Review: Aliens of London

Last Alteration: Monday 19 September 2005

As the first part of a two-parter, I was especially looking forward to Aliens of London in the expectation that the extra length compared to the first three episodes would allow better pacing and character development, and indeed it did not seem so rushed. It was nice to see the return of the cliffhanger too. A wonderful and original story. I think it that side of it can be said to be real Who.

Sadly though, I found myself paying much attention to other elements of the episode. The Doctor taking his companion home and getting wrapped up in her domestic affairs is something that should never be done in Who. It reminds me of soap operas and brings the story uncomfortably close to the real world, when Who is really supposed to be escapism. Even when the seventh Doctor took Ace back to Perivale, we did not see her home, and I'm sure that JNT would have been vilified had he dared to try to incorporate that. There are some comedy elements that do not fit in to Who. Farting, for instance. A reason for the noises was given, but that does not excuse it. Doctor Who is not comedy drama, any humour in the past being more subtle and not of the toilet variety. The suggestions that the Doctor and Rose might be having an improper relationship really is not on.

The character of the Doctor is mostly fine, but the amount of grinning (how many times?) and frequently saying "fantastic" lost its novelty after the first episode. And all the hard work to get the TARDIS to work properly is over the top. That he gets the TARDIS exactly where and when he wants most of the time is an unwanted development that started before the old series ended, but that's a minor complaint.

So a good traditional Who story, but with elements tacked on which I expect are designed to appeal to the lowest common denominator in the quest for ratings. Who has been brought up to date generally well, but less desirable elements of modern television have been allowed in.

Dave Parsons