Series 2, Story 10 (Overall Series Story #175)
Hard to imagine an episode that was structured to allow the leads some time off from a busy filming schedule *and* is the one where they used a child fan's contest winning monster could turn out to be any good. The monster, by the way, is the Abzorbaloff. And it is, with apologies to and no fault assigned William Grantham, kind of a rubbish monster. But, y'know, considering a 9-year-old designed it you can credit the imaginative effort. (I wonder if young Mr. Grantham gets to use his Doctor Who credit get credentials at conventions or anything. Here's hoping there're still some dividends being paid for winning the contest. I imagine it might be a bit tough having your entry win only to be slagged by fandom years later. Seems there ought to be a lingering benefit to balance any of that out.) You can make a case for this one not only turning out to be decent, but nearly being one of the better episodes of the new series. I say nearly, because there are a just a few elements that needed to be tweaked to make that happen, but they were also significant elements that getting wrong inevitably resulted in this being far from one of the more successful stories.
That this episode is not a train wreck is a credit to Marc Warren, who carries it as the good-hearted, if somewhat dopey, Elton. No mean feat to lead an episode of Doctor Who when you're not the Doctor, or even a companion. With the exception of Victor Kennedy/Abzorbaloff, all the supporting ... well, featured, actually ... characters are charming. The Victor Kennedy character is not only not charming, not even in the ooh-I-like-this-villain-despite-its-villainy kind of way. The character is miscast and distracting. He's bad enough that he detracts from good work done by the other actors, even the ones he's got no scenes with. This is one of the best stories for Jackie Tyler. She's fleshed out a bit here, as sympathetic as she's ever been. We'd have been better served if Camille Coduri had been given these scenes in stronger episode.
|Scooby Scooby Doo, where are you?|
For an analysis of what it means for the show to crack a joke about Elton and Ursula's love life (when one is a face in a paving stone), see Sandifer.
For an expanded analysis of the same that uses the lens of society's perception of the disabled, see Shabogan Graffiti.
|Elton told us it would get scaaaary. It got effed up.|