Aliens of London (2005)

The first two-parter of the new series is quite a big moment in new Doctor Who. When I first saw this back when it was originally transmitted in April 2005, I wondered whether a two parter new Doctor Who would work. Aliens of London is the first part and it sees the Doctor bring Rose back to the Powell estate. The Doctor thinks it’s been 12 hours since the events of the first episode but in fact it’s been 12 months and Rose’s mom has launched a missing campaign. With the shock return of Rose it is six minutes before anything sci-fi happens with a spaceship crash landing in the Thames after crashing into Big Ben.

There’s a wonderful build up of suspense that Russell T Davies has built into the script. The identity of the body that is pulled out of the ship is not shown straight away. Meanwhile with the arrival of the alien spaceship the British Government has gone into meltdown with three rather large people having taken power. Joseph Green is acting Prime Minister with Margaret Blaine as some MI5 person and Olivier Charles. The arrival is treated as mundane and not worth reporting but they are their because of their size. Their ample frame is the right size to hold what are called the Slitheen. The way that they come out of the skin is rather ingenious. A zip on the forehead is something that can he hidden when not needed but appear in shot the second the Slitheen is about to come out. The moment when General Asquith is killed and replaced by a Slitheen is quite gruesome as are the sound effects. I quite like the design of the Slitheen, it’s something that’s going to keep the kids entertained and it does look quite good.

There are problems with this episodes. The first being that I think that the story could have done without the fart jokes. I don’t mind puerile humour but not in my favourite TV show. It does however lead to a nice line towards the end when the Doctor say “Excuse me, do you mind not farting whilst I’m trying to save the world!”. Another problem is that this episode spends an awful long time being a domestic. I admit it was quite interesting to see the fallout of Rose’s return but after that I just wanted them to get to the main action. This story also features the return of UNIT though they pretty much non-existent in this story and that seems like a waste to me.

After Eve Myles appearing in The Unquiet Dead. Its Naoko Mori turn to make a pre-Torchwood appearance. In this she plays Doctor Sato. This story sees the first appearance of Penelope Wilton as Harriet Jones who is just a normal MP in this story. I quite like the Harriet Jones we get in this as Wilton gives her a mumsy performance as someone that you could trust. There’s a cameo appearance from Andrew Marr who was a political correspondent for the BBC.

The last few minutes leading up to the cliffhanger are very well directed and acted. There is a lot of suspense and you do wonder how are they going to get out of this one. The Doctor is in the main meeting being electrocuted to death whilst Rose, Harriet Jones and Indra Ganesh (the Downing Street guy) being trapped by the Blaine Slitheen. There is also the part where Jackie Tyler is trapped in her flat by the policemen Slitheen. It was a good first cliffhanger for the new series.

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