THE DEADLY ASSASSIN

Part One

The Deadly AssassinSue: I’m not thrilled with the cheesy narration, but I can live with it.

The Doctor is travelling to Gallifrey when he’s overcome by a prophetic vision.

Sue: Okay, pause this for a second, please. What just happened?
Me: The Doctor has had a premonition. He saw himself assassinating the Time Lord President in the future.
Sue: I didn’t know he was clairvoyant. He kept that quiet.

Gallifrey’s security service identifies the Doctor’s TARDIS as the property of a convicted criminal.

Sue: I thought the Doctor had been forgiven? You know, when he saved everyone from being eaten by a black hole a few weeks back. And he’s been working for the Time Lords, on-and-off, for years. They have very short memories.

The Doctor ponders his next move.

Sue: It doesn’t seem right to me having the Doctor on his own like this. I’m guessing the new companion will turn up soon. They’re usually easy to spot. Hang on, is that a bong? There’s no time for that! People usually hide their bongs when the police turn up…

The Doctor escapes to the Capitol.

Sue: I expected better. I thought security on Gallifrey would be a lot more formidable than that.

The Master, for it is he (not that Sue suspects a thing), is skulking in the darkness.

Sue: Gallifrey looks like an ‘80s disco. I haven’t seen this much dry ice since I saw Gary Numan in concert.

Castellan Spandrell and Coordinator Engin learn the Doctor has undertaken missions for the Celestial Intervention Agency.

Sue: So the CIA are like…
Me: The CIA? Yes.
Sue: Right. That actually makes sense.

It doesn’t take Sue long to warm to Spandrell.

Sue: He’s an odd actor, but I think I like him. There’s something loveable about him, even if he is a bit bizarre.

When Spandrell and Engin discuss the significance of the Doctor’s Prydonian seal, Sue asks me to pause the DVD again.

The Deadly AssassinSue: Okay, so what does that mean?
Me: Well, it’s a bit like Harry Potter.
Sue: That doesn’t help. I’m a grown woman, remember?
Me: It’s a chapter house.
Sue: Like a posh boarding school?
Me: If you like.
Sue: So Gallifrey is basically Oxbridge? This is a lot for me to take in. I feel like I’m drowning in information.

We see the Master again and SHE STILL DOESN’T SAY IT. Later, when I ask her why it never crossed her mind, she’ll tell me it’s because she thought he looked like a completely different alien species. Which makes sense, I suppose.

Sue: So this is a Gallifreyan jubilee?
Me: More like an abdication.
Sue: I’m surprised the Time Lords have television. What do Time Lords watch when this isn’t on? Do they have Gallifreyan game shows?
Me: If you say The Regeneration Game, I’ll have to kill you.

Gallifrey’s top broadcaster was one of Cardinal Borusa’s pupils at the Prydon Academy.

Sue: So Runcible was a media student?

Oh dear. She’s beginning to channel Jan Vincent-Rudzki.

Sue: Ooh, silver eye shadow and lip balm combo. Nice.

The Deadly AssassinAnd then the Doctor shoots the president, but Sue isn’t fooled for a second.

Sue: They cloned a double from the Doctor’s bio-data thingy.

She’s awfully smug about this.

Sue: It’s pretty obvious, really.

Don’t worry, I stopped the episode as soon as the credits kicked in (Philip Hinchcliffe wasn’t that keen on anagrams) so Sue is none the wiser, which is just the way I like it.

 

Part Two

The Deadly AssassinSue doesn’t like it when a cliffhanger is resolved unfairly, which means she’s furious when she spots a second gunman in the reprise.

Sue: How am I supposed to get it right when I don’t have all the evidence?

And then…

Sue: So, if the Doctor was shooting at the other assassin, was he a terrible shot, or did the assassin in the crowd kill the president and the Doctor was firing blanks? Or did the Doctor really kill the president? Is the Doctor the deadly assassin or what?

The Doctor is tortured, placed on trial and sentenced to death, which leaves him no choice but to invoke Article 17.

Sue: That’s a bit far-fetched. How can a convicted criminal run for office? That’s silly.
Me: Bobby Sands, 1981.
Sue: Oh yeah. Good point.

