The Worst of Doctor Who – “World War Three”


The Doctor (Christopher Eccleston) – RACE: Time Lord. AGE: 900, or over 1000, or somewhere about 750, or 906… but he can pass for 35 in a good light. MORALITY: Variable. DRESS SENSE: Variable.

Rose Tyler (Billie Piper) – RACE: Human/salt-water elemental half-breed. DEFAULT EMOTION: Vaguely weepy. SECONDARY EMOTION: Incredibly weepy. THIRD EMOTION: Aggressively weepy.

Jackie Tyler (Camille Coduri) – RACE: Human, of course! Why would you even ask such a thing? ANNOYANCE FACTOR: What are you trying to imply by that?! AGE: Don’t you dare ask! WEIGHT: Oh, someone’s cruising for a smack!

Mickey Smith (Noel Clarke) – RACE: Human/puppy dog half-breed. DEFAULT EMOTION: Sullen. OCCUPATION: He is t3h l33t hax0r with mad skillz! EVENTUALLY MARRIES: … Martha Jones?! Jeez, they can both do better!

Margaret Blaine (Annette Badland) – RACE: Raxicoricofalapatorian. EMOTIONAL STATE: Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious! POLITICAL/RELIGIOUS STANCE: Antidisestablishmentarianst. FAVORTE WELSH CITY: Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch. FAVORITE COMPOSER: Johann Gambolputty de von Ausfern-schplenden-schlitter-crasscrenbon-fried-digger-dingle-dangle-dongle-dungle-burstein-von-knacker-thrasher-apple-banger-horowitz-ticolensic-grander-knotty-spelltinkle-grandlich-grumblemeyer-spelterwasser-kurstlich-himbleeisen-bahnwagen-gutenabend-bitte-ein-nürnburger-bratwustle-gerspurten-mitz-weimache-luber-hundsfut-gumberaber-shönedanker-kalbsfleisch-mittler-aucher von Hautkopft of Ulm.

Harriet Jones, MP for Flydale North (Penelope Wilton) – RACE: Harriet Jones, MP for Flydale North. OCCUPATION: Harriet Jones, MP for Flydale North. FAVORITE MOVIE: Harriet Jones, MP for Flydale North. FAVORITE ROCK BAND: Harriet Jones, MP for Flydale North. FAVORITE FOOD: Crackers. With cheese.

So my previous recap, one on the horrible first part of this story, “Aliens of London“, I optimistically put this at the end:

So that’s it for part one. Lots of set up and no resolution, as is to be expected. Really, aside from the farting aliens, this episode isn’t as bad as it might’ve been. Oh, it’s still not great, but it’s not truly horrible. No, the horribleness doesn’t begin until next week.

Stay tuned for “World War Three,” next time, on the the Worst of Doctor Who!

Ok, yes, I know, it’s been a long three months since I said I would have this written up and posted a week after the previous one. Sorry about that. It’s amazing the things I can find to do when I have a choice between doing them or watching this particular episode of Doctor Who again. Things like update Wikipedia, work on my novel, file my taxes, file my neighbors’ taxes, bake twelve dozen cookies and eat them in one sitting, practice exploratory surgery on myself, join a cult, find reasons to vote Republican, etc. It’s incredible how motivated I can be do anything else when faced with the prospect of this story.

Oh, well. Enough excuses! On with the show!

Consider this your only warning.

Previously on Doctor Who

When last we saw the Doctor and pals, the alien Slitheen had staged a fake landing of a spacecraft in the Thames. Why was anyone’s guess. They were hanging around disguised as various members of the UK government, farting up a storm and generally being jerks.

Currently they are electrocuting the Doctor, menacing Jackie in her flat and menacing Rose and Harriet Jones, MP for Flydale North, at 10 Downing Street. Is this the end for our heroes?

Well, sadly, no.

As it is, before the opening credits even run we see the Doctor take the energy that’s going through his body, gather it into a ball (?), and push it onto a collar one of the big, green, evil Slitheen is wearing. It starts twitching like a meth addict and we go to the credits. Me, I would’ve killed some time and built some suspense by running the credits and then showing the resolution to the cliffhanger, but what do I know?

