Wednesday, 17 July 2013

The Time Monster

The Doctor prepares to track the Master.
‘The Time Monster’ was an interesting story. A lot of fun, a bit crazy and definitely non-sensical,  but an interesting idea that may or may not have worked. I’m still not sure. On the one hand as an audience member I had to suspend disbelief when looking at a man in a white bird suit apparently being the monster, and groaning at the name ‘Chronivore – eater of time’, and yet for much of it I enjoyed the absurdity.
Barry Letts the Producer often said he wanted science rooted in fact. Let’s be honest there was little to none of that in ‘The Time Monster’, which he co-penned with Robert Sloman who was credited with this story. I think it’s great that
Man in a white suit = monster???
Doctor Who had a story which had a little to do with time – such as the season opener in ‘Day of the Daleks’, but not a lot was made of it over these six episodes save for some things being brought forward in time to attack UNIT troops and the like. The plot again reads as the Master trying to control a being he could ultimately have no chance of controlling to give him the ultimate in power – which admittedly changes from story to story. Here it’s presumably power of all of time. He also tried to harness the Nestene, the doomsday weapon, the power of Azal and so forth.

The TARDIS full of salad bowls!
That aside, if you allow yourself into the world of this story it’s quite light-hearted despite the destruction of Atlantis and a couple of deaths. It moves at a decent pace, with the last two episodes set in Atlantis and features a lot of the TARDIS – both the Doctor’s and the Master’s, which we've seen precious little of since Doctor Who went into colour. Apparently no-one likes the salad bowl sets, except for me. I think they looked smashing and might yet decorate my TARDIS in such a design.
Delgado and George Cormack.
Moving on the cast is superb. Roger Delgado holds nothing back in this quintessential performance, whilst Jon Pertwee, Nicholas Courtney, John Levene and Katy Manning are clearly having a ball. The Doctor builds a device to interfere with the Master’s TARDIS out of forks, a wine bottle and tea leaves, whilst the Master drops a doodle-bug on Mike Yates. Benton outwits the Master ever so cunningly only to have the Master fool him even more simply. THEN Benton ends up a baby!
Ingrid Pitt.

Ingrid Pitt guest stars as Galeia, Queen of Atlantis, a city with a lot of topless men who are very very white. The guest cast is full of brilliant performances from George Cormack as Dalios to Wanda Moore as Doctor Ruth Ingram. We even have another character in the style of a useless bureaucrat in Doctor Percival, played by John Wyse.
A wonderful array of sets for Atlantis, essentially only appearing in the final two episodes, were contructed too and kudos to the team for that because they can’t have had much money for them. Unless they borrowed them from ‘I, Claudius’ ???
Look, it’s no classic, some could even say it’s so bad it’s good, but I think it’s a pretty enjoyable 6 part story.


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