Sue: A Time Monster, eh? I bet the Master’s in this story. He’s a monster and he knows about time.
It just so happens the Doctor is having a vivid nightmare about his arch-nemesis.
Sue: She shoots, she scores!
The Doctor is woken by Jo, but the dream continues to disturb him.
Sue: Did Jo drop some acid in the Doctor’s tea? There’s a lot of that going around lately.
Meanwhile the Master is posing as a Greek scientist at a research institute at Cambridge University.
Sue: Is the Master working at a university, now? God help them. And him.
Two research scientists are bickering in a lab. To summarise: Stuart is a bit cocky and Ruth is the proud owner of a fire-damaged bra.
Sue: Is this the first feminist episode of Doctor Who?
Me: I wouldn’t get your hopes up, love.
The Master is using a crystal from Atlantis in order to tinker with time.
Sue: Haven’t we been to Atlantis before? Isn’t that where the Fish People live?
Me: Oh, don’t start.
The Doctor wants to know the Master’s whereabouts, so he instructs the Brigadier to issue a World Wide Warning.
Sue: The Doctor is still waiting for the World Wide Web to be invented, bless him.
When the Master arrives at the research institute, Sue notes the time on the clock tower.
Sue: Why was the Doctor having a kip at 9:40 in the morning? The slacker. And why is Jo posing for the cover of Vogue? I love her boots, by the way. Oh, and TOMTIT is a stupid name. Which idiot came up with that?
Why, the Master, of course.
Sue: If the Master is the most wanted man on the planet, how did he walk into a university job with military connections? He didn’t even bother to shave his beard off, and that’s his most distinguishing feature!
Me: He’s putting on a Greek accent.
Sue: Is he? I thought he had a cold.
Me: Maybe the research institute wanted to bolster its RAE score and they recruited the Master in a hurry. You know what it’s like.
Sue: “You will obey me. You will give me that sabbatical. You will give me unlimited access to your research beacon funding stream.”
Ruth launches into another feminist rant about how shit men are. Stuart protests, but Ruth reassures him he needn’t worry because he doesn’t count.
Sue: Stuart doesn’t count because Stuart is obviously gay.
Meanwhile a window cleaner is preparing to give the institute’s windows a nice polish.
Sue: The angle on that ladder is too shallow. He’ll definitely fall with an angle like that. Are you sure he’s a real window cleaner? A real window cleaner wouldn’t have a ladder angle as shallow as that. Maybe he’s a spy? Or an undercover inspector from HEFCE?
Back inside the lab, Stuart and Ruth are conducting a TOMTIT trial.
Sue: The door that’s supposed to protect everyone from radiation is just an ordinary door with a keyhole and shuttered windows, which might even be open. How is that going to stop radiation from leaking out? This episode is a Health and Safety nightmare.
The first thing the Brigadier sees when he arrives at the institute is a window cleaner sprawled out on the tarmac.
Sue: Told you. That fall had nothing to do with the Master’s time experiment. It was the bad ladder angle that did him in.
The Doctor and Jo take Bessie out for a spin, and when the Doctor engages the car’s Super Drive, it races off at incredible speed.
Sue: This is what I remember about Doctor Who when I was growing up: that stupid yellow car. Actually, I think I may have seen this episode. This silly Benny Hill Show-style driving is very familiar.
The Doctor tracks down the Master’s time meddling with the help of a portable time sensor.
Sue: Couldn’t the Doctor have designed a device that was a little less phallic? It looks like Jo is reading those numbers off a testicle. Ruth is going to love that.
The Brigadier and Benton have also arrived for the TOMTIT demonstration, but the Master manages to conceal his identity under a bulky radiation suit.
Sue: Stuart’s thinking, “Why haven’t I got a suit as good as that? My radiation suit is shit compared to his!”
As the power level rises, the Master beckons for Kronos to come.
Sue: What the **** is a Kronos when it’s at home?
And then the credits come crashing in.
Sue: That was pretty good. We’re definitely on a roll at the moment.
Sue: What did the Master just say?
Me: He said, “Muwhahaha mawawawa muwhahaha.”
Sue: That’s what I thought he said. He should probably take that suit off before he opens his mouth again.
The Doctor bursts in and he orders someone – anyone! – to reverse the polarity.
Sue: That’s his answer to everything, isn’t it? I can just imagine the Doctor running an IT helpline: “Have you tried reversing the polarity yet?”