Use the Force, the Doctor does!

Anyhow, now that the Doctor has reversed the polarity of the neutron flow in the one Slitheen’s collar, this somehow causes a feedback that makes all the other Slitheen twitch and writhe. That gives Jackie, Rose and Harriet Jones, MP for Flydale North, the chance to make their collective escapes. In Jackie’s case this helped by the timely arrival of Mickey who clobbers the Slitheen with a chair, and giving Mickey the chance to take a pic of the Slitheen with is cell phone.

The Doctor meanwhile goes to some soldiers gathered outside the room where everyone was being brutally killed a few moments before and gets them to come running in to help. Why they didn’t do this during the rather loud set of deaths is beyond me, but there you are.

Meanwhile, Rose and Harriet Jones, MP for Flydale North are making a run for it when Harriet Jones, MP for Flydale North says to stop, because they have to go back and grab the emergency protocols. My guess is that like with all other emergency procedures in the world, there is only one copy of these and they are not stored on line anywhere. It’s the only thing that makes sense, really, since I can’t think of any other reason why she’s willing to risk her life to go back and fetch them. Seems kind of stupid to me to have only one copy of these in the entire world, though. I mean, if that were the case someone in authority could tell people anything they want to about what’s in them and the people would have to believe them, since it’s not like they could check, though I am sure no one would ever, ever abuse them in that way. Ever.

Of course the Sltiheen in the room gives chase, leaving Rose and Harriet Jones, MP for Flydale North to make a run for it, minus the protocols. While they do this, the Doctor turns up in the conference room with soldiers in tow. Needless to say by the time they get into the room the Slitheen are back in their human costumes. The Doctor tries briefly to explain what’s going on, that the PM is actually an alien in disguise. One of the very few moments of funny happens when he sees the look on everyone’s faces and says to the soldier next to him, “That’s never going to work, is it?” The soldier shakes his head, the Doctor says, “Fair enough”, and runs for it.

Don't ask, don't tell... seriously!

After a very short chase, the Doctor gets cornered in a corridor and the Slitheen dressed as a general orders the soldiers to execute the Doctor under the jurisdiction of the emergency protocols. The soldiers, of course, ask to see some documentation of this. The general doesn’t have it, since there’s only one copy of the protocols in the known universe. The soldiers get suspicious and within minutes the Doctor has turned them around and made them understand what’s really going on. The PM and the general are both arrested and the day is saved! Actually, none of that happens. Instead they just accept what they are told.

Now look, I know soldiers are trained to follow orders, but in this case I’m guessing all but the most hardcore, brainless idiots are going to pause and say, “Really?” I mean, it just seems unlikely that even in a situation like this a general would be allowed to have someone summarily executed. Admittedly I’m not up on military law but I’m pretty sure that even under martial law conditions people are usually granted at least a basic trial before they are killed, right? Anyone from the JAG’s office wanna clear that up?

So the Doctor is, it turns out, backed up against some elevator doors. They open in time for him to get in and escape. He ends up, briefly, on the floor where Rose and Harriet Jones, MP for Flydale North are fleeing the Margaret Slitheen. He briefly says hello to the Slitheen and then closes the elevator door, buying a bit of time for the other two who make it into a room where they are, essentially, trapped.

Meantime the general and the PM are getting into the elevator to give chase. As they do, they give orders to the soldiers, telling them to stay on the lower floors and to shoot the Doctor on sight. One of them says they should get the PM to safety and he basically says that, hey, since they haven’t read the emergency protocols and he has they should just shut up and do as they’re told. Oh, yes, good thing there’s not multiple copies of those protocols available for people to check on, eh?

Memo to governments: make sure your emergency protocols are where people can look them up, and make sure that the elite soldiers that guard your government offices are very familiar with these protocols so that someone can’t just barge in and takeover while claiming they are allowed to under these rules.

