Part One

Terror of the Zygons gets off to a cracking start.

Sue: That was a nice edit to kick things off. I’m not entirely sure what I was looking at, but it’s a confident start.

An oil rig crumbles into the sea.

Sue: I still don’t know what I’m looking at, but that was probably a nice explosion. It was a smart decision to shoot this at night, because I can’t see a bloody thing.

Terror of the ZygonsUnfortunately, my copy of this story is extremely dark, which means we’ll end up squinting at the screen quite a lot. At least the next scene is in broad daylight, as the Doctor, Harry and Sarah traipse across a windswept moor.

Sue: (Noticing the Doctor’s tam o’shanter) Are we in Scotland?
Me: Nothing escapes you, love.
Sue: Sarah is wearing the Doctor’s hat and Harry is wearing his scarf. I like it. They come across as a big happy family. Or very close friends who are comfortable swapping clothes.
Me: There are definitely forums for people like you, Sue.

And then Sue is swept off her feet.

Sue: Ooh, that’s a nice 1970s Land Rover. Oh, this is very nice. A lovely location (although I’m not convinced it’s actually Scotland), nice cars and a nice soundtrack. It’s nice. I’m going to enjoy this.

Terror of the ZygonsAnd then it gets even better.

Sue: A Land Rover Defender. Now you’re talking! And is that Benton driving it? Get in!

In the local pub, which has been turned into UNIT’s temporary HQ, the Brigadier is discussing oil rig disasters with a man named Huckle.

Sue: The bagpipes are doing my head in. They’re too loud. I can’t hear a word anyone’s saying. This isn’t Dudley, is it?

Even the Brigadier is annoyed by the racket.

Sue: Thank heavens he’s noticed it too.

But he carries on in spite of it.

Sue: Why didn’t the Brig made it stop? It isn’t even a real person playing those bagpipes – it’s a ****ing record. Otherwise, we’d see them.

And then…

Sue: The bagpipes have driven our cats out of the room. Enough is enough, Neil. This is giving me a headache.
Me: Get used to it, love. The soundtrack is like this for the next 90 minutes.
Sue: What?

But when the Doctor walks up to the bar, the music stops abruptly.

Sue: Thank **** for that.

Sarah decides to take the piss out of the Brigadier’s kilt.

Sue: Let’s have a look at your knees, then. This is too dark, Neil, I can’t see his knees.

When the Doctor learns that the Brigadier has dragged him to Scotland to deal with an oil crisis, he scoffs at Earth’s reliance on fossil fuel.

Sue: The Doctor is well ahead of his time. If we’d listened to him in 1975, we wouldn’t be in such a mess now.

The Doctor’s interest is piqued when he learns the rigs were attacked under mysterious circumstances.

Sue: My Dad made parts for oil rigs around this time. He would have enjoyed this story.

The Doctor rushes off to investigate, leaving Sarah to make small talk with Angus, the pub landlord.

Terror of the ZygonsMe: Look, Sue, it’s Shughie McFee from Crossroads.
Sue: I have no idea who that is, but I bet he’s the only gay in the village.
Me: You didn’t watch Crossroads back in the day, did you?
Sue: Not really, no; I had a life. I remember this actor from another Doctor Who, though.
Me: Then there’s hope for you yet. In an alternate universe, you told me the name of the story, as well.
Sue: I just remember you banging on about Crossroads.

There are strange goings-on at Tulloch Moor.

Sue: It’s An American Werewolf in London, isn’t it? They’re building the tension nicely. The acting’s fine, it’s on location, and there’s a nice pace to it. So far so good.

Harry finds a survivor from another oil rig disaster washed up on the beach. But when he tries to help the poor man, a sniper in a sporran starts shooting at them.

Me: Harry’s dead.
Sue: No he isn’t.
Me: Yes he is. He’s been shot in the head.
Sue: That’s just a flesh wound.

The bagpiper (care of EMI Records) plays a sorrowful lament for the dead.

Me: See, I told you. They’re foreshadowing Harry’s death with funeral music.
Sue: Really? They actually killed Harry?

When Sarah takes an urgent phone call from the local infirmary, I somehow convince Sue that she’s just seen a Doctor Who companion suffer a brutal, senseless death. It’s one of life’s small pleasures.

Sue: But that’s awful!

Meanwhile a Zygon gently massages the controls to his ship.

Terror of the ZygonsSue: That’s horrible. Is this supposed to be organic technology?
Me: Well spotted.
Sue: It reminds me of something else.
Me: Babylon 5?
Sue: Battlestar Galactica. When they had to fly a stolen Cylon ship, it looked like someone’s lower intestines when they got in the cockpit. Hey! Cylon – Zygon… Coincidence?

Sarah arrives at the infirmary and we discover Harry is alive and well. I duck as a cushion sails over my head (we haven’t had one of those in ages). And then, as the Doctor ruminates on what could be behind the attacks, we cut to his face on a screen in the Zygons’ ship.

Sue: That was a lovely edit. The direction is first-rate this week. Who is it?
Me: Do you really have to ask?
Sue: Is it Camfield? Is it really? I thought he was dead.
Me: No, he had a heart attack during Inferno, but he got better, remember?
Sue: Thank **** for that. I thought this was good. Having said that, this close-up of what I assume must be a Zygon reminds me of Bungle from Rainbow. And that can’t be good.

The episode concludes with Sarah being threatened by a Zygon.

Sue: Scary.
Me: That cliffhanger still scares the crap out of me today.


Part Two

Terror of the ZygonsSue: It’s good to see the gang back together again.
Me: What do you mean?
Sue: You know, the Brig, Benton, UNIT. It’s just like old times. And Douglas Camfield is back, too. What more could you ask?

Sue gets her first good look at a Zygon.

Sue: It’s an interesting design. I’m struggling to make out what they’re saying, but they look creepy and vaguely fishy. That one over there looks like a goldfish that’s drowning on dry land.

The Zygons own a cyborg pet called the Skarasen.

Sue: That isn’t so good. But it’s a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it effect, so I’ll let it pass.

When the Doctor and Sarah are locked in the infirmary’s decompression chamber without any oxygen, the Time Lord sends Sarah into a trance before howling like a banshee.

Sue: Is he trying to scream more air into the room?

Terror of the ZygonsThe Brigadier confers with a UNIT corporal.

Sue: Is he Yates’ replacement? He isn’t very good. I can’t believe I’m going to say this, but I think I actually miss Yates.

A UNIT soldier patrols the misty moors.

Sue: This looks great. It’s very atmospheric. Good old Douglas. So who did the music? He wouldn’t work with Dudley Simpson so it can’t be him.
Me: A guy called Geoffrey Burgon.
Sue: I like it. It’s delicate.

The soldier is attacked and killed by the Skarasen.

Sue: Oh dear. Is this the point where it all starts to go wrong?

The Doctor finds the Skarasen’s signalling device at the scene of the crime.

Terror of the ZygonsMe: I used to have one of those, but I think one of the cats ate it.
Sue: What? You could have killed it!
Me: Don’t worry, it was tiny – no bigger than a grain of rice. It came with my collectible Zygon action figure.
Sue: So that’s where I recognise the Zygons from. And it wasn’t the cats that ate it. I think I hoovered it up. Sorry.

The Zygons continue to plot and scheme.

Sue: The Zygons are very difficult to understand with their Doctor Who voices, don’t you think? That half-whispering, half-wheezing thing all the monsters do: “Doc-TORRRRRR…” You know, like that.

The Zygons can also mimic humans.

Sue: I said this was like Battlestar Galactica.

Harry’s duplicate is sent to retrieve the Zygons’ signalling device, and as soon as he has it in his possession, he rudely pushes Sarah out of the way.

Sue: They don’t even pretend to blend in, do they? Why bother with a disguise if you’re just going to draw attention to yourself like that?

Sarah follows Harry to a barn, and Douglas Camfield ladles on the tension with a hoe.

Sue: Can’t they make Douglas direct them all?

Harry attacks Sarah with a pitchfork.

Terror of the ZygonsSue: ****ing hell! How grim was that? What an amazing scene. That was very disturbing. And very, very dark.
Me: Yeah, it’s a shame this copy is so poor.
Sue: Why isn’t this story on DVD yet? It obviously isn’t a duffer, so what are they waiting for?
Me: Well, I can’t corroborate this, but I remember someone telling me that Terror of the Zygons will be the last story they ever release on disc. I think it’s because someone who works for the range knows someone who rates this story as their all-time favourite, so a decision was taken to release it at the end, just to spite him.
Sue: That would be really funny if the picture wasn’t so dark.

The Doctor pockets the signalling device and draws the Skarasen away from his friends. Unfortunately, the Doctor’s vehicle breaks down before he can get very far.

Sue: A Land Rover would never do that. No, I simply don’t believe it. A Land Rover wouldn’t develop a technical problem like that. Benton must have forgotten to fill it up. He should have taken a jerry can in case of emergencies. This is silly; the Doctor actually believes a Land Rover has simply broken down.
Me: So you can accept the Loch Ness Monster, but you can’t accept a Land Rover breaking down?
Sue: For no clear reason! There are limits, you know. And what do you mean, the Loch Ness Monster? Are you taking the piss?
Me: I’m deadly serious. In fact, the novelisation is called Doctor Who and the Loch Ness Monster.
Sue: Since when did Nessie go traipsing around the moors? It stays in the water. Everybody knows that.
Me: I remember watching this story at school. I must have been eight or nine at the time. It was either the whole story or bits of it were included in a Schools and Colleges programme.
Sue: What on Earth were they trying to teach you during that class?

