Doctor Who

Season 2 Episode 7

The Idiot's Lantern

Aired Saturday 8:00 PM May 27, 2006 on BBC America

Episode Fan Reviews (17)

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out of 10
474 votes
  • I had forgotten just how bad this episode is. Now that I've reviewed it I never want to see it again!

    Oh, God help me! This is why I don't spend my rewatching time on Series 2. While the first part of the series had School Reunion, The Girl in the Fireplace, and even the Cybermen two-parter the second half suffered from some truly appalling duds. So let us take a deep breath and plunge into amazing world of awful that is Mark Gatiss' The Idiot's Lantern.

    The episode begins well enough. It's nothing spectacular (just a man doing his accounting whenever his television starts talking directly to him) but it did lure me into a false sense of security whenever I first watched it. I thought that this would be one of the mediocre episodes, along the line of The End of the World or Boom Town. How wrong I was! Within the first three minutes of the episode we are introduced to our two main baddies of the episodecreations so subtly evil that they never quite manage to strike fear into my heart. While the idea of The Wire is rather unsettling, Eddie Connolly is less than stellar coming across as an oafish lout who has the mistaken belief that he is a world-famous author. ("I. Am. TOLKIEN!") But these two are not the main problem of this episode - oh no - the biggest annoyance is the delightful duo of Rose and The Doctor.

    This episode is a massive disappointment to rewatch and be forced to remember just what made it so bad. I almost wish I could take the time to spell out every awful moment and why it just didn't then I would end up summarising almost every second of every scene and no one wants to have to read that. I had come to expect so much more from Mark Gatiss and so perhaps I went in initially with higher hopes than usualbut even from a mere storytelling aspect The Idiot's Lantern is a failure with a dull, unoriginal story and boring or downright despicable characters. Unlike New Earth, which was a boring attempt at satire but still had a few hilarious moments scattered throughout, this episode neither entertained me nor hit me in the feels. But it's not worth the brainpower to spend time and energy hating on it either. I would rate this episode as a 2/10 and say that I would sooner watch the entire first season of Teletubbies than have to endure it again.

  • The Idiot's Lantern

    The Idiot's Lantern was a great episode of Doctor Who and I enjoyed watching though it wasn't the most captivating episode. The story was pretty good and it was intriguing to see actual footage from the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. I liked the idea of The Wire and it utilizing the television for it's devious plans. The characters were interesting and it was fun watching The Doctor and Rose investigate. The ending was great and Rose is becoming quite the companion for The Doctor. I look forward to watching what happens next!!!!!!
  • I did not get this one.

    The Good: Nothing really of note

    The Bad: Has none of the brilliance that doctor who usually displays

    Full Review: I never got this episode. It started off promisingly, but only because I thought the guy had got killed. The sad truth is that the Wire killed nobody except Magpie at the end and everything she did got reversed. How disappointing! There was no real scary moments or plot twists etc. Everything was spoon fed to you. That makes for bad television. VERY bad television. This has been the only real disappointment from all of the revised episodes but boy is this one disappointing.
  • Don’t get me wrong – this show has been in my blood since Spearhead from Space. In all that time only two things have truly offended me, “Half human on my mother’s side”, and the Kangs. Unfortunately, this episode could have used some Kangs.

    It’s a fact that during a sci-fi season there has to be some filler. Based on the production values so far in this season some filler was inevitable about now. Perhaps I’ve been spoiled by the previous season where even the money saving episodes had strong emotional impact and relevance to the overall arc of the characters and story.

    In this episode quite frankly I can only assume that Russell Davies was “out of the office” at every single stage of production. If this story was an original idea then how could it have stood next to the likes of “Tooth and Claw” and “The Girl in the Fireplace” without getting laughed out at the first reading.

    Whilst probably faithful to the original idea the entire concept of the story is flawed. The bad guy (lady) shows up at the start, does some (mostly harmless) stuff and then gets beaten. The story goes in a straight line from start to finish with no plot-twists and no advancement of the main characters. At the end I was left disillusioned and worried about the next episode.

