World War Three (2005)

The first two parter in the new series reached the mid-way point with quite a good cliffhanger. The Doctor was being electrocuted, Rose and Harriet Jones were being attacked by the Blain Slitheen and Jackie was being attacked by the Policeman Slitheen. The conclusion was quick with the Doctor grabbing his ID tag and attacking the Slitheen, all before the title sequence. With the Slitheen electrocuted it meant all the Slitheen were affected and that allowed Jackie, Rose and Harriet Jones to escape.

The story in the second half of the story is how the Slitheen are trying to create world war three and the Doctor is trying to stop them. With the Doctor, Rose and Harriet being trapped in the cabinet room its down to Mickey and Jackie to save the day. There is a lot of stuff that happens in this episode and this makes up for the slow build-up that we got in the previous episode. There is some nice humour in this episode. The not backing someone against a lift door when your about to execute them was one that tickled me. The “you pass the drink to the left” line between the Doctor and Harriet was another funny one. Andrew Marr also gives all of his lines with a slightly comedic tone behind them. All the humour is pitched just right and doesn’t take over the whole story.

The special effects continued to impress with some impressive Slitheen running after Rose and Harriet Jones action. The special effects in all these episodes have been very impressive but to show alien creatures chasing the main characters in an effective way shows how far the show has come. I also found the location filming to be particularly impressive. Even though they clearly didn’t film in the real Downing Street there is a nice feeling like it is the real Downing Street.

When this story first aired it was about two years since the war on Iraq started and there are several nods to that with Harriet saying “I voted against it!”. It’s only clear now that there was some anti-war sentiments by the writer as there is some in another Doctor Who story. But at the time I cant say I noticed and that’s a good thing because it allows you to enjoy the drama and the tension to stop the Slitheen from starting World War Three. Camile Coduri and Noel Clarke have done a great job in this story of turning my opinion around. I found Jackie to be your typical chavvy mum and Mickey to be a dopey boyfriend but with what happened in this story they have become more than that. There not the best characters in Doctor Who but I can tolerate them.

Compared to other two parters that Doctor Who have produced since this one, it’s quite a slow affair and the others are quite fast and have a lot more in the first part than this. However it’s a surprise that in the Mighty 200 DWM survey of 2009 it was ranked in 132nd place. I think its unfair. I thought that as a two-parter it was a good offering. It was the first two-parter they produced so it wasn’t going to be perfect. But it should be watched and more importantly enjoyed.

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