Doctor Who Series 2, BBC1

by | Jul 8, 2006 | All, Reviews

Doctor Who: New Earth, BBC1,

Did we like it?

David Tennant makes a splendid Doctor while Billie Piper did a good comic turn, and the story, like many Timelord classics, was a skewed sci-fi mirror of contemporary society.

What was good about it?

• David Tennant as the Doctor. After his muted entrance in the Christmas Invasion, Tennant assumed the role with a unique blend of quirkiness, outrage and charm.

• Billie Piper playing the ‘possessed’ Rose as she transformed from bedazzled Londoner to the aloof persona of a vengeful, embittered flap of skin who, to paraphrase Russell T Davies, is the logical conclusion of the aging Hollywood actress forced to slim to ludicrous lengths to keep the roles coming in.

• The clever dialogue that managed to smuggle some pretty ribald exchanges through a cunning technique of making the mild profanity being substituted by cutting to a different conversation that began with a word sounding similar to the offensive barb.

An enraged Cassandra (Zoe Wanamaker) plotting her retribution on Rose spat: “I can be revenged on that…” Cut to the Doctor and Rose in mid-conversation, just as Rose says: “…Bit rich coming from you!”

And when Cassandra reveals she was healed after exploding in the first series as her new skin was taken from her back, Rose chortles: “So you’re talking out of your…” Cassandra: “…Ask not!”

• The cameo from the Duke of Manhattan, who was slowly being petrified, and his fastidious, prissy personal assistant who appended any gesture of friendship from her boss with the verbose, mechanical phrases usually found only in the legal text of onerous documents.

• Billie Piper’s convincing transformation from Rose Rose into Cassandra Rose, especially when she was trying to be a cockney.

• Continuing the great tradition of social commentary of extrapolating present-day moral questions into the sci-fi world. Although this episode featured one of the more biased perspectives to rank alongside The Green Death that vilified the ruination of the environment for capitalist gain, as the thousands of ‘humans’ bred specifically for medical ‘research’ and thus enable the feline Sisters of Plenitude to find a cure for all illnesses were an obvious metaphor for animal testing. And while this may have offered the chance for an objective debate on the rights and wrongs of that argument, the Doctor acting as the moral compass snarled that if the patients with terminal diseases “only live because of this then life is worthless”.

• The satisfying conclusion in which the Doctor cured all the human ‘lab rats’ of their universal illnesses and in doing so gave birth to a new genus of humanity.

What was bad about it?

• The shambling plague-bearers resembled zombies from the plethora of monster films too much, all automatons shuffling and reaching out mindlessly. Admittedly we did learn, when Cassandra briefly possessed one of them, that they just wanted to be loved as if they’d had Smiths songs pumped into their cubicles for all their tortured lives.

• As with some of the first series, 45 minutes isn’t really long enough to introduce essentially a whole new cast of characters, expound on the wondrous medical advances made by the year 45 billion and then squeeze in an incrementally dramatic script, too. Of course Russell T Davies is a master of his art, but almost as soon as the Sisters of Plenitude were unmasked as callous villains they were swamped by the hordes of pustule-ridden zombies.

Doctor Who: Tooth And Claw, BBC1, Saturday 22 April 2006

• The whole episode was essentially just a single chase as the ravenous werewolf sough to infect Queen Victoria with lycanthropy, and therefore the whole royal lineage in order to put into place its dastardly alien plot, as yet unknown, to control the future of humanity.

• Employing the classic, and somewhat banal, setting of people trapped inside a house with a monster and making it seem innovative and thrilling. This was partly achieved by establishing an uneasy relationship between the Doctor and Rose and Queen Victoria and her cohorts as an alliance of expedience meaning that the lulls in the chase were overflowing with distrustful dialogue.

