Love & Monsters (TV story)

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Love & Monsters was the tenth episode of series 2 of Doctor Who.

From a production standpoint, it included a monster created by a child, nine-year-old William Grantham, 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. Head writer Russell T Davies was sufficiently pleased with the results that the concept — dubbed a "Doctor-lite" or "Companion-lite episode" — would be a regular feature of the first Russell T Davies production era.

Because of this episode's Doctor-lite nature, it notably became the first (and currently only) full episode to showcase the Doctor's adventures from the perspective of their bystanders, who are usually overlooked in most stories.

Tardisode 10, the prologue to Love & Monsters, shows a secretary falling victim to the main enemy of this episode. An animated Doctor Who: Lockdown! tie-in sequel, The Genuine Article, was released in February 2021.


An ordinary man becomes obsessed with the Tenth Doctor and Rose Tyler, and uncovers a world of living nightmares.


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.

Elton recording to his camera

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 at Christmas, 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, temporarily putting their search for the Doctor on hold.

That all changes with the arrival of Victor Kennedy, an evidently wealthy gentleman who doesn't touch people because he has the skin condition eczema (which, strangely, he pronounces as spelled — i.e. "ek-zee-ma" rather than the correct pronunciation of "ek-sim-a"). 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.

Elton meets Jackie Tyler.

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, surprisingly 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.

Rose consoles Elton.

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 and notes that for a while he had a special group of friends, a group that was destroyed thanks to the Doctor. Elton now understands that death and destruction are what happens to one that touches the Doctor's world, and can't help but wonder how long until Rose and Jackie pay the price. However Elton also understands that it wasn't the Doctor's fault and 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." He ends on a positive note, saying that the world isn't all it seems — it's better.


Uncredited cast[[edit]]


General production staff

Script department

Camera and lighting department

Art department

Costume department

Make-up and prosthetics



General post-production staff

Special and visual effects


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.
  • William Grantham, the creator of the Abzorbaloff, was not a professional. Instead, he was the 9-year-old winner of the 2006 Blue Peter design-a-monster competition. On the commentary which accompanied the episode, producer Phil Collinson said Grantham was disappointed with the small stature of the finished monster. He claimed Grantham said, "It was meant to be as big as a double-decker bus." Some doubt has since been cast on this story by Grantham himself. In the BBC DVD documentary, Who Peter, an older Grantham expressed no misgivings about the creature's realisation, but rather claimed to have been "stunned" because the monster had been so well-realised by Millennium FX.





  • 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.


Real world[[edit]]

Diseases and illnesses[[edit]]

  • Victor Kennedy claims to suffer from "eczeema", which causes him to blister to the touch. Elton asks if he means eczema and later suggests a rash and an itch as possible symptoms.

Foods and beverages[[edit]]

  • Jackie makes Elton a cup of tea.
  • Jackie gives Elton a glass of wine.
  • Elton buys pizza to eat with Jackie.
  • Victor claims that Ursula tastes like chicken.

Story notes[[edit]]

