Sue: Are you going to moan all the way through this episode as well, Neil?
Me: I’ll try not to. Although I was in a terrible mood the first time I saw this because Christopher Eccleston had just quit the show and I thought the sky was caving in.
Sue: Little did you know they were about to cast the best Doctor Who ever, eh?
Me: (Weeping) No comment.
Rose wants to visit the future, which means the Doctor has to pump the TARDIS controls like a lunatic.
Sue: That’s a bit sexual. Imagine William Hartnell or Jon Pertwee doing that. Actually, on second thoughts, don’t.
When Rose steps out of the TARDIS, she can’t believe her eyes.
Sue: Oh, look – a ventilator grille.
It’s actually an observation window with the blinds down. You see, the Doctor wants Rose to witness the end of the world.
Sue: Couldn’t they have gone to Barcelona instead? I mean, is it just me or is this a bit depressing for a first date?
Me: This isn’t a date, Sue.
Sue: Of course it isn’t, Neil. Have you forgotten what kind of Doctor Who we’re watching now? Get used to it.
Our heroes have materialised on Platform One.
Sue: It looks like the sort of thing Luke Skywalker should be hanging off.
The Doctor tells Rose that Earth only has twenty minutes left before it’s roasted to a crisp.
Sue: Seriously, though, this is a lousy place to take a date. It’s almost psychotic. He is so out of practice, it’s ridiculous.
The Platform’s Steward demands to know who they are.
Sue: Are the Blue Man Group providing the entertainment before the Earth blows up? Are they the warm-up act?
The Doctor explains their unauthorised presence with the help of some psychic paper. As the Doctor says, it saves a lot of time.
Sue: Yeah, they’d usually spend a whole episode being locked up and protesting their innocence. That saved at least 25 minutes in old series money. And it’s such a simple idea, too.
The hall is suddenly filled with tiny blue functionaries.
Sue: Has the Steward brought his kids in to work with him? Couldn’t he find a babysitter?
The seemingly endless parade of alien VIPs reminds Sue of Babylon 5 and Star Wars. And in a good way.
Sue: They’ve thrown some money at this episode, haven’t they? I’m surprised the BBC could actually remember how to do stuff like this. Oh look, there’s the Face of Boe.
Me: AKA Captain Jack.
Sue: Oh God, I’d completely forgotten about that. Is that actually true, though? Because you’d think he would say something if he was Captain Jack. Or he’d try to shag something. If he still can, that is… Oh what am I saying? He looks nothing like Captain Jack! He didn’t even wink at the Doctor, so it can’t be him. Stop laughing, Neil.
The Moxx of Balhoon spits in Rose’s face. For some reason, the colour for aliens in new Doctor Who is blue. I don’t know why that is, it just is.
Sue: Why are the Doctor and Rose receiving all these gifts from the aliens, anyway? They’ve basically gate crashed a birthday party and now they’re stealing all the presents.
The last VIP to arrive isn’t even an alien – it’s Cassandra, the last living human.
Sue: You wouldn’t want to stand behind her when the Earth blows up. You wouldn’t see a bloody thing.
Cassandra has brought her iPod with her, which explains why the Doctor is suddenly bopping away to ‘Tainted Love’ by Soft Cell.
Sue: Jesus! The Doctor dances almost as badly as you do, Neil. Seriously: Worst. Date. Ever.
Rose bumps into an alien plumber named Rafallo.
Sue: I love how it’s suddenly dawned on Rose that she’s hitched a ride with a total stranger. You have to admit, it is a bit dodgy. Has she asked about the sleeping arrangements on the TARDIS yet?
Rafallo is killed by some metallic spider-like creatures.
Sue: That was pretty scary, actually. And I really liked her, too, so that’s a bit shit. I don’t know why the Face of Boe would need hot water, though. Has he brought a massive flannel with him?
Me: (Shaking my fist) Barrowman!
Rose wants to know a little more about the man she’s agreed to travel with. At which point he basically accuses her of being ‘a bit racist’.
Sue: He really needs to work on his chat-up lines. This isn’t going well at all. If I were him, I’d turn into David Tennant sharpish.
The Doctor puts Rose’s mind at ease when he lets her phone her mum back on Earth.
Sue: Aww, that was really sweet.
Me: Yeah, now she can make sure her mum has recorded Hollyoaks when she’s facing certain death on an alien planet. Or Cardiff. The next thing you know, he’ll be letting his companions hold down full-time jobs between adventures!
The Platform’s Steward is fried to death when a four-legged creature presses a button on his console that causes his window’s sun filter to retract.
Sue: Just press another button! There must be another button for raising it again! Don’t just sit there! Press something! Oh, too late.
Sue completely misses the Moxx of Balhoon’s reference to a ‘Bad Wolf scenario’, but Rose can’t possibly hear him either, and she’s the one who’s supposed to be listening out for that sort of thing. So there. Anyway, the Doctor decides to join forces with a sentient tree named Jabe, who mistakes Rose for a prostitute.