• Pauline Collins was superb as Queen Victoria. In a land currently awash with obsequious tributes to Her Majesty on her 80th birthday, here was the polar opposite impression of someone with royal blood. She scowled at Rose’s infantile attempts to get her to say “I am not amused” (and at the same time allow the script to take a dig at schoolkids’ ignorance of British history as consisting of soundbites and battles), verbally duelled with the Doctor when she noticed that his accent had changed from Scots as the chase became more frenetic, and shot dead the leader of the monks who had plotted to get her infected with lycanthropy while hardly batting an eyelid.

• There was also time to even squeeze in a parody of the silliness of horror films (and giving the excellence of the rest of the script we think it must have been a parody) of men drowning in either their own testosterone or misguided sense of duty who tossed away their lives in an attempt to stem the inexorable advance of the werewolf. The head servant was puffing out his chest about how he would kill the beast with his pistol when he was snatched to his doom a la Aliens; the Queen’s guard captain tried to stall it as it chased the Doctor and co into the library and held it up for… oooh about three seconds (when he could quite easily have made it to the sanctuary); and the lord of the manor senselessly sacrificed himself outside the observatory, stalling the werewolf for only a little longer than the guard, and that was probably only because the werewolf was picking the flesh from his fangs.

• The special effects of the werewolf itself were stunning. Which actually came as a little bit of a surprise, as in the preview they looked a little ropey.

• The opening sequence in which the order of monks subdued the servants of the manor in a sequence of martial arts moves that would have been more at home in Hong Kong than on the halfway-house to Balmoral.

• Again, cheekily on the weekend of the Queen’s birthday (even more so when the human suitcase Prince Andrew revealed the Queen used to watch the show), it was suggested that the whole of the Royal Family were in fact werewolves, but the mutation would only be visibly manifested “at the start of the 21st century”. But it was also not disclosed just what breed of alien the werewolf was, hopefully making it part of the series story arc that worked so successfully last time.

• The Doctor bluffing that he was “from Balamory”.

• It was much, much scarier than Doctor Who ever used to be. If we were children we wouldn’t just need a sofa to hide behind, we’d have to hire out a nuclear bunker to feel safe. And it also makes us feel silly for being terrified of monsters that look as though they’d just dropped out of a Christmas cracker.

• Appropriating the idea behind John Carpenter’s The Thing by having the alien as a single cell that infects and invades the human body before transforming the host into a feral fiend.

• The Doctor playing Ian Dury’s Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick as he tried to guide the TARDIS to 1979 Sheffield to take in a concert, but missed by 100 years and 200 or so miles.

Doctor Who: School Reunion, BBC1, Saturday 29 April 2006

The best:

• Anthony Head as the slimy leader of the Kryllitans, a race of rat-bat aliens that looked like Frank Skinner with Jade Goody’s lips. The best bit was the confrontation around the school swimming pool as they sized each other up before promising to meet later for a final duel.

• The return of Elisabeth Sladen as Sarah Jane Smith. While we’re too young to remember her in the 70s, we have seen the reruns on UK Gold and she is the most appealing companion. It also dealt with her sorrow at the way she was just dumped by Tom Baker’s Doctor in a non-descript street in Britain (that we finally learned wasn’t South Croydon but Aberdeen).

• Rose’s realisation that there have been many assistants before her, and that she has a place in the Doctor’s affections only on a par with Sarah Jane.

• In dramas, the killing of children is largely forbidden. The murder and subsequent devouring of sweet, orphaned little girls is almost unheard of outside of the more gruesome versions of Little Red Riding Hood. And the murder and devouring of sweet, orphaned little girls with a sense of comic panache must be unique.

• While the Kryllitans dousing the chips with oil that makes the school pupils susceptible to their evil machinations was a more obvious piece of social commentary, less apparent was the blinding of children with the senseless application of technology.

The worst:

• We’re sorry to have to keep banging on about this, but 45 minutes just isn’t long enough to tell stories such as School Reunion. It can work – witness last week’s thrilling Tooth And Claw or the poignant Father’s Day from the first series. But here the rushed script stripped away almost all of the dramatic tension. We’ve never cared less about the future of the universe as the Kryllitans tried to decode the building blocks of the universe using the IQ-boosted school pupils. Ten minutes later, and it was all over with the aliens splattered around a grimy school kitchen and the barely-caring universe happily going about its omnipresent business.

