The Two DoctorsBookmark and Share

Sunday, 28 August 2005 - Reviewed by Matthew Carr

Disclaimer..."This review was originally to be written in Hong Kong, but sadly American funding has failed me and I am forced to relocate to County Durham. This location work was entirely integral to the plot, oh yes indeedy, but don't worry as I'm sure the change will have no effect on the finished product".

Ahem.

I am very fond of 80s Doctor Who, certainly more so than others. These are the years which first sparked my interest in the show after all. However, if anyone were to try and defend the shows' twilight years, the most advisable thing to do would be to erase 'The Two Doctors' forever.

The Second Doctor and Jamie are sent to the scientific research station Camera by the Time Lords to put a stop to some worrying Time Travel experiments. The station is attacked by Sontarans, and the Doctor is kidnapped. The Sixth Doctor and Peri arrive at the station shortly afterwards, and teaming up with Jamie they follow the Sontarans to Earth.

Easily the biggest problem with 'The Two Doctors' is the sloppy, lazy direction and editing. Revealing the returning monsters via a computer voice identifying their ships is almost forgivable, but then why do we not see them during their invasion of the station? It seems as though the Sontarans were intended as a surprise for later in the episode, but that this was forgotten at some stage. Eventually introducing the Sontarans in long-shot is another unforgivable lapse. Worst of all, Moffatt misses the chance to recreate the monsters' defining moment from their first appearance in 'The Time Warrior', by actually cutting away from a Sontaran just as he reaches up to remove his helmet! I mean, can you believe it?! The cliffhanger to episode one is particularly dire, and coupled with the direction and editing here becomes entirely bereft of drama. There are gaping holes in the script and far too much padding, and a committed director would certainly have demanded further re-writes to tighten things up (the same could also be said of the script editor, but more of that later). I always feel that there is a steady decline in quality of Peter Moffatt's work on Doctor Who - his first directorial effort in 'State of Decay' is easily his best, and his final in 'The Two Doctors' is easily his worst. There are a few moments of inspiration to be found - the shot of Shockeye stalking Peri at the close of episode two, for instance, is particularly effective and sinister. On the whole though, this story demonstrates a director tired, bored and apathetic towards their work, and the fact that this was Moffatt's final work on Doctor Who can only be met with relief.

Let's not pile all our disappointments on the director though. The script is wildly inconsistent and a huge let down. Episode one in particular is hopelessly padded, resulting in poor Colin Baker spending most of his scenes going "Hmmm...um...ah..." and gurning like an idiot in a desperate attempt to use up the time. Throughout the story, the dialogue ranges from inspired and witty to banal and clunky at the drop of a hat. It is public knowledge that Robert Holmes was less than impressed to be given a 'shopping list' - Sontarans, two Doctors, foreign location - but this is exactly what he and Phillip Hinchcliffe used to do - Renaissance, Portmeirion, cults - and nobody criticises them for it. I think the difference here is that the elements chosen by JNT are rather arbitrary. The second Doctor and Sontarans are used purely for the sake of bringing back old favourites. Seville is used not because it would be an interesting and attractive location in which to set a story, but because they want to film overseas, apparently just for the sake of it (some might say, purely to give the cast and crew a cushy foreign holiday, but I couldn't possibly comment). It seems as though no one gave any thought to whether these elements would actually make a good story. Holmes writes the Sontarans on autopilot, and is obviously having much more fun with his new ideas - Shockeye is a delight, and the Androgums are a very interesting race. Oscar is another rather camp and theatrical pleasure. Indeed, both these characters are classic Holmes creations. It seems to me that the script editor should have picked up on a lot of these faults and demanded re-writes, or done them himself, and yet again nothing was done. I don't pretend to know whether Eric Saward was in awe of Robert Holmes and blinded to the scripts' faults, or simply didn't care, or if the entire team genuinely believed that they were making a quality programme, but something somewhere went badly wrong here.

The variation between performances in 'The Two Doctors' is dramatic. Patrick Troughton is on his usual superb form as the second Doctor, however Colin Baker seems lost for most of the first episode (pehaps due to the obvious faults of the script) and his performance only really slips into gear in episode two. Frazer Hines phones in his performance, and Nicola Bryant is utterly dire (though with a cleavage like that, who cares?). Of the guest players, John Stratton is excellent as Shockeye (once you get used to him), Jacqueline Pearce is...well, Jacqueline Pearce, and James Saxon gives a fine performance as Oscar. Laurence Payne is just about adequate as Dastari, and Tim Raynham and Clinton Greyn do a good job of stomping around and shouting.