  • The working title for this episode was I Love The Doctor. It was created as a comic strip.[source needed]
  • This episode contains a reference to each of the first four series' story arcs: Bad Wolf, Torchwood, Mr Saxon and 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.
  • The foreshadowing of Rose's departure begun in the previous episode continues with Elton wondering how long it will be before Rose and Jackie pay the price for touching the Doctor.
  • In the episode commentary, Russell T Davies notes that in an early draft, Elton had been witness to more events in Doctor Who history, specifically incidents from the 1963-1989 run: 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. The BBC vetoed this, partly because they were still wary about explicitly referencing any pre-2005 stories to that degree, and partly because the episode's budget was low enough as it was, without having to worry about paying royalties to the writers of those stories.
  • This is the first modern 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".
  • There are conflicting accounts of William Grantham's reception towards the televised presentation of the Abzorbaloff. Producer Phil Collinson attested in the episode's commentary that Grantham was disappointed by the monster's human-sized depiction, having intended it to be the size of a double-decker bus. However, Grantham stated in the 2010 documentary Who Peter that he enjoyed the Abzorbaloff's presentation. Andrew Pixley's notes for the story in DWMSE 14, published in 2006, provided a middle ground by stating that Grantham enjoyed the Abzorbaloff's depiction, but was bemused by its smaller size.
  • On the episode page on the official Doctor Who website, neither David Tennant nor Billie Piper are credited as the Doctor or Rose.
  • Russell T Davies described the episode, "It's an experimental script. Not so experimental that people will run away screaming from Saturday-night BBC1, because you can experiment too much. People still want a bit of a monster and a bit of a thrill and a bit of the Doctor, so it still delivers as normal Doctor Who. But just as you think you know everything this programme can do, this puts a little bit of spin on it".
  • The acronym "LINDA" was previously used on the British children's television programme Why Don't You?, which featured the "Liverpool Investigation 'N' Detective Agency". Russell T Davies worked on the series for some years.
  • The original concept concerned a female fan of the Doctor's who was essentially stalking him. With a surfeit of strong female characters already conceived for the season, however, Russell T Davies decided to instead replace the female stalker with a more well-intentioned male named Elton.[source needed]
  • Peter Kay had written a letter to Russell T Davies after the new series began in June 2005, and Davies replied to him in September offering a guest spot in an episode.[source needed]
  • Peter Kay was originally offered the part of Elton, but he felt the "UFO-spotter type" was too similar to his character on Coronation Street and much preferred playing the "baddie".[source needed]
  • The creature that Elton sees at the start of the episode is credited as the "Hoix". Russell T Davies notes in the commentary that the name was invented only after the episode was shot and a name was needed for the credits.
  • Director Dan Zeff said of the tone the production team wished to capture, "Working with an inspirational design team, we wanted to emphasise a melancholy feel, an emptiness in the world around our characters – big urban spaces that once may have been full of life, but now lay abandoned, rusting, decayed. Amidst this, Elton and his fragile group of friends would almost feel cast adrift – increasingly vulnerable as they are led astray by the sinister Victor Kennedy."[source needed]
  • In 2012, Peter Kay named his guest appearance in this episode as the biggest mistake of his career to date. "I loved making it but when I saw it, I thought, "Oh my God. I'm a big green lizard running around Cardiff? Is that it?""[source needed] He reaffirmed this thought in his 2023 autobiography, T.V.: Big Adventures on the Small Screen.
  • Victor Kennedy was based on Ian Levine.[source needed]
  • Peter Kay and Shirley Henderson were both in the film 24 Hour Party People.
  • Peter Kay's bodycast had already been taken by special effects and makeup designer Neill Gorton for his guest role on The Catherine Tate Show. This saved a week's work.[source needed]
  • David Tennant and Shirley Henderson were both in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.
  • Peter Kay worked closely with Russell T Davies to develop his role, even spending time at the writer's home during the scripting process.[source needed]
  • This was the last script that Russell T Davies wrote for season two.[source needed]
  • Russell T Davies gave Jackie a prominent role, as she was departing at the end of the season along with Rose. This development came as a pleasant surprise to Camille Coduri, who had assumed that her involvement with the series had finished with the completion of Army of Ghosts / Doomsday.[source needed] As such, this was the last time that the set for the Tylers' flat was used.
  • This was always meant to be made at the end of season two's production schedule. As such, it was intentionally constructed to avoid extensive special effects requirements, given that time and money would likely be running out.[source needed]
  • The episode was originally paired with Fear Her to comprise the year's sixth and final recording block. Subsequently, Fear Her was brought forward to form part of Block Four, leaving this episode on its own as Block Six. Recording would take place alongside Block Five, a practice known as “double-banking”, which consisted of The Impossible Planet / The Satan Pit.[source needed]
  • Elton's discovery of the TARDIS in a disused part of Woolwich, prior to his encounter with the Hoix, was meant to be taped in an area of the Cardiff Docks which had not recently seen much use. The night before, however, a ship had docked nearby and the resulting activity was very much in evidence. Thinking quickly, first assistant director Susie Liggat instead suggested the use of Cargo Road, a nearby pathway which ran alongside a row of suitably decaying warehouses.[source needed]



  • 6.7 million, making it the 15th-highest-watched episode of any programme for the week. (UK final)[1]


  • The Hoix heavily resembled a Sycorax, leading it to be mistaken for one in the "next time..." trailer.
  • William Grantham was disappointed by the size of the Abzorbaloff, as he meant for the alien to be the size of a double-decker bus (He wasn't. Grantham has since confirmed in a YouTube video that although that was the original idea, he was just as happy with the human-sized version depicted on-screen).

Filming locations[[edit]]

Love and Monsters was written specifically to be shot mostly on location, so that another unit could be simultaneously filming another episode in the 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 - Elton in the flashback to Aliens of London, when he sees the Slitheen ship destroy Big Ben.
  • Hayes Island, Cardiff — Elton in the flashback to Rose, when the Autons invade London.
  • 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
  • The Pop Factory, Jenkins Street, Porth

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

Production errors[[edit]]

If you'd like to talk about narrative problems with this story — like plot holes and things that seem to contradict other stories — please go to this episode's discontinuity discussion.
  • 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.


Home video releases[[edit]]

External links[[edit]]