Saturday, 28 January 2012

The Time Meddler

A man never discloses his own character so clearly as when he describes another’s.
- Jean Paul Richter

As we settle down for the next adventure, the menu screen for The Time Meddler has begun its infinite loop.  Steven’s not convinced that the muck-encrusted helmet the Doctor’s holding has really been dropped by a Viking.

The Doctor:  What do you think it is?  A space helmet for a cow?

Him:  I like that.

Me:  The cow’s an under-represented animal in Doctor Who, even now.  And so’re sheeps.

The title screen for the story comes up.  Peter Butterworth’s coveting.

Me:  Last story of the second season this one.

Him:  We’ve nearly done two years then?

Me:  Yeah.

And we’re off.


Him:  “The Watcher.  So, she was Vicki all along.”

Me:  Oh, very clever.

Vicki is moping around the TARDIS, looking at things.  The Doctor admits that he misses Ian and Barbara as well – and Susan.  The two of them have a brief chat about why people leave and age and things.  It’s nice seeing the Doctor being grandfatherly again.  It’s a Dennis Spooner script and Donald Tosh has just taken over as story/script editor, so the dialogue feels like there’s been some time spent on it.  It’s a surprisingly gentle scene – possibly echoing real-life exchanges from around the time - and William Hartnell and Maureen O’Brien play off each other well.  The Doctor asks Vicki if she’s sure she didn’t want to leave as well and someone falls over a mop bucket.

Him:  Zombo!

The Him makes Zarbi noises for a moment.  It would have been quite a twist, to be fair.  The Doctor tries ignoring it, but there’s another noise which makes this course of action a bit problematic.

Vicki:  It’s obviously a Dalek!

Him:  Obviously!

Turns out it’s Hi-Fi (and Steven).  They collapse.  The scene cuts to Cromer.  The TARDIS lands.  The landing is observed by a monk who starts stroking his chin. 

Me:  Did you see the way his ring flashed?

Him:  Ah.

Back on the TARDIS Steven has recovered enough to explain how he stowed away without anyone noticing.  He keeps confusing the Doctor with one of Ms White’s diminutive chums which is beginning to annoy the irascible one.  The Doctor tells Steven to get his breath back and get his name right.

Steven:  Yes, yes, whatever you say Doc.  Tor!

Me:  Steven’d make a good villain.  They could bring him back for the 50th Anniversary.  He could be all evil.1

The Doctor and Vicki conclude the initial companion interview and Steven (and presumably Hi-Fi) become official – there’s a badge and a certificate and everything.  Vicki teases Steven for missing out the “But… but… it’s bigger on the inside!” stage of his induction.

Him:  Steven Moffat gets a mention.

Me:  Eh?

Him:  “Come off it.”

Me:  Oh.  Ouch.

Steven doesn’t believe the whole travelling in time gig.  The Doctor describes the things you'd find on the back of a TV - and then what's dressing the set - in order to assert his authority.  It works nicely.  Vicki gives Steven a rundown of TARDIS trivia, but makes an important mistake.

Me:  Vicki got it wrong and that’s where it changed.

Him:  ‘Dimensions’ is how I’ve always remembered it.

Me:  Well – that’s because it was wrong for about thirty years.  They’ve made a point of getting it right in the new series.

Vicki is sent to fetch herself and the Doctor a cloak.  Considering the rate at which he’s been collecting them, the, aptly-named, TARDIS cloakroom must be the size of an exhibition centre.  Steven is sent to have a shave because, as the companion rule-book states, facial hair is only allowed if it signifies abandonment.  Anyway, they’ve landed on Earth.  In a nearby village, events are unfolding and we meet a returning actor who isn’t playing a Dalek.

Me:  Oh.

Him:  “WIBBSEY!”

Me:  No, it’s Hur.

Him:  I knew that.  I recognised her.

Me:  Marvellous.

One of the villagers has seen the TARDIS, but he thinks it’s just cargo.  The villagers are a bit jumpy and so decide to go and check the box out.  Gulls flap overhead and Vicki has found the aforementioned helmet on the beach. The Doctor guesses the year.  The newly scrubbed-up Steven notices that the TARDIS hasn’t blended in with its environment very well.  The Doctor puts this down to a technical hitch.

Me:  “It’s stolen.  And I don’t really know how it works.”

There’s a long conversation over a boulder, behind which crouches the monk we saw earlier.  He’s in mild peril as the Doctor keeps throwing stones in his general direction.

Me:  Bit of a recap.

Our heroes decide to see if there’s someone about who can convince Steven that he’s become a chrononaut.  The Doctor reveals he isn’t a mountain goat and so he won’t be climbing the cliff, but Vicki and Steven will.  Both Steven and Vicki are getting some good character stuff to play with.  After they’ve left, the monk emerges from behind the boulder and starts eyeing up the TARDIS before seeming to check his wrist for the time, only to discover he isn’t wearing a watch.  Seeing as we’re in the tenth (or eleventh) century, this really shouldn’t be coming as a shock to him.  Meanwhile, back in the village night has fallen and the Doctor has arrived.

Me:  Inside the tent.

The Doctor picks up a stray bow and gives it an inquisitive stretch.  A wolf howls.

Him:  That’s a really creaky bow.

This remark leaves me in stitches.  The Doctor is caught by someone.  The Monk has returned to his monastery.  Singing is heard.  Back on the cliffs the villagers have arrived to discover that the tide’s come in and there’s no sign of the TARDIS.  The Doctor has been treated to mead by Edith.  The Doctor is trying to get information out of her to work out when he is.  Edith heads off to replenish the mead horn and the Doctor, evidently missing Barbara, gives us a run down of the historical events leading up to when he is, which is 1066.

