|Love & Monsters|
|Series:||Doctor Who -
|Series Number:||Series 2|
|Doctor:||Tenth Doctor (cameo)|
|Companions:||Rose Tyler (cameo)|
|Setting:||London, March 2007|
|Writer:||Russell T Davies|
|Broadcast:||17th June 2006|
|Format:||1 45-minute Episode|
|Previous Story:||The Satan Pit|
|Following Story:||Fear Her|
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.
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.
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.
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.
Studio work was completed in one day at Unit Q2, Imperial Park, Imperial Way, Newport
|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