‘The Krotons’ was a script held back for when a story fell through. In this slot was some bizarre story called ‘Prison in Space’ where the Doctor and Jamie were held prisoners by a clan of women. Extras on the DVD suggest it was going to be a bad story, and the director, David Maloney said he couldn’t direct the story that was eventually scrapped for ‘The Krotons’.
I don’t have a lot to say about ‘The Krotons’. It’s not very good to be fair. It’s two-dimensional with ludicrous robots as the main villains, with some very poor over-acting on the guest cast’s behalf. The design is a bit ho-hum and the story, frankly, is very limited.
Firstly, I don’t understand the world its set on. People live almost like cavemen and there appears to be one small village targeted by the Krotons, who never leave their machines. Are there other people on the planet? The Krotons have been there for 1000 years, subjugating the ‘Gonds’. Why don’t the Gonds just move somewhere else?
I couldn’t work out how the little village – a model shot – integrated with the learning hall, the main place in the village that things happened. I didn't get a real sense of their lives. The sets were ok, but it seemed that they were very limited in the number of sets they had. They never walked around the village on screen, we only saw inside the huts and the learning hall.
|Eelek (Philip Madoc)|
The exterior/filming work was better, but still the audience is given little indication where things are located to each other.
Patrick Troughton, Frazer Hines and Wendy Padbury are all brilliant in this story. They bring it up from being ridiculous to almost watchable! They play around with each other, the Doctor and Zoe compete on the learning machines against each other, Jamie is clueless a lot of the time which proves rather funny, they work brilliantly as a team together.
The guest cast do their best with some seriously two dimensional characters. The script does little for any of the characters. They appear purely functional. Eelek, played by Philip Madoc, seems hell bent in stirring up revolution and destruction, but why I don’t know. Then at the end, when the building looks like it will be destroyed as the Krotons take off, he runs away, and is never heard of again. His storyline isn’t vaguely resolved. The leader of the Gonds, Selris, played by James Copeland, is the most frustrating character who seems very over the top. He over-pronounces words, and I wonder if that’s from stage training – many actors of the time were principally stage actors. Selris’s death at the hands of the Krotons is not handled well by Moloney. He rushes into the Kroton craft, hands the Doctor a bottle of acid and then, after a pregnant pause, the Krotons disintegrate him.
Enough has been written and said by others on the Krotons themselves. They appear to wear a dress over their bottom halves. They are big robot square-shaped creatures with spinning heads and arms that can’t carry anything, let alone their huge weapons. The costumes for the Gonds, the people who live on this unnamed planet, are all the same for some reason with the exception of Selris’s costume. Plain and uniform like. That was very puzzling to me. On a positive note with the design, there is a hose-like snake creature with an eye on it that comes out of the learning hall wall which looks very sinister. I liked that.
All in all though, this is a pretty poor story in my eyes. I was happy it was only four parts.