The Doctor tries to outrun the Skarasen.

Terror of the ZygonsSue: I wish we didn’t have to see the monster. Just hearing it is enough. This is definitely Camfield’s lowest point. Then again, what could he possibly do differently? What a shame.

When I remind her that the Skarasen is a cyborg, and the Zygons have been hanging around Scotland for centuries, everything suddenly clicks into place.

Sue: Oh, I see! So the Zygons have built this robot Nessie thing (which explains why it moves in a completely unrealistic fashion) and they’ve used it to scare people away from Loch Ness, yes? That actually makes sense. Phew, I was worried there for a second.


Part Three

Terror of the ZygonsSue: Doctor Who should be banned from using dinosaurs.

The Zygons believe the Doctor is dead and they order their pet home.

Sue: So they don’t call it Nessie, then? That’s disappointing.

Angus becomes suspicious of the Zygons’ transmitter, which has been hidden in the stag’s head.

Sue: This guy always plays the token Scot. I’m sure I’ve seen him in loads of things.
Me: Yeah, he’s the Scottish Talfryn Thomas.

And then Sue enjoys a rare treat.

Terror of the ZygonsSue: Two Land Rover Defenders in the same scene. It doesn’t get any better than this. If I won the lottery, I’d buy a Defender with the snorkel attachment so I could drive it underwater.
Me: That would be handy. Especially in this story.

The Doctor claims the Loch Ness Monster has been using a subterranean tunnel in order to commute to the North Sea.

Sue: Is that really possible, or are they just making it up? They didn’t have Wikipedia in 1975, so I guess they could say anything they liked.

Angus is attacked by a Zygon who has disguised itself as a nurse, and UNIT are too late to save him.

Sue: He must have a canny pair of lungs if UNIT heard him in the next postcode.

UNIT track the Zygon to a nearby forest. They shoot to kill.

Sue: They won’t hit it. Never in a month of Sundays.

Sue is forced to eat her words when the nurse emerges from the forest with a bloody bullet wound.

Sue: The bullet must have ricocheted off a tree.

Terror of the ZygonsThe Zygon brains a UNIT soldier with a large rock.

Sue: Homicidal nurses! This is not for kids.

Meanwhile, Sarah stumbles across a secret passage in the Duke of Forgill’s library.

Sue: Sarah’s panty line is very visible in this story. God knows what it must look like on a decent copy. Nice jumper, though. Not too keen on the coat.

Sarah manages to avoid the aliens.

Sue: I like the Zygons. They’re quite Octopussy. Do they come back again?
Me: There’s a fan film, which features Zygon porn. I could hunt down a copy down, if you like.
Sue: I’ll pass, thanks.

As the Zygons prepare for take-off, UNIT decide to depth-charge the suckers.

Terror of the ZygonsSue: Typical UNIT. The Brigadier’s been dying to do this all day.

When the Zygons’ ship emerges from the Loch, the onlookers are stunned by a noise that’s even more debilitating than the bagpipes.

Sue: I’ve just noticed that Ian Levene (sic) has a very big mouth.

The Zygon ship takes off.

Sue: What a clunky piece of shit.


Part Four

Terror of the ZygonsSue: The Zygons’ spaceship looks like a depressed elephant.

The Doctor tries to disarm his captors with humour.

Sue: I like it when the Doctor takes the piss out of the aliens. There’s a nice mixture of comedy and drama in this story. It strikes just the right balance.

Tom does this a lot in Terror of the Zygons and there’s plenty of appreciative laughter from Sue.

Sue: Why did Broton visit the Doctor in his cell? He didn’t need anything from him, and he gave the Doctor loads of information. It’s a bit lazy, this. Jon Pertwee would have worked that out on his own.
Me: Yeah, and it would have taken him six episodes to do it.
Sue: Good point.

Terror of the ZygonsThe Brigadier receives an important phone call.

Sue: That’s interesting. Was that supposed to be Margaret Thatcher?
Me: Or Shirley Williams.
Sue: Or Edwina Currie?
Me: If you like.
Sue: So the UNIT stories have to be set in the future. Okay, then.

The Zygons’ ship is spotted in a nearby quarry.

Sue: A quarry. How convenient.

The Zygon’s ship explodes.

Sue: That was very impressive. One of the best explosions I’ve seen in this series so far. Douglas should have chucked sand over the cast’s faces, but that wasn’t bad at all.

Our heroes race to the Fourth International Energy Conference in London so they can stop Broton from turning the Skarasen into a weapon of mass destruction. But when the Doctor interrupts Broton’s plans, the Zygon massages the Doctor into submission.

Terror of the ZygonsSue: Has the Doctor got an Achilles’ neck? That’s the second time someone has tried to shiatsu him to death.

After Broton is shot and killed by UNIT (he was standing two feet away from them at the time), the Doctor races to the terrace to face the Skarasen.

Sue: Oh dear.

The Doctor throws the signalling device at the monster as innocent bystanders scream off-screen.

Sue: Are you sure he’s thrown it down Nessie’s neck and not into a large crowd of people? It sounds like there’s a massacre going on down there.

Nessie swallows the devices and buggers off back to Scotland.

Sue: I bet that made the evening news.

The episode concludes with the Doctor, Sarah, Harry, the Brigadier and the Duke of Forgill returning to Tulloch Moor to retrieve the TARDIS.

Sue: Why have they taken this bloke to see the TARDIS? What was the point of that?

Terror of the ZygonsThe Brigadier politely refuses the Doctor’s offer of a lift back to London, as does Harry.

Sue: I expect they’ll pick Harry up later. I’m guessing that the Doctor and Sarah will take a detour first. And why did Harry go all the way to Scotland if he had no intention of going back in the TARDIS? That was a bit pointless.

When the TARDIS dematerialises, the Duke tempers his astonishment with a self-deprecating jibe about how tight-fisted the Scots can be.

Sue: And a nice bit of casual racism to finish on. Lovely.


The Score

Sue: Not bad. It had a lot going for it: the Zygons, the location, the direction, the music, Tom Baker, the Brigadier in a kilt, and the extensive Land Rover collection. But quite a few things let it down: the monster, the Zygons’ diction, and, most importantly, the plot. Even the Doctor took the piss out of it.





  1. David  April 1, 2012

    Oh, if only Sue knew [edited for being a bit too spoilery – Sue has been known to read the first handful of comments, so please be careful – thanks]

  2. Lewis  April 1, 2012

    Quote of the story: “The Zygons’ spaceship looks like a depressed elephant.”

    The first time I’ve genuinely “LOL’d”, and a mug I’d definitely buy!

  3. Simon Harries  April 1, 2012

    Do you know what? I think the Skarasen is a thing of beauty. In particular during the stop-motion stuff across the cliffhanger of ep 2, he’s lovely, really sweet.

    It’s just how Ray Harryhausen would have handled it, if Ray happened to have been working with $80 instead of $8million….

    • Frankymole  April 4, 2012

      I think “he” is a “she” since the Zygons live off her milk!

  4. garjobot  April 1, 2012

    7/10 No No No – enough with the less than fun-ney insults..’depressed elephant’ etc you need to start appreciating WHEN this was made and WHO it intended audience was for! The monster does the job, the zygons are bordering on the BEST that WHO has come up with…basically this story is bordering on the best the doctor offers…it’s a mighty 9/10…aside from Pyrmids, Talons, City….theres little else to touch it. I’ve followed this site for a wee while, never once been tempted by a mug but going by your recent lacklustre scores for some classic epsiodes Im afraid my experiment stops here! Bid you g’day and good luck with the reminder of the seasons! A long slog ahead awaits..im sure youll run out of ‘puns’ by the time you get to the Davidson seasons ( when they are needed mosts!! )

    • Neil Perryman  April 1, 2012

      And another one bites the dust after another 7/10 savaging from Sue…

      • Alex Kershaw  April 2, 2012

        i was gonna say,
        chill out mate!

        • Alex Kershaw  April 2, 2012

          Though i do detect a hint of troll,
          a doctor who fan who is anal enough to stop reading because he thought a 7/10 should be a 9/10 would probably know that there was only one D in Davison.

          • Wholahoop  April 2, 2012

            Or he edited DWM when PD came onboard – see http://www.lovingwho.com/DWMissues/Magazine500s/issue61.jpg
            I’ll get my coat…..

          • Russell Watson  April 2, 2012

            yeah, was gonna say “it’s Davison”, lol.

            I’ve never seen Terror of the Zygons unfortunatley & seems like I’ll have quite the wait. I did like the “depressed Elephant” Comment.

    • Lewis  April 1, 2012

      Or you could get a sense of humour. Sue is mocking the show but, hey, don’t we all? I adore ‘Revenge of the Cybermen’ but am happy to rip it to shreds because it’s pants. I’m sure Sue is well aware of budget constraints and the 70s/context (she often mentions it, and wonders about other possibilities and how/why things were done as they were etc.) so god knows what you’re on about.

      Just because you don’t agree with her score? You said it’s 9/10, Sue gave it 7/10. And you’re sulking? What?

      And who is Davidson?!

    • Glen Allen  April 1, 2012

      “…this story is bordering on the best the doctor offers”
      “The Doctor” I think you’ll find.

      “aside from Pyrmids, Talons, City…”
      “Pyramids” I think you’ll find

      “by the time you get to the Davidson seasons..”
      “Davison” I think you’ll find.

