PLANET OF EVIL

Part One

Planet of EvilSue: Louis Marks. I hope this doesn’t lose marks too quickly.
Me: That’s a pun. We don’t do puns, Sue.
Sue: But seriously, his name rings a bell. Should I know who Louis Marks is?
Me: He ran a profitable sideline selling toy Daleks.
Sue: Did he really?
Me: No. And to answer your original question, he wrote Planet of Giants and Day of the Daleks.
Sue: Oh dear. I actually recognise the names of people who have worked on Doctor Who.
Me: When you can recite transmission dates off the top of your head, that’s when you should start worrying.

On the planet Zeta Minor, a Morestran is tending to his corpse garden.

Planet of EvilSue: (Pointing at the grave marker) Did he just bury a seven-year-old child? How grim is that?
Me: I don’t think they brought any seven-year-olds with them on this expedition, but I could be wrong.
Sue: Is it the Thals? He looks like a Thal to me. And I’m sure I’ve seen that caravan before.

Professor Sorenson and a man named Baldwin are analysing some crystals they found on the planet’s surface.

Sue: Are they intergalactic drug dealers? Are they cooking up some crystal meth? It’s a futuristic Breaking Bad; they even have their own caravan.

Meanwhile, back at the Morestran base/caravan, the corpse gardener is spooked by something lurking in the jungle.

Sue: Just go back inside your caravan and lock the door. It’s probably safe in there. No! Don’t walk further away from it! What the hell are you doing, man?!

But it’s too late. The gardener is pinned by an unseen force and, screaming in agony, he simply disappears.

Sue: It’s another monster that cleans up after itself. You get a lot of those in Doctor Who.

Baldwin hurries back to the base through an impressive jungle set.

Sue: Are we on film now? This looks excellent all of a sudden.

But when Baldwin reaches a clearing, Sue sighs.

Sue: And now we’re back on video again. What a shame.

Baldwin disappears as well, but not before he pushes a very important button.

Sue: So the monster in this story is invisible. What would Doctor Who do without invisible monsters, eh? I’m surprised the BBC haven’t tried to sell you some invisible toy monsters, Neil.
Me: Who says they haven’t? I’ve got hundreds of them.

The Doctor and Sarah intercept Baldwin’s distress call.

Sue: The Doctor is overjoyed that there could be some danger involved. He’s a ****ing lunatic.

Also heading to Zeta Minor is a Morestran military ship.

Sue: This is very Star Trek all of a sudden.

As Commander Salamar barks orders to his subordinates, Sue excitedly points at him.

Planet of EvilSue: It’s him again!
Me: Prentis Hancock. He’s my favourite bad actor ever.
Sue: He hasn’t improved since we last saw him. Are you sure this lot aren’t Thals?

Sue casts a critical eye over the Morestrans’ costumes.

Sue: They’re probably very nice to wear if you happen to have a hairy chest. I’m surprised they aren’t wearing gold medallions. That way the Thals could throw their chains at the Cybermen if they got into a fight with them.
Me: They aren’t Thals!

Thankfully, not all the costumes are ridiculed by Sue.

Sue: Sarah Jane looks very nice this week. Practical but stylish.

The Sarah and the Doctor find the distress beacon in the Morestran caravan, next to Baldwin’s skeleton.

Sue: Okay, I’m a little confused. I thought the victims vanished? So why have they come back again?

Sarah returns to the TARDIS to gather some equipment, but the Morestran military lock her inside.

Sue: Use the manual crank handle, love.

When the Morestrans try to summarise the situation, most of it sails over Sue’s head, mainly thanks to Tom.

Planet of EvilSue: What the **** is Tom Baker staring at? Even when he doesn’t say anything, he’s still the most interesting thing in the room. I can’t take my eyes off him. What is he looking at?
Me: He’s probably giving the floor manager a hard time.

The Doctor and Sarah are sent to a detention cell, but Sarah quickly figures a way out.

Sue: Sarah is doing most of the heavy lifting in this story. I like it. But you have to ask yourself why the Doctor is having an off-day. He looks like he’s wandering around in a daze.

The episode concludes with our heroes escaping to a clearing, where they immediately run into…

Sue: A fat Predator.

 

Part Two

Planet of EvilThe Morestrans tackle the monster with high-tech weaponry.

Sue: Their guns sound wimpy. They look good, but they sound like something you’d pick up at Toys R Us. And how is this monster killing everyone when it’s just standing there doing absolutely nothing? It isn’t even touching anyone.

The Doctor and Sarah leg it, and luckily for them, the Morestrans couldn’t hit a barn door with their wimpy weapons if their lives depended on it.

Sue: Are they the UNIT of the future? Which one’s supposed to be Benton?

The Doctor and Sarah hike through the jungle – on film no less.

Sue: I wish it could look like this all the time. I know it’s a budgetary thing, but doesn’t it make you feel sad? It’s so frustrating. Part of me wishes the whole thing was shot on video, that way I wouldn’t be disappointed when we keep switching back to it.

Planet of EvilThe Morestrans use an Oculoid Tracker to find the Doctor and Sarah.

Sue: How big is that thing supposed to be, exactly? There’s no sense of scale. It could be really tiny or there could be people sitting in it. So which one is it?

