Doctor Who: Season 2, Episode 7

The Idiot's Lantern (10 Nov. 2006)

TV Episode  |  TV-PG  |   |  Adventure, Drama, Family
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Ratings: 7.0/10 from 2,599 users  
Reviews: 10 user | 7 critic

In 1950s London, the police are hunting down strange, mute creatures. The people of Britain gather around their new-fangled "tele-vision" sets to celebrate the new Queen's coronation - but is something affecting the signal?



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Episode complete credited cast:
Debra Gillett ...
Rory Jennings ...
Margaret John ...
Sam Cox ...
Jean Challis ...
Aunty Betty
Christopher Driscoll ...
Security Guard
Mrs. Gallagher


It's 1953, the Coronation year of HM Queen Elizabeth II, and the people of Great Britain huddle round their television sets to witness the great event. But behind the celebrations there are rumors of monsters on the streets, and the tormented Mr Magpie is hiding a strange and alien secret. Written by Anonymous

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Release Date:

10 November 2006 (USA)  »

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| (50 episodes)


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Did You Know?


The story originally took place on Powell Street, intended to be the same location where Rose Tyler's apartment block, the Powell Estate, would later be built. However, since Rose's home had already been established as being situated in the south of London, this would make setting the climax at Alexandra Palace a more cumbersome plot element. See more »


This episode takes place on the day before and the day of Queen Elizabeth II's coronation (1 and 2 June 1953). However, at the start of the show (a scene set some time prior to the main events), the Connolly family are seen listening to an episode of BBC radio comedy series "Take It From Here" - an episode that was first broadcast on 15 June 1953, two weeks after the coronation. See more »


Magpie: You promised me peace!
The Wire: Then peace you shall have.
The Wire: [disintegrates him]
See more »


Featured in Doctor Who Confidential: Monsters Inc. (2007) See more »


God Save the Queen
Music by Thomas Augustine Arne
Lyrics by Henry Carey
See more »

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User Reviews

Visually enthralling
21 June 2007 | by ( – See all my reviews

Most people will tell you that a director on a television show cannot really make an impact, since all they do is run on set, take charge of the crew, and finish up the episode in less than a week. Due to this rushed process, television directors, supposedly, are restricted in terms of creativity, but "The Idiot's Lantern" is proof that this isn't necessarily true. Director Euros Lyn, also responsible for great episodes like "The Unquiet Dead" and "Tooth and Claw", makes this episode extremely entertaining with his visual style. "The Idiot's Lantern" might have been a fairly boring episode otherwise, disregarding the witty dialogue, the script wasn't exactly perfect. Inventive, zany cinematography make this episode a pleasure to look at. An inspired portrayal of the Doctor from Tennant and some witty dialogue make up for a pretty weak story and make this episode quite enjoyable. It's hardly the greatest episode, but it's good enough.

Letter Grade: B-

11 of 14 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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