The re-evaluation starts here…
Sue: A Time Monster, eh? I bet the Master is in this story. He’s a monster and he knows about time.
As luck would have it, 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, Ruth and Stuart, are bickering. It is made abundantly clear that 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 tinkering with time, and he is using a crystal from Atlantis as his power source.
Sue: Haven’t we been to Atlantis before? Isn’t that where the Fish People live?
Me: Oh, don’t start.
The Doctor is worried about the Master and 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 notices the time on the building’s 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 Jo’s boots, by the way. But TOMTIT is such a stupid name. Which idiot came up with that?
Why, the Master, of course. He is currently being grilled by the institute’s director, Dr. Percival, a man who also believes that the Master was taking the piss when he came up with the name for his experiment.
Sue: If the Master is the most wanted man on the planet, how did he stroll into a university post with military connections? He didn’t even bother to shave his beard off, and that’s his most distinguishing feature!
Me: He is 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 HR are 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 that he needn’t worry, as he doesn’t count.
Sue: Stuart doesn’t count because Stuart is clearly gay.
Meanwhile, a window cleaner is preparing to give the institute’s windows a nice polish.
Sue: The angle on that ladder is far too shallow. He’ll definitely fall with an angle like that. Are you sure that he’s a real window cleaner? A real window cleaner wouldn’t use an angle as shallow as that. Maybe he’s a spy? Or an undercover inspector from HEFCE?
Inside the lab, Stuart and Ruth are conducting a TOMTIT trial.
Sue: The door that is 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 any radiation from leaking out? This episode is a health and safety nightmare.
The Brigadier arrives at the institute. He is greeted by an unconscious window cleaner sprawled out on the tarmac.
Sue: Told you. That fall had nothing to do with the time experiment. Bad ladder angle – that’s what 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 little. This stupid yellow car. Actually, I think I may have seen this episode when it originally went out. The silly Benny Hill Show driving feels 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 as if Jo is reading the numbers off a left testicle. Ruth is going to love that.
The Brigadier and Benton arrive for a TOMTIT demonstration, and the Master conceals 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!”
The Master uses a cup of tea as a prop in his experiment.
Me: We used to have a tea set like that. Oh God. I’m starting to sound just like you.
As the power rises, the Master beckons for Kronos to come.
Sue: What the **** is a Kronos?
And then the credits come crashing in.
Sue: That was pretty good. We’re definitely on a roll at the moment.top
Sue: What did the Master just say?
Me: He said, “Muwhahaha mawawawwa muahahw”.
Sue: That’s what I thought he said. He should probably take that suit off before he opens his mouth again.
The Doctor races in and he orders someone – anyone! – to reverse the polarity immediately.
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, sir?”
Jo panics, but the Doctor assures her that they haven’t arrived too late.
Sue: You are about 80 years too late as far as Stuart is concerned!
Benton is ordered to guard the lab, just in case the Master comes back, but he’s not very happy about it.
Sue: Awww, 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.
Meanwhile, the Doctor is talking to Jo about Chronovores.
Sue: These Chronovores sound really impressive. Powerful beings that can eat time itself? I have to admit, that’s pretty scary.
And then the Doctor locates the Master’s disguised 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 only eat the Kronos crystal.
Sue: You didn’t tell me that it came with its own Kronos crystal.
The rapidly aged Stuart looks into a mirror and he howls with anguish.
Sue: That’s me every single morning. I know just how he feels.
The Doctor persuades Stuart to tell him about his nightmare. “Come on, old chap,” he says.
Sue: Old chap? Old chap? Is he taking the piss? How insensitive was that?
Meanwhile, back at the institute, Benton is suspicious when he is told 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 decides to telephone the Brigadier on an internal line.
Sue: Don’t UNIT have ****ing radios?
The Master answers Benton’s call and he impersonates the Brigadier’s voice perfectly.
Sue: So the Master is Derren Brown and Jon Culshaw? He could have his own show on BBC1, if only he’d give up all this ‘taking over the universe’ nonsense.
As Benton walks away from his duties, Sue calls after him.
Sue: Benton! Benton! Jesus Christ, Benton!
Me: The dog’s name was Fenton.
Sue: I don’t care.
But Benton is still suspicious, and he decides to stake out the lab. Just in case.
Sue: Benton isn’t just a pretty face.
Sadly, just when it seems that Benton may have 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 explains that he will join forces with Kronos, and together they will rule the universe.
Sue: Yeah, there’s no way in hell that Kronos will turn on you at the end. Not a chance. You go ahead and team-up with another alien superpower. It’ll be perfectly fine. Knock yourself out.