So on the elevator the general and the PM have a little chat, we add another fart to the Fart-o-Meter, bringing our total up to fourteen, and the two characters shed their human skin.

Upstairs we see Margaret coming into the room where Rose and Harriet Jones, MP for Flydale North are hiding. She makes all sorts of “Mummy loves you!” kind of mocking noises as we see the other two arrive. We then hear them talk about the things they smell from Rose and Harriet Jones, MP for Flydale North because, as we all know, bad guys always have a very acute sense of smell.

The Doctor bursts into the room with a fire extinguisher. He uses it on the Slitheen to make a distraction and allow everyone to escape, with Harriet Jones, MP for Flydale North nattering on about the emergency protocols. We see them running away from the Slitheen and the Slitheen giving chase, and I have to ask: how on Earth do they actually manage to outrun the Slitheen? These creatures are about eight feet tall and seem to have a pretty good turn of speed. If they’re a hunter species, which is strongly implied throughout the story, they should have no problem cornering and outrunning our heroes. Instead the heroes never seem to have any problem keeping ahead of them. I suppose it’s what the story requires but it’s like seeing Scrappy Doo outrun a cheetah.

The Doctor and crew get into the cabinet room where the Doctor does a kind of nifty bluff about how he plans to “triplicate the flammability” of a decanter of alcohol. Me, I’d take my chances if I were one of the Slitheen, but instead they all stand around and talk for a few moments.

This is where we learn that Slitheen is not the name of their species; it is in fact a family name. Of course neither here nor at any other point in the series do we see any members of their species other than the Slitheen, so I’m going just keep calling them that. There’s another good reason for this, which has to do with the name of their home planet, Raxicoricofalapatorius. That means that I’d have to call them Raxicoricofalapatorians, and while Luke Smith may be down with that, I’m not.

Not technically called Slitheen, but you don't care, do you?

We also learn that they are here on Earth to make a profit. Before the Doctor can find out how, they call his bluff, and he seals himself, and Rose and Harriet Jones, MP for Flydale North, away inside the cabinet room by activating some metal shielding that was apparently installed at some point. The Slitheen seem content with this and wander off, plotting the next step in their evil scheme!

We are then treated to a brief shot of Mickey and Rose wandering around and then shots of various dignitaries arriving at Number 10. The reporter knows who they all are, including one who is merely chairperson of a local boating club. Well, alright then. Either this guy has a Rolodex from hell or he’s a big fan of boating.

'Tune in tonight to watch my career die a dismal death!'

Back inside Number 10 we see the various Slitheen arriving and Margaret acting as a coat check girl. She leads everyone off to little chambers where they can shed their skins and be themselves and we also add another far to the total, bringing us to fifteen.

As Margaret does this, the general tells a soldier to alert the media that the PM wants to make an official address to the nation. Fun fact: Did you know that when the president wants to do that, he actually has to ask the networks for airtime? It’s true, and just one of the many things you can learn while browsing Wikipedia, trying to avoid this story.

We now move on to Mickey and Jackie talking about the Doctor and how dangerous she is and how much Rose’s life is at risk. Outside we see the police officer who had menaced them earlier talking about how he’s still got plans for Jackie. I hope they aren’t plans like Elton’s because, yikes!

In the cabinet room, Rose, the Doctor and Harriet Jones, MP for Flydale North are all talking. The Doctor explains that the reason for the farting is because of a gas-exchange system that allows the Slitheen to compress themselves into normal human skin. Hmmm. And I thought it was just the legendary British love of toilet humor.

During the conversation, the Doctor keeps thinking he’s heard of Harriet Jones, MP for Flydale North before. We also find out what’s in the emergency protocols that’s worth risking life and limb for. It is, apparently, a list of people to contact in the case of an emergency like this. Yes, that’s apparently the sum total of what it is, or at least that’s all that’s mentioned. So basically Rose and Harriet Jones, MP for Flydale North nearly got killed for something that’s essentially just a phone tree. Nice! It’s also during this scene that Rose mentions her great plan to save the day: launch a nuclear strike against the Slitheen.

