The Long Game

The Long Game Spike

The thing is, Adam, time travel’s like visiting Paris.  You can’t just read the guide book, you’ve got to throw yourself in.  Eat the food, use the wrong verbs, get charged double and end up snogging complete strangers.  Or is that just me?

The Ninth Doctor

Synopsis

The TARDIS materialises on board Satellite 5, which broadcasts across the Fourth Great and Bountiful Human Empire, however, the Empire’s attitude and technology appear backwards and those promoted to Floor 500 are never seen again.

Review

When I rewatched this episode to write this review, I was quite surprised at how my attitude towards it had changed. Previously I would have considered it one of the stronger episodes of the first series of the revival, however, having thought about it greater depth, I do have some problems with it.

One of the weaknesses of the story is Adam, as played by Bruno Langley.  The story sets out with the ultimate aim of proving that not everyone is a suitable companion to the Doctor, which is achieved by showing Adam’s abuse of the technology onboard Satellite Five to attempt to turn a profit.  Largely I feel that this element of the plot doesn’t work so well because we haven’t really spent enough time with Adam to feel as though his departure from the TARDIS is a great loss and he hasn’t really received any characterisation.  In one draft of the script, Adam’s motivation for sending the future information to the past was in order to develop a cure for his father’s arthritis, an element that would have at least added something to his character, although it would seem incredibly callous of the Doctor to kick him off the TARDIS if this had been his motivation all along.  The truth of the matter is that the Doctor didn’t want Adam along in the first place and it almost feels like he wants an excuse to get rid of him; Rose invited him to join them at the end of Dalek, but neither she nor the Doctor spend very much time with him on Satellite Five.  He rejoins the main narrative late on, but the story at times does feel like separate narratives.  I will admit that I don’t like Adam, but it does feel like he has incredibly raw deal by the end of it, especially considering what happens in the following adventure, Father’s Day.  It certainly does feel as though the Doctor and Rose are all too happy to leave Adam to his own devices during the story, only caring when it could have caused them problems and it is almost as if they have forgotten who he worked for in the previous story.  The scenes with Adam wandering off on his own feel really disjointed, uneven and at times, sadly quite dull.

It certainly does feel as though there is a lot going on in this story, and I’m not convinced that all of it works.  It feels as though Davies has tried to cram his original script premise pitched to Andrew Cartmel in the late Eighties into a 45-minute program, and not all of it entirely works.  We have things like the head chips, which aren’t really dwelt on, and as a huge fan of Black Books, it is a shame not to see more of Tamsin Greig in this story.  This certainly does feel like a Seventh Doctor story, with the Doctor motivating someone to rise up and destroy the current system, with this narrative making it Cathica, angry and resentful at the fact that she has not been promoted before, even though she knows what happens on Floor 500 who saves the Doctor and Rose.  There is certainly an underlying attack on the media here, with the Jagrafess and the Editor controlling the narrative to set the human race back 90 years, which is a thinly veiled attack on media moguls like Rupert Murdoch and the late Robert Maxwell and there is the capitalist nature of the humans on Satellite 5, who want nothing more than to be promoted to Floor 500, where rumours have it, the walls are made of gold.  Ultimately, it feels as though there’s too much going on, and the storylines are not all gold – it feels as though a couple could have been cut to make a better story.

The Editor

The strongest parts of this story is the Editor, played by Simon Pegg.  A middle man involved in the running of Satellite 5 on behalf of the Jagrafess.  Pegg adds quite a lot of menace to the story which is somewhat undermined when we get to see the Jagrafess itself.  However, Pegg almost feels like a dark echo of the Doctor, with the clearest parallel being his enthusiasm at not knowing something when he finds no record of the Doctor and Rose.  The Editor is described as being a human banker, at a time where being human is difficult to make a profit from and his banking background also seems like socialist attack on that profession.  Pegg stalks around his frozen wasteland, perfectly content and channeling a feeling of real menace and evil.  The story never gives us a convincing reason as to why the Jagrafess and the Editor are doing this to the human race (although we do learn why in the finale), however, given the speed at which the Editor is willing to change his plans after learning that the Doctor is a Time Lord and has a time machine, it is a suggestion that he isn’t too wedded to Satellite Five.

