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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
4%
5
8
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12
7
24%
32
6
23%
31
5
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25
4
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3
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Average Rating
6.0
Votes
133
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Latest Community Reviews

From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
7
Plot Rating:
7
Acting Rating:
9
Replay Rating:
7
Effects Rating:
8
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Unsure
Reviewed By: MercuryReview Date: 12/5/18 11:24 pm
0 out of 0 found this review helpful.

A first two part story of the newly resurrected show begins with this episode which features an alien spacecraft crashing into Big Ben in a very well done effects scene. It turns out alien race the Slitheen have a dastardly plot which involves them gaining access to the Prime Minister and senior officials and inhabiting their bodies. The Doctor goes to Downing Street with Rose where UNIT and world scientists are gathering in the Slitheen's trap. He then has to battle the Slitheen to stop their plan. Minor MP Harriet Jones (Penelope Wilton) helps them out. Wilton is a great actress and is fabulous in her role as Harriet Jones who went on to appear in later stories with the 10th Doctor. There are lots of other positives too and this is a fun adventure overall but there are flaws which detract from its quality.

There is a cheesiness to some of this production and some silly humour involving Slitheen making farting sounds as they struggle to remain hidden inside smaller human bodies. If this had been a darker story with Slitheen as a fully menacing and scary alien it could have been a really good story. It would have been better with a more elegant and scary design for the Slitheen and with the humour being restricted to the witty aspects with Harriet Jones, banter between Rose and The Doctor etc. I feel maybe pressures were felt to not be too dark and scary and maybe trying to make it kid friendly. In fact, many kids love to be scared and to have some dark edge to their entertainment. It is people judging what is 'good for kids' who have pressured Doctor Who makers to soften the content throughout the show's history.

Overall this was a missed opportunity for a really strong adventure and ends up as a fun but flawed filler.
From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
7
Plot Rating:
6
Acting Rating:
7
Replay Rating:
8
Effects Rating:
6
Has Prerequisite(s):
Yes
Reviewed By: BrainofMorbius23Review Date: 3/18/18 11:32 am
0 out of 0 found this review helpful.

I’m going to be honest. Season 1 holds some serious nostalgic value for me. I’d been watching the show since I was seven. Five years later as a young classic whovian I was fortunate to see my favourite show return for my own generation and to much a degree of success too!

Technically this two part story is the weak ground of s1 yet I like lots of little things in it. It’s our first two parter and with it a classic style (sort of) cliffhanger which got me excited !

It’s actually very cheesy and a little embarrassingly so at times. But I just don’t really ! Slithery are well odd and some will hate but I’m glad they end up back for SJA!
From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
5
Plot Rating:
5
Acting Rating:
8
Replay Rating:
5
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5
Has Prerequisite(s):
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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
Plot Rating:
9
Acting Rating:
8
Replay Rating:
8
Effects Rating:
8
Has Prerequisite(s):
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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.