THE TIME WARRIOR

Part One

The Time WarriorI can’t wait to show Sue the new title sequence. The diamond logo! The space-time vortex! Jon Pertwee’s legs!

Sue: They’ve changed the titles… And they’ve missed a bit.
Me: What?
Sue: The bottom left-hand corner. They’ve missed a bit. There’s a hole in the titles. I like the new theme music, though.
Me: They haven’t changed the theme music!
Sue: Calm down! Okay, it’s very clever, especially when you consider that they didn’t have any CGI back then. You can also see the influence on the new series’ titles. Oh, The Time Warrior… Is it the…
Me: No!
Sue: Oh look, it’s Robert Holmes. I like Robert Holmes. A nice four-part Robert Holmes. This is a winner already.

The episode begins…

The Time WarriorSue: It’s Game of Thrones but with…
Me: Less incest. Yes, we know.
Sue: I like the historicals. They take me right back.
Me: Very funny.
Sue: No, I mean they take me back to the old William Hartnell stories. I liked the comedy historicals. Is this a comedy?
Me: Wait and see.

Two men named Irongron and Bloodaxe are startled when an illuminated tennis ball hurtles past a medieval castle.

Sue: It’s a mini-Epcot.

She’s referring to the Sontaran ship that’s crash landed outside Irongron’s castle. And then, as Linx exits his spacecraft…

The Time WarriorSue: Oh, it’s the Sontarans! Are you impressed that I know that, Neil?
Me: Not really. You can’t move for Sontarans in the new series.
Sue: They’re the good guys, aren’t they?
Me: No, they are not the good guys!

Meanwhile, in contemporary England, we are introduced to Sarah Jane Smith. Sue takes to her like a duck to water. But of course she does.

Sue: She’s beautiful. And nothing like Jo. She isn’t girly at all. She’s resourceful and ballsy. I just hope she stays like this.

And then she notices that the partitions, which have been erected to house the scientists who have been assembled to work under UNIT’s protection, aren’t what they’re cracked up to be.

Sue: They’re having a laugh! There are no ceilings on those things, but the Doctor believes Sarah Jane can’t hear him because she shut the door. The scientists are basically sleeping in toilet cubicles made from cardboard. That’s shoddy design work, that is.

She’s also noticed that June Brown is playing Lady Eleanor (she keeps expecting her to stick a cigarette in her gob), and I think it’s fair to say she’s really enjoying this episode. In fact, when we reach the cliffhanger, and Linx removes his helmet, she’s completely sold.

Sue: The Sontarans aren’t as scary as this in the new series.

 

Part Two

The Time WarriorMe: I vividly remember watching this episode. It was Christmas 1973, and I was four years old. What I remember the most about it is I saw it in London, in my grandparents’ house in Stratford. My dad must have been visiting them during the holidays. Anyway, I’m sitting in front of an open coal fire… And that’s about it.
Sue: Fascinating. Do the fans think the Sontarans look like potatoes?
Me: Yes.
Sue: What about giant poos?
Me: Not so much.
Sue: The make-up is amazing. You can see why the Sontarans became so popular. It’s a brilliant design.

While we can both agree on that, we can’t agree on Sarah’s reaction to her predicament. Is she thick or pragmatic? I’m going with thick.

Sue: It makes sense for Sarah Jane to believe that she’s just walked into a Medieval pageant…
Me: Via a police telephone box? That’s bigger on the inside?
Sue: She probably thinks the Doctor has drugged her or something.
Me: Right, so the Doctor date-raped her and then he took her to a Medieval banquet. Yeah, that makes sense.
Sue: All I know for sure is Jo would have screamed her head off.

When Linx strokes Sarah’s thorax, and she barely flinches, I concede that Sue has a point. And then we are introduced to Linx’s robot knight.

The Time WarriorSue: That’s pretty scary. Anything that moves but doesn’t have a face terrifies me.

It’s bloody rubbish when it comes to fighting, though.