    The new Doctor Who audience have been able to cope with Daleks, scary gas-mask mutants, a big toothy werewolf… and Cybermen. What made the production team think this new audience would be frightened by Maureen Lipman’s Little Shop of Horrors audition?

    The effects, whilst probably true to original concept, are cheap-looking and noticeably out of synch with the series to date.

    The sets are in all fairness excellent and do actually look like everyone’s idea of 1950’s London.

    Low Point: The Doctor adapting his appearance to the time and place. He has done this before on a couple of occasions – and it was also a bad idea then

    High Point: Since I’m writing this retrospectively – the knowledge that the next episode is a true return to form.

    Conclusion: It is within the show’s brief to present historical fact within some of its storylines. But a third-rate Coronation documentary full of BBC in-jokes and obvious caricatures cannot be the way to go – especially when it is at the expense of the plot.

    I have given this episode a six-odd rating because it is Doctor Who - which has to be a good thing in the end.
  • Very well written, fairly witty.

    This episode was very well written and it was fairly funny in places. It was also quite creepy, intense and sinister at some points.

    The idea of the story was very good, faceless people kicked out on the street, while a scary alien in the form of a woman is trying to eat everyone while they watch the Queen's coronation. Brilliant! Billie Piper looked particulary beautiful in the pink Rock 'n' Roll dress, and unfortunetly gets her face taken. David Tennant has a new hairstyle to try in this episode and it looks, very American 50's, which is where they intended to go to in the first place.

    Very clever, but maybe not the best.
  • The Wire Is Hungry... (Spoilers Within)

    Part period-piece, part intergalactic mystery, ‘The Idiot’s Lantern’ is an interesting- if flawed- episode, playing on what was then contemporary fears of new technology and what it could do. The Doctor and Rose accidentally land in London in 1953 on the eve of the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. Whilst the city prepares to celebrate, strange things are happening. Rumours of monsters and clandestine visits by the police are rife. And they’re all linked to the brand-new televisions that are in everyone’s houses… The Doctor discovers that the television is being used as a conduit by a ravenous alien life-form called The Wire who seeks to become corporeal by sucking people’s life-force dry (and taking their faces in the process)- and it will use the broadcast of the Coronation to bring its plan to fruition.

    Some absolutely first-rate work from both David Tennant and Billie Piper in this episode; they impress me a little bit more in each episode. There are more brilliant guest performances in this episode as well. Ron Cook inspires pity and a little sympathy as Mr. Magpie, the humble shop-owner who becomes the unwitting and unwilling helper of the Wire. In a brilliantly delicious yet sinister performance, veteran actress Maureen Lipman portrays the Wire as sweetness and light one moment then blood and thunder the next. There are some rather chilling moments in this episode; the cage of faceless people and the bank of TVs with the faces on all silently screaming for help especially. The climax, on the massive television transmitter at Alexandra Palace, is quite thrilling too.

    My problem with this episode comes with the subplot regarding the Connolly family, where the Doctor and Rose meet a typical bullying patriarch and his family and help the wife and son stand up to him. Just as with ‘Rise Of The Cybermen’ and ‘The Age Of Steel’, it is this rather soap-opera-esque storyline that weakens the episode. It’s got nothing to do with the performances, as all three of them do very well (especially Jamie Foreman as the tyrannical Eddie), it just doesn’t ring right with the rest of the episode. Nonetheless, it’s fascinating and watchable.

  • Yep, this episode was another average one. Not bad, infact good, but not as good compared to other episodes. Kinda like New Earth...

    The Idiot\'s Lantern was an okay episode, in comparison to other episodes of this series. Yes, here I go again, comparing. The place, in between two two parters wasn\'t ideal, but it certainly doesn\'t become a \'filler episode\' just because of that.

    This episode didn\'t have the best climax, but it had the era correct and it was good to see. Not that I remember the 1950s... Anyway, the acting skills were great and the episode had an interesting enemy plus what it did (sucked peoples\' faces into the televisions).

    I don\'t really have much to say about this episode, as it wasn\'t overally memorable, but that doesn\'t mean it wasn\'t good. Next time, the best episodes yet...
  • Queen Elizabeth Loves Doctor Who. Now you know why.