      Do I really need to say anything further?? 🙂

    • siobhan gallichan  April 1, 2012

      Ahaaaa… a Doctor Who Monthly reader, I see. Yes, it will be interesting when DaviDson gets here… love the obligatory fan intolerence about others’ views of a show that preachers tolerence. Always been the same. Probably always will.

      still, me, I thought Sue got it spot on.

    • Fanuwarry McGryhan  April 1, 2012

      Taking you toys and going home because someone has a different opinion. Bless.

      • Alisaunder  April 5, 2012

        That is a great name.

    • Jazza1971  April 1, 2012

      The whole point of this blog is to see the stories through the perspective of someone who isn’t a fan, so there is no point in getting upset when Sue’s scores don’t match yours. It will always be a 9/10 to you, fine, but to Sue she gave it a 7. Vive la difference.

    • PolarityReversed  April 2, 2012

      Sounds like you got a roo loose in the top paddock, mate…

      I don’t pay any attention to the scores – or at least, they aren’t the reason I read the site. WiS isn’t really supposed to be the Wholympics, is it?

      Actually I find the perspective of an adult coming at Who cold and unfettered by nostalgia interesting. I was perfectly happy to suspend disbelief at washing-up bottle spaceships and bubblewrap aliens when I first watched the show. Then, after maybe a 30-year hiatus, I did my own rerun a couple of years ago via YouTube. Okay I find the production values rather quaint now, but I’m still impressed overall by how ambitious and resourceful it all was – it really was very grownup children’s TV.

    • Cracked Polystyrene Man  April 3, 2012

      OK, the dodgy dinosaur lets the story down but I can’t help feeling that is the story’s only failing. What TERROR OF THE ZYGONS excells at is sheer atmosphere – particularly the moody location work and the menacing scene with Sarah being menaced by Harry in the barn with a pitchfork. That simple cliffhanger to part one still sends shivers down my spine.

      • Frankymole  April 4, 2012

        Which dinosaurs have been found to be half-robot?

  5. Glen Allen  April 1, 2012

    Homicidal nurses. This is not for kids.
    Ian Levene has a very big mouth…

    Crying out for MUGS or T-SHIRTS 🙂

    For some wonderful outtakes of Lis introducing this story on UK Gold, click this link (sorry its a tribute thing so if you dont want to get emotional please skip to about 3.50 I think it is)

    • Roderick T. Long  April 2, 2012

      Thanks for the Sladen clip; that was delightful.

    • Mag  April 2, 2012

      Wonderful! I hope those make the Zygons DVD as an extra or Easter egg.

    • Alex Wilcock  April 2, 2012

      Awwhh, thanks, Glen. They were fabulous.

      And, obviously, you’re very pretty 😉

    • Jazza1971  April 2, 2012

      Nice one, Glen. Thanks for that.

    • Andrew Bowman  April 17, 2012

      Lovely stuff. In fact, seeing the ‘real’ Lis Sladen is probably a better tribute than the very lovely clips sequence with She’s the One in the background. Nice to see 🙂

  6. Paul Kirkley  April 1, 2012

    This will always be a 10/10 in my book, shonky monster or no shonky monster.

    Good to see Tom Baker lining up next to Richard Dawkins, by the way. Is that your special Lalla Ward’s Husbands shelf? They’re always a bugger to dust.

    • Mag  April 2, 2012

      Perhaps Sue underestimated the power of organic crystallography?

      • Dave Sanders  April 4, 2012

        Or we underestimate her intelligence.

        • Mag  April 5, 2012

          So, that would make us Zygons and Sue a Time Lord!

  7. Jamie  April 1, 2012

    Ease off on the ‘looking for racism where none really exists’ moments, please Sue.
    It really is unbecoming.

    • Dan  April 1, 2012

      It sort of does apply though doesn’t it? “Scots are mean” isn’t at all a stereotype?

      You should try reading Tardis Eruditorum…

      • Jamie  April 1, 2012

        Stereotype for sure.
        Well they are tight, aren’t they….

        • Jazza1971  April 1, 2012

          As one of the “they” you refer to, I could find that quite offensive. But I suspect it was a joke. In the same way Sue’s comments were part of a running joke throughout the blog regarding racism. Well that’s my one penneth worth…I’m too tight to go the whole two penneth!

          • Russell Watson  April 2, 2012

            I think the whole racism thing, not on here, but in general is always brushed aside if it’s a comment like that about Scots being “mean”. It is a stereotype & probably a little racist, technically. Personally, I don’t have a real problem with stuff like that the way it’s presented in Dr. Who. However, if it was a stereotye on Black or Chinese people it would automatically be singled out as racism. There’s a ton of stuff from Who, let alone the rest of 60s/70s TV which would be considered racist now.
            I think as long as it’s not being directly offensive, some slack should be cut.

          • Jazza1971  April 2, 2012

            I think intent is the important issue. I went to an English university and my English friends and I would have good natured banter about the English and the Scottish. Commonly the “tight” comment would be made, but it was always in fun – a bit of an in joke. In some contexts such comments could be deemed racist, depending on the intent of the comments. But I would say it is at the far lighter end of the racism scale than that experienced by people because of the colour of their skin.

          • Frankymole  April 4, 2012

            Well it was a Scot saying it (character) – what is the ethnic background of Robert Banks Stewart, the author?

      • Fanuwarry McGryhan  April 1, 2012

        Gosh yes, Tardis Erditorum, talk about looking for things that aren’t there! I love it, but I’m not sure where they pull this stuff from half the time.

        • Jamie  April 1, 2012

          I’m already getting fed up with the chart-rundowns at the start of each article I’m reading…

          • Fanuwarry McGryhan  April 2, 2012

            I always skip straight to the Doctor Who stuff.

          • Sparklepunk  April 3, 2012

            I love the chart run downs, to me what makes it interesting is that he’s , trying to see something in the context of the story. Sometimes he comes up with stuff, that isn’t likely to be true, but is an interesting way to see the show from a new perspective and that’s why I read it. I did roll my eyes a bit when he made some of his more angry posts about some episode or alternate show being full of offensive propaganda and such. It’s one of those things I came to really enjoy reading, once I decided that it was still interesting when I completely disagreed.

    • Neil Perryman  April 1, 2012

      She wasn’t being entirely serious but given that it’s ‘Run Down Sue Week’ that’s fine.

      • Jamie  April 1, 2012

        Neil, if so, I missed her flippancy completely.
        Maybe I’m a tad narked that such an atmospheric and classic story received ‘only’ 7/10.

        Run down Sue’s a Dion hit single isn’t it?

        • Simon Harries  April 2, 2012

          Hey, by far the very best scene in this story is the one where Harry attacks Sarah with a pitchfork – and it made Sue gasp. Obviously she knows when something is atmospheric and brilliant.

    • Paul Greaves  April 2, 2012

      Try reading Who Is The Doctor? An Unofficial Guide to the New Series. Two people who can find racism in Doctor Who ANYWHERE…

  8. Pete Galey  April 1, 2012

    And another one bites the dust after another 7/10 savaging from Sue…

    Received wisdom + nostalgia is a heady cocktail, isn’t it? I’m currently taking heat for a 3-star “savaging” of The Daemons on Amazon. I didn’t realise I hated it as much as I apparently do. What with that and being taken to task for not liking The Space Museum or The Web Planet, it’s like being back on rec.arts.drwho…

    Having finally caught up after what seems like three or four days of solid reading, I think I’ve got a good handle on Sue’s tastes and I think the people who are expecting 9s or 10s for the likes of Pyramids and Talons will be lucky. I wouldn’t be surprised by a big ol’ chosty 10 for Seeds of DOOOOOM though.

    I’ve just noticed that Ian Levene has a very big mouth…

    … out of the mouths of babes… 😉

  9. DPC  April 1, 2012

    Another awesome review – thanks much!!

  10. Neowhovian  April 1, 2012

    Hi, Sue! You’re wonderful! I love your comments, your unusual take on these stories, and look forward to many more to come! [Just my bit to counter “Run Down Sue Week”…]

    This is one of the stories I’ve not yet seen because, as was pointed out, it’s not out on DVD yet. 🙁 ~sigh~ Since I’m new to the fandom and haven’t been collecting everything for decades, it doesn’t make sense to buy a VHS copy and then a DVD copy later.

    I actually love getting Sue’s take, because I’ve never heard anything but glowing reviews of this one before. Her reactions may help temper those high expectations and keep it one I can still enjoy, rather than being (possibly) disappointed when I first see it, after all that hype.

    To summarize: SUE IS AWESOME!

    • Dan  April 1, 2012

      Hear hear! Most readers of the blog understand the experiment, and know exactly where it’s all coming from. .We’re now in an era that a lot of people love, including me, but I don’t want the blog to change at all!

      • Leo  April 2, 2012

        Sue’s given reasonably good scores to most of the stories from this era so far really. One 3/10, two 5/10, two 7/10 and one 9/10. As I’d count anything from 5 upwards as approximating average or better depending how higher you go, I think that’s pretty OK, don’t know what the fuss is about.

        • Dan  April 2, 2012

          I agree with that.

  11. Adam Birch  April 1, 2012

    For me, the stretch between The Daemons and Horror of Fang Rock (inclusive) is a large influence on who I am. As a child, the series was very important to me (that’s hardly diminished) and this particular group of stories from my formative years is, I suspect, revealing of some of the inner self.

