Stopping to refuel the TARDIS in modern-day Cardiff, the crew encounter
an old enemy.

Cast and Crew

Christopher Ecclestone as the Doctor
Billie Piper as Rose Tyler
John Barrowman as Jack
Noel Clarke as Mickey
Annette Badland as Margaret Blaine
William Thomas as Mr. Cleaver
Mali Harries as Cathy Salt
Aled Pedrick as Idris Hopper
Alan Ruscoe as Margaret Slitheen

Written by Russel T. Davies

Directed by Joe Ahearne

Synopsis

The TARDIS crew stop off in present-day Cardiff to refuel from the
remnants of the rift which was closed in The Unquiet Dead.
Rose takes the opportunity to see Mickey, but they soon run into
trouble when they recognise the new Lord Mayor of Cardiff as someone
they last saw in Downing Street.

High Point

This episode doesn’t have a high point as such, as it’s more spread
out over several top-notch scenes. Bad Wolf watchers will appreciate
the mention though.

Low Point

There isn’t one. Simple as that.

The Review

This is quite original for Doctor Who. Encountering a
previous enemy and having to interact with them in this way is not
something I ever recall the old series approaching. It’s also not
something television often deals with. This is an episode about
consequences, and it doesn’t feel like we’re being shown the same old
moral lessons as one would usually expect. Five out of six.

The effects didn’t have all that much to do, and as such
came off very well. I’m sure the visuals for the Slitheen emerging from
her skin suit were better than they were in Aliens of London,
too. Nothing hugely challenging besides that (how hard is it to break a
few windows?) but that doesn’t matter, because they weren’t needed.
Five out of six.

In terms of story, this is a bit of a strange episode. It
continually isn’t what you think it’s going to be, things which you think
will be the episode’s plot are dealt with early on, and you soon realise
that you’re in for something quite different than you had previously
expected to see. That said, despite it not feeling like it’s going to, it
does actually fit very neatly into its time and its purpose. My only
complaint is that the ending smacks of Deus Ex Machina – but it’s not
something that old Who fans will be entirely surprised about,
because we know that the TARDIS has many capabilities which are
seldom used. As a vehicle for showing the character insights which this
episode is primarily about, the story cannot be faulted. Five out of
six.

Whoever’s doing the casting for this series knows what they’re
about, for the acting was once again superb. From her
previous appearance in the series, you wouldn’t have thought Annette
Badland was capable of quite this level of sustained emotional and
challenging dialogue, but she is. Watching her and Ecclestone work
together is fantastic. Six out of six.

The emotional response is rather muted compared to the
outright terror of the previous two weeks, although this is probably a
good thing for mental state of Who fans worldwide. However,
the level of empathy and sympathy this episode manages to stir up is
quite impressive. Five out of six.

You’d think the production would be easy, given that it’s
the first episode they’ve done which is set in the place they actually
film most of the other location shots (quite a lot of what we see of
London in other episodes is shot in Cardiff, save for the shots done in
well-known London locations). And you’d be right – whether it was
actually easy or not, it feels like it was, and there’s some fantastic
choice of camera angles here. Six out of six.

Overall I’ll give the episode five out of six. This is clearly a
setup for the final two episodes of the series.

This gives us a grand total of thirty-seven out of forty-two. Next
week’s episode is the eagerly-awaited Bad Wolf, although until
the end of this week’s episode we weren’t entirely sure what we were
eagerly awaiting. Now we know: Daleks. Woohoo!