation at the church, child-like and haunted when he listens enviously to Stuart and Sarah talk about their banal lives . . . and of course shocking when he pays for his caprices with his own life (for once). It’s hard to say how fans will ultimately remember Christopher Eccleston – fondly, as the actor who brought ‘their’ character back from the dead, or as an uncommitted deserter, as well as a symbol of Russell Davies’s sins as producer? Time will tell, but is can’t be denied that he’s in fine form here.

But of course, this story is more Rose Tyler’s than the Doctor’s, and Billie Piper plays the role with all the commitment and good taste we’ve come to expect from her. Camille Coduri is as screechy and shrewish as ever, but for once it works in the context of the story. Still, the best acting here probably comes from Shaun Dingwall as Peter Allan Tyler. It’s a perfect performance: Tyler is a believable and likeable non-hero – we can see why Jacky would be annoyed and impatient with this dreamer’s schemes (a separate compartment for yogurt?) – but we can’t help liking him. He’s beautifully written, too – not ‘the most wonderful man in the world,’ but extremely kind (you can see it in the loving way he looks at Rose, and one of his first questions about his own future is “Am I a good dad?”), and smart enough to figure out who Rose is, and how exactly she caused their dilemma in the first place. *And* brave enough to face what he must do to make it all right . . . .

These characters come together in a rather brilliantly constructed and moving time-travel story. Considering how key time travel is to ‘Doctor Who’s’ basic concept, it’s amazing the series hasn’t asked these sorts of questions more often. The Chronovores – excuse me, I suppose it isn’t exactly established that the Reapers *are* Chronovores, though they seem close enough to me – are scary and believable, and yet ‘Father’s Day’ is really a story about living in the past, and the futility of wanting to change it. Cornell’s script is dotted with interesting takes on the question (Stuart’s father warning him that his future self might not be so thrilled with his match, etc.), and it all comes together in a blissful harmony of ideas and aesthetics.

All in all, a wonderful ‘Doctor Who’ story, perhaps the first real classic of the new era.

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“By the way, did I mention it also travels in time?”

Father's Day is definitely one of the most unusual Doctor Who episodes ever. The emphasis is not on weird aliens or monsters, instead this is a character-based drama with a science fiction twist. In order to enjoy Father's Day, it's important to be caught up in the unfolding drama and not be too bothered by the occasional unexplained plothole. So its understandable if the average Who fan is more annoyed than enchanted by this beautiful vignette.

As far as Rose is concerned, it does resolve one outstanding plotpoint – why did she choose to travel with the Doctor in the first place? It was to go back in time and see her father she never really new. Billie Piper produces a terrific performance here – probably her best in the entire series thus far. And Shaun Dingwall as Rose's father plays the part with just the right amount of charm, and perhaps smarm. We can see why Jackie would've fallen in love with him, and how she can forgive him the occasional wayward dalliance. In the end, Pete Tyler is given the opportunity to redeem himself in the eyes of his family. So it is an uplifting yet bittersweet ending.

It seems to be a recurring theme during the current series, that the Doctor doesn't save the day, but rather he inspires the people around him to do so. That was the case in the previous episode 'The Long Game', where he persuades Cathica to stop the Jagrafess. What is so fascinating here is that for the first time in recent memory, the Doctor quite literally has no idea how to resolve this situation. It's discomforting, but shows just how serious this situation is. In order to spare Rose's feelings, he attempts to find a roundabout solution that doesn't involve sacrificing someone's life. Unfortunately, that decision is taken out of his hands at the very end.It shows, quite graphically, the depth of feeling that runs between both the Doctor and Rose.

I have to admit, I'm more emotionally and mentally comfortable with the "adventure"-themed episodes - it's what I grew up on after all. Father's Day is certainly a poignant entry in the new series, and if you're in the right mood the bittersweet ending can certainly tug at the heartstrings. This is one episode that I'd much rather watch alone - as I don't want anyone to smirk if I get a lump in my throat. 8/10.

