Wednesday, 24 July 2013

The Time Warrior

Greeted by new credits
The season-opener for Season 11 is really a wonderful piece of writing, with some fantastic performances from the guest cast. It’s a fun romp, with a wonderful humorous  edge. Whilst Robert Holmes introduces the Sontarans, a potato-headed warrior race, the real stars of the show are the characters he wrote so beautifully in Irongron and Bloodaxe, portrayed by David Daker and John J. Carney. As a pair they are simply very funny, and work brilliantly off each other. There is something very funny about seeing two stupid people in positions of power.

Irongron (left) with Bloodaxe.
For Example: Bloodaxe (to Irongron): Indeed yours is a towering intelligence.

Then we have Professor Rubeish, played by Donald Pelmear.  A doddering old scientist blind without his glasses who potters along for the whole story like he’s invisible to Linx, the Sontaran, played by Kevin Lindsay, holding up a piece of glass he fashioned into a spectacle. Linx looks great, the mask is well proportioned to the actor’s face, and they cast exactly the right man for the job in my opinion. We only see his face sparingly too, the director has avoided revealing too much of his chief-villain.
Kevin Lidsay as the lovely Linx.
However, the end of episode one is extremely contrived. The Doctor is hiding in the castle behind a wagon or something, and Linx strolls out, and takes his helmet off so we can see his ugly features. There’s no good reason for him to do so unless he was desperate for air I guess.
Elizabeth Sladen as Sarah Jane Smith.
Now, we have a new character as well, a new ‘companion’ for the Doctor when she sneaks aboard the TARDIS as the Doctor sets course for medieval England, Sarah Jane Smith. Quite a departure from Jo Grant, Sarah is very aggressive and in fact thinks the Doctor is responsible for the missing scientists for a time. Played by the late Elizabeth Sladen, Sarah is very good in this story, making a strong debut, organising attacks on Irongron’s castle, kidnapping the Doctor and the like.

Eventually she realises the Doctor is on the side of good of course, and helps him out. She helps the rather helpless Edward of Wessex (Alan Rowe), who is attacked by Irongron and fears for his castle and lands.

personal favourite: Bloodaxe
What is strange is that Irongron and his band of men with questionable intelligence don’t seem to be very good at hunting, instead preferring to capture castles, stay there until all the food and drink has been consumed and move to the next castle. Not really sure what the ultimate aim is.
Linx and Irongron plot together.
It’s a nice, compact four-part story. The DVD release includes some new CGI effects, which is a good thing because to be frank the effects in the original telecast version are all a bit rubbish, especially the exploding castle at the end. Robert Holmes was apparently reluctant to write a story in an historical setting, however ‘The Time Warrior’ proves that mixed with science fiction elements, an historical setting is a great place to set a Doctor Who story.


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