Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Planet of Fire - "Gullible idiot."

BBC - Doctor Who Classic Episode Guide - Planet of Fire - Index

Season 21, Story 5 (Complete Series Story #135) | Previous - Next | Index

In which we meet Peri and say farewell to Turlough. Oh, and good riddance to Kamelion.

Leading up to the classic Caves of Androzani, we have this minor gem of Davison's run. It's not a top-tier story; but, it has the Master, location shooting (much-needed, seldom done), a worthy theme (skepticism), some chuckles (mostly at the short shorts), and -- perhaps foremost -- it has Peri. Peri in a pink bikini. It's enough to wipe away the memory of guys running around in what look like dong diapers, not to mention Mark Strickson's ridiculous shorts and stripey socks.

Timanov via wifeinspace.com
Peter Wyngarde as Timanov, looking like a cross
between Peter O'Toole and the Iron Sheik.

The story opens with a pair of intrepid skeptics hiking up the local volcano to see if the there's a really a deity living there. There isn't. This isn't the kind of news the ruling clergy class, namely our man Timanov, wants to hear. Clinging to delusions to maintain his authority, he makes himself a pawn of the Master, who makes sure he lets Timanov know exactly what he thinks of him when there's no more need more deception. It's all a bit heavy-handed, but there's undeniable pleasure in watching a maroon having to stand there while he's called a dope.

Shady Turlough is shady, but he gets to be a stand up guy on the way out. It's a satisfying departure. Kamelion, well, he's a big part of the plot and he's the chief weakness of the episode. He just doesn't work, on any level. The mini-Master, on the other hand, in a little box in his TARDIS is adorably malevolent.

Peri in recovery via The Patient Centurion
Peri and that famous pink bikini.
Davison has a only one story left after this, and then series begins a steep decline. Sure, there are a few bright spots between Davison's departure and Eccleston's arrival, but the they are few indeed and far between.

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