The Idiot’s Lantern
By Mark Gatiss
“I’m The Wire and I am Hungry.”
It is 1953 and the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II is almost here. But there are some strange going ons in Mushwell Hill, London. It appears that people have been having their faces removed. One moment sitting in front of the TV and the next their face gets sucked into it. It appears that whatever is causing it is centered on Magpies Electrical shop. It all seems to have all started after a red bolt hit his shop.
The Doctor and Rose arrive hoping to have landed in New York to catch The Ed Sullivan show but with the TARDIS well it didn’t happen. They are soon embroiled with the investigation with why people are losing their face. Rose goes on ahead and does some snooping around and goes to Magpies and ends up losing her face. The Doctor soon finds out that it is the TV’s that Magpie is selling that is the cause of the problem and goes there to confront him. The Doctor discovers that an alien is living inside the TV’s and wants to feed on all the humans when the tune in for the Coronation. The Doctor must stop The Wire from doing this and save Rose in the process.
After last series “The Unquiet Dead” I was looking forward to Mark Gatiss’s next story “The Idiot’s Lantern” which is slang for a television set by the way. Unfortunately I was disappointed. It started off pretty well with the mystery surrounding the faceless people and the creature inside the TV, The Wire, but it soon turned into a lecture about housewives standing up to their husbands. The story would have been better and more entertaining without this side story. I was hoping for a traditional Doctor against the monster story but what we got was a Hallmark Movie. Not ridiculing the nature of the serious subject that happens all too much but to feature it in Doctor Who I don’t know. Not that there isn’t anything wrong with putting it in the story but for a family science fiction show maybe not. But high marks for them tackling a sensitive subject.
I did like the concept of The Wire who is an alien creature that is living inside of television sets striking out at unsuspecting viewers. It was pretty clever to use the biggest television eevnt of early days of television the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. Just imagine an alien creature that needs to feed and will have the main course during this event. Dinner time indeed. It was a pretty cool idea to incorporate these two events together and works out really well and I just found it to be a really clever idea.
For once Rose gets into trouble and really needs The Doctor to save her. She gets sucked into the TV and becomes one of the faceless ones. It was good to see The Doctor interact with Tommy and it gave the story a different aspect as he worked at a fever pace to save England and Rose. What is good about David Tennants Doctor as he works well with who ever he is paired with this time really gelling with Tommy which works really well just as well as he did with Mrs. Moore the story before.
The Idiot’s Lantern is a pretty entertaining story with a strong side message that should or shouldn’t be in it. There were some good moments with the men in the black cars stealing people and the whole mystery around that and Magpies TV shop. It ties in with a historical moment and works for the most part. A story that was not bad and fun to watch and The Wire was a pretty decent villain for The Doctor to butt heads with.