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Love & Monsters
Series: Doctor Who -
TV Stories
Series Number: Series 2
Story Number: 175
Doctor: Tenth Doctor (cameo)
Companions: Rose Tyler (cameo)
Enemy:
Setting: London, March 2007
Writer: Russell T Davies
Director: Dan Zeff
Producer: Phil Collinson
Broadcast: 17th June 2006
Format: 1 45-minute Episode
Prod. Code: 179
Previous Story: The Satan Pit
Following Story: Fear Her
"You have dabbled in aliens, now meet the genuine article!"
Abzorbaloff

Love & Monsters was the tenth episode of the second season of the BBC Wales version of Doctor Who. It was the first episode since "Mission to the Unknown" whose focus was entirely on a character other than the Doctor. It was also the only episode to be told in the first person. It included important development of the character of Jackie Tyler, the first mention of Harold Saxon, and an explanation for why Torchwood could not use Rose Tyler as a way to track the Doctor.

From a production standpoint, it was notable for including a monster created by a child for a Blue Peter competition. It was further important for being the first story in the programme's history written specifically so that it could be recorded at the same time as another story — a process called "double banking". By minimizing the appearances of the Doctor and his companion, the production team were able to record 13 episodes in the same time that it took to make 12. Russell T Davies was sufficiently pleased with the results that the concept — dubbed a "Doctor-lite episode" — would become a regular feature of each subsequent season.

Contents

Synopsis

Elton Pope recounts how a mysterious stranger infiltrated his circle of friends, all of whose lives had been touched by the Doctor...

Plot

"Don't I know you?"

An awestruck young man approaches sheepishly the TARDIS then finds the Doctor and Rose tackling an alien-looking monster in a warehouse. The Doctor asks the man if they have ever met before, at which he panics and runs away.

The young man, a typical Londoner, introduces himself as Elton narrates his story to us via his video camera. He introduces himself and tells how, when only three or four years old, he came downstairs one night to find a strange man in his house: the Doctor. Elton had gotten up in the massacre by the Autons and a year later watched as an alien ship crashed into Big Ben. Following another alien invasion last Christmas Day, Elton looks for information on the strange goings on and finds a photo of the Doctor, looking exactly as he did all those years ago. Elton meets Ursula Blake, who posted the photo on "My Invasion Blog" and believes his story about the Doctor. Ursula introduces Elton to her group of friends Bliss, Bridget and Mr. Skinner - who have all heard of the Doctor and meet regularly to discuss their findings. Despite the name Elton coins for them (London Investigation 'n' Detective Agency, or LINDA), they soon become more of a social group, helping each other through their problems and enjoying each other's company.

That all changes with the arrival of Victor Kennedy, an evidently wealthy gentleman who doesn't touch people on account of a skin condition, and who also wishes to find the Doctor. He soon takes over LINDA, forcing the members to work harder. Bliss vanishes. Elton manages to track down the Doctor and, as Elton explained, he then panicked and ran away.

Elton recording to his camera

Victor is furious, but decides to change plans: they will look for Rose. Elton locates Rose's mum Jackie with surprising ease, visiting her often supposedly to do odd jobs but really because Jackie finds him attractive. One night Jackie tries to seduce Elton, but a phone call from Rose brings her to her senses. Elton feels ashamed of using her, realising at the same time that he loves Ursula. When Jackie finds a photo of Rose in Elton's jacket she rounds on him and tells him to leave and says bitterly that no one has any interest in her.

Elton tells Victor he's ruined LINDA and that the three remaining members are leaving, noting that Bridget has gone, just like Bliss. He asks Ursula out to dinner, but Mr. Skinner stays behind as Victor offers to help him find Bridget. Ursula forgets her phone, and when the pair return for it they find Mr. Skinner has disappeared and Victor has transformed into a corpulent green alien - the Abzorbaloff, as Elton names it. Mr. Skinner wonders where he is and the Abzorbaloff reveals he's absorbed him. Mr. Skinner is now in its belly. Bridget has been absorbed to on his back. Elton wonders where Bliss is. Bliss then mumbles. The Abzorbaloff lifts itself up and as he farts Bliss tells them they don't want to know as she is squashed back on the chair. It makes hideous rumbling sounds. It wants to find the Doctor, which it believes will be the ultimate feast.

Ursula grabs the Abzorbaloff's cane and threatens to beat him with it unless he returns the LINDA members to their former states. The Abzorbaloff seems genuinely terrified by this thought and begs for mercy, which causes Ursula to hesitate; a decision which proves fatal as the Abzorbaloff grabs hold of her arm. A single touch is all that is needed for a victim to be absorbed, and Elton watches in horror as Ursula is gradually fused into the Absorbaloff's body, with her face ending up on his chest. Elton begs for Ursula to be returned, but the Abzorbaloff reveals that her original form is gone forever, and taunts Elton about the feelings Ursula had for him, which the Abzorbaloff now has access to. Likewise, Ursula can also access the Abzorbaloff's thoughts, and yells for Elton to flee, as he's next to be absorbed.