The episode concludes with Krasis, an Atlantean priest, materialising in the lab.
Sue: OK, who ordered the palm reader? Actually, that was another good episode. I’m really enjoying this one.top
Sue: Poor Stuart. But I still have every faith that the Doctor will fix him in the end. Does Stuart become a companion? He’d be very good.
And then the Master summons Kronos.
Sue: Hmmm. That’s different.
And then Sue’s mouth begins to slacken in disbelief.
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 terrible! Kronos makes the Fish People look like the ****ing xenomorph from Alien!
And then Sue drops a bombshell.
Sue: One of my first CB handles was Atomic Rooster.
Me: What? You never told me you had a CB radio.
Sue: Yeah, 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: Actually, 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 the power of Kronos to slow down time.
Sue: I’m used to that. Especially with the six-parters.
When the Doctor tries to explain what’s going on, the Brigadier isn’t having any of it.
Sue: Why doesn’t the Brigadier believe in 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 can disrupt the Master’s time experiments. He assembles it 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. The Master monitors its progress on his futuristic wrist watch.
Sue: That’s way ahead of its time. You know, the Master could make a killing if he just invested 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.
Yates’ convoy is suddenly attacked by a knight on horseback.
Sue: This is just 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: Their 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 resting on a gentle slope, Sue is apoplectic with rage.
Sue: I turned my Freelander on its side in a ditch in Kielder, and I still managed to get it out in less than 10 minutes. That is ridiculous. Yates can not be stuck in the mud! Court martial the ****ing idiot!
Me: Simmer down, Sue.
When the Doctor, Jo and the Brigadier set out for stricken convoy, the Brig suggests that they have a quick race.
Sue: That’s a red rag to a bull, you nit. Geddit? U-NIT? Oh, please yourself.
As the Doctor races away in Bessie, Sue sings the theme tune to The Benny Hill Show under her breath.
The Master timescoops some Roundheads which he then uses to stall UNIT. His line about 17th century poltroons gets an enormous laugh.
Sue: The Master gets all the best lines. He looks like he’s really enjoying himself.
The Master snatches a Doodlebug from WWII and it impacts on the UNIT convoy.
Sue: Nice explosion. Was that Yates I saw flying though the air? I’m sure he’ll be fine. The Master isn’t that good.top
Sue: When they spray-painted the Doctor’s car, Jo must have sat in it at the same time, because they’ve painted her legs the same colour.
When Ruth and Jo suggest that they head back to the lab to nobble the Master, Stuart isn’t best pleased.
Sue: He was 88-years old not that long ago, 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.
Meanwhile, the Master has taken Krasis into his TARDIS.
Sue: Ooh, the Master’s TARDIS is nice and clean. It’s almost sparkling. It’s a lot neater than the Doctor’s. But why does he have half a washing-up bowl missing from the bottom left-hand corner of his wall? That’s odd.
The Doctor and Jo reach their TARDIS and they race inside.
Sue: What? So the Doctor and the Master both redecorated their TARDISes at exactly the same time and exactly the same way – 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: Do you reckon?
A cushion is thrown.
The Doctor materialises his TARDIS around the Master’s TARDIS. But when he walks into the Master’s TARDIS, he finds his own TARDIS waiting for him.
Sue: That’s brilliant. Very clever. Yeah, I like that a lot. That’s really imaginative.
When the Master takes off for Atlantis, the strain on the Doctor’s TARDIS causes Jo to fall on her coccyx. We know it’s her coccyx because the word coccyx is bandied around the TARDIS set like it’s going out of fashion.
Sue: Coccyx. Giant cockerel. Is this significant? Or is it just padding?
Meanwhile, back at the lab, Ruth and Stuart are attempting to free the Brigadier, who has been frozen in time. Unfortunately, their tinkering turns Benton into an infant instead.
Sue: Awwww, baby Benton. How cute.
After what feels like an hour of bickering, the Doctor is finally forced to face the Master. 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, what just 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 certainly not bored by it.top
This episode begins strongly, with the Doctor telepathically reaching out to Jo for help. Sue is enchanted by this scene.
And then we shift our focus to a plaza on Atlantis.
Me: OK, there’s a famous actress coming up soon.
Sue: This is me, remember.
Me: OK, there’s a vaguely familiar face coming up soon. There she is, over there.
Sue: Is it Rula Lenska?
An Atlantean named Hippias (“That name has to be a joke”), is criticising Kronos for being a crap God.
Sue: The Atlanteans remind me of the Dothraki from Game of Thrones. And the band KISS.
