Saturday, May 27, 2006


After the painful to watch and over-ambitious mis-fires of the last two weeks, it was a relief to find Doctor Who get back to good, old fashioned story-telling tonight.

In stark contrast to Rise of the Cybermen/Age of Steel, The Idiot’s Lantern revelled in punchy dialogue, enviably tight plotting and memorable characterisation. An ostensible romp, this showed hidden depths, and successfully punted Tom MacRae’s lumpen, po-faced, unsophisticated Cyberman “epic” from my memory.

All in, it was great fifties fun - who couldn’t fall for Tennant’s quiff, the Union Flag, “Watch With Mother” face-sucking aliens, men in black and a showdown at the Ally Pally?

Congratulations to Mark Gatiss for penning such an infectiously enjoyable episode. Next week’s is the start of another two-parter, and looks like right old-school Who. Written by Matt Jones, it provides further ammo for my “TV drama is controlled by Children’s Ward alumni” conspiracy theory.

Category: Movies and TV


  1. I loved the first of the 2 part Cybermen story, but the second went a bit silly. This week's was a laugh, apart from the extremely padded ending sequence up on the tower - I suspect that the ep came in short, and got extended with lots of longer and alternate takes. Jolly good fun apart from that, though.

  2. It's amazing how divisive some of these episodes are - the reviews at Outpost Gallifrey all alternate between "best Who ever," and "complete shite," for any week you care to choose.

    I was incredibly disappointed by the Cybermen episodes because "Spare Parts" really is the best Who ever, and yet they did the exact opposite of that story despite the credit to Marc Platt. Even though they are completely right to do their own thing, I still thought the scripts were no more than servicable, with absolutely nothing to distinguish them - and this is meant to be the season's centrepiece!

    I thought it was deriviative, witless and boring, with one of the worst villains (Lumic) I've seen in a long time.

    This week's had more to say about parenthood, community, individuality and conformity, and media penetration, in a throwaway manner, than the last two weeks' even considered. It did more with less, and that's why I thought it was so good.

  3. Hehe. You said "penetration".

    I did like this ep, apart from the overacting dad, it just got a bit long winded and silly towards the end. Sometimes I can overlook the silly bits if I'm carried away with the story or tone (like the first Cyber episode), depends on my mood really.

    Can we all agree that Girl in the Fireplace is one of the best eps ever? I absolutely loved that from beginning to end.

  4. You'll hear nothing but resounding agreement from me on that score.

    All is well.

  5. From across the pond you'll get nothing but cheers for Girl in the Fireplace.

    I was slightly disappointed in how the Cybermen were handled, but I'm a sucker for Zeppelins so the visuals were fantastic.

    And it was nice to see Ron Cook again. The show started and When he looked up I said, "It's Parker!"

    I knew I was in for a treat. I tend to look at it this way - some of the episodes are multi-layer cakes with lots of pudding and frosting on them. Others are simple coffeecake.

    All of them are dessert.

  6. Of the Cybermen two-parter, I preferred the second half.

    - Creeping through a hallway of monsters who could wake up any second
    - "I'm cold"
    - Battersea power station with smoke rising from the chimneys

    And let's not forget, death. Lots of death. Which is what Doctor Who is about, really.

    The days when the monsters come.

  7. See? See? No consensus whatsoever. Whereas everyone can agree that Sophia Myles in a bodice is why the BBC was incorporated in the first place. Or the Doctor on a horse. Whatever gets your gears greased.