The Players -
Do you think that Rose needed to be told from Rose’s point of view to bridge the gap between the old series and the new series?
I think it had to be from her point of view not his point of view, yes. Because you needed somebody to explain to the viewers especially those who haven’t seen it before who’s who and what’s what and ask what is happening from a layman’s point of view.
What did you think about it when you first saw it?
Erm, the first time it was very good.
And what did you think this time round?
It had some holes. For example the plastic dummies whilst I strangely accept that they move around I don’t see how that blob that puts life in living plastic gives each one of them a gun.
How did you find Billie Piper?
She was better in that than later on in some respects. Later on she had bucked teeth.
The common person?
Yeah the everyday person…
You mean the chavs?
No! The everyday person! I mean Jackie is a chav but a wonderful chav. She’s very good. Talking about the main cast I don’t know if that was the first one filmed or whatever because at some points they really lost something in their chemistry. The Doctor was really smug and the language isn’t quite right. Lots of clipped answers and ‘because I do’s’.
So you weren’t so keen on Christopher Eccleston?
In parts he was really good but in other parts not so much. Far too smug and bullish. Is that the right word?
Do you think it would have been better if the series had started with David Tennant in the role?
I don’t know. That’s talking with the benefit of hindsight and you told me I couldn’t do that. Judge each one on its merits you said.
What was your favourite bit in the episode?
Probably when the dummies came to life and started shooting everybody!
So your favourite bit of the episode was the bit you had the biggest problem with?
Well it was a pretty flawed episode.
What was your least favourite bit then – the bit that made you want to hide behind the sofa in embarrassment?
I thought it was a bit obscene that she didn’t realise it was Mickey considering he was a completely different colour! And he didn’t say anything of any substance. If you got into a car with your other half and they didn’t say anything of substance plus they couldn’t drive you would ask a few questions. Not go to dinner with them to Pizza Express. More holes.
How would you sum up Rose?
It was a good enough beginning. It was grounded but I think that if they didn’t they should have filmed this one later and aired it first so they started off with better chemistry. It would have been better to have had one duff one later.
They filmed episodes 1,4 and 5 first. Rose, Aliens of London and World War Three. All different scenes filmed out of order.
It shows. Maybe they should have filmed this one last, I don’t know. Billie Piper hadn’t acted very much, had she? It would have given her the chance to settle into her role and certainly Christopher Eccleston as well.
How would you rate this episode out of ten – actually no I score out of ten you score out of five stars.
Not two and a half?
No three. It was a good start but there is definitely room for improvement.
*** out of *****
The End of the World
What did you think of the production values?
How it looked!
It looked very good for Doctor Who. Compared to the old series…but then again that doesn’t take much, does it?
Did you think the aliens were pulled off well?
Yeah the aliens all looked very good. I particularly liked the tree lady, she was the most detailed. And Cassandra was a great character. Zoe Wanamaker is very funny in the role.
Was it better than the first episode?
It was better than the first episode in that they felt more comfortable with each other but I’m still not a great fan of Christopher Eccleston. He’s smug…his Doctor comes across as being a bit of a cock really. That’s the only way I can describe him. Like ‘I’m the Doctor this is Rose Tyler she’s my plus one, alright?’ What are you getting aggressive for? It’s an aggressive way of responding to a question!
What about Billie?
Yeah she was much better this time. The ramifications of walking into the TARDIS and going off on their first mission was well done because all the old companions seem to settle in very quickly. Rose panicked and felt out of control and that was very well done. But the Doctor had no compassion for her at all. He was more like ‘this is what it is and if you don’t like it piss off’ kind of thing. Its like give me five minutes to adjust! That’s why I don’t like him.
And the episode?
It had more humour in it. The songs that they played were fun – old Earth classics! I would give it an easy four stars out of five because there was plenty going on. But then sometimes Billie Piper opens her mouth and I want to hit her because she is a bit chavvy and common. ‘I want some chips!’ – what? I don’t understand! You’ve just watched the Earth blow up, you’ve met aliens for the first time and been to the year five billion…and its like ‘I want some chips!’ What? It doesn’t make sense!
Maybe she just wanted something a bit normal?
It doesn’t make any sense! Its stupid!
I don’t understand…
Its silly! I can’t quite remember what they said… ‘I really want some chips’ and everything is fine again. After all their arguments and everything. She’s walked off and left Mickey. She’s walked off and left her mum. She’s watched the Earth blow up! ‘Corrr I really want some chips!’ Perhaps a Whiskey would have been better. Not ‘I really want some chips – you’re buying tightwad!’ What?
Sum up this episode in one sentence…
Good for the most part. Entertaining. Except the chips.
**** out of *****
The Unquiet Dead
That’s a difficult question because they all have good sides to them. The future had all the fun with the different aliens and they could do quite a lot with it but the past ones have a lot more atmosphere – I loved the Christmassy atmosphere of this one and all the snow. Old fashioned and Christmassy and lovely.
Do you think the Doctor and Rose worked well in this setting?
The Doctor was a bit of a knob. Again. (I laugh) He was a knob! ‘You can’t do that Doctor!’ ‘Seriously though I can!’ If you don’t like it you can bugger off! That’s not how the Doctor should behave! Its his way or the highway and for him any ends justify the means. Sorry but that’s how he comes across and I don’t think he should be like that. So there.
Don’t you think they’re all a bit like that?
No, I don’t think so. I don’t think David Tennant was like that. And Matt Smith certainly isn’t.
David Tennant had his moments…
Yeah but when he was pushed to the limit. But Eccles Cake wasn’t pushed to the limit here. He was cross because these aliens were affected by the Time War sure, but its just the way he speaks as an actor that bothers me.
So less the writing, more the performance?
Is there nothing you like about Christopher Eccleston as the Doctor?
When he’s not being high and mighty he’s not bad but sometimes I think he is badly written and made to sound more stubborn than he should be.
Where do you think Billie Piper’s Rose ranks alongside the other companions?
On what scale?
Compared to the others…
What all of them?
Yeah. Is she top end, middle end or bottom end?
You want me to compare her against over 40 years worth of companions? Its difficult because she’s dead common.
(Sigh) Ignoring that…
She’s better later when she’s a bit cleverer, a bit more savvy.
Really? I think she gets worse later! I think she gets a bit smug..
I liked that. I don’t mind that. She’s good still at the moment thought, she’s like the Doctor’s moral compass. I think that is her reason for being.
Would it have been better had it been Jackie or Mickey as companions rather than Rose?
No because Jackie doesn’t have any morals unless they are pointing at something that is benefiting her and Mickey’s a bit of a wimp.
What did you think of the first proper monster in the new series? The others were just basically aliens but this was the first proper ‘behind the sofa’ monster for the kids.
Yeah…umm….yeah they were good. I liked how they weaved into the story of Charles Dickens and his books. There was a good morality story in there which was more effective than just having another monster. Rose was right though, you can’t have them stomping about in the bodies of the dead. The Doctor’s casual disregard of dead bodies was a little off-putting. I don’t think he should be like that.
Tell me one moment you liked and one moment you didn’t like from this story.
I really liked the two Welsh characters – (really bad fake Welsh accent) ‘Mister Sneed its ungodly!’ ‘Don’t look at me like its my fault!’ They were a funny pair. Gwen from Torchwood was actually very good in this. I said the other day I was surprised she got the part on this one episode but watching it now I can see perhaps how they would have been impressed. I suppose they got to see her behind the scenes too. 45 minutes of material to then cast her as a lead in another show is a little strange but I guess we don’t see all the behind the scenes business.
Its even stranger when you get to Freema Agyeman!
Oh yeah she was only in it for ten minutes! And not very good ten minutes either! She dies and that’s it! It’s not like she does anything great, is it? She just dies!
I’m trying to think of another question…
Four out of five.
That’s what I give this one. Four out of five. As a standalone it was very good. The story was pretty good but what I really liked was the atmosphere.
**** out of *****
Aliens of London
It was really good I thought, they’ve never dealt with the consequences of the companion leaving before or returning. They just go normally so this felt much more grounded like Rose was a real person with a real life.
You like Jackie, don’t you? I saw you smirking and giggling during the first ten minutes.
She’s really good, I like her a lot. She’s probably my favourite mum from the series. The others were okay but she is far funnier and more enjoyable to watch.
How did you find your favourite actor in the whole world, Christopher Eccleston, this week?
Hardly my favourite actor, He was better actually. In some ways I think this would have worked better as the first episode because he felt a lot more comfortable. Mind you didn’t you say this was filmed at the same time as the first one? Maybe the writing was better? If this was first you couldn’t do the 12 month thing and I really liked that. I don’t know…but he was more appealing this week.
Did they pull of a modern day invasion of Earth story well?
Its not an invasion. You obviously weren’t watching the story.