The Doctor assures Jo they haven’t arrived too late.
Sue: You’re about 80 years too late as far as Stuart is concerned!
Benton is told to guard the lab, just in case the Master comes back.
Sue: Aww, poor Benton. I bet he had a hot date lined up before the Brigadier dragged his sorry arse over there. No wonder he feels lonely. Somebody leave him a magazine or something.
The Doctor tries to explain Chronovores to Jo.
Sue: They sound impressive. Powerful beings that can eat time? I have to admit, that’s pretty scary.
The Doctor locates the Master’s TARDIS.
Sue: So the Master’s TARDIS looks like a computer bank? That’s nice.
Me: You can buy a toy version of the Master’s computer bank TARDIS, you know.
Sue: Not while you’re married to me, you can’t.
Me: You’re probably right. The cats would eat the Kronos crystal.
Sue: You didn’t tell me it came with its own Kronos crystal.
Stuart looks in a mirror and cries.
Sue: That’s me every single morning; I know exactly how he feels.
The Doctor persuades Stuart to tell him about his nightmare. “Come on, old chap,” he says.
Sue: “Old chap”? Is he taking the piss?
Meanwhile Benton is extremely suspicious when he’s instructed to leave the premises by Dr Percival (who is under the thrall of the Master).
Sue: Just you stay there, Benton. Don’t you ****ing move, son!
Benton telephones the Brigadier on an internal line.
Sue: Don’t UNIT have ****ing radios?
The Master answers Benton’s call with the Brigadier’s voice.
Sue: So the Master is basically Derren Brown and Jon Culshaw all rolled into one? He could have had his own show on BBC1 if he’d given up all this taking over the universe nonsense.
Benton is still suspicions, so he stakes out the lab, just in case.
Sue: Benton isn’t just a pretty face, you know.
Sadly, just when it appears Benton has the upper hand, the Master makes him fall for the oldest trick in the book.
Sue: Oh, Benton! And you were doing so well!
The Master plans to team-up with Kronos so they can rule the universe together.
Sue: Yeah, there’s no way Kronos will turn on you later. Not a chance. You go ahead and team-up with another alien superpower. It’ll be perfectly fine. You knock yourself out.
And then, to top it all, an Atlantean priest suddenly materialises in the lab.
Sue: Okay, who ordered the palm reader? Actually, that was another good episode. I’m really enjoying this.
Sue: Poor Stuart, although I have every faith the Doctor will fix him in the end. Does Stuart become a companion? He’d be great.
The Master summons Kronos.
Sue: It’s a giant cockerel. It’s a giant cockerel that can eat time. Well, it’s unique; I’ll give ’em that.
Me: It’s awful! Kronos makes the Fish People look like the ****ing Xenomorph from Alien!
And then Sue drops a bombshell.
Sue: My CB handle was Atomic Rooster.
I pause the DVD.
Me: You never told me you had a CB radio.
Sue: CB radio was all the rage before the internet was invented.
Me: How did you come up with a handle like Atomic Rooster? Are you sure you weren’t a fan of early 1970s Doctor Who? Is there something you’re not telling me?
Sue: We used to call our cousin Tommy ‘Tom Tit’ when we were young. Maybe I was influenced by this story, after all.
The Master uses Kronos to slow down time.
Sue: I’m used to that. Especially with these six-parters.
The Doctor explains what’s going on, but the Brigadier doesn’t buy it.
Sue: Why doesn’t the Brigadier believe the Doctor after everything they’ve been through together? It’s absurd. I don’t like it when they write the Brigadier as an ignorant buffoon. It doesn’t suit him.
The Doctor cobbles together a machine that will disrupt the Master’s time experiments from an empty wine bottle, some cutlery and a dirty mug.
Sue: That’s a bit daft.
A UNIT convoy has been tasked with transporting the Doctor’s TARDIS to the institute, and the Master monitors its progress on his futuristic wristwatch.
Sue: That’s way ahead of its time. You know, the Master could make a killing if he just invested all his time and energy into personal computers. He’d be better off working with Steve Jobs than a giant chicken that can eat time. It’s just a thought.
The convoy is suddenly attacked by a knight on horseback.
Sue: This is the sort of stupid thing the Mad Monk would do. Excellent stunt horse, though. Is the horse a full-time member of HAVOC?
Yates has some terrible news for the Brigadier: the convoy is stuck in the mud.
