diamond geezer

 Sunday, March 27, 2005

Who's London
(March 2005)

Ahh, that's better. Saturday teatime, curtains closed, BBC1, and that familiar diddly-dum diddly-dum theme tune filling the airwaves. I even went to the effort of travelling 100 miles so that I could watch the whole programme from my parents' sofa, although it was positioned rather too close to the wall for me to be able to hide behind it at the appropriate moments. My initial thoughts were that the programme was bland and derivative, full of grinning monsters in spandex with shiny teeth, but then I realised I'd tuned in 15 minutes too early and was watching Graham Norton in Strictly Dance Fever by mistake. But I needn't have worried because the actual programme was dramatic, original, engrossing and witty, just the way proper Doctor Who used to be.

As an echo to the past, new assistant Rose lived on a dreary council estate somewhere in London, though they filmed her local scenes on a glorious day in summer when even a concrete wasteland could look endearing. She worked in a non-existent department store in London where she came face to face with the walking plastic shop dummies that haunted my youth. Her world was turned upside-down by the arrival of a grinning Mancunian in a battered leather jacket, whose history she uncovered via a search engine (do check out the genuine webpage, it's brilliant). Her cowardly boyfriend was replaced by a grinning plastic replica, though (like so many relationships) it was often hard to spot the difference. And she helped to defeat a shapeless alien living in an industrial vat beneath the London Eye, saving the planet (and her outrageous mother) in the process. No wonder she wanted to run away from it all in the Tardis by the end of the episode. All the classic ingredients were there, mixed with wonder and a little magic, and I was duly relieved that I loved every second of it.

I would like to discuss the new series of Doctor Who later this afternoon with my ten year old nephew, him being target audience and all that, except that he exists in a Murdoch TV bubble so he almost certainly wasted his Saturday evening watching Yu-Gi-Oh! and Dragonball Z instead. If you missed the first episode of the new series too, you can catch it repeated on BBC3 tonight at 7pm. But maybe you'll want to put the wheelie bin out first.

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