Goth conspires with the Master. He tries to hide it by putting on a raspy voice (for whose benefit, exactly?) but Sue isn’t stupid. His enthusiasm for the Doctor’s execution gave him away, apparently. Incidentally, Goth calls the Master “master” at one point, but she still doesn’t bite.

Sue: He looks like Darth Vader without his mask on.

The Doctor scours the scene of the crime for any evidence that will exonerate him.

Sue: The set is very creaky. It looks great, but it sounds bloody terrible.

When the Doctor discovers the shrunken body of a camera operator, Sue understands its significance straight away.

Sue: It can’t be the Master. It doesn’t look anything like him.

I don’t think she gets it.

Sue: What a terrible thing to regenerate into. He pulled the short straw, there. If I were him, I’d kill myself and start again.

The Master has tampered with the Matrix – a living mind that stores the cells of every deceased Time Lord.

The Deadly AssassinSue: So is the Matrix like…
Me: The Matrix? Yes.
Sue: Is that a coincidence? If it is, it’s a big one. Even the colour scheme is the same. All those greens… If you bought 100 Matrix DVD box sets and you stacked them up, you’d have a Gallifreyan pillar.
Me: That would cost you at least £100.

When the Doctor enters the Matrix, he’s attacked by a crocodile/alligator (we honestly don’t know – please don’t write in).

Sue: Time Lord heaven is a bit shit, isn’t it? I mean, if this is where Time Lords go when they die, no wonder they try to put it off as long as possible.

The Doctor ends up on a surgeon’s table in the middle of nowhere.

Sue: Not. For. Kids.

And then the episode concludes with the Doctor facing an oncoming train.

Sue: That was great. Let’s watch the next one.
Me: We can’t. You know the rules. Trust me, it’s a lot better if the cliffhanger stays in your mind’s eye. For a whole day.

 

Part Three

The Deadly AssassinAs luck would have it, we’re celebrating World Goth Day (yes, it really is a thing) on Goth World. Even Nicol dropped by, which means Sue has to tell her what she’d missed so far.

Sue: He’s in a virtual reality called the Matrix. What do you think of that?
Nicol: It’s like Inception.
Me: It’s more like The Matrix.
Nicol: I was being sarcastic.
Me: Right, well you might want to work on that.
Sue: It’s a brave thing to do, for its time. It’s unnerving because you don’t know what will happen next.

The Doctor is haunted by a laughing clown in a desert.

The Deadly AssassinMe: That terrified me when I was seven.
Sue: You don’t like clowns very much, do you, Neil?
Nicol: So is this where you get your fear of clowns from?
Me: No, it’s clowns that give me my fear of clowns.

It becomes abundantly clear that Goth controls this reality.

Nicol: So it really is like Inception. His mind is creating this world, and the other mind has to deal with it. So there.

The Doctor is strafed by a biplane.

Sue: I like the North by Northwest reference. They’re definitely pushing the boat out, here. But the machine gun on the plane is pointing up at the sky, so that’s bad direction, I’m afraid.

The Deadly AssassinMeanwhile, back in the real world, the Master dispatches a hypnotised slave to sabotage the Doctor’s connection to the Matrix.

Sue: Is that Rodney Bewes?
Neil: You and your Rodney Bewes fixation. No, it isn’t Rodney Bewes. Never ask me that again.

Sue points at the new Master.

Sue: What do you make of that, Nic?

Nicol rolls her eyes, but what do you expect from someone who thought The Texas Chainsaw Massacre was a comedy. Yes, I know she’s right, but for her to work that out at the age of 14 still worries me.

Sue: I really like this fight scene. It’s realistic because it’s so clumsy.

The Deadly AssassinThe episode ends with one of Doctor Who’s most notorious cliffhangers, as Goth holds the Doctor’s head under the water.

Sue: Blimey.
Me: Too strong?
Sue: No, I love it.
Me: For kids?
Sue: Definitely not for kids.

 

Part Four

Sue: This is exciting.