Sue: It’s a Land Rover Defender! You can’t get a Defender stuck in the ****ing mud! It’s a Land Rover Defender! Do me a favour!
When Yates evacuates the vehicle, which is currently resting on a gentle slope, Sue is apoplectic.
Sue: I turned my Freelander on its side in a ditch in Kielder once, and I still got it out in less than 10 minutes. So that is ridiculous. Yates cannot be stuck in that mud! Court martial the ****ing idiot!
Me: Simmer down, Sue.
As the Doctor and Jo set out for the stricken convoy, the Brigadier suggests a quick race.
Sue: That’s a red rag to a bull, you nit. Geddit? U-NIT? Oh, please yourself.
As the Doctor roars away in Bessie, Sue hums The Benny Hill Show theme under her breath. And then the Master stalls UNIT with some time-scooped Roundheads, or as he likes to call them “17th-century poltroons”.
Sue: (Laughing) The Master gets all the best lines. It looks like he’s really enjoying himself.
The Master snatches a Doodlebug from World War II and drops it on the UNIT convoy. The explosion is massive.
Sue: Was that Yates I just saw flying though the air?
Stuart isn’t pleased when Ruth and Jo suggest they head back to the lab to nobble the Master.
Sue: He was 88 years-old not that long ago, so you can’t blame him for not wanting to get involved. I bet he just wants to chill out with some Pink Floyd and a spliff. I like Stuart.
The Master takes Krasis inside his TARDIS.
Sue: The Master’s TARDIS is nice and clean. It’s almost sparkling. It’s a lot neater than the Doctor’s. But why is half a washing-up bowl missing from the bottom left-hand corner of his wall? That’s very odd.
The Doctor and Jo rush inside their TARDIS.
Sue: The Doctor and the Master must have redecorated their TARDISes at exactly the same time and in exactly the same way. I mean, what are the chances of that? And why have they both got half a washing-up bowl missing from the bottom left-hand corner of their walls? That’s a bit of a coincidence, too.
Me: Perhaps they filmed both TARDIS scenes on the same set?
Sue: (Throwing a cushion) Do you reckon?
The Doctor materialises his TARDIS around the Master’s TARDIS, but when he walks into the Master’s TARDIS, his own TARDIS is already waiting for him.
Sue: That’s brilliant. Yeah, I liked that a lot. That was really imaginative.
The strain on the Doctor’s TARDIS causes Jo to fall on her coccyx. It’s definitely her coccyx because the word is bandied around the TARDIS like it’s about to go out of fashion.
Sue: Coccyx… Giant cockerel. Is that a clue?
Back at the lab, Ruth and Stuart are trying to free the Brigadier, who’s been frozen in time. Unfortunately, their tinkering turns Benton into an infant child.
Sue: Aww, baby Benton. How cute.
And then, after a quick gloat, the Master unleashes Kronos.
Sue: Yep, it’s definitely a giant, glowing cock.
The Doctor and Kronos disappear.
Sue: Why wasn’t that the cliffhanger? That would have been a great cliffhanger.
Instead the Master explains to Jo, in mind-numbing detail, exactly what happened. And then he bids Jo farewell as his TARDIS detaches itself from hers.
Sue: That cliffhanger wasn’t half as good as Kronos eating the Doctor. Still, this is a very good story so far. I’m definitely not bored by it.
Me: There’s a famous actress coming up soon.
Sue: This is me we’re talking about, remember.
Me: Okay, there’s a vaguely familiar face coming up soon. (Pointing at Ingrid Pitt) There she is, over there.
Sue: Is that Rula Lenska?
An Atlantean named Hippias (“That name has to be a joke”) criticises Kronos for being such a terrible god.
Sue: The Atlanteans remind me of the Dothraki from Game of Thrones crossed with the band KISS. (Pointing at some wicker furniture) Do you remember those chairs?
Me: Yes, it’s an Emmanuelle chair.
Sue: Trust you to think of that. My best friend at school had a chair like that. We used to fight over who got to sit in it.
Me: Do you recognise the person sitting in it yet? I’ll give you a clue: she’s in one of my favourite films.
Me: The Wicker Man.
Sue: That’s never Susan George!
Me: That’s Straw Dogs, you idiot.
Sue: It’s not Britt Ekland…
Me: No, it’s Ingrid Pitt.
Sue: I’ve never heard of her.
