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The TARDIS in Cardiff
The last quarter of new series episodes of ‘Doctor Who’ from Series 1 are brilliant!
They have to be the best of the best featuring Christopher Eccleston as the Ninth Doctor! They’re three episodes with the first episode being a one-part adventure and the second and third episodes comprising of a two-part season finale for Series 1 of new ‘Doctor Who’ and for the Ninth Doctor’s era.
‘Boom Town’ is set in Cardiff during the present day and ‘Bad Wolf’/’The Parting of the Ways’ is set in the far, far future with deadly game shows and millions of Daleks. Christopher Eccleston and Billie Piper deliver ‘fantastic’ performances as the Doctor and Rose in the last three episodes of Series 1.
‘Boom Town’ is by Russell T. Davies. As I’m a Cardiff dweller and since the series is filmed in Cardiff, I was thrilled to bits to find that this episode was actually set in my hometown and also in Cardiff Bay.
All the locations are familiar in this episode since they include the Millennium Centre and the Roald Dahl Plass. I was delighted to see the TARDIS outside the Millennium Centre beside the water tower.
After seeing this episode, I explored Cardiff again. I enjoyed going to the restaurants where the characters had lunch or dinner and going to where Rose ran at the Roald Dahl Plass during the nighttime.
This episode is a sequel to the two-part story, ‘Aliens of London’/’World War Three’. The Slitheen got destroyed by a missile in Downing Street at the end of that story. However, one Slitheen managed to survive.
Annette Badland returns as Margaret Blaine (Blon Fel-Fotch Passameer-Day Slitheen). Six months later, she’s now made herself the Lord Mayor of Cardiff and is currently running the Blaidd Drwg project.
The project involves a nuclear power station to be built and to provide new energy for Cardiff City itself. But it all turns out to be a trap, as the Doctor, Rose, Captain Jack and Mickey discover the truth.
Whilst on holiday, the TARDIS team capture Margaret and discover what her project’s about. She plans to escape the Earth by blowing up Cardiff itself with the use of the space-time rift that’s there.
There are references to ‘The Unquiet Dead’ which featured the space-time rift in Cardiff. This also sets things up for the spin-off TV show called ‘Torchwood’, which is mostly set in Cardiff with the rift in the background.
There are some strong plot points and character developments featured in this story. The Doctor has dinner with Margaret and she begs him not to take her back to her home planet where she’s to be executed.
Christopher Eccleston’s Doctor develops an interesting side to his character in this episode. He’s challenged by Margaret about whether he has the right to deliver the law and to have her executed.
It’s also a very interesting episode for Rose as her relationship with Mickey strains and changes. He was her former boyfriend and there are some interesting revelations that occur between the two of them.
Billie Piper is lovely as Rose Tyler in this episode. The story gives us a chance to reflect on Rose and how her enjoyment of being in the TARDIS and being with the Doctor affects her relationship with Mickey.
Noel Clarke returns as Mickey, who comes to visit Cardiff and see Rose with the Doctor and Jack. It’s interesting how Mickey is a victim since his relationship with Rose ended the moment the Doctor came.
John Barrowman as Captain Jack joined the Doctor and Rose from ‘The Empty Child’/’The Doctor Dances’. I did like it when he had banters with the Doctor, Rose and Mickey once they’re exploring Cardiff.
‘Boom Town’ is a wonderfully-written episode by Russell T. Davies and it’s brilliantly directed by Joe Ahearne. And as a Cardiff City dweller, how can I not consider this episode as one of my favourites?
The DVD/Blu-ray special features for this episode are as follows. There’s an audio commentary with John Barrowman; Annette Badland and producer Phil Collinson. There’s also the ‘Doctor Who Confidential’ episode ‘Unsung Heroes and Violent Death’.
‘Boom Town’ rating – 10/10
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