The overseas location work might be very pretty and can be of great benefit to some stories, but it is unnecessary and completely irrelevant here. Inevitably it leads to a lot of pointless padding in episode three as the Doctor and friends run around Seville for no very obvious reason and stand around fountains for the sake of showing off the local sights. Any story would suffer under these circumstances, but mid-way through the final instalment of a story the length of 'The Two Doctors' is unforgivable.

It has to be said that despite the effects being to a fairly high standard, the serial suffers because of its' gaudy, mid-80s production values. The costumes particularly are dire, with the unbearably awful Sontarans (their collars don't meet their bodies!), Chessene's wig, and Dastari's outfit all being memorably crap. Peter Howell's incidental score is typical 80s fare and particularly bad in places, though I think the 'war march' that accompanies the Sontarans is quite effective. As with most early to mid-80s episodes, the lighting for all of the studio scenes is far too bright, and they would have done well to follow the examples set by the previous years' 'The Caves of Androzani'.

A common complaint about the Colin Baker years is the level of violence on display, and whilst I've never really understood what the fuss is about I certainly think that 'The Two Doctors' crosses the line in places. Oscar's death is often commented on, and I can see why. Far more alarming is The sixth Doctor's murder of Shockeye - thoroughly unpleasant, alarmingly out of character and followed by a god-awful Bond-style quip, it should never have been allowed.

There are so many moments in 'The Two Doctors' where you think "Ah yes, here we go, now it's getting itself together", but it never happens. With a bit more editing during scripting, and a half-decent director, this could have been something really special. Sadly, it is an opportunity wasted. Troughton is superb and seeing the two Doctors together on screen is a delight (and honestly, I cannot imagine any other combination of Doctors being so perfectly matched), but this could have - and should have - been so much more. 3/10





Aliens of London / World War ThreeBookmark and Share

Wednesday, 24 August 2005 - Reviewed by Nick Mellish

My main gripe with the story as a whole is that it is very much one of peaks and troughs, but with troughs making a more frequent appearance. There is too much plot to cram into a single episode, and yet too little to properly fill out the ninety minutes which it has been granted. A lot of running around from a to b strikes as filler when the two Episodes are watched in closer proximity than with a week between the two. When watched seven days following 'Aliens Of London', the chase scenes in 'World War Three' seemed fine. When watched straight afterwards, they seem a bit gratuitous.

Parts of the plot seem a bit too predictable too. You are never worried about whether or not the Doctor, Rose and Harriet Jones will survive the Missile attack; you know Mickey will press the button to save the day, because the music suggests he will do so. Most annoyingly of all is the Doctor's constant references to having heard the name of Harriet Jones before, leaving you in little doubt that she shall, a, survive the whole affair and, b, that she shall go on to be a significant figure in British Politics. The revelation about her future near the end of 'World War Three' therefore loses its impact, and you are more left with a slow nod of inevitability rather than a feeling of happiness for her.

Both episodes have things to write home about; the destruction of Big Ben is every bit as memorable and impressive as it should be, and as iconic moments in 'Doctor Who' go, this one fits the bill very nicely indeed; also, the death of the Space Pig is a memorable moment, as is the 'capture' of Rose and the Doctor by UNIT. The appearance of UNIT, though brief, is key to the plot and a really nice nod to the past- one which I am very glad Russell T Davies made. The ending of 'World War Three' is utterly superb, and really hits home the sacrifices made by Rose when she decides to travel with the Doctor. Noel Clarke and Camille Coduri couldn't turn in better performances than those which they turn in here, and the whole scene is both touching and affecting.

One thing that in particular struck me when watching back-to-back is how good some of the supporting cast are. Though her appearance is minimal at best, Naoko Mori puts in a very good performance as Doctor Sato; her belief that aliens must look like pigs due to not having ever seen them before is very believable and well-handled, whilst her fear when the apparently dead creature is in fact alive and well is again nicely done, and it is shame that she could not have featured more heavily. Likewise, Navin Chowdhry as Indra Ganesh is both very convincing and believable, and his death is as touching as it deserves to be.

