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 2,286 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 ...
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 chase scene was originally much longer and included action in the London Underground. See more »


When the Doctor and Magpie are climbing the transmitting tower, several insulators (brown and green structures) are shown attached to the tower with no wires on the other end. This exposed end should have the actual antenna wires attached. When Magpie connects the device, he connects it to the tower structure itself and not to an actual antenna. This would have grounded out the signal and done nothing. See more »


Magpie: What do you think you're doing?
The Doctor: I want my friend restored, and I think that's beyond a little backstreet electrician, so tell me, who's really in charge here?
The Wire: Yoo-hoo! I think that must be me.
See more »


References What's My Line (1951) See more »


Muffin The Mule
Written by Annette Mills
Performed by Annette Mills
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User Reviews

Simply amazing
28 May 2006 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

I've been a little disappointed with the last couple of weeks of Doctor Who, the Cybermen story just didn't seem to cut it for me, especially after The Girl in the Fireplace, but The Idiot's Lantern just completely redeemed the series for me. I thought the way that this episode was put together was absolutely amazing, I'm a bit of an obsessive when it comes to 50s culture and music and stuff, and this managed to pull it off brilliantly. Maureen Lipman was fantastically cast as The Wire, she actually seemed to be like a genuine 1950s style television announcer. Mark Gatiss of "League of Gentleman" fame did an absolutely fantastic job of writing this episode, it was brilliantly done, enough to terrify millions of small kids into not watching TV for fear of having their faces sucked off!!! I thought David Tennant was amazing in this episode, as ever. He just seems to get better for me the further this series progresses, and The Idiots Lantern was no exception. His emotional range in this episode was superb, especially in the scene where he starts shouting and bawling at Eddie. Billie Piper was also great last night, I'm not particularly a big fan of hers but she excelled herself last night. Brilliant episode, lets just hope the rest of the series is at the same standard!!!

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