Sue: Is there any particular reason why this is in black and white?
Me: Yes, it was specifically done to annoy you.
Sue: Can’t they colour it in or something?
Me: That would be ridiculous, and almost certainly impossible. Anyway, this story looks better in black and white.
Sue: So why is the Doctor’s license plate ‘WHO 1’? Surely it should be ‘WHO 3’.
Me: Or ‘WHO TORY’. Your observations on the Third Doctor’s politics have caused quite a stir. You’re the new Paul Cornell.
The Doctor and Jo arrive at Stangmoor Prison.
Sue: Is this going to be Porridge meets Doctor Who?
Stangmoor’s prisoners are in a very rowdy mood.
Sue: Great. Another ridiculously loud location. I have a headache already. Are we actually supposed to hear the dialogue in this scene, Neil? Because I can’t.
We are introduced to a hardened criminal called Barnham.
Sue: It’s Vinnie Jones meets Marty Feldman.
The Doctor and Jo take their seats for a scientific demonstration.
Sue: Was the Doctor supposed to flap his coat into that extra’s face just then? Is it because the Doctor is an arrogant, pompous twat these days?
As Professor Kettering explains the Keller Process to the assembled onlookers, the Doctor chips in with some awfully snide remarks.
Sue: There’s nothing worse than giving a lecture when there’s a smart arse in the audience who’s interrupting you.
Me: That’s just an average Thursday for me.
The Keller machine can extract evil thoughts from a person.
Sue: Does it blow-dry their hair at the same time?
As Barnham is attached to the machine, Sue doesn’t have a problem with the concept.
Sue: It sounds alright to me. If it works, of course. I’m guessing that it won’t, though.
Me: There would be five extraordinarily dull episodes left if it did work.
Sue: As opposed to five ordinarily dull episodes, you mean?
Me: Oh look, it’s Mr Bronson…
Sue: He’s well after my time, love. I was busy getting married while you were sat at home watching Grange Hill.
Meanwhile UNIT are planning to throw a nuclear weapon into the sea.
Sue: Oh no, not Mike Yates again!
And then, a little later…
Sue: Oh no, not mind control again! Surely they could come up with something new? Just for one week?
The Doctor is so infuriated by the authorities’ reluctance to destroy the Keller machine, he lets his age slip out.
Sue: So is the Doctor several thousand years old or what? He didn’t look like he was lying when he said it, he looked like he said it by mistake. Oh, I don’t care. Life’s too short as it is. Forget I even asked.
The Doctor sends everyone away so he can examine the machine.
Me: What would the machine make you see, Sue? What scares you?
Sue: I’m not scared of anything.
Me: There must be something that terrifies you.
Sue: Bad carpentry.
Me: Killed by splinters, eh? Nasty.
The machine turns itself on.
Sue: Will the Doctor see the Master?
The Doctor is engulfed by flames.
Sue: Oh, that makes sense. He saw a planet burn a couple of weeks ago.
Me: So what do you think of it so far?
Sue: I’ve seen worse.
Sue: You never see the Doctor scared like this. It’s unsettling.
Jo enters the room and the Keller machine deactivates itself.
Sue: That’s the second time Jo’s saved the Doctor’s life. Not that I’m keeping score or anything.
The Doctor is visibly shaken by the experience.
Sue: He’s actually mentioning that story from the other week, now. I’m glad because it proves that he feels bad about leaving all those people to die.
The Doctor is convinced that the authorities will have to destroy the Keller machine.
Sue: Why doesn’t he just push the machine over? You know, accidentally on purpose. He could pretend to stumble into it and put his foot through the damn thing at the same time. If it’s that bad, what’s he waiting for?
Meanwhile a telephone engineer is acting suspiciously outside the peace conference.
Sue: Is this guy hacking into the phones? Is he a journalist?
His work done, the telephone engineer retires to his shelter.
Sue: Whatever happened to those stripy tents? You never see them by the side of the road any more.
Me: Ditto for white dog poo.
Sue: (Pointing) Oh, it’s the Master! So soon? I wasn’t expecting that. Is the Master obsessed with telephones? Do all his plans involve telephones? Didn’t John Simm do something with the telephones?
The Master ends up in a limousine, puffing on a fat cigar.
Sue: He looks like a right banker. And this is the Doctor’s fault, yes? The only reason the Master is dicking around on Earth is because the Doctor trapped him here. He’d probably be off annoying the Daleks or the Cybermen if it wasn’t for the Doctor’s meddling.
When the Doctor is introduced to the Chinese delegate, he claims to be a friend of Mao Zedong.
