|Love & Monsters|
|Main enemy:||The Abzorbaloff|
|Main setting:||London, 2007|
|Writer:||Russell T Davies|
|Premiere broadcast:||17 June 2006|
|Premiere network:||BBC One|
|Confidential:||The New World of Who|
|Doctor Who television stories|
|The Satan Pit||Fear Her|
|The Satan Pit||The Runaway Bride|
|Another memorable moment|
|Behind the scenes video|
Love & Monsters was the tenth episode of Series 2 of the BBC Wales version of Doctor Who. It was the first episode since Mission to the Unknown that focused 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 to track the Doctor.
From a production standpoint, it included a monster created by a child for a Blue Peter competition. It was the first story in the programme's history written specifically to be recorded at the same time as another story — a process called "double banking". By minimising the appearances of the Doctor and his companion, the production team recorded fourteen episodes in the same time that it took to make thirteen. Russell T Davies was sufficiently pleased with the results that the concept — dubbed a "Doctor-lite episode" — would be a regular feature of each subsequent season.
An awestruck young man sheepishly approaches the Doctor's TARDIS to find the Tenth Doctor and Rose tackling a Hoix in a warehouse. The Doctor asks the man if they have ever met before. He panics and runs away.
The young man, a typical Londoner by the name of Elton Pope, narrates his story 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 was caught up in the massacre by the Autons. A year later he 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. He meets Ursula Blake, who posted the photo on "My Invasion Blog" and believes his story about the Doctor. Ursula introduces Elton to her friends Bliss, Bridget Sinclair and Mr Colin Skinner. They 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 because of a skin condition. He also wishes to find the Doctor, and takes over LINDA, forcing the members to work harder. Bliss vanishes. Elton tracks down the Doctor and then panics and runs away.
Victor is furious, but decides to change plans: they will look for Rose. Elton locates Rose's mum Jackie with surprising ease. He visits 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 and realises that he loves Ursula. When Jackie finds a photo of Rose in Elton's jacket, she rounds on him and tells him to leave. She 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.
When they return for it they find Mr Skinner has disappeared and Victor has transformed into a corpulent green alien — the Abzorbaloff, as Elton calls it. The Abzorbaloff reveals he's absorbed Mr Skinner. He is now on its belly. Bridget has been absorbed into his back. Elton asks where Bliss is. The sound of Bliss straining to say something comes from within the Abzorbaloff who takes his weight off one of his buttocks, allowing her to tell Elton, amidst the rumble of flatulence, that he doesn't want to know. The Abzorbaloff wants to find the Doctor for 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 and begs for mercy. Ursula hesitates, 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. Elton watches in horror as Ursula is fused into the Absorbaloff's body, her face ending up on his chest. Elton begs for Ursula to be returned, but the Abzorbaloff says that her original form is gone forever. He taunts Elton about the feelings Ursula had for him, which the Abzorbaloff now has access to. Ursula can also access the Abzorbaloff's thoughts. She yells for Elton to flee. He's next to be absorbed.
Elton runs, the creature chasing after him, until the TARDIS appears. An angry Rose has come to confront Elton about upsetting her mother, while the Doctor questions the Abzorbaloff about his home planet, which turns out to be Clom, the twin planet of Raxacoricofallapatorius. The Abzorbaloff tells them of his scheme to lure in the Doctor to absorb him for "a delicious feast". Before he can consume Elton or the Doctor, the absorbed members of LINDA distract him. Ursula tells Elton to snap its cane. This destroys the limitation field that maintained its integrity. The Abzorbaloff dissolves into liquid and seeps into the ground along with the people absorbed by it.
The Doctor explains to the distraught Elton that on the night they first met, 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 meeting the Doctor is fraught with danger, but that he did save Elton one last time: with the sonic screwdriver, he restored Ursula partially. She now exists as a 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 thing." However, he ends on a positive note, saying that the world isn't all it seems — it is better.