• K9 didn’t die. We’re disappointed with this only because we’re over the age of nine, but that mutt was the most annoying feature of the Tom Baker years. And we experienced a sense of joyous retribution when he went up in flames with the Kryllitans. Only for the Doctor to have rebuilt him (again).

Doctor Who: The Girl In The Fireplace, BBC1, Saturday 6 May 2006

Highlights

• The glorious, but silly, ending when the Doctor smashed through a ‘time window’ that was also a grand mirror in the Palace of Versailles in the 18th century on horseback to save the enchanting Madame De Pompadour from the clutches of the misguided repair robots from the future. We found out on Doctor Who Confidential that Stephen Moffat pleaded to keep this scene in despite the huge difficulties and cost it presented to the production team such as the owner of the regal home where it was filmed being reluctant to let a horse stomp all over his flawless floors.

• The ultimately tragic romance between the Doctor and Madame De Pompadour, which began when the Doctor kept bursting into her room through a time window from a spaceship from the 51st century whose robotic occupants believed they needed the 37-year-old head of Madame P to fix their craft. When he first encountered her, he became a paternal figure to save her from the robot that had infiltrated her bedroom; but on his next visit (just minutes later for him, but a decade or so for her) she had matured into a confident, articulate young woman who stole his heart in a wink. The most poignant moment was when the Doctor, excited at finding a way home, slipped back to his own time without realising that it could be years before they meet again, and only being aware of this when Madame P let out a strangulated, anguished “no”. When he returned here body was leaving to be buried. Still, at least the actors involved had a happy ending.

• The script, by Stephen Moffat, was also brave enough to hint at ‘human’ weaknesses in the Doctor. As he probed Madame P’s mind to elicit the reason why the clockwork robots were literally after her head, she simultaneously ventured into his thoughts and saw a lonely little boy, awarding the Doctor an emotional profundity which we can’t ever recall seeing before. And Madame P’s charisma was enough to dampen the ardent jealousy of Rose when the pair chatted delicately over the Doctor’s plans to save her.

• This episode also had a welcome, witty dose of humour. The Doctor staggering in to the robots’ lair pretending to be drunk on French wine in order to save Mickey and Rose. The acknowledgment that no effort had been made to ‘age’ Sophia Myles’ Madame P from about 23 to 37 as the Doctor greeted her with “you don’t look a day older”. And when Madame P valiantly resisted the efforts of the robots to take her back to the ship, insisting she wouldn’t “set foot there” provoking the robot to drolly riposte “we don’t need your feet”.

• The clockwork robots were novel enough, even if they were evocative of the ornate, beautiful mechanoids in the Tom Baker story Robots of Death.

• The promo for next week’s Cybermen episode has given us ample time to construct a shelter from which to cower from the TV screen.

Doctor Who: Rise of the Cybermen, BBC1, Saturday 13 May 2006

The good:

• The Cybermen storming Jackie Tyler’s 40th birthday party – smashing through the windows before killing the president of Great Britain (the wonderful Don Warrington) and most of the other guests and cornering the Doctor, Rose, her ‘dad’, Mickey, Ricky and some freedom fighters opposed to the tyrannical John Lumic’s plans for world domination.

• The alternate Earth with its slightly kinked society was very well realised, with myriad zeppelins soaring across the London skyline and direct downloads of corporate information into the brains of the populace. It will be a disappointment if next week the Doctor ‘wins’ and saves this worthless alternate reality.

• Because Rise Of The Cybermen is a two-parter, the pacing was much better than recent episodes. The mystery of just how the Cybermen were created resolved in a horrid, but satisfying, manner as the hungry vagrants were sliced and diced in Lumic’s factory until all that was left was an unthinking mind inside a steel, humanoid cage. All of which left more space for the story to breathe rather than cramping the scenes together like mice, gerbils, rats and hamsters in cages ready to be flogged off in an everything-must-go sale in a closing down pet shop.