That’s all I get out of Sue for a while. But then the problems start…

Sue: I can’t understand a word the Master says. I bet he has a hard time hypnotising anyone with that voice. “You will &*^&%& me.” Eh? Sorry? What?

The Master leaves Goth to die an agonising death.

Sue: Well, he certainly made the most of his death scene. Good actor, though.
Me: Bernard Horsfall played a Time Lord in The War Games. He exiled Patrick Troughton to Earth.
Sue: Did he really? I thought he looked familiar. That’s nice continuity, too.

The Deadly AssassinInterestingly, Sue despises Borusa.

Sue: What a slimy git.

And then she asks the question I’ve been expecting for some time…

Sue: Are these two old men the new companions?
Me: I’d love to say yes.
Sue: They’re very sweet. I couldn’t see them running up and down any corridors, though.

The Master is dead, but Sue doesn’t buy it for a second.

The Deadly AssassinSue: Right, so is this the same Master as the one we saw before? Or is it supposed to be the same one? And yes, I know it can’t be the same one, but do you know what I mean?
Me: No one knows for sure. The Master could have regenerated several times before he ended up like this.
Sue: Okay, that makes sense, because he sounds nothing like Roger Delgado. So has the Master been injured? He didn’t regenerate into this, then?
Me: I believe so. And because he’s on his 13th life, he can’t regenerate any more.
Sue: So how was he injured?
Me: I don’t know.
Sue: I bet he made a deal with some aliens and they betrayed him. That’s how he’s raced through his regenerations while the Doctor is still on his fourth.

The Master and the Doctor fight over the Eye of Harmony.

Sue: I’m losing interest. I’m not sure what the hell I’m supposed to be looking at. I just know it’s bad. It’s a shame, but what else can you do in a TV studio? They should have done this in the Matrix.

The Deadly AssassinThe Master falls into a black hole and the Doctor bids Spandrell and Engin farewell. But the Master isn’t dead and he escapes in a TARDIS disguised as a grandfather clock.

Sue: I think the Doctor knew the Master was still alive. He gave that clock a long, hard stare before he left. I think he likes having the Master around. I don’t know why, but he does.

When the Master’s TARDIS dematerialises, his face is superimposed over the clock face.

Sue: There was no need for that. It makes it look like the Master’s TARDIS is really cramped.

 

The Score

Sue: The ending let it down. The first three episodes were perfect – it was heading for a nine or a 10 when they were in the Matrix – but the last episode felt like it had been directed by a completely different person. I wasn’t sure what was going on at the end. I don’t know how I feel about the Master coming back like that, either. The whole thing seemed a bit off. And the ending was contrived – they should have battled it out in the Matrix, that would have been more interesting. Having said that, the first three episodes were as good as it gets.

8/10

I make Sue read an interview with Jan Vincent-Rudzki, who famously slagged off The Deadly Assassin in 1976, while he was president of the Doctor Who Appreciation Society.

Me: Do you agree that the Time Lords in this story bear no resemblance to all the Time Lords we’ve seen previously?
Sue: No. The bad guy was the same Time Lord who exiled Patrick Troughton to Earth. Of course it’s the same Time Lords.
Me: What about his criticism that Time Lords wouldn’t have bad hips?
Sue: Well, if you regenerated every time you had a twinge in your hip, you’d get through your 12 lives pretty sharpish, wouldn’t you? And if they had unlimited regenerations, they’d all look like the Chippendales.

 

65

Comments

  1. bestbrian  May 24, 2012

    NIce update. I’m with Sue on this one. It’s fun, it’s neat, it’s different, but the ending is weak, and it’s not the best of the Gallifrey episodes. Eight is just about right.

    • bestbrian  May 24, 2012

      Oooh, first comment. That’s one benefit of being lame, and laid up this week. 🙂

  2. Alex Wilcock  May 24, 2012

    Phew. My favourite story is more or less unscathed – the only one I’ve been nervous about the score for. Even if Sue’s mark is just about the only think about it that isn’t meta. I’m glad she realised it’s meant to be funny, too. I love a black comedy about death.

    The not knowing what’s going on’s one of the reasons it’s the best of the lot for me – it just keeps the invention and the surprises (and the references) coming, conceptually and visually. The nearest the series gets to film noir, too, and I love the connotations of the Master blasphemously renouncing electronic heaven for physical immortality.