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As I read about the premise to this story in various press articles that were previewing it, the first thing I thought to myself was: "Ah no, another lame time paradox story." This particular sci-fi concept of going back in time to save someone you loved who has died has already been so overdone that I was less-than-thrilled to hear it was going to be the central theme of a story this season. I had always loved the way the old series had taken some of those overdone sci-fi plotlines and rather than make them a central idea, would use them as just subplots instead. For example "Mawdryn Undead" explores that whole "what would happen if you travelled back in time and met yourself" premise quite nicely but also has several other important plots going on at the same time. In such contexts, I had no problem with using one of those overdone ideas. But putting it to the center of a storyline could only be a bad move as far as I was concerned.

There was only one thing that had me believing this might still have a chance to be a good story. And that was the fact that Paul Cornell was writing it.

Paul wrote all the best Doctor Who novels when the show was off the air. Even his weaker material was still so amazingly good. I'll even admit, when I heard the series was coming back, one of the first things I wanted to know was if Cornell had been commissioned to write any stories for the new season. So, even though I was a bit disenchanted by the premise of the whole story - I knew that if anyone could handle it well, it would be Paul.

And I was right. He did.

"Father's Day" is, of course, deeply sentimental. And it's meant to be. It's Paul showing us that our favourite series can explore more things than just the boundaries of time and space. It can be a story about people and relationships. The new series is doing this a lot in all kinds of different ways, but it did it best in this story.

But even with all the "mushiness" going on, the plot is well-executed. Paul makes sure that beyond the sentimentality, there's a genuine story there too. And one of the neat underlying ideas that the plot explores is how troubles with time are handled now that the Time Lords are gone from the universe. It was even neat to see how different the Doctor is now regarding such situations. In the old days, he would have never brought a companion to such an event - knowing it would be a risky thing to do that could get him in trouble with his own people. But, his own people are gone now. Which means he really can do whatever he damned well pleases. Including actually allowing time to be re-set by letting Rose's Dad live. It made me really see just how different the universe was without Gallifrey in it.

Of course, replacing the Time Lords are these nasty Reaper creatures. Who I quite liked and definitely want to see more of. I think we should definitely get another story some time where the Doctor actually gets to talk to them a bit (he is still, a Time Lord, after all - that should get them to actually acknowledge him on some level besides being "something to eat when time goes wrong"!). They are a very interesting species that were scary and nasty and nicely underexplored so that we would want to see more of them again in the future. I'm almost thinking it might be a neat premise if the Doctor purposely engineered a time paradox sometime because his back was against the wall and he saw no other way to defeat the bad guys except to "sick the reapers on them". Just an idea...

Anyway, now that we've tackled the plotline - let's explore the real "meat" of "Father's Day". I think, first and foremost, it's about the idealisations we make of other people. Particularly how children see their parents. Even though she never met him, Rose has such a huge pre-conception of her father. It doesn't help, of course, that this great social more of "always speaking well of the dead" has coloured her perception even more by the stories her mother has told her. But certainly one of the central themes of this story is watching poor Rose see all these illusions get stripped away and discovering that her Dad really wasn't the best of fellows. That he might even be a bit of a loser.

How nice then, for Paul's "triumph of human spirit" theme to ring through and have Rose's Dad overcome his own defects. Not only does the "loser" end up doing the right thing in the end, but he's also clever enough to figure out what's going on all on his own and then take those necessary steps. Once more illustrating that beautiful idea that Paul loves to bring out in his characters. That there's always "more to people than meets the eye" and that we all have the potential to exceed the limitations we put ourselves under. It's the fact that these ideas are woven into the very sad storyline of Rose having to experience the genuine grief of losing her father that finally gets my eyes to water a bit at the end. If this had just been a one-dimensional "sob story" it would have fallen flat. But because it had such beautiful undertones about courage and responsibility, when Dad does finally go out and get hit and the vase breaks once and for all, I actually found myself getting misty-eyed. Something I thought Doctor Who would never be able to legitimately achieve. Even if it came close once or twice with companions dieing or neat supporting characters like "Tommy" in "Planet of Spiders".

