Bad Wolf (2005)

So it comes down to this. The two part finale to see out the Ninth Doctor, after the ham fisted way that it was announced that Christopher Eccleston wouldn’t be the Doctor in series 2. The end to the first full series of Doctor Who in 16 years had a lot riding on it. After a series of largely enjoyable and exciting stories it was important to give the Eccleston era a good send off and it was down to Russell T Davies to make sure that this happened. The story starts off a bit abruptly. The Big Brother theme music is playing whilst the Doctor wakes up in the diary room. The last line before the theme tune sums it up “You have got to be kidding me!”. The Doctor, Rose and Jack arrive on Satellite 5 some one hundred years after The Long Game. Except it turns out that due to his action the Earth isn’t as it should be. The Satellite is now a game station where there is every conceivable game. The Doctor is stuck in Big Brother, Rose is on The Weakest Link whilst Captain Jack is on What Not to Wear.

There’s a clever use of names in this story. For the Big Brother game there is Davina-droid (voice by Davina McCall – host of Big Brother). For the Weakest Link there is the Anne-Droid (voice by host Anne Robinson) with Trine-e and Zu-Zana (voiced by hosts Trinny Woodall and Susannah Constantine). The games are all quite grim because if you lose then you’re killed. This is supposed to create a sense of purpose to get out of the situations that the regulars find themselves in. There is a shocking moment when it appears that Rose has been killed by the Anne-droid whilst trying to escape. There is a short moment when you are suppose to believe that Rose has been killed and this prompts the Doctor and Jack to go to Floor 500. This is where they meet the Controller who when I first saw her I actually thought that it was quite dark and graphic for a show that would be seen by kids.

There was one moment that I thought was a bit too far was the way that Jack was flirting with Trine-e and Zu-Zana before ending up naked. A naked man (even if it’s just the backside we see) is not something I particularly want to see in a prime-time Saturday evening show or a Doctor Who. Totally misjudged. That ties in with my problem with this story. There is a lot that does seem right in this story. All the business in the games was kind of secondary and it was only once they got out that the story got interesting. It was like RTD was holding back the main action until part two and trying to spend as long as he could with the games and going to floor 500. The term Bad Wolf had been used in pretty much every episode of this series. To this date, some five years on I don’t fully understand the logic of it. RTD must understand it but I don’t. The cliffhanger was very good, I loved the defiant speech that the Doctor gave to the Daleks and the final images of hundreds if not thousands of Daleks. One of the finest images that I can recall in Doctor Who. Sent chills down my spine and when an episode does that then it’s perhaps the finest positive I can make.

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