The good news: it moves. The bad news: it’s The Dominators.
Sue: Nice porno title. I bet all the fans bought this DVD online. I can’t imagine a Doctor Who fan walking into a shop and asking for a copy of The Dominators.
Me: You’re not mixing with the right Doctor Who fans, love.
The episode begins with a Dominator spacecraft landing in a quarry on Dulkis.
Sue: This reminds me of Lost in Space a bit. A cheap version of Lost in Space, mind. When was this story broadcast?
Me: August 1968.
Sue: I’d have been playing cricket or tennis with my brother. Even if it was raining, I’d still have been outside. There’s no way I would have seen this when it was on.
Me: Count yourself lucky. This is my third time.
Do you really believe it was just a coincidence that I booked a holiday at the end of The Wheel in Space? I’ve been dreading this story for some time.
Me: It’s time to play ‘Spot the Soap Star’ again. Come on, you haven’t done this in weeks.
Sue: Oh, yes, it’s whatshisname from Crossroads. The posh manager with the fake tan. I’m getting very good at this.
Me: The actor or character’s name will earn you extra points.
Sue: Not a clue. Sorry. Oh my god, they’re wearing curtains! And she’s wearing a pair of net curtains!
Sue is, of course, referring to the Dulcians (with the emphasis on Dull).
Sue: They arrived in a giant lemon squeezer! This looks so amateurish. It’s actually painful to watch. The direction is terrible as well. You know, this would probably be more bearable as a recon. At least I could imagine what it would look like with a good director. This is just dreadful.
We discover that Cully is running illegal adventure tours to a radioactive island. Sounds like fun.
Sue: So, is this guy is Richard Branson on this planet? He looks like a bank manager. In a dress.
The Dominators, on the other hand, are as butch as they come.
Sue: They clearly hail from a planet where shoulder pads evolved into men. Was the costume designer on hallucinogenic drugs during the making of this story? How did this get off the drawing board? It looks so cheap. I thought they were supposed to have money at the beginning of a new season – this looks like they are scraping the bottom of the barrel already. And they really should iron that cloth backdrop – look at the creases!
And then Sue spots another Soap Star.
Sue: The other Dominator is Mad Michael Moon from EastEnders.
Actually, she does have a point…
The Doctor, Jamie and Zoe finally arrive on Dulkis but instead of frolicking on a beach they find themselves visiting the Museum of Death.
Sue: This must be the world’s most dangerous museum – they have live firearms for exhibits! This planet obviously hasn’t heard of Health and Safety. It’s a very draughty museum as well. I bet they don’t get many visitors.
The Doctor and Jamie leave Zoe with the Dulcians, so they can investigate reports of their TARDIS coming under threat from the Dominators.
Sue: I love the way Zoe can’t be bothered going back to the TARDIS with the Doctor and Jamie. The writers don’t even try to contrive a reason it. How lazy can you get?
Meanwhile, back in the quarry, Sue immediately spots an impostor.
Sue: Who the **** is that? Because it sure as hell isn’t Patrick Troughton!
And then, after twenty minutes of tantalising build-up, the Quarks are finally revealed in all their, um, glory.
Sue: It’s a bedside cabinet! A bedside cabinet with yet another electronic voice that I can barely understand. Great.
To say that Sue isn’t impressed with the latest pretender to the Daleks’ throne is something of an understatement. She’s still moaning about how silly the Quarks look when the credits are rolling.
Sue: Sheila Grant did the voices for the Quarks. I miss Brookside.top
Sue: Well, this isn’t camp at all, is it? We’ve just come back from Sitges but this planet makes Sitges look like Iran!
Jamie and the Doctor are captured by the Dominators and taken to their spaceship. Once inside, Jamie is subjected to a series of tests.
Sue: Are they going to insert an anal probe into Jamie? No wonder he looks terrified. Actually, this would be scary if it wasn’t so funny.
The Dominators write Jamie off as a dimwit, but before they can turn their attention to the Doctor, Rago and Toba engage in yet another blazing row about the need to conserve energy.
Sue: You can tell who wears the trousers in their relationship.
