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Apr 16, 2006

Carry On Pussy

Warning: during this review, I will not be making any gratuitous jokes regarding pussy. There will be no smut-laden references to nurses uniforms. You will not find any childish comments about pumping up Rose Tylers bouncy castle. And even though this is an episode written by Russel T. Davies, I will resist the tempation to mention pussy farts.

There, that feels better. (And the sound you can here in the background is Neil grumbling as he locks down the site with an AdultPass).

Snapshot20060416151224_1Before I launch into a review of the episode proper, I'm going to waste a few paragraphs complaining about something in the pre-title sequence. Yes, you all know what I'm referring to. It's 'Touching Farewell Between Jackie, Mickey and Rose #372'.

It's not just because we all know that this scene is totally pointless, given that we'll be back on the Powell Estate in a matter of weeks (and I don't want any whining about spoilers. A return visit to contemporary London is as inevitable as the setting of the sun and another season of Stargate). And it's not because Roses transformation into time travelling companion was complete at the end of last year (remember that classic scene in the chip shop?).

No, it's because while watching a recent episode of Doctor Who Confidential (or perhaps it was Totally Doctor Who. Or maybe it was one of the TARDISodes. Mark my words people, the general public burnout and backlash is coming this year), one of the anonymous talking head media pundits referred to Jackie and Mickey as beloved major characters of the series. Yup, they've made this place domestic. Eccelstone saw it coming. I should probably have saved that rant for one of the other eight or so episodes these two will be appearing in, but as there is so little else to talk about this week I needed something to pad out the text.

Snapshot20060416151508_1Anyway, New Earth. Think Coruscant on a budget and saddled with some ecologically minded town planners. It looks like RTD has once again front-loaded the season with eye-popping visuals, though it's a shame The Mill succumbed to the cliche of throwing a few hover car races into the skyline. It's the year five billion and twenty three, and the human race is still locking themselves in metal boxes? There are more imaginative ways to travel, you know.

For example, take Body Swapping. Please. Would you Adam-'un-Eve-it, our favorite villian from last year survived and now hides out in the basement of a hospital. No, it's not the Dalek. Or the Gelth. Or the gas-mask zombies.  Or the Autons. Or the Jagrafess. Can we get Simon Pegg this week? Nope. OK. It's not even a Slitheen in intensive care suffering from a bowel disorder. It's... Zoe Wannmaker! Was Cassandra really that popular last year? Apparently so, because we've got a whole friggin' episode centered around her. It seems that the fatal bout of dry skin Eccles subjected her to last year wasn't quite so fatal. How she made it to New Earth is as inexplicable as her newfound ability to swap bodies, and poor Rose is the first unwilling host.

Thank godness for Billie Piper, who's portray of upperclass-totty-slumming-it-in-chav-central saves this episode from the bedpan. And a charming moment of jiggling and curve-stroking should keep the lonlier members of fandom in good sted for a few weeks at least. Gentlemen, set your vidcap equipment to stunned.

Meanwhile RTD attempts what could be a bit of social commentary on stem cell research, as a race of eeevil cat people grow a farm of human test subjects in the bowels of the hospital to experiment on. Unfortunately, as social commentary goes this episode has about as much meat on it as a supermodel with ameobic dysentery. And that's before the army of shuffling plague zombies show up. An embarrasing and geographically confusing chase sequence ensues which is finally brought to a close by the Doctor, who comes up with the audacious plan of... um... curing the plague carriers. Brilliant.

Snapshot20060416152128_1By the way, David Tennant needs to stop shouting. Having the hero make his point with volume makes him come across as more than a little impotent. Aside from that, the Tenth Doctor is still a worth successor and I'm enjoying the camp. Maybe he'll actually have something interesting to do next week.

The problem here is that the whole episode is completely unfocused and all over the shop. We're dragged from London to the distant future via the Night of the Living Dead, before the episode writes itself into a corner with Cassandra and, needing someway to resolve her character, dumps us at an unspecified time in the past at the Worst. Dinner. Party. Evaah (where the Ambassador from Thrace is really spoiling us). Dying Cassandra gets to tell her pre-stretched counterpart just how beautiful she is. Yeah, lets play up her most lothesome characteristic - her vanity. That'll make for a touching ending.

Oh, and I can't let this episode go without mentioning the Face of Boe, who it seems is angling for the job of this seasons Bad Wolf. Last year, that repeating meme was subtly introduced into each episode and ultimately made no sense. This year, the repeating meme is spray-painted on the side of an Anvil and dropped on the audiences head. And will ultimately make no sense.

The Bumper Book of Made-Up Doctor Who Facts has this to say about New Earth: A guest appearance by Danny John Jules in the Cat hospital had to be cancelled at the last minute when nobody could remember who he was.

Comments

Don't cry, Danny! I remember you!

Finally had time to get online and see what people thought of the ep. And it seems pretty much what I thought...kinda alrightish but not much more than that.

Thankfully, I know there will be better to come, so I had my expectations low for this one and that's pretty much how it turned out.

Mum loved it though. Mind you, she loved Aliens of London too...

I thought that the episode was about vivisection with the domestic animals getting their own back. Oh well.

Great stuff, Matt. So good in fact that I was convinced this was one of Q's reviews until I got to the name at the end.

And believe me, that's high priase indeed.

Cheers Sean. But it couldn't have been one of Q's. He proof-reads :-).

Absolutely hilarious review.

Sorry it's taken me so long to catch up on all these reviews but I just gave in a bought an XBox 360 - you might not see me for weeks...

Though I enjoyed the episode, Matt that was a fab review

Neil, do I get to play with the X-Box next time I'm down?

And here's a thought: when is some software company gonna do a 'Who' game for one of the major formats (in fact, I'm surprised no-on has yet).

Does anyone recall that horrible effort from a few years back, Destiny of the Doctor or somehting like that? Urggghh it was craptastic

Hehehe I have "Destiny of the Doctors" for PC. It's a fun little time-waster until it crashes. It's not horribly XP-friendly, and it redefines the term "apochrical" but it's not a total loss.

Ah yes 'Destiny of the Doctors' - a CD Rom loosely strung together with some sort of sub-Tomb Raider puzzling. And added Ainley mincing...

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