The Slitheen themselves come across as a lot nastier when you are able to take stock of quite what their actions are entailing. Beginning with the augmentation of a pig to suit their needs, they are clearly not above sinister deeds in a bid to achieve such deeds themselves. The Doctor's reaction to the said pig incident is enough to add weight to this theory, and you instantly dislike them due to it, before they have even been revealed. The fact that they then go on to murder a room full of human beings seems to be the icing on the cake as it were, though it lacks the same impact as the death of Space Pig, largely because the Doctor almost totally fails to make any reaction to the human deaths, content instead to run about with a grin upon his face, alerting the authorities to the Alien presence within 10 Downing Street.

Whilst memorable, the constant zipping and unzipping which the Slitheen family are guilty of strikes as padding and merely an excuse to show off a good idea. By all means indulge, but perhaps not to the extent that is done here.

The directing by Keith Boak throughout the story is rather disappointing, and it lacks the visual flair and ingenuity that he displayed throughout 'Rose'. Parts of it show glimpses of innovation, such as the destructions of 10 Downing Street and Big Ben, but on the whole there is not much to shout about, which is a real pity.

Murray Gold's incidental score has more of an impact when watching both Episodes one after the other; it is pretty much solely down to him that tension is created in 'Aliens Of London', and his music near the end of 'World War Three' when Rose has to make a decision regarding her adventures with the Doctor neatly underscores the emotions on display, contributing significantly to the scene's success. Whilst it is not as good a musical score as that which he has composed for other Episodes, I feel that I was much too dismissive of it when watching the Episodes as stand-alone adventures.

In all, I feel that perhaps I was bit too dismissive of the two Episodes initially. I certainly stand by my initial feelings that there is too little occurring for it to work very well, but Davies still manages to provide enough thrills and spills to make it an enjoyable affair. I think that romp would be a better description of the two Episodes, as much of it is played to gain a laugh rather than a fright.

Overall though, whilst the story has highlights, it has enough low points to mark it out as the weakest story in Series One.





Aliens of London / World War ThreeBookmark and Share

Wednesday, 24 August 2005 - Reviewed by Phil Fenerty

From its earliest days, Doctor Who has addressed (and, at times, embraced) political issues. One of the earliest examples of these stories is The Dalek Invasion of Earth, which casts the Daleks as Nazi stormtroopers (concentration camps and all) against the brave resistance fighters of the Home Counties (I'd suggest Dad's Army as an influence here, but the series hadn't started in 1964).

In the first of the series' two part stories, we get the story of a very unusual invasion. The Aliens are here, and they have managed to creep right into the heart of British democracy. At the same time, and especially in World War Three, Russell T Davies uses his script to satirise the events of the Blair administration's response to the Iraq WMD crisis, dodgy dossier and all.

Perhaps there are those who see it as heavy-handed. Perhaps there are nay-sayers who would grumble that Doctor Who is not the place for political satire, or even for political discussion. Rot! This is satire with a deft touch, unlike the over-Thatcheresque performance of Sheila Hancock in The Happiness Patrol. No one complained about that (they were too busy slagging off the Kandyman, of course).

But there is more to the script than satire. The Doctor's investigation of the UFO crash, and his discovery of the fate of the ship's occupant shows a more caring side than we've seen to date. His reactions when looking at the creature show that, even dulled by The Time War, The Doctor has a respect for life and for freedom. The Creature itself is well-realised, and the way it is handled in the story evokes more than a pang of sympathy.

We also find RTD examining something never considered before: how are The Doctor's companions perceived, accounted for, regarded and missed whilst they are away travelling? David Whitaker's prologue to Doctor Who and the Crusaders notes how Ian and Barbara might explain their absence from their London lives once they return, but apart from that, there has been little consideration as to how his companions fare 'outside the TARDIS.' Aliens of London puts this glaring omission right, and confronts The Doctor clearly with the ramifications of his actions.

In one of the best model/ CGI sequences to have been put together for Doctor Who, well frankly, EVER, we see a spaceship hits Big Ben and splashes down on the Thames. Public reaction, in the light of the World Trade Centre's destruction, is perfectly judged: chaos, hysteria, panic and the desire to get a photo to sell to the News of the World. It's telling that The Doctor and Rose decide to watch the drama unfold on BBC News 24 (and, given the events of The Long Game, interesting to note what they are being fed by the Media). Partly this is because of the way today's world works: partly also because The Doctor has eschewed his authority links and is now the ultimate maverick. It takes a full military team, including helicopter, to "recruit" him to the Alien Expert conference.