Sue: You could just run behind it and push it over. It looks like it’s about to fall over in that skirt.

The knight is repeatedly shot by Hal the Archer, aka Boba Fett (a fact that fails to impress Sue once again – see Volume 1), but even when its head falls off, it won’t give up.

Sue: Ah, so that’s why it has a top-heavy body. It’s so the stuntman can hide in the torso. That makes sense.

The damaged knight is carted away for Linx to fix.

Sue: I hope it’s still under warranty.

The Time WarriorSue can’t believe the Sontaran has not only successfully kidnapped scientists from the future, he’s got them to work for him as well. And who can blame her?

Sue: There’s too much hypnotism in Doctor Who. Every story features a character under the influence of mind control. It’s a bit lazy, don’t you think?

And then the Doctor says the word ‘Gallifrey’ for the very first time.

Me: It’s only taken 10 years, but we finally have a name for the Doctor’s home planet.
Sue: Are you sure?
Me: Yes.
Sue: No, I mean are you sure they haven’t mentioned it before and we didn’t notice?
Me: (Sternly) Quite sure, Sue.
Sue: This isn’t bad at all. It’s zipping by. I was going to watch an episode of Jersey Shore, but I’m happy to keep going if you are.
Me: Wow. High praise indeed.

 

Part Three

The Time WarriorSue: Was Robin Hood on television around this time?
Me: Has there ever been a time when Robin Hood wasn’t on television?

Sarah suspects that the evil wizard who everyone keeps talking about is probably the Doctor.

Sue: I like the way Sarah Jane distrusts the Doctor and doesn’t fall in love with him straight away. It makes sense for her to suspect him, especially given that he’s responsible for dragging her here. It’s clever, and it stops her looking stupid, even when she’s wrong.

Sue loves it when Irongron describes the Doctor as the “long shanked rascal with the mighty nose”.

Sue: I bet Robert Holmes couldn’t write a rubbish insult if he tried.

She likes the castle set, too. Which is a relief because Sue once met the episode’s designer, Keith Cheetham.

The Time WarriorSue: Didn’t I get him to talk to my university students?
Me: Yeah, in the late 1990s. When we took him out for lunch, I couldn’t stop asking him about the Sontaran spaceship.
Sue: What was I doing?
Me: Yawning, mostly.
Sue: He was a very nice man. And the carpentry in this scene is very nice, too. I can even forgive him for the toilet cubicles.

The Doctor lobs stink bombs at the enemy, although one of the explosions is a bit too close for comfort.

Sue: That bloke genuinely shat himself just then.

The Doctor offers to help Linx if he promises to stop interfering with time. But the Sontaran isn’t interested, and he shoots the Time Lord in the head instead.

Sue: I’m sorry if I’m not saying very much. I’m enjoying this too much.

 

Part Four

Sue: I had a leather jacket exactly the same shade of green as Jon Pertwee’s velvet coat. I loved that jacket.

And that’s all I get out of Sue until Sarah Jane incites a rebellion in the kitchen.

Me: Are you pleased feminism has finally make an appearance in Doctor Who?
Sue: Of course I am. What kind of stupid question is that?

Rubeish brings the kidnapped scientists out of their hypnotic trances.

Sue: They’re taking this very calmly. Why aren’t they freaking out? Or at least taking notes?

Rubeish knocks Linx unconscious with a smack on his probic vent.

Sue: They should have rear view mirrors on their armour. That way they’d tell if an enemy was coming up behind them or not.

Irongron uses the Time Lord as target practice, but luckily for the Doctor, his men are terrible shots.

Sue: This lot are almost as bad as UNIT!

The Time WarriorThe Doctor retrieves some metallic strips from his TARDIS.

Sue: It’s a giant feeler gauge.
Me: If you say so, love.

As the Doctor dukes it out with Linx, Sue offers some advice from the sidelines:

Sue: Just stick your finger in his vent!

Linx tries to leg it but Hal shoots him where it counts.

Sue: What a shot!

