the T.A.R.D.I.S. is drawn to a distress signal, the Doctor
and Martha open the door to find themselves in the 42nd
Century on the cargo ship SS Pentallian, which is falling
into a sun. As they try and gather the crew together, the
Doctor and Martha are cut off from the T.A.R.D.I.S., meaning
they only have forty-two minutes before the shields fail
and the vessel is burnt up by the power of the sun. While
the Doctor formulates a plan, some of the crew members start
acting strangely, saying only one thing ‘Burn with
Who meets 24, as the Time Lord and his beautiful
assistant play out a ‘real time’ science fiction
science fiction, answering a distress signal always leads
to life or death struggle and a countdown to impending doom.
For the Doctor and Martha, this is no different. Materialising
on a cargo ship that is falling into a sun and then, inevitably,
being cut off from the T.A.R.D.I.S. the dynamic duo face
a race against time to reboot the engine systems before
the ship’s energy shields collapse and they all burn.
are not made any easier by the fact that the ship has gone
into lock down, meaning there are thirty plus doors between
bridge and the engine bay, all of which have to be manually
overridden. To make matters worse, some of the crew have
become possessed by an alien entity that is determined to
make the ship fly into the sun.
high production values of the new season continue, with
the special effects pushing the show to new standards again.
Russell T. Davies and his creative team have drawn on many
a science fiction film and TV show for this episode, for
the look and feel of the piece but the biggest influence
comes from 24, after giving the show a real time countdown.
The Doctor also gets to be a little ‘Jack Bauer’,
taking on the alien threat and even succumbing to its infection,
but of course fighting it valiantly.
Tennant continues to grow as the Doctor and is quickly becoming
one of the best actors to ever grace the role. This again
shows he can cope with action but his running technique
still needs a little work. You can run on Converse All-Stars,
Will Smith proved that in I, Robot, but David always
looks a little strange or even slightly camp.
Eastenders star Michelle Collins makes an appearance
as SS Pentallian Captain McDonnall and Martha even finds
a little romance.
might not be the most original Doctor Who episode
you will ever see, as it steals from so many science fiction
conventions that have come before, but it is an entertaining
one. Whovians will also get a kick out of the subplot involving
Martha’s mother, as the set up for the season finale