    The Experiment you’re running, Neil, is possibly to you as it would be to myself. Heavily influential stuff of childhood and youth being possibly held up to close scrutiny.

    By the way, I firmly hold that the original cover to the novelisation was terrific.

  12. Soze  April 1, 2012

    This is one of my favourite stories although I do concede the skarasen lets the side down a bit. God knows why the zygons were never used again, I still think the costume holds up well today. IIRC it’s Steve Roberts’ (of the restoration team) favourite story, I think he must be holding off releasing it on DVD as some form of masochism.

    • Rollocks  April 2, 2012

      I’m sure I read (in DWM?) that the restoration team have long since finished fixing up the old series (hence “The Krotons”, “Nightmare of Eden” and “Greatest Show in the Galaxy” being available from iTunes for the last couple years) and the only reason 2 Entertain are staggering the releases so they can have something (most likely “Tenth Planet” and “…Zygons”) for the 50th anniversary.

      • Rollocks  April 2, 2012

        Done it again.

        MUST read my posts before posting here.

        Sure the above still makes enough sense though.

  13. Andy Wilkinson  April 2, 2012

    Loved Sue’s take on the episode (as always). This is another Tom Baker story that I loved as a child from the Target novelisation then saw years later and spent the whole story shaking my head sorrowfully about the rubbish special effects. The Zygon design is great though and it’s a shame they haven’t been recycled into new who.

  14. Jazza1971  April 2, 2012

    Firstly, one of my favourite lines just ripe for a t-shirt would have to be ” I’m pretty sure I hoovered the signalling device up once. Sorry”. I would have also gone for the “depressed elephant”, but someone beat me to it.

    Secondly, I would never run down Sue, I would certainly apply the brakes!

    Thirdly (I started with the sugar coating before delivering my devastating criticism), they aren’t Land Rover Defenders! The Defender title and badge was only introduced in 1991, a re-badging of the “Land Rover Ninety” and the “Land Rover One Ten”. The ones seen here are probably Series III Land Rovers, as they are very similar to the Ninety One/One Ten/Defender. Sorry to be a bit nerdy, but I guess this is the place to get away with this sort of thing.

    PS:- They do have Wikipedia in 2012! ;o)

    • Neil Perryman  April 2, 2012

      Blimey, are there any niches that Sue hasn’t upset this week?

      Sue said she knew the Land Rover models but no one would have understood what she meant so she dumbed it down a bit. Either that or it was a very clever April Fool. Or she doesn’t care. Take your pick.

      • Jazza1971  April 2, 2012

        No upset caused, sorry if it came across that way. I do like the fact that Sue is dumbing down. 😀

        • Neil Perryman  April 2, 2012

          Not at all – Sue was *very* impressed with your Land Rover history.

          • Jazza1971  April 2, 2012

            Wow, I am honoured! Can I have that on a t-shirt, or at least a mug? 😀

  15. Fraser  April 2, 2012

    Whats with people at the moment? Zygons has a lot of problems – as Sue says the plot is a major one!

    Everyone has different opinions. Without differing opinions, what the heck would be the point in this experiment?
    I really can’t wait for Sue’s take on Tom’s later years, just because I want to find out what SHE thinks. Not what some ‘fans’ write into DWM every month.

    And personally I demand more puns, and I can’t wait to see the reaction on here to what I ‘suspect’ will bea low score for Talons and maybe some well…complaints on the depiction of some people… 😀

    But we’ll see! I just look forward to Sue’s take on every story! Just let her do her thing!

    • Neil Perryman  April 2, 2012

      More puns? Could someone list just one in this update? Or any update?

      I have a feeling that the Baker years could get rough…

      • Django  April 2, 2012

        Really? How on earth could she possibly turn her nose up to the delights of such stories as Underworld, or Horns Of Nimon?

        7/10 is a good score for this story. Don’t forget folks that an average score would be 5/10.

  16. Harry  April 2, 2012

    I can honestly only say that there are a handful of (hopefully) “safe” stories left in Tom’s era, even the Hinchcliffe portion, that Sue should like: Pyramids, I would assume, Seeds of Doom, maybe Robots of Death. Everything else could presumably wind up being savaged: Sarah comes across badly in some stories, where she sounds constantly on the verge of tears, the whole premise of the Deadly Assassin could bore Sue (or she may like it, that could go either way), Leela’s character is largely weakened during Season 15 (not to mention at least two, and arguably 3, duffers that season), both Romanas are “too posh” (but she did warm to Harry), and as for Adric…

    • Chris Too-old-to-watch  April 2, 2012

      I’d add Mandraora and Planet of Evil for the costumes alone…..

    • John G  April 4, 2012

      I am desperately hoping that Sue likes Talons, but I am apprehensive that the somewhat unenlightened approach it takes to the Chinese may put her off a bit…

    • Frankymole  April 4, 2012

      I can see “Pyramids” getting savaged. Tried on some not-We and they started chattering and ignoring the screen within minutes, plus it’s full of racism.

  17. Keri  April 2, 2012

    Good work Sue 🙂

    For those asking for Zygons in the new series – be careful what you wish for. They’ll be crap (cf. Fatleks, nuSilurians, Cybusmen)

    • Frankymole  April 6, 2012

      The chief sculptor (sorry, forgot his name, is it Neill Gorton?) has already said if the Ice Warriors come back he’s going to totally remodel them 🙁

      • encyclops  April 6, 2012

        I’d remodel them too. The bigger question is how the heck they’re going to be from Mars.

        I was fine with the Silurian remodel too — it was the best thing about their reintroduction story (the worst being “everything else”). The new Daleks aren’t great but they’re not awful (if Victory had been any good we might not have noticed).

        Of the redesigns, in my opinion only the Cybermen are really the pits. They seem like windup toys and don’t suggest cybernetics at all in any aspect of their look or behavior (except the occasional visible brain, I guess). I don’t think they ever got better than they were in 1982.

  18. Paul  April 2, 2012

    I often find myself diametrically opposed to popular opinion. Isn’t being a Wholigan part of that? After all we all pride ourselves on being different from the Eastenders and Footy Sheeple so why do we have to be Homogenous in our own niche?

    I love the Blog Neil and just as often as I disagree with Sue I also often wholeheartedly concur. (Hissy voices and computers that you cannot understand spring to mind)

    Cant wait until Sue says she likes a Colin Baker or McCoy Story! (Which for there record there are some GREAT ones)

  19. Mag  April 2, 2012

    I’m glad Sue noted as a positive Burgon’s music in Zygons. This and his other score for Seeds of Doom are my most favorites in all of classic Who.

  20. Chris Too-old-to-watch  April 2, 2012

    As someone else pointed out, a score of 70% is a good pass in most exams (cue the list of exams where 70% isn’t a pass). Sue’s opinions are as valid as anyone elses, and I think I agree with most of them.
    Zygons has a great cast: acting is as good as ever. Costumes (inc. Zygons) are excellent. Plot is awful, with so many gaping holes you could drive a landrover through them (whatever the model). But it’s great fun, with only the departure of *************************** spoiling the series. (Don’t try to guess who by counting the asterisks, they’re a random number)

    • PolarityReversed  April 2, 2012

      Hmm, yeah Zygons probably is a pretty indisputable 2:1. Certainly no question it has demonstrated the wherewithal to go on to postgrad.
      The rest of this season contains three of my personal absolute stone-cold all-time classics (although one of them would probably surprise the fan consensus). I do hope they’ve been revising instead of pissing it up in the Union bar…

      • Chris Too-old-to-watch  April 3, 2012

        In the 70’s a solid 2.1 would almost certainly got you a PhD (or DPhil) place

      • encyclops  April 3, 2012

        The obvious choices are 4G, 4K, and 4L, so I’m assuming one of those is wrong. I used to think I was a huge 4H fan, but then watched it again recently and changed my mind (still good, just not as great as I’d remembered).

        Yes, I had to look up the production codes. If it helps: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doctor_Who_%28season_13%29

        • PolarityReversed  April 3, 2012

          H not L. Guess I’ll now be chased off a cliff by a torch-wielding modern dance troupe. Now where did I put those goldfish…

          • encyclops  April 4, 2012

            If you’d said J you might be in for some debate (though for nostalgia reasons I’d forgive that one anything). My main beef with H these days is that the scenes with the ship and its crew are really dreary, which is not much of a crime. It’s quite a solid season, really.

            I hope that Nicol can be convinced to join the party for 4H.

  21. Alex Wilcock  April 2, 2012

    Sue on form (pish to the troll)….

    “Let’s have a look at your knees, then. It’s too dark, Neil, I can’t see his knees.”

    “They didn’t have Wikipedia in 1975 so I guess they could say practically anything they liked.” I’d wear that t-shirt.

    “They won’t hit it. Never in a month of Sundays… The bullet must have ricocheted off a tree.”
    It’s Camfield, you see. He liked his proper soldiers.

    You’d probably get sued for sticking even a toy Zygon on a mug, but one with Broton and “Make me a cup of teaaaaaaa” would break your sales records.

    “Doctor Who should be banned from using dinosaurs.”
    Yeah, but I bet they won’t even be in the top ten of things that drive Sue apoplectic next time we see them (probably), in The M*** of the R***.

    Hinchcliffe/Holmes watch (and happy birthday, or would have been, to Uncle Bob today):
    “****ing hell! How grim was that? What an amazing scene. That was pretty disturbing. And very, very dark.”
    “Homicidal nurses. This is not for kids.”