The Time WarriorLinx’s ship explodes with such force, it has to be realised with bad stock footage. Incidentally, when we were skimming through the obligatory documentary on the DVD later (mainly so Sue could see what Keith Cheetham looked like), we accidentally watched this scene again with ‘new and improved’ CGI effects. And it actually looked worse.

Sue: I know students who could do better than that.

Sue wants Hal to join the Doctor and Sarah Jane on their travels, and she feels sorry for the poor sod when he’s left behind.

Sue: That’s a shame. UNIT could do with a good shot.

 

The Score

Sue: It fell apart at the end. It started well but it ended up as a bit of a farce. Sarah Jane was great, and the Sontaran looked good, but the plot was a bit silly. I think Robert Holmes was bored – or rushed.

7/10

 

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Comments

  1. Jazza1971  February 22, 2012

    Just a quick comment from me as I should go to bed, but the best quote (but too long for a t-shirt) has to be:-

    “Sue: Fascinating. Do the fans think the Sontarans look like potatoes?

    Me: Yes.

    Sue: What about giant poos?

    Me: Not so much.”

    I did chuckle.

    • Roderick T. Long  February 22, 2012

      Just “what about giant poos?” by itself would fit on a mug or shirt.

  2. Glen Allen  February 22, 2012

    Giant Poos? Not something that to my knowledge has EVER been said before in fan history.
    Oh and Id never noticed Lynx not noticing the gun before. Cor she’s good that Sue

    • BWT  February 22, 2012

      Yes it has. By Sue. Have a look at the entry for “Galaxy Four”…

    • Josiah Rowe  March 10, 2012

      Actually, Billie Piper was once on a chat show and was shown a photo of a Sontaran (or perhaps it was a fan in a mock-up costume, I don’t recall) and said that he looked like a poo. So it’s not just Sue.

    • Sparklepunk  March 23, 2012

      My boyfriend said it, but he said it about some large insects that show up in a Tom Baker episode.

      actually I’m pretty sure I’ve heard people say it about the Sontarans too. I think the reason they might not say it so often is cause they are bit of a different colour in other episodes.

  3. Neowhovian  February 22, 2012

    There were several snort-out-loud moments for me in this one, though I think the most T-shirt-worthy (or mug-worthy) one was “That’s a shame; UNIT could do with a good shot.”

    When I screened this one for the Ladies (Nu-View #1), they got more of a Monty Python vibe out of it, right from the get-go. Of course, they didn’t/don’t have as much Who experience as Sue now does, so… ~shrug~

  4. Dave Sanders  February 22, 2012

    After Linx, the Sontaran make-up is never made this well ever again. It *is* a classic design here, because the way the neck fills up every square inch of the collar, and the head is exactly the shape of the helmet underneath, completely sells the idea of Sontarans being genetic clones – rather than being born, they’re poured into their suits and left to set.

    • Alex Wilcock  February 22, 2012

      “…rather than being born, they’re poured into their suits and left to set.”

      Absolutely brilliant. Now I’ll always think of them that way.

  5. Jez Noir  February 22, 2012

    I’m getting the impression that Sue has graduated from a ‘not-we’ to an ‘almost-we’… if she can now but withstand the imminent extreme padding of ‘ZZZ’ (surely the most ironic production code in history)

    • John S. Hall  February 22, 2012

      Whereas the ‘YYY’ surely has to be one of the most apt… 😉

    • encyclops  February 22, 2012

      Say what you will: I still love every minute of ZZZ. Even the acutely embarrassing ones.

      • Alex_The_Geek  February 22, 2012

        Me too ZZZ is one of my favourites and has some really iconic moments in it.

  6. Simon Harries  February 22, 2012

    Love your choice of photo at the top of this entry. For a nanosecond I thought it was that classic colour picture of the original Rentaghost line-up (Google for it folks) in which Mr Davenport (whom Pertwee closely resembles in this pic) harangues Mr Claypole. … OK, maybe it doesn’t!

