Sunday, 15 September 2013

The Horns of Nimon

Another ‘not-so-well-regarded’ story from season 17, I actually enjoyed this one too, as I did ‘Nightmare of Eden’. Sure, it’s not perfect and the monsters look twice as ridiculous as the Mandrels, but it still encompassed some great ideas and was a lot of fun.
The Nimon, based seemingly on the Minotaur, are a half-human half-bull type creature. The Heads are huge and look very heavy on the actors, with no practical way of showing that they are communicating – no mouths to speak of for example. Then from the neck down the actors are just men in black tights. And thus we probably have the main problem with the episode.
The Doctor and Romana arrive on the old ship.
Also, money seems to have been running out by this story. Not to an ‘Underworld’ extent, but the sets and the amount of extras seems somewhat limited. The idea that Skonos is an entire planet is not well conveyed. We don’t see any female Skonons which asks the audience how they reproduce. They have very fancy, yet black uniforms. Then we have Soldeed, a character of much conjecture in Who circles, played by the larger-than-life Graham Crowden.
Look, I rather enjoyed the performance as I did the character Trist in the previous story. Yes, Crowden does ham it up, but he puts everything into it. Always prefer overacting to underacting.
Graham Crowden and the Nimon.
The screen is not big enough for him! We have the ‘complex’ in which the Nimon lives. A maze where the walls move about and change location, making it very hard to escape. Why? Because it’s a giant circuit! What a great idea. Anthony Read is the writer behind the story, and with a little addition from Douglas Adams the script is pretty good.
Malcolm Terris as the delightfully OTT co-pilot.
We have the guard in the first (and second) episodes who is suddenly in charge of the space ship coming from Aneth to Skonos with the tribute to the Nimon when the Pilot is killed. Another wonderfully angry and over the top performance by the actor Malcolm Terris, who spends most of the time yelling ‘weakling scum!’ at the Anethans.
The Nimon go from planet to planet sucking it dry of everything is has, like parasites in a way. It’s a very grand concept which perhaps doesn’t come across as well as it could have, thanks mostly to budget. All the technology in the Nimon’s lab is very of the time, presumably they just had to grab whatever they could find about the place. I like the egg capsules though!
Tom Baker and Lalla Ward (wearing a very fetching outfit which looks akin to a riding outfit) add much needed gravitas to the story, even
with some comic moments that clearly went too far in the first two episodes. The Doctor’s contraption connected to the TARDIS console goes BANG at one point, and is accompanied by a series of whizzes and pops (sound effects) which are genuinely out of place and played for laughs. It’s funny, but probably a bit much. As is the Doctor pulling a badge/ribbon out of his pocket for K-9. But nevertheless Tom appears to be enjoying himself, and so does Lalla and Graham Crowden.

A bunch of Nimon.

It’s a pity that the budget didn’t exist to make this something really spectacular. I think Anthony Read had a grand design in mind when he wrote it, and if that could have been reflected better in the production this would have been much more highly regarded in fan circles today.


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