    • encyclops  April 2, 2012

      It was absolutely 100% for this kid! There were a few things that scared me in Doctor Who (e.g. Revenge’s Cybermats, as I just mentioned over there), but mostly in a “cooool” way as opposed to the proverbial hiding-behind-the-sofa way. It wasn’t the scariest thing I watched or read back then, let’s put it that way.

      So I take Sue’s “not for kids” comments as praise; they’re a sign that the production team has made something visceral and worthwhile, as opposed to some toothless, spineless nonsense.

      • Alex Wilcock  April 5, 2012

        Actually, I completely agree with you! This was when I started watching and never stopped, too – I’m looking at the ‘unsuitable for kids’ bits as praise. Was it not St Bob himself who said his aim was to ‘scare the little buggers to death’? I was one of those little buggers.

  22. Matthew C  April 2, 2012

    It’s not actually a Land Rover Defender- the Defender model was first produced in 1983, though it was closely modelled on the original series Land Rover that we see in this and other UNIT stories.

  23. Alex Wilcock  April 2, 2012

    I duck as a cushion sails over my head. We haven’t had one of those in ages.

    That’s suddenly made me realise… What happened to the cushion every time someone got hypnotised? There should have been loads!

    ’Fess up, Neil… Have you been hypnotising Sue to make her forget how much she hates hypnosis?

    • Jazza1971  April 2, 2012

      I’ve just finished reading volume 1 of “Running Through Corridors” (which I bought after Neil mentioned it in the introduction to this blog). I particularly liked the little flip animation of a running stick man in the top corner of the pages. It got me thinking about the, hopefully, inevitable “Adventures With the Wife in Space” book. I hope that when it comes Neil has flip animation of a cushion flying towards his head! 😀

  24. Steve Trimingham  April 2, 2012


    Don’t let the borderline Asperger’s grind you down. The whole point of this experiment is to see what the non-fan thinks of each episode; to challenge the received wisdom and see the show through the perspective of someone who is not predisposed to with rose tinted nostalgia. What’s interesting is Neil’s Proustian specificity about moments and feelings from his childhood and Sue’s immediacy and honesty.

    I’ve disagreed with Sue’s opinion, I’ve agreed with it, but mostly I’ve laughed and been very entertained.

    Keep going Sue and long may you express your views (at least until the end of McCoy).

    • Ratbag  April 2, 2012

      What he said. 🙂 I’m having a great time following this ‘ere voyage of discovery. Particularly enjoying this bit, as the early Tom period is where I came in, and it’s still my favourite era now. Nice to see a different perspective on it, cos mine’s been ingrained for the thick end of 40 years…

      I’ll never understand the mentality of fans who read a blog detailing a non-fan’s reactions to the show and throw their teddy out of the cot when Sue’s take on it doesn’t concur with theirs. Missing the point by several continents there, guys.

    • Victoria W  April 2, 2012

      Firstly, I love this blog and I hope things all work out and that the trolling doesn’t happen again.

      Secondly, I feel someone should say something about the phrase “borderline Asperger’s” being used as an insult. Preferably not me, as I’m too shy, but I just found it a bit shocking. Maybe I’m a bit politically correct.

      I didn’t mind the stuff about the Scots, that’s obviously a joke, the Scots aren’t a repressed minority. On the other hand, living in this country at this time when you have a disability that isn’t immediately obvious, is not something that really helps with any confidence issues you might have.

      Sorry for the rant. I hope Sue likes Planet Of Evil, it’s one of my favourites. I won’t mind if she gives it 0/10 though, it’s only a bit of fun. I only saw Zygons once, ages ago, and I think I was disappointed, perhaps because it was overhyped as a classic. I might have given it a 7.

      • Steve Trimingham  April 2, 2012

        Hi Victoria,

        My sincere apologies if I caused offence with the Asperger’s comment. I realise there’s no excuse and I blushed with embarressment when I read your comment. My intention was to support against the terrible trolls and not be a part of it so sorry about that. I just get a little incensed when I see the efforts of genuine and entertaining fans being subject to the slings and arrows of rude people on the internet.

        Sorry again.

        • PolarityReversed  April 3, 2012

          At the risk of never being able to show my face here again, I agree with your Asperger’s identification, Steve. For me, the issue really was that there was calculated malice in it. “Spectrum” people (actually, ultimately all of us, if you expand it out) aren’t necessarily any more malicious than anyone else.

          Of course, it could just be the internet equivalent of a kid doing unspeakable things to frogs with a straw, I suppose.

        • Victoria W  April 3, 2012

          Hi Steve,

          Thank you for your apology, I know you’re one of the good guys really. 🙂 We all make mistakes like that, and ironically those of us with Asperger’s are probably the worst offenders, which is the point you were making in the first place. So you’re sort of right, in a strangely paradoxical way. It’s quite a paradoxical condition really.

          Incidentally, I did say “repressed minority” rather than “oppressed minority” deliberately, the point being that people with Asperger’s are, admittedly, probably more often repressed than oppressed. A lot of it depends on the level of self awareness of the person with Asperger’s. Those of us with greater self awareness are quite often horrified by the kind of things we do and say when we let our guard down, and it can lead to a large degree of self-censorship, becoming a recluse etc.

          Back on topic though, I noticed a minor detail in Neil’s article that from what I’ve read, isn’t quite correct. Douglas Camfield didn’t actually have a heart attack during Inferno, he had an allergic reaction to a new kind of heart medicine he’d just started taking.

  25. nessie in the zoo  April 2, 2012

    enjoyable blog as always 🙂

    must say though i feel that since we changed doctors there has been a bit of rudeness from some people, which i have found a bit surprising and unnecessary. If you are going to throw a fit because someone enjoyed a story less or more than yourself then you really need to take a step back and think for a moment. It’s all good afaic, some better than others, but no need to get all arsey or owt.

    • encyclops  April 2, 2012

      I take it as a sign that this blog’s popularity has grown to the point where even the trolls have noticed it.

  26. Paul Mudie  April 2, 2012

    7/10 seems like a pretty respectable score to me!

    I’ve got very fond memories of this one but haven’t seen it in decades, so I will be very eager to get my mitts on the DVD when it’s eventually released!

  27. Matt Sharp  April 2, 2012

    ‘Och aye the nooooooooooooo!’

    Och aye the Who, surely.


    Ahem, I'll get me coat…

  28. Jon Clarke  April 2, 2012

    Some of the “landrovers” are not landrovers at all – they are jeeps, probably CJ-5s or CJ-6s. Shame on you all!

    • Frankymole  April 4, 2012

      Makes up for the “jeeps” in “Invasion of the Dinoaurs” being Landrovers, perhaps?

  29. solar penguin  April 2, 2012

    Never watched Crossroads? Following on from last time’s revelations about ‘Allo ‘Allo and Howards’ Way, it’s clear Sue’s experience of old, trashy British telly is badly lacking. Poor thing. How did she manage that?

    More importantly, how did she manage to recognise “the posh manager with the fake tan” in The Dominators if she’s never seen Crossroads!?! Something’s wrong here. Is she putting on this ignorance as an act for the blog?

    Well, that’s yet another project you can do when this is all finished, Adventures With The Wife In A Motel. If nothing else, it will help establish how much she does or doesn’t know about it!

    • Neil Perryman  April 2, 2012

      Not watching something and not being aware of something are two completely different things. I know there’s a woman called Krystle Carrington on Dynasty and that she is played by Linda Evans and yet I have *never* seen an episode in my life. OK? Are we happy now?

      And Sue says if anyone else posts anything pedantic about land rovers, the experiment is over.

      • solar penguin  April 2, 2012

        Don’t worry. I wasn’t being entirely serious there. Sorry if it came across the wrong way.

  30. Neil Perryman  April 2, 2012

    Sue and I have had a long chat and we think we might take a break from the blog for a few weeks (maybe even a month) after the next update scheduled for Thursday. Things are very busy at the moment in our real lives, and while feedback is mostly positive, it’s becoming a bit of a full-time job dealing with various arseholes recently – both here and via private emails. We’ll keep you informed.

    • Lewis  April 2, 2012

      Fair play. Kick back and enjoy for a bit, and we’ll all be right back behind you once you return!

    • Fanuwarry McGryhan  April 2, 2012

      Wowser, it comes a pretty pass when you’re getting nonsense privately too. You have to worry about the mental health of some people.

    • PolarityReversed  April 2, 2012

      What a pity that the untelevised Infestation of the Knobheads (0/10) has managed to insert itself into the middle of a damn good season. You can perhaps take heart from the fact that the virus-like monsters in this particular adventure travel the internet looking to insert themselves into successful, well-loved communities.

      Thanks for all so far and enjoy the improving weather guys. Hope the Captain is freely peeing with renewed kittenish vigour and don’t let little Orac dehydrate.

      See you when you get back.

      • Chris Too-old-to-watch  April 2, 2012

        Don’t mention viruses: they might grow bigger and start looking like prawns

        • PolarityReversed  April 2, 2012

          Bunch of bloody prawns at their current maturity if you ask me.

          Sadly it seems contact is about to be severed. Let’s hope the experiment resumes such that Sue, should she even be reading, would have a clue what we’re on about!