The Dominators attempt to determine whether the Doctor is capable of building an atomic bomb by setting him a simple puzzle. The Doctor fails on purpose, even though it means he will be administered with a painful electric shock every time he makes an error.
Sue: This is just like Camp X-Ray – with the emphasis on camp.
The Doctor manages to convince his captors that he is a harmless idiot and they leave him hanging around the Museum of Doom with Jamie.
Sue: If the Dominators are so evil, and without a shred of pity, why did they just let Jamie and the Doctor go like that? The Daleks would have exterminated or enslaved them without a second thought.
Me: The Dominators literally haven’t got the energy.
Sue: I know how they feel.
Zoe asks Cully where she can get a Dulcian dress from.
Sue: Why, Constessa Curtains, of course!
We’re still chuckling at that when the Dominators decide to unleash their Quarks on the Dulcian survey unit.
Sue: One of the Quarks isn’t even pointing at the target! Look at it!
The resultant explosion is very nice though.
Sue: That was painful. I can’t believe there are three episodes of this nonsense left.top
Nicol: It’s Mad Michael Moon.
Me: We’ve already done that gag, Nicol. Don’t you have any homework you should be doing?
Nicol: No, I just graduated with a first class Masters degree in Mathematics from a red brick university. I’m unemployed, remember?
Me: Oh yes. Well, why don’t you make your mother a nice cup of tea. This isn’t for the fainthearted.
Nicol: But it’s moving.
Sue: Trust me, love, this is much worse than any recon. It’s The Dominators.
Nicol: Right. Well, I’ll be upstairs applying for a job in Burger King if you need me.
Me: You know, it’s hard to believe that Crossroads wasn’t the worst thing to star Ronald Allen.
Sue: He looks older here than he does in Crossroads but I don’t think they had Botox back in the 70s. That is strange.
The Doctor tries to warn the Dulcians about the evil Dominators.
Sue: Stop calling them callous, pitiless monsters – THEY LET YOU GO! These so-called Dominators seem quite reasonable to me.
Sue continues to sigh and tut when a Quark appears on-screen.
Sue: Just push it over!
But the Dulcians are stupid pacifists and they are incapable of doing even that (“This is very anti-Hippie”); they prefer to sit on their backsides so they can talk about it endlessly instead.
Sue: This is just a typical meeting where nothing gets done. Oh look – it’s that bloke from Play Away. He looks and sounds like he’s trying to send up William Shatner. That’s nice.
The Doctor and Jamie are in a capsule that is taking them back to Zoe. When they realise that the Quarks will be there waiting for them, the Doctor tries to over-ride the capsule’s automatic pilot.
Sue: We all know what his piloting skills are like when he tries to fly the TARDIS.
Me: Don’t worry, this is far more primitive. He’s basically hot-wiring a taxi.
Sue: He’s making a right meal of it, whatever it is he’s doing.
Despite his best efforts, the Doctor is captured anyway. Jamie and Cully manage to hide out in the Museum of Detritus and the episode suddenly turns into a very bizarre level of Call of Duty. Jamie eventually manages to fire one of the museum’s laser gun exhibits and a Quark explodes magnificently.
Sue: I’m surprised that it isn’t full of socks.
Mad Michael Moon takes this development very badly and he vows to bring total destruction to the Museum of Partial Destruction. The Quarks attempt to comply with his order, but you can tell that their hearts aren’t really in it.
Sue: That’s not total destruction! They’ve just knocked a bit more of it down. That’s pathetic!top
It’s one of those very rare occasions where I have to coax Sue into continuing with this experiment. These moments don’t come along very often (it’s usually the other way around), and, to be fair, this is hard. Things are really busy at work for both of us at the moment and finding enough quality time to squeeze in some hot Dominator action is proving to be difficult.
Sue: Can’t we spice it up with a Spanish soundtrack or something?
Me: Well, we could watch this episode with the cast and crew commentary. It might -
Sue: Whatever. Let’s do it. Anything for a change of pace.
Sue immediately recognises the voice of the commentary’s moderator.
Sue: It’s Toby! Toby was kind enough to come to my birthday party a couple of weeks ago. He’s so lovely. I believe he may have been involved in some “Dad Dancing” at one point but I haven’t seen any documentary evidence for it yet.
