Archive for the ‘ Series One ’ Category

“The Parting of the Ways” – Review: Redux

The Doctor “Time Lords have this little trick, it’s sort of a way of cheating death, except, it means I’m gonna change. And I’m not gonna see you again, not like this, not with this daft old face.”

The Parting of the Ways

It was the worst kept secret in Doctor Who circles (and pretty poorly kept in general public circles too) that, once the departure of Christopher Eccleston had been leaked on to the front pages of the papers, Series One of the relaunched show would conclude with a regeneration. Some may have speculated that the first Christmas Special would focus on the regeneration story but anyone who had kept a beady eye on CE’s various interviews around launch time would have known this was not to be the case. “I’ve already done the long haul” he bemoaned to everyone listening, suggesting no more of his incarnation would be forthcoming. It was a great ambition for production team to include a surprise regeneration as the ending but, perhaps it was to be one ambition too far for such a young show. Continue reading

“Bad Wolf” – Review: Redux

The Doctor: “No! ‘Cause this is what I’m going to do: I’m going to rescue her! I’m going to save Rose Tyler from the middle of the Dalek fleet! And then I’m going to save the Earth! And then, just to finish off, I’m going to wipe every last stinking Dalek out of the sky!”

Bad WolfIf I recall correctly, the title of this episode was a closely guarded secret and remained unknown for quite some time until mere days before broadcast. It’s an odd thing in hindsight that the phrase Bad Wolf had turned up in nearly every story up till this point, but the revelation that we were all expecting (given this episode’s title) did not happen till the following week. Makes you wonder why they guarded the secret episode title so preciously. Interestingly (or not), it is also in this episode that the reason for the title of “The Long Game” is actually revealed. The fact that I was expecting revelations that never came could’ve undermined the on-screen antics but there was an awful lot of fun stuff that was supremely rewarding in its own way. Although, having said that, on screen things started off a little shakily to the extent that I was beginning to think that a turkey of Slitheen proportions was about to be served up. Continue reading

“Boomtown” – Review: Redux

Captain Jack Harkness: “Who the hell are you?”
Mickey Smith: “What do you mean who the hell am I? Who the hell are you?”

Boomtown

Boom Town got mixed reviews on first showing and in hindsight this may have been because it was shown following after the incomparable “The Empty Child” / “The Doctor Dances” double bill, which will undoubtedly become one of the classic stories of the 43 years of this show’s history. It is certainly a filler episode, set in contemporary Cardiff (i.e. on the doorstep of the production team’s home) and features a re-use of the Slitheen (thankfully fart-free) so soon after their debut, so from a production viewpoint you get the feeling straight away that they are trying to save a little cash. Not that that is a bad thing, necessity is, after all, the mother of invention. Throughout, I got the impression that there was one great idea (the restaurant scene) and everything else needed to fit around it, which superficially sounds a bit negative. However, Boom Town like The Long Game earlier on, actually gets better on second viewing. Continue reading

“The Doctor Dances” – Review: Redux

The Doctor: “Everybody lives, Rose! Just this once, everybody lives!”

The Doctor Dances

It could be argued that Richard Willson was a little underused. A single scene in the first part with his pre-zombification “What was the cause of death? … There wasn’t one” speech, and an amusing denouement at the conclusion of this one was yet another beautifully understated scene with crackling dialogue. However, few guest stars could possibly have had the impact on to the world of Doctor Who than one of the other stars of this story, of course, John Barrowman. His Captain Jack Harkness was a character so successful that he went on to be a companion in his own right, get multiple returns to the show, and get four series of his own spin-off series, Torchwood. Of course, you could argue that Captain Jack’s first appearance in Who was “The End of the World” in his future guise as the Face of Boe, if you choose to believe that slightly ambiguous hint at the end of Series Three. Continue reading

“The Empty Child” – Review: Redux

Constantine: “Before this war began, I was a father and a grandfather. Now I am neither. But I’m still a doctor.”
Doctor: “Yeah. I know the feeling.”

The Empty Child

With the broadcast of “The Empty Child” fandom welcomed Steven Moffat back to the wacky world of Doctor Who after his brief foray into the arena with 1999’s Comic Relief spectacular “The Curse of Fatal Death”. In that multi-Doctor mini episode you can detect the tiniest little flavour of what this writer would bring to Who. However, despite that, I think it’s safe to say that I had not really heard a great deal about ‘The Moff’ before he was commissioned to write this two-part tale compromising of today’s episode and tomorrow’s “The Doctor Dances”. I’d watched Coupling and Press Gang without really bothering to find out who had  written them, and I’d probably seen some other work of his as well but, after watching the 90 minutes of this World War Two story unfold, I certainly went back to find out as much as I could about his back-catalogue. Continue reading

“Father’s Day” – Review: Redux

The Doctor: “The entire Earth’s being sterilized. This, and other places like it, are all that’s left of the human race. We might hold out for awhile, but nothing can stop those creatures. They’ll get through in the end; the walls aren’t that old. And there’s nothing I can do to stop them. There used to be laws stopping this kind of thing from happening – my people would have stopped this. But they’re all gone. And now, I’m going the same way.”