    There was a lighter look to this episode than others so far. Possibly because most of the action took place during the day, in June, and with a lot of exterior work. The set was a triumph of BBC design. The street scenes and the interiors of the working class terraced house and the TV shop from hell were wonderfully authentic. The costumes were thoroughly authentic.

    Beneath the lightness, though, the evil The Doctor had to fight was as dark as it ever was. That the darkness hid itself behind a friendly, trusting face is significant. Sometimes darkness DOES that. And not all monsters come from outer space. Anyone looking for synchronicity would recognise that The Wire, played by Maureen Lipman was not the only monster putting up a front. Connolly, the bullying father in the family The Doctor and Rose come into contact with also puts on a friendly, trusting face outside but behind closed doors he is a thug. Sorting out domestic violence is not something The Doctor is traditionally known for, but after all he has dedicated his life to helping the weak and the oppressed everywhere, and sometimes they are just ordinary people in their living room.

    One of the chief concerns about David Tennant taking over the role was always that he looked too young to carry off The Doctor’s confident authority in all situations. An interesting comparison is Keanu Reeves in the film Speed. Well acted, a good, strong thriller film, but when he jumps onto the bus and tells everyone he is a police officer he just does not look like one and a lot of suspension of disbelief is needed to engage with that film.

    I fully expected the same problem with Dave Tennant’s Doctor. But from the moment he arrived on the scene in the Christmas Invasion he carried it off. When he stood up to Mr Connolly’s bullying he was the hero every downtrodden housewife needed. When he turned the tables on the police officer and started interrogating him instead of the other way around you could well believe he had every right to do so. Watching people who thought they were in charge and in control, suddenly find themselves deferring to The Doctor is one of the fun things about Doctor Who all through the years. He NEVER looked like he should be in authority. William Hartnell’s Doctor, looked too frail and absent-minded, Troughton’s was a clown who acted stupid until his opponents were fooled into thinking he was a pushover. Jon Pertwee and Tom Baker had great screen presence – something that Chris Eccleston also had. But even they were underestimated by those who go by first impressions and quickly discovered that beneath the dandy or the bohemian or the navvy was the ‘highest’ authority.

    All through the series, this has been the one consistent feature of The Doctor’s changing personality. In every situation he rose to the occasion, led from the front and let everyone know very clearly that HE was in charge. That meant that HE had to take the consequences of his actions, as the 9th Doctor found in the Unquiet Dead and in Bad Wolf, but being in authority means just that – taking the responsibility, too. And The Doctor knows that more than anyone.

    If there is one problem with this episode, it has to be the featured monster. It is difficult enough to be menacing while smiling, and while filling only a few inches of an old-fashioned black and white tv screen. In that sense it was pulled off. Though the menacing ‘I’m hungry, feed me,” was never as scary as it probably ought to be. But one problem was that the reason why the monster was doing what it was doing was never fully explained. In the classic series a great deal of exposition would be given outlying the motives of the monster. But in these tighter 45 minute stories they keep exposition to the minimum. In this case, the back story of why an alien called The Wire is occupying a tv set and sucking the life force out of humans in order to make itself corporeal is a bit vague.

    But knowing that IS the motive The Doctor is on the case. The fact that Rose has become one of the victims gives him an extra imperative to put everything right, and opens up the question again of just how platonic their relationship is. It was noted last season that the only two times The Doctor picked up a gun was when he thought Rose was dead. And the 10th Doctor’s anger boiled over when he saw his girl hurt by the monster.

    Setting the showdown between The Doctor – a television icon - and the television monster could only happen in one place. Alexander Palace, itself an icon – the birthplace of television. A beautiful Victorian building with a 1930s TV transmitter grafted onto it. It is a pity that Mark Gattis lost the line he wanted in about The Doctor not wanting to go up the mast because he once fell off one. But most classic fans would have seen the connection anyway, remembering Tom Baker’s demise at the end of Logopolis. Those who weren’t still laughing at the idea of The Doctor’s psychic paper telling everyone he was the king of Belgium, anyway. Although when gaining entry to the Connolly house he seemed to tell it what to say, most other times he is surprised by the choices it makes to assist him in asserting his authority. That one was a VERY odd choice indeed.