When Frazer Hines regales us with his tale about the Quarks being unable to move “any quarker”, Sue decides that she can go one better.
Sue: They’re not exactly Quark Express!
Me: Oh, very funny.
Toby explains to Frazer and Wendy that he has recently watched all the Patrick Troughton stories in order. He describes the experience as “hefty”.
Sue: That’s one word you could use.
On-screen, Cully is looking up Jamie’s skirt. The commentators descend into hysterics and cheap jibes about Jamie’s manhood.
Sue: Is this what I sound like during every episode?
And then something terrible happens.
Sue: What did she just say? Ten episodes?! TEN EPISODES!?
Me: Don’t worry, it’s a very good story -
Sue: TEN EPISODES!!
And then the commentators decide that people dismiss black and white film and television far too easily.
Sue: I’m sorry, Toby, but you can’t compare The Dominators to Citizen Kane. You’re just being silly, now.
Me: Although, to be fair, they do mention Some Like It Hot; you could definitely make a case for that.
At one point, just after a giant walnut crushes a Quark to death, Wendy and Frazer discuss their plans for leaving the series with Patrick Troughton.
Sue: Is this the story where Patrick Troughton decided to quit? That would make a lot of sense.top
We revert back to the normal audio track for the final episode and we are treated to Rago and Tabo arguing again.
Sue: The easiest way to defeat a Dominator would be to tell him that he’s left his oven on. He’d be off like a shot.
Nicol enters the room and she is flummoxed by the first line of dialogue that she hears.
Nicol: How are they going to destroy a subatomic elementary particle?
Sue: Now it’s Jamie’s turn to look up Cully’s dress. You know, when I’ll think about The Dominators, I’ll just remember men looking up each other’s skirts.
Nicol: I don’t see why they’ve called them Quarks. Hang on. Yes, according to Wikipedia the particle was physically discovered in 1968. When was this made?
Sue: August 1968.
Nicol: Well, that explains it then. It could have been worse, they could have called them Bosons.
Me: Nicol, please go away – I don’t want you to see this. It’s embarrassing.
But Nicol isn’t listening. She’s too busy laughing at the Quarks.
Nicol: They look like they’re hugging themselves.
Sue: Hang on a minute, why can’t that Quark see Jamie standing behind it? I thought the spikes on their heads were eyes! I assumed they could see all around them. And now it turns out that their peripheral vision is just as bad as everybody else’s. Brilliant!
And then another row breaks out between Toba and Rago.
Sue: He’s going to start withholding sex if Mad Michael Moon doesn’t buck his ideas up soon. What makes this even more disturbing is that the Dominator from Crossroads looks a lot like Gary Glitter. That is not good.
The Doctor knocks up some anti-Quark explosives and Jamie and Cully start to take out the little fellas.
Sue: I still say that when a Quark explodes, you should be able to see underpants and socks strewn everywhere.
Cully and Jamie manage to lob a bomb into the drilling area itself.
Sue: In retrospect, maybe blowing up the drill would have been a better Plan A.
Jamie wonders whether the Quarks can climb up a hill after them.
Sue: Can Quarks climb? They can hardly move on flat ground! Do me a favour!
The Dominators drop their bomb. The Doctor catches it in his tunnel and then someone that we don’t recognise starts running with it like it’s a rugby ball.
Sue: Who the hell is THAT?
Me: It looks like they got Paul McCartney in to double for Pat Troughton. That can’t have been cheap.
The episode concludes with a large explosion, tut and sigh.
Sue: Bloody hell.top
The Final Score
Sue: Well, that was dreadful. Just dreadful.
Nicol: It was pretty bad.
Me: Shut up, Nicol. This has nothing to do with you.
Sue: Leave her alone. It’s not her fault we had to watch The Dominators. I would give it a big fat zero but since the Doctor is actually in this one I’ll give it -
I offer to show her the behind the scenes documentary on the DVD but she tells me that she “couldn’t care less who the **** Norman Ashby is”. Oh well.
Sue: That’s quite enough dominating for one night, thanks.
The experiment continues…top
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