Doctor Who (2005– )
12 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

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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

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Technical Specs


| (50 episodes)

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital (Dolby 5.1)


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Did You Know?


A subplot in which Rose visits her aunt, who works on a game show for the BBC was deleted because Russell T. Davies feared that having the Corporation be too involved in the plot would make the episode difficult to take seriously. See more »


When the doctor breaks into Magpie's he shatters the front door glass to get in. When he is shown leaving the glass door is completely intact. See more »


Policeman: [the Doctor flashes the Psychic Paper at him] Oh... sorry sir. Shouldn't you be at the Coronation?
The Doctor: [looks back whilst running] They're saving me a seat!
Tommy: Who did he think you were?
The Doctor: [looking at the Psychic Paper] King of Belgium, apparently.
See more »


References The Ed Sullivan Show: Episode #10.6 (1956) See more »


Muffin The Mule
Written by Annette Mills
Performed by Annette Mills
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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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