Well it was…
He said at the end it was a diversion! What were you watching? I especially liked the cliffhanger because you really don’t know what these guys are up to.
I’m going to ask you about two things that drove the fans mad…
Firstly the pig…
I liked the pig! Poor piggy! Poor little piggy got shot…and then you saw his little trotters stop moving. Awww.
And the farting?
I liked the farting! It was funny and the kids could have great fun mimicking them!
Why do you think the fans found it so hard to take?
Because they’re anally retentive.
Oh very witty!
It was good because it helped signpost to the viewer who was an alien and who wasn’t.
Why do you think the fans didn’t like it?
Because they are so uptight about this show! The farting is good for the kids because it’s a laugh but the fans don’t like to think of this as a kids show. They should be grateful for a new series instead of whinging all the time.
Seriously though if you’re not going to enjoy watching something go and watch something else. If I stop enjoying something I switch off, I don’t keep watching something dreadful out of a sense of duty.
Changing the subject quickly…what did you think of the Slitheen?
Well you only saw them for five seconds but they were fun. Baby faces are a new look for an alien and I loved the big razor claws. Its quite nice to have funny looking aliens for a change.
You’ve always liked the Jon Pertwee stories when you have watched them, does this story remind you of one of them.
I wondered why I enjoyed this one so much! It does actually, yes. They even referenced UNIT in this story which was nice.
How would you sum up Aliens of London?
I really liked this one. For me that was probably the best story so far and I’m giving it the full five stars for keeping my attention fixed throughout. It was a good mix of the semi regular characters, the family and the Doctor and Rose worked well and there was a real modern day feel to the story with the army and the politics and bringing the alien invasions up to date. It was an easy story to watch and relate to.
It was one of the lowest polled new series story during the last Doctor Who Magazine poll.
So the fans didn’t like it. I wont lose any sleep over the fact that I liked it .0001% of the audience were unimpressed. Better for the rest of us. Their favourite story probably has Ace in it so who cares what the wise old fans of Who think. I liked it and that’s that. Bring on the next one!
***** out of *****
World War Three
I really liked Harriet Jones but then I have always been a fan of the actress and adding her in with the Doctor and Rose was a great idea because the dynamic was better.
I asked you at the end of the last episode what you thought of the Slitheen and you said you had only just seen them. Now we are at the end of the story what did you think of them?
They were very funny, very different. How funny was it when they were waiting by that red phone for it to ring? You can see where it switches from actual character to CGI. It doesn’t matter to me but you can tell when they switch because suddenly they can move faster! Dodgy effects don’t bother me, I prefer costumes to CGI. I’d rather have something that is well made than just created on a screen. Does this make any sense?
Did you like the plot of this story?
It was as good as the first part. Sometimes you only have a good start or only have a good end but this was pretty consistent. It was definitely a Russell T Davies story, a start, a middle and an end in one story. Moffatt starts his story at the beginning of the season has a really long middle and then an ending at the end of the season.
A season long arc?
Yeah his stories tend run across a season rather than a contained two part story.
So you liked this because it was contained?
Yes and no, I do really liked an intricate story that takes its time. I liked this last season especially because it had a lot of plot, loads of set up and lots of mystery to keep me watching.
Haven’t you spotted a little arc in this season?
In hindsight yes because I know what happens at the end. I don’t think I would have spotted Bad Wolf yet thought aside from that kid painting it on the TARDIS. You still don’t know what Bad Wolf is or even that it is relevant.
Don’t you remember hearing it in The End of the World and The Unquiet Dead?
Wait, wait, wait….umm…I can’t remember it in The Unquiet Dead but didn’t somebody say there was a Bad Wolf emergency or something in The End of the World. See it’s a bit too obscure for me. I prefer the arc stuff to be more apparent like in the Steven Moffat series.
You prefer the Steven Moffatt stuff?
I think so, yeah.
I find that you sympathise far more with the Davies characters though, don’t you?
When you have a season long arc I find characters tend to return and you get to know them more like River Song. The standalone characters don’t tend to come back again. With Russell T Davies first series you could have watched the first episode or the third or fourth and you don’t need to watch every episode in order to understand the arc.
I miss that…
But when the arc is integrated into a whole season it makes me want to watch it more.
Don’t you think it makes it easier on the viewer that might miss the odd episode to have slighter references and then have it tie up at the end of the season?
Those people can switch off then if they haven’t been keeping up. In my view that makes a good season. There is nothing in this season that makes me want to watch the next episode but in the last series there were some great cliffhangers that made me desperate to see what happened next. The trailers are okay but there is nothing ‘I’ve got to watch this next week…’
What about Mickey and Jackie?
They are very good sidekicks. As I said before Jackie is the best mum and Davies really makes you feel for her character. Mickey should have gone with them at the end I think. And don’t you think it would have been awesome if Rose had come back after ten seconds at the end of the story?
But the whole reason for that ending is that they didn’t come back, to highlight the tragedy of those left behind.
Yeah but remember when the Doctor sent her back at the end of the season when the Daleks invade that space station. He sent her back to Earth. Wouldn’t it have been great for Rose to have come back in this episode and ran from the TARDIS crying and saying the Doctor is dead. To make people excited for what was to come.
But then people might expect the payoff next week?
Maybe but imagine their surprise when it finally happened he sent her home. Moffatt so would have done that!
What did you think about this as an overall two parter. This was the length of a regular classic Doctor Who story…
I think I would give this another five. A five and a five. It was a good story, good build up, good characters, good storyline and funny monsters that made me laugh. I really enjoyed watching it and that’s all telly has to be for me, enjoyable. I still find it weird that this was filmed at the same time as episode one because the Doctor and Rose seem so much more comfortable in this story than they did in the first one.
Its called acting, darling.
I know but its weird how relaxed they feel as actors in this one too. Maybe it was because the first one had so much to do and to introduce? The plot was much better in this story not just introducing a new character and then a blob comes along at the end. I really felt that this story showed the potential of what the series was capable of in bringing Doctor Who bang up to date.
***** out of *****
I think they are very good.
You are banned from saying things are good in these discussions because its what you always say.
Oh I see. No dinner for you tonight. I think they’re an excellent enemy. Oddly they are quite frightening and its less to do with their appearance and more to do with them being very Third Reich.
Do you think this was a good way to re-introduce them to a new generation of kids?
It was until the end. The end of the story gives a false impression because that’s not what the Daleks are about. The Dalek made a good appearance, killed everybody with absolutely no remorse and then he changes and wants to feel the sunlight on his face! I mean come on! Imagine the end of World War Two with Hitler killing a load of Jews and then saying ‘I just want to feel the sun on my face…’
But it was poisoned by Rose’s humanity.
Its stupid though because it wasn’t like that all the way through. There was no consistency. I am a killer. Oh wait I want to bask in the sunshine. What? Its Russell T nonsense.
He didn’t write this one.
He had his hand in it somewhere… I hate to keep going on about it but it comes back to the Steven Moffatt thing of writing intricate storylines that I really like. If Moffat was in charge of this season this story would have led into the finale – the Dalek could have turned up again in the finale having found its people and perhaps caused a bit of a stir amongst the Daleks by being nice.
That has been done before, you know.
It would have been go – brilliant!
But this does set up the end of the series by re-introducing the Daleks!
Not really. Yeah but that Dalek didn’t have to die. Why innovate something if you’re going to cut it dead? He could scanned the internet, given some Bad Wolf clue and then headed off to find its people. After killing everybody, of course. Instead its all ‘let me feel the sun on my face’ which was naff.
But you liked the episode until the ending?
Yes. I don’t know why it was written that way because it spoilt what was otherwise a pretty good episode. You don’t want kids thinking ‘ooh the Daleks are scary!’ and then ‘oh know they’re actually really nice…’
Quite a heavy week for Christopher Eccleston. How is he coming along?
He was good. Sorry. He was alright. There are still moments where he bugs me but overall he was okay. I don’t think he does intense very well.
That’s his whole career you’ve just trashed!
At times he’s given too much to say, too much mouth. Sometimes silent acting can be just as powerful as being gobby all the time.
Do you think he is a good actor?
Emma Bacon (a good friend of ours) will hit you. He’s one of her favourites.
Oh well. He’s not as good as the later ones or the ones that have come before him.
So he’s your least favourite?
You like him less than Sylvester McCoy (Simon has an allergic reaction to all of the stories starring McCoy and Aldred)?
(Strangulated noise) Okay perhaps than the ones that came before McCoy.
Would you rather watch the ninth Doctor and Rose or McCoy and Aldred?
Who’s the ninth? He’s the ninth? Eccles cake? Depends.
Do you want me to put a seventh Doctor story on next then?
Does Ace die in any of them?
Does Ace die?
Nope. But she comes close a few times.
I’ll stick with these ones then. It would only be worth watching if she was killed off.
Nice. Changing the subject away from assassination, is Rose still working for you?