Even my Mum - who, by no stretch of the imagination enjoys sci-fi, just happened to be watching the show that night and now watches it every week because the superior writing of the series has won her over. That, to me, is the ultimate testament of a good story. When even people who dislike the genre will start tuning in regularly!

Anyway, I know I'm going on quite a bit about just the script but it goes without saying that performance and direction were in good shape here too. And though I hear some folks complaining that this is another story where the Doctor "doesn't seem to do much of anything" you hardcore fans need to clue in to the idea that this is not a new concept to the series. Pertwee and Tom Baker were always saving the day all by themselves but if you look at any other era of the show - there are plenty of stories where the Doctor is busy just running around and trying to keep himself alive and that he serves as only a minor catalyst to the resolution of the central conflict. A good example of this would be what many folks consider the best Who story ever "The Caves of Androzani". So let's all settle down here and enjoy the fact that our new series doesn't want to be too formulaic by having the Doctor be the "be all and end all of everything". Let's allow the ole Doc to be a bit ineffectual now and again, it's neat to see him so vulnerable. And to see companions and supporting characters be so useful too!

So, in the final analysis, even though it has to fight against other really fantastic stories like "Unquiet Dead", "Dalek", "The Long Game" and "Empty Child/The Doctor Dances", "Father's Day" does just seem to beat them in terms of "best story of the season." Mind you, at the time of writing this, I have still not seen the final two episodes of said season. So that opinion may change. But, given my deep adoration of Cornell's writing skills, it's going to be quite the challenge!

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I find it hard to really write just how ‘Father’s Day’ made me feel. When I saw the Trailer for it at the end of ‘The Long Game’, I was undoubtedly intrigued, but nothing could have prepared me for just how bloody emotive it would be.

From the outset, things are tugging at the heartstrings; Paul Cornell’s choice to begin ‘Father’s Day’ with a flashback to Jackie Tyler telling Rose how her Father died and what a nice man he was sets things up nicely for the next forty-five minutes. In this one Episode alone, we are given absolutely everything that Russell T. Davies promised us we would get with Series One- we get realism, touching moments, a small dash of humour and a lot of powerful moments. It is, in short, an emotional roller coaster and one that, upon first transmission, managed to leave my entire family and myself with tears in our eyes.

The script is just superb; from off-hand moments forewarning the destruction of time, such as hearing music from 2005 on the Radio in 1987, to moments of utter surprise, such as the Doctor discovering that his TARDIS has turned into a real Police Box, ‘Father’s Day’ is littered with moments that impress upon the mind at an instant. Admittedly, there are moments which seems a little too convenient perhaps- why should time be trying to repair itself by keeping the car which should have killed Pete Tyler driving around on loop; also, doesn’t the Doctor’s decision to allow Rose the chance to talk to her Father in his dying moments stink of sheer naivety if nothing else on his behalf? She decides to save his life- I’m not surprised. Still, if this is the weakest it gets and the end result is as superb as it is, I don’t really think such things should be dwelt upon.

The acting here is terrific- Shaun Dingwall as Rose’s Father is superb and really brings a sense of reality to his character; here is a role which could have been so clichéd and so wooden and so painfully dull, but Dingwall makes him sympathetic and loveable; no wonder Rose decided to save his life. When his time has come again, I admit that I was all choked up. His acting was so natural that it made the character as real as you can get.

The returning cast members remain as strong as ever, with Billie Pier and Christopher Eccleston still remaining as gripping and superb as ever eight Episodes into Series One.

The Directing by Joe Ahearne is every bit as strong as his Direction of ‘Dalek’; in particular, the Reapers attacking the various human victims is handled very well indeed, with the scene where they slowly devour everyone in a Playground bar a baby Mickey being a really good example of how to generate suspense very quickly and simply.