Me: Her bark is worse than her bite. Sorry. I couldn’t resist. Please put the cushion down.
Rose mocks Cassandra’s decision to take plastic surgery to the nth degree.
Sue: She’s got a nerve.
Me: What do you mean?
Sue: Well, Rose has plastic surgery later on, doesn’t she? That’s why she can’t speak properly when she comes back in a David Tennant episode.
Me: I’m pretty sure that was due to cold weather.
Sue: Yeah, it probably reacted badly with her surgery.
When Jabe tells the Doctor she knows who he is, the Time Lord sheds a tear.
Sue: One day, he’ll look back at this and laugh. The daft sod.
The Doctor and Jabe find themselves in Platform One’s air conditioning system.
Sue: Oh look, it’s Doctor Who‘s biggest fan.
Cue Britney Spears.
Sue: What did you think when you first saw this, Neil? I seem to remember you were mortified.
Me: Well, Britney Spears definitely wasn’t on the list of things I wanted to see in Doctor Who when it came back, but neither was Billie Piper, so what do I know? And it’s not as if Russell will go on to make a habit of it. And it’s a very nice song. Yeah, it’s fine.
Sue: It’s more than fine. I love it.
There then follows a very exciting scene where the Doctor has to stop his latest companion from being slowly roasted to death. And then, when the Doctor tells Rose to stay put, she zings back: “Where am I going to go? Ipswich?”
Sue: Why Ipswich?
Me: Ah, I’m glad you asked me that, Sue. You see, what happened is –
Sue: Never mind. I’m watching this. Shut up.
The prime suspects for Platform One’s sabotage are the mysterious Adherents of the Repeated Meme.
Me: I wrote an academic paper about these monsters, once.
Sue: Is that supposed to be a joke?
Me: The university didn’t even include it in that year’s RAE (Research Assessment Exercise). It was a complete waste of time.
Sue: I could have told you that before you started writing it! I mean what can you possibly say about them? They look evil, they sound evil and they do evil things. And?
Me: Well, you see, they represent –
Sue: Shut up. I’m watching this.
It turns out that Cassandra is this episode’s Big Bad.
Sue: This doesn’t really make that much sense to me. Why is she doing this again? It seems a bit random.
It’s left to the Doctor and Jabe to save the day. If only Platform One’s restore switch wasn’t on the other side of the bloody air conditioning system!
Me: You’d think RTD had a problem with fans.
Sue: It’s all gone a bit Indiana Jones. Who designed this place? How the hell did this get past the Health and Safety stage?
Jabe holds down a thoroughly pointless breaker lever while the Doctor leaps between the blades.
Sue: Stop fannying around!
She wasn’t even trying to be funny when she said that. Anyway, Jabe suddenly bursts into flame and the fans speed up!
Sue: That relationship was never going to end well. They never would have copped-off. Just think of the splinters.
After an exceptionally tense slow-motion countdown, the Doctor steps through the final gap between the blades and resets the system. Phew.
Sue: That was absolutely brilliant. Completely stupid but brilliant.
The Doctor brings Cassandra back to Platform One to face justice. And then he stands back and watches her die. Horribly.
Sue: Wow. He doesn’t piss about, does he? And Rose asked him to help her, too. I’d forgotten this Doctor could be a bastard. He’s damaged goods. And a shit date.
The charred remains of planet Earth float past an observation window while the Doctor and Rose look on.
Sue: That was a bit full-on for her first trip in the TARDIS.
Me: Your planet has been destroyed, and everybody you ever loved is dead. So where do you wanna go next? Auschwitz?
Sue: I can’t believe the Doctor decided to take her there. It’s not as if he didn’t have a choice because his TARDIS wasn’t working properly. Maybe he wanted to see if she could handle it. The last thing he needs is another Tegan moaning at him all the bloody time.
The Doctor takes Rose back to Earth in the 21st century, and then he drops another bombshell: he’s the lone survivor of a terrible war.
Sue: He’s completely wrong about that, though, isn’t he? The Master is still out there, and the Time Lords aren’t really dead, either. He stuck them in a hole in space for safe keeping. At least I think that’s what he did.
Me: Does it ruin the drama for you, knowing what happened at the end of the Time War?
Sue: Not really. He still thinks he did it, I suppose. Although I don’t understand why he thinks he did it if he didn’t actually do it; I’m a bit fuzzy on the details. Oh, I don’t know. It makes me want to give him a big slap. And then a cuddle. It’s complicated.
Sue: I enjoyed that, but it wasn’t as good as last week. The plot was a bit silly, and I didn’t really understand what Cassandra was trying to do, if I’m really honest. It seemed a bit rushed at the end. The effects were great, though. And I loved the scene with the chips. I could murder some chips.