- The Doctor - David Tennant
- Rose Tyler - Billie Piper
- Victor Kennedy — Peter Kay
- Elton Pope - Marc Warren
- Ursula Blake - Shirley Henderson
- Jackie Tyler — Camille Coduri
- Mr Skinner — Simon Greenall
- Bridget — Moya Brady
- Bliss — Kathryn Drysdale
- The Hoix — Paul Kasey
- Mrs Croot — Bella Emberg
- Elton John - Himself (uncredited; archival footage)
|Executive Producers Russell T Davies and Julie Gardner|
|Not every person who worked on this adventure was credited. The absence of a credit for a position doesn't necessarily mean the job wasn't required. The information above is based solely on observations of the actual end credits of the episodes as broadcast, and does not relay information from IMDB or other sources.|
- Johnny Franzetta is a character in Colin's novel.
- Jackie plays "Regresa A Mi" while she flirts with Elton.
- The Doctor refers to the living Shadow that killed Elton's mother as originating from the "Howling Halls".
- LINDA used to meet under the library on Maccateer Street.
- Mr Skinner found a sighting of the TARDIS in Woolwich.
- Elton first meets Jackie in the Wash Inn laundrette.
- Elton mentions that he really likes Jeff Lynne and the Electric Light Orchestra.
- Victor Kennedy reads a copy of The Daily Telegraph.
- Elton quotes Stephen King.
Diseases and illnesses
- Victor Kennedy claims to suffer from eczema. However, he pronounces it wrong, saying "Eczeema".
Foods and beverages
- Jackie makes Elton a cup of tea.
- Jackie gives Elton a glass of wine.
- Elton buys pizza to eat with Jackie.
- The working title for this episode was I Love The Doctor and was created as a comic strip.
- This episode contains each of the first four series' story arcs: Bad Wolf, Torchwood, Mr. Saxon and missing planet Clom.
- There are references to Rose, Aliens of London and The Christmas Invasion, with new footage showing Elton's point of view of those 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 "Shoreditch Incident", his mother was killed by a plastic daffodil, and Elton also witnessed the Loch Ness Monster rising from the Thames. Davies had also considered making the viewpoint character of the story a woman.
- 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, Midnight, being introduced during the 2008 season.
- Radio Times credits Peter Kay as 'Victor Kennedy/Abzorbaloff', while the on-screen credit reads 'Victor Kennedy'.
- This episode has received criticism from viewers for its bizarre and almost cartoonish nature compared to the generally intense tone of the series.
- The sequence where the Doctor and Rose chase the Hoix through a corridor lined with passageways and end up completely disoriented mirrors a running gag popularised by the American Hanna-Barbera cartoon Scooby Doo.
- 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, whom Jackie said had asked her out in Aliens of London.
- Elton Pope's accounts of this episode are a distorted version of what really happened, because the man has gone insane after facing the Abzorbaloff.
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
- Colin Skinner's voice is muffled even though he is only concealed behind a newspaper.
- When Elton flashes forward to the clip of Victor Kennedy, the clip is horizontally inverted.
- When Victor Kennedy makes his introduction, walking off from the elevator and introducing himself, a female crew member is clearly visible in the doorway behind his right shoulder as the lights come on.
- Elton was present during the events of TV: Rose, Aliens of London, and The Christmas Invasion.
- Elton tells the Abzorbaloff to "give her back to me!" regarding Ursula, the same words used by the Doctor to Cassandra O'Brien.Δ17 when she took over Rose's body in TV: New Earth.
- Kennedy mentions that the Bad Wolf virus affected the Torchwood files on the Doctor. The Ninth Doctor gave the Bad Wolf virus to Mickey Smith. (TV: World War Three)
- Torchwood Three operative Owen Harper, shortly before his grizzly demise at Turnmill Nuclear Power Station, would confront another Hoix during a mass panic in Cardiff orchestrated by Gray. (TV: Exit Wounds)
Home video releases
- This story was released as part of a vanilla along with The Impossible Planet and The Satan Pit.
- It was later released in the series 2 boxset.
- Love & Monsters at the Doctor Who Reference Guide
- The Discontinuity Guide to: Love & Monsters at The Whoniverse
- Love & Monsters at Shannon Sullivan's A Brief History of Time (Travel)
- Love & Monsters at The Locations Guide