And then Sue goes very quiet, and I can tell she’s drowning in the Atlantean set design.
Sue: 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 that chair 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’s not the greatest actress in the world, I can tell you that straight away. But I can see why you might like her. Enough said.
I’m never going to win that 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. Still, it is incredibly difficult not to gawp at her breasts.
Me: If this was a Hammer film, she’d have got them out by now.
Meanwhile, in The Time Monster, King Dalios doesn’t believe that the Master is a god.
Sue: There are some great jokes in this story, and this bloke’s performance as the king is great. 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: Do Ingrid Pitt’s breasts get their own credit?
Jo discovers that the Master and Galleia are meeting in secret, and she attempts 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. It’s looks like they’ve really 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 complete mess. What the hell happened there? The direction is the only thing letting this story down.top
Jo is harassed by a Minotaur.
Me: That’s David Prowse.
Sue: Darth Vader? Really?
Me: Yes. And I’m impressed that you knew who I was talking about.
Sue: David Prowse is our Lou Ferringo, isn’t he? Hang on. Is he wearing carpet slippers?
As the Minotaur pursues Jo, he nearly brings the set down on top of him.
Sue: Wobbly set! They obviously told him not to touch the pillars, but he just couldn’t help himself.
Aside from noticing that Hippias is wearing red underpants, and that the Atlanteans are using Jo’s coat as a bedspread, Sue appears to be lapping up The Time Monster. And that’s a sentence you don’t get to write very often.
Meanwhile, the Master and Galleia are having a lovers’ tiff. The Master is left fuming when the Queen makes it clear to him that she’s the one wearing the trousers in their relationship.
Sue: You should have tested the goods before you bought them, mate.
The Doctor and Jo are thrown in a cell together. The Doctor takes a very philosophical view of the situation, and he tells Jo a story about his youth.
Sue: That was a great scene. Pertwee has never been better. He really went for that.
Me: The “diasiest daisy” line eerily prefigures Dennis Potter’s last television interview, where he referred to “the blossomest blossom”.
Sue: If you are going to steal, steal from the best.
Me: But The Time Monster was transmitted before Dennis Potter’s last interview.
Sue: Yes, 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?
Aside from that, she finds the climatic scenes set on Atlantis, where Kronos flaps his wings and the city falls to pieces, very exciting. But then she has to go and spoil it.
Me: The Kronos crystal looks like something Ann Summers might come up with for a laugh.
The Doctor threatens to Time Ram the Master’s TARDIS and Jo follows through on this threat, even though it means certain death.
Sue: Jo is 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 chromakey this week should have been shot. Did they run out of time? It has a ‘that’ll do’ look about it.
Jo not only believes that she’s dead, she thinks death is “groovy”.
Sue: She’s tripping her tits off.
Suddenly, a woman’s face appears.
Sue: Is that River Song?
No, it’s Kronos. And now that Kronos is free (don’t ask), she will grant the Doctor a wish.
Sue: Can I have a TARDIS that works properly, please?
The Master begs for mercy.
Sue: That’s a bit weird. I don’t buy that at all. Oh, what a surprise, he’s legged it.
Meanwhile, back at Cambridge…
Me: Ruth and Stuart adopt baby Benton.
Sue: No they don’t.
Luckily for John Levene, the squabbling scientists manage to reverse the polarity (probably) and Benton returns to adulthood. In his birthday suit.
Me: John Levene was stark naked when they filmed that scene. His excuse was that he wanted to play it truthfully.
A cushion is thrown.
Sue: Benton has the last line in season nine. That’s nice.top
The Final Score
Sue: I enjoyed that.
Me: Amazingly, so did I.
Sue: You just have to come to these things with an open mind. It was a good 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 like the way Jo and the Doctor are more of a team now. Yeah, it was pretty good, that.
We are off to London this weekend, and our itinerary includes a trip to The Doctor Who Experience. I will be posting photos of Sue posing with classic series monsters (I hope the Kronos costume is still on display) to our Facebook page when we return on Monday. On Tuesday, we will record a commentary for Serial RRR and I should probably warn you that Gary is staying with us next week. If you have a question about this story that you’d like to ask Sue (or Gary), please get in touch via this contact form. The best question will win something nice and the deadline is 5pm this Tuesday.
It usually takes me a while to edit a commentary once it’s been recorded, so there won’t be another site update until the end of next week. However, we shall endeavour to watch the next story while I’m editing, so, with any luck, you should get two updates in fairly rapid succession. Thanks for your continued support and patience.
The experiment continues…top
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