Now presumably she means the ones who are apparently hiding out in the North Sea, even though from what we can tell there’s no reason to think there’s any actually there. They might have just left an unmanned station or something. The only Slitheen we’ve seen so far are in London. This means Rose thinks a nuclear strike against London is a dandy idea. I was going to make a joke about a rather obscure (at least in the USA), British TV miniseries here called Threads but there doesn’t seem to be much point. Instead let’s all bask in the glory that is Rose… and that’s all the time there is for that. Moving on.

At any rate, Harriet Jones, MP for Flydale North explains that they couldn’t launch a nuclear strike even if they wanted to as all the launch codes are controlled by the UN. Wait, what?

Apparently this is something of a call back to the Fourth Doctor’s first episode, the technically watchable “Robot” (technically in the sense that you can sit down and look at it while it is playing, though you might hate yourself after). In that serial it was revealed that the UN had the codes, so I guess it makes sense that they’d follow-up on that here.

But what doesn’t make sense is the idea that all countries would give up these launch codes and hand them to the UN. Now clearly the organization is more powerful in the Whoniverse than they are in reality (UNIT, for example), but still I’m not buying it. There’s no way every country would cooperate on this one and if every country isn’t involved, then the ones who are involved are left at the mercy of those who are not.

Furthering the strangeness is the fact that Harriet Jones, MP for Flydale North allegedly voted against this. Now I know there’s some controversy about exactly when the UNIT stories during the Third Doctor’s time took place, but even if we were generous and assumed it was the mid-1980’s that would mean that Harriet Jones, MP for Flydale North has been an MP for Flydale North for some 20+ years. The actress who plays her, Penelope Wilton, is 63 now, so in 2005 she would’ve been 58. 20 years prior to that she would’ve been 38, so I guess it’s not that implausible that she’s been an MP since then, but it does seem unlikely, especially if she’s just an unregarded back-bencher with no power.

The Doctor and his pals try to figure out why the Slitheen are there. Harriet Jones, MP for Flydale North suggests things like oil, gold and water, and the Doctor is impressed by this, despite the fact that oil, gold and water would be too heavy to transport any distance through space. Plus water seems quite plentiful in the galaxy. Plus oil is probably also found on any planet that’s had life for some time. Plus why would gold have any special value? Ok, it’s used in modern electronics, but would something as advanced as the Slitheen really be using electronics that are like ours?

So why are the Slitheen here, you might ask? Oh, just wait. You’ll love it.

Back at Mickey’s flat, he and Jackie have contacted Rose on her magic cell phone. The Doctor talks with him/insults him and gives him a password to hack into UNIT’s website. Surprisingly the password is not “swordfish”, but is rather “buffalo”. This gives me an excuse to read the Wiki article on Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo, which also gives me an excuse to pause the video for a few merciful seconds.

Also surprising is that he’s asked only for a password and not a user name. Also the password apparently works for every single place on the site he wants to go to. This is the website for UNIT, mind you. The United Nations Intelligence Taskforce. Their job is to stop alien incursions on Earth. And they have a “secure” website a six-year-old could hack.

Now we move onto one of those scenes that Russell T Davies is actually quite good at: domestic fun-ness. Jackie takes advantage of the phone call to lecture the Doctor about the things he does and the situations he’s getting Rose into. It’s nicely played and quite realistic and I just wish that it was in a better story. Davies can write well as he showed with “Midnight” from the fourth series, the Torchwood mini-series “Children of Earth” as well as this scene, but so often he takes something brilliant like this and the demolishes it at the end.

In this case the scene is cut off by the arrival of the cop Slitheen to Mickey’s flat. Now when the Slitheen were chasing Rose and Harriet Jones, MP for Flydale North, we saw that they were very strong and capable of knocking doors aside like they were mere CGI constructs. Therefore the fact that Jackie just slams a door in the face of this Slitheen is no impediment to his progress. He simply removes his human disguise, knocks down the door and eats Mickey and Jackie.

