Doctor Who: revived show (season two episodes)


Click here for introduction page
Click here for season one episodes
Click here for a review of seasons one and two

Executive Producers Russell T Davies and Julia Gardiner

Written by Russell T Davies, Steven Moffat and others

Starring Christopher Eccleston, Billie Piper, Camille Coduri, Noel Clarke and Shaun Dingwall

The second season, like the first one, also consists of thirteen episodes, five written by Russell T Davies, in addition to the 2005 Christmas Special, the episode that introduced David Tennant as the tenth doctor following his cameo appearance at the very end of ‘The Parting of the Ways’ (season one finale).

CS A Christmas Invasion
The new doctor spends most of this episode in a comatose state, leaving Rose, her mother Jackie and boyfriend Mickey to contend with an alien invasion of Earth, complete with a killer Christmas tree. It’s not a universally popular episode. I like it.

1 New Earth
This is the official opening episode of the second season and sees the doctor take Rose to ‘New New York’ on the planet New Earth, five billion years into the future. It references back to ‘Survival’, the final story broadcast in the original show. Once again, it was not particularly well received by all fans, but I really enjoyed this one.

Tooth and Claw
This is probably one of the most popular episodes of season two, a werewolf story set in an isolated house in the wilds of Scotland, featuring Queen Victoria (played by Pauline Collins) and a bunch of Ninja Monks! The special effects are, to my inexpert eyes, very impressive, and it’s a great rollicking story. This is also the episode in which the ‘Torchwood Institute’ is established.

3 School Reunion
Anthony Stewart Head is the sinister headmaster of a nondescript school that suddenly has an inexplicable increase in academic achievement. The doctor poses as a psychics teacher to investigate and Rose is consigned to the school canteen as a ‘dinner lady’, much to her disgust. Sarah Jane Smith (the most famous of all the doctor’s companions) and K9 are involved and Mickey realises that he is the new “tin dog”. There is a whole lot of interesting stuff here as Rose, who doesn’t take too kindly to Sarah Jane’s presence, discovers she is just the latest in a long line of companions. Tony Head is great value as the evil headmaster who is actually a kind of giant alien vampire bat.

Sarah Jane Smith was the companion in seasons 11 to 14 of the original show, spanning the period 1973 to 1976. Following on from ‘School Reunion’, the BBC commissioned ‘The Sarah Jane Adventures’, a spin-off show created by Russell T Davies and primarily targeted at a younger audience.

The Doctor: “I don’t age, I regenerate. But humans decay. You wither and you die. Imagine watching that happen to someone who you…”
Rose: “What? Doctor?”
The Doctor: “You can spend the rest of your life with me, but I can’t spend the rest of mine with you. I have to live on… alone.”

4 The Girl in the Fireplace
This is an episode written by Steven Moffat and another one with a historical setting, in this case the Court of Versailles and centred on Madame de Pompadour. I like this episode a lot and would probably count it as one of my favourites, but it got mixed reviews and generally it really wasn’t very popular. Personally, I thought it was a very clever and wistful story, which once again touches on the fact that the doctor can never find lasting love because everyone around him eventually dies and he has to carry on living alone with the memory.

5 / 6 Rise of the Cybermen / The Age of Steel
A two-parter set in an alternative-universe Britain (veering towards ‘Nineteen-Eighty-Four’), which sees the return of the Cybermen. Much like the Daleks, I’m not a huge fan of the Cybermen, although I remember liking them in an old 1960s Patrick Troughton story (there were four in total).

It’s done very well, if maybe not quite as successfully as the return of the Daleks in season one. The performance of Roger Lloyd-Pack, playing a character who seems to be a kind of hybrid of Dr Strangelove and Howard Hughes, was not well liked by a lot of fans, but I think it was part of an attempt to achieve a very specific feel, drawing on influences like ‘Metropolis’ and old Saturday morning serials. The performance should be viewed in this context.

7 The Idiot’s Lantern
This is another episode that got very mixed reviews but I thought it was wonderful. It’s set at the time of the Coronation (of Queen Elizabeth II) in 1953, which acted as the catalyst for the sudden increase in popularity of television as a means of communication, one of the main themes here. Maureen Lipman plays the evil soul-sucking entity trapped inside the television signal. The commentary about social values and patriarchal authority is very interesting.

A great deal of effort was put into ensuring everything was as authentic as possible and it looks brilliant.

8 / 9
The Impossible Planet / The Satan Pit
The second two-parter of season two. The doctor discovers the seal that leads down into the hellmouth under Sunnydale High. Hang on, wrong show! Actually, this seal is much bigger, over thirty-feet across, and is located near to the core of a mining planet on the farthest reaches of the universe, defying all laws of psychics by orbiting a black hole.

The evil that awaits beneath is the Beast 666. These are great episodes, the special effects are very impressive, complete with a 1950’s-style space rocket - and quite frankly it’s all a million times better than ‘Serenity’.

10 Love and Monsters
This surreal comedy episode is centred on Elton the ELO fan. Not all Doctor Who fans like to see Russell T Davies “fuck with the formula” and it attracted a lot of criticism. It also received a lot of praise. It’s a fantastic, funny, clever and intriguing 40 minutes.

Fear Her
Set in London in 2012 in the days leading up to the Olympic Games, this tells the story of a lonely child who has the ability to trap people inside the pictures she draws. It’s an interesting idea, but it doesn’t quite work and ultimately the story is somewhat hijacked by the setting. It’s probably the weakest episode so far since the show was revived.

12 / 13 Army of Ghosts / Doomsday

“Planet Earth. This is where I was born. And this is where I died…

The first nineteen years of my life, nothing happened. Nothing at all. Not ever. And then a met a man called the Doctor, a man who could change his face. And he took me away from home in his magical machine. He showed me the whole of time and space. I thought it would never end… That’s what I thought. But then came the army of ghosts. Then came Torchwood and the war. And that’s when it all ended. This is the story of how I died.”

Thus goes the traumatising voiceover from the opening pre-credit sequence that begins the two-part season finale. Much was made of the fact this is the first time in the history of the show that the Daleks and Cybermen have featured in the same story.

Rose gets a fabulous and very emotional send-off that takes up much of the final twenty-minutes of ‘Doomsday’. It’s a decent Doctor Who story taken to another level altogether during that wonderful closing segment. And yet there are still people out there who cling onto the misguided idea that Billie Piper can’t act!


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