As we approach the 60th Anniversary of Doctor Who, revisit the story of Doctor Who, the occasional series written for the 50th Anniversary, explaining the origins of the programme.

Episode 31 - An Unearthly Series - The Origins of a TV Legend: First published 23 Nov 2013

Bad Wolf and The Parting of the Ways at the BFIBookmark and Share

Monday, 26 August 2013 - Reviewed by Anthony Weight
When the British Film Institute announced their series of monthly screenings throughout 2013 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who, I thought that they sounded like a nice idea, but I wasn’t particularly fussed about attending any of them myself. I hadn’t been to any Doctor Who events for a very long time, and thought that they weren’t necessarily my sort of thing.

However, last month I had the opportunity to attend the Remembrance of the Daleks event, and I absolutely loved it. The chance to watch a great Doctor Who story on the big screen, with a large and enthusiastic audience who love the series just as much as you do, and to hear more from some of the people who made it happen with the interview panel afterwards… I was hooked, and despite having come to these BFI events rather late in the series, was determined to try and get to more of them before the end of the year.

I was very fortunate, then, to be able to pick up a couple of returns on the BFI website in the week leading up to the Ninth Doctor event, and went along with a good friend of mine on Saturday to enjoy that Doctor's grand finale, the two-parter Bad Wolf and The Parting of the Ways. The observant among you will have spotted that this is the Ninth Doctor, but in the eighth month. Presumably due to the availability of guests for the screenings, they’ve got a little out of order now, with the David Tennant event following next month, and Paul McGann finally getting his moment at the beginning of October. At the beginning of this month’s event, compère Justin Johnson announced that both Tennant and McGann will be attending their respective screenings.

Probably to nobody’s great surprise, there was no appearance from Christopher Eccleston at this month’s showing, although he did send along a note for Johnson to read out before Bad Wolf. It was short, but definitely sweet, and although Eccleston doesn’t often make any statements or appearances related to his period with Doctor Who, you do sense that he remains proud of his time on the series and the work that he did to help establish its successful return. In his note, Eccleston joked that if Joe Ahearne – who directed the two episodes being screened – were to return for the 100th anniversary special in 2063, he’d take part and bring his stair-lift, providing the Daleks do not bring theirs!

You do sense that there was a great bond formed between Ahearne and Eccleston during the five episodes of Doctor Who which they made together. Ahearne, remember, wrote to The Guardian to rebuke those who’d criticised Eccleston for his departure from the show after only one year, and he and Eccleston collaborated on the ITV drama Perfect Parents soon after their work on Doctor Who. Ahearne has rightly won many plaudits from fans down the years for his work on the 2005 series, but has oddly never returned to the show. It does make you wonder whether the fact that Eccleston left has anything to do with his not wanting to come back and do more, but sadly during the question-and-answer session which followed the interview panel, nobody put that one to him – and I wasn’t brave enough to ask him myself!

Nonetheless, Ahearne did give many interesting insights, such as his observation that Doctor Who was a pleasure to work on because it was one of the few British television dramas of the time where the camera could help to tell the story, rather than just being pointed at people having conversations in kitchens. And he did dispel the long-standing fan myth about his having been born on November 23rd 1963 – not true, evidently!

Representing the actors of the Ninth Doctor’s era was Bruno Langley, who played short-term companion Adam Mitchell in Dalek and The Long Game. I felt a little sorry for Langley, as there wasn’t a great deal for him to say, given the fact that he wasn’t actually in the two episodes being screened. Nonetheless, he came across as likeable enough, and another person proud to have been associated with Doctor Who.

Also present as a guest was visual effects supremo Dave Houghton, who was interviewed between the two episodes, and it’s odd to hear someone from that side of things talk about how much more can be done these days – we’re used to hearing those who worked on the classic series day that, but these 2005 episodes themselves are now starting to seem old!