Murray Gold’s music once more is strong, providing some lovely music to counterpoint the on-screen action, especially when Rose watches her Father die for the first time, and then reflects upon it afterwards.

In all, ‘Father’s Day’ is a shining example of how good ‘Doctor Who’ and television in general can be when executed correctly. There is a lovely moment when the Doctor informs a soon-to-be-married couple that he wishes he had their lifestyle, but if such a life would deny viewers of Episodes are great as this one is, then I’m sorry but I’m going to have to be selfish and pray he never gets what it is he would like. ‘Doctor Who’ doesn’t get much better than this.

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We were out all day on Saturday. For the first time the video had to be set, and I was unable to watch Doctor Who at 7:00. Upong arriving home at 11:15 at night, I had to watch it even though I was rather tired. I quickly was wide awake though, as this emotional rollercoaster wound its way to its stunning conclusion. I went to bed that Saturday night acknowledging that Doctor Who had never been this profound – and even though it was midnight I really wanted to phone my Dad. He’s no Doctor Who fan, our bond generated mostly on the Football Terraces, but this story had touched me – and my feelings towards him brought to the fore.

The sheer scope of stories that are being told by the new Doctor Who is striking. We have always known that DW has an extremely wide range of storytelling available, within its boundaries. The beauty of the new series is that so much of this diversity is being embraced – yet still keeping the show intrinsically Doctor Who.

The author of this beautiful piece is unsurprisingly Paul Cornell. The original idea was Russell Ts – but Cornells stamp is all over it. Cornell can write Human Nature better than most – and he doesn’t shirk here. It’s right up there with Unquiet Dead and Dalek as brilliant new Who.

Increasingly the connection is being made in fan circles that the best episodes of the new series are not written by Russell T – but this for me is missing the point. Russell T had the original idea for it all. Diversity of writers has always been a key strength of Who, but there always needs to be a Marshalling force (Script Editor, Producer) to bring individual visions to fruition. Russell T is the main Marshall – and therefore deserves great credit for all these stories. I note with interest though that more new writers are coming in for the 2nd Series – but I bet Russell T will be the guiding force again. The main man on new Doctor Who is Russell T Davies, not Eccleston, not Billie Piper. This is Russell T Davies show, and he is definitely staying in – that’s the most positive news I can think of. If it wasn’t for Russell T, there would be new DW TV Series – simple as that.

Back to Fathers Day though. Taking the real world as its setting (like much of this series), the perils of Time Travel are explored in very personal way. The street could be anywhere in Britain, the Church could be the one at the end of my street – that I believe is the point. Never has the fantastic mixed so well with the day-to-day so well, as it is doing time and time again in DW 2005. A Time Travel Story with Monsters – that’s totally Doctor Who.

The Reapers are a fine addition to the Monster Ranks – definitely on the more impressive end of the scale. The books got into a right mess with Time Paradoxes, time and time again complicating an already complex enough issue. Time Paradoxes are fascinating though, and the simple yet horrific results – the Reapers, bring an added threat to the Doctors travels. They are particularly impressive here too, with the background of a Church to fly around.

Rose has dominated the series (Russell T wanted to be the Companion, not the Doctor – that’s interesting), and here she takes that domination up another level. Billie Piper is amazing throughout. Thankfully too though the Doctor has plenty to do too, even though again he’s involved, but not the ultimate saviour.

That accolade belongs to Shaun Dingwall as Pete Tyler – and it this character who stands out from the Wedding Crowd. This Delboy type character is beautifully realized by writer and actor. Impressive too (again!) is Camille Coduri, as Jackie – who manages to portray her younger self brilliantly.

The 9th Doctor and Rose are brilliant together – that’s the saddest thing about Christopher Eccleston only doing 1 series. This TARDIS team deserves more stories – I’m pleased more books have been announced for later the year. The easy friendship they now have is delightful – shown up more than ever in Fathers Day. It’s a lovely partnership, witch each thriving off the personality of the other.

