Love & Monsters


Love & Monsters

Infobox Doctor Who episode
number=179
serial_name= Love & Monsters
show=DW


caption= Abzorbaloff reveals himself
type=episode
doctor=David Tennant (Tenth Doctor)
companion=Billie Piper (Rose Tyler)
guests=
* Marc Warren – Elton Pope
* Camille CoduriJackie Tyler
* Peter Kay – Victor Kennedy/Abzorbaloff
* Shirley Henderson – Ursula Blake
* Simon Greenall – Mr Skinner
* Moya Brady – Bridget
* Kathryn Drysdale – Bliss
* Paul Kasey – The Hoix
* Bella Emberg – Mrs Croot
writer=Russell T Davies
|director=Dan Zeff
script_editor=Simon Winstone
producer=Phil Collinson
executive_producer=Russell T Davies
Julie Gardner
production_code=2.10
length= 45 minutes
date=17 June, 2006
preceding="The Satan Pit"
following="Fear Her"
imdb_id=0766171
series=Series 2
series_link=Series 2 (2006)|
"Love & Monsters" is an episode of the British science fiction television series "Doctor Who". It was broadcast on 17 June 2006. It is one of the more comic episodes in the series, and has relatively few scenes featuring the regular cast.

ynopsis

An ordinary man named Elton Pope becomes obsessed with a man called the Doctor and his strange blue box, joining a group of like-minded people in hopes of finding him. But when the mysterious Victor Kennedy joins the group, the fun stops and Elton discovers a darker side to his hobby.

Plot

"Love & Monsters" is framed around a video recording of a young ELO fan, Elton Pope, in his bedroom describing his story of his encounters with The Doctor, with flashbacks interspersed throughout his confession.

Elton first describes a recent encounter with The Doctor, having spotted the TARDIS near an abandoned factory. As he investigated the nearby factory, he was almost attacked by an alien creature, a Hoix, but the Doctor and Rose Tyler were able to stop it. The Doctor seemed to recognise Elton, but before he can ask more, Elton ran away. Elton describes that that was not first encounter with the Doctor; when he was four years old, he had been woken by a noise downstairs and discovered the Doctor, looking exactly the same as he saw him at the factory. Elton also states that that wasn't his first exposure to aliens: he was in the thick of the Auton attack on London ("Rose"), witnessed a spaceship fall into the Thames ("Aliens of London"), and saw a huge spaceship hang over London ("The Christmas Invasion").

Elton admits that these events led him to search for answers. He came across a blog run by Ursula Blake, who has a picture of the Doctor on her site and describes similar events. Elton met Ursula and through her, three others, Bridget, Bliss, and Mr. Skinner, that were interested in this Doctor, eventually forming "LINDA" - London Investigation 'N' Detective Agency. LINDA held meetings in the basement of a library, and while formed to talk about the Doctor, eventually became more a social group for the fivesome. However, one day, the rotund Victor Kennedy showed up at their LINDA meeting, stating the group had lost focus in finding the Doctor. LINDA becomes a more rigorous investigative group, with Victor giving them assignments to help locate the Doctor. However, due to a condition that Victor called "egzeema" (described as "Like eczema, but far worse"), Victor refuses to allow any member of LINDA to touch him, stating that he "blisters to the touch". During the course of several meetings, Victor separately asked Bridget and Bliss to remain behind after the meeting was over; following that, neither woman showed up again for LINDA, with Victor claiming they had found a new goal in life.

The encounter at the factory was the result of one such assignment given to Elton, and Victor also charged him with trying to ply information from Jackie Tyler, Rose's mother. Elton was able to find and get close to Jackie while helping her to fix an appliance, and came to realize that he also had romantic feelings for Ursula as well. Jackie learned that Elton was trying to find Rose, and asked him to leave. Elton returned to LINDA, and told Ursula that they should leave the group, also convinced Mr. Skinner to leave with them. Victor asked for a moment of Mr. Skinner's time as Elton and Ursula left, but as they got back to the street, Ursula realised she had left her mobile phone back in the room. When they returned, Mr. Skinner is nowhere to be found, and that instead of Victor, a grotesque alien being was in his place, with the faces and consciousnesses of the former LINDA members present in its body; Elton later dubs it as an "Abzorbaloff". Elton and Ursula attempted to escape, but Ursula was caught and absorbed into its body; the Abzorbaloff stated that the process was irreversible and that it was using LINDA so that it may also find and absorb the Doctor as well.