    The battle at the top of the mast was breathtaking anyway, and it was possible to fully suspend the disbelief and think he WAS at the top of Alexander Palace and not a few feet up on a frame set on the ground. And in true Doctor Who tradition the plan needed the help of an ordinary boy changing the fuse in the machine he had devised to trap the monster. He has said again and again that ordinary people are what is important, and having one ordinary, bullied and downtrodden boy save the world is typical Doctor Who. And so it should be. I was talking to a friend about the ‘godlike’ nature of The Doctor a few days ago and she said that we all have a little ‘god’ with a small ‘g’ in us. That doesn’t mean anyone should get ideas above our station, because The Doctor would be down on us like a ton of bricks if we did. But it does mean we should all be able to rise to the occasion when called upon. And when we do he is our strongest ally.

  • I must admit to having seen the basics of this story before elsewhere.

    Most common folk, even if they are not the age group of the original series can identify with Mr. Magpie. A man overdrawn in his accounts with no seeming hope on the horizon. Thne something unusual happens which turns things around, not for the better. Once you recognize the moral behind the story it\\\'s a bit down hill from we\\\'ve done this before. Even Gene Roddenberry\\\'s first pilot \\\"The Cage\\\" for the original Star Trek was basically a moral play. Lesson: Don\\\'t let the TV become an excuse for your life, go out and live in the real world. Hence Granny saying \\\"It will rot your brains out.\\\" How many times did I hear that one from my mom in the 60\\\'s?
  • A classic Dr Who story and well produced...

    After the last few episodes I was starting to lose faith in the new series. Too much use of the same characters (Rose's Mum and Dad) and the abuse of decent characters(Mickey) -- not to mention what they changed about the cybermen. But then I watched this episode and instantly felt like this was Dr Who.
    Firstly it started with the classic Tardis in the wrong place at the wrong time skit which has been done plenty of times but never gets old. Then we meet the "Faceless Ones" a bit of a kick back to the Second Doctor's series and sci-fi in general in the 70's which is a nice tie in. The chauvenistic Dad was a bit much, but the story wanted to make a noise about women's rights etc as the Queen was being coronated and all. It's also one of those big discussion points for anyone whose read "The Da Vinci Code"
    Mr Magpie was a interesting character but I did want him to be a bit more snivelly, a bit more deserving of the fate he received on the transmission tower. The Wire was fantastic and totally creepy. This was totally the right era to set a TV related monster out on the world design wise. I did notice that in this season they've created monsters / threats out of a lot of modern tech - the ear pieces in the Cybermen, the TVs, the Computers in Reunion etc. With that and the fact they're kind of stuck on Earth for every episode kind of makes you feel like there is no other intelligent life in the rest of the galaxy. If they can push the limits of Earth and let Torchwood handle that I think this show will start to grow in interesting stories.
    But hey, not too many complaints about this episode. All in all it was a classic Dr Who ep in most ways.
  • I can never get bored of this!

    I am actually enjoing this season alot more than the first and this episode for me was real special as it had Maureen Lipman who was great as The Wire was superb.

    This episode bought to life something that we are a bit faceless when watching tv, at first I was expecting something a little more monsterous but this was just as chilling to think that your face and brains could be sucked away like that, throughly enjoyable.

    I was not expecting Rose to get hey face and brain wiped off but it was a good story line, even the reverse transmission of the wire, it ended well and am looking forward to next week.

  • A fairly decent episode, it had a good story behind it but was badly executed in my opinion

    This episode was up against it anyway following on from the excellent previous episode but it still had some strong points.
    Visually it was very impressive with peoples faces being stolen, then seeing them all on the TV screens. The Wire\'s eye view looking out from the telly.
    I just think that this episode failed a bit as it portrayed the Doctor as a bit of an idiot. I don\'t care what decde your in but no city in America is going look like London. Also the biggest TV mast in the country is right there and it took him ages to notice it.
    At certain points it realy reminded me of the series early years with \"The Faceless ones\" being stored in a yard (like Foremans Yard).