Whilst Aliens of London is expansive and has scenes in a number of locations, World War Three is more tightly focussed into two or three locales. This makes the drama tighter and helps to build up the tension. With The Doctor effectively cut off from the outside world, he has to call on Mickey for help. It is good to see development in Mickey's character in these two episodes: in the time that Rose has been absent, he has clearly grown up a lot, and that is reflected in his reactions to The Doctor. At the end of the story, we see them becoming, if not friends, then not enemies either.

The Slitheen monsters were one of the weak points in the production. The costumes were too bulky and immobile and the faces were insufficiently monsterous. The best realisation of the creatures was the CGI creatures running through the hallways of 10 Downing Street - they moved efficiently and smoothly, looking every inch the hunters they were not in costume. Compare the sleek CGI versions against the bulky, static Slitheen menacing Rose and Harriet at the end of part 1 (oh, how good is it to say that!). No comparison.

The guest cast performed uniformly well, with Penelope Wilton's performance as Harriet Jones being one of the best of the series. Her character was utterly believable, and it would be great to see her return in a future episode. Camille Coduri gave another great performance as Jackie, her reactions to The Doctor being spot on. She is an asset to the series, and should recur as a character in Series 2 if there is any justice.

The star of the show was, however, Russell's script, with (at last) the writer rising to the heights he'd enjoyed in Casanova. World War Three was one of the wittiest, even laugh-out-loud funniest, tension-filled 45 minutes of television I've seen in a long time, and thoroughly enjoyable. The story also showed the strengths of a two-episode format, in allowing better plot and character development, and leaving viewers guessing as to what will happen for a week.

The Slitheen motivations were also interesting, and there seems to be a minor 'theme' developing in some of the background story elements. This, along with mentions of the Time War, seems to be a way of linking the stories together to enhance the viewing pleasure of the devoted fan.

And check out the UNIT website (linked in from the main BBC Doctor Who site) – more evidence that the Corporation believe in the programme and are prepared to give it much needed multi-media support in this internet age.

Overall: wonderful satirical script.





The Long GameBookmark and Share

Tuesday, 16 August 2005 - Reviewed by Nick Mellish

Hear ye, hear ye- I am here to defend Episode Seven of ‘Doctor Who’: Series One, more commonly known as ‘The Long Game’. This lovely example of ‘Doctor Who’- one of the best since the Eighties- has been slated by all known fields of fandom, and I therefore consider it my duty to address this and ponder why this seems to be the case.

After the thrills and chills of ‘Dalek’, the following Episode of Series One was always going to have a spot of difficulty; ‘Dalek’ had single-handedly reminded everybody quite why ‘Doctor Who’ was so brilliant, and it had even made a fair few people sob in the process (bless that emotive blob of blue!)

It was going to need something truly amazing to beat it, and thus ‘The Long Game’ was transmitted.

Instantly, the viewer is struck at how unlike ‘Dalek’ this Episode is. Things look bright, the music suggests fun, the Doctor and Rose are in full-on friendly mode and there is something sinister lurking up above- substitute Floor 500 for an Attic and you pretty much know what ground you are on.

There is nothing out of the ordinary in ‘The Long Game’, but for me this is why it is a joy to behold. Of all the Episodes in the New Series, ‘The Long Game’ has the most in common with how ‘Doctor Who’ looked and felt during John Nathan-Turner’s tenure as Producer. Now is not the time to go into an analysis of JNT’s skills as a Producer, so I shall not, but I can definitely see similarities between this story and certainly some of the material in Season Twenty-Four.

In many ways, it reminds me of ‘Dragonfire’: we have an evil man in a cold room and a large group of people working for him who become ‘zombies’; we have a slightly quirky companion who breaks the rules set by the Doctor (for Ace, read Adam); we have a set full of characters looking neither human nor alien; and we have the obligatory monster which doesn’t do much as it doesn’t really need to.

‘The Long Game’ is Adam’s story in many ways. Throughout the Episode, we are given direct comparisons between himself and Rose, with the pre-title sequence segment parodying Rose’s reaction to seeing the planet Earth through the window in Platform One- whereas she took it in her stride, Adam promptly faints.

The Episode continues with parallels between the two characters. Both Rose and Adam felt the need to have some time to themselves when first witnessing the future, but whilst Rose went and talked to a Plumber who was promptly slaughtered, Adam goes and tries to use the future to his advantage.

Whilst doing this, Russell T. Davies also delivers a character with traits that are almost a halfway point between Rose and Adam in the form of Cathica, played brilliantly by Christine Adams. Unlike Rose, she is unsure quite what to do given her situation, but unlike Adam she eventually uses her ingenuity to solve the problem; all the while, Adam is lying back on a chair is dire need of help.

