Doctor Who: Aliens of London

The Doctor returns Rose home to visit her mother. Then an alien
spacecraft crash lands in the middle of London and things start getting
complicated.

Cast

Christopher Ecclestone as the Doctor
Billie Piper as Rose Tyler
Camille Coduri as Jackie Tyler
Corey Doabe as Spray Painter
Ceris Jones as Policeman
Jack Tarlton and Lachele Carl as Reporters
Fiesta Mei Ling as Ru
Basil Chung as Bau
Matt Baker and Andrew Marr as themselves
Rupert Vansittart as General Asquith
David Verrey as Joseph Green
Navin Chowdry as Indra Ganesh
Penelope Wilton as Harriet Jones
Annette Badland as Margaret Blaine
Naoko Mori as Doctor Sato
Eric Potts as Oliver Charles
Noel Clarke as Mickey Smith
Jimmy Vee as Alien
Steve Speirs as Strickland
Elizabeth Fost, Paul Kasey and Alan Ruscoe as the Slitheen

Directed by Keith Boak

Written by Russell T. Davies

Original Airdate

Originally broadcast on BBC One in the United Kingdom on 16th April
2005.

Synopsis

The Doctor returns Rose home to visit her mother, but the reunion is
interrupted when an alien spacecraft crashes in the River Thames.

High Point

The Doctor’s arrival at the hospital.

Low Point

Difficult to pick one. Probably some of the news reports. Yes this is a
situation we’ve not had before, but BBC news reporters just don’t talk
like that. A weakness in the script more than the performance,
perhaps.

The Review

Alien invasions have been done, but this is a nice, entertaining and
interesting twist on the theme. I give it four out of six for
originality.

The effects were down from last week. Some are exceptionally
obvious and fake-looking, while some were very convincing. I suspect
that to re-do the lesser effects with better ones would cost prohibitive
amounts of money; they’re that sort of effect. Three out of six.

It’s difficult to rate the story in the first half of a two-parter,
but it’s certainly proceeding well so far. They keep you guessing at the
start, then throw in plenty of interesting things later on with plenty still
to keep guessing about by the cliffhanger, although some things you
can see coming a mile off. Which is probably not a bad thing, for if the
entire story was unexpected the audience might start suffering from
shock. Five out of six.

Another week of good acting all round. Five out of six.

Well there’s not really any emotional response to the
cliffhanger itself, but the buildup to it is pretty scary, as is the UFO
crash; although this is perhaps more emotive to the English than
anybody else because it happens in the middle of London. That said,
the start of the episode is particularly poignant. Four out of six this
week.

Generally good production. I didn’t spot anything that cried
out as being particularly wrong, although a few of the interior sets look
rather wobbly. Four out of six.

Overall, I like it and want to see next week’s episode
immediately. Five out of six.

And so after the breakdown we have a total score of thirty out of forty-
two. Not the highest of the series, but nonetheless an excellent
episode. I hope that the concluding part lives up to the promise set by
this episode.

19 replies on “Doctor Who: Aliens of London”

  1. mbourgon says:

    Can you at least wait…
    until we can download a copy? *grin*

    • Eldhrin says:

      Re: Can you at least wait…

      until we can download a copy? *grin*

      You don’t have to read it until you’ve seen it…

      • y42 says:

        Re: Can you at least wait…

        until we can download a copy? *grin*

        You don’t have to read it until you’ve seen it…

        But by te time it airs on CBC this thread will be dead.

        I blame Fox… I dunno how it could be their fault, but I do.

    • PaulBlake says:

      Re: Can you at least wait…

      until we can download a copy? *grin*

      Actually, this brings up an interesting point. I know it can’t really be traced, but I strongly suspect that the 2005 Doctor Who is probably the most actively pirated TV show to date (on a per-episode basis). There’s plenty of people watching it here in the States, anyway.