I really enjoyed the angle they took having her feel real emotion towards the Dalek that was being tortured and the way she patted it was a very natural reaction. Its exactly what you would do to to a creature in pain. Like a sick cat of something, you would stroke it and make it feel better. It felt like a very real moment.
I can never work out what happens at that point.
Pay attention honey! It absorbed an energy from a time traveller! Wasn’t there one later on where they mentioned energy from a time traveller and they used it to defeat the baddie. It might have been a Sarah Jane come to think of it.
It was The Wedding of Sarah Jane Smith. Do you think Doctor Who has the budget to pull off something this action packed?
There was a lot of extras, a lot of action and a lot of moving about – for me that looked as good as anything else on television. I think the budget increases later and the action goes on a much bigger scale.
This episode had a great reception when it was broadcast, can you understand that?
I can totally see why this one was popular. For me it was a bit like the last two we watched, it was more dynamic, more interesting, feels like they have found their groove. But again I can imagine a lot of people took issue with the ending. I don’t know if I’m right or wrong with that. Maybe the old fans liked it because they already know what the Daleks are like and so its something new for them. If it wasn’t for the last two episodes where the Daleks go killing mad it would have been absolutely lame to end their story here. He should have zapped off at the end.
That happened later if you remember with Dalek Caan.
Oh yeah! He fleeew into the time vortex! He came back and was completely nuts. See that was a really good continuation of the storyline. Not sunlight on the face.
Give it a rest about the sunlight.
No I tell you what that was. It was a Star Trek ending in a Doctor Who story! You know how they try and make all the baddies human. That’s what this ending felt like, very Gene Roddenberry. Like they did with the Borg. Everyone is getting on at the end and we’re all human. A Gene Roddenberry moment. Shame on Doctor Who.
What did you think of Adam, the new kid on the block.
I think he would make a good companion. He wasn’t given enough of a chance.
Don’t talk about the next one already. We’ll have nothing to talk about then.
If he was kept on you wouldn’t have had Jack. Would you rather have him or Jack?
I think this kid is a better actor than John Barrowman. Barrowman is a good entertainer but he doesn’t have much range as an actor. He does running around looking pretty with a gun really well but that’s about it. Maybe this kid should have stayed on until the end of the series.
Then Adam would be the head of Torchwood.
He would have exterminated by the Daleks at the end, brought back to life and founded Torchwood.
They could have just killed him off at the end.
You’re in a very homicidal mood today.
I’m trying to justify the decision to have him go in the TARDIS. Why bother for just one episode?
How would you sum up your Dalek experience?
A good introduction to the Daleks with lots of action but with a lame ending which gives new fans the impression that they could all be nice guys. They’re not supposed to be like that so don’t do it again. A good start but a lame ending.
How many stars?
You score quite highly, you know.
It only lost a point because of the naff ending. Again Russell T and I blame Russell T no matter who wrote it doesn’t intertwine his stories enough for my liking. I know there was a Bad Wolf reference with the helicopter.
Oh you spotted that.
Yup but its still not enough for me. That Dalek could have been the head of the resistance or something.
Do you think the arcs got better later on then? Series two with Torchwood, series three with Saxon and series four with the missing planets?
Yeah they become more apparent as they go along. More interesting. Even the pay off this season is pretty lame. They probably wanted standalones at this early stage just to get people involved. I’m looking at all this from the benefit of hindsight because if I didn’t know about the later Moffatt arcs I wouldn’t be missing them.
I miss these early days of standalone stories.
Watch something else then.
I’ll be very interested to see what you make of the Steven Moffatt episodes of this season.
Which one was that?
The Empty Child – ‘Are you my mummy?’
You’ll have to wait and see.
**** out of *****
The Long Game
I asked you halfway through the episode if you thought the media aspect was very convincing – that the media could control the world so overwhelmingly and you seemed to have a lot to say.
I did and do! The blob controls the media and the media controls everything people hear and see and think. It relates to what is going on at the moment. If the media didn’t tell us we were in a recession then half the country wouldn’t actually realise it. People would still be spending their money like they used to. Because we are constantly told about job losses and debt we are more hesitant to spend our money. When they said in this episode that the right words being used over and over in the media having a large effect on the planet I totally believe that that could happen – it does happen every day!
So you think it was told well within this story?
They could have flashed to different points on Earth to show the scale of the effect the media is having on the planet. You saw a few news articles but it was very confined to the space station.
What did you think of the guest stars this week?
I really liked the black chick who is now starring in Terra Nova.
That’s hardly something to shout home about.
In your opinion. The woman who played Suki was good –
You’re banned from saying good.
Oh fanny flaps! She was well performed but the character was ultimately a bit crap. She reached floor 500 and died. Hardly the best character development. You never found out much about who Suki really was or what her terrorist cell stood for. Is Adam a guest star?
If you like…
He was shit! He was written in for two episodes but for no reason at all. There was no reason that he had to go with them at the end of the last episode.
Not even to show how good Rose is?
No we’ve already seen how good Rose is! What was the point of all of it? They’ve left him on Earth with that silly thing in his head. Its not like he got that chip in his head and he saved the day. It was just pointless. He just turned up, threw up, got that chip in his head and went home. He could have stayed on with the chip in his head. Ooh – it could have led in to the last episode. I know I’m not suppose to know that they go back to Satellite Five but him having the chip in his head could have led into that. He could have been an ace up the sleeve in the last episode. It frustrates me because Russell T Davies doesn’t think ahead enough.
Well he does. That was what this entire episode was about. It was directly tied into the last two episodes. It was the Daleks that were doing all this to the Earth.
No, it was just the Jagrafess. Once he’s out of the way then the Daleks arrive. (I don’t think Simon is right here but I cannot remember the explanation at the end of the season. It does amuse me greatly that me and my husband are arguing about Jagrafesses and Daleks!). The Doctor heads off without clearing up his mess and apart from the Bad Wolf nonsense that is the only time Russell T thinks ahead!
What did you think of the look of this episode? Its quite popularly thought of as one of the cheapest looking new series episodes.
I don’t think it looked cheap. It was supposed to be set on a space station – a functional space station. It wasn’t supposed to be more fancy than that. It worked in a way because the Doctor was banging on about the bountiful human empire and out comes the grotty burger salesman in what looks like a Saturday down the town centre. The look made the gag.
What do you think the reason is that Doctor Who gets massive draws like Simon Pegg?
I’m not sure this early on why they would want to do it. When it gained its audience it was a popular family show that everybody watched together on a Saturday night. Who wouldn’t want to be watched by the whole family? (Simon pauses) That stupid bit with the phone wound me up!
Adam phoned 2012 when he dialled the number but when Rose dials she gets 2005!
You don’t buy it as a time travelling phone?
Nope it was crap! You see Russell T not thinking things through again. He could have added an area code to suggest a different year. Come to think of it how does Rose phone home chronologically? She never phones the day before last time, she always gets through to exactly where she needs to. It might have been a funny joke if she phoned home too early and had to try again to get the right point in time.
You are a bigger geek than me.
Do you think then from what you have seen so far that it shouldn’t have been the hit that it was?
No, you can see why it was popular because there was nothing like it on British TV at the time. There was plenty of comedy and drama but nothing family oriented when Doctor Who came back. You know Doctor Who has been a success because look at the shows that came after – Robin Hood, Merlin, Primeval… It actually ties into the ideas in this episode. It was all about the media – they decided what people liked to watch and took family shows off the air because they thought they were no longer popular. Suddenly everybody thought that family shows were outdated and a thing of the past because they were no longer being shown. But that was some media bods idea, it was never something that was decided by the people. By taking away family shows they manipulated the audience into thinking that they weren’t popular. We can only crave what is put on for us.
You’re saying we assumed that there was no market for it because they stopped making it. Whereas there clearly was still a market for it but they just hadn’t made it for a while…
Yup. TV is so accessible these days anyway so there is a lot more choice of what to watch.
There’s far less emphasis now on ‘I must watch this when its broadcast’ but if you go back five or ten years ago you had to watch things when they were on or you missed them.
Its true, we watch things 20 minutes after they started so we can fast forward the adverts. Imagine having to watch all those bloody adverts again?
The last Steven Moffatt series the ratings for the overnights were way down but the overall figures were adding up to 2 million extra because people were watching it at their own leisure.
Well of course because people can watch on the iplayer or the sky box.
Do you think that makes TV less ‘must see?’
Its still important but it means you can still have a life and see your favourite shows. Anyway we digress.
Sorry…If I were to say that I had the impression you were counting down the episodes until Christopher Eccleston left would I be right?
Ummm…he doesn’t really have enough time to salvage himself now I’m afraid. I’ve said it before but he is too hard and I’m not a fan.
What about Billie?
She’s good but far too common! I wish she would speak properly! Two ‘undred thaaaasand! I knew she was going to say it like that. She’s much better with David Tennant.
