“I’m not a mountain goat and I prefer walking to any day. And I hate climbing.”
If you think Steven Moffat era Doctor Who taxes the mind, imagine being part of the 1965 audience and having to decode anagrams of the scripted lines on the fly.
And the mind is boggled in many other ways by The Time Meddler. How can an 11th Century monk have a wristwatch, electric stove and gramophone? Has the BBC lost the plot? Has Dennis Spooner been hot-spooning? Or perhaps the pee-drenched padre is to blame and thus a legitimate target of the (extremely) long arm of Doctor Tickle.
Our eponymous hero and visiting Vikings alike get merry on mead from Hur indoors, while Vicki suffers sexism from Steven, the new companion who likes to attack first and ask (too many) questions later. And then not believe any of the answers.
Will the groat ever drop for Steven? Will he find the bovine astronaut he seeks? What do you do if your TARDIS is smaller on the inside? Whose beard is camping out on Eldred’s face?
And did Jim and Martin delight in this first ever pseudo-historical or do they disapprove of all this time meddling?
Find out here.
“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.
“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.
“Let’s hope the piano knows it.”
Merely false modesty from virtuoso ivory ticklers Steven “Regret” Taylor and Dodo “Dodo” Chaplet as we soon discover in the horse-flop flecked epic, The Gunfighters.
The Doctor (“Caligari”) has a busted tooth extracted but that isn’t the only malfunctioning thing coming out of anyone’s mouths in this one… no siree! For accents shuttle back and forth across the Atlantic like speeding bullets, often more Tottenham than Tombstone.
But can our Doc and his fellow “thesbians” survive the crossfire between the more whiskery (whiskey-ery?) Doc and the Clantons?
Is Charlie the Barman related to Ghostlight’s Nimrod?
And is it possible to have a song entirely bleached from one’s mind? And, if so, where does Jim sign?
So stop right there stranger an’ take a listen to this here podcast to find out the answers. To some other questions.
NB: Our thanks to Keeper1st on YouTube for the basis of the accompaniment for the song at the top of the episode. No thanks whatsoever to Jim for the “singing” though.
“This game of hide and seek through time is wearing a little thin now.”
We couldn’t have put it better ourselves, Chesterfield.
Yes, it’s the 1965 Dalek story The Chase we’re talking about. A tale of bagpipe creatures, a highly annoying hayseed, living vegetation (gasp!), under-utilised plungers and a space pilot with a panda fetish.
The Doctor encounters a robot look-unlike, Ian dad-dances, Babs plays cowboys and Indians and Vicki laughs like a loon.
The Daleks are no more impressive, hoisting their skirts and staggering through the six episodes in a quagmire of coughing, nonsensical chanting and painfully slow mental arithmetic.
Jim and Martin search for some meaning to it all but do they find it?
Listen here to find out.
“The events will happen, just as they are written. I’m afraid so and we can’t stem the tide. But at least we can stop being carried away with the flood!”
And there’s a veritable flood of unexpected stars in the Season One closer, The Reign of Terror.
Rowan Atkinson captures the younger three-quarters of the TARDIS team, while Jonny Vegas bangs them up. Bill Murray busts them out only for Ian to nearly come a cropper at the hands of Rentaghost’s Mr Meaker, who himself has another bust in mind when it comes to Babs.
And an extra gets his moment in the sun too – quite literally – as William Hartnell’s Lime Grove-inspired agoraphobia prevents him from indulging in a spot of location filming.
The first Doctor’s old body may already be wearing thin after walking all the way to Paris but he looks as robust as Charles Atlas next to his galactically feeble granddaughter Susan, who does more to imperil the time travellers than either First Deputy Robespierre or the last-past-the-post Traitor Party.
But even in 1794 or 1964, nothing is black and white, so who’s right and who’s wrong? Robespierre or Renan? Barbara or Ian? Jim or Martin?
Listen and decide…