• The moment when the pedestrians stopped dead in servile silence to receive the latest download from Cybus Corporation.

• To the uninitiated, the Cybermen seemed like a rip-off of Star Trek’s Borg when it is evident that it is the other way around.

• Tight Fit’s The Lion Sleeps Tonight being used by Lumic’s henchman to muffle the screams of the tramps as they are butchered into Cybermen.

• One of the biggest flaws of the previous series was the ruining of cliffhangers by showing a clip of the next show during the closing credits. That was avoided in this episode although, of course we know the Doctor will somehow find a way out of the ring of Cybermen.

• Mickey being properly filled in as a person, even if it is only a cynical ploy to elicit maximum viewer sympathy if he departs in the next episode.

The bad:

• The opening scene where a prototype Cyberman had just been awakened and Lumic’s head scientist demanded that Geneva be informed of this new lifeform. But, like something out of any number of bad sci-fi movies before, Lumic ordered his metallic leviathan to kill the scientist for his ethical views as a demonstration to the audience of the power of the new Cybermen, but the whole scene was stripped of almost all its impact because of its stale familiarity. Once the scientist had said he would protest, the dialogue seemed to have been sent through a timewarp from the Colin Baker years. “And how will you do that [protest] from beyond the grave?” exclaimed Lumic.

• Roger Lloyd-Pack as John Lumic seems to have been directed to speak in a monotone to illustrate his affinity with his monstrous creations, but this impaired the whole character as he was impelled to speak in CAPITAL LETTERS with no emotional intonation, also like the Cybermen, leaving him as a one-dimensional cipher whose only goal was to survive his terminal illness through any means necessary. Even Davros’ demented soliloquies were enhanced by him slowly building in a crescendo from a soothing yet sinister whisper to blaring like an air-raid siren with vocal chords – again mirroring his creations, but far more chilling.

• While the Tyler family were tolerable in the first series as a way of giving the relaunch a human bedrock, transferring them into the alternate reality and then shifting them from the epitome of everyday folk to the alternate society’s elite, with Mickey/Ricky as the leader of the resistance to Lumic, was too convenient. While we applaud the reasons for doing so – not to waste time introducing new characters and providing a reason for the Doctor and Rose to be present when the Cybermen and Lumic begin the coup – it did stretch credulity beyond breaking point. Still, Colin Baker and Sylvester McCoy had to put up with Bonnie Langford’s Mel and Tom Baker had to share the spotlight with K9 so we should be thankful the Tylers aren’t that bad.

• The Cybermen became iconic without a trademark catchphrase – unlike the Daleks (“Exterminate!”) or the Borg (“Assimilate!”) – and their new cry of “Delete!” made them sound like they’re urging a colleague to wipe the pornography they’ve downloaded from their computer at work.

Doctor Who: The Age of Steel, BBC1, Saturday 20 May 2006

Highlights

• The fantastic, relentless action as firstly the population of London were funnelled into the Cyber-factory to be transformed into mindless, automatons – if you didn’t see it imagine the soulless blank faces you see queuing up for Robbie Williams tickets.

• The Cybermen then pursued the Doctor and his companions through the streets of London. The Cybermen marched like ex-Public Enemy member Professor Griff’s S1W platoon before killing Ricky as he clambered over a steel fence. And what was most impressive was that the Cybermen were numerous enough to look as though they had taken control of London rather than in the Sylvester McCoy era when any Cyber-invasion looked like a group of oddballs in fancy dress getting aggressive in the local cash ’n’ carry when their credit card was refused.

• While the three-pronged assault on Cybus Industries from above (Mickey and Jake attacking the zeppelin), below (the Doctor and Mrs Moore infiltrating through the ventilation/tunnel system) and the middle (Rose and Pete pretending to be in a catatonic state) owed something to the Five Doctors, it was superbly executed.