That’s not a commonly held view.
Do you think this suffered from coming after the Dalek story? In the DWM fan poll this rank really low – I think only Fear Her ranked lower.
The one with the Olympics.
That was rubbish! Do we have to watch that one again? The Dalek one had a crappy ending. It still tastes bitter. Nothing is linking together this season. Its all standalones.
You could actually say that Russell T Davies is cleverer than Steven Moffatt because he introduces lots of elements and then ties them together at the end rather than Moffatt’s approach where he says ‘this is important’. ‘pay attention to this bit’, ‘this is useful information later on…’ all the way through his seasons. Isn’t it smarter to weave things in invisibly?
Yeah but that story was a standalone Dalek story and it had no bearing on the last episode whatsoever.
But the Daleks haven’t been on screen for nearly 20 years! You have to re-establish them!
Yeah but they re-established them as someone who wants to bathe in the sunlight! I’m a horrible monster…oh no wait I just want to feel the warmth. What? No!
So you feel the season as a whole is not cohering?
I don’t like standalones.
You do like standalones!
You like Blink!
Oh yeah that was a good one!
You liked Human Nature!
You like The Girl in the Fireplace!
Yes okay! Sorry! I do like standalones but they have to be good standalones. A standalone of trashy Doctor Who is just silly. A standalone has to be extra special because it literally stands alone. It has to have its own identity. Some of these early ones aren’t the best standalones.
Lets sum up this episode then…
Three out of five, maybe? Two out of five? Two point five! I like the black chick who was in Terra Nova.
You liked her solely on the fact that you like her in something else?
Yes. She had quite a good role here in being the person who relates the idea that people need to think rather than just being told by the media what to think.
Have you noticed that in this season Christopher Eccleston’s Doctor doesn’t actually seem to save the day at all but convince other people to empower themselves to do it?
Lazy shite. He’s just another member of the Tory party then, isn’t he?
You’re saying that the Doctor is a Tory?
Clearly going by what you just said. Tennant is Labour. He’s for the people. Matt Smith is the Monster Raving Loony Party. Anyway two and a half stars because I liked Kafaka, Billie was okay when she wasn’t too chavvy, it looked good and the story was quite interesting in how it revealed the media exploits the public. But they introduced the second companion for pointless reasons and the Doctor needs to jump off a cliff because he seems to have no compassion at all.
What about the blob?
Yeah the Jagrafess?
It wasn’t the greatest thing ever. Not very imaginative. Anyone can come up with a giant blob! It didn’t sound particularly intelligent so god knows how it controlled the media for 90 odd years.
**half out of *****
I think it wasn’t as bad as I remember it being. I still think the storyline is entirely pointless but it wasn’t dreadful.
Were there bits that you did like?
There were no bits that you liked?
How then can it be better than you remembered?
I used to think it was awful and its not awful.
So there were some bits that you liked?
Are you being facetious?
No it was better than I thought it was but that doesn’t mean it was good.
As this is really the first of its kind do you think that Doctor Who can encompass stories of their nature?
There was one point in there when I was thinking it was like WhoEnders. I don’t watch Eastenders and I certainly don’t switch on Doctor Who to watch it. I don’t turn on on a Saturday night to see two people bitching about one of them sleeping around! I don’t mind the domestic element in Doctor Who but it has to come naturally from the science fiction rather than be the dominant element.
I’m going to play a little game with you now and see if you can answer some of the mysteries of this story that I fail to comprehend in your own unique way.
Why was the car going round and round in circles?
Because that was what was required to put everything back on the right footing.
Why were the monsters attacking everybody?
I’m not too sure about that one. The Doctor said they had come to repair a wound in time but surely if that was the case they would try and eat Pete. I can’t explain that one I’m afraid. Its inexplicable.
Why was the first phone call going through everybody’s phones?
Because it was the end of all time – no, I’m leaping, I have no idea.
Why was the TARDIS just a box?
Maybe because…this is another leap…perhaps the Doctor was no longer able to use his TARDIS because he had broken the rules by going back in time and knowingly changing things.
I quite like that.
Its something the Time Lords would have done. You can’t be trusted so we’ll take the privilege away. But they’ve gone now so it was just another inexplicability.
Do you think the Doctor was stupid to take Rose back to the point of her fathers death?
You can understand why she would want to go back but not to the moment of his death. I could perhaps believe that you would want to go back to meet him randomly like in a shop or something. The only reason for her to want to go back to watch him die would be to save and the Doctor should have realised that so yes. It was stupid. He even said my people wouldn’t have let me do this. The very fact that he’s doing it is cocky. What a cock.
What was that bit in the middle all about when the key was glowing and the TARDIS appeared?
I think the TARDIS was trying to fight its way back to him. None of this random weirdness was explained. The only bit that was adequately explained was that Pete was supposed to die and that he had to die in the end. The rest was rubbish, stuff to pad out the episode. Just filler. I was impressed that the Doctor was nice to the married couple and that he apologised to Rose, it was almost as though he had had a personality transplant. But then he goes off on another rant about ‘another stupid ape’ and I hated him again. I’m not convinced that he is a very good actor, you know. Or at least certainly not in this. I don’t think Doctor Who is a good match for Christopher Eccleston.
The others were a bit eccentric but there is nothing eccentric about Eccleston. David Tennant and Matt Smith are both very eccentric in their own ways, Pertwee had his ruffles, his bouffant hair and his Akido (Simon name checks Terrance Dicks which makes me squeal!), Tom Baker had his huge long scarf and used to go off on a tangent and not stick to his script, Troughton had his baggy trousers and played the flute and Colin Baker was quite unpredictable. They were all unique eccentric characters and Doctors but Eccleston is just a grumpy bloke in a leather jacket and a green jumper. You could easily see somebody like him on the street whereas not so much with the others. I miss that.
Do you think the clothes maketh a man?
They certainly help. Eccleston feels like a filler Doctor. I don’t think he even wanted to do it once he had accepted the role, did he? Didn’t he say he was leaving as soon as the show was broadcast? Perhaps his heart wasn’t in it. I just get the impression he wasn’t throwing himself into the role – the others (even McCoy) threw themselves into it for a couple of years and made it their own.
This was the point where people were completely sold on Billie Piper and thought that she really can act. Would you agree with that?
Not really. She could have been given something a lot more interesting to showcase her talents. This was just filler. She’s too common.
Stop saying she’s common!
Well is she not?
Well yes but its not a bad thing!
Two ‘undred thaaaaaasand!
She’s a nice person though!
Ninteeng Eighty Free!
Didn’t you feel for her when she gave her daddy a cuddle?
No. She doesn’t tug at my heartstrings like the later companions. I do like Rose for the most part but this just didn’t work for me. Maybe it was too much, too overdone. I don’t like being told how to feel when I watch something. I prefer to make up my own mind. Rose is better later.
You think everything is better later.
Maybe she is still finding her feet. I might be quite harsh because it’s the first season.
You weren’t saying that when this was aired though.
I think you’ll find I did say that this episode was rubbish when it went out. The next two are very good. Don’t worry I’m not giving up hope.
What about the monsters? A bit better than the blob?
Yeah they were a bit better than the blob because they looked good and reminded me of the Death Eaters from Harry Potter. They were supposed to be sterilising time but they were just eating people. The one person they should have been trying to eat – Pete – they completely ignored when they had the chance and ate the Doctor! I cheered at that bit, did you hear me?
Was there anything you liked about this episode.
Mickey looked like Gary Coleman!
Jackie! More Jackie is good. She made me laugh when she thought her daughter had a second hand name. She always says exactly what she thinks, all the things she shouldn’t say and I really like that in a character. Like Donna. And the Pam in Gavin and Stacey.
Sum up Father’s Day.
I don’t mind episodes that focus on the regulars but that wasn’t good because I didn’t understand half of it. Flying bats, vanishing TARDIS, Rose shedding a few tears and then everybody went home. They could have cut this one easily and it wouldn’t be missed. Not by me anyway. I just liked the Jackie stuff. They should kill off the Doctor and Rose and have Jackie going around in the TARDIS – that would be great series! Jackie and Donna and Pam from Gavin and Stacey – and the character she played in Pride and Prejudice! Mrs Bennett! Four loud mouths going round the universe!
So you preferred The Long Game?
It was better than this one, yeah. They’ll still have the same score though.
You’re giving this two and half? That’s quite high for something you hated? You need to be harder on things you don’t like otherwise your ratings make no sense! Your rating has to reflect your comments.
Call it a two because even though it was bad I was expecting it to be really painful and it wasn’t. I wasn’t clock watching. It was watchable as long you don’t care about the storyline which was a very badly written.
So you would just watch it for the visuals?
I know where I thought it was a bit like Eastenders…when they were having the domestic in the flat! It was a bit ridiculous listening to all this ‘you’re a sad case outside the TARDIS waiting for me for a long time!’