Elton was chased by the Abzorbaloff and ended up in a blind alley, trapped. As the Abzorbaloff approached, the TARDIS materialized nearby, with Rose trying to learn why Elton had upset her mother. The Abzorbaloff turned its attention to the Doctor but before he could advance, Ursula and the other LINDA members realized they could have limited control of the body, and made it drop its cane that creates the limitation field that keeps the Abzorbaloff in its form. Elton broke the cane, and the Abzorbaloff was dissolved into the pavement, as well as the remnants of LINDA. The Doctor quickly stepped in and used his sonic screwdriver to partially reconstruct Ursula as a living section of pavement, which has allowed Elton and her to continue a surreal companionship. The Doctor also told Elton that the reason he was in his house when Elton was much younger was that he was trying to stop an elemental shade that had taken up residence in the house, but while successful, was not able to save Elton's mother.

Concluding his story, Elton muses about the expectations of ordinary life: getting a job, getting married, getting a house, having children. But the real world is much stranger than that; it is so much darker, madder, and so much better.

Cast notes

*Marc Warren appeared previously in the series as an extra in the Seventh Doctor serial "Battlefield" (1989).
*"Totally Doctor Who" presenter Barney Harwood appears as an extra in this episode wearing a red hat, when Elton asks an old lady where Rose lives, and also during the flashback to when Elton sees the spaceship crashing into Big Ben from "Aliens of London".
*Russell T Davies cast Peter Kay after Kay wrote a fan letter to him in praise of the new series. Kay was originally to play Elton Pope, but he felt that the role was too similar to roles he had played in the past, such as Eric Gartside in "Coronation Street". Consequently, he got back in contact with Davies and asked if he could stretch himself as an actor and play the villain, and Kay was cast as Victor Kennedy/the Abzorbaloff.
*Actress Bella Emberg previously had uncredited roles in the Third Doctor serials "Doctor Who and the Silurians" and "The Time Warrior".

Continuity

*This episode is set two years after "Rose" and new footage of the Auton attack is seen here featuring Elton Pope. New footage featuring the Slitheens' ship from "Aliens of London" and the Sycorax ship from "The Christmas Invasion" is also included in this episode, again shown through Elton's experience of these events. In the episode commentary, Russell T Davies notes that in an early draft, Elton had been witness to more events in "Doctor Who" history: in this draft, Elton's third birthday party was evacuated because of the Dalek invasion of Shoreditch, his mother was killed by a plastic daffodil, and Elton also witnessed the Loch Ness Monster rising from the Thames. Prior to the revival of "Doctor Who", Davies had considered pitching this story idea to "Doctor Who Magazine" as a comics story. Davies had also considered making the viewpoint character of the story a woman but felt that he already had enough focus on female guest characters that season.
*During the Auton attack scene, the logo of Henrik's department store can be seen both on Elton's shopping bags and on the taxi which almost runs him over. Henrik's was the department store at which Rose used to work, which was destroyed at the beginning of "Rose", but was seen to have re-opened in "The Christmas Invasion".
*Jackie informs Elton that her friend Mickey is now gone, a reference to his departure in "The Age of Steel".
*Victor Kennedy's pictures of Rose include stills from the episode "Rose", as well as two of her entering 10 Downing Street in "Aliens of London" in which the Ninth Doctor can also be seen, albeit from behind. Bridget also mentions "different forms of the Doctor, which come and go", referring to previous incarnations.
*Kennedy mentions that "Rose's Torchwood files are strangely lacking" because they were corrupted by the "Bad Wolf virus". "Torchwood" is a recurring phrase in the 2006 series, as "Bad Wolf" was the previous year. This line was included to establish why Torchwood does not know what Rose looks like in "Army of Ghosts", as explained by writer Russell T Davies on the MP3 audio commentary available on the bbc.co.uk website for that episode.
*The copy of "The Daily Telegraph" that the Abzorbaloff reads has the headline "Saxon leads polls with 64 per cent". Russell T Davies observes this in the commentary, saying, "Look at the headline. That's all I'm going to say." This is the first appearance of the name of "Mr Saxon", a feature of a story arc in Season Three of the series.
*Rose remarks on the Abzorbaloff's resemblance to the Slitheen — the Abzorbaloff states that he comes from Clom, the sister planet of the Slitheen homeworld Raxacoricofallapatorius.
*Clom later returns as a minor part of the plot of The Stolen Earth; It (like Earth) is one of 27 stolen planets. The Doctor remarks: "Clom? Who'd want Clom gone?"
*Nearing the end of his story, Elton wonders how long it will be before Rose and Jackie "pay the price" - for being with the Doctor - a reference to the "Army of Ghosts" and "Doomsday".
* In "Time Crash", The Fifth Doctor mentions LINDA.
* A Hoix is later seen briefly in the "Torchwood" series 2 finale "Exit Wounds".