Verdict: The Long Game has too much going on in its narrative and feels unnecessary in its treatment of Adam to prove how worthy Rose is.  Simon Pegg does his best but this story is quite forgettable. 5/10

Cast: Christopher Eccleston (The Doctor), Billie Piper (Rose Tyler), Bruno Langley (Adam), Colin Prockter (Head Chef), Christine Adams (Cathica), Anna Maxwell-Martin (Suki), Simon Pegg (The Editor), Tamsin Greig (Nurse) & Judy Holt (Adam’s Mum).

Writer: Russell T Davies

Director: Brian Grant

Behind the Scenes

  • Adam becomes the first companion to be removed from the TARDIS due to bad behaviour.
  • The story is based on an idea submitted to the Doctor Who production team by Russell T Davies in the 1980s.
  • Simon Pegg previously appeared in Invaders from Mars.
  • This story would demonstrate to the new production team the utility of a process known as ‘double banking’, which would lead to ‘Doctor-lite’ and ‘companion-lite’ episodes.

Best Moment

Possibly the medical scene with Adam and the Nurse, but I’m struggling to think of any better.

Best Quote

Create a climate of fear and it’s easy to keep the borders closed.  It’s just a matter of emphasis.  The right word in the right broadcast repeated often enough can destabilise an economy, create an enemy, change a vote.

So all the people are like, slaves.

Well now. There’s an interesting point.  Is a slave a slave if he doesn’t known he’s enslaved?

Yes.

Oh.  I was hoping for a fun philosphical debate.  Is that all I’m going to get? “Yes”?

Yes.

You’re no fun.

Let me out of these manacles.  You’ll find out how much fun I am.

The Editor, Rose Tyler and the Ninth Doctor

The Long Game TARDIS

 

The Sensorites

The Sensorites Barbara, Susan and John

Did you know, his hair was almost white?

Nothing wrong with that!

Maitland and the First Doctor

Synopsis

The Doctor, Ian, Barbara and Susan arrive on a spaceship, finding a human crew who are suffering from telepathic interference from a race called the Sensorites.

Review

The Sensorites deserves some plaudits for being the first episode explicitly set in the future and introducing a largely non-antagonistic titular alien race, however, it does seem to be a bit of a mess.  There’s just too much going on within the narrative, and none of the various plot elements really grabbed me resulting in me ultimately feeling bored well before the story’s conclusion.

One of the story’s few positivesPossibly the story’s only positive is that this story continues a positive upturn in William Hartnell’s portrayal of the Doctor.  He is far and away more likable at times here than he is in his opening scenes in An Unearthly Child, especially when you consider scenes like the TARDIS team reminiscing about their adventures in the opening episode of this story.  To a fan of the modern show, Hartnell feels much more like a traditional Doctor, making sure that nobody is in doubt about his lines in the sand – he even mentions his attitude towards weapons at one point.  He has utterly changed, and there are still flashes of steel from this incarnation, especially when he is talking to the Sensorites about the lock on the TARDIS door. There are a few fluffs here from Hartnell, but this seems to be much more spread around the rest of the cast as well – I know that there were restrictions on the number of edits the production team could make in the 1960s, however, there do seem to be a lot in this story.  Hartnell’s personality drastically changes back to the more cantankerous old man in the final scene of the story, which does feel really jarring.

The Sensorites Doctor and Susan

I also quite like the Sensorites.  The fact that the actors cast as the Sensorites are all the same height and of similar builds really does help the idea that they would need the system of sashes to differentiate from each other, although it does massively stretch credibility that nobody ever thought of disguising themselves as another Sensorite.  I love how atmospheric the cliffhanger is at the end of the first part, with no sound until the reveal of the alien, which I find to be really effective, and they do genuinely feel terrifying, especially when we see the effects of the telepathic interference on characters like John and it is a good performance from Stephen Dartnell. The reveal of the Sensorites completely pays off on what we are told by Carol and Maitland in the opening parts and they are certainly suitably alien. It is interesting for the show in its early days to give us aliens who aren’t evil but instead good and possibly slightly childish, apart from the devious City Administrator.