When the tracker hovers directly over the Doctor and Sarah’s heads, Sue finally figures it out.

Sue: Okay, this is pretty good, actually. Technically, it’s quite impressive. I’m not really into the plot yet, but it looks good. The direction isn’t bad, either.

When the Morestrans’ ship fails to get off the ground, the Doctor decides to tell them what they’re up against.

Sue: Tom’s great, isn’t he? You could give him practically anything to say and he’d make it sound interesting. I like the way he stares right down the camera lens at the audience. He’s practically daring us not to take this seriously.

Sorenson begs Salamar to let him take a few crystals home with him.

Planet of EvilSue: Sorenson looks like Eddie Izzard on a bad day.
Me: It’s Frank Spencer’s flying instructor, remember?
Sue: Oh yes, so it is.

And Freddie Jaeger isn’t the only actor she recognises.

Sue: His voice sounds very familiar.
Me: It’s Davros.
Sue: So it is! So is this where we find out what happened to his legs?
Me: No, it’s just the actor who plays Davros. His name is Michael Wisher.
Sue: I thought he’d be a lot older than that. Are you sure they aren’t Thals?
Me: I thought we’d already established that.

The Doctor places Sorenson’s crystals in an empty toffee tin.

Planet of EvilSue: We’ve got a Harrogate toffee tin just like that.
Me: I know.

Pause.

Sue: Oh, so that’s why we have a Harrogate toffee tin exactly like that. It all makes sense now.

The Doctor volunteers to negotiate with the monster on the Morestrans’ behalf. However, this doesn’t go according to plan and the episode ends with him falling into a very deep hole.

Sue: Great cliffhanger. I haven’t got a clue what the Doctor was hoping to achieve there, but it was very exciting.
Me: I definitely remember watching that when it was first broadcast, and freaking out.
Sue: Bless.
Me: I must have been obsessed with Doctor Who by then. That episode went out two days before my sixth birthday and the following Monday I was given a toy Dalek as my main present. It was the red one made by Palitoy (not Louis Marx).
Sue: Eh?
Me: It could talk and everything. I bloody loved that Dalek. I can see it now. I can even smell it now. It’s like I’m back in the room with it, and not only can I remember the details of the room, I can still remember the feelings I had as I was playing with it. This feeling floats on the tip of my mind, but when I try to focus on it, it slips away. Being a Doctor Who fan really does allow you to time travel, you know.

 

Part Three

Me: This is our 300th episode of Doctor Who (not including the recons).
Sue: Is that all? It feels like it’s a lot more.
Me: Fancy a dance?
Sue: Not really.

We are joined by Nicol and I do what I can to get her up to speed.

Nicol: Not anti-matter again! Are they still obsessed with that?

Planet of EvilSue explains to Nicol the Doctor has fallen into a hole that exists between universes. This is illustrated by Tom Baker being flung towards the camera on a Kirby wire.

Nicol: Right… Well, that definitely wouldn’t happen.
Sue: They’re trying, bless them.
Nicol: If he fell into an anti-matter universe (which wouldn’t technically exist), he’d cease to be as soon as he passed the event horizon. Everybody knows that.

The Doctor emerges from the hole unscathed.

Nicol: Right, that’s enough bad science for one night. I’m off.

Back on the Morestran ship, Professor Sorenson is doubled over in pain.

Sue: He’s suffering from irritable bowel syndrome by the look of it.

Planet of EvilSorenson’s eyes turn bright red.

Sue: That’s excellent; you could probably get away with that effect today.

Sorenson quaffs a steaming potion and returns to normal.

Sue: So this is basically Jekyll and Hyde in reverse. Although if you saw this when you were five or six, you’d probably think it was the most original story you’d ever seen.

Sarah tends to the Doctor, who is still unconscious after his trip to the anti-matter universe.

Sue: I still don’t understand how he got out of that hole. Did he just float out? They’d better explain that.

The Doctor says he survived thanks to a tin of anti-matter he was carrying with him at the time.

Sue: And…?

The Morestrans try to leave the planet a second time.

Sue: The front of their spaceship looks like a mobile disco.

Then Sue comes up with the perfect escape plan.

Sue: Why don’t they go back to the TARDIS and **** off? That’s what I’d do. Just let the ship crash. Job’s a good ‘un.

By this point, Sorenson looks awful. Like Killer Bob from Twin Peaks crossed with werewolf-Benton from Inferno.

Sue: He’s definitely on crystal meth. And I think he’s due for his fix.

As Sorenson notches up a kill-streak, Sue decides to forgive Mark Lawson. There’s a first time for everything, I suppose.

Sue: Now this feels like it’s a horror film.

Planet of EvilA couple of days ago, we watched Mark Lawson Talks to Mark Gatiss on BBC4, and in it Mr Lawson referred to Doctor Who as a horror programme. Sue dismissed this out of hand at the time, believing it was more an action-adventure show than anything else. But now she’s changed her mind.

Sue: This is pretty scary, actually. It looks like he’s drinking blood, and he’s obviously possessed by the devil. What time did this go out?

When the Doctor gets into an altercation with a Morestran, he punches him squarely on the jaw.

Sue: That was a canny punch. I take it this Doctor doesn’t go in for the old finger to the chest routine. That’s fine by me.