    I rave about it (obviously) in my own review; it’s quite a short one, for once. Look, it was a long time ago…
    http://loveandliberty.blogspot.co.uk/2006/02/deadly-assassin.html

    • Josiah Rowe  May 25, 2012

      An entertaining review. I’d love to read “The Time Lords Are Gits, and Always Have Been”, if you have the time and rights to post it online.

      • Alex Wilcock  May 25, 2012

        Thank you very much! I wrote the Gits one a long time ago, for a favourite fanzine that had been running for years; they accepted it, then never published again. But one day I’ll return to it properly and rewrite and publish it…

  3. Alex Wilcock  May 24, 2012

    The bong with the police calling made me laugh, and I enjoyed the Jan-jokes (he’s very nice, really; we just both try not to mention this one when we bump into each other) and, more, your insisting on the Mary Whitehouse experience.

    Best bit (and it would surely have pleased Bob):
    Sue: Blimey.
    Me: Too strong?
    Sue: No, I love it.
    Me: For kids?
    Sue: Not for kids.
    I loved it when I was five. Never going to stop.

    Not spotting the Master, even when he’s called that? Wait until the Master’s a s***e.
    That was “a” (singular) “s***e”. Two words. I wasn’t calling him an a*s***e. Though he is, obviously.

    True story: this very morning, Tom Baker dedicated my copy of this “For Alex + Roger”. I leant in and gently corrected him. “NO!” he wrote next to it in big letters. “For Alex + Richard”. And it is indeed the one without Roger, so that’s pretty meta, too…

  4. Dave Sanders  May 24, 2012

    Whoo, I wouldn’t have thought it possible. I was prepared to put down odds against it. But Sue, a rank outsider without the benefit of 35 years of backstory, actually *gets* The Deadly Assassin. Take THAT, Tat Wood.

    And no, this doesn’t make her a fan, because in her eyes even Robert Holmes can’t get away with pulling mystic artifacts right out of his arse and calling it an ending.

    • Dave Sanders  May 24, 2012

      Disappointed though that Sue hasn’t learned to spot David Maloney like she can with Douglas Camfield. The gasmasks and freeze-frame are as blatant here as Maloneyism ever gets.

    • encyclops  May 25, 2012

      What you said, except in all capital letters! E.g. WHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

      Yep, the ending isn’t as good as the rest of it, but to be fair, the rest of it is pretty awesome. If this isn’t the best of the Gallifrey episodes, bestbrian, what is, though? (Maybe wait to answer that until we get to it.)

      I like thinking about which Doctors were never paired up with which villains, and trying to imagine why not. For example, Pertwee never met the Cybermen until The Five Doctors (which doesn’t count). And here we have Tom Baker with a convalescent Master. To finish this thought means spoilers, but imagine him meeting up with Delgado, for instance. You’d think it would have been at least an even match, but would it? If not, why not? Again, maybe something we’ll have to wait to discuss until we get a few more seasons tucked away, but it interests me.

  5. Jazza1971  May 24, 2012

    Great review. I loved this bit, it made me laugh out loud:-

    “Sue: He’s in a virtual reality called the Matrix. What do you think of that?

    Nicol: It’s like Inception.

    Me: It’s more like The Matrix.

    Nicol: I was being sarcastic.”

    And this:-

    “Nicol: Is this where you get your fear of clowns from?

    Me: No, it’s clowns that give me my fear of clowns.”

    Excellent work! And a fair score.

    I can’t wait for the “Moff” update!

  6. django  May 24, 2012

    I agree with Sue over the score but for me its episode 3 that lets it down. Theres far too much faffing about in the matrix (Rubbish film as well. Give me Existenz any day! ) for me. They could have easily condensed it down into a taut 3 parter.

    As for the clown, that also scared me as a child. Though I thought the floor was glass and the clown wanted to break through to drag the Doctor below the surface!

  7. Josiah Rowe  May 24, 2012

    I knew she wouldn’t say “Is it the Master?”! Then again, it was a fairly safe bet. We love you, Sue!