The biggest problem with this story is that the plot feels extremely muddled.  There are several elements – the Sensorites being poisoned and Ian also succumbing to this and the political maneuvering of the City Administrator feel utterly superfluous and inconsequential.  There is a moment where the City Administrator frames the Doctor for the death of the Second Elder that feels so lacking in any impact that it is no real surprise that the Doctor suffers no repercussions for this allegation.  The multiple plots do ultimately cause the story to drag and feel much longer than it actually is, with elements like what lurks in the aqueduct being put on hold until the Doctor has cured Ian’s illness.  This leads to the ultimate finale of the story feeling utterly underwhelming, and I’m not sure whether the blame lies at the hands of the writer or the script editor – I don’t think much blame can be pinned on Mervyn Pinfield, as there’s not really very much when there is no intrigue.

Verdict:  A story that has an interesting premise, introducing a race of aliens who are not necessarily all evil, sadly The Sensorites is let down by a bit of a slow plot.  I do like the design and concept of the Sensorites though.  2/10

Cast: William Hartnell (The Doctor), William Russell (Ian Chesterton), Jacqueline Hill (Barbara Wright), Carol Ann Ford (Susan), Stephen Dartnell (John), Ilona Rodgers (Carol), Lorne Cossette (Maitland), Ken Tyllsen (First Sensorite and First Scientist), Joe Greig (Second Sensorite, Second Scientist and Warrior), Peter Glaze (Third Sensorite), Arthur Newall (Fourth Sensorite), Eric Francis (First Elder), Bartlett Mullins (Second Elder), Anthony Rogers & Gerry Martin (Sensorites), John Bailey (Commander), Martyn Huntley (First Human) & Giles Phibbs (Second Human).

Writer: Peter R Newman

Director: Mervyn Pinfield

Parts: 6 (Strangers in Space, The Unwilling Warriors, Hidden Danger, A Race Against Death, Kidnap & A Desperate Venture)

Behind the Scenes

  • The Sensorites is the first story to explicitly state that it is set in the future.
  • The third episode, Hidden Danger, had the dubious distinction of having been delayed due to Summer Grandstand being extended for special sports programming.
  • Susan’s description of Gallifrey is almost quoted verbatim in Gridlock and the Ood have some similarity to the Sensorites.
  • Stephen Dartnell had previously appeared in The Keys of Marinus.
  • Jacqueline Hill was on holiday during production of the fourth and fifth parts.
  • When the casting of Frank Skinner was announced for Mummy on the Orient Express, he stated that when he learnt of the news, he was watching episode 3 of this story.

Best Moment

Probably the cliffhanger at the end of part one – the lack of sound is utterly eerie.

Best Quote

It all started as a mild curiosity in the junkyard and now it’s turned out to be quite a great spirit of adventure.

The First Doctor

Invaders from Mars

Invaders from Mars

How does it feel to betray your own planet?

A lot like betraying your own country but a lot more satisfying.

Eighth Doctor and Cosmo Devine

Synopsis

The Doctor and Charley arrive in New York on Hallowe’en 1938 to find a dead detective.  The Doctor’s insatiable curiosity takes him on a hunt for a missing scientist, bringing him into the path of Orson Welles, Glory Bee and a mobster with half a nose known as the Phantom, and some truly out of this world technology.

All the while, Welles’ broadcast of The War of the Worlds is being broadcast to an unsuspecting American public…

Review

After the frankly terrible end to the Eighth Doctor’s first series at Big Finish, a return to America wouldn’t have been in many fans’ wish lists as the second series starring Paul McGann and India Fisher was released.  Fortunately, however, Mark Gatiss’ second series opener is a marked improvement, and not just on the American accent front.  A really well-researched story that certainly subverted my expectations – any story that includes ‘Mars’ in the title certainly brings to mind the Ice Warriors and Pyramids of Mars and I’m pleased to say that despite no references to either, I was quite happy with the end result.  This is not to say that there aren’t issues – Charley is rather sidelined by the plot and at times it does feel like that there is just too much going on.  It is certainly to Gatiss’ credit that he does manage to tie together the disparate plot elements into a coherent finale.

