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Doctor Who: Love and Monsters (Review)

To celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the longest-running science-fiction show in the world, I’ll be taking weekly looks at some of my own personal favourite stories and arcs, from the old and new series, with a view to encapsulating the sublime, the clever and the fiendishly odd of the BBC’s Doctor Who.

Love and Monsters originally aired in 2006.

Someone wants a word with you.

You upset my mum.

Great big absorbing creature from outer space, and you’re having a go at me?

No one upsets my mum.

– the Doctor, Rose and Elton get their priorities straight

Love and Monsters remains one of the most divisive stories of the Davies era, if not the revival in general. It’s the show’s first “Doctor-lite” episode, a production featuring as little of the lead actor in possible in order to make the season’s arduous production schedule just a little bit easier. The Christmas Invasion had added another episode to the mix, and so the idea was that Love and Monsters could be shot during the production block of The Impossible Planet and The Satan Pit in order to allow for a standard length season without increasing an already impressive workload for the leads.

As such, it’s easy to imagine that the “Doctor-lite” episodes could be throw-away adventures, episodes chopped together to meet the quota of stories for a given season – churn them out and focus the attention on to the “bigger” and “more important” adventures. Instead, the “Doctor-lite” episodes have proven to be some of the most experimental and creative episodes of the entire Davies era. While critical and fan opinion remains divided on Love and Monsters, the subsequent “Doctor-and-companion-lite” episodes – like Blink, Midnight and Turn Left – are counted among the best of their respective seasons.

Love and Monsters is a show about Doctor Who. More specifically, it’s about Doctor Who fandom, and a romantic ode to the importance that the show can have in some people’s lives.

Reach out and touch faith...

Reach out and touch faith…

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Non-Review Review: Wild Bill

Wild Bill is the charming directorial debut from veteran character actor Dexter Fletcher. The established actor, who has worked on projects as diverse as Band of Brothers, Press Gang and The Three Musketeers, also wrote the screenplay for this slightly quirky British domestic drama, which sees an absentee father fostering an emotional connection with his abandoned kids. It’s a fairly conventional plot, and Fletcher doesn’t cram too many surprises in there, but the movie is wry enough and has a thinly-cynical exterior that makes the pill easy enough to follow. It’s not  quite a masterpiece, but it’s engaging and diverting enough to leave a pleasant impression.

Wild at heart...

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