Love and Monsters


Back in the early years of Doctor Who, when the series used to run for the majority of the year with only a short summer break, there would periodically be episodes where the Doctor would be incapacitated, or somehow removed from the action for pretty much an entire episode in order to give the lead actor a break. Last night the new series of Doctor Who did something similar. Thanks to a heavy shooting schedule on other episodes in the series, Love and Monsters was largely filmed by a second crew, alongside filming of the preceding episodes, and with very little involvement from either David Tennant or Billie Piper.

The central character of the episode was called Elton Pope, and he had first met the Doctor as a child, when he heard a strange noise during the night, and came downstairs to find him stood in his living room. Later in life, after prominent events such as the Auton invasion, the Slytheen and Sycorax invasions seen in previous episodes (all of which we see from Elton’s point of view), Elton finds a group of people who have also had encounters with the Doctor. Whilst it is their need to find out more that brings them together, they ultimately end up as a group of friends. However this all changes when the strange Victor Kennedy joins the group and takes over, pushing them forward in their search. Through this, Elton meets Jackie Tyler, Rose’s mother, and makes friends. However all is not as it seems with Victor Kennedy, and quite how will Jackie respond when she finds out that Elton was really looking for the Doctor through her?

Alongside the fairly rare device of telling the story from a point of view other than the Doctor, the story was also very light – featuring comedian Peter Kay as Victor Kennedy. Camille Coduri also gets a good chance to shine as Jackie Tyler, rather than her more usual supporting role. Great Jackie moments being her quite blatant seducing of Elton – as he comments at one point, with the number of fuses that seemed to blow in her flat, she needs to call the Electricity board! The episode is also notable as it includes the Abzorbaloff, the prize winner in the recent Blue Peter Design a Monster competition. Not only did William Grantham, the nine-year old who won get a visit to the set to see the programme being made, but he even got an ‘Abzorbaloff created by…’ credit in the closing credits. The creature seemed to have turned out well, certainly from the comments he made in Doctor Who Confidential. It was certainly pretty impressive, as the faces of all the recently absorbed, partially digested victims could be seen over the creatures body – talking too…

In all, for what was essentially a cheap filler episode between the big budget two parters, I thought it was good. As an attempt to do something different I think it worked well, with the story being told from a different point of view. Finally, I didn’t ever think I’d see an episode of Doctor Who that featured both Elton John, and Mr Blue Sky from ELO – but now I have…

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