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Aliens of London

ShowDoctor Who / Series I / Episode 4
First Broadcast2005/06/11 - 19:30 (Link: ABC Details)
Related LinksDr Who Guide
Previous EpisodeThe Unquiet Dead
Next EpisodeWorld War Three

Rose returns home for the first time since she began her journeys with the Doctor. The Doctor has told her she's only been away 12 hours, but naturally he hasn't got it quite right, so when she arrives home and her Mum is overwhelmed and Rose sees all the missing persons flyers, she doesn't understand. Then the Doctor bursts in and apologises, it's not 12 hours, but 12 months.

This leads to an amusing thread, as Rose struggles to explain where she's been for a year. The Doctor doesn't help by saying he's employed her as his companion - Jackie thinks he's some sort of pervert. Micky, on the other hand, complains the police have pulled him for questioning several times simply because he's her boyfriend.

Then the real action begins. A space ship crashes in London, damaging Big Ben (what else) along the way. The pilot turns out to be an augmented pig - the whole thing is a fake - but why? The Doctor investigates and returns. Jackie is stunned to see the TARDIS materialise in front of her. She goes in and is shocked. When she returns to her flat she sees an ad for a government alien hotline. She calls it and the words she uses (TARDIS, blue box, Doctor) trigger an alert. The government now knows he's here.

There's lots of action inside 10 Downing Street. Harriet Jones, MP for Flydale North, struggles to get someone to pay attention to her. The Doctor and Rose are sent for. Good old UNIT are there. And the whole thing is a trap. And we get our first cliff-hanger of the new series. I still think I prefer this to the solved-in-an-episode style, although it's growing on me.

We've seen some more insight into the lives of those around the Doctor: Jackie's reaction and an active search for and awareness of the Doctor by various authorities. This is where the new series breaks new ground and provides a lot of interesting story lines. I wonder if this reflects a belief on behalf of the writers of a more intelligent or questioning audience. Are they concerned that if it's too implausible that today's viewers won't buy it? Or are they simply filling in blanks that weren't a concern before? I don't think it ever bothered me before, but now I'm keen to see the effects of the Doctor's passing through on those left behind.