Monday, 14 October 2013

Delta and the Bannermen

Don Henderson as Gavrok
I am lost for words. Questions arise after ‘Delta and the Bannermen’ such as, is it worse than ‘Time and the Rani’? I mean honestly, this three episodes is best forgotten as one of the laziest Doctor Who productions ever. Perhaps it is not quite the depths of McCoy’s first tale, not quite, but after a decent first episode this story descends into farce, and not the entertaining kind. In fact it is pretty boring and bad, with background music worse than ‘Paradise Towers’, by the same guy, Keff McCulloch.
I don’t mind the use of rock and roll music, and the location was rather
Burton rallies the troops.
nice, but this is the most lightweight Doctor Who story ever made, with a couple of shocking deaths thrown in for what reason I am not sure, maybe the writer, Malcolm Kohll, hoped people would take the story seriously if he murdered a bus load of tourists and then moved on quickly after a brief Mel scream.
It’s not fair to Bonnie Langford to go on about her screaming. She didn’t direct the thing or write the thing after all. Mel has a good positive energy ruined by her screaming at the most insignificant things. Delta starts off with a guest appearance by Ken Dodd, who later gets shot in the back by Gavrock (Don Henderson) who spends his time spitting and eating raw meat.

There are some awful examples of dialogue in this story. Sylvester McCoy struggles over a number of lines, but that’s not his fault, the lines are purely to explain plot points and Kohll and Cartmel clearly spent no time going over them and considering that people had to say the lines.
Who is Gavrock and the Bannermen? Who is Delta and the Chimerons? Why do we care? Oh, we don’t! I like comedy in Doctor Who, honestly I do, but season 24’s comedy is not funny,
Sara Griffiths with Sylvester McCoy
quirky or endearing, but smacks of true desperation. Whereas I felt that the director and design rather than the author were responsible for ‘Paradise Towers’ turning out far poorer than it could have been, here the issues start with the scripting, the lack of detail, the lack of strong character  writing(with a couple of exceptions, Burton (Richard Burton) is wonderful for example) and pure laziness.
The Doctor runs up to Goronwy (Hugh Lloyd, a wonderful veteran actor by the way) and says we need this and that and this, he’s never met
the guy before, Goronwy replies with, ‘Ok, come this way. I’m Goronwy by the way.’ Or something to that effect and simplicity. Huh? I mean come on that’s purely amateur stuff from Kohll and Cartmel should have been all over it like a rash. Ok, this season was cobbled together very quickly and maybe there just wasn’t time, but this is what is left for Doctor Who fans to watch FOREVER. They rehearsed this stuff too, surely the actors could have taken a few liberties.
Stubby Kaye and Morgan Deare make rather fine guest appearances, so that’s something, and I thought Ken Dodd was rather amusing too. The effects went from good to dreadful. The space ship landing on Earth looks like what it is – a cut out picture lowered to a spot on the picture. No doubt it was a shot that took little time and money to achieve, and I understand that these things were in short supply, but after seeing what was possible in the previous season, it is still very disappointing.
Stubby Kaye and Morgan Deare
We have a whole back story the writer and script editor decided was irrelevant. Why the ‘Bannermen’? Because they had a sort of banner on their back? Why would eating Chimeron food turn the very wooden Billy, involved in the second-least-convincing romance in Doctor Who history with Delta (also played in a very wooden way) into a Chimeron? It makes no sense at all. Clever ending by boosting the Chimeron Princess’s song to knock out the Bannermen, I liked that. And the last shot featuring Goronwy was good. Didn’t mind most of the first episode, although when the Doctor has to comfort Ray (Sara Griffiths) McCoy appears to have no idea what he should be doing.
It looks cheap at times, the story needed a lot of work on it, it’s lightweight fluff because they had 3 episodes to fill.


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