  8. Jeremy Phillips  May 24, 2012

    If the Texas Chain Saw Massacre isn’t a comedy, why does it look exactly like a live-action Tom & Jerry cartoon?

  9. Merast  May 24, 2012

    Awww, not one “Is it the Master?” 🙁 oh well, i wonder if she’ll ask in the next story he is in? 😉

  10. PolarityReversed  May 24, 2012

    “How am I supposed to get it right when I don’t have all the evidence”
    The way I feel about most of the reboot era. Still, as Flash Gordonisms go, that cliffhanger fudge wasn’t too bad really.

    Glad we’ve, so far, taken the lighthearted route and avoided the heavyweight fan-dango bollocks about The Ironic Deconstruction of the Ontological Implications of Post-Rationalising Time Lord History as an Extratemporal Metanarrative – an Application of Saussurean Methodology to Canonicity, by the Emeritus Professor of Mongology at Hinchcliffe College, etc, etc. Tsk. How many social scientists does it take to wire a plug? Well, it’s actually outside their area of expertise, but they’ll provide you with a variety of contrasting narratives exploring the nature of mankind’s desire to master nature with reference to the Id, class struggle, sexuality and so forth.

    Sorry, bit grumpy today. I agree with 8 for this. Fingers crossed for the rest of the season, which I reckon is about at good as it ever got.

    I agree with Sue that no adult should have any knowledge of Harry Potter, but wonder then why she is so au fait with X Men?

    • Eemur Pastronon  May 24, 2012

      Been reading too much TARDIS Eruditorum lately? 🙂

      • PolarityReversed  May 25, 2012

        Very astute. Tried it the other day, following one of Alex’s links. Never again. Got about halfway through one tract and felt like deconstructing the cat. And I have stamina, I’ll have you know – at one point, albeit purely for professional reasons, I actually had to read the Maastricht Treaty.
        Probably the only time I’ll ever knowingly reference Brian Connolly, but – “It’s a PUPPET!”

        Do love your wonderful name changes, btw,
        Yrs, Swingetrope McUmplethwank.
        (See, I try but I just don’t have your knack…)

        • Dan  May 25, 2012

          Have either of you read the Logopolis entry?

          • Eemur Pastronon  May 25, 2012

            I read… some of it.

        • Eemur Pastronon  May 25, 2012

          Why thank you. 🙂

          I do quite enjoy TE, but I do think 90% of it is a bit of a stretch. I can’t tell whether he genuinely believes this stuff to be true, or is just having fun with it. Either way, I don’t imagine he’s ever had to write for a low budget TV show against a deadline – I would imagine that a lot of Doctor Who scripting was closer to “a bunch of stuff happens, the end” rather than anything alchemical, qlippothic or generally that carefully thought out.

          It’s going to get messy around the Cartmel era, I predict. He reckons it to be the high point of all of Doctor Who, and I don’t mind better a sizeable chunk of people don’t.

          • PolarityReversed  May 25, 2012

            Cartmel – that’s the loveable 8-year-old sociopath from South Park, isn’t it?

            I’m assuming the Logopolis entry is another page of prolix periphrastic eisegesis which takes about 4 mins to come up and shrinks the scrollbar to an ungrabbable sliver?
            Still, a bit uncricket to thump one website on another. I shall simply say each to, um, his own. A phrase I would be happy for an eruditorialist to explore for its most onastic potential…

          • Dan  May 25, 2012

            The Logopolis entry is written in an adventure game format based around the tree of life from Jewish mysticism.

            I like the site. I do think he has a sense of humour about it. It doesn’t necessarily follow from the writers not thinking in that way that you can’t offer a reading in that way. As a fantasy show (because it makes sense to think of it as fantasy in sf clothes) the programme is liable to explore ideas beyond the intention of the writer (In the case of The Deadly Assassin both intentional and not, and a writer very aware of how fantasy writing works).