Sue: This Doctor is such a name-dropping luvvie.
Me: He’ll be claiming he was Stalin’s golf partner next.
The Master hypnotises Chin Lee into carrying out his nefarious plans.
Sue: The Master is basically Derren Brown, but with more hair. I like him.
She’s also a big fan of Mailer.
Sue: It’s like we’re watching The Sweeney when he struts about the place. Can’t he be the Master’s regular companion? The sets are top-notch in this story, too. It looks like a real prison. In fact, the only reason I know it isn’t a real prison is because they’re shooting this on videotape.
The episode concludes with the American delegate believing that Chin Lee has transformed into a red dragon. Well, we assume it’s red. It could be pink for all we know.
Sue: They’ve just turned up the racism to 11.
Sue: It’s a very dodgy monster – on lots of levels. And that was the worst pretend-faint I’ve ever seen. Pathetic!
Meanwhile Benton and Yates are parading around in front of a blow-up photograph of a missile.
Sue: The chroma is atrocious. It looks cheap. And I bet it looked even worse in colour.
Sue begins to question the wisdom of hosting a peace conference when you’re trying to dispose of a top-secret nuclear weapon at the same time.
Sue: The Brigadier is completely shagged out this week. He needs a lie-down. I’m worried about him.
Mailer begins to throw his weight around Stangmoor.
Sue: This bloke is rough. It’s as if he’s walked into the wrong programme or something.
But Mailer isn’t so tough; Jo manages to disarm him and a riot breaks out.
Sue: You go, girl! Jo isn’t as stupid as she looks. She has this tomboy thing going on, as well. Plus I really like her cords.
Meanwhile the Master is enjoying some exceptionally odd music in his car.
Sue: Is he listening to Dudley Simpson FM?
The Master strolls into the prison under the guise of Professor Keller, and it doesn’t take him long to take over the place with the help of Mailer.
Sue: I told you he was rough! He just shot that guy in the back!
The Doctor is taken to see the Master, but when the Time Lord’s chair spins around to face him, Sue sighs with disappointment.
Sue: He really needs a cat.
The Master hooks the Doctor up to the Keller machine, and I have to rewind the episode several times so Sue can spot all the monsters.
Sue: Daleks… Cybermen… Ice Warriors…
Sue: I don’t recognise the rest.
Me: Try again.
Sue: A grasshopper? No, wait – is that a Zarbi? A Zarbi?! Why is he frightened of the ****ing Zarbi?!
Sue: It looks like a flying box. I’m sorry but I haven’t a clue.
Me: It’s a War Machine.
Sue: A War Machine? **** off!
The Master rescues the Doctor from the Keller machine.
Sue: Has the Master changed his mind again? He never thinks it through, does he? That’s a bit crap.
And then Sue makes a very pertinent point.
Sue: Where did the Master get this alien machine thing from in the first place? If he’s stuck on Earth, where did he find it? Did he buy it on an intergalactic version of eBay?
Sue deduces that the Doctor is the Master’s greatest fear just before it happens.
Sue: It was either the Doctor or the Autons. It wasn’t that hard to guess.
The Master struggles to withstand the machine’s power.
Sue: Why doesn’t he just pull the bloody plug out?
The Doctor is in a bad way. One of his hearts has given out and he’s drifting in and out of consciousness.
Sue: The Third Doctor likes his comas, doesn’t he? He’s a very sickly Doctor so far.
Me: If this was made in the Troughton era, he’d probably go on holiday for a week.
Sue: That was a nice dissolve between the Doctor’s face and the Master’s. I can see what they’re trying to do there. Nice.
The Master plans to steal the Thunderbolt missile with an army of escaped convicts.
Sue: The extras are reacting to the news that they’re going to steal a nuclear weapon like they’ve just been told that they’re spending the day at Alton Towers.
Having said that, when the Thunderbolt’s convoy is eventually ambushed by the villains, Sue is seriously impressed.
Sue: The stunts are great. Hang on, here comes Mike Yates to spoil it. Oh dear.
Me: I like the way his feet skid when he comes to an abrupt halt. That warrants a comedy cartoon sound effect.
Sue: Yates always takes the grit out of a scene. I’m not sure if he’s a comment on how upper-class twits are completely useless but still manage to rise to the top, or it’s just bad casting.
Yates miraculously avoids being shot in the head, which means he’s able to give chase on his motorcycle.
Sue: He’s not exactly Steve McQueen. In fact, he’s more like Frank Spencer in Some Mothers Do Have ‘Em.
Benton tells the Brigadier that the bad guys are driving a Black Maria.
Sue: (Wistfully) You never see Black Marias any more.