Are you looking forward to the next two episodes?
Are we going to watch them tomorrow night?
Are you going to make dinner?
** out of *****
The Empty Child
I thought that was exceptional. I loved the war setting and there were so many great little touches throughout. The Second World War is a great period because there is so much you can do with it. I have always been interested in wartime conflict and I loved how they captured the atmosphere here with the classy nightclub and the bombing sequences. ‘Bloomin Germans don’t they eat!’
I remember Russell T Davies being told when writing the second series was that the historical stories needed spicing up a bit. To make them faster paced and more exciting.
I don’t agree with that at all. How was that too slow? They should have watched Father’s Day and they would have seen slow! This was a two parter so you are supposed to tell the story over two episodes. I like how they don’t have to squeeze it all into 45 minutes. I prefer the two parters because you get more of a story out of it, more time to build up atmosphere and give the characters depth.
Perhaps Father’s Day would have been better as a two parter then.
No it would not. Ten minutes of that was too long. There is such a gap in quality between this and Father’s Day that this did not follow naturally on. The consistency of this show depends on who writes for it I suppose. Because there are so many different writers there isn’t a great consistency to the show. This was much better. Can’t this guy write every week (he says eyeing me cheekily).
You didn’t mind this being a standalone?
It wasn’t a standalone. It was a two parter.
But it wasn’t part of an arc.
It was its own mini arc. A two part spectacular.
Did you think this episode was creepy?
When Dr Constantine turned into a gas mask zombie that was really creepy! It was pretty gruesome the way that respirator forced its way out of his mouth and his eyes went goggly!
Too much for kids?
Depends how wimpy they are. Its probably the kids favourite bit. It wasn’t so bad that I had to turn away from it.
Like the Weeping Angels where you were hiding behind a cushion!
Yes, thank you. But for kids of about 6 or 7 that might be quite frightening.
This was all set at night – do you think that was a good choice?
That was definitely a night time episode. Imagine that filmed in the day – it wouldn’t be creepy at all with the kid wandering around saying mummy all the time.
Did you like the special effects.
They did hold up but I’m not sure I followed the logic of Rose grabbing hold of a rope that came from nowhere without finding out what it is attached to! Then she realised it was attached to a barrage balloon! Silly cow! I loved the Union Jack on her chest as the Nazi’s flew over though so I’ll forget that moment of numptyness.
What about the dialogue?
Snappy! There were bits where I found myself smirking which is always a good sign. Even Christopher Eccleston didn’t annoy me in this episode.
He was cheekier. There was no stupid dialogue like ‘why d’you do that?’ ‘Because I did!’ He was funnier this week and said things that were worth listening too. I loved his speech about England standing up against the Germans.
What about Jack? Jack joined this week. Do you honestly think that kid is a better actor than John Barrowman?
The guy who played Adam.
Oh he’s long gone. John Barrowman isn’t the best actor but he does have presence. I find myself wanting to watch him because he’s quite handsome.
Did you spot the first ever gay acknowledgement in Doctor Who?
Yeah when he slapped that guys bottom.
Do you think they should have gay references in Doctor Who?
You should but not in an over the top, overbearing kind of way. I noticed it on Strictly Come Dancing this year as well that the fact that Craig and Bruno are gay was very open but it was never rammed down your throat. Its just who they are and that’s how it should be. Jack likes guys and that’s just how it is. I thought it was very nicely done.
The fans have this thing about Russell T Davies bringing in a gay agenda.
The fans? What are they griping about now? Russell T Davies is not trying to turn Doctor Who gay but he is weaving it into the story in a very natural way. He’s making it so it isn’t an issue for children and that’s wonderful. Kids are watching this show and whether they are gay or not they can see that it is perfectly fine. How can the fans moan about that? To have it so naturally played in such a popular show is great.
Name five things that you liked about this episode.
The setting, the dialogue, Christopher Eccleston (‘A mouse in front of a lion’), the little kid was very simple but creepy (kids can be quite creepy in programmes when they are used properly), the atmosphere was very good and the dynamic between all the actors was really good this week. I think Steven Moffatt will go far you know. Rose was very confident this week – hardly with the Doctor at all and when they got back together at the end she was very sure of herself (‘I went by barrage balloon!’). Far better than all the weeping and rowing like Eastenders in the last one. That’s why the last one was out of place because the dynamics are just worlds apart. It feels like Father’s Day and this were filmed at opposite ends of the season. Whoever wrote the last episode should not be allowed to write ever again.
He wrote Human Nature as well.
(Pause) Really? That’s not the point. He should be whipped anyway.
He wrote the book of Human Nature first and then tidied it up for TV
Was that Paul Cornell? He should have only written Human Nature and nothing else. He needs to be de-frocked! What does that mean?
You think Paul Cornell should be killed?
Nah, that’s a bit harsh. Certainly whipped a few times for writing Father’s Day so he never does that again.
Can you think of any other historical periods that you would like them to visit?
Umm…they’ve done most of the ones I like. They’ve visited the Romans a couple of times and been to both World Wars. They went to see Leonardo Da Vinci in….(Simon pulls a face like he is straining on the loo)…oh what the hell is that story called…don’t tell me, don’t tell me! It was with Tom Baker and Romana II…they were in Paris first…someone drew Romana as a clock with a crack in it…it was a pretty good one…City of Death!
I love you! You loser!
They’ve done a story about the meteor that hit the planet and wiped out the dinosaurs…when they killed off Adric and he wound up as primordial soup! Does that mean Adric is the origin of the humanoid form? They haven’t done much in America or Europe? Perhaps some more foreign history? They do always tend to land in England, don’t they? And on Earth – only one episode this season hasn’t been set on Earth and that was on a space station orbiting the Earth!
I think that was a budget issue.
It never was in the old series. It didn’t always look great but they had a go.
So overall how would you rate The Empty Child?
It was such a contrast from last week and I really can’t find anything bad to say about it. A full five stars and I am looking forward to the next one!
***** out of *****
The Doctor Dances
Was the story wrapped up satisfactorily?
Yes, all the I’s were dotted and the T’s were crossed, it was very neatly done I thought. Its nice to have a happy ending…I like an ending to either be very upbeat like this or really bad – bad as in the villain wins and its like’ oh my God how are they going to get out of that one?’ I don’t like loose ends unless they are part of an arc. I liked this because it was almost fairytale when everybody came back to life. We could do with more TV like that.
What like the TV Movie?
Oh that. Yeah that was rubbish.
Do you think the twist ending would be so effective (that Nancy is Jamie’s mother) if it had been set today?
Not really because if it was set now you would assume she was the mum already. There’s a wealth of young mothers nowadays but back then it wasn’t proper. I was convinced the first time I watched this that she was his sister.
It is signposted all the way through by his saying ‘Are you my mummy?’
Not really…I just thought that was a saying like ‘Exterminate…’
But it was the whole crux of the twist. ‘Are you my mummy’ All we’ve been missing is the answer to that question, ‘yes I am.’
But you still don’t think about that when he’s saying it. He says it so much it becomes a mantra rather than a question.
Has it been your favourite setting so far?
What have we had so far…umm London, Cardiff, that space station, London again… Yes definitely. It is London again but it feels different. From what we saw it was really well done but because it was all in back streets and hospitals I’m sure it wasn’t that difficult to pull off. There were some good special effects with the bombs and planes in the first part.
Do you think it justified being two parts?
Yeah definitely because it would have rounded off far too quickly. It would have been the equivalent of popping into this two part story for lunch. They would need to land, meet Jack, get to know him, deal with the boy, work out that she was his mum, fix all the people and stop the bomb…all in 45 minutes! I like two parters because they have more substance to them with a pause in the middle to gasp at the cliffhanger. I really wanted to watch the next one because of that cliffhanger whereas there is nothing convincing me to watch the Slitheen one next now everything has been wrapped up.
Its quite sad because the ratings dip during two parters and I believe they have been forbidden in the next season.
Really? But that will have a season long arc. Its Moffat doing the next series, right?
It’ll be fine.
When they were talking about dancing…what were they talking about?
They were talking about sex!
Are you sure? Even the Doctor says ‘You assume I haven’t danced?’ What would the Doctor Who fans think?
What the ones who have never seen a woman’s vagag?
How do you spell that for when I write this up?
Vagag? I’m not sure…va-gag? Don’t use vagag then, use punanny. Or a bhuna. I don’t think they were always talking about sex…sometimes they were just talking about dancing but sometimes they were talking about sex.
