The Doctor, Rose and Jack find themselves fighting for their lives in lethal
variants of twentieth-century game shows.

Cast and Crew

Christopher Ecclestone as the Doctor
Billie Piper as Rose Tyler
John Barrowman as Jack
Anne Robinson as the voice of the Anne Droid
Davina McCall as the voice of Davinadroid
Trinny Woodall as the voice of Trin-e
Susannah Constantine as the voice of Zu-Zana
Jo Joyner as Lynda
Jamie Bradley as Strood
Abi Eniola as Crosbie
Paterson Joseph as Rodrick
Jenna Russell as the Floor Manager
Jo Stone-Fewings as Male Programmer
Nisha Nayar as Female Programmer
Dominic Burgess as Agorax
Karren Winchester as Fitch
Kate Loustau as Colleen
Sebastian Armesto as Broff
Martha Cope as the Controller
Sam Callis as the Security Guard
Alan Ruscoe and Paul Kasey as the androids
Barnaby Edwards, Nicholas Pegg and David Hankinson operated the
Daleks
Nicholas Briggs was the voice of the Daleks

Written by Russell T. Davies

Directed by Joe Ahearne

Daleks created by Terry Nation

Originally aired on BBC One in the United Kingdom on the
11th of June 2005

Synopsis

The Doctor, Rose and Jack find themselves playing for their lives in
twisted variants of twentieth-century television game shows.

High Point

If you didn’t already know who’s behind this (as in, if you hadn’t
seen the spoilerific trailers for it), the first view from their POV would
be rather shocking.

However, Jack’s scene with the robotic Trinny and Susannah is
quite masterful.

Low Point

According to Doctor Who Confidential, they had to edit
out a shot of Jack’s bare bottom. My sister feels this is a shame.

I think someone who didn’t know the stakes in The Weakest
Link
would have attracted more attention from the other
contestants, although it could be argued that they are more worried
about preserving themselves.

The Review

Twisted game shows don’t score highly for originality
(Star Trek has done something similar at least once that I
recall), although their place in the overall series story is somewhat
surprising. Four out of six.

The effects this week didn’t quite cut it, although the
space shots are their usual high quality and the defabricator effect is
flawless. The disintegrator beams and transmats sometimes didn’t look
like they belonged there . Four out of six.

I have to rate this highly for story although it’s not quite
possible to judge it all until we have seen the second part and see how
the threads started are tied up. However, this episode leads us
somewhere interesting and starts us off in a surprising and unusual
situation that gives much to discover. The main downside is that
anybody unfamiliar with one or more of the programmes shown is
going to miss out on some of the humour. I’m particularly unsure how
non-British audiences will react to What Not To Wear as I
haven’t ever heard of it being exported. Five out of six.

The casting is up to the usual standards, plus bonus
points for bringing in the British hosts of the programmes depicted in
the episode to voice their respective androids – Anne Robinson for
The Weakest Link, Davina McCall for Big Brother, and
Trinny Woodhall and Susannah Constantine for What Not To
Wear
. Six out of six.

Emotional response would have been higher without the
spoilers last week, but we can now consider it from the viewpoint of a
repeat viewer. There’s definite tension, although some of it’s diffused a
bit disappointingly by the Doctor. Jack is just funny, and the episode’s
conclusion threatens to build to a great climax of suspense… and then
somehow doesn’t quite manage it. Four out of six.

The production can’t really be faulted in many ways. The
appropriate scenery we are supposed to recognise was recreated well.
The Weakest Link graphics were spot on, but that’s not
surprising given that it’s also made by the BBC. My major niggle was on
the level full of Big Brother houses, the doors seemed to be far
too close together, given the size of the house the Doctor was in. Four
out of six.

Overall I’ll give the episode five out of six. Despite its
flaws, it’s really got a sense of something big going on, and it does
leave a lot of questions which we hope will be answered next week.

The grand total this week is thus thirty-two out of forty-two. Next
week’s episode is the final in series one. After that, we know that there
is a one-off Christmas special, which may or may not be the episode
where the Doctor regenerates to allow David Tennant to take over the
role for series two, which is currently in storylining stages and should
start airing in 2006.