Thursday, 9 June 2016

Defending 'Love & Monsters'

Five years ago, James Wynne presented his ten
worst post-2005 episodes on the Doctor Who TV 
website. To my dismay, Love & Monsters topped the 
list, with Wynne commenting that the "Blue Peter 
contest winner was poor in every way and felt more 
like a soap [opera] with an alien thrown in just for 
comedy purposes. Not Doctor Who." 
At the time I responded by admitting that the 
adventure was 'marmite' fare, fans either love it 
or hate it.
In January 2012, Jonathan Morris' review of Love &
 Monsters for DWM (issue 443) countered comments
made by Peter Kay in the Daily Mail the previous November.
Britain's most successful stand-up comedian made
guest appearance in the story after praising the programme's reboot in a letter to Russell T Davies, 
but said that his episode was "regarded by fans as the worst ever."
Then yesterday, the Radio Times published Huw Fullerton's latest blog,
The 13 Most Divisive Doctor Who Episodes, and Love & Monsters again
led the survey.
The story was first broadcast on BBC1, ten years ago, to 6.7M viewers. 
This much maligned story is still one of my favourites, and is actually far 
superior to the one that followed it, Fear Her. Written by show-runner 
Davies and directed by Dan Zeff (his only outing on the show), it features a
 stellar cast in Kay, Marc Warren, Shirley Henderson, Simon Greenall, Moya
 Brady, Kathryn Drysdale, and Camille Coduri. And the music is perfect!

  • The working title of Love & Monsters (the only story with an ampersand in the title) was I Love the Doctor, and it's French broadcast was retitled LINDA 
  • The episode is notable as the programme's first 'doctor-lite' script, and was produced in the same block as The Satan Pit two-parter
  • Elton Pope (Warren) witnesses alien incursions from earlier stories: an Auton attack, and the Slitheen and Sycorax ships over London
  • Elton is a fan of Jeff Lynne and his Electric Light Orchestra, and three ELO songs are heard here
  • The fan group LINDA (London Investigation 'N' Detective Agency) is later mentioned in Time Crash, but the acronym was first used on Why Don't You? (BBC1, 1973-1995)
  • Victor Kennedy (Kay) is in fact an 'Abzorbaloff' creature from the Slitheen twin planet of Clom
  • Uniquely, the episode referenced all four of Davies' series arcs - Bad Wolf [virus], Torchwood [files], [Mr] Saxon, and the lost planets
  • The Hoix monster is also seen in Torchwood: Exit Wounds, and The Pandorica Opens
  • Bella Emberg, Mrs Croot here, first made (uncredited) appearances in The Silurians and The Time Warrior
  • Elton paraphrases Stephen King: "salvation and damnation are the same thing" (from The Green Mile)
  • This is the only Doctor Who adventure ever to allude to oral sex
  • The DWM Mighty 200 Poll (September 2009) placed Love & Monsters at 153rd, whilst Fear Her proved to be the most unloved Tennant story and ranked just 192nd
  • To date, the serial has been repeated fifteen times on BBC3

No comments:

Post a Comment