WORLD WAR THREE

Sue isn’t impressed with the resolution to last week’s cliffhanger(s).

World War ThreeSue: It’s a bit of a cop-out, don’t you think? Suddenly, the electricity isn’t as dangerous to the Doctor as we were led to believe, and now he’s put all the aliens out of action. Somehow. Don’t ask me how. Anyway, it’s a massive design flaw. That’s like having an army, but if one of your soldiers dies, they all die. It’s stupid.

Mickey photographs an alien on his mobile phone.

Sue: Poor Mickey. Instagram hasn’t been invented yet.

The aliens break the Doctor’s feedback loop and clamber back into their human disguises.

Sue: They remind me of the Hulk, but they don’t leave their underwear on when they turn nasty. I’ve never understood how the Hulk’s pants can possibly stay on when he’s angry. It’s always bothered me, that.

The Doctor tells the police that the Prime Minister is an alien. They don’t believe him.

Sue: Just point at the massive zip on his forehead! It isn’t rocket science!

The Doctor runs away instead, eventually escaping in Downing Street’s lift.

World War ThreeSue: This is a bit daft. But it’s supposed to funny, I guess. I mean, you can’t take aliens like this completely seriously, can you? And I love Downing Street’s furniture… Do you think this is what it really looks like inside? Hang on a minute, does Downing Street even have a lift?
Me: I don’t think so.
Sue: I don’t know why that bothers me, but it does. It’s probably because it sticks out like a sore thumb. It’s too modern.

When two Slitheen end up together in this fictional lift, one encourages the other to strip naked so he can enjoy his magnificent body.

Sue: Gay aliens. And why not?

Meanwhile, the Slitheen off EastEnders is hunting for Rose. She taunts her prey by threatening to kiss her.

Sue: And this one’s a lesbian. Fair enough.
Me: This is all part of RTD’s famous ‘gay agenda’.
Sue: Good for him.

The Doctor comes to the rescue and Rose destroys a curtain rail.

Sue: Oh dear. The joinery in Downing Street is a bit shit.

The Slitheen are brought to life with CGI trickery and practical special effects.

World War ThreeSue: I wish they’d make their bloody mind up. You can’t have both – they don’t match up. To be fair, the computer generated aliens look great; they move a lot better. But I think I prefer the lumbering costumes. It’s proper Doctor Who when you’re constantly worried that the aliens will topple over or walk into the scenery. The only problem I have with them is that I can’t tell them apart. Which one is the female Slitheen in this scene, Neil?
Me: How the hell should I know?
Sue: Exactly. They should have left their hats on. Or a wig. Then we’d know.

More VIPs have arrived at Downing Street. And they all have one thing in common.

Sue: She’s enormous, so she must be an alien.
Me: Some people have accused this episode of being fattist.
Sue: Oh, give your head a shake, Neil. That’s stupid. You couldn’t fit one of those aliens inside Twiggy!

A nice topical reference from Sue, there. And speaking of topical references.

Me: This episode was broadcast during an election.
Sue: Wasn’t it a bit risky to portray MPs as evil monsters during an election? Well, more evil than normal, I mean. I love RTD. He’s so subversive.

When Mickey calls the Slitheen “bog monsters”, Sue falls about laughing.

Sue: (Still laughing) Oh dear. The guy who plays Mickey is a terrible actor. I’d forgotten how bad he was. Still, he gets better. He gets a lot better. So that’s a relief for all of us, but especially for him.

A Slitheen policeman is sent to Jackie’s flat to finish the job he started in the last episode.

World War ThreeMe: Do you remember the Jon Pertwee story where the aliens were disguised as policemen, Sue?
Sue: I do, actually. Don’t ask me what it was called, though, because we’ll be here all day.
Me: When they did that in the 1970s, it caused quite a stir – questions were asked in Parliament, I think. Nobody batted an eyelid when this was broadcast.
Sue: That’s because we don’t trust the police like we used to. It’s the same for the MPs. We don’t trust them any more, either. This episode is simply reflecting that sad fact. Oh, I feel all depressed now.

Mickey uses his PC to hack into UNIT’s computer system. The password is ‘buffalo’.

Sue: Is that it? That’s their password? No capital letters or numbers or any special characters? Even eBay doesn’t let you choose a password as shit as that! That’s ridiculous.

The Doctor tells Mickey to keep repeating the password as he delves deeper into UNIT’s mainframe.

Sue: That just makes it worse!
Me: I think they kept it simple so kids could use the same password to access a UNIT website that was published to coincide with this episode.
Sue: Buffaloshit. And by kids, you mean you, don’t you?

Jackie begs the Doctor to promise that he’ll always keep her daughter safe.

World War ThreeSue: He can’t answer her. How interesting is that? He knows he can’t promise Jackie shit. Ooh, this is tense.