Him:  The Battle of Hastings?

Me:  It is. Well done.

Him:  Are you not going to ask me how I knew that?

Me:  I’d expect you to know that.

The Doctor’s on a roll and gives out lashings of back-story.

Me:  All got a bit educational there.

As the Doctor prepares to find Steven so he can show off, the sound of monks winds down.  The Doctor gets his second wind at this – asks directions from Edith – and strikes out for the monastery.  Steven and Vicki meanwhile have reached the top of the cliff and failed to meet the Doctor.  A twig snaps.  From the foliage a man and a rabbit emerge.  The man finds a thing and Steven almost immediately mugs the chap for what turns out to be a wristwatch.

Me:  Well.  At least Steven’s not a pacifist.

The Doctor has arrived at the monastery. He opens the door and lets himself in for a bit of snooping.  Following the singing, the Doctor discovers that it’s been coming from a record all along.  He has a chuckle at this, and then bars suddenly descend, trapping him.  The Monk uses this turnabout in fortunes for a spot of cliffhanger laughing.

Me:  Ah.  Nicely put together there – good job Mr Camfield.

Him:  I’m just thinking how phenomenal some of these would’ve been if they were in colour and had good effects.

Me:  What?  Like Invasion of the Dinosaurs?

Him:  Oh hush.  It feels like a Saturday night.

It’s actually a Sunday afternoon.

Me:  Why?

Him:  Just doesn’t feel like a Sunday.

Me:  So, which stories in particular were you thinking of?

Him:  The Keys of Marinus.  The SensoritesPlanet of Giants.

Me:  Hang on – Planet of Giants was pretty good anyway.

Him:  But imagine what they could do with it now.

Me:  I don’t think it would look as good now.  They wouldn’t build the sets – it’d all be CGI.

Him:  Alright, The Web Planet.

Me:  Yeah, I’ll give you that.

Him:  The Space Museum, even.

Me:  You could roll it in glitter, but it’s not going to be any better without a new script and a different director.

Him:  You just don’t like that one.

Me:  I’m not too sure about The Sensorites either.  The costumes were fantastic – it’s something fundamental – script and direction again.

Him:  The Ark.

Me:  Right.

Him:  The War Machines.

Me:  You certainly wouldn’t want to meet one of those down a dark alley.

Him:  The Tenth Planet.

Me:  Controversial.

Him:  You’d be able to see the human hands and they could do the lamps better.

Me:  Possibly.  But then we’ve seen a remake with lots of money and script changes – not a modern one, I’ll grant you – was that really an improvement?

Him:  The Tenth Planet?

Me:  No.  Dr Who and the Daleks.

Him:  No – I didn’t mention that one because the Daleks are fine.  They don’t look better in colour because the colour didn’t make them threatening.  All that blue and silver.

Me:  Right.  It’s not going to happen, but it’s interesting to hear what you think about things like this.

Him:  Oh – Underworld’s story codes are YYYY.

Me:  Very good.  That reminds me – The Face of Evil’s out soon.

Him:  I think you’ll like this one.  Timelash is six Y’s.

Me:  ‘6Y’?

Him:  Yeah.

Me:  Hang on a minute.  We’re rehashing a Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre sketch here.

Him:  Bwah ha ha!

1. I’ll be returning to this as an idea – even though it won’t happen.


We recap.  The Doctor’s still stuck.

Me:  Don’t look so grim, Bill.  It’s off to Cromer for you.

Morning breaks.  The Monk’s cooking breakfast using modern utensils.  He pops it on a tray and takes it to where he’s imprisoned the Doctor.  The Doctor – from off screen – throws a cup of water over the Monk.

Me:  Nice.

Back in the woods the villagers have found Vicki sleeping.  They hide as Steven returns.

Steven:  Do you want some breakfast?

Vicki:  Oh, yes please.

Him:  “Do you like squirrel?”

Signifying an attack is imminent, a twig snaps.  Vicki is grabbed by the villagers - Steven too.

Him:  I’ve got to admit that Steven’s a lot better in this than the last one.  “Humans?  Meet Hi-Fi!  He’s my panda and he talks to me!”

The Monk keeps trying to check the time on his missed watch.

Him:  The Monk looked like Patrick Troughton there.  I guess it’s the grumpy face.

I’d have said ‘crumpled’, but he’s right.  Edith and another lady arrive with food for the Monk.  Following banter the ladies leave and the Monk whips out some binoculars.  He climbs to the edge of a cliff.

Me:  That’s a good use of the set.

The Doctor is heard banging on a door.  Back on the cliff the Monk sights Vikings.  He gets quite excited by this as it seems he’s been waiting for them.  Steven and Vicki have been taken to the village.

Him:  I remember Vicki and Steven as being Ian and Barbara in this one.

Steven still doesn’t believe he’s travelled in time.  The villagers are arguing about what to do with their prisoners.  Wulnoth, the headsman, is quite a progressive sort and thinks they should be talked to.  The opposing view is that they are Viking spies and should be killed right now.  This view is being put forward by a gentleman named Eldred.

Me:  “Eldred must live.”

Him:  That’s Eldrad.

Edith comes to the rescue, but Eldred’s like a panda with bamboo about the whole thing.  Steven and Vicki are becoming exasperated.

Vicki:  Are you going to stand here arguing all day?  Either let us go or do whatever you’re going to do, but make up your minds.

Me:  “Very well.  Kill them.”

The villagers don’t kill them, but bring out food instead.  Steven’s experiencing a bit of time-lag.

Me:  It would be hard to get your head around.