Fathers Day is a brilliant episode. It’s wonderfully localized Doctor Who – fulfilling the ethos that Russell T Davies loves about DW – that of imagining the TARDIS at the end of the street. The fantastic is close enough to touch, with the limits of the imagination being the only boundaries. The series, and this show particularly, is wonderfully family based, with Rose being the key player – applauding the ties we have, that are set by blood. It’s brilliant TV in every way – and I am loving it more and more. 9/10

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There are episodes of television shows where the writers make so many stupid mistakes and there are so many inconsistencies and things that don't make any sense, you pretend the episodes never happened. Father's Day is one such episode of Doctor Who that I consider never happened. I am a big Doctor Who fan, but this episode was REALLY badly written.

Why does the Doctor take Rose back to see her father get killed? The Doctor himself knows the dangers of messing with history, so why would he risk altering Earth's timeline to indulge Rose's wish? This doesn't make any sense at all. Let's say for the benefit of the doubt that he could keep Rose as an impartial observer to her father's demise who doesn't interfere. Then why doesn't the Doctor make Rose promise him not to save her father (and consequently change history) before he materializes the TARDIS? Why do the Doctor and Rose leave and come back, making dangerous doubles of themselves in that time period? Why do the earlier doubles of the Doctor and Rose disappear when the later Rose saves her father? How come there wasn't a double of the TARDIS that also disappeared when the doubles of the Doctor and Rose disappeared? Why doesn't the Doctor go back and prevent Rose from saving her father?

How does the interior of the TARDIS disappear? The interior of the TARDIS CANNOT disappear! The interior of the TARDIS has temporal grace or temporal invulnerability. The TARDIS is dimensionally transcendental (bigger on the inside than the outside) and the TARDIS interior exists in another dimension.

Why does the phone the Doctor listens to only play the first telephone call made by Alexander Graham Bell, over and over again? This is never explained.

Why does the TARDIS key glow, and why does the TARDIS slowly materialize around it? This is something else that is never explained and doesn't make any sense.

Why does the Doctor tell Rose "Don't touch the baby!" yet he keeps Rose in close proximity to her younger self, knowing that if Rose touches her younger self, the Reapers will be able to come into the church? Why doesn't he lock Rose away in another room, or lock the younger Jackie and the baby Rose in another room?

Why does Rose act like such an idiot in this episode, when Rose has been previously characterized as being smart and brave? Rose's stupidity is really out of character. Why does Rose save her father when she knows it will change history? Why does Rose touch her younger self after the Doctor tells her "Don't touch the baby!"?

After the Reapers destroy the Doctor, how and why do the Doctor and the other people killed by the Reapers magically reappear when Pete runs in front of the disappearing and reappearing car and kills himself?

Why does the car that is supposed to run over Pete continually disappear and reappear while going around the same block?

Why does the TARDIS reappear, in a different place from where it landed, when the Doctor and Rose are going to leave? Why does the TARDIS reappear at all, with its interior now intact? Why don't we hear the TARDIS materialization noise when the TARDIS rematerializes?

Why do the Reapers disappear at the end of the episode when history is still altered?

Why does the Doctor leave Rose's history and the histories of Rose's mother and father forever altered when the Doctor himself is against changing history (even though he did change Dalek history)?

How come the writer of this episode, Paul Cornell, never took into account the possibility that there may be no temporal paradoxes, and that changing history may just result in another parallel universe or timeline?

As you can see from all these inconsistencies, unanswered questions, and things that don't make any sense, Father's Day is a VERY badly written Doctor Who episode, and to me, this episode never happened.

Filters: Series 1/27 Ninth Doctor Television

Well, this one got me misty-eyed at the end, I have to admit. Despite the plot-holes and the rather "I can see it coming a mile away" ending, it still worked for me.