• And as Mickey urged Jake not to kill the guards, Rose and Pete met ‘Jackie’ after she had been converted into a Cyberman, while the Doctor was pursued through the narrow tunnels by the newly awakened Cybermen.

• And there was a satisfying conclusion as the Doctor won through his trademark ingenuity rather than by cheating, such as in the way the Daleks were exterminated, as he instructed Mickey on how to override the electronic chip that kept the Cybermen from feeling emotions, and once they did they went mad and died. And although the demise of John Lumic as the Cyber Controller was a little to close to Aliens for comfort, the episode was probably the best since the revival. But it wasn’t without its faults…

Lowlights

• The worst part was when the Doctor removed the emotion chip from a subdued Cyberman. Only it wasn’t a Cyberman, it was a Cyberwoman who suddenly regained all her emotions and memory. And much like the opener of the second series of Lost, it shows that superior dramas aren’t above the most craven theatrical devices more commonly seen in soaps. In Lost, Jack treated his future wife who had been going to look at wedding dresses; here the Cyberwoman muttered that it would be bad luck to see her husband on the day of their wedding. The effect this had was that up until that point, the drama had been so thrilling, so enrapturing that as in all engrossing drama you forget you’re watching a TV or a film screen, but now you had been ripped out of the narrative by this tacky device that only ever appears in TV or films, but usually pieces of a far lower quality than either Doctor Who or Lost.

• And also, the Cybermen, who were introduced as unstoppable metal leviathans, became a little weak as they were pushed out of the way by the Londoners as they fled the Cyber-factory like pensioners and their Zimmer frames being shoved around by people rushing to the Christmas sales.

• The Cybermen could have won. It’s an alternate reality, it wouldn’t have mattered in the Doctor had lost and John Lumic was free to rule the world in its “Age of Steel” as this would have enhanced the Cybermen’s reputation and fear factor. Mickey could still have done something heroic. But as the series climax involves more Cybermen, perhaps Mickey wasn’t able to purge them from the alternate reality and that world was conquered by the metallic menace.

Doctor Who: The Idiot’s Lantern, BBC1, Saturday 27 May 2006

Highlights

• The perturbing sight of the victims of The Wire having their faces rubbed out. It may have been a social comment on the brainwashing effect of TV, but was dampened by the fact that Dr Who is a TV programme itself.

• Maureen Lipman did what she could with the vacuous villain The Wire. But just like the Kryllitane in School Reunion, there was no background story of why she was acting the way she was, why she had come to Earth, or what her previous crimes were on her home planet.

• Dispelling the notion that the 1950s was a lost age of social harmony as the unpleasant Eddie Connolly (the excellent Jamie Foreman) oppressed his wife and son’s ambitions with his outdated masculine insecurities. There was also an allusion in the way Eddie informed the police of people whose faces had been wiped to the plight of the Jews in Nazi-occupied Europe that had occurred just over a decade before, where ordinary folk informed on their Jewish neighbours.

• The quite thrilling ending where the Doctor scaled a TV transmitter to stop the 20 million Britons watching the Queen’s Coronation from having their faces sucked off.

Doctor Who: The Impossible Planet, BBC1, Saturday 27 May 2006

Highlights

• Perhaps the most traditionally-British episode since the rebirth employing the classic elements of three rooms, a bunch of trapped people and a quarry. The quarry, we learned on Confidential, was something that Russell T Davies had wanted to put off for as long as possible, and even here it wasn’t recognisable after being transformed into a vast subterranean cavern.

• The in-joke of how many times the word “impossible” could be crow-barred into the script.

• Not only did it draw on British sci-fi, but also its own heritage. Yes, in essence it was a little too similar to the Tomb of the Cybermen and State of Decay in which the Doctor arrives just as something dreadful is emerging from hibernation, but it was so well-made and tautly scripted that it took on an identity of its own.