    So it was good but i think it might just be the weakest of the Tennents stories so far.

  • A wonderfully paced piece with fabulous dialogue and a genuinely disturbing attack on the victims.

    What a charming episode. I was looking forward to this one for a while due to the fact it was written by Mark Gatiss. I was not disappointed. Ever since I was a child, I have been scared of faceless creatures (see: Monkey or Sapphire & Steel) and I still got chills in this episode. It was lovely to see Rose getting to investigate on her own and it was wonderfully shocking when her face was removed too. The dialogue was crackling with wit and energy and the set designs and costumes were superb. Point of interest: the street was called 'Florizel Street' which is a nod to the originally intended name for the TV series 'Coronation Street'. Nice in-joke there!
  • TV Gone Very Wrong Written by Mark Gatiss Directed by Euros Lyn


    Just what the doctor ordered! Another episode of Doctor Who taking a satirical spin on viewers! If negative thoughts in regards to Season One’s lacklustre episode “The Long Game” appear to your mind, don’t worry – “The Idiot’s Lantern” is a lot better in its attempts of proving the old chestnut about television rotting your brain cells. Although to be more precise with this episode, it’s a lot more about stealing your very essence as well.

    After doing battle with the Cybermen in the last two episodes, this week sees our TARDIS team land in London in 1953 during the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth, which incidentally enough plays a part in the big threat this week. Proving this series love their history lessons, this Coronation is now given a new pop culture impact all thanks to this very episode.

    Late one night, a harangued TV owner Mr Magpie muses over financial woes before a woman appears on his TV and begins talking to him in a rather creepy tone. As a result, Magpie makes a quite a nasty new friend in a trapped being called The Wire, who’s presence has devastating effects on local TV owners.

    Following on the old chestnut of “TV being bad”, we soon learn The Wire, wonderfully played by Maureen Lipman (The Pianist, Coronation Street) is an electrical monster killed by her own race and desperate to escape being imprisoned inside a television forces a grudging Magpie to help her feed by having him virtually give away his TV’s and throughout this episode, I can tell you that The Wire is one hungry beast as many of her unfortunate victims are left faceless. Perhaps to be expected, it’s not entirely surprising that two of these victims playing an integral part to the plot.

    The first pivotal victim is a Grandmother of the Connolly’s family who The Doctor and Rose are introduced when they begin investigating the suspicious arrest of a covered victim just as they take the time to take in their new surroundings and seemingly hit a dead end.

    Ruling the Connolly abode with an iron fist, we’re introduced to Eddie, a misogynistic brute, whose values and attitude towards women are appropriate for this time period so much that Gene Hunt from Life On Mars looks to be the modern thinking man in comparison. Eddie believes that The Doctor and Rose are Representatives of the Queen and although reluctant lets them in but you can tell this guy is a total belligerent moron from the way he handles people and it isn’t with logic.

    His pure belittlement of Rita and his almost resentment for poor Tommy is downright, but almost nothing compared to his attitude in regards to his “changed” Grandma or his eventual hostility and suspicion of The Doctor and Rose after the police pay a visit and take away Grandma. Its little wonder Tommy has deep seated with this man – he’s an absolute pig of a person and even The Doctor and Rose took offence to his Neanderthal attitude to life.

    Along with being a sexist pig, it also turns out rather quickly enough that Eddie also a rat as it’s revealed that it’s him who has been telling the police when to find and arrest his faceless neighbours and relatives. Grandma may have gotten The Doctor curious but it’s Rose who made it a personal mission for him this week to beat the bad guy.

    Before discussing how she got into danger, you have to praise the writing staff for the modern approach that has been taken with Rose as the show’s clear love for “girl power” and equality among the sexes is wonderfully utilised here. Aside from putting Eddie the brute in his place on a few occasions, it was Rose who actually spotted earlier on that every house on the street had a new set of antennas on their roofs and it was also her who knew to interrogate Mr Magpie after spotting a red bolt of electricity coming from the TV in the Connolly’s house.