Him:  What d’you mean?

Me:  Well, Steven’s still not totally convinced about this time travel business.

Him:  Like I said – you’d go mad.

Me:  It’s part of the reason we don’t get a companion from too far in the past for any real length of time – because of all the future stuff they’d be encountering.

Him:  What do you mean ‘too far in the past’?  Are there any companions from the past – really from the past?

Me:  Well, Jamie was recent enough that he coped with it.  But – well – we’ll be meeting someo-

Him:  If this is just an opportunity to make fun of Adric then don’t take it.

Me:  It’s not.  Adric fell out of a starliner anyway.  No – we’ll be meeting someone a lot sooner who explores the problems of having a companion from ancient history.

Him:  Is it Katarina?

Me:  Spot on.  It is.

The Vikings have arrived and none of them are called Njorl.  Vicki and Steven visit the monastery looking for the Doctor.  They have a chat with the Monk.  He says he’ll ask around.

Me:  It must have been quite exciting to watch the first time around.

Steven’s spider sense is tingling (it comes with the badge – Ian had this ability too).  The Monk has been listening at the door.  Steven asks if the Monk will remember the Doctor’s description.

Him:  Did they even describe the Doctor?

No, they didn’t.  Steven is quite pleased that his double bluff has worked.  Vicki’s not convinced though – what if it’s a triple bluff?

Him:  “Shut up, Vicki.  I’m quite happy with my deduction of the moment.  You don’t want me to set Hi-Fi on you.”

Steven decides he’ll wait until dark and then break in to have a look around.  Back in the village Edith is attacked by Vikings.

Me:  That was an effective set up.

The villagers return from the fields to find they’ve been raided.  Eldred blames the travellers, but again Edith comes to their rescue.

Him:  Oh – she’s alive

Me:  Yes.  It’s a bit grim.

The Villagers follow the Vikings and there’s a fight.  One of the Vikings is killed and Eldred is wounded.  The Vikings run off one way as Wulnoth carries Eldred to the monastery.  Vicki and Steven have broken in.  The Monk is watching them when there’s a banging at the door as the villagers arrive looking for shelter.  In the meantime, Vicki and Steven find the gramophone.

Me:  Now then.  Would either of them really know that’s anachronistic?

Him:  They both recognised the watch alright.

Me:  Fair point.  I just wondered.  It wouldn’t help the story either.

Following a further bit of browsing, Vicki and Steven find the Doctor.  Well, sort of, because the Doctor’s gone.

Him:  He was never there.


We recap.

Me:  It’s a bit of a slow burner.

Him:  Like The Sensorites?

Me:  I think The Sensorites had gone out.

The Monk sets up some straw for Eldred to recover upon.  Vicki decides that there must be a secret passage or something.  They have a look, and within moments, find one.

Steven:  Who’s a clever girl, then?

Him:  “Polly want a finger!”

Me:  She’s not in it yet.

Him:  Tch.  “Vicki want a finger!”

The Monk finds that the Doctor’s escaped.

Him:  “Why do they always have secret escape passages in the dungeon?”

Vicki and Steven continue making their way out of the monastery.  The Doctor, meanwhile, has returned to the village.  He’s having a chat with Edith.

Him:  Is she alive again?

Me:  She wasn’t dead.

Him:  She was nearly dead.

Me:  I think she was in shock.

Exposition occurs and the Doctor runs through another brief history lecture, including things that haven’t quite happened just yet.

Me:  More non-interference.

Him:  She could hear all of that.

Me:  They’ll be wishing they took the opportunity to burn him as a warlock when they had the chance when all these predictions start coming true.

Steven and Vicki emerge from the tunnel and decide to head all the way back to the monastery.  The Monk is tending to Eldred with penicillin.

Him:  Who thought the Monk was the Master?

Me:  I can’t remember – but he says something in this that proves he can’t be.

Him:  But there was a quiz online that said he was.

Me:  Oh.  Was it that old Mastermind?

Him:  I don’t know.

Me:  I think it might have been.

It was.  If you want a shot at the questions yourself, here are the links to the first heat and the semi-final.  Back in the real world, the Vikings we met earlier have an argument and decide that they’ll hide at the rapidly filling monastery as well.  The Monk is checking his progress chart.
"I'm a genius.  Yes, I am."

Me:  “Position Atomic Cannon”.  That’s going on my to-do list.

Him:  Hang on – they can’t be in the tenth century because that says ‘Battle of Hastings’, which was 1066, and that’s the eleventh century.

Me:  He’s a cad.  I hope he comes back.

Him:  The Monk’s a Time Lord isn’t he?

Me:  Well…

Him:  So, he could come back as anyone.  Like Susan could.

The Doctor and a stick gain the upper hand.  Vicki and Steven return to the cliff.  Unfortunately, it seems that the TARDIS has either been washed away or moved.  And neither are particular good things.

Me:  That might send you mad.

Him:  The Doctor would make it back one day.

Vicki and Steven find a massive anachronistic weapon and head back to the monastery.  The Doctor and the Monk have been wandering through the corridors for quite some time.  The Monk tries to disarm the Doctor, and discovers he’s been the victim of a stick-up.  Ahem.

The Doctor:  This may not be a gun, but I can still do you a considerable amount of harm.

Me:  And will, going on recent evidence.

Banter occurs between the two.  There’s a knock at the door which presents a bit of a problem.  The Doctor decides to dress up as a monk himself and so needs a cowl.  The Monk leads the way.

Him:  That’s a great word.

Me:  We never find out much about the Monk either.