Fathers Day

“Father’s Day” introduced an extremely significant character into Rose’s life: her father, Pete, in an episode written by the lovely Paul Cornell. A few years ago, long after the episode had been broadcast I was lucky enough to be at a Bristol Comic Expo during which Paul gave a live commentary on the episode. One of the many things he mentioned early on was about the acting talents of Shaun Dingwall, who went on to play Pete Tyler a number of times throughout the first two series. Mr Cornell said (and I paraphrase here), “Look at the eyes. Shaun doesn’t necessarily have to do too much in certain scenes, but when you look at his eyes you can see that he is living every moment”. Since then I’ve not been able to watch any of Shaun’s episodes without looking at his eyes and it’s absolutely right, he doesn’t look like he’s acting at all, it’s effortless. He’s a consummate professional and one of the understated stars of Doctor Who in 2005/6. Continue reading

“The Long Game” – Review: Redux

The Editor: “Create a climate of fear and it’s easy to keep the borders closed. It’s just a matter of emphasis. The right word in the right broadcast repeated often enough can destabilize an economy, invent an enemy, change a vote.”

The Long Game

“The Long Game” is one of those episodes that might have had everything going for it. To begin with there was a stellar guest cast including the Olivier Award-winning Tamsin Greig (Episodes, Green Wing), double BAFTA winner, Anna Maxwell-Martin (Bleak House, Poppy Shakespeare) and Simon Pegg (Star Trek, Mission Impossible and every Edgar Wright movie ever). There was the added dynamic of having a new companion on board (although almost everyone viewing knew that Bruno Langley’s Adam was not going to be travelling onboard the TARDIS for too long). And there were two lead actors who, by this time, were settling in to their roles with gusto. Where then, many fans will ask, did it all go wrong? Continue reading

“Dalek” – Review: Redux

Dalek: “I demand orders.”
The Doctor: “Well they’re never gonna come. Your race is dead. You all burned, all of you. Ten million ships on fire. The entire Dalek race, wiped out in one second.”
Dalek: “You lie.”
The Doctor: “I watched it happen. I made it happen.”
Dalek: “You destroyed us?”
The Doctor: “I had no other choice.”
Dalek: “And what of the Time Lords?”
The Doctor: “Dead. They burnt with you. The end of the last great Time War. Everyone lost.”

Dalek

Six days in, and I’m sticking with it. This retrospective series continues with a look back at episode six of the first series, “Dalek”, and it’s no big surprise who makes their reappearance in this one. However, it was not always going to be the case. As soon as the jubilation around the announcement of the commissioning had died down, one of the first questions asked was “Are the Daleks coming back?”, the production team wanted the answer to be in the affirmative but there was an obstacle. The rights to the Daleks were held, not by the BBC, but, by the Terry Nation estate and there was a huge amount of negotiation and behind the scenes shenanigans about the use of the famous pepperpots. It reached the point where news came out of BBC Wales that they had not secured the rights after all and a new monster would be used in the story in place of the Dalek. Continue reading

“World War Three” – Review: Redux

“Raxacoricofallapatorius!” The Doctor

World War Three

“World War Three” had a job to do in my eyes, much like the military investigating the crashed spaceship in part one, it had to salvage something from the wreckage of the disappointing end the previous episode with its ruined cliffhanger and rubbish rubber-suited monster. This episode along with “Aliens of London” and “Rose” had collectively made up Block One of the recording schedule, under the directorship of Keith Boak. Given that the first episode of the renewed series was included in this batch, it’s importance should not be understated, but is there something rotten in the Estate of Powell? Continue reading

“Aliens of London” – Review: Redux

“Rickey, If I was to tell you what I was doing to the controls of my frankly magnificent time ship, would you even begin to understand?” The Doctor
“Well, I suppose not…” Mickey
“Well, shut it, then.” The Doctor

Aliens of London

If I were to write a potted history of the re-launched series of Doctor Who, which in a way, I am, I think I would take a moment to consider the impact of “Aliens of London / World War Three” being the first two-part story of the era. In my childhood, Doctor Who was all about cliff-hangers, a moment of jeopardy at the end of (what seemed like) every episode that kept me coming back for more, week after week after week. Hindsight is a wonderful thing though, and re-watching these self-same cliff-hangers on Classic DVDs with benefit of, all-too-often, cynical 42 year-old eyes does make me think that more often than not they didn’t really deliver on the premise. However, there would be no telling that to my 10 year old self who loved every second of them, and who’d talk about them endlessly on Mondays at school before embarking on another make believe episode set around the netball courts of the school playground with best fiend, Tommy. Oddly, as an aside, our version of Playground Doctor Who had the theme music of Haircut 100’s ‘Love Plus One’…. Don’t ask, I couldn’t possibly tell you. Continue reading