Production

*According to "Doctor Who Magazine" #370, this episode had the working title of "I Love the Doctor". In the episode commentary/podcast, Russell T Davies states that the story originally began as an idea for a "Doctor Who Magazine" comic strip.
*Unlike the vast majority of "Doctor Who" stories, "Love & Monsters" has only nominal appearances by the TARDIS crew.
*The Elton character was originally supposed to be a woman, but Davies changed it to a man, since such strong female characters as Lady Cassandra and Sarah Jane Smith were already in the series. [cite journal
author = Andrew Pixley
year = 2006
title = Love & Monsters
journal = Doctor Who Special Edition #14 — The Doctor Who Companion: Series Two
pages = 81
]
*The creature that Elton sees at the start of the episode is credited as the "Hoix". Davies notes in the commentary that the name was invented only after the episode was shot and a name was needed for the credits.
*The Abzorbaloff is a monster designed by nine-year-old William Grantham of Colchester, Essex for a "Design a "Doctor Who" Monster" competition held by "Blue Peter". The first prize for the competition was to have the monster appear in an episode of "Doctor Who". William was (according to Phil Collinson in the commentary) disappointed with the rendering of the monster because he had envisaged it being "the size of a double-decker bus."

Outside references

*Elton John appears in a video clip on Elton Pope's video diary.
*The scene where Elton watches the Doctor and Rose flee from the Hoix has them running back and forth through a series of doors lining a long hallway, a set-piece characteristic of classic cartoon or comedy series such as "Scooby-Doo", "The Benny Hill Show", or in the Three Stooges shorts. Later in the episode, Elton remembers the LINDA band playing an ELO song perfectly, where earlier we had seen their actual far-from-perfect version. In the commentary it is noted his memory may not be entirely reliable, so whether events in the episode happened the way he remembers them is debatable.
*As noted in the commentary, the acronym "LINDA" was previously used on the British children's television programme show "Why Don't You?", which featured the "Liverpool Investigation 'n' Detective Agency". Russell T Davies worked on the series for some years.
*Elton, a fan of Jeff Lynne and his Electric Light Orchestra, dances to ELO's "Mr. Blue Sky", which is later used as incidental music. LINDA also perform ELO's "Don't Bring Me Down", and the song "Turn to Stone" appears during the montage of Elton in Jackie's house.
*Kennedy uses an Apple PowerBook G4 to display clips of the Doctor and Rose.
*Jackie plays Il Divo's Spanish cover of "Unbreak My Heart" when she is trying to seduce Elton.
*The Stephen King quote which Elton mentions ("Salvation and damnation are the same thing") is from "The Green Mile". The actual quote reads: "Sometimes there is absolutely no difference at all between salvation and damnation."

Broadcast and DVD release

*The overnight viewing figures for this episode's original broadcast were 6.22 million, a 38.3% audience share and the highest rated programme of the day. Its final audience figure was 6.66 million making it the 15th most watched programme of the week. [cite web
url = http://www.gallifreyone.com/cgi-bin/viewnews.cgi?id=EEVEVEEEEyzLjSOOWB&tmpl=newsrss
title = Love & Monsters Final Ratings
accessdate = 2006-07-11
author = Lyon, Shaun
date = 2006-06-28
work = Outpost Gallifrey News Page
]
*This episode was released in the UK, together with "The Impossible Planet" and "The Satan Pit", as a basic DVD with no special features on 7 August 2006.
*The title of the French version of this episode is simply "L.I.N.D.A.". cite web|url=http://tv.groups.yahoo.com/group/thisweekindoctorwho/message/441|title=This Week in Doctor Who|last=Elliot|first=Benjamin|date=October 18, 2006]

References

External links

* [http://www.bbc.co.uk/mediaselector/check/doctorwho/ram/tardisode10?size=16x9&bgc=CC0000&nbram=1&bbram=1&bbwm=1&nbwm=1 TARDISODE 10]
* [http://www.bbc.co.uk/mediaselector/check/doctorwho/ram/10preview?size=16x9&bgc=CC0000&nbram=1&bbram=1&nbwm=1&bbwm=1 "Find me that Girl"] - episode trailer
* [http://downloads.bbc.co.uk/doctorwho/love-commentary.mp3 Episode commentary by Russell T Davies, Phil Collinson, and Susie Liggat] (MP3)
* [http://www.bbc.co.uk/doctorwho/episodes/2006/flash/homepages/index-love.shtml "Love & Monsters" episode homepage]
*BBCDWnew | year=2006 | id=loveandmonsters | title= Love & Monsters
*Brief| id=2006j | title=Love & Monsters|quotes=y
*Doctor Who RG| id=who_tv19 | title=Love & Monsters|quotes=y
*OG|2006-10|Love & Monsters|quotes=y
*Tv.com episode|id=665658|title=Love & Monsters

Reviews

*OG review| id=2006-10 | title=Love & Monsters|quotes=y
*DWRG| id=lovemonsters | title=Love & Monsters|quotes=y
* [http://www.strangehorizons.com/reviews/2006/08/happy_times_and-comments.shtml "Love & Monsters"] review at Strange Horizons


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