Easily the best episode since The Unquiet Dead. Even Maureen Lipman was cast quite well. Rose was written a whole heap better than usual, and finally had a rapport with the Doctor that worked.
The mystery of the modern Doctors’ knowledge of pop-culture is further stirred – or possibly explained – when he produces a Betamax VCR from inside the TARDIS.
The men in black angle threatened to be an intrusion by Torchwood, but turned out to be exactly the opposite. In The Christmas Invasion we were told that Torchwood is so secret that even the Prime-Minister isn’t supposed to know of their existence. That’s pretty secret. So trying to fit in lines about it every week, in this case spoken by a lowly cop, is just folly. These forced throwaway lines tangled disastrously last season, so why not learn from that? It's like stabbing yourself twice.
Didn't get why Granma kept knocking on the floor, or why all the Wire's victims kept flexing their fingers, but that's minor. Don't know how the Doctor recovered, figured out he needed to get to Ally Pally, built that entire machine and got across to the transmitter in about the same amount of time that it took the evil TV man to drive there. Even one shot of him on the bike would have helped, as it was the shots we had implied that they'd both walked there.
Great to see the Doc heading up the street dressed up in such a silly, David Clevelandesque, outfit though, with the component in his mouth and the wires wrapped around his neck. A bit more of an individual, like he, and his show, used to be.
Was surprised that the "idiot" of the title didn’t turn out to be Mickey.
Only real problem with this story though was its similarity to a film I wrote about 15 years ago. Can’t knock that then.
A few years ago author Mark Gatiss attempted unsuccessfully to pitch his own new series of Doctor Who to the BBC. Episodes like this and his earlier tale The Unquiet Dead make me wonder just what we missed out on.