Me: They’ve gone the same way as stripy tents and white dog poo.
Sue: Is the Keller Machine a mini-TARDIS? It definitely sounds like one, only it looks like a policeman’s helmet instead of a police telephone box. And now it’s taking off! See, it is a TARDIS! I was right!
And then the Keller machine attacks the Doctor. Again.
Sue: I’m not sure how I feel about this story. Some of it’s very good, and some of it’s utter shit.
Sue: The more I look at it, the more convinced I am that this was a terrible idea for a monster. A box with a helmet stuck on a tube? Terrifying.
The Brigadier prepares to lead an assault on the prison.
Sue: Aww, God bless Benton for discharging himself from hospital. He’s so keen. I’m really warming to Benton. He’s so much better than Yates.
The Master realises that his machine is completely out of control. In fact, things are so bad he turns to the Doctor for help.
Sue: The Master is a rubbish villain. He’s supposed to be the Doctor’s arch-enemy and yet he talks to him like he’s an old pal. And it’s pathetic when he has to ask for help when his evil schemes go pear shaped. He’s rubbish.
As the Doctor tries to pacify the alien machine, he’s attacked by his greatest fears once again.
Sue: And now he’s afraid of Silurians. I thought he was friends with the Silurians?
Later, as he recovers from another psychic assault, the Doctor regales Jo with a tale about Sir Walter Raleigh and a potato (or in other words, utter bollocks).
Sue: He’s name-dropping again. The padding in this story is shameless.
Meanwhile the Brigadier passes himself off as a working class oik so he can gain access to the prison.
Sue: Cor blimey, guv’nor! I must say, though, this is a lovely prison. The foliage is very pretty. I could definitely live in a place like this.
UNIT go on the attack.
Sue: At last – there’s our obligatory shot of a stuntman falling off a tall ledge. I was beginning to worry.
UNIT aren’t taking any prisoners. Literally.
Sue: UNIT are pretty vicious when they want to be. They definitely have a shoot-to-kill policy.
The death toll is mounting.
Sue: When does Doctor Who become a children’s television show again? This is more like Straw Dogs.
Mailer pulls a gun on the Doctor… Bang! Cue credits.
Sue: The Brigadier shot the bad guy. I bet you any money.
Sue: They’re so pleased with last week’s stunts, they’re showing them again this week. Not that you can blame them.
The Brigadier shoots Mailer in the nick of time.
Me: You were right, love.
Sue: Great cut, though. Very nicely done.
The Brigadier believes that he’s sown everything up, so a dressing down from the Doctor is the last thing he expects.
Sue: The Doctor is such an ungrateful dick. The Brig just saved your life, you git!
It’s at this point Barnham decides to wander back into the plot.
Sue: I know where I recognise him from now. He’s Jaws in the James Bond films, right?
Jo is very protective of Barnham so she rushes off to find him some food.
Sue: I hope Jo doesn’t give him some porridge, because that would be heartless.
The Keller machine breaks free of its electronic lasso.
Sue: This scene is making me seasick.
And it isn’t long before the machine is on the rampage again, but when Barnham enters the room it powers down.
Sue: I’ve got it! Just think about nice things! Think about fluffy kittens and you’ll be fine!
Her theory is backed up by the Doctor.
Sue: This means the Doctor and Jo must have had evil thoughts. I can believe that of the Doctor, but not Jo. And the machine seemed to be feasting on the Doctor’s evil thoughts, which is quite interesting too.
The Master telephones the Doctor so he can gloat about his plan to trigger World War III.
Sue: The Master’s plan is crap! He’s insane!
The Doctor sets out to stop his arch-nemesis with some good old-fashioned Venusian karate.
Sue: I bet he wears Hai Karate aftershave, as well.
The Master’s plan is foiled, but Barnham is killed in the process. Jo is devastated.
Sue: Poor Jo.
Me: Wait until she finds out Barnham was a convicted paedophile.
The Doctor tells Jo to stop feeling sorry for herself. In fact, he tells her she should be feeling sorry for him instead!
Sue: Good grief!
The story concludes with the Master threatening the Doctor over the telephone.
Sue: I’m sure the Master will be back next season. And I don’t know why the Doctor is so worried – his arch-enemy is bloody useless.
Sue: I didn’t like that one very much. The monster was rubbish. The Master was rubbish. The Doctor was a git. It was two episodes too long, and it was black and white. It’s definitely not in my top 10, Neil.
Me: That was our last black and white episode. Thanks to 2Entertain’s DVD release schedule, everything’s in colour from now on.
Sue: That’s definitely worth a dance.