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Lady Cassandra Returns
This is the first episode of Series 2 of ‘Doctor Who’ by Russell T. Davies. It’s not the most inspiring episode I’ve watched, but it sets the series off on a good start with David Tennant and Billie Piper.
Rose re-joins the Doctor in the TARDIS as they go off for new adventures. Their first stop is in the year 5 billion where they visit the planet New Earth. They visit a hospital where a dark secret is kept.
This story is a sequel to ‘The End of the World’, where the planet Earth was destroyed by the sun. Although the Earth is gone, the human race lives on as they live on a new planet similar to old Earth.
I like the futuristic setting RTD depicts in this episode. It’s interesting how he presents the human race moved on from their original Earth roots and what benefits and consequences there are in that.
The hospital setting is pretty stark and welcoming at first. But underneath there’s something that goes on as the Sisters of Plenitude hide batches of humans to create their medical cures for patients.
This episode as I understand suffered production problems with bad weather for the exterior sequences with the Doctor and Rose. You can tell that it’s very windy for them when they’re outside.
This episode features the return of Lady Cassandra (voiced by Zoë Wanamaker). She is an old enemy of the Doctor from ‘The End of the World’. How she managed to survive is explained in this episode.
There is an element of body-swapping in this story, as Cassandra possesses the bodies of Rose and the Doctor. The body-swapping comedy is interesting if not at times a little silly to take seriously.
Billie Piper’s performance as Rose is lovely. Billie gets to do some comedy acting when she plays Cassandra in Rose’s body. It’s interesting to watch and there’s a shock when she kisses the Doctor.
David Tennant also gets to do some comedy acting when Cassandra possesses the Doctor. I like it when the Doctor is very insistent upon threatening Cassandra to get out of Rose’s body this instant.
The Sisters of Plenitude are a group of cat people nurses at the futuristic hospital on New Earth. They include Doña Croll as Matron Casp; Adjoa Andoh as Sister Jatt and Anna Hope as Novice Hame.
Sean Gallagher guest stars as Chip, Cassandra’s loyal servant, who Rose describes as ‘Gollum’.
There is a breakout of infected humans of all kinds of diseases about the hospital. I found those scenes terrifying when the infected humans come for the Doctor and Rose, intent on touching them.
The Face of Boe from ‘The End of the World’ returns in this episode. He has something important to tell the Doctor. But the Face says that t can wait when they meet again for the third and final time.
‘New Earth’ is an enjoyable episode of Series 2 with the Doctor and Rose. It’s not the greatest episode as the body-swapping comedy’s way out. But it was interesting to watch to start the series.
The DVD special features on this episode on ‘The Complete Series 2’ DVD are as follows. On Disc 1, there is a commentary with director James Hawes; executive producer Julie Gardner and VFX producer Will Cohen. On Disc 6, there’s the ‘Doctor Who Confidential’ episode ‘New New Doctor’.
On Disc 1 of ‘The Complete Series 2’ DVD of ‘Doctor Who’, there are outtakes and deleted scenes of Series 2. There are also ‘Billie’s Video Diaries’ from Series 2 to enjoy!
‘New Earth’ rating – 6/10
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