    • Chris Too-old-to-watch  April 2, 2012

      It’d be a huge shame if you stopped just when you’re getting to the good stuff. I’m sure the majority of people are behind you and especially Sue on this, and it would be a great shame if a few trolls/morons/landrover experts (delete as appropriate) spoil it.
      Have a break (have a Kit-Kat) and hopefully the imbecilles will self-destruct. If this was the new series, we could always give off waves of lurve so they’d explode: as this is the classic series, we’ll have to pray for a Demat gun……

      • Jazza1971  April 2, 2012

        Really sorry about my land rover comments, I really didn’t mean any harm or wish to cause any strife. They were meant in a light hearted way. 🙁

        • Neil Perryman  April 2, 2012

          Don’t be silly – we aren’t bothered by Land Rover specialists really – Sue thinks it’s hilarious. In fact, Sue finds the whole thing a bit daft. It’s me who needs some time out.

    • Ritchardo  April 2, 2012

      Okay, bad timing – just read your reply. As per the people above (and doubtless below), don’t let the haters get you down. Do what you have to do and hopefully you can come back to finish the experiment at a later point, and if you can’t – thanks for the laughs and the genuinely interesting perspective.

    • solar penguin  April 2, 2012

      Good luck. Hope everything works out OK for you guys.

    • Neowhovian  April 2, 2012

      As many before, I simply want to say I understand the need for a break. Sometimes you need to step away to get perspective, and stop caring so much about what the “arseholes” are saying. And, of course, Real Life needs some attention from time to time, too.

      You’ve got a lot of fans who love and support the blog and its creators. Do what you need to do. We’ll be here when (if? no – we’ll say when) you get back.


    • Paul Mudie  April 2, 2012

      Sorry to hear that it’s all piling up, and that a few idiots are taking the fun out of it. For what it’s worth, I find the blog hugely enjoyable and I hope normal service will be resumed after the break.

    • encyclops  April 2, 2012

      You’ve been spoiling us all recently anyway with the rapid turnaround. I may need rehab to recover from the addiction but that’s hardly your problem. 🙂

      For what it’s worth, if your eventual solution to the trolling is to simply delete/fail to approve their comments, I have zero problems with that. I know you can tell the difference between polite disagreement and worthless personal attacks, and I for one don’t feel the latter deserve a moment of time and space on this forum.

      Take all the time you need. I’m pretty certain we’ll all still be here.

    • DPC  April 2, 2012

      Best wishes for you both; it’s a shame you’re even getting private hatemails sent directly. Much less anything publicly…

    • Alex_The_Geek  April 2, 2012

      I sincerely hope this isnt the end of the experiment me and my mum love it and egarly await every update we always use Sues scores to help us decide which classic episodes to buy on DVD . You may want to consider copying the response from Big Finish when people started being nasty on their forum they removed it for a few months then returned it and that shook people into cleaning up their act. Or you could go for a perminant removal of the comments.

    • Cracked Polystyrene Man  April 3, 2012

      May I make a sugegstion?
      I assume you have a dedicated email account for just this website, so maybe see if you can get somebody you know to go through the emails and blog first (before you read it) to simply delete anything offensive directed at you both. Pick somebody to do this who is “anonymous” to the readers of your blog – not a family member, not somebody who lives with you and not somebody who may have any of the offensive content directed personally at them. You sound like you’re having fun doing this experiment so don’t let some loonies ruin it for you both.

      • PolarityReversed  April 3, 2012

        Excellent advice CPM,

        I once had to weather a serious onslaught of personal and professional attacks and I did precisely what you suggest. It gave me the security of knowing that, if necessary, I would be informed in the event something genuinely dangerous was on the boil, as opposed to just rudeness and spite.

        It really is a form of violence, and you have my heartfelt sympathy.

    • Noodles  April 4, 2012

      Just wanted to add another voice of support to the chorus. Bad feedback from Doctor Who fans? Who’d have thought it, eh? Just remember that ultimately you’re not doing it for us, you’re doing it for you.

  31. Ritchardo  April 2, 2012

    People, people… can we not have a little sanity here! Don’t get me wrong if Sue gives The Twin Dilema a 10, I’ll be the first person reaching for the pitchfork to drive her from the village but it’s all an opinion game isn’t it? And I, for one, have enjoyed every minute of it. Do I agree with all the scores given? No, but that’s because I have a different opinion from anyone else – the ‘classics’ are classics because we’ve all been brought up to love and appreciate them as such. That’s what makes this experiment so refreshing – it’s someone looking at it without all the baggage of novelisations, half remembered screenings in our childhood, repeated VHS watchings of even the worst stories, DWM articles breaking down the minute pedantic detail – Sue is clear of all that baggage to give HER opinion on the shows themselves… and you know what? If you don’t agree, who cares? Don’t be having a pop at the people at the woman!

    • DPC  April 2, 2012

      Well said, thank you!

    • Steve White  April 6, 2012

      But… But… I really like The Twin Dilemma…

  32. Jon Harker  April 2, 2012

    Damn, the curse of the internet is that negative folk get to have their say on things like this frankly magnificent blog that is the Wife in Space.

    I’ve been enjoying these frequent updates, so I’ll miss seeing them (but on the plus side I’ll probably keep clicking on the site daily to see if you’ve changed your mind, thus keeping your hit rate high).

    I may buy a mug in protest at having to wait longer for an update. That’ll teach you! Oh no, hang on…

  33. Jeremy Phillips  April 2, 2012

    Some people just want everything to be written by Peter Haining.

    I like it when Sue tramples over perceived wisdom or says something with which I competely disagree, because there’s always wit and/or intelligence behind what she says, and that’s why I read this blog.

    I quite like TotZ, but I appreciate Sue’s criticisms on everything bar the Skarasen effects, which aren’t anything worse than the stuff populating Ray Harryhausen films, which are now regarded – much to my bafflement – with widespread affection.

  34. AntonB  April 2, 2012

    I hope the hiatus is more for reasons of workload rather than troll abuse. I’ll miss you guys. Cheerio but be back soon.

    • DPC  April 2, 2012

      As will I.

      And Sue’s comments have always been fantastic. It’s great reading new points of view…

  35. John Callaghan  April 2, 2012

    I remember watching this with a friend of mine and we had to stop the VHS because we were laughing so much at the Zygon lieutenant’s response to Broton’s orders: “are you sure that’s wise?” It’s exactly the thing Sgt. Wilson would say to Capt. Mainwaring in Dad’s Army!

    I think a Zygon mug with “Make me a cup of teaaaaaaa” would be absolutely splendid too.

    As for Infestation Of The Knobheads, I think it was based on this story: http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-JuUxvfWOlns/Tfx9MIjUoZI/AAAAAAAAKNs/D1M99vnx25M/s1600/sci%2Bfi%2Bcover.jpg

    Have a nice rest, chaps; enjoy the sunshine.

    • Michael  April 3, 2012

      I’d completely forgotten about that. Happy days. Used to watch this regularly before my DVD recorder took over from the VHS. I don’t even know where the DVD recorder is now!

      I think it is still a Top 20 story for me, despite the Skaresen. Actually I think Nessie is OK until the ‘he’s chewing it’ scene.

      When someone starts complaining about the 6th Doctor and acid baths (which will no doubt happen in a few months time) I point out that the 4th Doctor is a bit blasé when he sets the zygon spaceship to self destruct. As zygons are very easy to kill for a WHO enemy (you can just shoot them) I think he could have made a bit of an effort to avoid that. All of the Doctors have their ‘mad’ moments.

  36. s2m4  April 2, 2012

    Just wanted to add my two cents. It saddens me that some rather nasty comments have been posted. And further, it is not the first time some very nice, talented individuals (that’s you, Sue and Neil!) have had to “take a break”. Many of us have taken the experiment in the light-hearted spirit it was intended, and I will miss Sue and Neil’s insight to a program that I grew up with and love to this day. It’s not even just about the reviews. There have been plenty of times that I have been relaxing with my partner, reading Neil’s writeup, and I would turn to my partner and gasp that Neil’s taken Sue to the hospital, or that the cat’s sick! Of course, my partner’s like “who’s Sue?” I kinda feel like I’m losing friends. Enjoy your break guys. Take your time to do whatever you must, but please return to complete what has been an amazing experiment. As a teacher, I know that every class has that one difficult student that could potentially ruin the whole atmosphere, but remember that the same class has 30 other wonderful students.

    Be well.

  37. Harry  April 2, 2012

    Being selfish, I would hate for this all to come to a grinding halt now, especially as Tom Baker is my favourite Doctor (and there’s still quite a few good stories for Sue to see before what are perceived as less worthy ones by fandom come along), but you must both do what is best for you. I just hope that you both come back to this and carry on, refreshed, some day.
    As for trolls, they’re beneath contempt…ignore them!
    All the best to you both, Neil and Sue.

  38. Sparklepunk  April 3, 2012

    I hope the break does you good and that you don’t feel the need to stop forever. While I understand if you do, I hope you find away to ignore the idiots and remember how many people are truly enjoying this. I don’t know what’s wrong with some people. Why would you get bothered by someone having a different opinion on a story!? Very silly. Why would you announce that you are going to stop reading a blog anyway? I’ve started a few and stopped a few and I’ve never felt the need to write a post about it when I’ve lost interest.

    • Dan  April 3, 2012

      I’m working from the assumption it’s not stopping forever… It be strange if they stopped here after getting through The Sensorites and 97 recons!

  39. raymond  April 3, 2012

    As has been said — your recent output has been dazzling, so appreciate that a rest is well earned.

    Regarding other issues — I’m sure we can all agree to just let Zygons be Zygons …
    (Stolen from a 70’s comic)

    Eyes from New Zealand will be watching for your eventual return

  40. Jon Clarke  April 3, 2012

    have a good break and come back refreshed – I look forward to my weekly fix!