One of the strongest elements of this story is the production and direction of this story.  It certainly feels as though Gatiss has put a real effort into making this sound like a 1930s radio drama, with the incidental music stings between each scene and it certainly evokes the era.  This achieves a sense of ambition and scale which is sorely lacking in McGann’s first series, and especially in Minuet in Hell.  It is clear that Mark Gatiss did his research into his era, and I understand that some of the discrepancies (like the number of US states and the date of the formation of the CIA) tie into the ongoing arc surrounding Charley and the implications of her rescue from the R101 on the Web of Time.  These are carefully seeded and do not detract from the narrative, and I hope they will be rewarding once I know the truth behind Charley.  The above being said, Gatiss does try and play with too many plot elements which does make the story a bit of a mess to follow.  There are Russians, Nazis, atomic bombs, aliens, mobsters and Orson Welles thrown into the mix and it feels as though one of these elements may have been dropped. The obvious victim of this is Charley, who does get dropped quite early on, being held captive, menaced, drugged and barely featuring in the finale.   

The cast is very good here, which is great as a lot of them are playing multiple roles which makes this story feel a lot bigger than the cast.  The performances that particularly stand out are those of David Benson, Jessica Stevenson and Simon Pegg.  Without knowing that Pegg or Stevenson were in this story, I’m not sure I would have recognised their voices had I come to Invaders from Mars cold.  Stevenson and Benson have particularly tough jobs as they are British actors doing American and Russian accents, but the performances are convincing enough.  Benson’s delivery of the War of the Worlds script is really well done and effectively unnerving.  Pegg’s 1930s American gangster voice is perfect too, and completely unrecognisable as the star of Shaun of the Dead and Spaced.  John Arthur at times threatens to steal the show completely as Cosmo Devine, with all of his lines delivered with great relish.  Devine is probably one of the slimiest Doctor Who villains, a homosexual Nazi sympathiser who is utterly ruthless in pursuit of his goals.

Paul McGann takes this opportunity to solidify his take on the Doctor.  Gone is the Machiavellian scheme of the McCoy era and here is this ever-curious and sometimes a bit slow on the uptake incarnation – like the scene where it is revealed that Glory Bee is not in fact related to Stephashin at all.  His glee at the idea of playing the part of gumshoe detective is contagious, despite Charley’s misgivings about him stepping into a dead man’s shoes.  I’ve been quite positive about McGann in the Big Finish stories up to date, but this is a real opportunity for him to take centre stage and shine, and McGann really doesn’t let this opportunity slip through his fingers.  The moment where the Doctor loses his temper with Chaney, Glory and the Professor about the alien artefacts is one of the most Doctor-like moments he has had.  Ultimately, of course, the Doctor gets a bit carried away towards the conclusion, almost endangering the safety of the planet in the process

Verdict: Possibly one of the best early Eighth Doctor audio stories.  Gatiss’ work in all elements of production deliver a great experience and McGann’s Doctor finally feels secure.  8/10

Cast: Paul McGann (The Doctor), India Fisher (Charley Pollard), John Arthur (Cosmo Devine/Hotel Clerk), David Benson (Orson Welles/Professor Stephashin/Halliday), Mark Benton (Ellis), Ian Hallard (Mouse/Winkler), Simon Pegg (Don Chaney/Actor), Paul Putner (Bix Biro/Noriam/Man), Jonathan Rigby (John Houseman/Thug/Streath), Jessica Stevenson (Glory Bee/Carla/Women), Katy Manning (Reception Guest), Mark Gatiss (Radio Announcer) & Alistair Lock (Thug 2/Toastmaster)

Writer: Mark Gatiss

Director: Mark Gatiss

Parts: 4

Behind the Scenes

  • This story introduces a new variation of David Arnold’s theme.  The closing theme has also been revised.
  • The Doctor actually met H.G. Wells, the author of The War of the Worlds in Timelash.
  • Simon Pegg would go on to appear in The Long Game, Jessica Stevenson  in Human Nature/The Family of Blood and Mark Benton and Paul Putner were in Rose.