Answering the door, the Doctor is set upon by the Vikings.  They lock him up in the same cell as before, which is a bit careless.  The Monk gives the non cell-guarding Viking a bash on the head with a stick.

Me:  Ow!  That was a bit strong.

Vicki and Steven return to the monastery and crawl back in through the tunnel.  The Doctor gives the cell-guard Viking his own – rather robust – bash.

Him:  Ooo!

The Monk makes his way to the village and begins enquiring about the possibility of having some beacon fires lit.  Vicki and Steven have found an unconscious Viking.  The Doctor and the Monk are reunited, but this time the Doctor really is armed.  Vicki and Steven find an electric cable next to an altar.  They follow it to the cliffhanger.

Vicki:  It’s a TARDIS!  The Monk’s got a TARDIS!

Me:  That’s a pretty important moment and the episode doesn’t look like it’s going to do something quite so huge, quite so quickly.

Him:  No.

Me:  Nothing else to say?

Him:  No.


We recap for the last time this series.  The Monk’s still got a TARDIS.
Iconic Moment #46

Me:  The roundels are transparent.

Vicki and Steven have a look around.  The Doctor and the Monk are finishing off the plot.  Vicki and Steven admire the Monk’s collection of memorabilia.

Me:  Not at all like the Doctor, who picks stuff up everywhere as well.

Vicki finds the Monk’s diary.  There’s been some serious monkery taking place - he’s met da Vinci and given him hints as well as putting some money in a bank account and then hopping forward a couple of hundred years to collect the interest.

Him:  Would that work?  Would they keep your bank account active even if you should’ve died?

The Doctor outs the Monk as a time meddler.

Me:  The Monk reminds me of the Doctor.

Him:  The Meddling Monk does?  Why?  The Doctor doesn’t-

Me:  Doesn’t what?

Him:  I don’t know.

Me:  The Doctor basically does everything that the Monk does – except blow up Vikings.  He’s even got a 500-year diary.  And he writes ‘This Is A Fake’ on the back of the Mona Lisa.  All of them.

The Doctor:  You know as well as I do the golden rule about space and time travelling.  “Never, never interfere with the course of history.”

Me:  Hmmmm.

The Monk reveals he had a hand in Stonehenge which leads to a lovely confrontation.  The Monk plans to wipe out the incoming Viking fleet.  There’s another brief history lecture.

Me:  These two are playing off each other nicely.

Eldred spots a Viking wandering the monastery and scurries off to warn the villagers.  The Doctor is reunited with Vicki and Steven in the Monk’s TARDIS.  Steven and Vicki tell the Doctor that the TARDIS has gone.  He seems surprised.

Us:  “I’m not a half-wit.”

It turns out the TARDIS is fine – water can’t affect it.  The Doctor continues admiring the Monk’s, significantly newer and improved, TARDIS.  It’s even been fitted with the automatic drift control.

Him:  What’s that?

The Doctor:  Thereby you can suspend yourself in space with absolute safety.

Me:  The Doctor must fit one of those to Idris at some point then.

Him:  Yeah.

The Doctor's quite vague about his model of TARDIS, but does admit that both versions come from the same place, with a gap of about fifty years.

Me:  Doesn’t reveal much though.

The Monk’s plan is explained in complete detail.  It’s more misguided than actually evil.

The Doctor:  He wants to destroy the whole pattern of world history.

Him:  Like Barbara?

Me:  Superb.

The Monk legs it out of his TARDIS and teams up with the two Vikings that are still knocking around.  Our heroes are overpowered and tied up.  The villagers have rumbled the Monk’s monkery – at that point Eldred and his vital information stumble into camp.  Decisions are made.

Me:  “Break out the pitchforks, lads.  There’s a monastery to storm.”

The Monk and the Vikings head off to welcome in the fleet.  The Doctor, Vicki and Steven are having a philosophical debate about what will happen if the Monk succeeds.

Steven:  But that means that the exact minute, the exact second that he does it, every history book, every…  Well, the whole future of every year and time on Earth will change just like that and nobody’ll know that it has?

The Doctor is furious.

Me:  Nice.  The break’s done him some good.  He’s really on form for this.

The monastery is stormed by the villagers who rescue the Doctor, Vicki and Steven.  In the confusion the Monk and the Vikings run off, pursued by bloodthirsty farmers.  The Doctor sends Steven into the Monk’s TARDIS to find a pencil and paper so he can write a note.  The Monk and the Vikings split up.

Me:  This is the bit that’s still missing.

Him:  Where does it cut out?

The screen fades to black as the Villagers descend on the Vikings.

Him:  Oh.  There.

The Doctor has been tampering.

Him:  Does Vicki even have a second name?

Me:  Ummm…

Giant Floating Monk Head Sold Separately
We list companions for a while and decide whilst most of them do have surnames, Vicki doesn’t. The Doctor is rather happy with his mischief.  The TARDIS is revealed to be fine, as the Doctor promised it would be.  The Monk returns to the monastery and finds the note from the Doctor.  It’s not good news.  The Monk peers into his TARDIS, which is now only useful as a backdrop for action figures.  He’s not happy.  The TARDIS dematerialises.  Then – stars and faces!

Him:  What’s this ending?  What’s this?

Me:  End of season special treat.

Him:  Did the first season have one?

Me:  Yeah.

Him:  Oh.

The credits roll. 

Him:   That’s the last in the present series, but Doctor Who will return in a couple of months.

At the end of the credits comes the caption: Dedicated to Verity Lambert.

Me:  Oh – that’s good.  Good job.  This is the last of her stories that survives in total.

Him:  What do you mean?

Me:  All the parts still exist.

Him:  There must be another one.

