Doctor Who – The Idiot’s Lantern

Hmmmm. Another fun episode. The Doctor and Rose arrive on Earth in the 1950s, intending to see Elvis Presley on the Ed Sullivan Show in New York. So naturally, they arrive in London in 1953, just before the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. Only something is a bit wrong. There are far too many TV aerials, for a start. Rose remembers her mother telling her that loads of people gathered in the few homes that had televisions, so why has nearly every house apparently got one? And why are the police dragging people from their homes with their heads covered?

Good questions, with some disturbing answers. An alien entity calling itself The Wire is using a local TV salesman to spread itself around London. Appearing on the television screen in the form of an announcer of the time, complete with the kind of accent that I think is called “cut-glass”, and played superbly by Maureen Lipman, the Wire is feeding on the life essence of people unfortunate enough to be watching television at the wrong time. This has the nasty side-effect of removing people’s faces, leaving a blank mask. Quite nasty, really.

When Rose is afflicted by the Wire’s power, the Doctor takes it rather personally, which is really bad news for the Wire. It all ends with a dramatic confrontation on the antenna of Alexandra Palace, which was all good fun.

Coolest scenes: the Doctor riding a Vespa scooter out of the Tardis, and when an overbearing bully shouts:

I’m talking

he shouts back

And I’m not listening!

But I have to say that the best lines went to the Wire

You’ll be glued to the screen![1]

And a lovely Little Shop of Horrors style

Feed me!

All good stuff, and I was particularly impressed with Rory Jennings in the supporting role of Tommy, a teenager who stands up to his bullying father[2] and assists the Doctor at a critical moment.

[1] As people’s faces are stretched towards the screen as their life essence is drained, this was entirely accurate.
[2] The same one mentioned above

4 thoughts on “Doctor Who – The Idiot’s Lantern

  1. Geoff

    The Dr Who Confidential programme thatr was on after Dr Who finished on BBC3 (I think) was interesting showed how they filmed the climbing up the mast bit. Interesting !

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