Doctor Who (2005– )
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The Idiot's Lantern 

As the coronation of Elizabeth II nears, the streets of London live in fear. Faceless people are stolen from their homes in the night and something evil is lurking in the television.


Euros Lyn


Mark Gatiss




Episode complete credited cast:
David Tennant ... The Doctor
Billie Piper ... Rose Tyler
Maureen Lipman ... The Wire
Ron Cook ... Magpie
Jamie Foreman ... Eddie Connolly
Debra Gillett Debra Gillett ... Rita Connolly
Rory Jennings Rory Jennings ... Tommy Connolly
Margaret John ... Grandma Connolly
Sam Cox Sam Cox ... Detective Inspector Bishop
Ieuan Rhys ... Crabtree
Jean Challis Jean Challis ... Aunty Betty
Christopher Driscoll Christopher Driscoll ... Security Guard
Marie Lewis Marie Lewis ... 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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TV-PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


Tommy, the one clever person in the episode (other than Rose and the Doctor) wears an outfit that almost perfectly matches David Tennant's - brown jacket, blue shirt and white undershirt. A subtle hint about how important his character is to the plot. See more »


During the scene in which The Doctor is climbing the transmitter, there is a shot in which he is viewed from above and is then struck by lightning. In this shot, The Doctor's foot disappears briefly as it leaves the green screen on the ground under the actor. See more »


RoseThe Doctor: Hi!
Eddie: Who are you then?
The Doctor: Let's see then, judging by the look of you, family man, nice house, decent wage, fought in the war, therefore I represent Queen and country! Just doing a little check of her forthcoming Majesty's subjects before the great day. Don't mind if we come in? Nah, didn't think you did.
See more »


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


Muffin The Mule
Written by Annette Mills
Performed by Annette Mills
See more »

User Reviews

TV's bad, you know...
14 April 2011 | by MaxBorg89See all my reviews

Remember the Dickens episode in the first season? Well, The Idiot's Lantern marks the return of writer Mark Gatiss to the series with another quirky, inventive tale, one that has a bit of social critique to it: it's all about the negative influence of television.

Back on normal Earth, the Doctor and Rose head for what they think is 1958 Las Vegas, only to realize they're in good old England a few years before that. The Queen's imminent coronation is shaping up to be a big event, followed all around the country via television. Only something seems to be out of the ordinary: as Rose points out, there are a few too many TV sets available for the time period, and police officers hiding under blankets who drag away random people is a strange sight. And what if the old story of TV sucking your brain out were true? Yep, it's an ordinary day for the Doctor...

Hitting the right balance between funny and creepy, Gatiss' script is everything a good Doctor Who story should be: entertaining, suspenseful, magical and quintessentially British. The villainous Wire, played by Maureen Lipman, is a memorable creation that is bound to give viewers of a certain age bad dreams related to television, and the inventive way the plot works around an established historic event is wonderfully mad and brilliant. The best bit, however, has to be at the beginning of the episode, when Rose and the Doctor step out of the TARDIS in perfect American '50s attire. Who would have thought David Tennant could make a good Fonz?

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Official Sites:

Official site [UK]





Release Date:

10 November 2006 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


| (50 episodes)

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital (Dolby 5.1)


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