Me:  No.  There’s Galaxy 4 and Mission to the Unknown and that’s it.  Verity left after that. 


Me:  Any thoughts?

Him:  I thought it was interesting.  It’s only the end of the second series.  It seems too early for the story.

Me:  Because it opens up a massive can of ants?

Him:  No.  It’s a strange time to be revealing new stuff about your main character.

Me:  Will it not encourage people to tune in for the answers to questions that they weren’t aware had been asked?

Him:  I don’t know what you mean.  Let’s give up on this conversation.

Me:  Alright.  I’ll make some food.

For reasons that are far too tedious to explain, there’ll now be another brief gap – with a surprise - before the next proper update on February 16th and then there’ll be a bit of a flurry. 

See you then, chums.

Friday, 27 January 2012

Dr. Who And The Daleks

When the script is finished, then we add the dialogue.
- Alfred Hitchcock

There’s been a long old lapse in January, and we’ve fallen a little bit further behind than we meant to – we’ll catch up, I’m sure.  In the meantime, there’s been a UNIT box set released (which, surely, would have been better titled as the Invasions box set?) and as we watched through the two stories in that – mostly because neither of us had ever seen them before – we’re left with having to start this one far-too-early on a Sunday morning.  Outside, there’s frost that looks like snow and a disgruntled cat that watches.  Inside, it’s toasty and warm and, seeing as the cat belongs to someone else, for us it’s onward to 1965 colour madness.

Me:  This is something you’ve been looking forward to.

Him:  That’s because it’s in colour.

Me:  No other reason?

Him:  Nope.

Me:  Okay.  Shall we?

Him:  Uh-huh.

Me:  It’s a bit odd having a different intro.

Him:  ‘Studio Canal’.  What’s the Lionsgate logo?

Me:  Cogs. Lots of ‘em.  Does that help?

Him:  Not really.

The Regal Films logo pops up with a bit of a fanfare.

Me:  It’s gone all classy.

Him:  If you say so.  I remember quite a bit about this.

Me:  Such as?

Him:  Colour!

Me:  And?

Him:  Daleks!

Me:  That’s about all you need to know, I guess.  Aaruuuuuu!

That bellow there needs a bit of an explanation if you haven’t seen the film.  Basically, Richard Nixon (cont. p. 94)

Me:  Jazz Daleks again – ties in with The Chase in another-  Oh, they’ve spelt the Doctor’s name wrong.

The Him sighs.

Him:  That’s how he’s listed in the main programme and you never complain about that.

Me:  Some of the Daleks we’re about to see cropped up in The Chase.  The BBC borrowed them and got them on the telly in your living room, before they appeared at the local fleapit.  Which says something about the turnaround of TV I suppose.

Him:  What?  ‘Fleapit’?

Me:  It’s the traditional name for the Kinematograph.

The credits groove across the shimmer.  Look – there’s Roberta Tovey.

Him:  “Grandfather!  I’m only seven!”

Me:  “Terry N”.

Him:  Really?

Me:  He gets a credit for the original dream-weaving but didn’t write the actual screenplay.  I didn’t see Ray Cusick get a mention.

The first shot is a pan across an everyday front room: posh china, triffid wallpaper and lots of well-polished, curly wood.  We begin our pan on the Big Book of Physics for Enquiring Minds – being read by an infant; then it’s on to The Science of Science – being read – reluctantly, it has to be said - by a young lady; we finish on a copy of the Eagle which is being read by Van Helsing. 

Him:  I thought the Doctor was Ian.

A clock chimes and the young lady cheerfully abandons her book and hurries off to prepare for the arrival of her suitor.  That’s right - Ian’s on the way, and we’ve just met Susan, Barbara and the Doctor.  Except two of them have slightly different names.

Him:  So, they’re all related?

This sets me off laughing.  I still don’t know why.

Me:  I was beginning to wonder.  So, Susan’s now Barbara’s little sister?

Him:  Yeah – they’ve kind of messed up the plot – because, doesn’t the Doctor build the TARDIS in this?  And everyone calls him ‘Doctor Who’?

Me:  I think Susan Who’s built the TARDIS and her grandfather just took the credit, which is the type of thing that’s never happened before in the production of Doctor Who.  And Barbara Who is going out with Ian Wright.

The door is knocked and ‘Suzie’ is sent to set up a gag while Barbara hides upstairs.  Suzie opens the door and Ian enters with a bash.  Roy Castle will make a big effort over the rest of the film, but he’s basically there as a mixture of audience identification figure, comic relief and tin dog.  His efforts were not acknowledged by the Academy.

Me:  I’d forgotten about the gentle, unforced moments of comedy.

The absent-minded Van Helsing is introduced to Ian.  Ian sits on the Whizzo Quality Assortment he’s brought for Barbara.  Van Helsing offers to show Ian the Thing In The Garden as a reward for not squashing his technobabble as well.

Suzie Who:  He wouldn’t understand.

Him:  “Yes.  Well, Barbara doesn’t understand either. All she keeps talking about is past, past, past.”

Me:  Barbara didn’t look like she was actually reading that big book earlier – just finding something to do while her hair cooled.

Him:  And turned blue.

Me:  Has she had a blue-rinse then?

Him:  She has in the Give-A-Show slides.

Me:  Maybe she’s really Superman’s mum.  And Ian’s actually Jor-El in disguise.  A very good disguise.

Continuing - though possibly not intentionally - the running gag of everyone who has ever lived getting Ian’s name wrong, Van Helsing calls him ‘Harold’.  Suzie Who rolls her eyes.  Ian responds by getting his name right, but making a schoolboy error with the Doctor’s.