As Salamar discovers the Doctor and Sarah standing next to a corpse, he shoots the Doctor in the face.

Sue: You bastard!

The episode concludes with the Doctor and Sarah facing the unlikely prospect of being buried alive in space.

Sue: Nice cliffhanger. I can’t complain about that at all.

 

Part Four

Planet of EvilSalamar tells Vishinsky to pull the lever that will send the Doctor and Sarah to their doom.

Me: Why doesn’t he pull the lever himself? Why get into a fight with an old man over it?
Sue: He’s trying to make a point. He wants the old guy to have blood on his hands. Keep up, love.

The ship’s pilot is killed and everybody rushes back to the bridge. On his way out, Vishinsky pushes the lever back the other way, saving the Doctor and Sarah in the process.

Sue: That was a nice touch. He didn’t make a big deal out of it. I liked that.

Salamar finally loses his cool.

Sue: The problem with this guy is that he’s been ranting and raving from the moment we met him. He hasn’t got anywhere else to go. He’ll end up shrieking like a little girl at this rate. He should have ramped it up gradually.

Vishinsky gives the order to close all the hatchways.

Sue: Oh look, it’s the credits to Mystery Science 3000 Thingy.

The Doctor appeals to Sorenson’s better nature.

Planet of EvilMe: Great scene, don’t you think?
Sue: If you say so.
Me: Do you have any idea what just happened?
Sue: Not really.
Me: The Doctor just convinced the bad guy to commit suicide.
Sue: Seriously? I thought he was giving him an opportunity to flush his drugs down the toilet.

Sorenson prepares to eject himself into space, but before he can pull the lever, the anti-matter part of him takes over.

Sue: The Doctor should have tried assisted-suicide instead.

Planet of EvilSalamar is killed by the anti-man, but not before he unleashes the neutron accelerator.

Sue: Okay, so is everybody dead now? Right, just take the old guy, jump in the TARDIS, and leave.

The Doctor stuns the anti-man and drags him into the TARDIS.

Sue: The Doctor’s being a bit overly-confident if he thinks he can land the TARDIS wherever he wants.
Me: According to Big Finish, Sorenson and the Doctor enjoy several adventures together in the gap between the next two scenes. Although Sorenson is tied-up in them, which limits his role quite a lot.

As multiple versions of the anti-man wander around the Morestrans’ ship, Sue fails to see the point.

Planet of EvilSue: What do these things want, exactly? I don’t get it. How did this even happen? Was I supposed to know the flask of light would do that? Should I get Nicol? Maybe she can explain this to me.
Me: I really wouldn’t bother.

The Doctor lands the TARDIS next to the pool of anti-matter on Zeta Minor (which impresses Sue no end), and then Sorenson falls into it.

Me: You know, I have absolutely no memory of this episode at all. Either I missed it or…
Sue: It’s shit. That’s why you can’t remember it. You blocked it out.

Sorenson miraculously returns to normal, and the crew fall over themselves to welcome him back.

Me: He killed loads of people and now they’re queuing up to shake his hand. They should lock him up.
Sue: It’s called ‘diminished responsibility’, Neil. For example, if I killed you now, I could use this experiment as an excuse. Yeah, I’d definitely get off with it.

 

The Score

Sue: That was average. It was on for a six or a seven at one point, but the last episode was a huge disappointment. I was bored by the end of it. The plot didn’t really make sense, and I had no idea what was going on with the multiple-monsters. The guy who played the commander was hopeless, and I couldn’t care less about the rest of them. Tom was pretty good, and the jungle was nice. In fact, if it hadn’t been for the jungle, I might have scored it lower.

5/10

Sue and I will now be taking a few weeks off to recharge our batteries and –

Sue: I’m happy to carry on. I think you’re making too much fuss out of a few negative comments on the blog. I couldn’t care less what people think or write about me. And if you dish it out, you have to be able to take it.
Me: But somebody called you a sour faced **** –
Sue: I’ve been called a lot worse. By you. It doesn’t bother me.
Me: Well, I need a break even if you don’t.
Sue: Actually, I would like to say something: I never claimed to be an expert when it comes to Land Rovers; it’s not like I’m going to appear on Mastermind with Land Rovers as my specialist subject (I’d probably pick the history of building regulations in the UK 2002-2012). I just like Land Rovers and the UNIT Land Rovers looked like Defenders to me. I couldn’t give a toss about what they were called in 1975 – it’s still the basic Defender shape. Not that I give a shit, of course.
Me: Right, that settles it. We are definitely taking a break.
Sue: Lightweight.

 

89

Comments

  1. Dave Sanders  April 6, 2012

    “(Tom’s) practically daring us not to take it seriously.”

    Sue will notice once that’s gone, for sure.

  2. Lewis  April 6, 2012

    A story that looks good but seems to be all over the place in terms of a plot. Shame, really. The next one will be worth the wait, though!

    • solar penguin  April 7, 2012

      But the next one also looks great and is all over the place in terms of plot. (I’m really looking forward to seeing it savaged by Sue, since she’s usually less forgiving of those stories than fans are.)

      • Frankymole  April 7, 2012

        Pyramids is immensely dull. And racist! Hinchcliffe/Holmes’s only real misfire.

