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|First UK Transmission Date (BBC1)||Scheduled TX||Viewers|
|7th May 2005||19:00||8.01m|
Simon Pegg (The Editor), Tamsin Greig (The Nurse), Bruno Langley (Adam Mitchell),
Colin Prockter (Head Chef), Judy Holt (Sandra), Christine Adams (Cath), Anna Maxwell
Writer: Russel T Davies, Director:
Synopsis: - On a space station above Earth
in the year 200,000, the Doctor, Rose and shifty "companion" Adam witness
the wonders of the human empire. All news is channelled cerebrally to and from
the far reaches of the galaxy, but as our hero puts it, "This society's the
wrong shape - even the technology." But there are no complaints from Adam,
who hooks up with an accommodating neurosurgeon (Tamsin Greig). When he meets
the Editor, a wryly villainous turn from Simon Pegg, the Doctor realises that
an alien is in overall control.
Game' Background and Summary: - Whoever had been charged with reviving Doctor
Who would probably have had a fairly similar template for the first half of
the season: A story to introduce the companion, a story in the past, a story in
the future, an alien invasion story and a Dalek story. From that point onwards
the direct of the series is open. The result of this mid-season uncertainty is
The Long Game, a story which at face value has no right to fill one of
the thirteen slots which are each a precious opportunity to tell a brand new Doctor
Who story on television.
What Russell T Davies brought to the screen is certainly the most traditional
Doctor Who adventure of the new series. Whilst the structure of Dalek
followed many of the same basic laws of the series, it still managed to exceed
expectations. The Long Game not only rigidly stuck to the classic template
but borrowed heavily from numerous old stories. Russell T Davies said this script
had been written for 20 years which, if true, means it preceeded only one of the
stories that it strongly resembled: Dragonfire. Knowing the origin of this
script begs the question of whether Adam was introduced in the previous story
in order to fulfill the requirements of a script with two companions. Certainly
he is not the strongest of additions to the TARDIS crew and he was rapidly branded
"The New Adric" but, beyond the character himself, the concept of a
rejected companion was a fascinating one. Never before has the Doctor given a
trial-run to someone who turned out to be wholly unsuitable to be aboard the TARDIS,
even though any time-traveller in their right mind would have ejected the likes
of Dodo, Mel, Adric and Turlough after five minutes.
Like all the stories
which came before, and all those to come, the story had two things: A reference
to the Bad Wolf and a plot revolving around a threat to Earth. A coincidence?
Surely not. In this instance it was clearly stated that the The Mighty Jagrafess
of the Holy Hadrojassic Maxarodenfoe should not have been there and it distrupted
the time line to the tune of ninety years. However the real significant of this
alien menace was brought out in a comment by Russell T Davies in this episodes
companion Documentary Doctor Who Confidential, in which he said that it
would eventually be revealed who had put the Jarafess in place. This revelation
is almost all that gives this episode any merit because it forms part of a bigger
picture in which Earth is being repeatedly endangered. Unfortunately this arc
story is gently done so as not to unsettle the casual audience, so after this
adventure in space it leaves the viewer wondering why one precious slot of the
new series was wasted telling a story about aliens invading television.
Overall, The Long Game presented a mixed bag. A superb performance
from Simon Pegg, a nice cameo from Tamsin Greig and an excellent monster weighed
against a light-weight and derivative plot, the medeocre Adam, and a fairly inconsequential
story. Although branded by some as 'the worst episode so far' and 'the mid-season
duffer', the main feeling associated with this story is apathy. In a poll of 2300,
more fans voted this episode "average" than any other - 40%. Whist "good"
or "excellent" only accounted for 48% of votes, a fairly significant
11.7% expressed dislike, which made this clearly the least popular episode so
far. It seems strange that this should be the case give that its certainly the
episode which most strongly resembled 'classic' Doctor Who. It no doubt
demonstrates that a modern audience expects a little more than an old-style runaround
however this episode can be looked upon as a break between the exhausting Dalek
and the emotionally charged Father's Day that was to follow.
Classic Series Influences and References:
- The Sunmakers featured a parasitic alien business manipulating and
enslaving humanity and also shows the Doctor stealing from a "cash point".
of Monsters also features the use of "credit chips".
Towers depicted a run-down future, ordinary people with the ambition of reaching
an inaccessible top floor paradise, and a monstrous alien running an operation
through his human (guest-star) puppet.
- The Krotons had a plot in
which people clammered for the chance to be "promoted", unaware that
they were going to have their physical resources exploited and then die at the
hands of an alien who was manipulating and stifling the culture. The Krotons
also used the plot device by which the menace is defeated, whereby the Doctor
very obviously explains the weakness of the enemey to someone in who can then
act to help defeat it.
- The Doctor's line "I'll hug anybody"
would appear to be a tribute to the Doctor's line in Robot in which he
says "I'll talk to anybody".
- Dragonfire featured a space-outpost,
harbouring an alien enemy who required low temperatures to live, and it also depicted
a futurist canteen which saw its customers thrown into anarchy at the end.
alien menace lifting the TARDIS key telepathically from the pocket of an unconcious
TARDIS-traveller was previously seen in Pyramids of Mars.
the Complete First Series
is an absolutely must for anyone who remotely enjoyed the new series of Doctor
Who. Unlikely the previous individual releases of episodes, the box set has extras
coming out of its ears. And whereas some box sets just have extras on the final
disc, this brilliant package has a selection of extras on each disk, plus the
entire set of Doctor Who confidential (cut down) on another disk.
much needs saying about the episodes themselves but commentaries on certain episodes
are almost worth the price alone. The commentaries of Rose, The Unquiet
Dead and Dalek are of particular note and the video diaries of certain
members of the team are very interesting and fun. The TARDIS container is a nice
package and overall, believe me this set of DVDs is well worth the asking price,
or probably more!