Ian:  My name’s ‘Ian’, Doctor Who.

Me:  Ouch.  That actually hurt.

Him:  I thought the Doctor was Ian.

Me:  Ha!

Him:  Even if his last name is Who, you wouldn’t be always calling him ‘Doctor Who’, ‘Doctor Who’, ‘Doctor Who’.  You don’t call your teachers by their full name all the time.

Me:  Susan Tennant certainly didn’t.

And in the garden is the TARDIS.  It looks pretty good.

Doctor Who:1  This is TARDIS.

Me:  Aaaargh!  So much so wrong so fast!

Suzie Who gets the acronym right at least.  Ian goes inside for a look.  This takes a bit longer than he expected.

Him:  It looks like a studio.

Me:  I don’t think there’s much location work in this film.  Having said that, the TARDIS here is quite close to the overhaul they gave the Matt Smith one.  And the door actually opens outwards.

Him:  To be fair, they’re not paying much attention to the story.  They’ve got Susan’s age all wrong.

Me:  She’s more annoying than unearthly in this.  ‘An Precocious Child’.

Him:  I’m looking forward to the end of Daleks - Invasion Earth 2150 AD – “Just go forward in all your beliefs, and prove to me that I am not mistaken in mine.”
“Grandfather!  I’m only seven!”

Me:  Suzie Who’s foreshadowing Adric a bit.

The Him sighs again.

Him:  You used to love Adric.

Me:  That was before video recorders.

Him:  Can you imagine if they turned every Dalek story into a film?

Me:  I think films are quite expensive to make.  Even with invisible Daleks.

Him:  We’ve only watched this once.  Well, once when we got it and now.  Why haven’t we watched it since then?

Me:  I’ll let it explain by itself.  Would you like to do the honours, 'Doctor Who'?  If that is your real name.

Ian’s still reacting to TARDIS.  Antibiotics required, perhaps?

Me:  It looks a bit messy.

Through a sequence of events, each more hilarious than the last, Ian causes a take-off and the ship lands on Skaro.  In about the time it took you to read that last sentence.

Him:  That was a bit quick.

Me:  Skaro looks alright though.

Ian sets about destroying Skaro, one branch at a time.

Me:  Aaargh!  He breaks everything he comes in contact with.  It’s a far cry from the hero of the TV series.  And Peter Cushing’s chosen to play the part as some kind of duck.  Just give him a hunch, a lisp, a claw and-

I have no idea where that thought was going, but it’s interrupted as a flower gets smushed, earning Ms Tovey a bonus.  An old favourite makes a reappearance of sorts.
Giggling, Nedry fled.
Him:  “I call it, the Metaltron!”

Me:  Don’t worry, Ian’ll break it.

Ian breaks it and Suzie Who spots a city.

Him:  “It’s only a model.”

Me:  I think it looks good.

Doctor Who and Suzie Who want to have a look at the City – even though it hasn’t been properly risk assessed.  Barbara (and Ian) would rather go to the Kinematograph instead of having a look around.  Doctor Who decides that maybe they’d be better off staying and offers Suzie a wink.  Suzie Who picks another flower and gets a hefty thump on the shoulder.

Him:  In the series that was just a gentle tap.

Me:  I’m not saying anything.

Following a quick panic, everyone (and Ian) decamps to TARDIS, where they have a big chat rather than leaving immediately – so, in this way at least, it’s true to the series.  There’s a knock at the door.  Doctor Who uses the scanner to see who’s there.  As security cameras go, it leaves a little to be desired.

Him:  He didn’t look very far.

Ian tries to prat-fall another take-off, but it doesn’t work.  Doctor Who uses the fault locater to work out what bit of Suzie Who’s science project he’s deliberately broken.

Me:  It’s got echoes of the series running through it, but it really feels like someone shadowy and overweight, with a massive cigar, has said:  “Son, that ain’t gonna play in Ohio.”  I think that’s probably happened more than once in the production – and that doesn’t fill me with confidence for any new big-screen adaptation, especially as the same feeling runs through the next couple of attempts.

There’s a pencil case outside TARDIS.  During the pencil case’s big close-up, the Him notices something about Ian.

Him:  Why’s he wearing high-heels?

Me:  I think they’re winkle-pickers, or elf-kickers, or something.

Suzie Who – having no sense of self-preservation whatsoever - grabs the pencil case.

Him:  It’s full of make-up.

Me:  Must be Thals.

The Whos (and Ian) trudge off to see if Dalek City’s mercury shops are open.  Doctor Who’s feeling a bit out of sorts and rests against an installation.

Him:  The sculpture’s even worse in this.

Everyone (and Ian) feels ill.

Me:  “All my hair’s fallen out.  Oop – and my teeth.”

Him:  Why’s Peter Cushing wearing Jon Pertwee’s clothes?

Me:  It’s the only thing we’ll never truly understand.

There’s a selection of doors to Dalek City, so everyone splits up.  Ian is left at the entrance.

Him:  The doors aren’t as good either.  Who makes doors like that?

Me:  Hollywood Daleks.

Ian’s chosen the wrong door.

Me:  Roy Castle’s getting on my nerves.

Despite a lot of physical comedy, Ian’s door still won’t open. 

Me:  John Cleese tells a great story about his dad, who was still Mr Cheese at that time, turning to him whilst they were watching some nonsense and saying, “I don’t think this will ever replace entertainment.”  Just saying.

Barbara’s in a gallery.  She meets the artist but we don’t get to see what he looks like – although, to be fair, we could hazard a guess based on the film’s title.  Barbara screams. 

Me:  They even messed that bit up – where’s the plunger?