  41. Michael  April 3, 2012

    Yes, enjoy the break. Blogs are so difficult as people just type off a quick reply and things quickly escalate from there. Face to face one can clarify what one meant immediately and things (usually) calm down.

    Luckily you seem to have a thick skin Neil. I hope you are both back soon.

    Thingssssss would be sssssooooooo much eassssssssier if we could jussssssst dissssspatch a Ssssskaresssssen.

    Oh, is it this era that has your favourite version of the Who theme Neil?

  42. BWT  April 3, 2012

    Tut, tut, tut… that’s not a Tam O’Shanter, Neil – it’s a Glengarry bonnet. Sheesh.

    However, the t-shirts a belter this week: “The bagpipes are doing my head in. It’s not Dudley, is it?”

    • BWT  April 3, 2012

      …of course there is this one: “Doctor Who should be banned from using dinosaurs.”

  43. Zoe  April 3, 2012

    Loved this post: Sue’s Broton impression, the impossibility of a Land Rover breaking down, Doctor Who being banned from using dinosaurs.

    Enjoy your break. I’m sorry you’ve been plagued by unpleasant idiots. I’m another one who loves the blog, and hopes to see you back as soon as you’re ready.

  44. Michael  April 3, 2012

    I’ve always loved the scene where the Doctor stares into space and then suddenly comes to life (when the Brig and oil worker are discussing the rig – ‘a spider in Wellington boots’). Nick, as in other scenes in this story, perfectly illustrates the Brigadier’s relationship with the Doctor with just a look. The scene ends with a beautifully delivered Tom line, ‘It may be calm, but it’s never empty’

  45. John G  April 4, 2012

    I’m sorry to see that the trolls have begun to emerge from the woodwork, but I hope Neil and Sue can just ignore them and plough on. I think a break is an excellent idea, as it will hopefully allow everyone to calm down and remember that this blog is a harmless and entertaining piece of fun. I know many fans hold this particular era of the show close to their hearts, but to hold Sue’s mildly critical view of Zygons against her is ridiculous. If I can cope with The Massacre being awarded 2/10, all those upset by a 7 rating for this story should be able to get over it.

    As it happens I think Sue is exactly right about Zygons. The superb direction and moments of real horror (that barn scene is genuinely chilling) do a lot to disguise the fact that the plot is nothing special at all, while Harry’s departure is far too abrupt for my liking – it is good intuition on Sue’s part, though, to believe we haven’t seen the last of him! I also think the Skarasen really is lousy, and I don’t even rate the Zygons that highly – they look good, but they are not especially interesting villains and it doesn’t surprise me that they have never appeared again. All in all, a triumph of style over substance, which unfortunately is a recurring theme of this season, no more so than in the next story…

  46. Neil  April 4, 2012

    ‘Zygons’ was my first ever ‘classic’ story when I was a nipper, in 1987/8 I think, and I’m still hugely fond of it. I love the weird howling you mention when Tom’s hypnotised Lis, the extreme close-up on Broton’s glowering in part one (not that I knew it was in four parts in those days, it being one of the old-style edited VHS tapes), ‘Yon landlord’s got the second sight’, ‘We need your bodyprint’, the klaxon before the Zyon ship explodes, the incredibly sinister Sister Lamont and the Zygon Harry… great, potent, imagination-boosting stuff for an 8-year-old.

    Also great: this experiment. Have a good break, and don’t be disheartened by the — I’m sure — vanishingly small number of people who go out their way to lambast you.

  47. Frankymole  April 4, 2012

    I thought many of the original reports of Nessie had her crossing the road – and didn’t someone find some tracks in the highlands to the west of the Loch? Been a while since I was into cryptozoology but I do recall the mass of reports from the 1930s featured land sightings.

    • Paul Mudie  April 5, 2012

      This is very true! I believe a couple back in the 70s (perhaps not long before Zygons was written?) had reported seeing Nessie crossing the road in front of their car, and there have also been reports of Nessie(s) sunning themselves on the shore of the Loch.

      Being a Scot myself, I believe every word of these reports. 😉

  48. Steve O'Brien  April 5, 2012

    To some posters, I would suggest trying to imagine saying these things in real life, with real sounds in front of a real person, before you press send.

  49. Ste  April 5, 2012

    Hi Neil

    Any chance you can provide a statistical analysis of Sue’s scores?

    How many 10s, 9s, 8s etc. heve been awarded.
    Average score per season.
    Average score per Doctor.

    It does feel like Sue is giving exceptionally low marks to Tom. I’d like to see if the numbers back this up.
    Is Pertwee her top Doctor based on average story rating?

    Love the blog.


    • encyclops  April 5, 2012

      Hey Ste, I think you just volunteered to do that analysis. 😉

      I’m curious too. I’d be surprised if her standards haven’t changed as the experiment has gone on — whereas a halfway decent non-recon Hartnell where he wasn’t too obnoxious might once have garnered a higher score, we’re now 4 or 5 years into the moving color era and it might take a bit more to get higher marks. If Neil and Sue had absolutely no lives whatsoever they could go back and review earlier ratings and normalize them relative to the newer ones, but not only would that be a shockingly sad use of time, it would I think be less interesting than seeing how they strike her in chronological order.

      I’ve always had trouble with numeric ratings myself, for just this reason. I try to zero in on the comments she makes before delivering the verdict — the reasons why some episodes appeal and some don’t. Even if the Pertwee stories got higher ratings, so far she seems to be reacting more positively to the lead actor.

      And hey, wouldn’t it be fascinating if she DIDN’T cotton to Tom Baker’s era? If she simply agreed with the rest of us most or all of the time, this would be a pretty dull experiment.

      • Neowhovian  April 5, 2012

        Um, yeah. As someone who didn’t grow up with Who, I must confess that I don’t think Tom Baker – or some of the big fan favorite stories – are All That. I like him well enough (though he sometimes bugs me), but he’s far from my favorite Doctor.

        So, um… I like seeing Sue not gush about the T. Baker era. Though, you have to admit, she does seem to like Baker himself quite a bit.

        • resistance0905  April 5, 2012

          Couldn’t agree more with Neowhovian. The fourth Doctor has been one of my least favourites for years and I find the so-called greatest stories ever of his era vastly overrated. I therefore enjoy Sue’s non-biased opinions of the episodes very much. In fact, Sue’s reviews of the stories have actually prompted me to dig out some Tom Baker stories on DVD and reevaculate both them and him. I’ve just finished watching Destiny of the Daleks (CAN’T WAIT for Sue to watch this one…!) and I’ve started to see the character from another perspective. I thought his character was very strong in “Destiny” and there were a few moments where I thought he was, dare I say, brilliant and actually made me laugh…

        • PolarityReversed  April 5, 2012

          I think the thing that has rather poisoned this blog of late is that there is a wholly understandable impulse for people to feel that they sort of “own” Dr Who. The lovely thing about the programme is that so many different people can feel an intimate connection to it for very different reasons. Vive la difference (as the French never actually say).

          My childhood was infused with Pertwee and Baker – not that I’m pulling rank on those that came to the programme years later through syndication, VHS, DVD, etc. Rather like Neil, I can remember really clearly where I was when these episodes were first broadcast, and in those days you had to pretty much stick your head inside the TV to fully absorb every morsel. They didn’t repeat it and you couldn’t record it. The experience was very different then, even when you got the bug and started sucking up the Target books for a fix!

          In that context, I think Tom Baker was an extraordinarily commanding, engaging, immediate screen presence and that’s probably why he’s held in such high esteem. And once you really get into the Gothic stuff, the series probably reaches its high point, for my money at least, in every respect.

          But of course, everyone has their own experience with Dr Who. But I will still maintain that the little era we’re heading for – as and when our hosts may return – is exceptional. And, insofar as I can distance myself from the nostalgia factor, I don’t think we see the same overall quality ever again.

          Peace, Neo.

          • Neowhovian  April 5, 2012

            Yep. There are certainly some crackers. Personal preferences are just that, and everyone is influenced by the way in which we first experience the stories. So we all take something different away, but that’s what makes it interesting. 🙂

            So yeah. I totally respect those for whom T. Baker is the pinnacle; I can understand why they (you) feel that way. And I love that we can all be fans and still love the show no matter how any of us sees any of these stories.

            At least, that’s how it’s supposed to be…

        • encyclops  April 6, 2012

          I can understand that. I do like Pertwee and Davison a lot, and while the Davison era is really uneven it has a respectable number of stories in my top ten. And while I’m still not convinced Eccleston was the Doctor (I liked him a lot, but still), the three BBC Wales Doctors have all been especially appealing to me. Matt Smith is a strong strong contender for my top spot, but I don’t like any of the stories he’s in as much as I like him. Baker’s still got the edge for me at the intersection of an appealing yet still occasionally prickly persona, a really solid portfolio of stories, and some of my favorite ever companions (namely Leela and Romana).

          But I hear you on fan consensus. For instance, I’m an apologist for both Castrovalva and Adric. Bring on the pitchforks.

