Doctor Who (2005– )
14 user 8 critic

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

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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

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


TV-PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Official Sites:

Official site [UK]





Release Date:

10 November 2006 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


| (50 episodes)

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital (Dolby 5.1)


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Did You Know?


The Doctor makes a reference to the song "Never Too Late" by Kylie Minogue. Incidentally, Minogue herself later made a starring role in the episode Doctor Who: Voyage of the Damned (2007). See more »


When the Doctor is gathering stuff from Magpie's a G10 Glass-Epoxy circuit board is shown (green board on top of the pile). The paper based phenolic (brown) boards were used until the 1970s when they were replaced by the more fire retardant glass-epoxy boards. 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 »


Doctor Who Theme
Written by Ron Grainer
Arranged by Murray Gold
Performed by BBC National Orchestra of Wales
See more »

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User Reviews

Visually enthralling
21 June 2007 | by ametaphysicalsharkSee 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-

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