Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Black Orchid

When Nyssa met Anne
This is going to be a hard one to review. A short story at only two parts, ‘Black Orchid’ is almost ‘filler’ – they had 26 episodes for the series and JNT didn’t want to do six-parters, which in all fairness was a very good call. The last two broadcast six-parters were very slow drawn-out affairs. However, instead we get ‘Black Orchid’, a two-part purely historical story with a wobbly plot by a man whose attitude was ‘it’s only Doctor Who’.

Terrance Dudley’s ‘Four to Doomsday’ was okay, lacking a fair bit in action but okay. If they offered him a commission it seems he took it, he was a working writer after all. ‘Black Orchid’
Peter Davison plays a rather unconvincing shot to be honest.
struggles to fill out TWO parts though. I mean we have a cricket game taking up a good chunk of episode one, and episode two wastes time taking the Doctor and companions to the police station.
Why? Because the plot itself is one of those ‘what’s going on’ type plots. Once you piece together the shabby plot points and kill the protagonist there’s nothing left. Instead we get prolonged parties, dancing and Adric eating a lot of food. The companions become purely functional, even more so than they have been. Adric is superfluous to the plot again, and Tegan is just there to explain strange Earth traditions to the two alien companions. Nyssa gets a double, for some strange reason, and the Doctor spends 30 per cent of the story wandering secret corridors. It’s naff and boring.
Charleston time!
What tops the dreadful plotting off is Terrence  Dudley getting himself into a hole with the Doctor accused of murder. How does he prove his innocence? He blows his alien cover and shows the police the inside of the TARDIS! It’s not something ever done before and hopefully not again. It’s purely and simply a plot point. It’s dreadful, lazy writing from Dudley. At that point the story was completely lost to me.
Peter Davison points out in the commentary another plot hole where he tells everyone not to let George Cranleigh know he doesn’t have Anne (Nyssa’s double) on the roof, but in fact Nyssa.
The Doctor and Lady Cranleigh.
Then he goes up there and that’s the first thing HE tells the guy! George has been to South America and something bad happened to him and his features got distorted and he went mad and lost the ability to speak it seems. What a horrible caricature was presented on screen. And his own family kept him tied up on a bed all the time! I mean really. Please! Don’t ask an audience to buy this crap.
Can't fix your plotholes? Take everyone into the TARDIS.
Then the cricket scene. Apart from the one ball Peter Davison bowled on the stumps which took a wicket, it’s woefully directed. The shots must have been done in a hurry because it doesn’t look like real cricket at all. The ball moves so slowly, the shots that Davison hits would be lucky to get past cover, the catch he takes clearly did not come off a bat. It seems like they had ten minutes to shoot the cricket game shots and they had to make do.
They dialogue is mostly expositional, especially from Tegan. Grrrr. Bad. BAD. BAAAAAD.


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