Tag Archives: Voyage of the Damned

Partners in Crime

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I think perhaps it was a mistake to air the first part of the new series of Doctor Who quite so soon after the last part of Torchwood as it really marks out the differences between the two programmes. After a dire episode of Torchwood we get a great opening to the new series of Doctor Who – and Donna was nowhere near as annoying as I thought she would be either!

The plot of the first episode, Partners in Crime, revolved around a new alien called the Adipose. Through a front company they are marketing themselves as a miracle diet – except the diet pills are essentially alien eggs that absorb fat from the host species – in this case humans – and as the company adverts say, “The fat just walks awayâ€?. However, it’s not totally foolproof – if the process goes wrong, Adipose can form themselves from any biological matter in the host, reducing them to nothing.

At the beginning of the episode, both the Doctor and Donna are separately investigating the company, and through the early part of the episode you get the two characters narrowly missing seeing each other on a couple of occasions, in a sequence reminiscent of numerous comedy routines over the years. Ultimately they spot each other, just at the wrong time, when they are both outside the offices of Miss Foster, the person running the whole operation. All of those sequences work fantastically thanks to having two good actors in the form of David Tennant and Catherine Tate to pull it off.

This being a new companion, we also get to meet the family – or in this case re-meet them as her mother appeared in The Runaway Bride, and Bernard Cribbins character from Voyage of the Damned, Wilfred Mott, is Donna’s grandfather. In amongst the action and comedy moments, Donna and her grandfather share a touching moment where Donna confides in him what she is looking for – something she cannot tell her mother.

The story is interesting in that it could be argued that there isn’t really a ‘baddie’. The cute little Adipose are quite happily breeding, and in fact are a benefit to their hosts in that they are consuming something the humans want to get rid of – the point where one host totally decomposes is actually caused by Donna herself, who by fiddling with one of the pendants that the Adipose use to mark the hosts that she has stolen, interferes with the breeding process. Indeed the final mass birth is only triggered because the Adipose have been discovered by the Doctor the implication is that had they not been discovered, things would have carried on and nobody would have noticed. This is definitely one of those episodes where you wonder whether the interference of the Doctor was actually for the best. An ethical question to ponder no doubt.

After watching the Adipose leave, Donna and the Doctor head for the TARDIS – stopping only to pick up her suitcases from her car, Donna being one of the few companions to have packed in advance for her trip with the Doctor. At this point, Donna has to get her car keys back to her mother which she does by hiding them, and then giving a cryptic message to a woman waiting in the crowd. Now if you’ve managed to miss the pre-publicity for the series, when the woman turns around it will be a total curve ball, as the woman is none other than Rose Tyler – even more perplexing as she walks away she seems to fade into nothing. No explanations on that, but I’m sure all will become clear in a few weeks time…

All in all it was a great episode with which to kick off the new season, a good crowd pleasing story with a nice mix of comedy and action, and one Rose Tyler shaped mystery to tantalise for the weeks ahead.

Killing Off Kylie

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So hands up, who thought that they’d find some way to bring Kylie back to life by the end of Voyage of the Damned? There has been an opinion I’ve seen expressed a lot in fan circles, that killing off a companion didn’t fit in with the spirit of the new show – the prime example of that being the ultimate survival of Rose back in season 2. Although obviously Astrid wasn’t going to leave with the Doctor at the end of the special, I’m sure most people were expecting some sort of plot device that meant that she couldn’t go rather than her ending up as she did.

Anyway, aside from that, what did we think of this years festive outing? As we did last year we watched this up at my parents, and it generally seemed to go down pretty well as a Christmas crowd pleaser.

The opening cliff-hanger with the Titanic crashed through the TARDIS wall was quickly resolved with the Doctor flicking a few switches to get the wall to rebuild itself and to bring the time machine into the ship. From there the scene is set as the Doctor finds himself on an alien theme cruise, visiting present day Earth. Once that is established the story quickly shifts into classic disaster movie mode as the Captain deliberately crashes meteors into the ship in an attempt to destroy it. From here we have all the classic disaster movie characters – the ones who don’t make it, either through accidents on the way, or by bravely sacrificing themselves so the others can escape. The really easy option – the TARDIS – conveniently gets blown into space in the initial explosion, and then automatically lands itself on the Earth below.

The show also references the previous Christmas specials, with a deserted London as a result of the two preceding Christmases – with it seems only the Queen opting to stay. This produces one of the big moments that really they could only have got away with at Christmas, with the plunging spaceship heading straight for Buckingham Palace.

All in all it was a pretty entertaining episode, just right for the family to sit down with. There are some thrills and spills, a few laughs, and I’m sure the hankies came out in parts too. I’m sure it’s not going to win masses of awards for being massively original, but it was entertaining none the less.

But what was there for the fans? First up was the new arrangement of the theme tune, which on first listen through seemed an improvement over the previous version. There was also the other traditional aspect of the Christmas special, the trailer for the new season. I think as with last year it will take until the end of the season in the summer to work everything out, but we got glimpses of the return of the Sontarans, glimpses of both Donna and Martha (who also popped up in the Torchwood trailer they showed afterwards). Based on previous trailers I think we probably were only looking at footage from the first few episodes – but it as always whetted the appetite for when the series comes around again later in 2008.