  7. Luke Atkins  February 22, 2012

    My wife has always called the Sontarans the Poo Heads…

  8. Chris Too-old-to-watch  February 22, 2012

    Agree with Sue (of course): great start and middle, but almost feels like we lost the ending – “Oh just blow the spaceship up” ploy.
    Of course Sarah is good in this, sometimes she’s the best thing in the up-and-coming episodes. It’s a shame that until Tom Baker, she’s now reduced to generic assistant status.
    Just one plea, don’t even think of mentioning Sooty and Sweep within the context of the next story….

  9. Alex Wilcock  February 22, 2012

    Ah, always great to see more carpentry comments.

    And “A nice four-part Robert Holmes; it’s a winner already.” Ahhhh. Hope she likes the next few years. Though as far as Robin Hood goes, this is Bob’s first of at least three goes at sticking the knife into the legend, so something about the heroic outlaw clearly got on his wick (maybe it’s the ex-policeman in him). And it’s not just Rubeish that’s funny – Irongron and Bloodaxe always make me laugh.

    As did “Just stick your finger in his vent!” Almost as good as “You’re still living in the Middle Ages!” Though even that didn’t make me laugh as much as the “Pompous Twat” mug. Blimey. So many! How can I choose (other than a “Terry ****ing Nation”, obviously)? The other half already tells me we’ve got too many mugs…

    For me, it’s never quite as good as the book I grew up with (and realised after many years is the only Doctor Who novel that describes an orgasm). As I wrote when I reviewed The Time Warrior, when I was a boy I couldn’t understand why there were no pictures of the exciting robot knight. Then I saw it, and wasn’t quite so excited as Sue. Nor about the big battle in Part Three. The best thing about the story, though, is Bob’s ruthless skewering of Pertwee’s Doctor: Linx simply is him, take two, stranded with an even more hirsute UNIT but both a more effective scientific advisor and a more competent spaceship mechanic in an hour and a half than the Doctor managed in four years. Ouch.

    • Doug  February 22, 2012

      Orgasm???!!! Really???!!!! I hope it is Sarah Jane’s and not Pertwee’s!

      • Matt Sharp  February 23, 2012

        ‘Orgasm???!!! Really???!!!! I hope it is Sarah Jane’s and not Pertwee’s!’

        Linx’s actually. ‘Sontar ha!’

        Naturally, it’s in the chapter written by Bob Holmes himself…

        • Alex Wilcock  February 23, 2012

          Glad you spotted it – I knew it wasn’t just me 😉

          • Matt Sharp  February 24, 2012

            ‘Glad you spotted it – I knew it wasn’t just me 😉 ‘

            It’s a fantastic chapter that makes me wish that Holmes had written more prose, but he’s so adept at slipping things under the radar that it’s probably a good job that he didn’t. We’d be spending an awfully long time analyzing it all. His recipe for ‘kippers a la Dicks’ looks particularly dubious once I found out he was actually a strict vegetarian, and the name parrinium’s resemblance to the word ‘perineum’ looks less like a coincidence when you know of his love of words and you know that story XXX was the first one he had a hand in script editing…

          • PolarityReversed  February 24, 2012

            Regarding “giant poo”, passim, “the lost moon of Poosh” suddenly taken on a newly Holmesian/Rabelaisian flavour…

          • Frankymole  February 25, 2012

            Robert Holmes did write the novelisation of “The Two Doctors” (Target Book No 100!), though it’s been at least a couple of years since I read it, so I don’t know if it has many double-entendres.

  10. Roderick T. Long  February 22, 2012

    I always think of that song as a Joan Jett song!

    It’s definitely better as a Joan Jett song:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ls3eMeGR-sI

  11. John G  February 22, 2012

    “Sarah Jane is nothing like Jo. She isn’t girly at all. She’s very resourceful and ballsy, and I like it. I just hope her character stays like this throughout the series.”