          • John G  April 6, 2012

            I woud actually join you in being a semi-apologist for Adric (Kinda excepted). Nowadays, I don’t even think The Twin Dilemma is that bad…

            I find Sue’s view of the show particularly interesting because, after being a regular viewer during the second half of the Davison era, Colin’s arrival alienated my young self so much that I completely lost interest in Who for the next 20 years. In consequence, like Sue I have only watched the classic series properly in recent years, which I suspect has given me rather a different perspective on it (again like Sue) to those who were avid long-time viewers back in the day. For me, the Hartnell era and Season 7 are the show’s real Golden Ages, and I find a lot of Tom’s era, especially the Hinchcliffe-Holmes stuff, a bit overpraised (though I do love Ark in Space, Pyramids, Talons and Fang Rock). However, there is no doubt in my mind that Tom was the best Doctor, as he just had an instinctive feel for the part which no one else has quite matched.

    • Jazza1971  April 5, 2012

      Hi Ste,

      I like a bit of statistical analysis, me! I’ve just done a bit of a quick look at averages per Doctor – I might do the rest later, but I’m nipping out shortly. You must bear in mind that the result for Tom Baker is based on only the 6 stories seen so far, this is not really representative.

      Anyway, here goes. These are the average scores per Doctor:-

      William Hartnell – 5.03
      Patrick Troughton – 5.95
      Jon Pertwee – 6.71
      Tom Baker – 6.00

      And as far as I recall, “Spearhead From Space” is the only story yet to score 10/10.

      I might do some more analysis later.

      • PolarityReversed  April 5, 2012

        Lies, damn lies and Who fan opinions…
        Well, on a quick runthrough I get:

        Hartnell: Mean 5, Median 5, Mode 7, Sample Size 28 (or so it says on the cue cards)
        Troughton: Mean 5.95, Median 6.5, Mode 7, Sample Size 21 (and when I say count, count)
        Pertwee: Mean 6.71, Median 7, Mode 7, Thample Thize 24
        Baker: All the 6s (At least so far … I must pop back and tell Nostradamus, he was terribly interested in this sort of thing)

        So the patronising sandwich-stealing Tory is Sue’s fave … Who’da thunk it?

        • Jazza1971  April 6, 2012

          My figures agreed with yours, except for the Hartnell results. I had it down as a sample size of 29, not 28, and so the mean score differed. I’ve double checked my results and I don’t think I doubled any up, so I suspect you are missing a story from your sample. Unless you didn’t include “Mission to the Unknown”.

      • Dan  April 5, 2012

        One thing I’ve realised very strongly from looking back over Dr Who lately, partly through this blog, is the certain truth that EVERY era of the show is patchy – very patchy – for lots of different reasons. It’s an interested question whether you can extract some general reasons for this.

        Dr. Who can be very good, appalling and average. When Dr. Who gets accused of being bad, it’s often by people who’ve dropped in the bad episodes.

        Some eras are better and worse, but even within those there’s variety. For these reasons, I think these averages reflect the actual quality of the programme, as an average, quite well.

        • Frankymole  April 6, 2012

          Every episode is patchy – good bits, bad bits. I recall as a 9 year old groaning when Deadly Dudley’s brassy beat combo started up again just when things were getting interesting – these days I love it.

        • gangnet  April 6, 2012

          I would more or less agree with this… but there’s nothing in the McCoy era that qualifies as “very good.” Rather, “watchable” and “unwatchable.”

    • Jazza1971  April 6, 2012

      Some more statistics.

      Hartnell story scores break down as follows:-

      10/10 – 0/29 – 0%
      9/10 – 1/29 – 3.45%
      8/10 – 3/29 – 10.34%
      7/10 – 5/29 – 17.24%
      6/10 – 5/29 – 17.24%
      5/10 – 4/29 – 13.79%
      4/10 – 2/29 – 6.90%
      3/10 – 4/29 – 13.79%
      2/10 – 3/29 – 10.34%
      1/10 – 1/29 – 3.45%
      0/10 – 1/29 – 3.45%

    • Jazza1971  April 6, 2012

      Some more statistics – last for now I think, because I should really go to bed.

      Troughton story scores break down as follows:-

      10/10 – 0/21 – 0%
      9/10 – 3/21 – 14.29%
      8/10 – 3/21 – 14.29%
      7/10 – 5/21 – 23.81%
      6/10 – 4/21 – 19.05%
      5/10 – 1/21 – 4.76%
      4/10 – 1/21 – 4.76%
      3/10 – 0/21 – 0%
      2/10 – 2/21 – 9.52%
      1/10 – 2/21 – 9.52%
      0/10 – 0/21 – 0%

      I know I’m being rather anal here, but as I say I do like a bit of statistical analysis! More to come tomorrow, probably…

    • Jazza1971  April 6, 2012

      Right…the final analysis (to date)!

      Pertwee story scores break down as follows:-

      10/10 – 1/24 – 4.17%
      9/10 – 4/24 – 16.67%
      8/10 – 4/24 – 16.67%
      7/10 – 5/24 – 20.83%
      6/10 – 3/24 – 12.50%
      5/10 – 4/24 – 16.67%
      4/10 – 2/24 – 8.33%
      3/10 – 4/24 – 0.0%
      2/10 – 1/24 – 4.17%
      1/10 – 1/24 – 0.0%
      0/10 – 1/24 – 0.0%

      Tom Baker story scores breakdown so far as follows:-

      10/10 – 0/6 – 0.0%
      9/10 – 1/6 – 16.67%
      8/10 – 0/6 – 0.0%
      7/10 – 2/6 – 33.33%
      6/10 – 0/6 – 0.0%
      5/10 – 2/6 – 33.33%
      4/10 – 0/6 – 0.0%
      3/10 – 1/6 – 16.67%
      2/10 – 0/6 – 0.0%
      1/10 – 1/6 – 0.0%
      0/10 – 1/6 – 0.0%

      It is worth baring in mind that Tom’s scores are based on a very small number of stories, and so it really is too early to draw any conclusions just yet.

      Since the project began there has been the following number of stories for each marking point:-

      10 – One
      9 – Nine
      8 – Ten
      7 – Seventeen
      6 – Twelve
      5 – Eleven
      4 – Five
      3 – Five
      2 – Six
      1 – Three
      0 – One

      And finally, the chart run down for the seasons going by their average score, in reverse order:-

      In 12th place is Season 1 with 4.25
      In 11th place is Season 3 with 5
      In 10th place is Season 4 with 5.67
      In 9th place is Season 6 with 5.71
      In joint 7th place are Season 11 and Season 12 with average scores of 5.8 each
      In 6th place is Season 2 with 5.89
      In joint 4th place are Season 5 and Season 8 with average scores of 6 each
      In 3rd place is Season 10 with 6.8
      In 2nd place is Season 9 with 7, which means..

      In 1st place is Season 7 with 8.25.

  50. Broton  April 5, 2012

    Too many people are getting too het up about this story, and the review of it.

    Come on people, let’s move on, and LET ZYGONS BE ZYGONS.

    • Jazza1971  April 6, 2012

      In the words of Basil Brush, BOOM BOOM!

  51. wholahoop  April 5, 2012

    I am just watching The Apprentice You’re Fired (S12 Ep3) and it occurred to me that it is likely that Sue and Jenni Eclair have never been seen in the same room. So come on, ‘fess up I reckon it’s time Sue admitted her alter ego asap!!!

  52. Matt Sharp  April 6, 2012

    Oh, dear – I’m really sorry to see that the trolls have got you down. Still, it has been an uninterrupted run of over a year before you stalled for the first time, which is an achievement in itself. I’d stalled twice by now, and it was a lot harder to restart when the next episode up was ‘The Dancing Floor’ or episode two of ‘The Monster of Peladon’.

    Beware, though, that the Agents of the Fan Consensus save their vilest vitriol for fans of the McCoy era (and McCoy himself). Not thinking that Tom Baker is the best thing since sliced heads is one thing, but claiming to enjoy anything that McCoy is involved with is the most terrible of sins. Quite why their ire is reserved for such an enjoyable era (and such a genuinely lovely bloke as Sylvester McCoy) is quite beyond me.

  53. Sparklepunk  April 6, 2012

    I think it seems like she takes some time to get to enjoy any doctor as well, which is normal for most people. People have to accept that, while they know each Doctor well enough to know what to expect from a show, someone coming at it for the first time would be adjusting to the new feel of the show and that is why this experiment is interesting. She’s warmed to Toms character quicker than she has others, which is saying something.

    Personally I find Tom to be overrated anyway. I do like him quite a bit if I admit it to myself, but the cult of Tom puts me off and I don’t consider him to be better than the previous Doctors, just different. I think Troughton is my favorite, though it would have been nice to see him in different stories.

    As obsessive as I can be as a Doctor Who fan I could never really understand how some people can lack a sense of humor about it. My first episode was watched only because my mom decided she wanted some nostalgia when she saw it was on PBS. They had played the old episodes in Canada and she remembered it when it was in black and white. It was the Ark in Space and I complained about it. She made a joke out of silly things that Sarah and Harry were doing and I started to pay attention. I was hooked by the end of that episode. Part of the fun of it however was the laughing at the sillyness of it, the love came slightly after that.

  54. Daru  April 10, 2012

    “…this close-up of what I assume to be a Zygon reminds me of Bungle from Rainbow.”

    I gotta say, I love Sue’s take on the Zygons – the comment above is a winner, her being ‘proper scared’ by the cool organic ship controls and her brill comment (so good I could hear her) when she mimicked a Zogon to get a cuppa!

    The latter proves for certain … that she is now one of us!
    Wonderful stuff.

  55. Daru  April 10, 2012

    Sorry – dunno what the hell a “ZOGON” is, but… I like the sound of them!

    Answers on a postcard.