You just can't keep a good Welsh stiff down! I wasn't actually in the house when this episode was broadcast. I was in a pub. Watching Doctor Who. Let's just repeat that just to make sure, in a pub, watching Doctor Who. What kind of crazy mixed up world are we living in today when Doctor Who is on in a pub? I'll admit that ManU getting tonked by Norwich was a bigger draw amongst the not-we denizens of the Corner House but I was watching Doctor Who.
The opening sequence is rather superb as the old dear walks towards the camera, blue ethereal phantom ectoplasm spewing from her recently deceased gob, the cross fade into the opening titles vortex is rather neat too. It looks as if her esophagus is actually part and parcel of space-time.
The interior shot of the recently landed TARDIS is superb with the pair of them in fits of giggles lying on the floor. Just what have they been up to? And the TARDIS lies to the Doctor, it confirms it's Naples in 1860. But it's not. The external view of the arrival made me think back to last week's episode, where we didn't get to see any dematerialization or rematerialzation action.
Rose's first small step into the Cardiff snow of 1869 is rather like Neil Armstrong's first tentative step on the moon's surface, although he obviously had slightly less sturdy footwear on than Rose. The exterior settings are just perfect. And that comes from someone who spent 2 years in Swansea during the mid-'90s, and hated every minute, and now they're making Doctor Who in the town! Damn you fate, why couldn't they have mounted the '96 TV Movie in Sketty as opposed to San Francisco?
Sir Simon Callow (go on, your Majesty, you know you want to - after your nice trip out to Windsor last weekend you must be in a good mood - go on, knight the old thesp) is wonderful. People have said that he was wasted a but but to those I say pish and nonsense. However, how on earth did the old dear manage to get into the theatre in the first place? She's got skin the complexion of George Best's liver.
Rose's conversation with Gwyneth was like a mini history lesson coupled combined with the teen angst problem pages from More magazine.
So the Gelth, gas monsters. Good job they didn't go for dual fuel and have to battle the electric eels of Vraal too. Aliens, always stuck in one rift or another, probably having gorged themselves on too much Ginsters pig'n'pastry at the interstitial equivalent of Granada Services.
The biggest zombie job since Michael Jackson's Thriller video shoot. There's a nice touch when Charles Dickens gets outside the house, closes the front door and the Gelth seems to form from the knocker on the door, just like Marley's ghost.
And with some slightly more adventurous direction (note to directors - this ain't Holby City guys), better music and - at last - some horror, and The Time War, and The Big Bad Wolf. It's all building nicely...