There is no question, however, that both the interview panel and the question-and-answer session were dominated by day’s other guest – Phil Collinson, who was the producer of Doctor Who when it returned in 2005. Collinson is, of course, an old-school, dyed-in-the-wool Doctor Who fan, but he was also the sure head and steady hand who made sure that the whole thing didn’t fall to pieces in those early days when nobody had made a series like this in the UK for so very long, schedules were falling behind and elements both inside and outside of the BBC were predicting an embarrassment. It was anything but, of course, as Bad Wolf and The Parting of the Ways go to show.

Collinson was a witty, informative and hugely enthusiastic guest, proud not just of these two episodes, not even just of his era, but of all of Doctor Who. Even after everything that’s been said and written about the show and how it is made, he still had some fascinating new insights, too – such as the fact that the first cut of Rose, the first episode of the new series, came in at a mere 28 minutes, necessitating some frantic additions and reworking!

On a technical level, while it was very impressive to see the episodes on a film-sized screen, oddly I thought that they didn’t stand up to it quite as well as Remembrance of the Daleks last month. I don’t know if it’s because I was sitting nearer the front this time, or whether it’s an artefact of the field-pairing process used to ‘filmise’ the video, or simply my imagination, but I thought that the jagged edges you’d expect when 625-line video is blown-up to cinema-screen size were more apparent.

Perhaps it was simply the contrast with some of the high definition Matt Smith-era material we’d seen only a few moments before, when we were treated to a sneak preview of a montage from BBC One’s Doctor Who Prom broadcast. On the basis of that, I’d expect An Adventure in Space and Time and whatever 11th Doctor story is chosen to look fabulously lush on their showings here at the BFI.

Such quibbles aside, I can only thank the BFI once again for putting on this series of celebrations for Doctor Who’s anniversary, and repeat my recommendation from my Remembrance of the Daleks review that if you have the chance to attend one of these events, you should grab it with both hands.
Paul Hayes

FILTER: - Series 1/27 - Ninth Doctor - Screening

The End Of The WorldBookmark and Share

Monday, 1 October 2007 - Reviewed by Shane Anderson

I’ve seen this episode twice now. It grows on me with repeat viewings.

“The End of the World” is a fabulous looking episode of the type we could only have imagined in Doctor Who prior to CGI. Just look back at “The Ark in Space” for an example of a space station orbiting the Earth in the old days. The opening shots of the ships docking at Platform One with the Earth in the background and the expanding sun beyond that are vistas that really make the imagination soar. I was never put off the old show because of sub-par special effects, but when they’re good I certainly appreciate them. So we have a convincing backdrop for the story.

Anyone get the feeling that Mr. Davies had “The Restaurant at the End of the Universe” in mind when he came up with the setting?

There are a lot of good ideas in this episode. The slow reveal of the Doctor’s history continues with the revelation that Gallifrey (never named as far as I can recall) burned like the Earth, “gone before its time”. I don’t like the loss of the Time Lords and Gallifrey, but so be it. Moving on, we also get the explanation about the TARDIS’s ability to get inside someone’s mind and translate, which Rose takes offense to because it was done without her permission. The visual demonstration of this is fun too: the little blue alien hands the Doctor a claim ticket written in some alien script, but when the Doctor looks at it, we can see just what it says. A nice touch. Rose having the sudden realization that she’s gone off with someone she knows nothing about and looking slightly panicked is a pretty good moment as well.

The aliens are suitably weird and varied, though mostly humanoid. I don’t quite buy the idea of sentient trees though. Not even in 5 billion years will trees have arms and legs and civilization. Cassandra is a suitably nasty villain, with a believable motivation when it comes to money. 

One plot concern: why would the reset switch for the shields be across a walkway that is blocked by the fans? I can accept that there’s probably another way to the switch, and that the Doctor simply had no time to go and find it, but that still doesn’t explain away the proximity of the fans to the walkway. They seem to exist simply to provide an obstacle for the Doctor at the climax of the action, and as such are not too credible.

