Saturday night TV in “not crap” shocker!

Most odd this. It’s been ages since Saturday night TV was something I could be bothered to watch. Now it seems to be getting better.

This evening, we had the second episode of the new Doctor Who series, which was great fun. The Doctor took Rose to a space station five billion years in the future, where a gathering of the rich and apparently important people of the time are to witness the final destruction of the Earth as the sun expands[1].

It soon becomes clear that there is a murderer on the station. Once again, the Doctor has to save the day[2] and does so with a lot of style. We also learn more about his background. It seems there has been a war[3] and the Time Lords lost[4]. The Doctor is apparently the only survivor, travelling and doing his usual righting of wrongs thing because “there’s no-one else”.[4]

As with the first episode, it was all very nicely done, and the performances of the two leads are quite excellent. It’s a shame that Eccleston has already announced his intention to quit the role for fear of being type cast, but given the quality of the writing and production, I think the next series (already commissioned, woo hoo, etc) will manage quite nicely with a different Doctor. Unless they can make him change his mind, which would in my not so humble opinion be a Very Good Thing.

After that, it was Doctor Who Confidential on BBC Three[6] – behind the scenes stuff, interviews, and so on. The kind of thing you normally have to wait for the DVD to see…

And after that, something quite remarkable on BBC Four[7]. For the first time in something like 20 years, the BBC staged a live TV drama. This was how things were done back in the 50s, and nobody is crazy enough to do it these days. Well, nobody apart from whoever decided that remaking the classic “Quatermass Experiment”, that is. The story involves the return to Earth of a British space capsule[8]. Only one of the three crew is still on board, and he seems to have been changed somehow. It eventually transpires that all life on the planet is in danger of being replaced by an alien presence…

All very nicely done – it must have been hard work, and taken a lot of preparation. Good use of camera angles to make the best use of the limited number of sets. Good fun.

[1] Cue some very silly stuff about Earth having been preserved by the National Trust, even to the extent of moving the continents back into their “classic” positions.
[2] It’s what he does…
[3] This was mentioned in passing in the first episode
[4] This may be based on events in some of the Doctor Who novels written since the 1996 TV movie. I haven’t read them, but I understand that at some point Gallifrey[5] was destroyed…
[5] Planet of the Time Lords for anyone who didn’t know that
[6] Digital channel
[7] Another digital channel, normally gets single-figure audiences
[8] The original was made in the 50s, it wasn’t quite so unlikely then…