Sadly, the etire batch of HeadOn had to recalled due to severe allergic reactions. (joke credit to Premier Blah!)

Well, not quite, because that wouldn’t give the Doctor time to figure out what planet the Slitheen are from. So he works on figuring that out as we see the Slitheen very slowly cut slices in the door and then knock it down as the Doctor works out that their home planet is, as I mentioned before, Raxicoricofalapatorius. God, that’s an awful name. Rule of Funny, I suppose, but it certainly does nothing to make these guys a more credible threat.

From this and the fact that their farts smell like bad breath, the Doctor works that the Slitheen are a calcium-based lifeform. Therefore acetic acid (vinegar), is what’s needed to kill them (“Like Hannibal,” points out Harriet Jones, MP for Flydale North, though I’m sure the good Doctor Lecter wouldn’t use vinegar in this way).

So the Slitheen of course has Jackie and Mickey cornered in the kitchen. Jackie roots through his cupboards and finds everything with vinegar in it. She mixes it up into a container and throws it at the Slitheen and, just like with a person when you throw something acidic on them, this causes the Slitheen to… er… explode. Messily. Oh, and in the aftermath Harriet Jones, MP for Flydale North explains that she was referring to Carthage’s general Hannibal who crossed the Alps and took over the Italian peninsula back in the day and not Hannibal Lecter.

Always remember Rule 34 when you look at something like this.

In fact the historical Hannibal’s victory over Rome was, in many ways, one of the worst things that could’ve happened to Carthage. It gave Rome a motivation to get revenge and eventually they assembled a massive fleet to invade Carthage. They took the place over and made it clear that Carthage wouldn’t be allowed to wage even defensive war without Rome’s permission.

Carthage was sadly backed into a corner not long thereafter and had to fight against an invading army. Rome got pissed, invaded Carthage and, according to legend, left no stone upon another. They also sowed the ground with salt so that nothing would ever grow again and called their priests to perform a special ceremony that would enslave the Carthagian gods (Baal, Astarte, etc), and transfer their essence to Rome. Now that’s revenge!

For more on Carthage consult your local library or browse Wikipedia while trying to avoid watching more of this episode, though for the record, that information was all from memory and I didn’t have to look it up. A no-life person who watches entirely too much of the History Channel instead of doing his recaps, you say? Oh, yes.

Back at 10 Downing Street the general and the PM talk about how they “felt” the death of their friend (because all aliens are psychic), and make nasty comments about how bad things are about to happen to Earth. The PM then goes out to the street to address the media.

'Yes, I have accepted the Silly Party's nomination.'

The PM announces that the experts summoned to Number 10 were killed by aliens. He then cleverly explains that they have an arsenal right above Earth capable of launching an attack within 45 seconds. In case you, like me, wonder why they haven’t yet, he further adds that so far the military has been able to “baffle the probes”, which sounds like a sexual euphemism in search of an act to describe (“Hey, honey, you wanna ‘baffle the probes’ tonight?” “No, my toes are still sore from last time, dear!”). He then calls on an emergency resolution from the UN to launch a nuclear attack against the aliens.

Several things are wrong here. First off, no doubt the rest of the world, including the United States is going, “Alien ships? What alien ships?” Second, these ships are likely in orbit if they exist at all. I’m not some sort of highly-educated, well-trained professional who specializes in ballistic physics, but I’m pretty sure that the average nuclear missile cannot reach orbit.

And it’s now that we get to the really stupid part of this story. Yes, farting aliens (the Fart-o-Meter topped out at sixteen, by the way), as a concept actually seem intelligent compared to what’s coming next and that’s the big explanation for why the Slitheen are here on Earth.

See their cunning master plan is this: trick the nations of the world into going to war. After the nuclear war is over, they’re left with a planet that’s been cleansed of life and is full of radioactive chunks ready to harvest and turn into starship fuel. That sound you just heard? That’s my eyes popping out my head in disbelief. One moment, please, while I put them back in.