Best Quote

We suspected that the Professor was planning to extend his trip to the United States a little.  It is important that such a mind as his will remain within the Soviet Union.

But you lost him, didn’t you?

Somebody made away with him, yes.  We decided to try any means of discovering his whereabouts.  Even down to hiring disgusting capitalist private detective. No offense, Mr. Halliday.

None taken.  I’m not Halliday, he’s dead.

Glory Bee and the Eighth Doctor

The Happiness Patrol

THP Pink TARDIS

I can hear the sound of empires toppling.

The Seventh Doctor

Synopsis

The Doctor and Ace find themselves on Terra Alpha, where Helen A and the Happiness Patrol have made being miserable a crime.

Review

The Happiness Patrol is perhaps one of the clearest examples of an ambitious story not having an appropriate budget, ultimately effectively meaning that the story suffers as a result.  The fundamental idea behind the story is fantastic in its simplicity – the idea of happiness being compulsory is something that you could imagine a child thinking of – however, it is executed quite well through the story.  I even quite like the Kandyman as he contributes to the story feeling like a fairy tale.  It’s just a shame that the sets and some of the lighting decisions seem to have fundamentally let down the story.

Some state that this is one of the stronger episodes of the McCoy era and I can certainly see that they are correct.  However, there are some elements that really do not work.  Sadly the special effects really let the story down, like Helen A’s pet, Fifi, who looks distinctly cheap.  It certainly feels as though Remembrance of the Daleks used up the vast majority of the budget for this series and it really shows in the set designs here, where the floors of the streets of Terra Alpha are clearly undecorated studio floor.  The scenes in both the Kandyman’s lab and Helen A’s rooms also seem really overlit, which doesn’t help when there clearly wasn’t the budget to make decent looking sets.  This story also presents a contrast in McCoy’s portrayal of the Doctor, with him being really superbly dark in scenes with the two snipers or when he is faced with Sheila Hancock’s Helen A, to contrast with him hamming it up performing on the steps of the forum.  Ace is also underused here and disappears from the story for long periods.

THP Happiness Patrol

You see, I make sweets.  Not just any old sweets, but sweets that are so good, so delicious that sometimes, if I’m on form, the human physiology is not equipped to bear the pleasure.  Tell them what I’m trying to say, Gilbert.

He makes sweets that kill people.

The Kandyman and Gilbert M

As stated earlier, I really like the basic premise of the story.  There are elements that are brilliant in their simplicity, like the Kandyman.  Some may have problems with the design of the android, but I think it is quite in keeping with the tone of the rest of the story and I find him very creepy – possibly something to do with the voice.  Like the idea of people having to be happy, the idea of sweets that kill people is one that is again effective in its simplicity – it almost feels like something that might have come from a Roald Dahl novel.  I do find the story quite dark really, with the Happiness Patrol employing undercover people to find the ‘Killjoys’, which have drawn parallels with the political environment surrounding homosexuality in the 1980s.  Yet again, the Seventh Doctor comes into a dictatorship led society and brings it crashing to its knees.

THP Kandyman

Sheila Hancock’s Helen A is perhaps one of the most famous attacks on the government in the show’s history.  Despite not being intended to be a satire, Hancock apparently found the comparison uncanny and used elements of Thatcher in her characterisation of the villainous leader of Terra Alpha.  She is perhaps the best part of this story, a truly flawed antagonist for the Doctor.  The scene at the end of the story where she finally breaks down and weeps over the dying body of Fifi is almost enough to make you feel sorry for her.