            I did buy Curse of Fenric partly on the basis of Eruditorum’s love of the McCoy era, and was a bit disappointed,

          • PolarityReversed  May 25, 2012

            Well, maybe one of these days I’ll get round to finishing my brick, provisionally entitled The Sontaran Experiment as a Crypto-Marxist Satirical Foreshadowing of the Dystopian Romantic Defamiliarisation in the Lyrics of Florence and the Machine. It will rock the world of Who to its foundations, let me tell you…

            That’s it. The exitronic charge in my hyperbole crystals is now fully depleted.
            All good clean fun. If his tongue is in cheek, I’m simply responding in kind. If not, Tennant help him.

            Thanks Dan – I’m actually now curious about an Israel Regardie/Richard O’Brien take on Lollipopolis. Damnit.

          • Dan  May 25, 2012

            I don’t think it’s completely tongue in cheek but don’t think it’s lacking humour either. I love the alchemical stuff. You have to notice the ideas in the show for these kinds of readings but not all the ideas in Dr Who are fripperies, and there is something unique about the setup itself. In 3000 years Dr Who could be studied as a crazy ancient epic like the Mah?bh?rata. I think there are reasons why fans still like the show as a whole even when it’s awful. (Not necessarily exactly the same reasons for anyone.

          • Roderick T. Long  May 25, 2012

            Eruditorum and Wife in Space are my two favourite Who blogs.

        • Alex Wilcock  May 25, 2012

          Tried it the other day, following one of Alex’s links.

          [Tennant]I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.[/Tennant] Especially if it was the one that really wound me up…

          • PolarityReversed  May 25, 2012

            No worries. It was an education actually. I’d heard tell of the ludicrous fringe in Whoiness and always assumed it to be affectionate exaggeration… Cloister Bell FX: MONGGG MONGGG MONGGG…

            How’s the lughole by the way? Mine seems to have gunged up in sympathy, which is a pain as I don’t have time to get it hoovered out and I’ve got a couple of gigs which I’ll have to do semi-Beethoven style.

          • Alex Wilcock  May 25, 2012

            A lot of the time I think he’s fascinating. Sometimes he gets hold of completely the wrong end of the stick. And sometimes he’s just frustrating. But I like long reviews that go off in strange directions on principle (well, I would say that).

            Had another hospital appointment yesterday; now on fourth different medication for it. But it’s improving! Hope yours does too, much more quickly.

          • Eemur Pastronon  May 25, 2012

            Yes, I definitely like it, it’s usually very interesting reading. He makes some very good points, and the flights of fancy don’t really bother me – it’s more frustrating when he declares something as indisputably factual and doggedly runs with it (like Turlough “obviously” being written as gay, for example), whereas in reality it’s pretty subjective and not that clear-cut. You could make a case for any of the classic series male companions being gay if you wanted to, and probably most of the female ones too.

          • Dan  May 25, 2012

            I assume you’re not implying that there is a case? Just that you can make a case…

          • Eemur Pastronon  May 25, 2012

            Yes. I don’t think any of the classic series companions were written with any kind of sexuality* – except nominally hetero in that some of them “fall in love” with guest characters in order for them to leave the show – so it would be a fairly easy job to think of reasons why any number of them might be gay.

            *Apart from Ace. And we all know how well that panned out. “I can feel the wind through my clothes”. Even aged 13 that made me shudder with embarrassment.

        • Dave Sanders  May 27, 2012

          Swingetrope McUmplethwank will be next year’s Eurovision entrant.

  11. Frankymole  May 24, 2012

    “I bet he made a deal with some aliens and they betrayed him. That’s probably why he’s raced through all his regenerations while the Doctor is still only on his fourth life.”

    Well, technically, according to Holmes/Bland/Dicks in “Brain of Morbius”, the Doctor is on at least his 12th life, or that was the intention at the time. Holmes injecting a bit of audience tension (could the Doctor really die?), in his seasons!

  12. Frankymole  May 24, 2012

    “When the Master’s TARDIS dematerialises, his face is superimposed over the clock face.”

    And a regenerating face, with lips, pink skin and curly hair, no less… so he could/should have a new body, if and when we see him again.

    • DPC  May 24, 2012

      Why the plasmic exterior of the Master’s TARDIS would show his face… the Master’s cuckoo schemes are always one-note*, but now he’s an egoist and a show-off with his attempt to get a new face. Unless the regeneration attempt fails… this is the sort of ender that sends up the audience. “Will he, won’t he, do people really care at being played?”