In a maze of perspex corridors, the remaining Whos (and Ian) hunt for Barbara. They eventually find a control room which in no time at all is stuffed to the briskets with multi-coloured Daleks.  The Daleks are so excited at having visitors that their indicators are flashing with delight.

Me:  Are they all talking then?

Terry N, in a particular pompous moment, declared from his champagne Jacuzzi that a big part of the Dalek’s success could be credited to them never being used in a jokey fashion.  Consequently, I won’t be making the obvious, “So close, you can see their farts” gag as Ian gets sprayed by them.

Him:  “Thanks.  My leg’s not on fire anymore.”

Me:  Some of them’ve got claws.

A Dalek gently extracts Doctor Who’s fluid link.  Barbara has been keeping a cell warm.  The Whos (and Ian) are reunited.

Me:  Barbara Who’s hair is quite astounding.

Ian falls over.  Doctor Who recognises they’re all showing the early symptoms of radiation poisoning – Ian too. The Daleks gossip excitedly about their guests whilst also delivering buckets of exposition.

Me:  They’ve fixed the lights now.

The Daleks listen in on the conversation taking place in the cell and pop down to send one of their guests out for provisions.


Turns out it’s Suzie Who.  The Dalek has an odd request.

Me:  “CUR-RY!”

Him:  Eh?  Why would it be saying “CUR-RY!”?

Me:  Alright, you got me – it was actually saying, “HUR-RY!”

Off Susan goes.

Him:  So, the city just ends there?

Me:  Yup.

Him:  And they’re making Suzie go down the cliffs?

Me:  Well.  They are really mean.

Thunder echoes and lightning plays across the blue and green petrified forest.

Me:  Fair play, that’s quite a set.

Back in the city a Dalek exposits.  Suzie Who meanders toward TARDIS – something follows.

Me:  Nice to see that the sky still needs ironing – no matter how much they flaunt their fancy flats.

Him:  Oop.  Beware the Obvious Log.

Suzie Who:  Who’s there?

Me:  He probably can’t understand her because the TARDIS won’t be translating for them.

After that burst of pure anorak anger, Suzie makes it back to TARDIS.  After only a moment the doors open to reveal a Thal in all his glory. This reveal leaves us both in fits.
No comment.
Me:  “But..  You’re a boy.”
       “Welcome to the Sixties, Suzie Who!”

The Thal comes in.

Me:  And he’s been rolled in glitter.

Him:  It’s Aladdin!

Alydon introduces himself.  He’s hoping that they took the drugs he left for them (and Ian). Suzie reveals they haven’t taken the drugs, but the Daleks have sent her back to collect the drugs because the Daleks want the drugs for themselves.  Luckily, Alydon gives Suzie a second supply of drugs, which she has to hide. I’m guessing that language has moved on a tad since this was made, as the Him has a rather quizzical look after that little exchange.  Anyway, back on TARDIS, Suzie starts gossiping.

Suzie Who:  But, I don’t understand.  They said you were mutations.

Him:  And so they are.

Alydon:  If they call us monsters what must they be like?

This question leaves me in further childish fits.  I’m not proud of it, but it happened.  Suzie (and the drugs) return to Dalek City.

Me:  The Daleks look good there

Back in the cell, Suzie recaps what just happened for the benefit of the Whos (and Ian) and the eavesdropping Daleks.

Me:  The Daleks – ah – watching Doctor Who there.

The Whos (and Ian) knock back the antidote like they’re in Club Obi-Wan.

Him:  They’re drinking it like tea.

Me:  You’d think it’d need to be measured out in careful doses.

A Dalek brings a thermos to the cell and grabs himself a tiny scribe in return.  Suzie is taken to write a letter to the Thals.


"I'm very disappointed in you, young lady."
The Dalek camera is spotted.  

Me:  While everyone’s distracted, Suzie hides a shiv.

Him:  I saw her stealing the pen.

Ian and Suzie Who knacker the camera.  The Daleks exposit what this might mean.  Outside the city, the Thal post has arrived.

Him:  When was Suzie supposed to have left this letter?

The letter arrives.  Proving themselves to be just pretty faces, the Thals’ll believe anything.

Me:  Oh – they’re useless!

The Whos (and Ian) are scheming.  A Dalek brings a TV dinner.


The plan just isn’t coming together.  Barbara Who looks at the different dollops on offer on the TV dinner tray, and selects one.

"I'm a genius.  Yes, I am."

Barbara Who:  I think I’ve got it.

Me:  Don’t – say – anything…

The next bit has to be seen to be believed.  Here’s a snatch of the dialogue.

Barbara Who:  Dalek?

Dalek:  YES?!



The Dalek is dismantled and scooped out to make a disguise.  From under the abandoned Thal shower curtain crawls a claw.  Ian hides inside the Dalek shell, like some kind of squatting crab, and guides the Whos toward a lift.  The deception baffles one Dalek, but not for long and before you know it, there’s an oxyacetylene cutter slicing through jabolite.

Me:  That’s quite good.

Him:  It’s certainly better than Maitland’s.

Being stuck inside his stolen shell, Ian is left behind to distract the Daleks.  The Daleks break through.  Ian escapes and the Daleks exterminate a casing.  The Thals arrive, looking for the promised picnic.  A prop is dropped down a lift shaft.

Doctor Who:  We must warn the Thals.

Me:  Why?

The Daleks have laid out a lego picnic for the freeloading Thals who stride up, laden with empty baskets, like they own the place.

Him:  Can I ask again, as I never got an answer before, why do the Daleks need food?

Me:  It’s to lure prey.  That’s the only purpose of the Gardener Dalek.

