Thursday, 26 September 2013


Trouble in paradise!
This one is regarded as a classic, and it’s not hard to see why. It’s a very strongly written, strongly directed story. It’s very very ‘tight’ – I think that’s the best word. We have the surprise return of the Cybermen  (God bless them for not putting ‘Cybermen’ in the actual title of the show), it has androids, a very pacey plot, and the death of Adric. Not only that, but as it was his last story, Saward gave Waterhouse a few things to do!
It's Beryl Reid!
Again, it’s not perfect and the plot does not make a lot of sense really. The first two episodes are basically all underground (the best underground/tunnels set the show has ever seen by the way) with androids apparently guarding a bomb. If the Cybermen wanted to blow up Earth, why would you bother guarding the bomb? Why wouldn’t you just blow the thing up once you’d put it in the right position?
Ok, they wanted to blow up a conference where different worlds were going to pool their resources to fight the Cybermen. Which in itself is a bit weak. Then it has a timing device? It gets armed by the Cybermen, hiding somehow thanks to one traitor on board, a freighter ship. Hmmmm. But then there’s a countdown. Why not just go bang?
It does seem a bit silly all up. The Doctor transport a whole lot of army-style dudes to the freighter via TARDIS which is hardly his style and again
exposes the TARDIS to any-ol dude. The Cybermen have been redesigned, in the most part it’s a very good job apart from the Ug-boots painted silver and the dodgy gloves. Their dialogue though is even sillier than in ‘Revenge of the Cybermen’ and they have a leader who says ‘excellent’ a lot and who apparently has met the Doctor before. Which seems unlikely at best.

Redesigned Cybermen.

But. The first episode builds up beautifully, it’s full of fear and menace and anticipation plus a wonderful reveal. Peter Grimwade is an excellent director, even if the actors were driven nuts by him. We have a sad farewell to Mathew Waterhouse as Adric. Did I like Adric? Not really. But that wasn’t the actor’s fault. He was always written as a whiny kid who kept stuffing up. That’s sadly exactly how the story starts too. But through the story the Doctor chills a bit and shows a bit of faith in Adric. It’s sad that his death was pointless, and the final scene in the TARDIS is very moving, although I wasn’t totally convinced by Janet Fielding’s crying. The silent credits were a nice touch.
The plot has not got a lot to it, but it just goes to show that you don’t need a convoluted plot to make a great four episodes of TV. The Cybermen want to destroy Earth. Basically, that’s it, isn’t it? They have a 15,000 strong army hidden in silos in a big ol’ space ship. Beryl Reid plays the Captain of the space freighter and apparently she’s not what Saward had in mind at all. But come on! This is the BBC in the 80s! I think she’s awesome!
There’s not much more to say. It has faults, and may be a little over-rated, but ‘Earthshock’ is undoubtedly a very tight story!
Adric's last moments.


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