*squish, squelch, splut-splut*

Right. So the plan is to make the planet into radioactive slag to sell on the galactic fuels market. Ok. Let’s destroy this.

1. Radiation and radioactive materials are abundant in the universe. Astronauts are bombarded with radioactive particles up in orbit and one of the stumbling blocks on a trip to Mars is the fact that they’d spend about 9 – 24 months each way being hit by large amounts of radiation. The source of this? The Sun.

2. Even if radiation were fairly rare, all you’d have to do is get a few nukes and drop them on an uninhabited planet. No fuss, no muss, no investigators from the Raxicoricofalapatorius Securities and Exchange Commission coming along later wondering about the source of your income. None of the Raxicoricofalapatorius News Network doing a big expose on how your company killed nearly seven billion people to get starship fuel. Sure, it’d probably be a bit more expensive, but the money you’d save fending off investigations from regulatory bodies would be more than worth it.

3. Radioactive slag is starship fuel? Really? I imagine that would be pretty heavy and inefficient. Even now we have space probes propelled by ion drives and we had them before this show was even in production. Years before. Most likely any large-scale starship drive would use hydrogen as a fuel source in some way, and that’s the most abundant element in the universe! Well, aside from stupidity, though this story seems to be boiling through the world supply of that right quick.

So the Doctor gives the Slitheen his usual, “You get one chance,” ultimatum that no one ever actually takes him up on. After that we see footage reporting on the UN making a resolution about using the nukes, and one bit of credit I will give the producers is that they seem to have remembered that early morning in London is still night-time in New York, since they show the UN building at night. We are told by resident American newscaster, Trinity Welles, that the UK has shown evidence of the alien fleet. You know, the fictional fleet that no one else can see. Right.

The Slitheen head up to the PM’s office, cackling all the way (and adding another fart. Damn. Seventeen). In the cabinet room the Doctor mentions that he has a plan to save the day, but it will likely result in the death of Rose. This is another one of those great, rather touching scenes and it ends when Harriet Jones, MP for Flydale North, points out that she’s the only elected representative in the room and orders the Doctor to put his plans into motion. I actually like that touch, too. But that’s the end of things I like about this story.

Writers waiting to hear from Michael Bay about their latest screenplay for Transformers: We Don't Need Megan Fox

The plan begins with the Doctor helping Mickey to hack into the command console of a Royal Navy submarine. Apparently he’s been watching Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, wherein we learned that all ships, space and otherwise, can be taken over by remote control. He has Mickey fire off a Harpoon missile, which is, for the curious out there, an anti-ship missile made by Boeing. It has a 221 kg warhead and is capable of doing massive damage. Ah… Wikipedia!

Oh, Tarueen. Those make good druids!

We see the Doctor and pals getting ready to seek shelter in a closet as the missile streaks over the English countryside towards London. The soldiers inside Number 10 evacuate as the Slitheen wonder what’s going on. We see them briefly trying to get their skins back on as the missile hits, blowing Number 10 to pieces!

I’m not kidding. Number 10, the UK’s equivalent of the White House, is blown up. Completely reduced to rubble. We see it not long after in perfect condition and it’s explained that it was rebuilt. Because as we all know there can’t be any permanent consequences.

Oh, and lest you’re left wondering, apparently a sturdy closet is all you need to survive a hit from a Harpoon missile. Yes, it’s just like hiding in a refrigerator to avoid a nuclear explosion, never mind that the forces involved would kill you stone dead, or at least break several bones.

The one time everyone should be in the closet.

Our heroes emerge from the rubble and Harriet Jones, MP for Flydale North goes to address the press. As she does the Doctor finally remembers where he’s heard of her: she ends up being Prime Minister for three terms and ushers the UK into a golden age. Very nice! Too bad he destroyed her political career only a few months later, removing her from office and setting the stage for someone named Harold Saxon to take charge, something which is never addressed on screen, except in a deleted scene.