The extermination of the Thals is interrupted by a bellow from Doctor Who.

Doctor Who:  It’s a trap!  Go back!  Run!

Everyone runs back to the forest.  The Thals are confused and the anti-pacifist agenda rears an inquisitive head.

Alydon:  We are a peaceful people.  We see no reason to kill others.

Doctor Who:  But…  Even when you know that they would kill you?

As a nod to the original series, Dyoni is very pretty.

Him:  Where’s the tree?  Dyoni doesn’t have a tree growing out of her head.

The Whos (and Ian) say goodbye.  Unfortunately, Doctor Who’s fluid link is still in Dalek City so they’re stuck with the Peaceniks.  Morally, this presents an interesting quandary, as the Whos (and Ian) were quite willing to leave the Thals to die when they didn’t need them.  Back in Dalek City, it’s been discovered that the Thal drugs don’t work on Daleks so they’re stuck in the city.  A bit miffed by this, they opt to take the only sensible course of action left open to them, and detonate a massive bomb.



Back in the Thal camp, Doctor Who isn’t having much luck explaining why the Thals should give up their beliefs (and probably a few of their lives) in order to help the selfish cowards who were about to abandon them without a thought.  Odd that.  Proving himself to be a massive bully as well, Doctor Who threatens to give Dyoni to the Daleks as a present and thus starts a fight that Ian finishes with his face.  Having managed to goad them into breaking their code of honour, he then clucks about like this is actually a good thing.  A map gets looked at and then we’re in a swamp.  So’s Ian.

Me:  It’s moving at a fair whack, I’ll give it that.

Ian stops for a wash.

Him:  That water’s white!  Why would you stick your face in that?

Ian spots a great big thing in the water.  A Thal we haven’t been properly introduced to heads off to gather water for the exhausting climb.  A scream is heard.

Me:  He’s fallen into the champagne Jacuzzi.

Barbara and the Thals (and Ian) reach a mountain.

Me:  That looks good.

The Thals and Barbara (and Ian) climb and climb again until the music cue finishes and they reach the top of the picture of the mountain.  And they’d best get a move on, as back in Dalek City, skullduggery is afoot.

The Daleks all deliver some dodgy salutes.  Barbara and the Thals (and Ian) are making their way through the mountain.  There’s a rockfall.  In Thal camp, Doctor Who spots a lady Thal doing her hair and is struck with inspiration.

Him:  What are the mirrors made from?

Me:  No idea, but I imagine the Thals invented them sometime before the wheel.

The Thals and Barbara (and Ian) have reached a bit of a gap.  They have to jump across.  This goes quite well, until it's the turn of the cowardly Antodus.  As in the original story, the rope just plaps against him, frozen as he is, in peacenik terror.

Me:  It’s a much better chasm than could be mustered up in Lime Grove D.

Ian:  Don’t worry, it’s perfectly safe.  Look, I’ll catch you.

Straight after saying this, Ian winks.

Me:  And, going on what a safe pair of hands Ian has shown himself to be thus far, that makes Antodus’ subsequent jump tantamount to suicide.

Needless to say, Ian doesn’t catch him.  Back at Dalek City the Thals are reflecting lights at the Dalek instruments.


The Daleks have hidden Pink Floyd’s lighting rig in the rocks at the front of Dalek City.  The Thals, being no match for bright lights, run away.  Suzie and Doctor Who are captured.  Back above the chasm, Ian’s shirt breaks and Antodus makes a total pigs ear of his Noble Sacrifice.  The countdown begins.

Me:  At last we meet the Countdown Dalek.

The Thals are so annoyed by the Daleks they resolve to fight.  Doctor Who buckles under pressure and offers the Daleks Susan’s science project in exchange for their freedom (and not detonating the bomb).  Ignoring this, the Countdown Dalek keeps on counting.  The now angry Thals invade the city followed by the Thals who went the long way round and Barbara (and Ian).  A Dalek meets a lift shaft and a violent end at more or less the same time.

Him:  Did you see his eyestalk?  It came off!

Seeing his role as to keep calm and carry on, whatever unprofessional lunacy is breaking out around him, the Countdown Dalek keeps on counting down.  And then Ian turns up and-

Me:  Ian even breaks the countdown.

Ian has totally broken Dalek City.  As a testament to his clumsiness, the Daleks have gone floppy.

Him:  Poor Dalek.  Stuck there for all eternity.

Outside TARDIS the Thals have lined up to say goodbye.  I imagine they want to make sure that this time the Whos (and Ian) actually leave.

Me:  With all the hairspray drifting around I’m not sure that a naked flame’s such a wise idea.  Those Thals would go up like a map of Rome.

Ian manages to walk into TARDIS’ door before prat-falling another sudden take off.  Opening the doors, the Whos (and Ian) are met with an interesting view of giant Romans.

Me:  They’ve landed in the ground and they’re tiny.  Good job.

Ian then spends the rest of the movie flapping around like a dying comedian.

Me:  Oh well, at least it’s over.

The credits roll.

Me:  Thoughts?

Him:  Aaaruuu!

Me:  Very good.  Any others?

Him:  Nope.

Me:  Did you enjoy it?

Him:  It was okay.  How did they get permission from the BBC to do it?

Me:  With how the BBC used to guard the programme’s image and best interests so carefully?  Good question.  Money would’ve been involved at some stage I think – greed, is really the only adequate explanation for some of those artistic decisions.  It’s also possible that Terry N gave someone permission to give him a lot of money as well.

Him:  Oh, Terry Nation.  Tch.

Me:  Back to normal for the next one, yeah?

Him:  Yeah.
1.  *sigh*