The coda at the end where the Doctor and Rose stand on the streets of a planet they’ve just seen die, and ruminate about the fleeting nature of life is a good one, with music that is quite appropriate to the mood and setting. After the massive spectacle of the sun expanding and the earth dying, we come down to earth for some chips. The contrast between the fantastic and the mundane is a staple Doctor Who ingredient, and it’s presented quite well here.

All in all, a lightweight, fun little action episode, with an imaginative setting. 8 out of 10.

FILTER: - Series 1/27 - Ninth Doctor - Television

DalekBookmark and Share

Monday, 27 August 2007 - Reviewed by Shane Anderson

This is the story I wanted to see ever since I read about it, and the only one I couldn't resist spoilers on. I went and read reviews by fellow fans months ago, as well as watching the Doctor Who Confidential episode covering this story over my dial-up internet connection (a chore, to be sure). Having finally seen the episode itself, I have to say that the oldest enemy of the Doctor was redesigned and reinvented very well in my opinion.

The story itself is not bad. It's not a deep plot but it works, and writer Rob Shearman relies on the Doctor's history with the Daleks for much of its emotional impact and drama. It boils down to this: Dalek falls to Earth, is ultimately bought by Van Statten and put in the cage, until the Doctor arrives. Doctor and Dalek shout at each other, Dalek tricks Rose and escapes, slaughtering hundreds in the process. Genetically contaminated by Rose, the Dalek chooses suidcide. Fine and dandy, but I wish the one event on which the plot turns, the absorption of Rose's DNA by the Dalek, had been explained in more detail. What was it about her DNA that allowed the Dalek to recharge and escape? We're merely told that the fact that she's a time traveller allows the Dalek's renewal, with no further explanation. Of course, the answer is that the concept makes no sense, and that the writer didn't even try to make up some technobabble to explain it, which is disappointing.

The Dalek itself is wonderfully updated. It's still the same old basic design we've seen since 1963 (thank goodness) but with a few tweaks here and there. The dome with rivets and panels looks good, along with the larger "eye" lamps. The eyepiece with what is presumably the Dalek's designation underneath is a very good update, giving the faceless Dalek some individuality at last. The bronze-metallic overall finish works very well and gives more of an impression that the travel machine is made of metal than previous Dalek props have done. The force shield, levitation and the rotating midsection are just icing on the cake, really making this Dalek the threat that it should always have been. Last but not least is the depiction of the mutant inside, which takes elements from the old Raymond Cusick sketch with it's exposed brain, along with the tentacled Dalek creatures we've seen over the course of the old series. The redesign is nigh-on picture perfect.

As for the Dalek's character, it's quite accurate as well. Emotional, manipulative, deceptive and murderous, the Dalek draws on both "Power of the Daleks" and "Evil of the Daleks" for characterization. Speaking of "Evil", lest we forget, this is not the first time we've seen a humanized Dalek. Unlike the ones in "Evil" who seemed to take in stride their new human emotions and ability to question, this one becomes very self-aware and chooses suicide over ˜contamination". I almost felt sorry for the thing at the end of the episode, but considering how many people he murdered, it's hard not to see his condition and death as just desserts.

Moving along to characters other than the Dalek, there's villain number two, Henry Van Statten. The idea of an egomaniacal billionare who collects alien artifacts is a decent concept. However, Van Statten begins to fail as a character when other ideas are thrown into the mix. He owns the internet? Picks the next president? Invented broadband? Right. The character would have worked very well without these needless excesses. He is acted well enough I suppose.

Moving along, Goddard is a character who's barely there, and her sudden takeover at the end defies belief somewhat. Whose name is on the bank accounts? Though I suppose given that she had the support of the troops who were angry at Van Statten for letting so many of their fellow soldiers die, she might pull it off. Seems a shame that she wanted the museum destroyed at the end though. Adam comes across as a bit full of himself, but as someone who plans ahead a bit, given that he keeps some alien weapons stashed away just in case. Pity he couldn't have planned ahead a bit further next episode, eh? "Ithink I'll have this chip installed in my forehead..." Even the few soldiers who get lines get good ones. "Get the civilians out," one says. Nice to see that even though his boss is a ego-maniac, he takes his job seriously. Then of course there's the doomed soldier trying to hold the Dalek off on the stairway... a futile gesture and a wasted life.