      • pdavis says:

        Re: Can you at least wait…

        Actually, this brings up an interesting point. I know it can’t really be traced, but I strongly suspect that the 2005 Doctor Who is probably the most actively pirated TV show to date (on a per-episode basis).

        Maybe, BSG was pretty high too but at least it had a US release date which allowed people the option of waiting. I suspect that people that like to collect series may be doing a lot more downloading than a nich sci-fi show could muster. It would be interesting to see the numbers from a more main stream and popular show from Show Time or HBO as well.

  2. obiwan says:

    High point for me was
    …when the doctor says ‘Take me to your leader’ after being surrounded by the police and military. It was hilarious.

    • Eldhrin says:

      Re: High point for me was

      …when the doctor says ‘Take me to your leader’ after being surrounded by the police and military. It was hilarious.

      It was, but it was tricky to pick a high point that wasn’t also a massive spoiler, because most of the really really really good bits were.

      • GrimSean says:

        Re: High point for me was

        …when the doctor says ‘Take me to your leader’ after being surrounded by the police and military. It was hilarious.

        It was, but it was tricky to pick a high point that wasn’t also a massive spoiler, because most of the really really really good bits were.

        Ahh, just do what Timeshredder does, and Spoiler-Font the naughty bits out ;)

  3. ObdewllaX says:

    All I can say is…
    Piiiiiiigs iiiiiiin Spaaaaaaaaaaace!

    • PaulBlake says:

      Re: All I can say is…

      Piiiiiiigs iiiiiiin Spaaaaaaaaaaace!

      Well, not quite. The ship barely left Earth before crash-landing again, not even going out as far as the moon.

      So it’s more like "Pigs on the Wing, Part 1."

    • spr says:

      Re: All I can say is…

      Piiiiiiigs iiiiiiin Spaaaaaaaaaaace!

      4 legs good.. 2 legs better

  4. joe__gee says:

    I love the new incarnation of Doctor Who …
    This is great TV, it’s a shame no network here in the states has the cojones to run it. Thankfully there are alternate means to acquire the program.

    And I’m certain I’m not the only one who noticed the plucky little MP is Shawn’s mum from “Shawn of the Dead.” :)

    -Joe G.

    • Eldhrin says:

      Re: I love the new incarnation of Doctor Who …

      This is great TV, it’s a shame no network here in the states has the cojones to run it. Thankfully there are alternate means to acquire the program.

      And I’m certain I’m not the only one who noticed the plucky little MP is Shawn’s mum from “Shawn of the Dead.” :)

      -Joe G.

      We in England were not surprised by this; Penelope Wilton seems to be in everything these days. She’s nomally associated with nice safe dramas of the kind which ITV1 like to show on Sunday evenings, or with programming for children, but lately she seems to have dipped her fingers into everything else. Was quite a surprise to see her in Shawn of the Dead!

      She also performed excellently in Calendar Girls of course.

      • joe__gee says:

        Re: I love the new incarnation of Doctor Who …

        We in England were not surprised by this; Penelope Wilton seems to be in everything these days. She’s nomally associated with nice safe dramas of the kind which ITV1 like to show on Sunday evenings, or with programming for children, but lately she seems to have dipped her fingers into everything else. Was quite a surprise to see her in Shawn of the Dead!

        She also performed excellently in Calendar Girls of course.

        I haven’t seen “Calendar Girls” yet, but I hear it’s great (although WAY off topic for in here. :) ) One thing I notice, maybe it’s just me but it seems like more British-made films now see wide release over here in the U.S. It’s great, the quality is wonderful. We all win. :)

        You know we have a BBC America now. I think BBCA runs programs roughly three months behind the real Beeb. For instance, we didn’t get to see Lawrence Llewellyn-Bowen (Mr. “Tart’s Boudoir”) replace Carol Smiley on “Changing Rooms” for almost half a year. Alan Titschmarsh was still gracing our TV sets when the Beeb had told him to clear off months before. We miss out on things over here. :)

        Like Doctor Who. :(((

        -Joe G.