Lets address the ‘gay agenda.’ There were an awful lot of references to homosexuality in this story…
Umm…the fat man and the butcher! Jack and the solider… And the Doctor asking Rose who Jack would like to dance with at the end… I think its fine because its done in a way that its not an issue. Its not an important part of the story. It feels very natural so its almost invisible. Its only a problem if you want it to be a problem because it doesn’t hinder anything. If people think that this story promotes a ‘gay agenda’ I think it says more about them than the episode. Its not an agenda, its just natural and that’s great for the kids watching. Its teaching tolerance which can only be a good thing but in a very entertaining way. It makes Doctor Who a safe place for young gay people and it expresses tolerance for young straight people. How can that be a bad thing?
Unlike Star Trek where it tends to be avoided…
Oh God! Yeah it does seem to be the one area where tolerance is lacking in the 24th Century.
Do you think Nancy would have made a good companion?
Tell me why…
She would have been too 1940s for the show. Plus a good companion is quite dynamic whereas she…wasn’t. She was a bit one note.
How does John Barrowman fare?
I think they needed to shake things up a bit and make it more interesting. Its difficult because I don’t think he is a brilliant actor but he is very entertaining.
Well he is an entertainer!
Yeah you don’t mind watching him. He’s really cheeky which I like but sometimes I find him too cheeky…I expect him to wink at the audience like it is Tonight’s the Night. But it was definitely a positive addition. He’s charming.
Remember before this story was Father’s Day and you know what you thought about the Doctor and Rose in that one.
Oh geez, yeah. Definitely a good addition. He brings out quite a lot of fun in the Doctor and Rose. They were really fun here reacting to him. At the beginning of the series the dialogue was a bit stiff and there was a definitely sense of heading into uncertain territory for both actors but none of that is noticeable now. Both Christopher Eccleston and Billie Piper were better in this and I think the writing is better too. Don’t you think the Doctor has mellowed out in these two? None of that ‘Why you doing that?’ ‘Because I am, alright!’ anymore.
Is a child in a gas mask a scary enough monster?
Kids are creepy I don’t care what you say! Demonic children and zombie children especially…so this kid who was wandering around in a gas mask behaving so weirdly. Well I thought it was quite creepy. The transformation in the first episode was really graphic and there was two more in this one! One you saw and one you only heard. You knew what was coming this time but it must be quite scary for kids seeing an adult screaming like that soldier. But it comes back to that old argument about Doctor Who and it can’t be safe all the time. It annoys me about the parents that complain because I reckon most kids love being a little scared and I know you have to set a boundary but that isn’t always correct for all kids. So some of them are going to be scared if they are a nervous sort otherwise you might as well make this show The Brady Bunch. Or CBBC. Which is shocking. Except for Sarah Jane.
Could you tell this was a Steven Moffat story?
I thought for a minute when you were talking about gay references that it was a Russell T Davies script.
His name came up during the opening titles.
I was making the tea.
No you weren’t, you had already sat down.
I was stroking the cat. Anyway the dialogue was a lot better, more funky. It was a really good two parter. I hope this Moffat bloke comes back. I’m going to give this story another five because there were so many good bits like when the kid was talking and the tape had run out and the typewriter was writing itself – lots of really good scary moments like that. It really held my attention and I wanted to see it right to the end – no clock watching! There were even bits I don’t remember seeing from when it was first broadcast. I like it being a two part story because the cliffhanger really made me want to watch more. An hour and a half is a good length otherwise you have to wrap it up too quickly.
Before we go, since this is the first point we’ve sat down to do this after the Christmas special. What did you think of it?
Oh! (shocked) Oh! (uncertain) Oh… (unhappy) I thought the first bit in the house was really good and Matt Smith was really good – he’s so madly eccentric and then they went into that box and met the yellow people and then it got a bit weird and boring and then it was really nice at the end when they managed to get their dad home and the Doctor went to see Amy. It slumped in the middle.
Very succinctly put.
***** out of *****
(Simon is literally propping his eyes open with matchsticks to complete this little questionnaire – bless him)
What were your general feelings about this episode?
I actually really liked it and I’m glad it was a fun one to watch whilst I was knackered otherwise I would have fallen asleep! It was great watching the team all working together – almost Buffy like but more contemporary – and there were lots of silly, quirky bits that made me smile. It was a bit different to the rest of the season and I liked that. I think you need breather episodes and some of this was really funny. It was like taking a break but with the Bad Wolf reference we were keeping up with the central storyline.
Do you think it switched from comedy to drama quite well?
Yeah definitely, there was certainly no awkward shift between the two. It was a good all rounder this one, I really liked it.
What did you think of the character of Margaret Blaine Slitheen?
She is really funny! When she was running away from them…well she’s so short and dumpy you can’t help but laugh! Of all the main Slitheen from the Downing Street one she was certainly the best. Certainly the best actress.
In the middle of the episode she went into the toilet and let off a big fart that sounded like it had a bit of poop coming out too. Do you like this kind of toilet humour or do you find it puerile?
Oh let me guess the fans hate it? It does make me smile I have to say…you don’t see anything so its just a funny, if awkward, bit of humour. Its all left to your imagination. Its if its done properly its funny but if its not it can be gross.
That old woman pissing all over the floor in Little Britain. That’s gross. But this was very mild compared to that. Discreet toilet humour you might say. It was done really well in Miranda where she slid her chair back, stood up, bent forward and farted. It was hilarious because it was in front of all the people that she wouldn’t want to hear it. Bloody funny! She blamed it on the dog and there was no bloody dog! Are there some fans who don’t like the toilet humour?
Yes, unfortunately there is.
You would think for something that is a family show primarily aimed at children its core audience would be a bit childish. Stop being so serious Doctor Who fans!
Did you like the team of the Doctor, Mickey, Rose and Jack?
Yeah they were really fun although everybody is still taking the mickey out of Mickey. He’s the tin dog. He’s the joker character. He’s the one who makes you think ‘Oh poor Mickey.’
Do you feel for him then?
I thought it was done very well because you could easily imagine yourself in that situation – maybe your other half didn’t up and leave to go into time and space but if they left you for another person and then kept coming back…it would hurt, I think.
What about Noel Clarke?
Yeah he’s come along a bit. Although he’s still got shit hair. Its better later on when it is all shaved off.
Where the Slitheen worth a comeback?
Yeah they aren’t terrible. They’re better than that blob in the one with Simon Pegg.
To see if you were paying attention what was Margaret’s plan and how was she defeated in the end?
The plan was that the nuclear power plant would cause a meltdown and open up the Rift. She would then ride her surfboard which would protect her from the explosion and she would ride the wave out of the solar system, destroying the planet as she goes.
Don’t you think it’s a bit ridiculous?
That’s ridiculous? A man in a box that’s bigger on the inside flying around in time and space and you find it ridiculous that a nuclear reactor could open the Rift and blow up the planet?
It is a little silly though…
Again I mention a box. You mock a surfboard to travel through space and I throw in a blue box. They are as ridiculous as each other. It’s a ridiculous show. That’s the joy of it. You’ve got to move with the times hon because there are new writers and new ideas – it isn’t all Terrance Dicks stories now (Simon does his Terrance Dicks neck impression – I can literally hear it on the playback and he goes ‘Tewwance Dicks’) – a young audience today needs something more flashy like a pan galactic surfboard. In fact I wish I had seen her riding the wave and getting away. That would have been great.
And how was she defeated?
She looked into the heart of the TARDIS. It gave her what she wanted but I don’t really get why she wanted a second chance. Mind she did say all she knew was being a killer – something about when she was thirteen and if she didn’t do it her dad would have giving her a good hiding. So I guess she would want a second chance.
They finally acknowledged Bad Wolf…
Oh yeah and then the Doctor quickly dismissed it! It was quite like a little ‘have you been paying attention’ moment for the audience.
When Margaret says the Doctor runs off at the end of adventures and avoids the consequences…
I know what your going to say and yes he does do that. That criticism is absolutely valid. We don’t know it yet but he did that at the end of the Simon Pegg one…he thought he had put the fourth great bountiful human Empire back on track. He didn’t and he didn’t wait to see what happened next. He doesn’t often stick around but then he never has done really. He swoops in, saves the day and then doesn’t see the consequences of him saving the day. You can’t really blame him for that because no sci-fi hero really does. Apart from Bruce Wayne.
Do you think Margaret Slitheen can be redeemed?
What nature or nurture you mean? Nurture I think – most of your ideals are bred into you when you are young. For the most part people grow up with the values of the people who brought you up. Then again if you’re a cock you’re still cock no matter how you were brought up. I think there’s hope for Margaret.
Summarise Boom Town – arguably the least popular episode of season one.
I don’t get the title.
I think its like ‘boom’ as in explosion and then ‘town.’
That’s crap. Its not really a title, is it? I give this four out five. It was very humorous at the beginning and Margaret was funny – the actress was great. It suited me well this one.
**** out of *****
For the most part I thought that was very good. I liked the games that they played and how they took them to extremes. I hope that things never get quite that bad with reality TV but there’s always channel four. It was a nice parody of our obsession with television and reality TV shows in general.