Elton runs, the creature chasing after him, until the TARDIS appears. Rose has come to confront Elton about his behaviour with her mother, but before the Abzorbaloff can try to consume Elton, the absorbed members of LINDA manage to distract it, Ursula telling Elton to snap its cane. This destroys the limitation field that maintained its integrity, and the Abzorbaloff dissolves into liquid and seeps into the ground along with the people absorbed by it. The Doctor then explains to the distraught Elton that the night they met so long ago he was hunting a living shadow which had escaped its home dimension; he caught it, but not before it had killed Elton's mother.

Elton muses that a meeting the Doctor is fraught with danger, but that he did save Elton one last time: with the sonic screwdriver, he was able to partially restore Ursula, who now exists as an unaging face in one of the paving stones where the Abzorbaloff had melted. The pair have found some happiness despite their ordeal, and Elton comments that he now knows the meaning of Stephen King's quote "salvation and damnation are the same". However he ends on a positive note, saying that the world isn't all it seems - it is better.

Cast

References

  • Abzorbaloff is from Clom the twin planet of Raxacoricofallapatorius.
  • If you look at the newspaper that the Abzorbaloff is holding the Headline states that Saxon is ahead in the polls, making this the introduction of Mr. Saxon.
  • The Doctor refers to the living Shadow that killed Elton's mother to be from 'The Howling Halls'.
  • Elton John appears on screen very briefly in a performance clip.
  • Russell T Davies, mentions the Buffy episode "The Zeppo" as a possible influence for this episode.
  • The Abzorbaloff farting on Bliss could be a reference to the Slitheen's Gas Exchange.
  • The Rose/Doctor/Hoix corridor scene is reminscent of similar scenes in Scooby-Doo.

Story Notes

  • The working title for this episode was "I Love The Doctor" and was created as a comic strip.
  • Abzorbaloff is from a Blue Peter design-a-monster competition. The boy whose picture Abzorbaloff was based on famously said (upon seeing the final production), "It was meant to be as big as a bus!"
  • Bella Emberg was to reprise her role as Mrs Croot in The Runaway Bride, but was edited out.
  • This episode contains each of the first four series' story arcs: Bad Wolf, Torchwood, Mr. Saxon and a (soon to be) missing planet (Clom).
  • Clom would also later be revealed as one of the the Missing Planets. (DW: The Stolen Earth), but this was not revealed in this episode.
  • There are references to Rose, Aliens of London and The Christmas Invasion, with new footage showing Elton's point of view of those events.
  • This is the first attempt at a 'Doctor-lite' episode; in these episodes, the Doctor's appearances are restricted to only a few select scenes, in order to allow two episodes of the series to be filmed at the same time; this scheduling was introduced with the 2006 season in order to allow production of a 14th episode, a Christmas special, in the same time it takes to produce 13 regular episodes. This would become an annual tradition henceforth, with a "companion-lite" episode being introduced during the 2008 season.
  • Abzorbaloff's powers are extremely similar to ones of X-Men's Rogue. They both can absorb memories and information from their victims, except, Rogue can absorb their powers and then leaves them unconscious, and the Abzorbaloff absorbs the entire person.
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Ratings

  • 6.7 million, 15th-highest-watched episode of any programme for the week

Myths and Rumours

  • The Hoix heavily resembled a Sycorax, leading it to be mistaken for one in the "next time..." trailer.
  • Mrs Croot could be the mother of Billy Croot, who Jackie said had asked her out in Aliens of London.

Filming Locations

Love and Monsters was written specifically to be shot mostly on location, so that another unit could be simultaneously filming another episode in studio. Consequently it has one of the highest location counts in the history of Doctor Who.

