Doctor Who: Season 2, Episode 7

The Idiot's Lantern (10 Nov. 2006)

TV Episode  -   -  Adventure | Drama | Family
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Ratings: 7.0/10 from 1,919 users  
Reviews: 8 user | 5 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 ...
Ieuan Rhys ...
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?


Almost every scene is filmed at a Dutch angle. 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 »


[knock, door opens]
Crabtree: Found another one, sir.
Bishop: Oh, good man, Crabtree.
[the Doctor looks up, sees Crabtree with a blanket-covered person in a familiar pink skirt and pink heels]
Bishop: Here we are, Doctor. Take a good look. See what you can deduce.
[Crabtree removes the blanket. Blond hair, pink hairband-]
The Doctor: Rose.
Bishop: You know her?
The Doctor: Know her? She...
See more »


Features Muffin the Mule (1946) See more »


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

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User Reviews

Slightly Disappointing
6 May 2008 | by (Isle Of Bute , Scotland) – See all my reviews

I remember looking forward to this since it was written by THE LEAGUE OF GENTLEMEN'S Mark Gatiss who wrote the previous years story featuring Charles Dickens and gas zombies . But after seeing the episode I felt rather disappointed and it's down to one very simple reason . The entire plot is summed up in the pre title sequence . After this - which I do agree is effective enough - we still have to endure a story which we know will end up with the Doctor defeating the alien and it's just a question of how . There's little surprise involved and this week's obligatory dysfunctional family subplot is more irritating than usual .

There is one other aspect conspicuous by its absence and that is Gatiss is a big fan of the QUATERMASS serials . For some reason the story is set at the Queen's coronation which was no doubt a big national event at the time but surely 1950s television was the decade where Nigel Kneale as a household name . Imagine if the audience had been watching an episode of QUATERMASS ? Wouldn't that have been a brilliant post modernist tour de force ?

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