      * bring in aliens to help conquer Earth, aliens turn on him, he begs Doctor to save his bacon, he escapes, he brings in aliens to help conquer Earth…

      • Frankymole  May 25, 2012

        Why does the plasmic shell of Eccleston’s TARDIS allow people to put their hands through to the telephone inside? And presumably now they can look out the windows (which also explode outwards as Ten regenerates), so who needs a scanner. Ian Marter’s “Ribos” novel and those dodgy annuals are canon, anyway. So presumably the Master was just peeking out of the glass.

  13. John G  May 24, 2012

    It was really interesting reading Sue’s comments on this one, coming to it as she did with only the knowledge of what had gone before rather than after. I loved her inability to spot the Master, and it was interesting how unfussed she was about the very unflattering depiction of Time Lord society, given the way they had been portrayed before as untouchable god-like beings. Mind you, they had already been shown to be quite a capricious bunch, and what we see here makes it all the more understandable why the Doctor got away from Gallifrey in the first place. I agree with Sue’s final mark; the ending is an anticlimax, and I think there is a chilliness to the story which, for all its inventiveness, makes it much easier to admire than love.

    I hope Sue enjoys herself in the presence of the Grand Moff tomorrow. As a reader of this blog, I’d have thought he would be pretty keen to seek her out himself…

  14. Charles Norton  May 24, 2012

    The thing I find odd is that nobody ever points out the obvious connections between The Deadly Assassin and the shooting of JFK. At the time this story aired, a senate commitee was being pulled togther in the US to look into the events of the assassination.

    Think about it. You’ve got the shooting of a president and a man is arrested soon after, who protests he’s innocent. You’ve got a second gunman. A crusading legal official fights to uncover a high-level conspiracy (Jim Garrison). During the investigation, footage of the shooting goes missing. The rifle has a faulty site. it’s all there.

    Who needs Oliver Stone, when you’ve got Robert Holmes?

  15. Simon Harries  May 24, 2012

    Re: “WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO THE MAGIC OF THE WIFE IN SPACE?” has someone asked you that recently?

    • Dan  May 25, 2012

      The pattern that seems to be emerging here is that the Hinchcliffe era is the classic era we all (more or less) hoped, except for weak endings and dodgy fourth episodes.

    • Josiah Rowe  May 25, 2012

      In case you didn’t know, the “WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO THE MAGIC…” line is a reference to an infamous review by Jan-Vincent Rudzki slating “The Deadly Assassin” in the newsletter of the Doctor Who Fan Club back in the day.

      • Dan  May 25, 2012

        At the age of five, the magic was definitely there. And watching it again yesterday, I was amazed how much it felt kind of the same. Except the last episode which is a bit dark and confused, and then the Doctor wins.

      • Dave Sanders  May 25, 2012

        Oh, and here I figured it was paraphrasing a David Bowie lyric.

        I have NO idea where I was coming from with that train of thought.

        • PolarityReversed  May 25, 2012

          Now you mention it, that could so easily be vintage “fridge magnet” Bowie…
          I do rather see where you’re coming from, but then I am pleasantly sun-addled at present, so not responsible for anything I say. Bit like a mild regeneration crisis really, except the only physical change is a bit of colour.

          In homage to our name-changing friend above, Postletwonk O’Dweebles, I shall sign off,
          Sunny Jim

  16. Jon Clarke  May 25, 2012

    On the biplane and the machine gun bit, it is years since I last saw this but some WWI biplanes and both a forward-firing machinegun or two (through the propeller, thanks to the interuptor), and another on the upper wing that could rotate to fire upwards.

  17. BWT  May 25, 2012

    I want a T-shirt (or a mug!) that says: “Time Lord heaven is a bit shit, isn’t it?”

    Please? Make it so…

  18. BWT  May 25, 2012

    Oh, and well done, Neil, for channelling Mary Whitehouse so well. The silly old moo…

  19. AntonB  May 25, 2012

    Sue saved the best line for the end.