  • Adam Street Car Park, Cardiff — The scenes with the Doctor, Rose, Elton and the Abzorbaloff
  • Burnell Street, Newport — Scenes near the warehouses in the teaser
  • Frederick Street, The Hayes, Cardiff
  • Glamorgan Building, Cardiff University
  • Hayes Island, Cardiff — Elton in the flashback to Rose
  • Helen Place, Splott, Cardiff — Elton spots Jackie Tyler in the street
  • Heol Pentwyn, Cardiff — Elton's childhood home
  • Jacob's Antique Centre, West Canal Wharf, Cardiff — LINDA headquarters interiors
  • Llandaff Fields, Llandaff, Cardiff — Elton and Ursula's initial meeting
  • Maeifa Shopping Centre, Llanedeyrn, Cardiff — Elton finds Jackie shopping
  • Newport Docks Impounding Station, Newport — The Doctor and Rose's initial scenes with a Hoix
  • The Port of Cardiff, Cargo Road, Cardiff Docks — Elton finds the TARDIS in the teaser
  • St. David's Market, St. David's Hall, Cardiff — Elton finds Jackie shopping again
  • St. Peter's Sports and Social Club, Minster Road, Cardiff — scenes with "young Elton"
  • Wash Inn, Broadway, Splott, Cardiff — Laundry scenes with Jackie and Elton
  • West Canal Wharf, Cardiff — Brief sequence of Elton running from Abzorbaloff, just prior to Doctor's arrival
  • West Wharf Road, Cardiff — LINDA headquarters exteriors

Studio work was completed in one day at Unit Q2, Imperial Park, Imperial Way, Newport

Discontinuity, Plot Holes, Errors

  • How come the Doctor recognises Elton, even though he last saw him as little more than a kid? Elton would have changed a lot since then, having gone through puberty and countless haircuts. The Doctor appears to be able to recognize people over periods of time. Plus we don't see what Elton looked like as a child - he may well have retained certain characteristics that the Doctor was able to pick up on.
  • When Bridget is shown there is another face next to her, but when the Abzorbaloff gets out his chair there is a shot where you can see his back, and only the other face is there, Bridget is missing. Maybe it is an older face and the longer the faces are there, then they have the ability to come and go inside and outside of the skin.
  • How can the Abzorbaloff get secret Torchwood files if they are heavily guarded? He's an alien and likely had access to technology that allowed this. The British government has also been able to hack Torchwood, as stated in TW: Children of Earth.
  • Why doesn't the Abzorbaloff just absorb the Doctor when he is right in front of him? Same reason why most Daleks and Cybermen don't shoot him on sight, there is something about him!
  • How come the Abzorbaloff speaks with a northern accent in his true form when he can speak a regular english accent in his human form? The English accent may be part of his disguise, while the northern accent is his true accent. After all, a lot of planets have a north.
  • When Rose gets out the TARDIS she ignores the Abzorbaloff and shouts at Elton since seeing aliens is common for her now, but a minute later she is shocked and disgusted at the Abzorbaloff. As stated, she's used to this by now, and her initial priority is Elton; after that, she finally starts noticing the Abzorbaloff.
  • The Abzorbaloff recently absorbed his cleaner, what happened to her when he revealed himself. We don't know which face is the cleaner, it could be any one that isn't a member of LINDA.
  • What happens to those that are Absorbed when he disguises himself as a human? This will remain unknown, because how Abzorbaloff disguises himself hasn't been revealed. 
  • Why didn't the cleaner speak when the Abzorbaloff revealed himself? It's possible the cleaner might of died while absorbed before the events of this episode.
  • How does Elton recognise the Doctor as the man that was in his house all those years ago? The Doctor has undergone at least one regeneration since then so surely he now looks completely different to the man Elton saw? The Doctor is a time-traveler. The day Elton's mom died might be just days ago for the Doctor.

Continuity

  • Elton was present during the DW: Rose, the Aliens of London, and The Christmas Invasion.
  • When Davros forces the Doctor to reflect on people who have died because of him, his mind flashes to Ursula (although she technically doesn't die), as well as other members of LINDA, even though he never meets them. (DW: Journey's End)
  • Just before his demise, the Abzorbaloff angrily yells "You stupid bast..." at Elton, mirroring the Slitheen's final words of "Oh, boll..." prior to the destruction of 10 Downing Street.

Timeline

DVD Releases

Series 2 Volume 4 DVD Cover

See also

External Links

  • Doctor Who Reference Guide - Detailed Synopsis - Love & Monsters
  • The Whoniverse - The Discontinuity Guide to: Love & Monsters
  • Doctor Who: A Brief History of Time (Travel) - A Brief History of Time (Travel): Love & Monsters
  • The Locations Guide to Doctor Who, Torchwood and The Sarah Jane Adventures: Story Locations - Love & Monsters
Series 2
Mini-episode: Children in Need Special  • Christmas Special: The Christmas Invasion

New Earth  • Tooth and Claw  • School Reunion  • The Girl in the Fireplace  • Rise of the Cybermen  • The Age of Steel  • The Idiot's Lantern  • The Impossible Planet  • The Satan Pit  • Love & Monsters  • Fear Her  • Army of Ghosts  • Doomsday


This article uses material from the "Love & Monsters" article on the Dr Who wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.

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