I couldn’t help but feel that the Doctor’s comment, when rejecting Adam, that he only takes the best was a bit rich- poor Victoria Waterfield spent the vast majority of weeks in dire need of help, but I suppose this is a sign of the times moving on…

The plot itself concerns the delayed evolution of Earth due to the manipulation of the News due to the sinister Editor and the Mighty Jagrafess of the Holy Hadrojassic Maxarodenfoe. Whilst all this is going on, Adam The Genius is busy having implants inserted into his head so he can absorb information from the future to use back on Earth in his Present time. One of the nice things about ‘The Long Game’ is that it has such a nice gentle pace that it fills the forty-five minute time slot allocated for each Episode perfectly. The two plot strands are given equal time to develop, and both have more than their fair share of light-hearted moments.

Despite this, it is the brilliant interplay between Adam and the Nurse played by Tamsin Greig that gets the biggest laughs. Her slow seduction of Adam into persuading him to have a head implant is both well written and well directed, with the highlight being when Adam attempts to vomit and instead spits out an ice cube.

As the Editor, Simon Pegg proves himself to be one of the best pieces of casting in Series One, really bringing his role to life and equating the sinister elements of the News story-strand with his more comedic approach to the situations. He also fits into the age-old role of ‘Doctor Who’ baddie, tying the Doctor and his glamorous Assistant up before telling them the plot.

In fact, ‘The Long Game’ is the most dialogue-driven Episode in Series One, with much of the conclusion taken up by the Doctor egging on Cathica. However, rather than be an annoyance, this works very well since it is able to both show off the Doctor’s intelligence and also provide a neat end to the character development of Cathica.

The music in ‘The Long Game’, as already mentioned, tends to veer towards the light-hearted though it also has its moments of tension to match the action on-screen. Like much good incidental music, most of the time it simply blends into the background, but when in the foreground it is pleasant enough to listen to.

‘The Long Game’ is the only Episode of Series One directed by Brian Grant, which is a shame as he does a really good job with this one. Whereas I felt that Euros Lyn suffered slightly in ‘The End Of The World’ due to the sets being made up of various rooms, here Grant shows that such rooms can be made interesting. Whilst he never tries to do anything overly ambitious, what he does do is provide a consistent pace to his Directing, allowing the viewer to take in enough visual information without making one want to see more.

In all, I feel sorry for ‘The Long Game’ as it has been much underrated. The characterisation is nice, with Adam’s slow downfall managing to be simultaneously hilarious and in an odd way rather sad; the Direction and Music are once more uniformly great; the plot itself is not overly complicated but good enough to sustain interest for forty-five minutes; and the supporting cast all play their roles brilliantly, with Simon Pegg and Tamsin Greig stealing the show.

Oh, and though I didn’t mention it before ‘The Long Game’ has a great ending too. I genuinely believe that this is as good as any ‘Doctor Who’ has been since the Eighties. I’m not saying that it is necessarily better, nor that it is my favourite story of all time, but in terms of quality, it stands up with the best of them, firmly above the worst.





The Long GameBookmark and Share

Tuesday, 16 August 2005 - Reviewed by Richard Radcliffe

I have to confess that this was the episode I was least looking forward to out of the whole season of new 2005 Doctor Who. We didn’t know too much about it, and the Big Brother News type set-up didn’t appeal initially. Then I remembered the wonderfully different Big Finish Audio, Natural History of Fear – and I had felt the same about that too – and how brilliant was that! Would this then be like that, or a Ratings War debacle?

Actually it’s nothing like Natural History of Fear, or Ratings War – it’s somewhere in the middle of those BF offerings in terms of quality, but it does have its plus points.

With the addition of Adam into the TARDIS it’s fascinating to see Rose put him through the exact same acceptance routine (mobile phone to home, futuristic space station overlooking the Earth) as the Doctor did with her. It’s as if Russell T is showing us that Adam isn’t going to measure up to the wonder of Rose. I liked Adam in Dalek, but this was a story too far, so it was good to see him dismissed so quickly. Funny how the Doctor is so trusting though, then so dismissive at the end – rather extreme reactions – but then there’s a lot of that with this Doctor.

My immediate thoughts were that this was rather similar in tone to End of the World, it being the far future and all that. I began even to look for similarities between Satellite Five and Platform One. There seems to be a far more connecting arc running through this Series (that Russell T alluded to in Confidential) than initially suspected. I rather enjoyed Satellite Five. The mystery of Floor 500 dominated all – and like some bizarre department store you just wanted to get up there and explore as soon as possible.