    Contrary to one of the comments above, I actually think Sarah Jane is at her best in Season 11, a distinctively feisty character who is much more willing to stand up to the paternalistic third Doctor than Jo ever was and plays an active role in driving the story forwards. The chemistry is better with Tom, sure, but she feels to me much more like a “generic companion” in the Hinchcliffe-Holmes era than she did before.

    Anyway, I’m very pleased Sue enjoyed this. It’s one of Holmes’ wittiest scripts, and Linx is a superb creation, brilliantly acted by Kevin Lindsay and one of my all-time favourite Who villains. Pertwee also seems to be enjoying himself more than he has for a long time, possibly both because of the script and the new Doctor-companion dynamic. Maybe he also enjoyed having a story with a period setting for once?

    I’ll be interested to see what Sue makes of the next one, grossly underrated in my view. In the meantime, I’m glad to hear that she was never in Gary Glitter’s gang…

  12. solar penguin  February 22, 2012

    “Just stick your finger in his vent!” and “Giant poos.” Definite mug material. (I’m not much of a T-shirt collector, but I might buy a mug or two.)

    BTW are you going straight on to “Invasion of the…” or will you do “Paradise of Death” first? After all, you’ve done non-TV stuff in the past, and it might be interesting to see how Sue reacts to a radio serial.

  13. Spudulike  February 22, 2012

    enjoyable read, though seeing that kiddyfiddlers gormless face peering out was not a good experience, mentioning him must of knocked at least a point off 😮

  14. Neil Perryman  February 22, 2012

    Just to let you know that the mugs turned up today and they look great. I’m really pleased with them. So the shop is now open: http://www.cafepress.co.uk/wifeinspace

    • BWT  February 23, 2012

      I love the cups/mugs! Especially the “Ian” one!

    • Noodles  February 26, 2012

      The mugs are stylish, but £9.50? You can get an official one from the BBC shop for £4.99.

      • Nan  February 26, 2012

        Cafepress sets a minimum price, and the vendor has to set a price higher than that to make any money. Bespoke products generally are more expensive than mass-produced.

        • Noodles  February 26, 2012

          I first looked at the prices for CafePress quite a few years ago and remembered them being a lot cheaper than that. So I’ve just gone and had a look at the base price for the mugs. The section of the website that tells you those prices is on the .com, rather than the .co.uk, so gives the prices in USD, rather than GBP. But you can look at the prices of products in USD if you want.

          Doing all of that revealed that the base price on the mug is $10.99, whereas they’re being sold for $12.99. That makes a mark-up of $2 or about £1.20, which seems eminently reasonable to me. On the other hand, converting the base price of $10.99 directly into GBP gets a price of about £7, making a mark-up of £2.50, which seems a little pricey to me. So I suppose it all depends on what the base price in the UK is, and how the site works out exchange rates.

          • Neil Perryman  February 27, 2012

            The base price of a bespoke mug in the UK is 8.50. We won’t be retiring anytime soon.

  15. PolarityReversed  February 23, 2012

    Slit-scan – yay! Can’t pin down why I find full-length Doc so naff and head-and-shoulders Doc so stylish. Perhaps it’s the cape.

    Puzzles me why they decided against title mugshots in Nu-Who. Speaking of mugshots, I was wallowing in nostalgia looking at the Target covers online the other day (used to have em all up to State of Decay). Did Colin have some sort of “don’t use my face” clause in his contract?

    Time Warrior is one of my favourites, though I agree it deserved better than the “Leg It – Boom” ending. Sadly, for my melted piastre, it’s the highlight of a very weak season.

    • Dave Sanders  February 23, 2012

      Since The Time Warrior was held over from the end of the previous production block (because it’s far more sensible to allocate the end-of-season budget to four episodes rather than stretch it out to six), it would have been the last story to be mode before Roger Delgado’s death, and everyone’s subsequent decisions to quit. Much more than the witty script, this would explain the abrupt and pronounced differences in tone and performance with the rest of the season.

      • PolarityReversed  February 23, 2012

        That makes sense.
        I’m still fond of what’s coming up but the neutrons weren’t really flowing were they?

