Visit the official Doctor Who website

Visit the official Doctor Who website
Look to the future

Asylum seekers...

Asylum seekers...
Refuge of the Daleks

Doctor Who picture resource

Doctor Who picture resource
Roam the space lanes!

Explore the Doctor Who classic series website

Explore the Doctor Who classic series website
Step back in time

Infiltrate The Hub of Doctor Who spin-off Torchwood

Infiltrate The Hub of Doctor Who spin-off Torchwood
Armed and extremely dangerous

Investigate The Sarah Jane Adventures

Investigate The Sarah Jane Adventures
Fearless in the face of adversity

Call on Dani’s House

Call on Dani’s House
Harmer’s a charmer

Intercept the UFO fabsite

Intercept the UFO fabsite
Defending the Earth against alien invaders!

Uncover the secrets of the Dollhouse

Uncover the secrets of the Dollhouse
Programmable agent Echo exposed!

Hell’s belles

Hell’s belles
Naughty but nice

Love Exposure

Love Exposure
Flash photography!

Primeval portal

Primeval portal
Dressed to kill or damsels in distress?

Charmed, to be sure!

Charmed, to be sure!
The witches of San Francisco

Take on t.A.T.u.

Take on t.A.T.u.
All the way from Moscow

Proceed to the Luther website

Proceed to the Luther website
John and Jenny discuss their next move

DCI Banks is on the case

DCI Banks is on the case
You can bet on it!

On The Grid with Spooks

On The Grid with Spooks
Secret agents of Section D

Bridge to Hustle

Bridge to Hustle
Shady characters

Life on Ashes To Ashes

Life on Ashes To Ashes
Coppers with a chequered past

Claire’s no Exile

Claire’s no Exile
Goose steps

Vexed is back on the beat!

Vexed is back on the beat!
Mismatched DI Armstrong and bright fast-tracker Georgina Dixon

Medium, both super and natural

Medium, both super and natural
Open the door to your dreams

Who’s that girl? (350-picture Slideshow)

Monday, 29 May 2006

The Faceless Ones!



Everybody watching David Tennant and Billie Piper, every Saturday evening, knows what the Doctor and Rose look like, knows their mannerisms and inflections of speech, but an actor, on the television, has no idea of the appearance or attitudes of his or her audience. Probably just as well, I hear you cry! But the point is, to the Thespian breed, we are the faceless ones. This, I believe, was the purpose of the villain, enigmatically known as the Wire, removing the facial characteristics of all those watching their newly acquired television sets in the latest episode of the second series of revamped "Doctor Who", aptly entitled "The Idiot's Lantern" - after an expression coined in the Fifties to express disapproval of this new means of keeping oneself entertained!

Mark Gatiss turned in a script of great clarity. The writer left his spectators in no doubt as to the nature of the subtext, and moral message, behind his story, encouraging us to apply some thought right from the off as Maureen Lipman infers we should be inclusive of both sexes. Equality and tolerance were the themes behind this sojourn back to the day before the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. On the day itself, as everyone gathered round, Tommy's Mum plucked up enough courage to rid herself of the monster within, her bullying husband Eddie, but I couldn't help feeling she should've asked the aunt to leave as well for suggesting the use of violence against the boy to change his ways. But life is never straightforward and Rose encouraging Tommy not to abandon his father altogether was a seemingly simple but sublime touch that got straight to the heart of the domestic approach to "Doctor Who" that RTD has been striving for and which Ruth Rendell's "Inspector Wexford" carries off with effortless ease.

It was difficult to follow the explosive nature of the previous two-part Cybermen story but it was intelligently done and without a slowing of the pace. The editing was extremely fast. Just look at the scene where Rose follows the Doctor down the stairs. Being set in the Fifties, I had expected a fun story along the lines of "Delta and the Bannermen". I will probably incur the wrath of many "Doctor Who" fans for admitting a liking for that story! However, "The Idiot's Lantern" was entirely different. And, while Elvis Presley and Cliff Richard were referenced, so, too, was Kylie Minogue, thus helping to make the present story pertinent to a modern day audience, in case they felt excluded through not knowing the era. A good morality tale though is timeless, always relevant. As my English teacher, from my school days, said, "Literature's news that stays news"!

3 comments:

karensff said...

I'm not sure how I feel about this episode. But then it was always going to be difficult to follow up from the Cybermen. It did have its funny moments. When Rose told the Doctor that her mum once dated a sailer his reply "I bet she did" had me laughing out loud.

I agree the cover of the Tenth Planet is fantastic. I quite like the covers of most of the audio books. Not sure what one to go for next. I might just see what I am in the mood for at the time rather than doing it in any kind of order. If you are going to get Tenth Planet shop around. The BBC audio books seem to be expensive in a few places (up to £20, I got mine from amazon for about £10 or £12).

Stuart Douglas said...

Hmm, I'm not sure about this one at all - like last year's Gattiss offering, it feels liek very traditional Doctor Who - a holding episode designed to keep the old school fans happy.

I agree with your points about some of the themes behind the script, but I couldn't help feeling that the motivations of the characters was all a bit rushed, and Rose sending Tommy after his dad seemd like *yet another* Rose-and-dads moment.

Still, better than the Cyber nonsense it followed, and next week's looks very interesting...

Paul Greaves said...

What's wrong with keeping old-school fans happy? Without old-school Doctor Who, there wouldn't be New Doctor Who!