    ‘If they had unlimited regenerations, they’d all look like the Chippendales.’

    No need for a mug or a T.shirt but a bumper sticker for the Matt Smith Tardis would be cool. The Master’s face in the clock is a perfect example of the trope ‘It makes no narrative sense but it’s a cool effect (except it isn’t).’
    Oh and lay off the Eriditorum it’s good clean pretentious fun. I’m drawing the line at reading all those novels though.
    I dare Sue to ask the Moff if he’s bringing the Master back.

    • PolarityReversed  May 25, 2012

      By “all those novels” do you mean the articles themselves? Actually, we got drawn into discussing TE – I was really just harrumphing in general about reading ancient Chinese crop management into Punch & Judy. No reason why not, I suppose, but no reason why either.

      I like the idea of a TARDIS bumper sticker. How about:
      My other TARDIS is a Type 80.
      If my wife were as dirty as this she’d have been written by Neil Gaiman.
      Exterminate if you like my rematerialisations.

      Or just have a stuffed Captain Jack clinging to the outside.

      • AntonB  May 25, 2012

        The only Doctor Who novels I’ve read are the Whittakertastic ‘Doctor Who in an Exciting Adventure with the Daleks’ (Barnes Common! Glass Dalek!) The Moorcock one (disapointing) and ‘Who Killed Kennedy’ (Oh no he didn’t!). So I’ll be skimming through Doctor Sandifer’s reviews.

        I’d pay money to read a Wife in Space/Eriditorum crossover though. Doctor Phil deconstructs Sue’s qlippothic carpentry fetish and meta-textual Rodney Bewes obsession while she throws cushions at him and Neil and Nicol applaud from the sidelines.

        Stuffed Captain Jack? Indeed. Oh and possibly a nodding K9.

        • Josiah Rowe  May 25, 2012

          Stuffed Captain Jack? Is there another kind?

  20. Doctor Whom  May 25, 2012

    ***Sue: Like a posh boarding school?***

    POSH ALERT!!! POSH ALERT!!! POST ALERT!!!

    Presumably Sue said that to distinguish it from the many working class boarding schools.

    • Dan  May 25, 2012

      Amplification doesn’t entail redundancy.

  21. Neil Perryman  May 25, 2012

    It’s all been kicking off today – Sue has met the Moff! For more details (and a crap photo) please check out our Twitter and Facebook feeds.

    • AntonB  May 26, 2012

      Hoorah! Did she ask about the Master?

    • Dave Sanders  May 27, 2012

      Is it the Moffter?

  22. Neil Perryman  May 25, 2012

    Oh, and for the record, I adore the TARDIS Eruditorum. Probably the best Doctor Who blog I’ve ever read.

    • AntonB  May 26, 2012

      Yaay! Me too. What’s the chances of a crossover then?

      • Richard Lyth  May 26, 2012

        I like Tardis Eruditorum. And I also like Wife In Space. But which is better? There’s only one way to find out…

        • PolarityReversed  May 26, 2012

          Perhaps a duel mano a mano (or cushion a qlippoth) in a quarry, with clowns and stuff?

          Just for the Matrix, I apologise if my perorations (passim) have occasioned aggravatory discombobulation of a manner demotically referenced in the metaphorical context of a vespine nidus.

          Not being part of the Facebook hive, I’m looking forward to the blog report of Moff Encounters of the Sue Kind.

          • Matt Sharp  May 30, 2012

            Polarity, you fool, put down that thesaurus and back away RIGHT NOW, you’re dangerously close to transforming yourself into a Pip n’ Jane Baker villain!

  23. Chris Too-old-to-watch  May 29, 2012

    Good score, totally agree:

    Like the T-shirts from USA just bought:

    You never forget your first Doctor

    Don’t Panic Don’t Blink

    My other TARDIS is a phone box

  24. django  June 5, 2012

    I may be mis-remembering, but weren’t you going to do a video commentary for this episode?

    • Neil Perryman  June 5, 2012

      You are misremembering. It was one of the candidates that was up for it but that honour has gone to Creature from the Pit.

      • django  June 7, 2012

        Lucky Sue! 😀