Let's get some of the unanswered questions out of the way first. Why is the car that killed Pete caught in a loop, constantly reappearing near Pete, as if to give him a chance to repair time? Is it a case of time trying to repair itself somehow, without the direction of the Time Lords? The behavior of time without any lords to direct it is interesting topic, and one that ought to be addressed at some point in the series. Of course, in plot terms, the car is the 'magic reset switch' that allows time to be mended, and so it's disappointing that no explanation is given to us during the course of the story that allows it to be anything other than that reset switch.

And then there are the reapers. Interesting creatures to be sure, but why do they devour everyone they see as opposed to just the people involved in the time change? I'm not sure this is a plot hole so much as simply an unanswered question. I do wonder, if they appear out of nowhere outside the church, why they can't do so inside the building until the paradox of Rose holding herself as a baby makes them stronger? As an aside, did anyone else make the mental link between the chronovores of "The Time Monster" and these reapers? I did, though it wasn't stated explicitly. Until told otherwise, it makes sense to me to consider them the same creatures. Or cousins at least.

The main plot is full of emotional moments, and is obviously meant to emotionally manipulate the audience, something I normally despise. Most movies or TV programs that try to wring sentiment from the viewers fall flat. "Father's Day" will no doubt strike some people as too maudlin, yet it worked for me because the premise is sound, along with the dilemma presented to Rose. Who among us, having lost a parent or a grandparent wouldn't, if able to travel in time, want to go back and spend just one more day with them? Or an afternoon? Or even five minutes? I think most people would jump at the chance, and Rose's desire to just be with her dad as he's dying is very human and very real, and not at all forced. The Doctor indulges her, which in the past might well have been unthinkable. At the moment, she's his closest friend in the universe, and he's under no one's authority but his own, so he chooses to allow her to return and watch her dad die. Yes, it's a mistake, especially the second time, but again, how many of us have gone along with friends on debatable actions simply because of that friendship? It happens. The Doctor's not perfect, but it does make his berating of Rose later on very unfair, since he facilitated her actions. Like true friends, they do forgive each other and move on, an action I appreciate. I'd much rather see forgiveness than bitterness and revenge.

So Rose gets to spend some time with the father she never knew, and her childhood idealistic view of her parents is stripped away, as no doubt any of ours would be had we known our parents when they were younger and less mature. It's a good thing we can't see our parents like that. Pete and Jackie are very human, and Pete in particular comes across as a good-natured man, trying to do the best for his family despite a very shrill and nagging wife. Earlier in the series I wondered where Rose got her intelligence considering Jackie's ditziness, and I finally found out, as her dad works out just exactly what's going on with time and realizes the truth. With monsters outside the church and the car looping in time, the evidence seems undeniable, and he's broad-minded enough to accept it, as well as give his life for his daughter. Self-sacrifice for love is a theme that can be horribly melodramatic if not depicted carefully. It's one of the highest and noblest virtues a man or woman can display in my opinion, and between the excellent acting,script and direction, it's well portrayed in "Father's Day". A man looking over his life, knowing himself well enough to realize that he's not what he should be as a father, and yet still willing to do the noble and right thing for his daughter was touching. Yes, we all know that's what he'll do in the end, but Pete's character rings so true that his actions don't feel cliched. He's not a hero, he's just a man muddling his way through life, who chooses to sacrifice for his child.

Lastly, there's the Doctor, at both his worst and his best. Indulgent to his friend, blaming her for saving her dad when he's equally to blame by allowing the situation to happen, insulting her and walking out, only to do his best to save as many lives as he can when the reapers appear, even though the situation is hopeless. He ultimately pays with his life as the reaper enters the church, but it's not sadness I felt when he did it so much as pride at his actions, because that rings so true to the Doctor's character. Protecting innocents to the last. And even with time having been damaged, even with his condemnation of Rose for doing it, he still fights to save Pete rather than take the quick and easy way out of sending the man to his death.

To sum it up: a somewhat predictable story and a few plot contrivances exist, but the story manages to transcend them with some very good performances and characters, and some very real explorations of loss and family. My favorite episode so far.

Filters: Series 1/27 Ninth Doctor Television