As Mickey hacks his way through UNIT’s state of the art security protocols, a policeman appears at the front door. He leers at Jackie like a demented serial killer.

Sue: **** me! That was terrifying!

The policeman begins to strip off.

Sue: Are they more vulnerable when they’re human? I mean, why doesn’t he just kick the door in and shoot them in the face? Wouldn’t that be easier? Apart from that, it’s really good, this.

She means it. She’s having a great time. It’s even beginning to rub off on me.

Me: I really hated this episode 10 years ago, but now, with a little bit of distance, and you laughing your bloody head off, I’m actually enjoying this.
Sue: Of course you are. It’s brilliant.
Me: It’s ridiculous. But it doesn’t seem to bother me any more.

Using a process of elimination, the Doctor works out where the aliens come from: the planet Raxacoricofallapatorius!

Sue: (Clapping her hands) Fantastic!

World War ThreeJackie chucks a jug of vinegar over the Slitheen, causing it to explode.

Sue: (Laughing) Come on, Neil! How can you not love this?

Joseph Green informs the world that aliens have massive weapons of destruction that can be fired in 45 seconds.

Sue: So this episode went out during an election, when Tony Blair was running for Prime Minister? Bloody hell, Neil. I bet The Daily Mail loved this.

The aliens’ plan is relatively simple: once the Earth has destroyed itself in a fit of paranoia, the Slitheen will salvage its radioactive remains and sell it on as rocket fuel.

Sue: The plot is very clever, actually. I’m glad they don’t want to invade, and they’re just out to make a quick buck. It’s almost believable.

The Doctor has a cunning plan, but if he decides to implement it, Rose will be placed in mortal danger. Luckily for him, Harriet Jones makes the decision for him.

Sue: She took it out of his hands. Look at the relief on his face. It’s very clever, this. What a great scene.

World War ThreeThe ‘buffalo’ password gives Mickey access to a nuclear submarine. It does. Honestly.

Sue: Did Benton set the passwords? It’s just the sort of stupid thing he’d do. It’s unbelievable, this. It’s the most unbelievable thing in the entire episode, and that’s saying something.

It isn’t all bad news, though.

Sue: I love the music. It’s very exciting.
Me: Yes, it sounds like the theme to a particularly tricky invention test on Masterchef.

Humanity’s fate rests in Mickey’s hands.

Sue: Look at Mickey faffing about on his Pentium PC. And I bet it’s clogged with porn, so how he’s managing this is beyond me.

Despite this, Sue remains thoroughly entertained.

Sue: It’s hilarious. I almost feel sorry for the aliens.

The missile slams into Downing Street.

Sue: We went from day to night, and then back to day again. What the **** was that all about?

World War ThreeWhen the dust settles, the Doctor tells Rose that Harriet Jones will lead her country into a new Golden Age (and she won’t have to kidnap any dinosaurs to do it, either).

Sue: Yeah, but then she turns evil. She ends up doing something terrible. Just like Tony Blair.

The Doctor and Rose casually stroll away from the chaos.

Sue: Come on, Rose, ring your mam! She’ll be worried sick! Hurry up! What are you waiting for?!

With Rose safely home, Jackie offers to cook our heroes a nice dinner (mainly so she can get to know the Doctor better).

Sue: She’s already chosen the hat she’s going to wear at the wedding.

The Doctor refuses the invitation and Rose is forced to make a choice.

Sue: Oh, I don’t like this at all. That’s too controlling, that is. What a horrible thing to do.

Jackie is heartbroken when her daughter decides to leave her for a life of danger and excitement; I feel like this every time Nicol goes to Norwich.

Sue: Rose is upset now. He’s spoilt it. Would it have killed him to eat some shepherd’s pie before he left? I really hate the Doctor for doing that.

Jackie is worried that Rose will end up alone on a moon somewhere, a million light years away from home.

World War ThreeSue: If only she knew, eh? You see, it’s all planned out in advance, this, Neil.

Rose promises she’ll return in 10 seconds flat.

Sue: After what happened last time? I don’t think so, pet.

The TARDIS fails to return.

Sue: They should have travelled together as one big happy family. Just set the Sky Series Link for EastEnders and away you go! What a shame.

 

The Score

Sue: I loved that; I thought it was great. Apart from the passwords. The passwords were shit. But if you can forget about the passwords, it was loads of fun. Exciting, funny and a little bit sad at the end. Yeah, I enjoyed that. And so did you. Don’t deny it.

8/10

Sue: Ooh, it’s the Daleks next time. That’s Rob Shearman’s episode, isn’t it? I’m terrified already.
Me: I thought the Daleks didn’t scare you.
Sue: They don’t. But Rob Shearman does.

 

Next Time

 

42

Comments

  1. matt bartley  April 23, 2015

    “Did Benton set the passwords? It’s just the sort of stupid thing he’d do.”