• The way in which the as-yet-unseen evil is manifesting itself such as transferring the baffling hieroglyphs onto the body of one of the human team trying to exploit the planet for its energy resources, as well as taking over the minds and bodies of the hapless Ood, imagine a slightly less obsequious Paul Burrell.

• The combination of writing and acting that made us care about the human team pretty much within moments of their introduction, but then again Lennie James is a brilliant actor and his performance was matched by the rest of the cast.

Doctor Who: The Satan Pit, Love & Monsters and Fear Her, BBC1

Highlights

• The Satan Pit had all the classic elements of a great Doctor Who adventure – a formidable cunning foe; playing with the audience’s perceptions so that it wasn’t revealed until quite late that the Devil had transplanted his consciousness into one of the humans; and a cast of great characters who, because their exploits were spread over two episodes, meant that by the time they expired or were saved we cared deeply about their fate.

• The innovative format for Love & Monsters as it followed Elton Pope as he tried to track the Doctor down with the rest of his little band of misfits, but who soon forgot about the Doctor as the group enjoyed one another’s company and even formed a band.

• Peter Kay’s Victor Kennedy was a burlesque grotesque who dispatched each of Elton’s hapless gang into his alien body, and brought a humorous touch to the episode.

• The idea behind why Chloe was selfishly causing the children in her street to disappear and reappear in her drawings, that of an alien who couldn’t bear to be alone, was quite inventive. However, just as in too many of the other episodes, there isn’t enough time to actually empathise with the alien and although David Tennant does his best to muse upon the loneliness of the long-distance extraterrestrial, there is little sense of compassion for either the alien or indeed Chloe who was well acted but artlessly sketched with a stereotypically abusive father.

Lowlights

• The conclusion of Love & Monsters was so impossibly bad it brought back memories of the Colin Baker years. Peter Kay had transformed into the gruesome alien who absorbed humans into his very being and he waddled after Elton Pope like something out of Benny Hill. As he cornered him, the TARDIS materialised and out stepped the Doctor and Rose who had been absent virtually the whole episode and who then confronted the monster with that kind of ‘trying-too-hard’ acting style as though it had been specially filmed for Blue Peter (who had organised the competition to dream up the monster).

• While Fear Her was an adequate story it seemed too much of a compromise both to children (who naturally prefer the scarier adult stuff) and those who don’t like science-fiction. But the most nauseating element for this adventure set in 2012 was the poster for Shayne Ward’s greatest hits, which was an implicit endorsement of pre-packaged tripe.

Doctor Who: The Satan Pit, Love & Monsters and Fear Her, BBC1

Highlights

• The Satan Pit had all the classic elements of a great Doctor Who adventure – a formidable cunning foe; playing with the audience’s perceptions so that it wasn’t revealed until quite late that the Devil had transplanted his consciousness into one of the humans; and a cast of great characters who, because their exploits were spread over two episodes, meant that by the time they expired or were saved we cared deeply about their fate.

• The innovative format for Love & Monsters as it followed Elton Pope as he tried to track the Doctor down with the rest of his little band of misfits, but who soon forgot about the Doctor as the group enjoyed one another’s company and even formed a band.

• Peter Kay’s Victor Kennedy was a burlesque grotesque who dispatched each of Elton’s hapless gang into his alien body, and brought a humorous touch to the episode.

• The idea behind why Chloe was selfishly causing the children in her street to disappear and reappear in her drawings, that of an alien who couldn’t bear to be alone, was quite inventive. However, just as in too many of the other episodes, there isn’t enough time to actually empathise with the alien and although David Tennant does his best to muse upon the loneliness of the long-distance extraterrestrial, there is little sense of compassion for either the alien or indeed Chloe who was well acted but artlessly sketched with a stereotypically abusive father.

Lowlights

• The conclusion of Love & Monsters was so impossibly bad it brought back memories of the Colin Baker years. Peter Kay had transformed into the gruesome alien who absorbed humans into his very being and he waddled after Elton Pope like something out of Benny Hill. As he cornered him, the TARDIS materialised and out stepped the Doctor and Rose who had been absent virtually the whole episode and who then confronted the monster with that kind of ‘trying-too-hard’ acting style as though it had been specially filmed for Blue Peter (who had organised the competition to dream up the monster).

