TV REVIEW Doctor Who 4.12 "The Stolen Earth"

Written by: Russell T Davies

Directed by: Graeme Harper

Rating:

THE ONE WHERE
Under Davros’s command Daleks kidnap the planet Earth and take it across the universe, so all the Doctor’s old mates – UNIT, Torchwood, Sarah Jane – combine forces to send the Time Lord a 999 call. Rose feels a bit left out

VERDICT
Did you feel the Earth move? Was it a unified, seismic fangasm or seven million viewers falling off the edge of their seats? Probably both. After two episodes proving that he can write taut, edgy, ideas-lead sci fi with the best of ’em, RTD returns to his patented crowd-pleasing, script pyrotechnics in an episode packed with moments that make you go, “Oooooooohhhh!” The returning guest stars all get some meaty moments in the spotlight; Davros is back and creepier than ever (with a fine, restrained performance from Julian Bleach); some of the FX are just outstanding; the pace is breathless; and the dialogue explodes with punchy one liners and audacious continuity references (who’d’ve thought Mr Copper would get a mention?).

Packing all this in does leave the episode feeling occasionally more like an extended movie trailer as Russell resorts to some incredibly broad strokes to kick the plot along; the “call the Doctor” solution borders on cheese while the trail of bees is handier than a sentient Black and Decker workmate. Some character moments don’t quite convince, being dropped into the action like little “emotion bombs” with little time to develop amongst the avalanche of revelations. And the Shadow Proclamation – a couple of women in an office block foyer who seriously need to lay off the peroxide – is a severe disappointment after all the foreshadowing. Good to see the Judoon again, though.

But there’s no denying it’s all huge fun, like a tipsy romp on a bouncy castle with all the people you’ve ever loved.

HIGHLIGHTS
The cliffhanger… jawdropping. What the hell is going to happen after that? And the initial subwave four-way conversation is great, especially Rose’s reaction to seeing Martha.

LOWLIGHT
Jack’s and Sarah’s lip-trembling melodramatic responses to hearing the Dalek voices are way, way over the top. This was the guy who faced them off with a big gun in “Parting of the Ways” and a woman who’s been to hell and back with the Doctor. Okay Sarah has a son now, but still… “Too young!” Too corny.

LMAO
“MY VIS-ION IS NOT IM-PAIRED!”

TRIVIA
The Doctor’s telephone number is 07700 900461. At the time of writing, this doesn’t connect to anything, but maybe after the show is aired it’ll be worth a try.

SPECULATION
With the Judoon back, will Martha be making use of the “compensation” she received in “Smith and Jones”?

DID YOU SPOT?
The planet Callufrax Minorr (sic) – is one of the stolen worlds. Presumably this is the sister planet of Calufrax, which also vanished mysteriously in the classic series story “The Pirate Planet”.

BEST LINE
Rose: “Have you got a webcam?”
Wilf: “No.She wouldn’t let me. She said they’re naughty.”

Dave Golder