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< 1.3 - The Unquiet Dead
1.5 - World War Three >

1.4 - Aliens of London

Rating Votes
10
1%
1
9
2%
3
8
8%
10
7
18%
22
6
23%
28
5
19%
23
4
19%
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3
7%
9
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1%
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Average Rating
5.5
Votes
122

Latest Community Reviews

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User Rating:
5
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Reviewed By: DalekbusterScreen5ReviewsReview Date: 4/11/17 2:18 pm
0 out of 0 found this review helpful.

Aliens of London/World War Three is likely a landmark two parter for the show. Whilst aliens have invaded London before, this is the story where humanity wakes up and realises there are aliens out there. It also introduces one of the new series' most iconic monsters in the Slitheen and introduces the domestic side being a major part of the Russell T Davies Era of the show. Whilst we had seen this side in Rose, it wasn't evident it would be important until this two parter. Yet despite all this, this story is among the weakest of series 1.

Aliens of London/World War Three is actually quite dark for a family primetime drama when you strip it down. It features aliens stripping the skin of their victims in order to wear them like a sort of strange fancy dress costume. Yet bizarrely Russell T Davies decided to underplay this by adding farting effects and essentially making the Slitheen kid-friendly. It's impossible to take them seriously, yet if done right the Slitheen could have been a much more powerful monster that would have earned its iconic status rather than claiming it through their popularity with children. It's a shame that they were a monster introduced in the Russell T Davies Era as Steven Moffat (being a writer known for his dark stories) would have done the concept more justice given that it would have fit more in-line with his ideas. The Russell T Davies Era was great but it was better at the lighter ideas than the potentially dark ones.

The concept of a criminal family of aliens trying to sell the Earth as fuel is a great one and could have been well-realised if it wasn't for these poor decisions. Annette Badland is suitably menacing as Blon Fel-Fotch Passameer-Day Slitheen though and does great with the material she has. It's easy to see why Russell T Davies decided to bring her back in the much superior episode Boom Town. She's one of the new series' best villains and one that deserved to be a recurring one. Annette Badland comes close to saving the Slitheen and making them a race to be feared but ultimately can't overcome the silliness of the fart effects. The Slitheen have a great look too; there's something undeniably alien about this design:



And that's what's most important about this story: as the Doctor says, it's our race's first concrete proof of alien existence. Other alien invasions in the show's history have had some way or other they can be brushed off by governments...but a spaceship crashing into Big Ben? That's different. Nobody would purposely fly a military unidentified flying object into Big Ben unless they hate London landmarks for some reason and they find an alien pig in a spacesuit in the ship. This is a story about what happens when humanity stops being ignorant as they must have during the events of stories such as The Invasion (never referred to by anyone post-1968 unless they're UNIT personnel) and on that angle it succeeds. If it wasn't for the poor choices with the Slitheen, this would be a great story about what may one day hopefully become a landmark in real life history. I'm a believer that we're not alone and aliens are out there somewhere and I fully believe we will experience a real-life Aliens of London (although hopefully with friendly aliens rather than a criminal family). I think it's just a question of when. I think this story also nails it on the head on how we would react, with spaceships being made on Blue Peter, wall-to-wall news coverage and taking the alien occupant (in this case, a space pig) to an autopsy.

It's also interesting how we see Rose's mother Jackie Tyler (Camille Coduri) and Mickey Smith (Noel Clarke) react to Rose being missing for an entire year due to a miscalculation on the Doctor's part. Mickey has been accused of murder and Jackie being her mother is just naturally very worried about her whereabouts. Noel Clarke and Camille Coduri both deliver powerful performances and help cement this as a take on the show where consequences to domestic life matter. Those companions' family and friends matter now. They're arguably just as important as the companion now and quite right too. Of course, Billie Piper is great too and Christopher Eccleston's...alright but doesn't feel entirely comfortable in the role of the Doctor but this is arguably more about Jackie and Mickey (at least at first).

Overall, Aliens of London/World War Three is a fairly average two parter spoilt by poor decisions in regards to the Slitheen, ignoring the darker aspects of the ideas. Annette Badland makes for a brilliant villain though and Camille Coduri and Noel Clarke are great.
From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
8
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NR
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Reviewed By: WhovianArchiveReview Date: 11/15/15 12:57 am
0 out of 0 found this review helpful.

A great episode. I love the Slitheen (they are one of my favourite New-Who monsters). The cliffhanger is great and I love the supporting cast. Mickey and Jackie are brilliant.

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From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
8
Plot Rating:
9
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8
Replay Rating:
8
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8
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No
Reviewed By: adamelijahReview Date: 3/21/15 11:21 am
0 out of 0 found this review helpful.

There are two big criticisms of this episode, and one that's pretty on base and that's of the Slitheen, those flatulent giddy evil aliens. For the first two parter of the New Series, introducing the Slitheen as the villains is probably one of Russell T. Davies biggest mis-steps. What about the first big cliffhanger said, "You know what this plot needs? Potty humor."

Yet, I think the weaknesses in the Slitheen are overstated and particularly how they impact this episode. There's a lot to enjoy here, particularly in this first part where the Slitheen's appearances are brief as not to be very irritating.

The Spaceship destroying Big Ben and crashing into the Thames was very well done, particularly coming out of the blue as far as the Doctor and Rose were concerned.

Christopher Eccleston is in top form as the Doctor. I love the scene where he takes command after being caught by U.N.I.T. soldiers.

The episode introduces Harriet Jones, a lovely quirky character, a back bencher who is used to having to show ID so people know who she is, a trait that continues past the point when everyone knows who she is later on.

We also have a very engaging plot as we're left to wonder why real aliens would stage a fake invasion and we get the answer right before our cliffhanger or I should say cliffhangers as Davies seemed to be playing homage with three different cliffhangers for the Doctor, Rose, and Jackie each of which could have come out of the classic series.

That brings me to the other issue people have with this story and that Rose's family. I personally don't find them annoying. Yes, it's true that Jackie isn't exactly Mother of the Year material, but it's equally clear that she loves her daughter and has been through a horrific experience as the Doctor's imprecise calculations landed them a year in the future. This episode makes Mickey and Jackie very real people and explores what happens when a Companion poofs off into time and space. This was a great innovation that made the companions feel more like real people with real families who would miss them and there's great emotional impact.

Overall, the first part is a great story with mystery, drama, and a few unique twists. The second part has more issues, but this episode was thoroughly enjoyable.
From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
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Reviewed By: YorickReview Date: 2/13/15 7:40 pm
0 out of 2 found this review helpful.

Farting aliens, god help us
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