Thursday, 24 October 2013


The final story in the show’s first 26 years, before a break of seven years, is quite a good one written by Rona Munroe, one of a select group of women to have ever written for Doctor Who. When you look back through the first 26 years to find a female writer for Doctor Who is not easy. There’s Jane Baker, part of the husband and wife team, Barbara Clegg, there aren’t many others which is really disappointing. It could ask the question – is Doctor Who a male-only domain. Verity Lambert was the first producer, but again the only female in that role too. It is definitely disappointing.
Hale and Pace guest star,
Nevertheless, here’s a writer that created a story somewhat simpler than the other three in season 26, and that certainly didn’t harm the story. But it’s not that it’s not complex, just compared to ‘The Curse of Fenric’ it unravels in a far more straight forward way. Add the use of great music (Dominic Glynn) and special effects, great dialogue, the show finishes at least on a high.
It features the return of Anthony Ainley to the series as the Master, a more base and desperate Master, which worked rather well. He was certainly less camp than in the past which was obviously a good thing.
The Master's new look.
The use of modern (at the time obviously) Perivale as a location was great too. It’s very rare Doctor Who goes into domestic lives, if ever, but it did here. We go back and forth from the planet of the Cheetah people to Perivale.

I liked and was intrigued by the idea that the cheetah people were connected to their planet. I wanted to learn a bit more about that relationship and how it came about. The idea that the fighting would destroy the world, whilst literal in the sense of the storyline I think was also meant metaphorically to the human race (and I guess also a little literally as well, fighting will destroy the Earth).
Near the end we have a huge explosion on top of a hill as a supposed result of two bikes crashing into each other (when of course that never happened) and that looks great from the effects team. The cheetah-people costumes have copped a fair bit of criticism though from fans. I can see why in some respects, the heads, although the mouths move rather well, are bulky and fluffy and the actors couldn’t move smoothly in them like real cheetahs. To be honest I didn’t mind them and had a hard time picturing what else they could have done. I guess they expected them to be more human and less cheetah, but that would have aroused criticism as well I suspect.
26 years of Doctor Who, And I have got through it all since February! The only ‘cheat’ in all that time was watching the condensed versions of Marco Polo and Galaxy Four, although Galaxy Four was much closer to full length. Since then I have also seen Enemy of the World and Web of Fear, returned to the BBC recently in their entirety. It’s been a great ride, BUT it is not yet over. I think by the end of the year I can cover ever televised adventure, so it’s on to the TV movie next, and then the new series.

To see it all as a whole is interesting, in the order intended. In some ways the
final season of the show was really starting to produce some interesting television, however the stories were very complicated and I suspect the casual audience may at times have felt alienated and unable to follow. The show had its ups and downs through the years, but was strongest and most stable through the Pertwee and Tom Baker years. But most fans would say as much. The John Nathan-Turner Years, from season 18 through 26, had great highs and lows. Most seasons, save season 24, had at least one really
good story, but always there was dud or two where the production team dropped the ball. Now things change, budgets increase, and for a one-off movie, we head to America…

The Doctor and Ace walk off for the final time...

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