        • Eldhrin says:

          Re: I love the new incarnation of Doctor Who …

          I haven’t seen “Calendar Girls” yet, but I hear it’s great (although WAY off topic for in here. :) ) One thing I notice, maybe it’s just me but it seems like more British-made films now see wide release over here in the U.S. It’s great, the quality is wonderful. We all win. :)

          You know we have a BBC America now. I think BBCA runs programs roughly three months behind the real Beeb. For instance, we didn’t get to see Lawrence Llewellyn-Bowen (Mr. “Tart’s Boudoir”) replace Carol Smiley on “Changing Rooms” for almost half a year. Alan Titschmarsh was still gracing our TV sets when the Beeb had told him to clear off months before. We miss out on things over here. :)

          Like Doctor Who. :(((

          -Joe G.

          Calendar Girls is great. There was some controversy when it was released over its accuracy – some of the women involved in the calendar on which the film is based didn’t like the adaptation. Some, on the other hand, did.

          Doctor Who was made with some Canadian company as a production partner. Hopefully there’s an agreement to show it in Canada – perhaps when the BBC One run has finished over here. I suspect the BBC are hoping to get a fair bit of money from selling it to various TV networks around the world.

          • Nakhti says:

            Re: I love the new incarnation of Doctor Who …

            Doctor Who was made with some Canadian company as a production partner. Hopefully there’s an agreement to show it in Canada – perhaps when the BBC One run has finished over here. I suspect the BBC are hoping to get a fair bit of money from selling it to various TV networks around the world.

            Doctor Who *IS* airing in Canada, on the CBC. It premiered on April 5th, so I believe we are only 1-2 episodes behind.

  5. mzieg says:

    Return of the cliffhanger!
    I was thrilled to see the return to the cliffhanger format, but then they had to spoil it by adding a lengthy trailer for the second part — which happened to show how all of the “threatened” characters managed to escape from their looming deaths! I mean, c’mon — what nutcase at BBC decided to tack that on?!?

    • PaulBlake says:

      Re: Return of the cliffhanger!

      I was thrilled to see the return to the cliffhanger format, but then they had to spoil it by adding a lengthy trailer for the second part — which happened to show how all of the “threatened” characters managed to escape from their looming deaths! I mean, c’mon — what nutcase at BBC decided to tack that on?!?

      “So is the show cancelled, then?”

      “Nope, they’ve still got nine more episodes in the series, still starring the same cast.”

      “I guess they don’t die, then.”

      • Kaki says:

        Re: Return of the cliffhanger!

        “So is the show cancelled, then?”

        “Nope, they’ve still got nine more episodes in the series, still starring the same cast.”

        “I guess they don’t die, then.”

        Yeah, but surely you see the point. A cliffhanger is killed if, a few seconds after it is setup, you see, not just know but see, that it will turn out o.k. No “cliffhanger” without the “hanging” part. It needs to have the full frustration of not getting to see that things will be resolved to get the anticipation of waiting and thus the satisfaction when you sit down and start watching the next episode. It is quite possible to show a teaser that doesn’t give this sort of stuff away, but it seems to be something of a dying art these days.

        Also, from internal perspective, it makes me worry a bit. We have some aliens that have killed several people before now. And now we have over a dozen people in jeopardy, three on them main characters, and one of those confronting the totally alien for the first time. Someone has to die or the aliens go from “big, mean, and scary” to “incompetent fatties.”

        Now, on with the spec (possible spoilers and whatnot). These aliens seem to have some space-folding tech to fit all that mass in a human shape. Or they might be puffy gas blobs, who de-puff to fit in the skins.

        Also, I notice that the Doctor didn’t make any use of his psychic paper again. Even when it might have been helpful, like with Rose’s mother, the nice lady-doctor at the hospital, the military guys at the hospital, and the people taking him into custody. I wonder if it works well on a group? Might it get confused? Or maybe each person could see something different, so that if they talked about it enough they could know they had been tricked somehow.

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