by Ian Samuels (@IanDJ75)
The Doctor takes Rose to see Elvis Presley in New York on the Ed Sullivan show. Once again, he gets things a bit wrong and they end up in London the day before Queen Elizabeth the Second’s Coronation.
But there is something very strange happening. People are loosing their faces and being taken away by a mysterious group of men wearing black. 1950’s Britain, Men in Black and people loosing their faces? What could possibly be going on? Rose, using what the Doctor refers to as ‘The Domestic Approach’, notices that pretty much all of the houses have TV aerials on them. She remembers stories of the coronation and particularly about people having to bundle into a person’s living room as not many people had a TV.
The reason why so many in this area have TVs is a local shop called Magpies selling them really cheap.
It turns out that Magpie is working for an alien who was due to executed by her people but managed to survive in energy form. Now she is absorbing people to gain enough power to regain physical form. She has guided Magpie to build a portable device which she can transfer to for Magpie to carry to the transmitter at BBC’s Alexander Palace nearby.
Meanwhile the Doctor and Rose talk to young Tommy Connolly whose Grandmother is one of the victims.
While the Doctor is talking to the police that are ‘investigating’ by taking the victims away and hiding them away from the public and frustrated at not being able to do anything else.
Rose confronts Magpie and becomes a victim. When the Doctor sees Rose with no face, he declares that everything has changed as now ‘Nothing on this world come stop me!’.
The Doctor with Tommy build a machine to stop the Wire. Doctor climbs the tower after Magpie, links up his machine to the mobile screen with The Wire in it. But connecting it blows a valve. Tommy manages to find a replacement valve and changes it and the Wire is trapped on a Video, which the Doctor has just invented couple decades early. He tells Tommy it’s Betamax and shrugs, which means nothing to Tommy.
Reunited with Rose he tells her that he will ensure the Wire is gone by the use of his ‘knowledge of trans-temporal extirpation methods to neutralise the residual electronic pattern.’ Which he admits just means that he is going to record over it.
• This episode was written by Mark Gatiss.
• The Wire was played by Maureen Lipman a stalwart of British Comedy.
• Margret John played ‘Grandma Connelly’ had previously appeared in Doctor Who in the 1969 serial ‘Fury from the Deep’ with Second Doctor, Patrick Troughton. But even though she is credited as ‘Grandma Connelly’, but it is made clear in the episode that she is in fact Rita’s Mother therefore her surname should be Rita’s Maiden Name not Eddie’s name.
• A line cut had the Doctor mention a fear of Radio Towers which would have been a reference to a the 4th Doctor, Tom Baker’s death as he fell from a radio tower in the 1981 episode Logopolis Part Four.
• Another thing cut from the original script had Rose visiting an Aunt who worked on a game show for the BBC. But Russel T Davies insisted on taking it out as it could show the corporation which they work for in a negative light.