It's hard not to sympathize with Rose in this episode. She doesn't know about the Daleks at this point, and doesn't realize just how terrible they are. Her compassion for the Dalek after she sees him being tortured is commendable, as are her attempts to stop him from killing Van Statten. Even though the Dalek has killed ˜hundreds of people", as she sees it changing she tries to reason with it. There's a lot of nobility in her actions.

This ninth Doctor is a tough one to come to terms with. I accept that he's been traumatized by the war, and by losing his home and family, but even so it's hard to like him sometimes. A lot of the characteristics of past Doctors shine through, except for charm. He has very little of that, sadly. I did feel that his actions in this episode were spot on character though. He's afraid of the Daleks, he recognizes just how dangerous they are, he hates them for taking part in the destruction of the Time Lords, and when he takes the weapon to go and destroy the Dalek at the end of the episode, it's not the action of a man becoming what he hates. His action is more than justified, given what the Dalek has just done if nothing else. For all that the script tries to draw parallels between the Doctor and the Dalek, and make us feel pity for the Dalek, said parallels are surface level only. The Dalek kills because it is xenophobic, and to it all other life is wrong. The Doctor wants to kill the Dalek because of so many past experiences where all the Daleks do is bring death and destruction, and the Doctor's instinct is to protect innocents. There may well be some revenge in the Doctor's mind as well, which while wrong is both understandable and still a long way from the Dalek point of view. The two are not the same, and never will be, despite being the "last survivors" of their respective races.

Despite my defence of the Doctor here, I have to agree that he is angry, bitter and vengeful towards the helpless Dalek in the cell. It's unpleasant to watch, but he's right: what is a Dalek good for, if it can't kill? Having seen the Daleks kill every other member of his race (so far as he knows), I think we'd be hard-pressed to fault the Doctor for his verbal abuse of the Dalek. It is a commendable scene for another reason: not since the days of Hartnell and Troughton have we seen the actor who plays the Doctor taking the Daleks so seriously(with the possible exception of "Genesis"), and Eccleston's superb acting in this scene really does sell the idea that the Doctor hates and fears these creatures unlike any other. Already this season we've seen him attempt to reason with the Nestene and the Gelth, but his approach to the Dalek is vastly different. His hate is understandable, even if we wish he would rise above it.

Some nice touches to the episode include the Cyber-head from "Revenge of the Cybermen", and the mention of Davros (though not by name, just as the Daleks creator). Numerous Dalek-POV shots were nicely done as well. Some not-so-nice touches: the horribly cheesy line "what good are emotions if you will not save the woman you love?"

The final scene is touching. "I win" the Doctor says sadly. Do we really think Susan is gone, or Romana, or the Master? I tend to believe the Doctor isn't as alone as he thinks, but it may be a long time before any writer feels like bringing another Time Lord back into the mix.

In short, the plot is functional and advances the Time War story. The episode serves to reintroduce and amplify the Daleks as the ultimate Doctor Who adversaries. It's the Dalek and the history behind it that makes this episode work dramatically. No other monster or enemy has the same effect on the Doctor. "Dalek" is not a classic, but it is a strong episode.

FILTER: - Series 1/27 - Ninth Doctor - Television

DalekBookmark and Share

Monday, 27 August 2007 - Reviewed by Robert Tymec

Before we even get into the story proper, let me first of all say that this particular episode is, if nothing else, a brilliant piece of marketting. "Dalekmania", although now 40 years old, will always be an integral part of the success of the show. And Russell T. Davis knew exactly how to inject that formulae back into the new series.