        • Dan  April 7, 2012

          It’s great! It doesn’t seem that racist. I’m looking forward to it because its one of the few stories from this time I know well, having won enough money in a competition to afford the video in the early eighties.

          It was disappointing they had made it into an omnibus edition though. That does make it more dull.

        • PolarityReversed  April 7, 2012

          Racist? If anything, the opposite – the Egyptian labourers and Namin know exactly what’s going on and the stiff-necked Edwardian Brits are shown up as fools. I find it pretty anti-“Orientalist” on that score.
          Or do you object to giving a sci-fi twist to an ancient belief system, suggesting there’s a forgotten scientific basis behind superstitions?
          Sorry FM: if you find it dull, then fine by me, but I can’t really go along with racist.
          I’m happy to be convinced otherwise.

        • encyclops  April 9, 2012

          I’ll have your Pyramids, then! I love it.

          I’ve been trying to think where I differ from the “fan consensus” (if there is such a thing; I think we all feel we’re outside the groupmind to some extent, and perhaps this is another mark of the Doctor Who fan, as well as the 21st century “maverick” American politician). Usually it’s stories I like that it seems critics disparage, such as Full Circle, Castrovalva, and The Two Doctors. I can’t think of too many I dislike that tend to be spoken of highly. Maybe The Sunmakers or The Curse of Fenric or Ghost Light?

          Now, when we get to NuWho, it’s a very different story. So many overrated episodes there I hardly know where to begin. Perhaps part of the problem is that it looks and feels modern and somehow I expect the actual stories to be as delightful as the scripts, the casting, the performances, and the sets, but they almost never are.

        • Matthew Marcus  April 10, 2012

          I had a mini-Wife-in-Space expedition a few years ago, where my non-we wife and I started with Ark in Space and kept on going as far as we could. Pyramids in Mars was the point at which she lost interest, slightly to my surprise! I’m sure Sue has way more stamina though and we’ve nothing to worry about…

  3. Jazza1971  April 6, 2012

    Fantastic review! I enjoyed every moment from the opening pun to

    “Me: You know, I have absolutely no memory of this episode at all. Either I missed it or –

    Sue: It’s shit. That’s why you can’t remember it. You just blocked it out.”

    Right through to setting the record straight about Land Rovers. That’s me told!

    Enjoy your break. 😀

  4. Tom  April 6, 2012

    Sue’s spot on with her scoring and reasons. But though it’s average, it is at least very entreating compared to the dull average stories we’re to look forward to in (the Davison) years to come.

    • DPC  April 6, 2012

      If she finds them dull! 🙂 Some are, others aren’t, and some are inbetween… just *which ones* are those we certainly don’t know. 🙂

    • solar penguin  April 7, 2012

      Well, i’d rather watch any Davison story than the dull, overrated Gothic horror rubbish from the Hinchcliffe era. The plots are as pointless, confused and messy as every other Gothic horror ever written. It doesn’t suddenly suddenly become “entertaining” just because it happens to be in Dr Who rather than a dull novel or horror film.

      • Dan  April 7, 2012

        Different people like different styles of Dr Who.

      • PolarityReversed  April 7, 2012

        Mary Shelley was the Asimov of her day.
        Of course, chacun a son Who…

        • Dan  April 7, 2012

          I prefer ancient Sumerian to ancient Egyptian Dr Who. Much darker.

          The Time Machine too, was very sparse, though more a prequel to the 60s movies…

          • PolarityReversed  April 8, 2012

            At the risk of pushing too far ahead of ourselves, here, I think the Gothic genre is much misunderstood, in general as much as in Who.

            The trappings of literary Victorian Gothic have been particularly attractive and enduring in our visual age, but the heart of the genre is the dialectic between tradition and technology, the poetic and the rational, heart and head, the process of adolescence. The discomfort of living on a moving knife-edge between the past and the future. It’s an indestructible allegorical format that has been reinvented time and again since human communication first began – eg what are the monsters in classical myth if not Gothic?

            Sure, pop pap culture has battered us with sensationalist surface treatments of the Victorian Gothic tropes to the point where – “OMG my BF sux blud! LOL!” So maybe we’re getting a bit weary of the teeniness of it all. It’s all more Penny Dreadful than Shelley or Stoker.

            But, for my dreadful penny, Dr Who has always been fundamentally Gothic, in the below-the-surface sense. I honestly don’t think it’s fair to dismiss every Gothic horror ever written as boring rubbish.

          • PolarityReversed  April 8, 2012

            Incidentally, penguin, since you seem to be a Davison fan – there’s a lot of Gothic in that era too. How about an ancient malignant being stoking and feeding on the fear and violence of the English Civil War, for instance?

      • Jamie  April 9, 2012

        ‘Any’ Davison story?
        Really?
        Bit late for April Fools Day mate.

      • DPC  April 19, 2012

        Gothic horror in sci-fi can be done right… Other Hinchcliffe-era episodes do very well. “Planet of Evil”, which might look nice, does have a lot of problems and is overrated because of the fantastic-looking jungle sets.

  5. Barry Stavers  April 6, 2012

    Another splendid critique from fellow north-eastener Sue. On the subject of Sorenson’s eyes glowing, I’m sure director Michael Mann must have seen this story (I’m thinking of he 1983 film The Keep, not Miami Vice)

    Enjoy your break, peeps.