As the story winds down we get some rather nice moments with Rose and Jackie and then we see the Doctor having the kid who’d spray painted “BAD WOLF” on the side of the TARDIS clean it off. Mickey is sitting nearby reading a newspaper with the words “ALIEN HOAX?” on the front page. Yes, once again we’re handwaving away the story. Humanity will be convinced that aliens aren’t real, that it was a mass hallucination, that everyone’s wi-fi went zany or whatever it takes so that there are no lasting consequences from this story, because God forbid that should happen.

Now to be fair to the series they eventually stopped doing this. But it was a hallmark for ages that every time humans would be surprised at the existence of aliens the Doctor would basically shake his head and go, “Oh, humanity! So delusional!” They largely stopped that in the next couple series, though it’s interesting note that in the current series Amy never heard of Daleks and the Doctor, rather than just rolling his eyes, pauses and says, “Hey, wait, that’s not right. You should know about them. And come to think of it, why does no one remember a 100’ tall Cyberking in Victorian London?” My theory on that, though, is that it’s the current producer’s way of undoing a lot of the stupid by done by Davies during his time.

Anyhow, the Doctor gives Mickey a disk to plant a virus on the net that will erase all mention of him (something Mickey doesn’t do, apparently, given what we see later on this series and Torchwood). The Doctor then invites Mickey to come along, but Mickey refuses. We are then treated to some last scenes of Jackie and Rose saying their goodbyes with Rose saying that, hey, since it’s a time machine they could be gone for a year but only ten seconds will pass. The final shot is of Jackie and Mickey standing alone as Jackie whispers, “Ten seconds,” then wanders off leaving Mickey to his newspaper. The end.

Like I said before, there’s things in this story that are worthwhile. I love some of the more emotional scenes and the chemistry between the Camille Coduri and Billie Piper is really strong. But it’s dragged down by the Slitheen and their incredibly stupid plan. I get left with a feeling of whiplash after seeing some nice drama and then some ham-fisted comedy relief.

It doesn’t help that the Slitheen are quite possibly the worst villain ever to appear on the series, old series or new. They look stupid, they aren’t even vaguely threatening and they can be killed with vinegar. Every time I see them I keep remembering Andy Millman’s appearance on Doctor Who playing a slug-monster who was killed with salt. Depressing.

The Slitheen were touted in the pre-episode publicity as the first major alien race designed for the new series. It was rather like the Ferengi when they first showed up on Star Trek: The Next Generation, and, just like the Ferengi, the powers that be quickly realized what a mistake they’d made in creating them.

The Slitheen appeared only once more on the series in a major role in an episode called “Boom Town”. It featured the return of Margaret and was a somewhat better story than this one, but still pretty bad. After that the Slitheen were relegated to a cameo shot in part two of “The End of Time”. They also appeared in an episode of The Sarah Jane Adventures where a young girl kills one and experiences no remorse for it. Budding young sociopath. They do work better on a kid’s show, I’ll say that much for them, though I found it somewhat disturbing that in that episode one of the Slitheen is disguised as a boy of about twelve. This means that they hunted down a twelve-year-old boy, killed him and skinned him. Charming.

Next time on “The Worst of Doctor Who”? Not sure yet. But I have some ideas for a story involving giant flies, a London bus, a bionic woman and the deserts of Dubai…


3 Responses to “The Worst of Doctor Who – “World War Three””

  1. Anna Says:

    Ah yes, this article was three years ago. Does that stop me from commenting? Never! You, sir, are brilliant. I love Doctor Who, I can forgive almost any inconsistency and stupidity that crops up in it – I am that loyal. And yet, I was pleased to find a mind like yours intelligently ranting on a subject that genuinely interests me.
    Thank you, I can’t disagree with anything that you have said, but I still love the show, and the episodes, because you have to take the medicine as well as the sugar. Again, thank you. As I watch more, I shall return to “the worst of doctor who” and enjoy your raillery.

  2. Rhys Benjamin (@TheotherRB) Says:

    The reporter outside Downing Street is Andrew Marr, the then BBC Political Editor. There’s no politician he doesn’t know…

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