        • Dave Sanders  February 23, 2012

          It took Hinchcliffe and Holmes to reverse the polarity of Nation’s flow.

      • Antinous  February 23, 2012

        Very insightful; that had not occurred to me. However, recalling the location photos of cheery Barry Letts, Terrance Dicks and Jon Pertwee on location, it makes perfect sense. As does the (mis)aligment of production blocks and seasons; who else thinks if Doctor Who had continued commencing broadcast after Christmas, we might have had Shada completed, and lost The Leisure Hive?

        • Antinous  February 23, 2012

          I’m not saying that would have been a good thing (I actually love The Leisure Hive) …

          • PolarityReversed  February 23, 2012

            Don’t think I’m allowed to comment on Shada anymore. It gets me into trouble…
            Leisure Hive wasn’t a half bad story, once I got over the trauma of the titles and full maroon rig. Complete with those bloody irritating ?s on the collar.

          • Dave Sanders  February 24, 2012

            I’m sure I’ll have quite a lot to say about The Leisure Hive once we actually get there, and chief amongst that will be why everyone who says Meglos is the season seventeen throwback of the season is wrong. The Leisure Hive is – swap it and Nightmare Of Eden around, and not only would both stories have turned out manifestly better, the stylistic shift between seasons would have been a lot less sudden as well.

          • Jamie  February 24, 2012

            I really can’t see any of the fabled Season 17 humerous style in Leisure Hive, whatsoever. Meglos seems to have the pace and style of the previous Season, although I must admit the impressive Scene Synch technology disguises it well.

          • Jamie  February 24, 2012

            “Humorous”
            Bugger.

  16. Thomas Bush  February 24, 2012

    Not half as irritating as that ****ing question-mark jumper. It makes me want to hurt somebody!

    • Chris Too-old-to-watch  February 24, 2012

      Spoilers!!!!! I’m sure Sue will have lots to say about 1980’s fashion: let’s not ruin it for her

      • Jamie  February 24, 2012

        “Is that Colin’s doctor costume. Pet? They’re having a (insert expletive here) laff.”

        • PolarityReversed  February 24, 2012

          “Oi Sylvester! Noel Edmonds is on the phone – he wants his crappy pullover back…”

          • Dave Sanders  February 24, 2012

            “Has somebody put on the old testcard by mistake?”

  17. Jamie  February 24, 2012

    For me, the brevity of Sue’s comments in this article portray what a good story it is and how impressed she is with it, overall.
    Vast sense of freshness and originality exuding from this season opener.

  18. farsighted99  February 25, 2012

    Nice to see the original potato-head Sontaran. And Sarah Jane Smith’s entrance was excellent, never thought she was such spunky lady. The peculiar mix of Medieval times, an alien warrior from outer space, scientists with big computers, the Doctor and time travel added up to a smorgasbord of an episode.

  19. Glen Allen  February 26, 2012

    re: Colin’s lack of face on the Target books.
    I remember Lis Sladen telling me something about that. She and Colin were very wise about money. From what i recall, I think it was a case of Colin wanting more ( or indeed some) money for his image to be used…and so they did without him.
    This is going back about 15 years so its a little hazy but I think thats about it. It makes sense. Id certainly want to be paid if my image was going to be on a book that would sell huge amounts

    • Frankymole  February 28, 2012

      That’s right, pretty much spot on as far as I recall – Colin’s agent asked how much he’d get for the use of his client’s face on the books. Colin wasn’t that bothered – just curious. Target panicked and immediately demanded Skilleter re-airbrush Twin Dillema (already made, with that purplish portrait of smiling-Colin) and presumably he was made “wobbly” on the Androzani cover at the same time. All future depictions banned. Ruddy peculiar according to the Colin camp, who were merely enquiring! Turns out Col wouldn’t have asked for more money anyway (being huge Who fan, probably would’ve done it for nowt).

      Maybe they were jumpy after the Davison artowrk fiasco….