Let's be honest, within seconds after hearing that the show was coming back on the air, the next thought that most fans had was: "I wonder when we'll see the Daleks". There wasn't even a notion of whether or not the Daleks would return - we knew they had to be there somewhere for the Doctor to run into or it just wouldn't be Doctor Who. And RTD, like all good producers, recognised that timing would be everything in the way these monsters would be re-introduced. And his timing was immaculate. Not only in terms of which episode(s) he chose to feature the Daleks in, but also the way in which they were featured.

"Dalek" succeeds best in this way because it features just a single Dalek. A smart way to re-introduce them to the series. For old fans, we get to learn some of the new nuances of the Daleks. And for the newbies, they just get to learn about Daleks, in general. To have an entire army of them roll in would've made this process far more complicated. But with just a single Dalek trundling around, we really get a chance to get up close and personal with him.

But, marketting aside, does the story live up to the hype?

Just about.

There are some very "classic" moments to this story but I wouldn't quite call this a classic. It's missing a few things in order to truly achieve that status. If nothing else, the plot is just a tad too streamlined. While I can appreciate a story like "Rose" being so simple in its plotting because it was the first episode of the new series, "Dalek" is now five episodes into the season. I could've used a bit more meat to my plot than just: "A Dalek's breaking out and it's going to spend the next 45 minutes killing everyone and then killing itself cause it went a little crazy from absorbing Rose's DNA."

Now, don't get me wrong, I do recognise that there is a bit more substance to this story than just that. We have Van Statten's egotism, some integral revelations about the Time Wars and Adam getting it on with Rose but these are all far too minor to really become legitimate plot threads. So, even though we've got some nice underscoring and subtext going on, we're still left with "A Dalek breaks out and is going to spend the next 45 minutes killing everyone and then killing itself cause it went a little crazy from absorbing Rose's DNA"! And that, in my book, is enough of a flaw to get it to not quite achieve "classic" status.

Still, this is a very strong story, overall. In many ways, it's superb. The conflict between the Doctor and his greatest enemy has never been so well portrayed. For the chief reason that the battle between Dalek and Time Lord is now deeply personal because of what occurred in the Time Wars. And it makes for excellent drama to watch. Particularly when you consider that one of the two combatants is really just a working prop!

Of course, this conflict is best displayed in the notorious scene when the two of combatants first meet. Eccleston turns in his best performance of the season here. His horror and dismay and then sheer fanaticism are all very compelling. And the way the Dalek actually plays off of him (even though, again, he really is just a working prop) gets this whole scene to shine brightly in the memories of both old fans and new viewers. It's everything we expected the confrontation to be between these two - and more.

It's also quite interesting to see what they had done with this latest model of Dalek. Some really cool new "special features" have been added to them: rotating gun turrets and bullet force-fields and the like. This is obviously the Dalek at its ultimate form of evolution. Which seems quite sensible. It would be at this stage that they would decide they are perfect and take on the ultimate enemy in the greatest war they would ever face. It all jibes with continuity quite nicely in my book. And that's always a nice thing for a fan to see in a story!

I'm also quite impressed with how deeply the story delves into "the Dalek philosophy". It really takes the time to not just show us how nasty these aliens are, but also explain why they are so nasty. So that, at the end, when the Dalek commits suicide, we understand why. It could never stand being anything but a pure killing machine and therefore needed to destroy itself when it realised it had been corrupted. This conclusion makes sense rather than being just a cheap cop-out.

There are several other really nice touches to this story. The Doctor coming to terms with his obcessive hatred is nicely achieved. And the destruction of Van Statten is also great stuff. I even quite liked the vague reference made to Davros. But, in the end, I still feel that the two final episodes of the season were better Dalek stories. And the all-time best Dalek story, for my money, is still "Remembrance of the Daleks" - even if the title is a tad goofy! Still, "Dalek" does an excellent job of bringing this evil intergalactic conqueror back into Whoniverse - I just can't quite call it the "classic" some of you are claiming it to be.

It's pretty damned awesome - but not a classic!