    Beautiful and with brains, Rose did appear to be sympathetic when she came into the shop to talk to Magpie after her attempts of small talk got her nowhere. It did however take her a moment to realise that The Wire was talking to her directly before it fed from her but still Rose deserves points for going to the source of the disaster first, even if did end up with her being trouble as a result.

    As for The Doctor, wasn’t it a little silly to drive off without Rose on his scooter, given that’s he has lectured so many times about Rose doing the same thing from time to time? I did find really strange and irresponsible of him but his determination to find out what was going on really must’ve taken over, huh?

    Still though at least he found the faceless victims and after being interrogated by Detective Inspector Bishop, it was nice to learn that the police were actually trying to do good even if Bishop knew that he was seriously out of his depth in regards to the faceless victims of The Wire.

    The Doctor was always going to help with solving the problems in this time but he really needed a determined motivation and upon learning that Rose was another one of The Wire’s victims who was then abandoned in the street by Magpie, this was it. The incandescent fury of The Doctor when learning of his companion’s fate made for a brilliant TV moment and David Tennant once again excelled with some us that glimpse of The Doctor’s darker side.

    It’s a good job that with Rose being locked up with every other faceless victim in that warehouse that The Doctor then used the double help of Bishop and a concerned Tommy because this wasn’t going to be a one person victory, even if he had a few aces up his sleeve.

    The confrontation between The Doctor and The Wire was an interesting moment because a part of me got the feeling that she knew who he was but not the extent of his being if you catch my drift. What I’m trying to is that maybe she knew things like Time Lords existed but none quite like The Doctor himself. Her attempts of feeding on the three in Magpie’s shop resulted in a bad outcome for Bishop but at least The Doctor and Tommy were able to stop her and an unwilling Magpie as an oblivious London all sat down to watch the Coronation.

    As a character, Magpie is a debatable choice. He’s played by a good actor like Ron Cook but as a character I’m divided. His unwillingly and unhappiness to help The Wire make him sympathetic but the fact that he’s only doing it spare himself is a little pathetic as he sits idly by and watches as The Wire goes after his neighbours. I’m actually surprised that The Doctor didn’t punch him, considering how furious he was when he entered his shop.

    Battle-wise, this episode has a great tense moments with The Doctor and Magpie with The Wire climbing up the top of the transmitter at Alexandria Park both trying to fill out their individual objectives. Although The Doctor’s victory was inevitable, the episode plays on the possibility of The Wire actually succeeding her goal when she begins feasting on the people in the Connolly residence but her defeat at the hands of the transmitter being used as a receiver and her being trapped in a blank video tape was a fitting end for this particular creature.

    Although we had a brilliant plot here with a great actress playing a highly quotable (she’s kind of like Cassandra in that way), I had to admit the final act with Rose and The Doctor encouraging Tommy to talk to his father after Rita rightly kicked him and all the personal stuff was a little more exciting for me this week.

    Also in “The Idiot’s Lantern”

    Original Destination: The Doctor and Rose were supposed to land in 1950’s New York but ended up in London instead. The TARDIS is playing up again.

    The Wire (to Magpie): “Are you sitting comfortably? Then we’ll begin”.

    The Doctor (re police): “How did they get away from us?”
    Rose: “I’m surprised they didn’t arrest you for reckless driving. Did you even pass your test?”

    I have to say, I liked the 50’s attire this week. Rose looked suitably cute in that pink and The Doctor’s overly gelled hair worked well too.

    The Doctor: “Are you suggesting the Queen is a housewife?”
    Eddie: “Not at all”.

    Eddie: “I am talking”
    The Doctor: “And I’m not listening”.

    Jackie is a fan of Cliff Richards? I don’t think that they are enough “yuck” in the world to cover my feelings on that choice of music.

    Rose (to Eddie): “Only an idiot hangs a Union Jack flag upside down. Shame on you!”

    We got a Churchill/Stalin throw in this week in the show’s growing love for getting political. HBO would be proud of this kind of name and shame, TV series wise.

