On the opening day of the 2012 London Olympic Games, the Doctor (David Tennant) and Rose (Billie Piper) are investigating two fascinating mysteries. There is a spot of fresh tarmac on a residential street on which cars simply stop, and three children have disappeared. The source of the disappearances is a 12-year-old girl named Chloe Webber (Abisola Agbasje) who can apparently make people disappear by drawing them. Missing are Dale Hicks, Danny Edwards, and Jane. The drawing of her abusive father seems to live in the closet like a monster and it is terrifying.

The Doctor hypnotises Chloe and finds that she is possessed by an immature Isolus, an alien life-force that travels through space from the Deep Realms in a pod with four billion siblings. Six days before, the Isolus crashed in its pod on Earth, brought down by a solar flare. Chloe had a troubled childhood, and she has drawn the lonely Isolus to her. It is because of it that Chloe drew a life-sized snarling figure of her abusive father.

If they can find the Isolus Pod and give it power to function, the alien will leave Chloe, but Chloe draws the Doctor and the TARDIS and they disappear, forcing Rose to try to find the pod herself. She thinks it may be in a hot spot—the patch of fresh tarmac. Despite the town authorities, she digs it up. Chloe has caused the entire crowd at Olympic Stadium to disappear and is now drawing the entire Earth. Rose understands that the pod runs on heat and emotion and throws it toward the Olympic Torch as it passes by. The missing children and the Olympic crowd reappear.

Her father will reappear too, so Rose and Chloe’s mother Trish (Nina Sosanya) calm Chloe with the Kookabura Song, making the invisible monster vanish. As the torch-bearer collapses on approaching the Olympic Stadium, the Doctor appears, picks up the torch and runs to light the Olympic flame. The heat of the flame and the joy of the people power the pod, allowing the Isolus to leave Chloe and return home. Rose remarks to the Doctor that nothing will split them up, but the Doctor seems uneasy and says a storm is coming.

The story was written for children because some scary stories were coming up. The Isolus was based on 1978’s Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Nothing scary there! Abisola Agbasje was discovered at an after-school drama club. She found it weird to play Chloe in her normal voice and Chloe possessed in another. The Olympic Stadium was played by the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff. The episode was aired in 2006, six years before the Olympics portrayed, and a number of details turned out wrong. Writer Matthew Graham was happy the episode was liked by children and not too much bothered by the fact that older viewers were lukewarm to it. In Doctor Who Magazine polls its numbers were dreadful.

David Tennant never actually carried the Olympic torch, despite fan petitions, but his successor Matt Smith did in Wales. The Doctor can sense a lonely child because he had a lonely childhood himself. The episode replaced one about the 1920s, written by Stephen Fry, but he was unable to finish. During the actual 2012 Olympic production number, featuring Mister Bean and James Bond, the sound of the TARDIS was clearly heard in the stadium. I heard it myself on TV. This was generally considered the second worst Doctor Who of all time, in between two episodes with Colin Baker. The girl’s mother seems to be pretty useless, and even the Doctor is not very competent. It’s a good thing Rose steps up.

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