Season 17, Story 3 (Overall Series Story #106) | Previous - Next | Index
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An attempt was made during shooting to add other protrusions that are less dickish, including one with a forked tip, but it is too little, too late. The thing is a giant, veiny ball sack and penis, and the attempt to change its impression unfortunately only calls to mind a disfigured member, making the thing even harder to look at without wincing.
There's a case made here for regulated capitalism and a condemnation of greed that are nice touches. It's hard to give them their due though once you've seen the Doctor smothered by a giant scrotum.
The scripted goofiness is a reaction to the Hinchcliffe era, and will be reacted against after Graham Williams is gone. This has Douglas Adams all over it, but it is, if we are honest, a bit much. Take the scene where the Doctor, having been shoved into the pit, pulls a book on climbing from his pocket, for example:
DOCTOR (aloud to himself): It's in Tibetan!It is, I think, a lovely comic mini-sketch. Tom Baker is brilliant in it. But we're twisting the narrative pretty hard to squeeze that bit of humor out of it. Ask yourself, does this work better as part of a story about the Doctor arriving on an alien world and attempting to liberate an imprisoned ambassador, or is it better suited to being a bit in a Children In Need special? Not saying the two are always mutually exclusive, nor that the line can't be toed, but if the answer is the latter, you're at risk of doing self-parody. But, don't be too quick to answer the latter, because I think you'll then find yourself in the company of the folks who were relieved when John Nathan-Turner came around to put an end to all the "undergraduate" humor and, in the process, run the series into the ground.
(The Doctor gets a second book from his pocket. Teach Yourself Tibetan.
DOCTOR (reading aloud): 'Pi-e pa-ha. Do not be afraid.'
(Something growls down below.)
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- Romana's imperiousness with the bandits is quite effective, and she's a knockout in that dress.
- K-9 is not voiced by John Leeson here and it hurts.
- There's an actor named Tim Munro in this one. If you're not also a Munro, this will be meaningless to you, I'm sure.
- The outcast astrologer, Organon, played by Geoffrey Bayldon, may ultimately be the best thing about this story ...
- Although Lady Adrasta is well-cast, and come to think of it, her vizier, Karela, has some scene stealing moments herself. All in all a pretty strong supporting cast of distinctive characters. (When it comes to the bandits, the case could be made for Torvin, at least, perhaps a little to distinctive.)
- The wolf weeds were a nice touch. The kind of simple creature effect the show can pull off.
- Wood and Miles in About Time make a pretty strong argument that this story could be seen as a reaction to Star Trek's "The Devil in the Dark."