  6. Lewis  April 6, 2012

    Now there’s a break, seems appropriate to briefly look back at Tom so far…

    5/10 – Robot
    7/10 – The Ark in Space
    5/10 – The Sontaran Experiment
    9/10 – Genesis of the Daleks
    3/10 – Revenge of the Cybermen
    7/10 – Terror of the Zygons
    5/10 – Planet of Evil

  7. Dave Sanders  April 6, 2012

    Bit disappointed that Sue hasn’t learned to spot David Maloney yet the same way she does with Douglas Camfield; I thought the freeze-frame would have been a dead giveaway. Oh well, more gas masks requred.

  8. Alex Wilcock  April 6, 2012

    Ahh, I’ll miss all this. I hope the two of you (or just the “lightweight”) have a happy rest, and don’t come back until you’re enthusiastic again – but do come back. Will Sue shock Neil by creeping down in the middle of the night and mainlining Peter Davison (I think we all know the answer is ‘No’, but it’s fun to imagine).

    I love that Sue can now preternaturally sense actors before they appear and name the race they belonged to last time. She didn’t spot that it’s the same director, though. And I’m too polite to explain why, having gobbled up a Morestran in an unflattering jumpsuit, rather than staying in the glowing beastie the remains of the body appears again later. But I bet someone will.

    I love Neil’s invisible monster collection.

    “So that’s why we have a Harrogate toffee tin just like that. It all makes sense now.”
    We have one just like it, for exactly the same reason. But it’s not very nice toffee, is it? A bit too sugary, and all in one block that you have to smash and fling splinters of everywhere.
    Unless Neil’s been a better fan than I and kept it in its wrapping, of course.

    “The Doctor is overjoyed with the prospect of danger. He’s a lunatic.”
    300 episodes and she’s only just spotted that?

    Hinchcliffe/Holmes watch (for the ‘unsuitable’ stuff I really loved as a kid):
    “This is pretty scary, actually. It looks like he’s drinking blood and he’s obviously possessed by the devil. What time did this go out again?”

    “Nice cliffhanger. I can’t really complain about that.”
    That have me recurring nightmares. Absolutely petrifying. It was fantastic!

    “He’s trying to make a point. He wants the old guy to have blood on his hands. It literally is a power struggle between them. Keep up, love.”
    Damn, she’s good.

    Mildly surprised there were no mentions of, say, The Satan Pit, The Lazarus Experiment or 42, here, as it’s clearly been a favourite for visual rippings-off homages…

    There’s something strangely elegiac about Sue musing on film and video, and saying that the good bits now get her down because she knows most of it won’t live up to them – surely that bizarre self-harming logic marks her becoming a real fan 😉

  9. Neowhovian  April 6, 2012

    More spot-on commentary from the pair of you. I hope the chance to step away from it all and breathe easy for a while will be exactly what you (singular/plural) needed.

    We’ll be here whenever you get back! 🙂

  10. Sparklepunk  April 6, 2012

    I do remember this episode, but I don’t remember thinking much about it one way or the other.

    I wish I had a toy Dalek like that, I don’t think we had them here, I had to make do with a very silly board game with pictures of Daleks on it. and I remember the picture of Sarah Jane was terrible, she looked like an old gypsy woman. 😛

    • Dave Sanders  April 6, 2012

      Would that have been War Of The Daleks, by any chance?

      • Sparklepunk  April 6, 2012

        I don’t remember really, I tried to find a picture on Google images, but none of the ones that showed up looked like the one I had and as a side note, those Tom Baker underwear make me laugh every time. haha

        The one I had wasn’t Dalek centric I don’t think, it had lots of different stuff from Doctor Who in it. I spent more time looking at the pieces than I did playing it, cause it required a lot more set up than seemed worthwhile as a kid (nowadays that would seem normal but it seemed like it took forever to me then) and also my friends hated Doctor Who I only got to do something Doctor Who related with them when I bargained with something else. 😛

        • Matt Sharp  April 7, 2012

          That’s probably ‘Doctor Who – The Game of Time and Space’ from Games Workshop. Had Tom Baker and three Daleks on the cover. And Vicki dressed as Barbarella for some reason.

  11. Sparklepunk  April 6, 2012

    Oh and I’m also very happy to see that Sue isn’t bothered by it., it would have been sad to see and made me even more annoyed at the idiots who get worked up about this. I hope you two have a good rest!

  12. Graeme Robertson  April 6, 2012

    Sue might be pleased to Know that Lis Sladen said this was her favourite Sarah outfit. Probably mine too, though S13 is her golden era of cossies.

  13. Warren Andrews  April 6, 2012

    Enjoy your break, Sue and Neil. Look forward to your return.:)

    This is one of those stories that I couldn’t engage with until I saw it in a new context. I watched the Tegan DVD boxset and then this came out. Suddenly it was thrilling and excellently made.

  14. Steve White  April 6, 2012

    Hurry back soon… You will be missed…

    I completely agree with all the comments about

    • DPC  April 6, 2012

      100% seconded!