Me: She’s best known for her horror movies.
Sue: She isn’t the greatest actress in the world, I can tell you that much. Although I can see why you might like her. Enough said.
I’m never going to win this argument in a million years, so I back away slowly.
Sue: Even the Master is checking her out! Look at him gawping at her breasts. Admittedly, it’s difficult not to gawp at her breasts, but even so.
Me: If this were a Hammer film, she would have got them out by now.
King Dalios doesn’t believe the Master is a god.
Sue: There are some great jokes in this story, and this bloke’s performance as the king is fantastic. The script is very, very funny.
The Doctor and Jo arrive on Atlantis in pursuit of the Master.
Me: You wait ages for a god to come along and then two turn up at once.
Sue: Quick question: do Ingrid Pitt’s breasts get their own credit?
When Jo discovers that the Master and Galleia are meeting in secret, she decides to spy on them.
Sue: Don’t go in there, Jo! You really don’t want to see the Master shagging the queen – it could mentally scar you for life. I must say, though, the sets are great. They’ve definitely pushed the boat out for the last two episodes. The BBC are great at this sort of thing.
The episode concludes with Jo being thrown to a Minotaur.
Sue: That cliffhanger was a mess. What the hell happened? The direction is the only thing that’s letting this story down.
Jo is harassed by a Minotaur.
Me: That’s David Prowse.
Sue: Darth Vader? Really?
Me: Yes. I’m surprised you knew who I was talking about.
Sue: David Prowse is our Lou Ferrigno, isn’t he? Hang on a minute… Is he wearing carpet slippers?
As the Minotaur pursues Jo, it almost brings the set down.
Sue: (Pointing excitedly) Wobbly set! They must have told him not to touch those pillars, but he just couldn’t help himself.
The Doctor tells Jo a story about a hermit he used to know when he was young.
Sue: What a wonderful scene. Jon Pertwee has never been better. He really went for that.
Me: The ‘daisiest daisy’ line eerily prefigures Dennis Potter’s last television interview, where he refers to the ‘blossomest blossom’.
Sue: If you are going to steal, steal from the best.
Me: But The Time Monster was broadcast years before Dennis Potter’s last interview.
Sue: I know.
I can’t tell if she’s joking or not.
Sue: The direction is pretty bad, though. One of the extras is blocking Jon Pertwee, now. Where the hell has he gone?
The climatic scenes on Atlantis, where Kronos flaps his wings and the city falls to pieces, are very exciting, although Sue has to spoil it by lowering the tone.
Me: The Kronos crystal looks like something Ann Summers came up with for a laugh.
The Doctor threatens to time ram the Master’s TARDIS, even though it means certain death.
Sue: Jo’s very brave. She might be the bravest companion of them all.
Me: I know. And now she’s dead. Stuart and Ruth are the new companions.
Sue: I don’t believe you. I stopped believing you ages ago.
Jo and the Doctor appear to be in some kind of limbo.
Sue: The person in charge of the chroma this week should be shot. Did they run out of time? There’s a ‘that’ll do’ feel about it.
Not only does Jo believe she’s dead, she thinks it’s “groovy”.
Sue: She’s tripping her bloody tits off.
A woman’s face appears out of nowhere.
Sue: Is that River Song?
No, it’s Kronos. And now that Kronos is free, she grants the Doctor a single wish.
Sue: (As the Doctor) “Can I have a TARDIS that works properly, please?”
The Master begs for mercy.
Sue: That was a bit weird. I don’t buy that at all. Oh, what a surprise, he’s legged it.
Meanwhile in Cambridge…
Me: Ruth and Stuart end up adopting baby Benton.
Sue: (Horrified) No they don’t.
Luckily for John Levene, the squabbling scientists reverse the polarity and Benton returns to adulthood. In his birthday suit.
Me: John Levene was stark bollock naked when they filmed that scene. He said he wanted to play it truthfully. Well, that was his excuse, anyway.
Sue throws another cushion at me.
Sue: Benton had the last line in season nine. That’s nice.
Sue: I enjoyed that.
Me: Amazingly, so did I.
Sue: You have to come to these things with an open mind, Neil. It was the perfect end to the season. It was very exciting in places, it had a good script, and there were some very inventive ideas. It was too long, of course, and the direction occasionally let it down, but I really like how Jo and the Doctor are a proper team now. Yeah, it was pretty good, that.