Doctor Who 1.04: Aliens of London

Obviously I couldn’t watch just one last night, so I popped in the next disc and went onto Aliens of London.

I didn’t spot this before, but is it possible that someone was riffing the song Werewolves of London? I adore that song – jack the volume up and play air drums every time it plays on the radio.

Back to Doctor Who. This is what I thought back in 2005:

Weekly Doctor Who squeeage time πŸ™‚ This was slightly delayed due to a trip to see the London Marathon yesterday, leaving me knackered with a severely burnt nose. Um, burning sunlight? In April? In London? Spent so long staring into sunlight and generally overdoing it that I woke up with a migraine this morning and didn’t make it to work. Bleh.

But I’m feeling much better tonight, except for the nose, which is still burnt. Oops. Must remember sunscreen and a hat the next time I do something like that. Anyway…

I enjoyed this episode, although possibly not quite as much as last week’s. That’s probably because I had one or two minor niggles and…er…I just really like the DW historical adventures πŸ™‚

The niggles are really very tiny and didn’t spoil my enjoyment – more in the nature of pulling me out briefly and I’m sure they’ll work better for me when I re-watch for capping purposes. I’m sure that I’ve seen the idea of skin-suits with bad gas exchangers causing farting/burping somewhere else. Can’t remember where, but it feels like a familiar idea. Not that this is a bad thing – there are probably a limited number of plotty and/or jokey things you can do with the skin-suit disguise idea – but I kept trying to work out what I’d read or seen that used the idea before. And the pig running down the corridor – for a moment I couldn’t work out whether I should be laughing or horrified. It just didn’t work as well as it should have for me.

On the other hand, aliens faking an invasion to draw attention away from their own invasion did work. And using that fake invasion to gather all the alien experts to kill them? Also a good idea πŸ™‚ And I didn’t put that idea together until the Doctor began spelling it out. Either I’m daft or the script worked. I’m plumping for option two.

One of the things that I did enjoy was the slower build up and cliff-hanger. The wait until next week is always frustrating, but it’s also one of the things that I’ve always liked about Doctor Who. I think some of the old episodes do show signs of being padded out to fill up four episodes, but the ones that really worked didn’t feel padded and you couldn’t wait to find out what happened next week. This episode had the traditional cliff-hanger of the Doctor and the companion in mortal danger just before the credits rolled and it felt like a good, solid, Doctor Who ending πŸ™‚

The slower build up has allowed the script to have a few more threads, a little more depth, but RTD and co. haven’t over done it, either. No padding, no filler, just plot, characterisation and action.

UNIT got in there! Yay! No Brigadier, but you can’t have an Earth-based invasion story without UNIT πŸ™‚

My favourite exchange was between the policeman and the Doctor discussing his relationship with Rose.

“She’s my companion.”

“I see. So is this a sexual relationship?”

< /paraphrase>

*snort* I went into this series absolutely determined not to see any chemistry between Rose and the Doctor. This is Doctor Who, after all, and that’s just not what the Doctor-Companion relationship is. After long experience with show-runners attempting to inject UST between characters that don’t have that kind of chemistry just because they’re the lead female and male, I was only concerned that they’d attempt to force something that wasn’t there. I’m fairly sure that RTD is playing to the implications between Rose and the Doctor, but dammit there’s chemistry. Damn those actors and their scripts and their offers of their own TARDIS keys. Of course, it would all be ruined if there was ever an on-screen admission of anything, but there are enough sparks and looks to let our imaginations run wild if we want.

Back to the episode. The female MP (who I’ve temporarily forgotten the name of because I’m lame) has become one of my favourite minor characters so far. It was the way she flashed her MP ID everytime she met someone – I suspect that she wanted to be a cop or secret service once and gets a kick out of finally having ID to flash πŸ™‚ She’s one minor character that I’m going to be miffed about if she doesn’t survive.

The Doctor is still wonderful. I’m getting more attached to Rose by the week. Jackie and Mickey are irritating, but they do give some very good reasons for why Rose didn’t take much pursuasion to run off on adventures with the Doctor. In fact, it’s great to see a companion go back to their home and realise how much what they’ve seen has affected them. Usually the companions climb into the TARDIS and that’s it, we never see their homes again. It’s interesting to see Rose going home after a few adventures because it’s already obvious how much her ideas have expanded since she left. She doesn’t really fit there anymore, if she ever did, because she knows what’s really out there and is learning what she can really do.

Now I just have to wait another five days until the next episode. Loooong wait.

I’m kinder to it than I remember being. Of course, when I watched this it was the first time we’d seen the Slitheen. Sarah Jane Adventures has done the Slitheen far too many times for me love them – they’re a one joke alien, more or less, and the farting is only funny to the under tens.

Still, there is a lot to love about this episode and Harriet Jones, MP Flydale North, has remained one of my favourite recurring characters. She’s simply wonderful. I loved the flashes of UNIT here, particularly knowing that we get to see UNIT a bit more over the years, although I still miss Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart and wished that they’d referenced him. Sad person that I am, I’d also have loved to see a reference to Brigadier Bambera, the Brig’s successor who appeared in Battlefield. She had one story and she’s still one of my favourite minor DW characters.

In some ways this episode is just a build-up for the next one, World War Three, and knowing what happens there makes me enjoy this one a bit more. It feels weird to see Mickey looking so young and being rather stupid, knowing how he ultimately turns out.

I was still discussing the Doctor/Rose sparks a lot, I see. Eep.

I’m glad that I’ve re-watched the episode because there’s a lot more to like than I remembered. Really, I think most of the reason that I haven’t been kind to this one over the years is the Slitheen. Farting aliens do not make a good plot-line, Rusty!

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