“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.
“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.
“Oh, how very embarrassing!”
That’s what the unsuspecting viewer probably said in 1973 when the so-called “large and savage reptile” hoved into view at the top of the Ogron quarry. If only there’d been enough budget to show more than its dangly bits…
But close your eyes for those couple of seconds and Frontier in Space will reward you with many riches. For where else can you find the third Doctor in hoisty judo slacks, Jo in platform baseball boots and Delgado’s Master in a Dracula-collared PVC number with Dalek logo?
And where else could you observe, in one story, twitchy Earth folk, noble Draconians, monumentally thick Ogrons and a stir crazy TARDIS team, who are in and out of prison more often than Mr Mackay?
But does Frontier in Space go where no Drashig has gone before? Or does it outstay its welcome like a Draconian at a UKIP rally?
Listen here to find out what Jim and Martin made of it all.
“Well now, it seems I have been here before.”
You have: Planet of Evil. Well… only up to a point.
Sure the red-outlined empty creatures from the id are here again but this time they have Tom Baker’s distinctive fizzog. As does the local equivalent of Mount Rushmore (although the DVD cover features someone else entirely, for some reason…).
cheap terrifying invisible monsters are causing a rumble in the jungle again, but this time they’re accompanied by sultry space savage turned stowaway, a shape-throwing shaman whose hat fits like a glove, a chieftain who’s just been Tango’d, and the campest IT support team ever seen. Throw in a computer with more voices than Rob Culshaw and you have one of the most bonkers bouillabaisses of the Baker era.
Martin reveals he’s a Horda hoarder and Jim displays a positively Luddite awareness of current technological thinking, but do they like The Face of Evil? Or do they turn their own, even more reviled countenances away in disgust?
Listen to find out…
“I rather fancy that’s settled that little bit of solution.”
OK, that’s Billy going way off piste again but six-part saga The Sensorites is all about solutions.
A remarkably serene Susan is the solution to an impasse on a spaceship, the devious Doctor finds the solution to a municipal malaise and the unlucky Ian drinks a solution which may well have previously passed through half a dozen Sensorites.
These frisbee-footed, central-hearted denizens of the Sense-Sphere are a strange bunch. Even without eyelids, they seem blinkered to everything that’s going on. And, ill-equipped as they are for darkness, noise and identity parades, they’re hardly the stuff of nightmares, so the late arrival of some subterranean soap-dodgers brings some welcome menace to proceedings.
So is this story as soporific as fan wisdom would have you believe? Well pack some fruit and (clean) water, strap yourselves in and prepare for the long haul and as Jim and Martin slowly sense the solution to that question.