‘Meglos’ is a very odd story. It’s not very original. There’s a mysterious power source that can destroy planets. It’s a bit like ‘Colony in Space’s’ doomsday weapon. There’s a dopple-ganger, a guest appearance by Barbara Wring herself (Jacqueline Hill), a strange jungle and so utterly woeful CSO. There’s a random human character used to the give Meglos form, but the form of the Doctor. There is a bit of humour, in the form of incredibly stupid characters, and a general mocking of religion in general.
|The Doctor? NO! It's Meglos!|
Again the story under-runs overall by a whopping 13 minutes too. Yet the ending appears rushed. There are some nice ideas in the story amongst it all, and interesting plot devices including trapping the Doctor, K-9 and Romana in a time loop, and they have to ‘throw it out of phase’ to break free. Which doesn’t make a lot of sense but they had to get out of it somehow.
|Tom and Lalla try to get out of the timeloop.|
Let’s start with the CSO. JNT wanted to make the show appear ‘less cheap’ when he took over, but after two stories has failed dismally. CSO has by this time been used in Doctor Who for a good decade, yet they can’t get it right. Feet disappear, hair looks strange, there’s a clear outline around the people… it’s shocking. In no way could the audience believe the actors are where they are supposed to be. And there-in lies the real problem of CSO, it’s destroys all suspension of disbelief.
I like the idea of a cactus being the main villain. A talk cactus? Pretty cool all said. And they didn’t make the mistake of trying to make it move about at all. What really irks me about this story is the Dodecahedron. It is some mystical object that came to Tigella one day a long time ago and powers their city. Not only that, it is worshipped as a gift from the God Ti. It defies all plausibility. The followers of Ti and worshippers of the Dodecahedron are led by Lexa (Jacqueline Hill), and they all wear robes and have chants and it’s pretty appalling really. Jacqueline Hill is committed and wonderful I should add, it’s not her fault that it’s all so stupid.
She meets her doom after she’s been convinced the Doctor is telling the truth (after she tried to sacrifice him in a Batman-esque scene). An almost dead pirate takes a pot shot at Romana as he dies near the entrance, and she jumps in front of Romana to save her. It was really pointless strange death. It added nothing to the script at all. I don’t understand why the authors – John Flanagan and Andrew McCulloch killed her off. It just seemed cruel frankly.
|Grugger and Brotodac.|
It’s four episodes in which you wonder what happened. No-one gets to Tigella until episode two, Romana leads the pirates around and around in circles, people are confused as to who is the real Doctor and finally the Doctor turns the weapon in on itself.
The design is interesting, quite 80s. The costumes in particular, which sees normal Tigellans all where the same white wigs. What was that. It is visually far more interesting than ‘The Leisure Hive’ though. Lots of purples and greens in the jungle. The music is very similar to the previous story, but thankfully toned down considerably.
The biggest positive of this adventure is Tom Baker playing the Doctor and Meglos, which he takes in his stride and does a fantastic job of. Sadly we really only get one scene with the two of them together. The cactus effect on the skin of Meglos, played by Tom, looks very good too. But alas, there wasn’t a hell of a lot to hold my interest.