“A delightfully unexpected afternoon.”
Well it won’t take up much of your afternoon and there’s very little that’s unexpected here.
For this is Black Orchid – a ripping yarn of bronchial brothers, lippy bookworms, smutty absentees and a child bride who’s passed around like a gold ball at a Telosian rugby match.
The Doctor plays the clown, Tegan cuts a rug, Nyssa finds her double and Adric eats double his body weight in finger food.
But who is the tweed-trousered killer who’s friends with an Amazonian Indian?
Could he possibly have any connection with Charles “not one of the Worcester Woosters” Cranleigh whose brother disappeared on an Amazonian expedition?
And who is the piratical prat with the badge for mathematical excellence?
Listen to find out…
“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.
“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.
“It’s not exactly dull travelling with the Doctor.”
Not normally, Tegan. Not normally…
But this is the season 19 closer, Time-Flight, in which the Doctor seems to be under heavy sedation, OmNyssia knows all the answers, Tegan remains an air hostess (not that she ever hints at this) and Adric is still dead (mercifully).
The Master is at large too, coercing a plane-full of extras into caressing an inner sanctum, wherein lies a battery crammed full of blokes and an orang-utan’s family jewels. He also finds time to co-ordinate a platoon of turd men, all while nursing a projectile cold.
But which passenger is Victor Foxtrot? Why is Concorde’s progress monitored from a broom cupboard? And why on (prehistoric) Earth is the Master cosplaying as the last Widow Twankey in the job centre, even when he’s on his Jack Jones?
Listen in to hear Jim, Martin and special guest Ian Atkins pick through the wreckage.
“The earth is hungry. It waits to eat. I can see them. They are the appetite beneath the ground.”
Mark Strickson now regrets snacking on Daz before shooting his key scenes in the 1984 comedy-woodlice fest, Frontios.
And these unrealistic bugs are not the only threat to our bespectacled cricketer, rabid schoolboy and Australian android from the Ministry of Silly Walks. No, there’s a meagre monarch, his gruff ‘no man’, an oaken Orderly and his whiskery chum from the Village People.
But help is at hand in the form of Mr Raaaaaange (science officer and prophet of doom), his comely daughter and, inadvertently, the chief snot-encrusted Tractator – a creature with a nose for a nonsensical plan.
But how offensive is a chicken* vol-au-vent (*other fillings are available)? More or less than an exploding hat-stand? And what is the colony leader doing in Joe 90’s egg whisk?
Jim and Martin struggle to answer these questions, while trying not to come to blows over the usage of fingers and tools.
Listen here for the whole sorry saga.