I remember when this episode was first announced it was like ‘game shows…really?’ You don’t think it’s a step too far out of the box?
I don’t think that was the case at all. It had a much more contemporary feel to it and it certainly dragged me more into the episode than if they had made up some science fiction quiz shows. There’s nothing wrong with having a modern feel to it, is there? Plus it tied in very well with the story so I would say that was a good move.
Don’t you think that dates the show though? When somebody watches this in 20 years time they might think ‘The Weakest Link? What the hell is that?’
I don’t think you can write any show so it last for the next 20 or 30 years. All television dates over time whether it has contemporary references in it or not. Besides I don’t think people will be watching this in 20 or 30 years.
I think people might have said that 20 or 30 years ago…
Yeah but there’s far more choice now.
I promise you people will still be watching Doctor Who in 20 or 30 years – even if its just hopeful fanboys clinging onto the dream of a third revival.
Its been going for fifty years!
Don’t get touchy!
It has a larger fan base than anything you watch…
In 20 or 30 years we’ll all have been blown up by Iranian nukes so it’s a moot point.
Do you think this was a good continuation of The Long Game?
The one with the Jagrafess?
Well you would have to have watched that to understand this. I like it when seasons link up like this. That and Bad Wolf are the only real links in this series as far as I can see. Actually maybe you wouldn’t had to have seen the earlier one because there was a ‘previously on Doctor Who’ bit at the beginning. Mind you that spoilt the surprise a bit but it does explain everything you needed to know. Doctor Who is just trying out season long arcs for the first time and it was an okay first attempt. I remember at the time I was far more impressed because I didn’t notice all the Bad Wolf references when I was watching one episode a week and so I was quite excited when it all came together.
And Margaret Slitheen was almost making a prophecy about this episode when she said that the Doctor walks away and doesn’t look at the consequences…
Well yes she was right but it was explained here that the Daleks installed the Jagrafess so no matter the Doctor would have done the outcome would have been the same. The Jagrafess blew up and they put the girl in its place to control things but the outcome wouldn’t have been any different had the Doctor been there or not. I don’t think he is to blame because there was always a force behind the scenes pulling the strings of whatever the Doctor defeated. It was like ‘plan A’ didn’t work so let start ‘plan B.’ (I honestly cannot believe this is a conversation Simon and I are having and spend a few seconds giggling on the track). Why are you laughing? No I mean it though…how long is the Doctor supposed to hang around trying to see what things are going on behind what appears to be going on. It would be a Russian Doll effect until he made it all the way back to God or whatever higher power created the universe! He was just correcting what he thought was wrong…what more can you ask for? I can’t believe I’m defending him! He trusts that the human race can take care of themselves now he has removed the threat…we have to take responsibility at some point.
The Daleks are back so that is another element that was set up earlier in the season –
No, no, no! You can’t say that was an introduction to the Daleks with all that sunlight on my face bollocks!
I did introduce a new generation of kids to the Daleks though.
No it introduced them to the new pansy Daleks!
It introduced the concept then…
Nope he was a pansy! He went around shooting everyone and then felt guilty and then had the sunlight on his face and then died. Pansy ass Dalek. A Star Trek Next Generation Dalek!
Can you at least admit that that episode introduced a Dalek shaped creature?
It introduced a Dalek shaped creature, yes.
Do you think these Daleks looked a bit nastier?
Well they haven’t done anything yet!
Do you think they managed to pull off the Dalek army at the end?
Yeah it looked good.
Really? I thought it looked a bit lame. Especially compared to what you get in later seasons.
Well compared to the old series it was art!
They used to get Dalek blow ups in the classic series and have them in the background.
What Dalek wallpaper?
Kind of. What was your favourite of the three shows they parodied?
I don’t like What Not to Wear or whatever its called. Pair of snobs tramping into your house and telling what you look good in. I have a mirror for that, loves. Big Brother I never watch because it’s a load of horse shit that manufactures talentless celebrities. I do like The Weakest Link. The only show of the three where you require a brain.
I heard you trying to answer the questions like you do when you really watch it.
Well except the ones that were made up.
That’s a lie because you shouted out the answer to the Face of Boe question you loser!
One of them was about a planet called Lucifer. I didn’t know that.
I think that’s from one of the books – Lucifer Rising.
Oh dear…only special people would know that.
Its not supposed to be a quiz show! Its supposed to be a Doctor Who episode!
Inverted commas. Rolls eyes. Can’t we watch the next one?
No we’re still discussing this one.
Round it off then so we can get back to it. I want to see how it ends!
So The Weakest Link was your favourite?
Yeah it was fun. And everybody would now about them. There’s nobody in England who hasn’t at least heard of The Weakest Link.
Shall I run a poll?
If you said to anyone on the street do you know the concept of Big Brother they would say yes.
What is the concept then.
They go into this badly designed studio house and act like idiots and bitch at each other and then they release a fitness DVD. It’s a place where they make fake celebrities.
Were you convinced that Rose was dead the first time you watched it?
Just from what we saw there was no way Rose was ever going to be dead.
What about Lynda with a Y? Could she be a companion?
You always say that!
No to that question.
That’s what I was going to ask you! Whenever I ask you do you think…will be a good companion you always say no accept for that boring Adam kid.
That’s because he was good looking.
Y Lynda is too sweet and not kick ass enough.
So you’ve got to be Emma Peel in order to travel in the TARDIS these days?
Oh spare me. The Avengers?
Oh Joanna Lumley! Yeah, she’d be great! Or Jennifer Garner in Alias. Actually she would be a good companion. She could put on various aliases depending on where they are.
That was supposed to be Kamelion.
Lets no go there unless we have to.
Fair enough. Can we watch the next one now?
Almost. What was your favourite bit?
Umm…(long pause)…I thought it was an all round good one.
You thought the last one was an all round good one. And the two before that!
They are on a good run I have to admit. I gave two fives to The Empty Child and a four to Margaret Slitheen –
Stupid title. I now re-christen it Margaret Slitheen.
That’s a stupid title too.
Better than Boom Town. Anyway I gave that four stars so we’ll split the diff because it wasn’t quite as good as one but a bit better than the other so four and half stars. I think the next one will be a five from what I remember.
Only because Christopher Eccleston leaves!
Yeah lovely. Although he’s not been bad in these last few. He’s found his feet.
High praise! Do you think Billie Piper returning in the next season is a good idea?
Definitely, although as far as I remember she is still common.
That’s because she’s lower class! You have a real issue with common people. You are hardly upper class yourself.
I am working class but I can speak properly. Rose can’t. She’s common. Not quite dole scum…actually no Jackie is with her cries of compensation. I just find myself wanting to correct Rose all the time with her grammar. She never pronounces her Ts!
A good lead in to the next one which hopefully we’ll be able to watch now.
****half out of *****
The Parting of the Ways
Good title. I never thought about that before.
What because Jack and the Doctor part company?
Well everyone parts company. The Doctor regenerates. Jack dies and gets brought back to life and then they leave him behind.
Okay my first finale question is do you think Christopher Eccleston could have done a second season (if he had chosen to)?
Yeah at the end of the season despite what I said at the beginning he was much better than he was at the start. He definitely could have done a second season if he carried on that way he would have been fine. People might like him more if he had. But then we wouldn’t have Tennant and I wouldn’t be happy.
Do you think that it is quite radical at the end of the first series of something to recast the lead the actor?
Well they had no chose because he’d left. They had no choice in the matter. It was either recast and wish for luck or cancel the show. They probably wouldn’t have regenerated him if he had chosen to stay on because it is a big shake up very soon. David Tennant is a good actor and would probably have gotten another role had that happened and things would be very different.
I’m almost afraid to mention it but how did the Daleks compare to the Dalek earlier in the series?
What the sunlight on the face Dalek? Oh yeah they were much better in this one. Much more menacing. Much scarier.
What was your favourite bit with the Daleks?
Erm… I liked the bit where Anne Robinson blew them up! Who saw that coming?
Do you think they had the resources to pull off a whole Dalek army?
Well I would say so. I mean compare them to The Chase when they had three going in that spaceship and coming round the corner to suggest a whole army!
You’ve name checked two classic stories now this season. You’re becoming a fan.
The Chase and City of Death.
I am not a Doctor Who fan.
I beg to differ.
But anyway you could see a dozen or more on one set in this one. It felt like they had numbers. I reckon this was the most they spent on an episode this season.
You could tell then?
Yeah. Good ending. Good episode.
What about the weird religious angle then?
Well they’ve gone nuts, haven’t they?
Usually there’s a Nazi parallel but this was more of a psycho church angle.
They’ve been hanging around for over 100 years twiddling their suckers and the only thing they’ve had to rely on is the Emperor who has arranged to bring people along and turn them into Daleks. I suppose there is a divine being parallel in there somewhere. Making them in his own image. I don’t know if I liked this though – it might be the one thing I didn’t like about it because it pisses me off that religion is never portrayed in a good way in the media. In fictional media. All villains seem to have a God complex and you often see crazy religious cults and things. It would be nice for somebody to buck the trend.
