“What are you concealing from me, boy?”
Not enough, some might say, for this is Castrovalva – where Master Waterhouse introduces the innocent and unsuspecting viewer to “Little Matthew”.
But that’s not the only harrowing element of the Fifth Doctor’s first outing. The Time Lord himself is made incompetent (and incontinent?) by his regeneration but still gets to go on a self-propelling wheelchair and pulls off decent impressions of his former selves – and Basil Fawlty (the War Hotelier).
Tegan gets hot and bothered, Nyssa gets moist and, of course, Adric has a semi on, before they all meet
Chardonnay Shardovan and his sheep-in-wolf’s-clothing chums.
There’s a fly in the ointment, of course, and this one has a risible, raisable platform, a double-decker perspex top hat and a penchant for looking at boys on the dark web.
But does the new Doctor bowl Jim and Martin over? Or is he out first ball?
Find out here.
“Whatever blows can be sucked.”
Not The Creature From The Pit this time but a story which could be said, in American vernacular, both to ‘blow’ and to ‘suck’.
It’s Underworld – a production so maligned that even most of the sets refused to participate. A CSO mother lode in which Minyans are led by Minions, the proletariat dine on the very rock they mine and gravity does precisely whatever the hell it likes.
Meanwhile, Gwyneth Paltrow gets a drastic makeover, Mr Dors takes it lying down and Leela takes a fancy to a bit-part with a Rohypnol ray. Chuck in some deaf-blind guards, hordes of bored extras and some rather louche lift music and it really does feel like we’re descending to rock bottom.
So ‘the quest is the quest’ but will Jim and Martin see Underworld as a golden moment in Who mythology or will they end up feeling fleeced?
Listen in to find out.
“If anything happens, let me know.”
What do you get if you have two episodes to fill with no guest actors and no new sets?
Well in the weird world of Lime Grove 1964, you get The Edge of Destruction – a veritable cryptic crossword with clues from another, different cryptic crossword.
This is, of course, the one where Susan turns sinister scissor sister, Ian seems to have been at the TARDIS brown ale, the Doctor – even with a head wound – still wins Gallifrey’s Fastest Butler, and poor old Babs has to hold it all together, despite her pathological fear of Salvador Dali.
Even the Fornicator can’t help them as they try to discover what the heck is going on (and what the writer has been smoking) until, finally, the solution springs to mind.
So can Jim and Martin make sense of the sentient ship’s clues or will the story leave them on the edge of nervous destruction?
Find out here.
“I’ll turn the world we know into your enemy!”
Confusingly, this isn’t The Enemy of the World but in fact The Crusade – a swords and Saracens saga of identity theft, cross-dressing and honey traps.
The Doctor is courting intrigue, Ian is caught in a sticky situation and Vicki is caught out cosplaying. Meanwhile Barbara and Princess Joanna are treated like sacks of flour and El Akir should surely be sacked for abusing his Emir’s position – not to mention his long-suffering staff.
There’s also room for the sage Saladin, the smitten Saphadin and the Unscrupulous Hulk, not to mention some stereotyped light-fingered locals.
So do Jim and Martin see The Crusade as a glorious victory or as successful as one of King Richard’s hunting trips?
Find out here.
“She tipped the ambassador into a pit and threw astrologers at him.”
Public Notice: Beware of low-flying Russell Grants.
What else could this be but 1979’s The Creature From The Pit?
It’s a somewhat green-tinged tale about an enormous slug who, despite being chucked down a pit and starved, still seems very pleased to see us. He shares the dank depths with Catweazle’s charlatan cousin but they’re soon joined by a somewhat over-stretched stuntman, a sweaty Doctor, a haughty Romana and a tin dog in the middle of an identity crisis.
Bad enough you might think but they also have to contend with a matriarch with magpie tendencies, Poundshop Fagin and his cronies and a conniving old crone. The addition of the whip-cracking Captain Camp and his homicidal sprouts just makes things even worse.
But did Jim and Martin fall for the Pit and its attendant charms or were they left green about the gills? Listen here to find out.
“I shouldn’t be down here at all, really. Driver, I am. See?”
Yes, perhaps it would be better if you were absent, Evans. You certainly drive everyone up the wall.
But the Welsh wimp is not the only peril in the London Underground in 1968’s The Web of Fear. The slimmer-line Yeti now sling more web than Spidey, Professor Travers is now an old duffer cum Yeti whisperer, Harold Chorley is the obsequious and unacceptable face of the gutter press and somewhere a filthy traitor is at work…
Luckily, Colonel Lethbridge-Stewart is at hand, with his ever-shrinking batallion, while Ann Travers proves adept at rebuffing both amorous advances and unwelcome interviews and, somehow, finds time to smile at a rampaging Yeti.
Meanwhile, the Doctor is delighted by one of his balls, Jamie hides in a bin and Victoria drops an unidentified lanyarded object.
So is the return of this once-lost story a cause for celebration or should it have been left in the cobwebs? Listen here to find out what Jim and Martin think.
“Rondel – intergalactic region devoid of all stellar activity”
So how come it feels like we’ve gone on location to Rondel, rather than Amsterdam? There’s certainly a lack of activity in Arc of Infinity – and a less than stellar cast, if it comes to that.
But at least we have a trigger-happy Nyssa, a new look (but, alas, same personality) Tegan and a Doctor who seems to be staining his whites with more than grass. And they’re up against a naughty, helium-powered Time Lord, a swarfega-spewing ‘mystery’ renegade and something which appears to have crawled out of Colonel Sanders’ bin.
Couple that with a pair of berks who give backpackers (and indeed bipeds) a bad name and a strangely familiar guard captain, who is the bottom of everybody’s favourites list, and you have an uneven start to an anniversary season.
So do Jim and Martin see this story a delicious Edam or a Dutch oven? Listen here to find out.