    Brilliant.

    Always felt this episode was a vast improvement on the first one. Almost a proper base-under-siege story.

    • Nick Mays  April 23, 2015

      Oh, he definitely did!

      “You’ve killed it now!”

  2. Anniew  April 23, 2015

    Hooray. shit day and then a post from Neil and Sue. Quite liked the slytherin. and these episodes as apart from Mickie they were so well acted. This doc has no time for shepherds pie Sue! He’s a traveller in time and …Oh…

    • Nick Mays  April 23, 2015

      I prefer the Gryffindors meself… 😉

  3. Mike Bond  April 23, 2015

    I’m glad you’re beginning to enjoy yourself, Neil. All your moaning was beginning to get annoying.

  4. Neal  April 23, 2015

    I can’t believe this got 8/10 and Tomb of the Cyber-Men got a 4/10.

    This is the only time where I think the scores should be forcibly re-evaluated.

    • Matt Blanchette  April 24, 2015

      This one wasn’t racist, though. Small mercies.

      • Max  April 24, 2015

        >This one wasn’t racist, though. Small mercies.

        No, but it was kind of insulting to fat people. In a very childish ‘haha fat people and fart jokes!!’ kind of way.

        But yeah, this episode getting an 8/10 (and Rose getting a 10/10) while The Robots of Death got a 5/10 is pretty crazy. I guess Sue is just much more of an RTD fan, while not being able to get passed the dated aspects of Classic Who (although RTD era NuWho is pretty dated itself nowadays, but it’s justify something being dated if you were there for the original transmission I suppose).

        This was a good entry as usual, however. I hope Dalek gets a perfect 10, it deserves it. 2nd best episode of the series besides The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances, and it’s really close between the two.

      • Nick Mays  April 24, 2015

        Well, I thought it was Sizeist… and Greenist! And Pigist!

  5. Dave Sanders  April 23, 2015

    “1-2-3-4-5? That’s amazing, I have the same combination on my luggage!”

    Eccleston’s Doctor is of course, the Gruffalo.

    • Dave Sanders  April 23, 2015

      Or is that Rob Shearman?

  6. Greg Walker  April 23, 2015

    I think Sue’s pretty much spot-on. I can’t claim to be a fan of the Slitheen, but every time I watch this story I’m almost shocked by how much better it is than I’ve remembered. I think fan consensus can be a dangerous thing – people tend to not look past the farting aliens.
    Also, I too agree that Noel Clarke was pretty awful at the start of Series 1, but by Boom Town he (and the character) improve massively.

    • Nick Mays  April 24, 2015

      Maybe it was the direction Noel Clarke was receiving or the way RTD had pitched the character to him, because he’d been in the first revival series of Auf Weidersehen Pet before this and he was very good in that. But yep, agreed, by Boom Town he’s much more focussed.

      • encyclops  April 24, 2015

        I’ve heard him say in an interview that in this first recording block they were thinking it’d all be goofier, and they settled the tone down in the stories recorded later. I think there was something about how he’d just returned from abroad having missed rehearsals and got thrust quickly into recording, but I forget the details. So I think he was always quite good, he just didn’t quite have a handle on what Mickey would become in this story (or, I think, “Rose”).

      • Derek Handley  April 24, 2015

        I’ve read similar stories about Anthony Ainley in the old series – that the direction he was receiving was to take it more over the top, ham it up more, etc. It is interesting to see Noel Clarke in different things – he’s never been so “children’s entertainer” as he is in these episodes.

  7. Chris-Too-Old-To-Watch  April 24, 2015

    At least that’s the last of the silly ones anyway. I just couldn’t take these two seriously, and were bordering on the idea that the series was made for children….again. I always found Noel Clarke quite engaging: people should realise that Mickey is the pratt, not him!
    Love the idea of Benton making up the passwords for UNIT/ Bye-the-way, there’s a café/restaurant in Bremen called John Benton’s. And you thought he went off to trade in second-hand cars didn’t you. No, he’s selling tea and cakes in Germany!

    • Nick Mays  April 24, 2015

      So the cabaret performances and excruitiating CDs are just a sideline? 😉

      • Chris-Too-Old-To-Watch  April 24, 2015

        Well you can’t expect him to brew up and make apfel strudel all day, can you…………..
        “Sgt Benton, chap with wings, 5 rounds of toast, rapid!…..”

        • Nick Mays  April 24, 2015

          😀

    • James  April 24, 2015

      Damn right. Noel Clarke – and Mickey – is brilliant.

  8. Derek Handley  April 24, 2015

    “Even eBay doesn’t let you choose a password as shit as that!” – So true!

    Not as bad as it seemed at the time when we were still nervous about what people would think of it. There’s some great writing, particularly in the scenes with Harriet Jones but also at the end of the episode with Jackie, and I love the scene where the Doctor works out where the aliens are from – nice to see him not instantly knowing everything.