  15. Huw Davies  April 6, 2012

    On a number-crunching note, Baker’s average score from Sue after these 7 stories is 5.86 to 3sf. Compare that to the following (all after 7 stories):
    Hartnell: 4.625
    Troughton: 6.14
    Pertwee: 7.57

    … and Baker isn’t doing that well – though no doubt his average will be boosted by later stories no doubt!

  16. Frankymole  April 6, 2012

    Nice one Neil. I really love these reports and you put so much into them, I know what hard work writing a blog is! So, I started work on your 18th birthday (and a day after my brother’s, oddly enough)… I’ll no doubt recall that useless fact on my last day (at the same firm) which is due shortly… at least redundancy will mean the chance to catch up on my huge piles of unwatched DVDs and unread books.

    • PolarityReversed  April 6, 2012

      Really sorry to hear that. Hope the sods don’t try and TUPE you out of a reasonable payoff.

  17. Huw Davies  April 6, 2012

    On a number-crunching note, Baker’s average score from Sue after these 7 stories is 5.86 to 3sf. Compare that to the following (all after 7 stories):
    Hartnell: 4.625
    Troughton: 6.14
    Pertwee: 7.57

    … and Baker isn’t doing that well – though no doubt his average will be boosted by later stories no

    • Huw Davies  April 6, 2012

      I apologise for the duplicate comments, my internet is playing up!

  18. Frankymole  April 6, 2012

    ” I suppose if you saw this when you were five or six years old, you’d think it was the most original thing you’d ever seen.”

    Some might say the same about “42”! (aka “Planet of Evil Redux”.)

    • PolarityReversed  April 7, 2012

      … or “hey, why don’t we do a sort of Jack Bauer thing, Russell?” Ah, Dr Who and the dramatic UNITies…

  19. Mike Sutton  April 6, 2012

    I’ll always remember this one because Clive James refers to it in his seminal book “The Crystal Bucket.”

  20. Richard L  April 6, 2012

    I had the Talking Dalek too (and K9). Though mine was grey. I was a bit annoyed that it didn’t match the non-talking Denys Fisher one I had. Think they’re still in parents’ attic with the Doctor Who Weeklies and Target novels but they would hardly be in pristine condition!

    • Dave Sanders  April 6, 2012

      Did you have the Cyberman with a nose? Or the Nescafe Fourth Doctor?

      • PolarityReversed  April 6, 2012

        One word – Weetabix.

        • Dave Sanders  April 8, 2012

          Wot? No Sugar Smacks?

          • PolarityReversed  April 8, 2012

            Wasn’t allowed em. It was a fibre thing, I reckon…
            I recall amassing about 5 sodding Alpha Centauris with nary a peep of the fabled mythical Ice Warrior.
            Just trawled the web and note that a full mint set of the Weetabix ones is up on eBay, currently bid up to £119! Also found an image for that game with the plug-in Daleks – it was War of the Daleks.
            Ohhh yes, Isn’t it, wasn’t it, though? Sontarans for goalposts, eh, eh? Marvellous…

      • Jamie  April 9, 2012

        I’ve got the nose-enabled cyberman up in the attic. By my reckoning, the silver material on the costume began to peel back within 4 years.
        Still got the Giant Robot, together with the clip-on shoulders, but the roll-along K-9 is no more, alas.

  21. Rad  April 6, 2012

    Enjoy the break, Neil (and don’t worry Sue, if you get withdrawal symptoms you can just do a Neil and sneakily watch some without him – although best make it 2005-onwards I guess).

    Great write up as ever!

  22. Loki  April 6, 2012

    Sue you have to listen to ‘I, Davros’. You can find out what happened to Davros’ legs. Along with his family, his childhood, his planet’s culture at total war, the fate of Skaro, and how he becomes who he is. It’s SO brilliant!

    • PolarityReversed  April 6, 2012

      I reckon she’d be more into Skaro building regs, circa whatever-it’ll-be (I’m never sure), with Lalla Ward waving in a bulk delivery of cement from the planet Portland VXI…

  23. Dim Panda  April 6, 2012

    Ian Levine is recording a new record in protest at the blog hiatus.

    You have been warned.

    • Dave Sanders  April 6, 2012

      Oh great, it’ll be eighteen months before anyone wants to come back if he does THAT.

  24. Dave Sanders  April 6, 2012

    “That’s a pun. We don’t do puns.”

    I do. All the time. I am therefore obliged to refer to this story as ‘Forbidden Planet Of Evil’.

  25. James P. Quick  April 7, 2012

    5/10? Not bad. But, Neil, were you kidding about the Big Finish bit? (That’s too much fanwank, even by BF’s standards if it’s true.)

    • PolarityReversed  April 10, 2012

      I’ve heard a couple of BFs recently and it would seem that nothing is too daft or spurious.

      Ahhh, Sorenson old thing, I know we have to get back to your time and prevent the total annihilation of the known universe, but I’ve just remembered I promised Marco Polo some ointment for his lumbago. Don’t mind if we take a little detour, do you?
      Snarllll, grrr, etc.
      Well, if that’s the quality of repartee and companionship I have to look forward to, maybe I should consider getting a dog…

  26. Catseye  April 7, 2012

    Take a break (very well deserved) but be back soon please!

  27. Sammy Yeo  April 7, 2012

    Great post, as always, although this is one of the stories I don’t know very well, so my future viewings will undoubtedly be coloured by your combined thoughts!