FILTER: - Series 1/27 - Ninth Doctor - Television

Father's DayBookmark and Share

Wednesday, 8 August 2007 - Reviewed by Shane Anderson

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.

FILTER: - Series 1/27 - Ninth Doctor - Television

Boom TownBookmark and Share

Tuesday, 5 June 2007 - Reviewed by Shane Anderson

This was a pointless episode. I can sum it up in two sentences: anti-death penalty rant and Rose/Mickey soap opera.

I wish RTD would stop using Doctor Who as his personal platform to throw his left-wing politics at the audience. Having a character as a mouthpiece for the anti-death penalty message would be fine, but constructing the entire episode to revolve around it is over-egging the pudding. Lest you think I'm being harsh in casting the episode this way, Mr. Davies admits as much in the Confidential episode, saying that this was written just to get to the conversation in the restaurant. The plot is very much an afterthought in "Boom Town", which is the opposite of how it should be.

In his review of WW3, Richard Board made this observation: being encouraged to think is a good thing, but being told what to think is offensive. "Boom Town" very much tries to tell us what to think. We're asked to sympathize with a character that has murdered a number of people, and twice been a part of a scheme to destroy the Earth, which would lead to the murder of billions. Basing an entire episode on the idea that the death penalty is cruel and wrong by trying to make us sympathize with such a murderous character results in a wasted 45 minutes, marking time until the next episode. Equally pointless and unrealistic is making Margaret Slitheen the only character with the courage of her convictions, as demonstrated in the "look me in the eye" scene.

Not only that, but in a show where the Doctor routinely kills or allows aggressive aliens/humans to die so that innocents won't die, any attempt to undermine his actions and character is an absurd soapbox to stand on. Either the Doctor's a cold killer who causes chaos and then runs away, or he's a moralistic traveler who makes hard choices and does his best to protect and save lives. As in "Dalek", the attempt to draw morally relative parallels between the Doctor and his enemies would, if taken seriously, undermine the Doctor's character and the series in general.

Then of course, there's the ending where the Slitheen is reduced to an egg, thus avoiding the need to actually deal with any of the issues raised during the course of the episode. It's a cowardly way out of the dilemma.

On to Rose and Mickey. Mickey has to show how manly he is by crying and saying in an anguished voice, "You left me!" Boo-hoo. I'm not watching "The Young and the Restless"; I'm watching Doctor Who. I don't care about Rose and Mickey's love life, or lack of it. Enough already. Get on with something interesting.

Are you getting the idea that I really didn't like this episode? I can put up with politics I disagree with if they integrate smoothly into the story. I don't watch Doctor Who so that the writer/producer can preach to me. I watch to be entertained. That requires a subtle approach rather than a sledgehammer. This episode has a few entertaining moments early on, but then loses itself in the 'moral'.

As always, I want to like the show, so I can't be content with simply criticizing the bad aspects. To give credit for the good stuff, there were a few nice ideas. Parking the TARDIS to refuel it is something we haven't seen before. With Gallifrey gone, one assumes that the Eye of Harmony as the TARDIS power source is gone as well. The 'cosmic surfboard' is quirky, but creative. Nice to see the rift from "The Unquiet Dead" is still in existence and once again used as a plot device. Seeing the heart of the TARDIS under the center column ties in with Hartnell's explanation about the power source being under the column all the way back in "The Edge of Destruction", making for some nice continuity tie-ins. How the power source is used is absurd, but seeing it isn't.

As for the characters, leave off the unwelcome sexual innuendo, and you have a really strong TARDIS crew here. There's a nice comfortable relationship between the Doctor, Rose and Jack that I enjoy watching. They really do seem to enjoy each other's company and work well together. Nice to see that Jack has some technical skill and some capacity to work on the TARDIS so he can fulfill other functions besides serving as audience identification and a vehicle for plot exposition.

Overall though, despite some nice touches, this episode is a preachy waste of time. 2 out of 10.

FILTER: - Series 1/27 - Ninth Doctor - Television