Verdict: The Happiness Patrol is one of the high points of the McCoy era, however, a lack of available funds really does damage this story.  7/10

Cast: Sylvester McCoy (The Doctor), Sophie Aldred (Ace), Georgina Hale (Daisy K.), Richard D Sharp (Earl Sigma), Tim Scott (Forum Doorman), Harold Innocent (Gilbert M.), Tim Barker (Harold V.), Sheila Hancock (Helen A.), Ronald Fraser (Joseph C.), David John Pope (Kandy Man), Mary Healey (Killjoy), Annie Hulley (Newscaster), Rachel Bell (Priscilla P.), Jonathan Burn (Silas P.), Steven Swinscoe (Sniper), Mark Caroll (Sniper), Lesley Dunlop (Susan Q.), John Normington (Trevor Sigma), Philip Neve (Wences) & Ryan Freedman (Wulfric).

Writer: Chris Clough

Director: Graeme Curry

Parts: 3

Behind the Scenes

  • After the airing of Part 2, the chairman and CEO of Bassett Foods wrote a letter of complaint to producer John Nathan-Turner stating that the Kandy Man infringed on the copyright of Bertie Bassett.  The BBC response said that copyright had not been infringed but that the Kandy Man would not be used again.
  • Big Finish would later bring the Kandy Man back in a humanoid form in World of Damnation.
  • Helen A is a rather thinly veiled satire of Margaret Thatcher.
  • The Happiness Patrol was referred to by the Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams as part of his Easter 2011 sermon.
  • John Normington previously appeared in The Caves of Androzani.

Best Moment

The Doctor and Helen A’s confrontation in the streets to the end of part 3.

Best Quote

Get back.  Or he’ll use the gun.

Yes, I imagine he will.  You like guns, don’t you?

This is a specialised weapon.  It’s designed for roof duty.  Designed for long range.  I’ve never used one close up before.

Let him go.

No.

No.  In fact…let him come a little closer.

Stay where you are.

Why? Scared? Why should you be scared? You’re the one with the gun.

That’s right.

And you like guns, don’t you?

He’ll kill you.

Of course he will.  That’s what guns are for.  Pull a trigger.  End a life.  Simple, isn’t it?

Yes.

Makes sense, doesn’t it?

Yes.

A life, killing life.

Who are you?

Shut up.  Why don’t you do it then?  Look me in the eye.  Pull the trigger.  End my life.

No.

Why not?

I can’t.

Why not?

I don’t know.

You don’t, do you?  Throw away your gun.

Sniper 1the Seventh Doctor & Sniper 2

Timelash

Timelash The Borad

The stories I’ve heard about you.  The great Doctor, all knowing and all powerful.  You’re about as powerful as a burnt out android.

Tekker

Synopsis

On Karfel and 1885 Scotland, the Doctor and Peri, along with H.G. Wells work together to counter the despotic Borad.

Review

Sometimes, it is hard to come to stories without feeling as though you are weighed down by general fan perception, and sadly, Timelash is one of those.  However, having seen in multiple places people talking about how terrible a story it is meant I had no expectations when reviewing it for the first time.  I am not going to argue that it is the best Doctor Who story ever produced, however, I did enjoy it more than I thought at the outset.

There are some particularly good guest performances here, namely from Robert Ashby, David Chandler and, personally, I enjoyed the performance of Paul Darrow.  Ashby embews the Borad with a sense of real threat and menace by never raising his voice above a sinister whisper.  Combined with some really effective prosthetics, the Borad looks fantastic.  Equally, David Chandler is good as a young H.G. Wells, with the story giving him inspiration for two of his most famous works, The Invisible Man and The Time Machine.  Chandler is full of enthusiasm and curiosity for his surroundings, and his willingness to get involved really helps the plot along.  Paul Darrow’s performance is quite polarising, but for it is worth, I rather enjoyed it.   There are not so subtle parallels to Richard III, but I actually thought he was more like a more brutal version of Sir Humphrey Appleby from Yes Minister in places, a shrewd tactician.  I know that some people may find his performance hammy, however, I rather enjoyed it.  But this is coming from someone who likes Richard Briers in Paradise Towers, so you can take or leave my opinion on this!