    As for these haters: how bizarre. Even aside from the fact that Sue’s comments are always hysterical, and the obvious suggestion that they stop reading a website they don’t enjoy… isn’t one of the delights of Doctor Who – with its 49-year history, numerous social and televisual contexts, and marvellously disparate fans – that we can all have our own opinion on the stories? I mean, honestly.

  28. BWT  April 7, 2012

    Somewhere, wherever there is a Dr Who trying to do science, there must always be a mug emblazoned with the words: “Should I get Nicol?”

  29. solar penguin  April 7, 2012

    Once again, Sue’s comments are spot on here. As with Terror Of The Zygons before, she’s not being fooled into ignoring all the confused plotholes of the Hinchcliffe era just because of the Gothic imagery. Hope you come back soon, because I’m looking forward to more of her comments.

    • PolarityReversed  April 7, 2012

      Respeck and all that, but are there that many Dr Who stories that *haven’t* had whacking great plot holes? Isn’t it all part of the fun?

      This isn’t an invitation to sonic screwdrivers at dawn or anything like that, just what I think is a fair point. I’ll admit that what we’re moving into here (or were, before we were so rudely trolled) is my favourite era, but I’m not some barker who’d regard it as a sacred honour to eat Tom Baker’s socks…

      Anyway, as and when our gracious hosts return, I propose we start playing genre pastiche bingo. Just for fun – no prizes. Person who can list the most mythological, literary, topical, scientific, etc influences and references wins the admiration of all. We could call it “Strictly Come Again?” or “Do You Think You Are Who?” or something.

      Since I’m now nearing the end of this post with no resolution in sight, I’ve decided to issue great waves of nu-lurve so everything will suddenly work out fine. And it’s okay, since I’m just hiding inside a great big version of myself from the future and none of this will ever have been written anyway.

      Oh, and … Neil is my daughter from a parallel universe that hasn’t yet not-happened. It’s obvious if you think about it.

  30. Paul Mudie  April 7, 2012

    I remember being terrified of hairy Sorenson when I was a nipper, and for some reason the canisters the crystals are kept in left a lingering impression on me, but the plot is a bit of a fudge.

    I hope you both enjoy your break, and I’ll be counting the days till I can read your thoughts on Pyramids of Mars! 🙂

  31. Marty  April 8, 2012

    “The Doctor is overjoyed with the prospect of danger. He’s a lunatic.” This needs to be on a tshirt.

    Now, who are these people hating on Sue? They need to be thrown into a pit of anti-matter.

    Enjoy your break, I’m not sure what I’m going to do without the weekly update from this site. Maybe read something serious and intellectual. Or read some fanfiction.

  32. Tristan Alfaro  April 8, 2012

    Visually, Planet of Evil looks fantastic. You can’t beat that jungle set (on film). And I love the moving outline shape of Anti-Man, scared the crap out of me as a kid.

    Enjoy the break guys, it’s well-earned.

    And somone has to make that mug for Nicol!

    • Tristan Alfaro  April 8, 2012

      And extra points to me! for redunantly using the phrase “Visually, Planet of Evil looks fantastic”.

      What the hell have I been drinking?

    • Professor Thascales  April 13, 2012

      Yeah, the scenes on the planet look great. The spaceship, though, is pretty drab. But Evil Sorenson/Anti-Matter Creature is memorable. (The actor called it “a cross between Guy the Gorilla and a werewolf.)

      When I was a kid I had to close my eyes during this story. Probably the Anti-Matter Creature.
      When I saw it again as an adult, I was kind of disappointed–probably by the script and Prentis Hancock.

  33. John G  April 8, 2012

    “It’s called diminished responsibility, Neil. For example, if I killed you now, I could use this experiment as my excuse; I’d definitely get off.”

    If that’s the case Neil, I really think it might be just as well you are taking a break! Seriously though, this is another story I think Sue has bang to rights. It does look great, but for me this is one of Tom’s dullest adventures. Any story where the Doctor has to spend most of the running time trying to convince the people he is attempting to help of his bona fides tends to be boring, and that is certainly the case with this one.

    I hope you enjoy your break, and come back to the experiment with renewed enthusiasm in May. At least there is a genuine classic to look forward to next, though of course Sue may not see it that way! In the meantime, happy Easter.

  34. Jon Clarke  April 9, 2012

    Fantastic and entertaining as always! enojoy your break.

  35. Harry  April 9, 2012

    Given the relatively harsh scores being given to many Hinchcliffe era stories so far, I’m a little worried about Tom Baker’s era as a whole: right now, even in the stories she’s given low marks to, Sue has been captivated by Tom, but what happens when he becomes a bit lacklustre, prone to try less when faced with poor scripts and prone to overdo the zaniness…?

    • Dan  April 9, 2012

      I think the first season is a different fish from the rest of Hinchcliffe though. It was pretty much mapped out by the time they took over. Also has it been that harsh? Every era is patchy, as I’ve recently heard. It’s nice that every era has something good – to be expected in a show as off-the-wall and ridiculously ambitions as Doctor Who with the production conditions it has (even big budgets can’t ameliorate this entirely.) It’s part of the fun. (It’s also why I couldn’t get far defending Nightmare of Eden against accusations that Dr Who was rubbish in school, even though City of Death had only shown not long before. In fact my defence would have been “It isn’t!”