• While Fear Her was an adequate story it seemed too much of a compromise both to children (who naturally prefer the scarier adult stuff) and those who don’t like science-fiction. But the most nauseating element for this adventure set in 2012 was the poster for Shayne Ward’s greatest hits, which was an implicit endorsement of pre-packaged tripe.

Doctor Who: Doomsday, BBC1, Saturday 8 July 2006

Highlights

• Having the Daleks and the Cybermen in a single episode may have been a bit of an indulgence, but it made for a bloody fantastic story. As the Cybermen marched around the country plucking citizens to be converted into Cybermen (although leaving those who voted for Shayne Ward in X-Factor until last as they represent the very dregs of humanity and are even less capable than the Cybermen of expressing emotion other than a feral wailing), the Daleks emerged from the depths of Torchwood Tower with their Genesis Ark (OK, we got that wrong but making it a TARDIS-like penal colony containing millions of Daleks was a superb twist) and set about invading the Earth themselves.

• The Doctor and Rose’s parting. This was both logical and touching, for, as Russell T Davies remarked later, Rose would never have left the Doctor of her own free will and so trapping her in the other dimension allowed her both to be with her mother, her ‘alternate’ father and Mickey. The projection the Doctor was casting in to Rose’s new home on a desolate beach in Norway cut out just after she said she loved him, and he seemed to be about to reciprocate the declaration. Only the problem with this would be that if the Doctor did love Rose then it would the second time this series he would have fallen in love (Madame De Pompadour was the first), all of which makes him… well, a bit of a slag really. And what’s worse, he’s over 900 years old and he’s fooling around with a teenager and a 25-year-old. And you thought Bill Wyman was a dirty old man. And there’s a plotline for the new series – the Doctor is investigated the inter-galactic equivalent of Operation Ore.

• The double-act banter bitching between the Daleks and the Cybermen. The Cybermen fulfilled the role of the straight man offering the tyrants from Skaro the chance of an alliance, while the Daleks played the role of the wisecracking renegade mocking their metallic foes that the only thing Cybermen were superior at was “dying”. While the Cybermen derided the Daleks’ inelegance. “The Daa-leks are not familiar with the concept of elegance,” came the reply. “That is evident,” replied the catty Cyberman. And when they finally locked combat, the Daleks claimed it wasn’t a war but “pest control”.

• The subtext of the adventure of the theme of loneliness. Rose would ultimately have become estranged from the rest of humanity had she continued to travel with the Doctor, the widowed Jackie and Pete found their attraction spanned realities, Mickey returned to be with his gran (and Rose), the Daleks were mocked by the Doctor as he defined their indefatigable hatred as being caused by their sense of isolation in their metal coffins, the Cybermen who have stripped themselves of the ability to feel pain and loneliness by becoming homogenised and, of course, the Doctor who found Rose when he was feeling utterly alone after the extermination of the rest of the Time Lords and who now feels the same again, knowing he will never see her again.

Lowlight

• The Cybermen were once more, as in Age of Steel, reduced to being little more than cannon fodder. Indeed, many of the characters were introduced through their ability to kill Cybermen. The Daleks dispatched a number, while the human army from the alternate reality did the same, and Torchwood commandant Yvonne blasted a few despite having been “upgraded” to a Cyberman. And those Cybermen who had materialised outside the Taj Mahal seemed to have been beguiled like tourists as when they winked out of existence they were still stood outside admiring its august majesty.

Luke Knowles

Luke Knowles

08/07/2006

Editor of the website and host of the podcast. A general TV obsessive. I've been running the site since 2008 and you can usually find me in front of the TV. My Favourite show of all time is Breaking Bad with Cracker coming a close second. I feel so passionately that television can change the world and I'm doing my little bit by running this site. You're Welcome!

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