    Yay for the new Kickstarter! This is the book I’m most looking forward to in the series.

  9. Robert Dick  April 24, 2015

    And then Jackie never meets that Doctor again…

    • scribbles  April 24, 2015

      She does in the books, though, if I remember correctly.

  10. Flynn Sullivan  April 24, 2015

    These posts make Friday the best day of the week. 😀
    I’m waiting for Sue to get to the worser stories of NewWho(which, knowing Sue’s fondness for Tennant and RTD, won’t probably come until Series 6)… all this glorifying is getting kind of tiresome.

    • Neil Perryman  April 24, 2015

      We are only doing Eccleston (for the very reason you’ve just pointed out).

      • Chris-Too-Old-To-Watch  April 24, 2015

        Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!

        • Neil Perryman  April 24, 2015

          The plan was always to just do Eccleston. To celebrate ten years of the New Series. Anyway, we’ve got 768 hours of Star Trek to watch.

      • Flynn Sullivan  April 24, 2015

        WHAT?! But… but… but… why? I mean, yeah, Sue watching David Tennant is not Sue watching Jon Pertwee, but still, there is so much crap from the new series to pull apart! Love And Monsters! Daleks In Manhattan! The Wedding Of River Song! You can’t be serious!

        On a completely unrelated note not involving me trying to desperately salvage something from this, are you doing a Star Trek experiment?

        • Neil Perryman  April 24, 2015

          No, I’m joking about Star Trek.

          • Flynn Sullivan  April 25, 2015

            *sigh*

        • Flynn Sullivan  April 25, 2015

          Oh, what the heck. I don’t want to come across as a whiner, so I’ll just say it’s a terrific 50th anniversary gift to the fans, even without the other Doctors.
          I’m going through the classic series for the first time myself and having these posts to look forward to after every episode is great motivation to continue. Thanks!

      • Andrew Luke  April 25, 2015

        What, no “Barf A-Loner”?

    • scribbles  April 24, 2015

      Aww, series 6 is my favorite. Completely experimental in structure and form, and rather engaging to boot. Sure, it didn’t end on its highest note, but it was a great ride while it lasted.

  11. James  April 24, 2015

    Aliens of London/WW3 is *brilliant* – for the first time ever, we see the consequences of the Doctor’s strange life. I love it.

    And *so* funny. Russell is a genius.

  12. Anniew  April 24, 2015

    Fattist! Speaking as someone who is definitely on the wrong side of large , I always I fail to see what’s wrong with pointing out we fatties do fart a bit and are roll poly,. We also are great to hug, very useful to have walking under your window if you fall out of it, and full of serotonin so we tend to be good company. Comedy is built around a bit of caricature. Anyone who tries to judge me on how the larger lady is portrayed in a TV programme can bog off out of my life. Was the portrayal of Cassandra thinnist? ( and no I don’t feel the need to live up to any fat stereo type and be relentless jolly unless I’m feeling it but I do feel that even in an equal opportunities world, any attempt to portray me as a dietician or mountain climber or tight rope walker or jockey on telly might be a a tad silly .)

  13. Sean  April 24, 2015

    Reading this review I’ve just realised it’s taken me ten (TEN!) years to realise how ridiculous the idea of a lift in 10 Downing Street is…

  14. scribbles  April 24, 2015

    I’ve never been able to take this one seriously, but perhaps just going with it makes it more enjoyable. Perhaps Sue’s approaching it from a much better angle.

    On the bright side, the next one’s totally brilliant.

  15. KatieC  April 25, 2015

    No, I think they’ve definitely got lifts, for people with disabilities.
    The doctor is controlling in the end isn’t he? Because he’s an alien I suppose he gets away with it.

    • Nick Mays  April 25, 2015

      You beat me to it Katie. I’m sure they’d use a lift for bringing food trolleys up and down too.

  16. Roy Watson-Davis  April 25, 2015

    I have always felt that this is 1. the two-parter firmly aimed at the kids and 2. deliberately lighter in tone as it is bracketed by two grim stories in the Unquiet Dead and Dalek (which I liked very much). At the time of broadcast I was a forty something viewer. So, unsurprisingly, I don’t like the story and find a lot of it irritating. Quite right too as I wasn’t the target audience (in the same way as I’m not a teenage, modern comic loving, socially awkward boy I can’t really access the Smith stories of Moffatt).

  17. Andrew Luke  April 25, 2015

    Though I watched this while transcribing another doc I found the Slitheen surprisingly nastier than I expected. There’s times they’re bordering on scary. A mass murder in the brilliant first ten minutes, domestic violence, they’re really showing potential for being absolutely homicidal fukeheads. And of course, it’s quite easy to read into it symbolism about the Invasion of Iraq. The farts should have been more excreme.