Adams descent into the Dark side seemed to serve only to accentuate Rose’s glory – so that’s enough about that character. The Doctor was his excitable self – but getting captured and tied up in 2 episodes on the trot seems rather clumsy. Again too it is other people who bail him out. I don’t recall even the 5th Doctor being this vulnerable. Rose lost out somewhat because of Adams presence – and that’s a great shame – but maybe it was just mid term holidays for Billie Piper.

Of the Supporting Players it is the Editor, Suki and Cathica who stand out. I found them both likeable in very different ways. The delightful Sukis story was most surprising, and for my money she got the best scene when she arrived at the 500th Floor. Cathica seemed sensible enough too, thankfully for the Doctor and Rose.

The stand out was The Editor, as Simon Pegg joins the exultant ranks of Doctor Who Villainy. He lit up every scene he was in and looked splendid. Russell T very poignantally observed in Confidential that without him the scenes on the 500th Floor would have been rather dull! He certainly played the part with relish – and was the best part of the episode. What that thing on the ceiling was doing there though I have no idea – though again answers are promised later.

Didn’t care for the information dump sub-plot, including vomit-freeze unnecessary perks, or clicking of fingers holes in the head – but there were some wry observations about the media in general. Contemporary Who indeed.

The Long Game isn’t likely to be many peoples high point of the season – but it is, to use another Beautiful Games parlance, mid table respectability – and that’s okay. 7/10





The Long GameBookmark and Share

Tuesday, 16 August 2005 - Reviewed by James Main

What was that? I'll apologise in advance - this is going to be a rant. There have been some great stories in this series and some awful ones (all written by Russell T Davies unfortunately - big shame) but how could you put something like this in alongside the contributions of the guest writers?!

RTD has said in an interview that he submitted this story line before at the start of his television career and received a polite letter suggesting he write about a man and his mortgage. Why then did he use this so much later in his career when he has presumably learnt alot and gained manifold insights into what makes good drama and what is boring and overdone?

The premise that an alien intelligence is holding back the technological progress of the human race is pretty old to start with, but could be woven into some really quite interesting and mysterious narratives. But instead we get a horribly unsubtle satire on the media that has been done to death elsewhere (including the 'classic' series). The Doctor has been brought back as a much more realistic and believable character - if one that is very unpleasant at times - as the previous portrayals are too camp. Fine. No problem. So why is it suddenly OK to have Simon Pegg playing one of the campest characters since the hight of the Carry On franchise (sorry - I mean since the Slitheen)? The script was dire and the guest stars (excepting Pegg who did the best he could with a difficult part) occasionally performed like amateurs.

The set design was lazy - it looked more like a parody of 1980s sci-fi than an effort at what a space station might look like far in the futue. And the costumes were very confusing - if the 1980s had come back into fasion in some bizarre retro statement in this time period shouldn't that have been commented on in the script- or do the production staff really think someone would wear that terrible floral dress in the future. If it was to add to the illusion that the freedom fighter was a quiet and demure employee, it was a little unsubtle...

Finally the ending. The Doctor's leaving Adam at home in the 21st century with a head that opens on clicking is excessively cruel. I get the impression that RTD thought this was a rather clever or ingenious punishment for the character and couldn't resist the clicking gag with Adam's mother at the end. Unfortunately it's not funny, and would be a rather interesting just-deserts for a deeply evil character, but with Adam it just makes the Doctor look childish and malicious. Whici is unfortunatley what he has become in the hand of RTD and Christopher Ecclestone. Ecclestone has put a huge amount of effort into his performance as the Doctor which comes across on screen and is commendable. But the efforts to make him a bit blokier, less camp, more 'northern' (would a Scots accent have detracted from McCoy's performance? I don't think so), and to have some kind of semi-sexual tension with the companion have pushed him too far. As I've said before there are alot of likeble touches in Ecclestone's performance, but over-all he looks too much like he has to TRY to be happy, and otherwise just doesn't present a character whom I feel any respect for.

Rose is a different matter. Billy Piper is so good, I think perhaps she should ditch the Doctor and the series should be renamed. Or maybe she could come across another northern Timelord who has some charisma, wit and doesn't tell everyone to shut up.

And we've got to go back to 'Satellite 5' for the series finale. It had better have changed!