      • PolarityReversed  April 9, 2012

        Don’t see anything all that wrong with Nightmare of Eden, to be honest. Okay it’s a bit panto, but it’s essentially a nicely plotted detective number and is a careful kid-friendly take on some very adult themes indeed. A propos panto, I seem to remember it was originally broadcast in the runup to Christmas… Seem to remember farting about with paperchains and such at the time – oh, yes I did.

        • Dan  April 9, 2012

          It also depends on which episode was on. The casual viewer is not interested in the past of a show; it’s only as good as the episode that’s on right now. In this nine year old girl’s judgement that episode of Nightmare wasn’t very good. If I’ve remember it right.

      • encyclops  April 9, 2012

        I always liked Nightmare, too. The only real objective problems I recall (and it’s been a while): the slight recycling of ideas from Carnival of Monsters (but who cares), “my everything!”, and the fact that the Mandrels were extremely huggable. They’re still pretty high on my list of Doctor Who plush toys I’d like to own.

  36. Chris Too-old-to-watch  April 10, 2012

    I knew Sue would be commenting on the costumes – whatever would have the costume department done without polyester back then?

    So many comments and not one about The Monster From The Id or Forbidden Planet: come on guys you’re slacking!!!

    Have a good break

    • Jazza1971  April 10, 2012

      It’s not just the costume department that was obsessed with polyester back in the 70’s, it was a national obsession!

    • Neil Perryman  April 10, 2012

      Sue has never seen Forbidden Planet (although I have dragged her to the shop a few times). She still hasn’t seen it despite me owning it on both DVD and Blu Ray. It’s one of life’s great mysteries…

      • Chris Too-old-to-watch  April 10, 2012

        Is she a fan of The Naked Gun or Police Squad? You could always fool her into thinking it’s Leslie Nielsen’s first comedy film…..

  37. Matthew Marcus  April 10, 2012

    Neil and Sue have totally earned a well-deserved break. Having said that, if this qualifies as a Wife In Space “hiatus”… maybe we should get a charity pop single going, just in case? “Wife In Space In Distress”! What could possibly go wrong?

  38. s2m4  April 10, 2012

    I think Sue is being kind to this era. Given the time period and lack of money of the program at the time, one is willing to forgive the odd unconvincing giant styrofoam clam (as in Genesis of the Daleks). How will Sue react to the same unconvincing giant styrofoam door in Warriors of the Deep?

    Oh dear God . . . the Myrka!!! Sue is right. Doctor Who SHOULD be banned from using dinosaurs!

  39. Katie D  April 10, 2012

    Not a regular commenter, but I just want to say I read every Wife in Space and adore them all, even though I haven’t seen all the episodes you have – which just makes it much better when I watch them for the first time and hear Sue’s commentary in my head. Take a much-deserved rest and come back soon!

  40. charles yoakum  April 11, 2012

    as sue said at the end, screw the people who have been jerks about the blog. its fun and entertaining and i love my mug and will get more. enable moderated commentary perhaps so you don’t have to deal with complete jerks. in any case, i love reading the blog, enjoy your break and come back refreshed ready to head into what is either the true classics period for some of us, or into the bog standard “rip off Hammer movie of the week” period. Sue’s marks on the baker stories haven’t been completely predictable so far, so it should be interesting.

  41. Colin John Francis  April 11, 2012

    “Anyone remember an old game that involved plugging little Daleks into tracks on the board, then cranking a little handle to make them move and rotate?” – That would be “War of the Daleks”. You had to get your playing piece to the centre of the board and blow up the Dalek control room. The Dalek control room was the ‘handle’ that rotated the board enabling the Daleks to move within their tracks. If a Dalek touched any players whilst moving, that player had to return to the start. Simple rules, but an entertaining enough board game.

    • Barry Stavers  April 12, 2012

      Yes, it was War of the Daleks, I remember it vividly. I got it for christmas in 1975. Loved it.

      Ooh, on the subject of daleks, (probably should post this on the Genesis feed, but as i’m here..) here’s a little bit of trivia that will be of no interest whatsoever to anyone but myself, but here goes. Ronson is played by actor James Garbutt. He comes from my home town of Houghton-le-Spring and had a sister by the name of Mary who was a midwife. So, not only was the first man to be exterminated by the Daleks born only a few streets away from myself, his sister helped deliver my oldest brother and my oldest sister. How cool is that??? (I know, I know, not very….I need to get out more.)

  42. Chris Too-old-to-watch  April 13, 2012

    Doesn’t it seem like a long time until May……..

    • DPC  April 26, 2012

      It’s felt like a long time, though!

      I’ve missed their entries…

  43. Doctor Whom  April 13, 2012

    Well-earned rest, my arse!

    Sue, will you please sort out your lightweight husband? And Neil, sweetheart, please wake up and smell the Ovaltine. Sue’s been living with a DW fan for years. It’s not going to be a surprise for her to see what bitter narcissists DW fans can become when someone disagrees with them over DW.

    Sue’s judgement on matters DW may be fatally flawed but those pics from the DW Experience show that she’s anything but “sour faced”.