Before I go on to talk about the problems with the story, I will just quickly praise the work of Pennant Roberts, the director.  Despite the story’s flaws, I never really ‘tuned out’ of watching Timelash, which is something that has occasionally happened to me whilst watching other ‘bad’ stories and this is largely due to his direction.  He manages to make the colony corridors look interesting and it is a good decision to make the Borad’s chamber stand out from the other sets by using lighting.

Does nothing please you?

Yes – purposeful travel, not aimless wanderings.

The Sixth Doctor and Peri Brown

Sadly, the story itself lets the performances down, and we also see a regression in the characteristics of the Doctor and his attitude towards Peri to something akin to The Twin Dilemma.  The Doctor here is portrayed as brash, insensitive and downright rude to Peri, in contrast to the softening that we have seen since his debut.  Try as they might, Baker and Bryant struggle to make their performances shine in this adventure, largely due to the acidic nature of their relationship and the fact that Peri is largely sidelined to be a damsel in distress for the majority of the story.  The fact that the Borad wants to use her to create a population of creatures like them is frankly laughable.  There is some really obvious padding here too.  The scenes with the TARDIS going through the Kontron Tunnel and the Doctor and Peri staggering around the console feel like they are afterthoughts and the reveal of the real Borad at the end of part 2 feels preposterous and tacked on.  The constant references to the Doctor’s previous visit whilst in his Third incarnation really get a bit wearing – and it does get to the point where you start to think that maybe there was a story in the Pertwee era when the Third Doctor visited Karfel with Jo.  It would, perhaps, have made for a better story if we had seen the Doctor’s visit through flashbacks, although with the budget on offer here, getting Jon Pertwee to reprise his Doctor probably would have meant greater problems.

The budget problems cannot be ignored, as Timelash does seem to suffer with it more than other stories of this era.  This is understandable, perhaps, considering that it does follow a trip to Spain in The Two Doctors and precedes the return of the Daleks in Revelation of the Daleks, and at times feels like a forgotten younger sibling to both of them.  The seatbelts in the TARDIS look particularly bad, however, there are some things that do look good, like the Borad, the Bandrils and the Morox.  Perhaps, with the lack of money available to it, Timelash was always going to struggle.

Verdict: Not as bad as it’s reputation would have you believe, Timelash will never go down as a fantastic Doctor Who story, but there are enjoyable elements. 3/10

Cast: Colin Baker (The Doctor), Nicola Bryant (Peri), Robert Ashby (The Borad/Megelen), Denis Carey (Old Man), Paul Darrow (Tekker), Eric Deacon (Mykros), Neil Hallett (Maylin Renis), Jeananne Crowley (Vena), David Ashton (Kendron), David Chandler (Herbert), Tracy Louise Ward (Katz), Peter Robert Scott (Brunner), Dicken Ashworth (Sezon), Steven Mackintosh (Gazak), Christine Kavanagh (Aram), Martin Gower (Tyheer), Dean Hollingsworth (Android), James Richardson (Guardolier) & Martin Gower (Bandril Ambassador)

Writer: Glen McCoy

Director: Pennant Roberts

Parts: 2

Behind the Scenes

  • Last story of the classic era to revolve around an adventure with a historical figure.
  • Being broadcast after The Two DoctorsTimelash becomes the second story to have a reference to the following era, with an image of the Third Doctor appearing.
  • Paul Darrow previously appeared in The Silurians and Denis Carey appeared in Shada and The Keeper of Traken.

Best Moment

The Doctor’s reaction when Herbert reveals himself on the TARDIS, shortly after the Doctor has kicked Peri off is really rather good.

Best Quote

Avaunt thee, foul, fanged fiend.

I can assure you that I’m not that long in the tooth, and neat blood brings me out in a rash.

Back from where you came, spirit of the glass.

Not just yet, if you don’t mind.

Herbert and the Sixth Doctor

Android Timelash