What about the first gay kiss in Doctor Who?
Its bit stupid, isn’t it?
Is it acceptable?
Well yes but was it necessary? It wasn’t necessary at that moment – a hug would have done. It strikes me as Russell T Davies trying to get a bit of publicity – The Sun probably lapped it up.
You’re starting to see the gay agenda now?
Its fine but you don’t want too much of it otherwise you’ve gone too far the other way and its alienating the straight kids. What’s that word you use when it isn’t needed.
Yeah that’s what it was. But then so was kissing Rose. Who says goodbye to friends with a kiss on the lips? Do you?
What about when he flirted with that bloke.
The bloke in the shirt who died.
I bet that actor was thrilled to be remembered by you as ‘the bloke in the shirt.’ I wonder if he put that on his CV?
Was it Davish?
Yeah. That flirting wasn’t so over the top. I mean each year you have to top the last one with the season finales so we had lip on lip action this year. What’s next year…oral? The year after…anal? Season four ends with a great orgy in the TARDIS! Flirting is fine in a family show but do we really need kissing and the rest in Doctor Who?
You think that series two should be ‘less gay?’
I think they should be less everything. You don’t need gay or straight references. Just get on with telling the stories. Fight monsters and save the day.
You said the complete opposite in The Empty Child.
Yeah I think I’m growing as a person. Is this supposed to be an engine of change on a social level or is it a Doctor Who episode?
I think what Davies was trying to do was inject a real human element into the show because he knew it wouldn’t be a success as just a science fiction show. You can add in all the crazy science fiction element as long as there is domestic element to hook the audience.
Hmm…I’m conflicted now on this whole issue.
Shall we come back to this after the next gay reference?
I don’t think there are any.
What did you think about Rose in her swansong with this Doctor?
Aww I love the bit where he sent her back in the TARDIS. He did what he promised to Jackie and sent her home. I liked the scene in the café because anything after that everything would seem very mundane and dull and to be talking about pizza parlours opening after fighting Daleks! I mean come on! Wasn’t she good when she had the time vortex in her head blasting the Daleks away! And I noticed…she spoke really good English when she was super Rose!
Are you kidding me? That’s what you were focussing on?
The TARDIS made her less common! She wasn’t dropping her letters. I approve. I really liked that ending because it reminded me of the ending of Buffy season four when they made her super Buffy and kicked Adam’s ass. It was similar feel.
I guess that makes Rose the most single handed companion ever now she has destroyed an entire Dalek army single handedly?
Well she had a little help. But she was pretty kick ass.
Are you sold on Rose now? Or is she still ‘has potential?’
What did I think of her at the beginning, remind me…
You thought the character was a bit stiff…
Oh no, yeah, no I remember! I really think she got better and better ever since the World War II episodes. They both did. Their confidence as a team feels as if it has grown. I think the writing has improved but I don’t know if that is the reason. Is it a case of an actor is only as good as the writing?
I don’t agree with that. I think an actor can take a bad part and make something of it. Maybe next year we should find a part which is badly written and played by a good actor?
Good idea. Then we’ll have proof.
You’re happy for Rose to go through to series two? You don’t think they need a shake up?
Not yet or there would be too much change. I think it needs some continuity to it otherwise there is no familiarity. They would be starting all over again. It was fine when Matt Smith took over and everything was brand new because the show needed a big shake up at that point to keep people interested. But this early on some stability is nice.
Bad Wolf; naff or resolved well?
No…yeah… Sorry I’m not making any sense. I thought it pulled the references together very well in the end. It worked as giving Rose a nod that there was something that she could do to help even though she didn’t know what. It gave her the nod that this wasn’t over because the reference was there in big unsubtle chalk letters.
I’ve never really thought about it but all those messages were guiding her to here.
Not guiding her exactly. There was nothing telling her what to do.
Why then didn’t she write ‘go back to the space station’ instead?
Well it’s a bit long, isn’t it?
That’s too obscure. How would you put that in the Charles Dickens one? Having Gwen scream ‘GO BACK!’ The Go Back nuclear power station? ‘Go Back One is descending?’ Erm, no. I’m glad you’re not writing this show. I wonder where he got the term Bad Wolf from. Is it an anagram?
No its from a fairy tale, isn’t it?
Nah I swear its an anagram. Flad Wob?
What are you talking about?
I dunno I think I’ve gone a bit strange watching 13 episodes of Doctor Who.
They do use an anagram later.
What’s that an anagram of? No don’t tell me we can wait till we get there.
What about Mickey and Jackie?
Yeah they’re always welcome. It brought Jackie on board with what the Doctor is willing to do for Rose to protect her. Plus I liked the mention of her dad – that little scene was better than the whole of the one he appeared in! Mickey was fine and he’s finally sorted his hair out. Didn’t he have awful hair earlier in the season?
You said something interesting earlier about science fiction. Do you think this show would work without all the domestic elements then? If it was just rebels and monsters and stuff with Jackie, Mickey and Rose would it be as interesting to watch?
I guess it would be a Stargate episode instead. I’m not sure because the old Doctor Who’s didn’t have the families and that chugged along nicely for two decades. They don’t do enough alien that’s for sure. Its always on bloody Earth.
They make more of an effort next year. The first episode is on a new planet.
Yeah New Earth! I rest my case. What’s the one after that?
Erm…The Impossible Planet.
A black hole?
Yeah but its still alien!
And after that?
Erm…Earth, Earth, Earth, Earth…the Moon! In Smith and Jones!
The moon? Ooh that’s really getting out there. I supposed by sticking to the Earth you do have something investment in the characters.
Do you have that investment in these characters then? Do you like Rose?
No don’t say it painfully.
Then I can’t answer.
You don’t like her then?
Ummm…would I chose her as a friend?
Do you like Jackie?
Do you like Mickey?
Definitely! Stop talking about what’s coming! Sorry gentle viewer.
Nobody’s watching this. They’re reading.
Sorry gentle reader. Lets just say I like Rose more now than I did and leave it at that. I just wish she would speak properly.
Donna doesn’t talk properly! ‘Copyright Donna Noble…’
Actually I think you’ll find she says that line with proper BBC English.
Oh yeah. Damn.
‘They had the reception…without me!’ At least she says her Ts! Rose would say ‘withaaaaat me!’
Oh we haven’t even talked about the regeneration which is quite important! Any good?
Yeah I thought it was good.
What regenerations can you remember from previous Doctors? William Hartnell..
Fell over, didn’t he?
I can’t remember the regeneration scene but I do remember the story. At the end of The War Games they made him into a new person. Exiled him to Earth for nicking the TARDIS.
I’ve never seen that one. I would like to see that one actually.
That was weird. That was bizarre. There was that man in white everywhere and he suddenly walked along and climbed inside him and the result was Peter Davison. ‘The end is here but it has been prepared for!’ or something like that. I remember Tegan following his fall to the ground and she made it look as if he fell in about half a second! Bloody funny. That one wasn’t the best.
I don’t remember.
Caves of Androzani…saving Peri’s life…the milk of a Queen bat…
I thought that was Jon Pertwee. Or was that a spider? Have I seen that one?
You got bored. We watched some of the first episode and you begged me to turn it off after Peri’s accent slips. Which would be heresy to anybody reading this because its often considered the best ever Doctor Who story.
Really? A Peter Davison story?
Do you remember Colin Baker into Sylvester McCoy?
Yeah it was Sylvester McCoy wearing a wig. They didn’t quite put the same effort into it that they do now.
Sylvester McCoy into Paul McGann?
Yeah he got shot! That was great moment. I kept rewinding it to experience it again and again.
Why is that a good moment?
Because he’s shit!
Don’t you remember when he regenerated and was doing that funny face?
Oh yeah…he’s the only Doctor to die having an orgasm. Argh mental image of Sylvester McCoy having an orgasm! Mind bleach! But we never saw a regeneration from Paul McGann into Christopher Eccleston. Maybe they should have made Eccleston wear a wig like McCoy did. Imagine if the show had started like that?
How did this compare to the others that you have seen?
Much more dramatic! It was a very good regeneration for a modern audience.
It’s the first time he’s explained it before its happened. Before he’s just regenerated and they’ve had to pick up the pieces.
Its called better writing.
Its to explain to the kids that he’s going to be safe even though it looks like he’s dying.
Sum up Parting of the Ways then.
It was a good end to the season and certainly capped off a strong second half of the season. It promises a lot as well with just a few seconds of David Tennant. I give it a full five because I thought it was very satisfying. The Daleks were a lot better, the Bad Wolf was well explained, Rose kicked ass and the regeneration was great.
***** out of *****