Doctor Who’s 2009 Easter special. This is the first of the specials made instead of a full series for 2009.

Cast and Crew

  • David Tennant as the Doctor
  • Michelle Ryan as Christina
  • Lee Evans as Malcom
  • Noma Dymezweni as Captain Magambo
  • Adam James as DI McMillan
  • Glenn Doherty as Sgt. Dennison
  • Victoria Alcock as Angela
  • David Ames as Nathan
  • Ellen Thomas as Carmen
  • Reginald Tsiboe as Lou
  • Daniel Kaluuya as Barclay
  • Keith Parry as Bus Driver
  • James Layton as Sgt. Ian Jenner
  • Paul Kasey as Sorvin
  • Ruari Mears as Praygal

Directed by James Strong

Written by Russell T. Davies and Gareth Roberts

Synopsis

A thief takes a bus ride to evade the police. The Doctor also boards the bus; shortly afterwards it falls through a wormhole into a desert on a planet with three suns. UNIT quickly become involved, a dire threat to the safety of the Earth is discovered and the Doctor saves the day with a little help from his new companion.

High Point

“You look human.”
“You look Time Lord.”

Low Points

  • Super-intelligent UNIT scientist doesn’t know how to use a fire extinguisher
  • Chasing a bus? What London bus driver wouldn’t pull over for the police?
  • UNIT soldiers applauding
  • Fly-people with human body language
  • Police car rear doors can’t be opened from the inside

The Scores

Originality: 3/6. I’m sure I’ve seen world-eating creatures somewhere else before, and London’s always in deadly peril in the new Doctor Who.

Effects: 4/6. The fake things look extremely fake. Nicely modelled, but this is not up to even the normal Doctor Who quality, let alone what’s actually possible these days.

Story: 3/6. Mindless animals which just happen to eat advanced civilisations for breakfast? Maybe I can handle that, but there’s nothing particularly interesting here. There’s even the token dead person just to prove how dangerous the situation is for everyone else.

Acting: 3/6. Lee Evans puts on an over-the-top parody of a Welsh accent, despite his Welsh surname. Most of the acting is lacklustre and without expression. David Tennant’s hyperactive Doctor looks most peculiar next to Michelle Ryan’s overly-calm Christina.

Production: 4/6. It looks more like London than some of the London scenes in the past – the police are even wearing uniforms that could almost belong to the Metropolitan Police – but the fancy camerawork just doesn’t come together in the end.

Emotional Response: 3/6. I was getting into it in the first few minutes, but then I lost it. There was simply no reason to care, other than to wonder how many people would make it back.

Overall: 2/6. I’d hoped that it wouldn’t suffer from the same problems as the Christmas specials tend to, but I was obviously hopelessly optimistic.

The total score is twenty-two out of forty-two. If you haven’t seen it yet, don’t go out of your way for it. Watch something else instead.