    Rose: “Are you talking to me?”
    The Wire: “Yes, I’m talking to you”.

    Betty (re Tommy): “You’d want to beat that out of him”
    Eddie: “Oh, I will”.

    Was this exchange supposed to be a dig at Tommy’s sexuality? A following argument between Tommy and Eddie gave me the impression that the character may be gay.

    Rita (to Eddie): “We had a ruddy monster under my roof but it wasn’t my mother”.

    The Doctor (to Magpie): “Tell me who’s in charge here”
    The Wire: “Yoo-hoo, that would be me”.

    It’s a shame that besides a brief comment about Jackie, we didn’t get any reference from last week’s episode. How much time has passed for The Doctor and Rose between “The Age Of Steel” and “The Idiot’s Lantern”?

    Magpie: “You promised me peace”
    The Wire: “And peace you shall have”.

    The Doctor: “It’s closed down I’m afraid and with no epilogue”.

    Was the phrase “Idiot’s Lantern” even mentioned in this episode? I don’t recall hearing it.

    Rose (re Eddie): “He’s your Dad”
    Tommy: “He’s an idiot”
    Rose: “Course he is”.

    Standout music: I liked the 50’s soundtrack. Some good use of music here!

    Something of an interesting and different style of episode, “The Idiot’s Lantern” is another creative coup for “The Unquiet Dead” tag team of Mark Gatiss and Euros Lyn. Although not quite as good as the previous four episodes or the aforementioned Season One episode, points have to be given for the great plot, nice array of guest stars and the continuing daring of the show’s writers as well as the chilly atmosphere with this instalment.
  • A dark yet emotional 45 minutes that had me hooked from beginning to end.

    I thought that this episode was brilliant!

    From the outset it looked terrific - very film noir and quite dark, but not overtly so. The faceless \'monsters\' were chilling, and The wire was a fantastic villain, evil but not too over-the-top - just how \'Who\' baddied should be.

    I also loved the characterisation. It chilled me to the bone when the doctor realised that Rose had been \'turned\' and his reaction almost made me cry. Both David Tennant and Billie Piper were fantastic in this episode, with each of them getting to play different aspects of their character - Rose being less annoying and more inquisitive and the Doctor showing complete and utter grief at Rose\'s \'turning\'.

    This show just keeps getting better!
  • Exactly why I watch this show.

    After the slightly disappointing return of classic villain the Cybermen in the previous two episodes, League of Gentlemen star and co-creator Mark Gatiss gives Doctor Who the touch of class he injected into his series one script, The Unquiet Dead. As with that episode, it's a period piece about an otherworldly enemy disguising itself in an aspect of modern technology, in this case television. The writing is flawless, the production crew perfectly capture the abject horror of what the enemy is doing to 1950s England and the performances are fine. Essential.
  • Aww come one, after the return of the cybermen as a filler between the next big story why wouldn't we have this limp horror story?

    Lighting is very important to a horror story, we all know it and Mark Gatiss knew this when putting his mind to writing about the Gleth in season 1. The unquiet dead worked so well because it was set at night, there was a very mysterious aura about the entire episode leading up until the aliens are revealed, but here it isn't so much his writing technique which still never fails to be scary, but fear was lost by the fact that it was almost constantly set during daylight so you can barely see the red lightning passing between TV receptors. Even though this mainly centres around the queen's coronation which happened during daylight hours, the fact that this episode was set during daylight hours left this episode lacking something.
    Sure you have the inevitable scenes when people get their faces sucked into the TV by creepy tv presenter who seems more like a presenter of woman's hour on bbc radio 4, which would be creepy to anyone, but most of the time child actors really annoy the piss out of me. Unless they are portraying a literally scary part like those in "The Exorcist" and "The Shining" child actors are usually the downfall of any TV show.
    But I neglect the point of this episode and that is to make kids too scared of their TVs so they go outside more rather than sitting inside all day. I think every child knows the difference between TV and reality this far into the series but just to be sure this episode does pack some creepy scenes, but this was nothing compared with age of steel.
    Impossible planet looks amazing!